By Alex Lamport on May 29, 2014
Last year was one worth remembering for the Washington Wizards. With a mix of young talent and rock-solid veterans, Washington won their first playoff series in nine years. And they did so despite head coach Randy Wittman doing his best to blow every single game in crunch time. Despite multiple free agents to re-sign, don't expect many changes to the Wizards' starting lineup.
Two starters will be free agents for Washington this summer, and re-signing Marcin Gortat should be priority No. 1. The Polish 7-footer is a serviceable rebounder and is an excellent pick-and-roll man to accompany the Wizards' two stellar guards. Without him, the Wizards' offense would grind to halt. By locking Gortat up, however, Washington will have to make some concessions.
Trevor Ariza had a career year for Washington last season, and that means the Wizards probably won't be able to keep him, especially if they want to enter the sweepstakes for Kevin Love. That means Martell Webster should enter the starting lineup. He's not the same defender as Ariza, but Webster can fill in with solid shooting and rebounding. Hopefully for Wizards fans Otto Porter Jr. and his massive wingspan can pitch in on defense.
The rest of the Wizards' starters are under contract, so no surprises here. Nene is the straw that stirs Washington's drink. The Wizards were 30-23 with him in the lineup and just 14-15 when he was hurt. He has a jack-of-all-trades skill set that complements his teammates perfectly. Plus, anyone who can pull off having just a first name is a guy worth keeping around.
With one of the smoothest jumpers in the game, Ray Allen 2.0 is the kind of praise being given out to Bradley Beal, and the young shooting guard hasn't disappointed. At just 20 years old, he's become a top five player at his position and it's not even a debate. Beal also seems to rise to the occasion in the most tense of situations, and he's half of one of the best backcourt tandems in the league. Former babysitter Nelly should be proud.
As Washington's franchise player, John Wall really came into his own in 2014. He's always been an elite dribbler and passer, and he's now developed a serviceable jump shot to keep opposing point guards honest. It remains to be seen whether or not Wall can be the best player on a legitimate contender, but he and the rest of the Wizards showed immense progress this season. With Wall, Washington's future looks bright.
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