The fate of the Washington Wizards this season is likely to hinge on Kristaps Porzingis’ health. Having him for at least 60 games next season gives Washington a chance to be a fringe playoff team.
His presence gives the Wizards a dynamic one-two punch with him and Bradley Beal. Without the man in the middle, it’s hard to see the squad clinching a playoff spot.
For fans wanting to bet on the NBA, it will therefore be worth studying the lineup closely when the Wizards play, as this could have a significant impact on their ability to win games.
The Wizards haven’t won a playoff series since 2016-17. Since then, they have been bounced out of the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors. However, they have made the playoffs only once over the last four seasons.
They ended their 2021-22 campaign with a 35-47 record, which isn’t a far cry from their win totals of 34, 25, and 32 victories in the previous three seasons. The Wizards will likely have the same number of victories if Porzingis misses more games.
Porzingis possesses the potent combination of length, shooting ability, and rim protection. Having him on the field improves the Wizards on both sides of the floor. He played 17 games for Washington last season, averaging 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. Meanwhile, Beal is one of the league’s best scorers after averaging 23.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game.
They also have steady contributors in Kyle Kuzma and Will Barton, both of whom were acquired through trades. Barton averaged 14.7 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Denver Nuggets last season. Meanwhile, Kuzma produced 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Wizards fans should also look out for Johnny Davis, the 10th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
The Wizards play their home games at Capital One Arena. It was formerly known as the MCI Center from 1997 to 2006 and the Verizon Center from 2006 to 2017. The stadium can accommodate 20,356 people during a basketball game. While the place can be loud at full capacity, there are games when they do not sell out all the tickets. Likewise, being the team in the nation’s capital means they also get traveling fans of the other squad. Therefore, it’s a comfortable place to play for road teams.
The Wizards have had some recent rivalries with the Atlanta Hawks and the Toronto Raptors. Washington swept Toronto in the first round of the 2014-15 NBA Playoffs. However, the Raptors bounced back with a series win in the first round of the 2017-18 playoffs. Toronto holds a 59-39 edge in their regular season match ups.
Meanwhile, the Wizards and the Hawks have played 312 regular season games, with Atlanta having a 162-150 edge. Washington lost to Atlanta in the 2014-15 Conference Semifinals but bounced back in the first round of the 2016-17 postseason.