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Vegas Win Total Projection: 46.5 (VegasInsider.com)
A loss of Paul Pierce and everyone in Washington is pushing the panic button. I wouldn't push that button yet. The Wizards have a great back-court and above average front court with the likes of John Wall, Bradley Beal, to go with Marcin Gortat and Nene Hilario, your looking some very good NBA players. Not to forget they have a 4th year small-forward by the name of Otto Porter Jr. who hasn't been talked about much either. Overall, I don't expect this team to drop off, they'll be just as good as last season with the improvement of guys like Wall, Beal, Porter Jr. who only continue to get better. I can expect to see them in the top four of the eastern conference standings as long as guys stay healthy. I think this team has a chance to win 50 games.
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John Wall is a guy who can score, assist, steal, just flat out make plays. For fantasy, he's inconsistent at times, but when he's on, there isn't another point guard I would take. At 25 years old, he's just starting to be in the prime of his career. Last season he averaged almost 18 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals per game. He completely fills the stat sheet night in and night out, and he will average close to 40 minutes a night. His field goal percentage has improved year over year and he's becoming more efficient every season. I expect Wall to be the top point guard in fantasy this season.
Kelly Oubre Jr. is a new draftee and people are already expecting him to become a huge contributor on this team. I don't think he sees the court very often due to Otto Porter Jr. getting a solidified starting role with tons of minutes. Kelly has some growing to do before I really want to justify even taking a gamble on him in fantasy. Temper any expectations until Otto Porter gets injured or performs poorly (which I don't expect).
OTTO PORTER JR., yes, I said it. This guy is going to be in contention for a most-improved player award. I have a feeling he's going to be this teams' 3rd option and a huge contributor to their success this season. I love what he brings and if his play in the postseason continues, he'll be on track to be a key contributor to fantasy teams across the board. In last season's playoffs, he had an average of 10 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal per game. This season, with more minutes and time, I expect him to grow into a guy who helps this team score the ball as well as play defense. With his size and athleticism at the small forward position, it allows him to match-up with almost any small forward in the league. Rumor has it that the Wizards are looking at using him as a "stretch-four" option as well, if thats the case then he'll have even more opportunity to get open looks. Plain and simple, Otto Porter Jr. will become a staple in fantasy line-ups, and his production will justify that.
The Washington Wizards didn't do too much rearranging, other than Paul Pierce leaving, this team is virtually the same. Although Pierce gave a ton of veteran leadership, I look for other guys to step up like Rasual Butler, Ramon Sessions, and Jared Dudley. This is the year I believe Wall makes a case for M.V.P. and Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., step up their games once again to improve this team. The Wizards have been about potential for a long time, I think this is the year that potential finally meets the production. I expect to see a similar record to last season and the team statistics overall should stay about the same, if not improve.