Beyond the Toronto Raptors: Previewing a horrible Southeast division

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Norman Powell (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Washington Wizards

Key Arrivals: Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans, Ish Smith

Key Departures: Tomas Satoransky, Trevor Ariza, Bobby Portis

The Washington Wizards would be the laughing stock of almost any other division. Luckily for them, the Charlotte Hornets are the prime Will Ferrell of NBA laughingstocks. And if misery really does love company, the Hornets and Wizards should be best friends.

Washington likely missed an opportunity this offseason to trade Bradley Beal for maximum value. If Mike Conley costs two first-round picks and Paul George cost 45 of them, it’s pretty reasonable to assume Wizards could have gotten a nice haul for Beal. However, it appears Washington wouldn’t even pick up the phone when other teams called.

While you can certainly question the long-term ramifications of that decision (it was dumb), it will help them be more watchable this season as they might finish 25th instead of 30th overall.

Offensive outlook

As bad as the Wizards are, they might be OK on offense. Beal is such a stud individually, he should prevent them from hanging the cellar-dwelling teams with no offensive identity.

Last season, the Wizards ranked 15th in offensive rating. Expect that figure to drop some with Otto Porter gone for the entire year, sneaky productive Tomas Satoransky with him in Chicago, and Jabari Parker longer there to roast second units. Plus, who knows if Beal continues to play once the tank-fest begins.

Still, Beal should put up 25 efficiently, Thomas Bryant is a young, talented offensive center, and surprisingly, the team has a decent amount of shooting. All things considered, the Wizards should finish somewhere around 20th in offense with a chance to creep back towards that 15th number

Defensive outlook

While things might not be that* bad offensively for the Wizards this season, there is no hope on the other end of the floor. The Wizards will be one of the worst defensive teams in basketball next season, they have a good chance to be the worst, and they have a reasonable chance to be the worst by a sizeable margin.

They finished 27th last year, no longer have Otto Porter Jr. for half the year, swap Satoransky for Ish Smith, and hide your eyes children, might be playing either Mo Wagner or Davis Bertans at backup center. Losing Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker will help, but it’s not like they’re being replaced with Draymond Green.

Here’s a fun parlor game, try naming a single Washington Wizard who is good at defense? Oh, you can’t? That’s because there aren’t any. Sure, Beal is solid when he tries. He won’t be trying this year.

Projected Record: 22-60

The Wizards are all types of horrible, and if they trade Beal this year, they could be the worse team we’ve seen since The Process 76ers.