The Washington Wizards have had a solid start to the season, and have proven to be one of the top contenders to win the Eastern Conference, but should we trust them with our NBA picsk as they have yet to prove something truly significant so far in the season?
The Washington Wizards have proven to be a strong team in the Eastern Conference of the NBA. At the end of the first 20 games of their season, they are sitting at a 14-6 record (.700 percent) and are ranked 3rd in the East. There are, however, still a lot of questions for the Wizards squad and how their season will turn out due to their strange roster full of injured players, rookies, and new signees.
Let’s take a look at Washington’s season up to this point and how it could affect your NBA picks on their match-ups in the next couple of weeks.
Balance on the Bench
If the Wiz team has proven one thing this season, it’s their balance. With a huge loss in the season to injuries to key players Bradley Beal and Nene, Washington still held strong.
MVP-considered John Wall has stepped up as a 24-year-old leader on the floor for Washington so far this season. This kid is unstoppable. Just this past Monday, he recorded 26 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 17 assists in the double-overtime 133-132 win over the Boston Celtics.
Wall hasn’t been doing it on his own, either. This Wizards just seem to be gelling really well together. When coming down the floor, the players always create separations from each other to spread out the defense, and look for their shooting opportunities. There are no ball-hogs on the team, just passes into the hands of the right player with the best scoring opportunity.
Marcin Gortat works the paint very well, averaging 19 PPG and 9 RB per game in 38 minutes of play. He’s a trusted option for Point Guard John Wall to look for the pick-and roll. Then there’s Paul Pierce, who has stepped up with Beal out of the picture, moving into open opportunities on the wings.
Offense Sells Tickets, Defense Wins Games
With a solid defense, a mediocre offense can win games - as proven by the Washington Wizards. Their offense has been the saving grace of their season.
The Wizards’ starting five is only allowing 86.2 points per 100 possessions. To give you some perspective on that stat, the infamous defense of the Indiana Pacers team from last year logged 96.7 points per 100 possessions last season.
Guards and ball handlers have been finding nothing but a stone-wall in the paint against the Wizards. As a result, nearly 20 percent of possessions have been turnovers against the Wiz defense on the drive, and grabbing up an average of 45 rebounds on the boards per game.
It’s for these reasons that the Wizards have seen fast-break after fast-break, racking in a better advantage on their not-so-great offensive side of the ball.
Not Quite There Yet
The Wiz squad is currently under .500 percent on covering the spread this season. So far, the Wizards have proven to be a competitive team, but I have yet to see anything truly impressive that you can say to yourself, “yeah I can depend on these guys with my NBA picks.”
Don’t be deceived by their No. 3 Eastern Conference ranking. They have already lost to five different teams in the East, three of which are ranked below them in the standings, and they have yet to prove themselves against Western Conference teams.
They have gotten some early wins against teams that were building in the early season, and they have yet to prove their defense in a test against a huge offensive team like Dallas, Toronto or Golden State.
What’s to Come for the Wizards
The Wizards have 6 games ahead of them within the next two weeks, and no back-to-back games. All but two of these games will be played at home. Now, Washington sits at 5-7 ATS at home, and all four of their home games will be against Western Division teams.
So far this season, Washington hasn’t been able to cover ATS against a Western Conference team ranked higher than #11. With that being said, it could be a smart move to take the visiting No. 6 ranked Clippers this Friday and the No. 8 ranked Phoenix Suns on Sunday Dec. 21st against the Wizards team.
However, it could be smart play to also look at taking the Wizards ATS against the No. 13 ranked Utah Jazz this Sunday and the No. 15 ranked Minnesota Timberwolves next Tuesday, Dec. 16.