Wizards 2018-19 Schedule: Top Games, Championship Odds and Record Predictions
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Now is the time if the Washington Wizards are ever going to take the next step.
Washington reached the playoffs in four of the last five seasons but didn’t make it past the second round once in that span. And the window for many of the Eastern Conference contenders widened in 2018-19 with LeBron James heading West to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Wizards added big man Dwight Howard to a core featuring Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr., and they figure to be among the playoff contenders in the East throughout the season.
The schedule is now in front of them, and they need to find a way to stay healthy and play with more consistency if they are going to finally tap into their full potential.
Season Opener: Oct 18. vs Miami Heat
Championship Odds: 100-1, via OddsShark
Full Schedule: NBA.com
Boston Celtics: (Wednesday, Dec. 12 at home)
With James on the Lakers instead of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics are the gold standard in the Eastern Conference this season.
After all, Boston took the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals without a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward and will be in Finals-or-bust mode with those two anchors back and surrounding playmakers in Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford.
If Washington is going to surprise and challenge for a deep playoff run in the East, it will surely have to go through the Celtics.
While those point guard battles between Irving and Wall will have more meaning if they occur in the playoffs, Washington still has the chance to establish itself as a true contender with statements in the regular season. Beating Boston will send those messages and bolster its seeding in the playoff picture.
Miami Heat: (Thursday, Oct. 18 at home)
Divisions take on far less importance in the NBA than the NFL or MLB, but they are still meaningful in terms of scheduling and seeding in the playoffs. The Southeast Division was particularly weak last season, so Washington has the opportunity to build a formidable record if it takes care of business against the one serious challenger.
The Miami Heat were the only team outside of the Wizards in the Southeast to finish with a record better than 10 games below .500 last season.
If the Wizards can handle these head-to-head matchups, they will be poised for the Southeast crown and favorable seeding in an Eastern Conference that is fairly open.
There are also multiple intriguing individual battles within the Wizards and Heat matchup outside of the division implications, with Wall and Goran Dragic battling at point guard and Howard and Hassan Whiteside attempting to rediscover their prime production down low.
The Wizards earned the No. 8 seed in the East with a 43-39 record last season before dipping out in the first round of the playoffs. They will be better in 2018-19.
Wall played a mere 41 games last season, which not only took Washington’s best player off the floor for half the season, it also impacted its style of play when he returned. The team had to grow accustomed to playing with him again, but that won’t be the case if he remains healthy this season. Look for consistent production from the five-time All-Star.
The onus falls on Wall and Beal to generate much of the offense, but Washington has some depth with Kelly Oubre Jr., Tomas Satoransky, Austin Rivers and Jeff Green and will benefit from a more manageable Eastern Conference schedule.
Howard will also help even though he is no longer the force he was in his prime on the Orlando Magic because he can still dominate the glass and provide rim protection as the anchor of the interior defense.
The end result will be a better record even if the Wizards will still be looking up at Boston and others in the East.
Record Prediction: 47-35
via Bleacher Report – NBA https://ift.tt/2gMI6gF
August 10, 2018 at 01:19PM