Washington Wizards: The Next Ten Games Will Decide Wizards Season

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The upcoming ten-game stretch is ripe for a playoff push if the Washington Wizards can capitalize on it. Otherwise it may be too late.

Even though they’re 12 games below .500 at 25-37 and have lost 10 of their last 14 games, the Washington Wizards still cannot be counted out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. It will definitely be an uphill battle, but their next 10 games could put them in a good position to make up ground.

Let’s start with their playoff prospects at this point. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Wizards have a 9 percent chance of making the playoffs right now, and are predicted to finish with a 34-48 record. That means they would have to go 9-11 in their final 20 contests.

FiveThirtyEight projects the the Brooklyn Nets will secure the No. 8 seed at 38-44. We can use that as a benchmark for what the Wizards need to shoot for, meaning they need to go 13-7 the rest of the way.

Why that is at all feasible is because the upcoming ten-game span is perhaps the most forgiving stretch for Washington all season. Here are those games:

Of those 10 games, eight of them are against teams who currently have with a losing record: Minnesota (29-33) and Charlotte (29-33) twice; Dallas (27-34); Orlando (29-34); Memphis (24-39); and Chicago (18-45). The three divisional matchups against the Hornets and Magic could also prove vital in potential tiebreaker scenarios at the end of the year.

The only two games that aren’t against such teams are against Sacramento, who sit right at .500 at 31-31, and Utah at 35-26. Fortunately, both of those contests are at home.

That brings us to the next point in the Wizards’ favor. It’s no secret the team is much better at Capital One Arena than away from it: Their home record is 17-12 while their away record is a sad 8-25. Fortunately, Washington will host seven times over this next stretch, including against their toughest opponents in the aforementioned Kings and Jazz.

The final reason why these next 10 games are so important is because the subsequent and final 10 is far from a cakewalk. They go on a four-game Western Conference road trip that won’t be easy, which includes the Los Angeles Lakers (that could feature a desperate LeBron James), Phoenix Suns (on the second half of a back-to-back, also known as a “scheduled loss” in NBA circles), Utah, and Denver Nuggets.

Outside of the road trip, they also host playoff-bound opponents like the Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, and Denver as well as the Miami Heat, who are vying for a playoff berth as well.

Fortunately, the two other games are at home against the Bulls and on the road against the New York Knicks, both who will likely be in full-tank mode by the final two weeks of the season.

If the Wizards can manage to go 7-3 over these next 10 games, then they can at least put themselves in a position to play meaningful games during their tough stretch to close the season. Anything short of that may be too deep a hole for the Wizards to dig out themselves out of that late in the year.

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Whether the Wizards deserve it or not, the scheduling gods have handed the team one last hope for the postseason. It’s up to them to seize it.