The Washington Wizards open the 2012-2013 NBA season October 30, on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Just four seasons ago this was a heated rivalry before both teams lost star players and having losing records as of late, the rivalry has pretty much ended.
Washington starts its second season under Head Coach Randy Wittman looking to return to the postseason for the first time in four years.
The team made some major off-season moves with the amnesty of forward Andray Blatche, who was thought to be a key piece in DC in the long run, and the addition of forwards Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor. The Wizards also made some small moves during free agency bringing in point guard AJ Price and forward Martell Webster. Webster was the 6th overall pick by the Portland Trailblazers in 2005 and should bring some much needed perimeter shooting to the Wizards team.
Washington drafted Florida guard, Bradley Beal with the 3rd pick in the 2012 draft. Beal is thought to be the perfect back court mate for point guard John Wall. Unfortunately the team will be without Wall for the first month of the season as he recovers from a stress fracture to his knee. Wizards fans are nervous because this is same injury that resulted in Clippers forward Blake Griffin missing his whole rookie season, however everything looks like it is going well in the clubhouse as Wall’s recovery is going good.
The Wizards team will still be relatively young after being the youngest team last season. Owner Ted Leonsis believes he’s brought in enough veterans to help blend with the young talent to provide enough maturity and experience for the season.
This will be Randy Wittman’s first full season as the Wizards head coach. Wittman took over mid season following the termination of Flip Saunders last season as the interim head Coach. Wittman went 18-31 to end the season, however the team showed improvement, enough for Wittman to get the full time coaching position.
Expectations for this year’s team isn’t that high as many analyst believe that the Wizards do not look like a playoff team in comparison with the Eastern conference being so loaded. However the fan base does not want to endure another losing season, especially with the other Washington franchises are starting to light up the city. Jan Vesely is at the top of the list of Wizards who must improve for this year’s team to have a winning season. Last year Vesely struggled in his rookie season, leaving many to question whether he deserved to be the team’s sixth overall pick when players taken later than him in the draft had much better rookie seasons.
As many know, a rebuilding team takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that’s what the Wizards’ organization wants its fan base to understand. Pieces like Vesely and Beal are just the start of the staff that are being built around Wall and with more experience and proper veteran presence, the team will soon be ready to make its presence known in a star-powered National Basketball Association.
Here’s to a Good Season!