With Wizards training camp rapidly approaching, let’s take a look at a three-pack of underrated questions for Washington heading into the 2021-22 season:
- What should we expect from Deni Advija in year 2? Improving year-to-year as an NBA team often comes from top picks taking major strides and Avdija’s development will be key for the Wizards this season. GM Tommy Sheppard told FortyEightMinutes and other media after the draft that Avdija would likely have a role off the bench while cautioning that nothing is set in stone. With Spencer Dinwiddie and Bradley Beal expected to compete for the team-lead in usage as the starting backcourt, playing Deni, who is a thrifty play-maker himself, off the bench could be a wise move for Washington.
- Where will Thomas Bryant fit into the new-look frontcourt? Bryant won’t be ready for the beginning of the season as he recovers from a torn ACL, though once he’s ready, the center rotation will look slightly different than last season. Gone is Robin Lopez and Alex Len. Daniel Gafford remains and Montrezl Harrell is in town to soak up major minutes. TB getting the kind of playing time he’s used to seeing could come down to how he meshes alongside Gafford or Harell. As our own Sameer Kumar notes, Bryant’s ability to shoot the three could make that work.
- What actually defines success for Wes Unseld Jr. and the Wizards this season? The remodeling of the team gave reason for optimism, as Washington fields its deepest team since the pre-John Wall injury Wizards. How will that translate to the win column? Oddsmakers project the Wiz to win 34.5 games with only six NBA clubs projected to win fewer. Washington would need to outperform that total to make the postseason, something which remains the goal in Beal’s contract year. Should Washington get to the NBA’s second season, it would be worth noting the uphill battle Unseld and the Wizards faced to get there.