Publish date:

6 WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Author:

A MODEST PROPOSAL...

LET MTV FILM EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS

Let's. Go. If anyone tells you the NBA regular season is boring, or they don't like the inevitability of the Warriors' dominance, simply point them in the direction of the Wizards, the NBA team that most desperately needs to be the subject of a trashy reality-TV series.

On paper, does Washington make sense? Actually, yes! John Wall and Dwight Howard could be lethal together in pick-and-rolls. Bradley Beal is a star. And Austin Rivers is the kind of bench player this franchise has desperately needed for years.

In practice? Well, that's when things fall apart. Wall and Beal have a strained history. Can a team be a championship contender with Otto Porter Jr. as its third-highest-paid player? Rivers has never exactly been a beloved teammate. And then there's Howard, whose sense of humor is as erratic as his free throw shooting. Let's put the over/under at January for when Wall calls out Howard on national television.

Coach Scott Brooks needs to focus on keeping the locker room in line. He also has to remember that Beal is the future of his team, and when chemistry issues arise, he should be taken care of first. After all, it's inevitable that at some point the Wizards will stop being polite and start getting real.

STARTING 5

COACH SCOTT BROOKS

2017--18 RECORD: 43--39

PREDICTION: Lose 1st round

SG BRADLEY BEAL (28 [SI'S TOP 100 PLAYER RANKING])

22.6

PPG

SF OTTO PORTER JR. (43 [SI'S TOP 100 PLAYER RANKING])

44.1

3FG%

PF MARKIEFF MORRIS

11.5

PPG

C DWIGHT HOWARD [NEW ACQUISITION] (69 [SI'S TOP 100 PLAYER RANKING])

12.5

RPG

41

GP

PG JOHN WALL (24 [SI'S TOP 100 PLAYER RANKING])

Wall missed exactly half the season with a knee injury. In the games he played, the Wizards were 23--18. Without him, they were 20--21.

BENCH

SG AUSTIN RIVERS [NEW ACQUISITION]

SF KELLY OUBRE JR.

PF JEFF GREEN [NEW ACQUISITION]

(*) NEW ACQUISITION

(#) SI'S TOP 100 PLAYER RANKING

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP WASHINGTON

HOW IS their team chemistry going to be? There are a lot of interesting dynamics, especially now with AUSTIN RIVERS and DWIGHT HOWARD added to the mix. From a talent standpoint they're probably third or fourth in the East, but they always seem to underachieve.... When JOHN WALL missed games last year, they started winning, which raised some questions. He's still the key, the engine for everything. He's one of the six best point guards in the league.... BRADLEY BEAL can really create his own shot, and now he has all the elements—the pull-up game, coming off screens, driving through contact. He's got it all.... OTTO PORTER is worth the money [$106.5 million over four years] with the way he fits their team. He runs the floor, is no-nonsense, very consistent and positive. He's paid like a No. 2 guy but doesn't have the scoring to produce like that.... Rivers can come off the bench and play the one or the two. With the Clippers he got a lot better and has become consistent. I think he gets an unfair rap from playing for his dad and from the way he started his career.... Howard still puts up numbers but doesn't have the same winning impact he used to have. I just wonder how he acts and how his teammates view him when he doesn't take things seriously.... MARKIEFF MORRIS brings the toughness, and he spaces it well.... KELLY OUBRE made a jump last year as a three-and-D wing—good athlete, improved shooter. They have wings they can switch; you could see Porter or Morris sliding down a spot. That versatility should help them.