New Players Make Wizards Worth Betting on with this Futures Pick

David Lawrence

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 6:17 PM GMT

The Wizards have quietly had a productive summertime and they could end up winning a few more games as a result. Take a look at their regular season win totals as there could be some good value with them. Here’s why:

The Loss Of Paul Pierce
On the surface, it looks like the loss of Pierce was going to really sting. The Wizards weren’t exactly an Eastern Conference title contender before but Pierce served as an x-factor that got his team over a hump the Wizards previously couldn’t conquer: the first round. His experience proved very valuable in sweeping the Toronto Raptors and then he nearly put them on his back in the second round against the Atlanta Hawks too.

With Pierce gone, it opens a role that needs to be filled: who’s the go-to guy? We know that John Wall is a superstar and Brad Beal is an All-Star caliber player, but neither of those guys had the ball in their hands at the end of games in the playoffs. Now it’s on one of them to carry the torch.

 

Someone Else Will Step Up
There’s no question that the Wizards would have rather kept Pierce but there’s a different side of the coin too. First off, he’ll be 38 in October. Secondly, he played a career-low 26.2 minutes per game last season and it was made clear that he can’t handle much more than that. The Wizards are a young team that’s building for the future, so now they get the opportunity to move on and develop someone else.

The other key here is that Pierce may have served his purpose. If the young Wizards watched and learned from him last season, then guys like Wall and Beal will be the ones who start stepping up in those clutch situation.

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Wizards Acquired A Lot Of Depth
Very quietly, the Wizards did a great job of rounding out the depth on their lineup. While Pierce was an x-factor in the playoffs, the truth is that they had a lot of holes in their depth chart. Guys like Ramon Sessions, Kevin Seraphin and Rasual Butler didn’t cut it.

The Wizards signed Gary Neal to a one-year contract and while that might not look like much, it finally gives the Wizards a quality backup point guard, which they haven’t had in a long time. If Wall needs to a breather or if he’s hurt, Neal is a capable body. He can also play alongside Wall as a shooting guard at times. He’s a big upgrade over someone like Garrett Temple. The Wizards also picked up Alan Anderson, who can provide some scoring off the bench as well as versatile forward Jared Dudley. The following chart should add some perspective:

 

2014-15 Scoring Average

Wizards bench

32.7 PPG (15th in NBA)

Neal-Anderson-Dudley combined

24.7 PPG

Of course, keep in mind that some of the minutes of those guys will come down but it still shows that the Wizards should get a big boost in production. And don’t forget about first-round pick Kelly Oubre Jr., who looked very good in Summer League action. This team will be much deeper in 2015-16.

 

What’s It All Mean For Betting Purposes?
In terms of winning the Eastern Conference or competing for a championship, the Wizards probably took a small step forward on the net. However, they aren’t a wise NBA pick to win the East or compete for a title.

But when looking at their regular season win totals, I would be leaning towards the over. The perception will be that they lost Pierce and can’t be much better but I think the changes this team made could get them to about 50 wins or so.