Making the playoffs was going to be hard for the Wizards when the NBA restarts at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World on July 30th.
The Wizards are 5.5 games behind the Magic and six games behind the Nets for the last playoff spots in the East with eight contests left. It will be an uphill battle for them, especially now that Bradley Beal (30.5 points per game) and Davis Bertans (15.4 points per game) opted out of the restart.
Beal averaged career-highs of 30.5 points and 6.1 assists, to go along with 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 36.0 minutes over 57 games. He shot 45.5 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from 3-point range.
“Bradley did everything possible to be ready to play, but after closely monitoring his individual workouts we came to the conclusion that it was best for him to sit out the upcoming games in Orlando and avoid the risk of further injury,” Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard told the team’s official website.
“Although he was able to play through the majority of the season with the injury, the layoff from March until now did not leave any of us feeling comfortable that he would have enough time to be ready to perform at the extremely high level we are all accustomed to seeing and agreed that not participating in the games in Orlando was the right decision.”
Wizards in Orlando
This season was all about development for the Wizards. Beal’s unbelievable play was the topic of conversation but the focus of this franchise was on letting players like Rui Hachimura, Isaac Bonga and Moe Wagner get better, even if that didn’t translate to wins.
Now the young core has a chance to prove their worth without Beal, Wall and Bertans, the three best Wizards players currently under contract. Washington will play at least eight games in Orlando and everyone will have more responsibilities than ever.
They have a unique opportunity to prove their worth, showing the front office what they’re capable of. What can Hachimura and company do with veterans like Ian Mahinmi, Ish Smith, Shabazz Napier and Jerian Grant as complementary pieces?