Wizards 2018-19 Season Win Total: Will Washington Finally Reach Its Potential?
- The pick: Over 44.5
- Confidence: 4 out of 10
The case for the over: I can sense you doing this all the way through the internet:
Just hear me out. The Wizards are frustrating, annoying, and put the cart lightyears before the horse. They talk a big game and then yutz around the regular season.
I get it. They’ve gone over only once in the past four seasons despite continuity and talent. Their upward trajectory stalled out, and now they’re back in the atmosphere (with drops of Jupiter in their hair).
But they won 43 games last season, same as their expected mark, with John Wall playing 41 games. “Ah!” you cry, “But they were considerably better without him!” Well, they were for a while.
And then they wound up going 20-21 without Wall in all last season. That’s not significantly worse than going 22-19 with him, but it’s reason to pump the brakes on that idea. When Wall and Beal are healthy, they will go over 45 wins.
The Wizards are frustrating because they never live up to their potential. But they don’t crash and burn, either. They can continue to Wizard hard and still roll to 45 wins, easily. This is a talented team with two All-Stars whose ceiling remains high even if they never get there.
The case for the under: What if a middling low-40s record just is their ceiling at this point? Is Wall, who had two knee surgeries two years ago and then saw a recurrence of discomfort last year necessitating another surgery, going to stay healthy?
Then there’s Dwight Howard, signed this summer. Teams Howard has been on hit the under in seven of the past eight seasons. The one season his team hit the over? In 2015-16 in Houston, when Howard only played 41 games.
If things start off rough, it would not be surprising to see Washington make moves.
Whether that means moving Wall to get off his supermax, trading Beal to try and find a different combination, or moving Otto Porter to shake things up, it is very unlikely they will improve in such a deal.
There are all sorts of red flags here.
This team is seriously talented, has long stretches where it defends, has shooters and playmakers and the whole shebang.
It also has Howard and a team chemistry that seems to bubble toward combustion every season. It’s not an absolute no, it’s just an “I’d rather not.”