The 2018-2019 Washington Wizards could be marred by their off-season of not rebooting the franchise and signing Dwight Howard, or who knows – maybe everything works out
Another season, another enthusiastic start of basketball season but a monotonous feeling is all too familiar. The Washington Wizards start their season Thursday against Miami and we are off on this next rendition of an 82-game schedule.
The Wizards, or as Joe House of The Ringer calls them, the ‘Washington Almost Bullets,’ have made this season the ultimate tipping point year. They have kept the core together for yet another year led by John Wall – who still is not on his super max deal yet by the way – Bradley Beal and Otto Porter (who is the highest paid player on the team this year). The Wiz big three has familiar supporting cast highlighted by Markeef Morris, Kelly Oubre and one notable addition, Dwight Howard. Let us please get the butt jokes out of the way.
Butt jokes notwithstanding, bluntly speaking, Dwight Howard could be the ignition switch that leads to the demise of this roster. A fractured locker room known notably for the “everybody eats” campaign and the schism between former starting center Marcin Gortat and John Wall, has open wounds all over the place and Howard is more likely to be like the stinging hydrogen peroxide rather than a bandaid.
But I digress – the Wizards have a chance to right the ship and stay in contention in the eastern conference. With the removal of LeBron from Cleveland, and banking on the health of their star backcourt, this team has a window to succeed in a weak conference. We all believe that Boston is the number one seed in the east, Toronto is hoping for a Kawhi-fully great year, a freak year from Milwaukee and Philly still has this guy named Ben Simmons. After them are we looking at Indiana? Washington? Miami? A fifth seed doesn’t necessarily equate to having this year known as a successful one but anything is better than the debacle at the end of last season and dropping to the 8 seed.
Indiana’s hopes rest upon Victor Oladipo and (fresh off his max extension) Miles Turner. They were a good team last year but we need to see consistency and see Oladipo continue to grow. Miami immediately gets better if they acquire one Jimmy Butler.
We have seen Washington compete at a consistent level over the last 3 years. They have the guys and the ability to have a better regular season than Toronto (if Leonard isn’t healthy) and maybe Milwaukee…? Regardless, this Wizard team should make the playoffs, or else…
The team had zero roster flexibility this summer so they resorted to finding key players with exceptions and minimums to add something. Howard came in on a tax payers mid-level, Jeff Green signed a veteran minimum deal and Thomas Bryant was claimed off waivers (on a minimum salary). This lack of flexibility is reduced even more next season which is why this Wizards team has to be good and not fall apart. Dwight Howard needs to be a solution, not an agitator. He cannot sting like hydrogen peroxide, but rather be a bandaid.
The Wizards are in middle ground that is completely unstable. When another ‘meh’ year that ends in a playoff exit is considered a good thing – the team stays together again. Or this ‘meh’ year is a bad thing and the franchise can’t do anything about it. Either way, this team is not set up particularly well to fall on either side of the fence. Both sides have tremendous pitfalls awaiting them.
But until we get to that point of no return in either direction, Wizard fans can rejoice because the Capitals took away the need for a D.C. championship and most importantly, a new basketball season is set to begin.