A 10-3 start—the best start to a Wizards/Bullets season since 1974—shows the Wizards are competing nightly as one of the best teams in the NBA.
However, the NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint.
A few things need to go Washington’s way to continue the high level of play we’ve seen thus far.
Saying a team needs to stay healthy is a cliché, but for a team that thrives off depth, it is imperative the links in the chain they’ve built hold strong.
The Wizards are proving their depth can win.
Bradley Beal missed the last two contests due to personal reasons, and every player on the floor stepped up to bring two W’s to The District.
With an already deep roster, the Wizards are still missing a few key pieces that can bring the rotation to one-hundred percent.
Center Thomas Bryant seeks a December return to action after his knee injury last season. Davis Bertans is Week-to-Week with an ankle injury, and Rui Hachimura is currently out of game action (personal reasons).
For a team that thrives off of the ability to throw a variety of matchups at opponents, Washington will have to hope for a healthy season to maximize the potential we’ve seen through the first 13 games.
Sustained Defensive Intensity
The most dramatic change this season in DC is on the defensive end of the court. Wes Unseld jr. has his team communicating well and stifling opponents en route to the 4th best defensive rating in the league (102.7).
The key to success through the marathon of the season is to have motivated players every night.
Daniel Gafford, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are a few names expected to bring intensity to every game but, the emergence of Deni Avdija and his activity and execution in every individual matchup is a key component of the fast start this season.
Deni has the size and athleticism to stick with most players in the league and is showing this season the anticipation and composure to hang with superstars down the stretch. I’ve watched Deni force turnovers on Giannis in crunch time, along with a sound 4th quarter against Brandon Ingram that fueled a Wizards comeback from a 19-point deficit Monday night.
The team rallies around intensity, and as the NBA season continues, it can be hard to get excited about every matchup. Bringing the same energy regardless of opponent eluded Wizards teams in recent history, so a reversal of history is necessary for continued success this season.
Another All-NBA Bradley Beal Season
He’s the true number one option in the Wizards offensive attack, and to keep his team around the top of the standings, Bradley Beal has to play like the All-NBA talent he is.
Despite a slow scoring start for Beal this year, the Wizards are winning, but you can see the offense go flat during stretches without him on the floor.
In a half-court setting, every basketball team needs a guy like Beal who can score when the game slows down. The Wizards are lucky to also have Spencer Dinwiddie in the backcourt, but if Beal can play at an All-NBA level, Dinwiddie will also soar to new heights.
Through 13 games, the team has shown us they have what it takes to be good. To go from good to great and sustain a spot at the top of the East through the season, this team has to constantly improve, stay healthy, and bring the fight to opponents every night.