The Washington Wizards were the worst team in the NBA at the start of last season, even worse than the lowly Charlotte Bobcats. Without their leader and star, John Wall, on the floor, the Wizards were a team with no guidance, no direction, and no real semblance of knowing how to play basketball at the highest professional level.
However, once Wall returned to the floor, it became clear that Washington is a young team with success in their foreseeable future. Wall and Bradley Beal became a perfect complement for one another in the backcourt and show signs of being dangerous in years to come. However, one of the most underrated and unheralded things about the Wizards with Wall was how good they were defensively.
The Wizards ranked eighth in the NBA overall last season in points allowed per 48 minutes, giving up just 94.9. They also ranked eighth in the league in terms of points per 100 possessions, allowing just 100.6 points per. Considering the age of their core, that’s quite an impressive feat.
Now the Wizards have added Otto Porter via the 2013 NBA Draft, who is one of the top wing defenders in the draft. Given that, a full season of Wall and Beal, and the growth of their young players, it’s not far-fetched to believe that the Wizards can be one of the top defensive teams in the league next season.
Particularly with teams like the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs likely slipping in their defensive production for a number of reasons, the Wizards will likely be creeping up into the ranks of the defensive elite in the NBA. There’s a possibility that their offense will still need to develop more and grow, but having that good of a defense for a young team is more than an ample start.