Washington Wizards 2019-20 Season Preview: Philadelphia 76ers

Washington Wizards Thomas Bryant Joel Embiid (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Thomas Bryant Joel Embiid (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Can the Washington Wizards keep up with a reloaded Philadelphia 76ers?

Washington Wizards record versus Philadelphia 76ers last season: 1-2

76ers lost: Jimmy Butler, J.J. Redick, Boban Marjanovic, T.J. McConnell

76ers added: Al Horford, Josh Richardson, Matisse Thybulle

I’m not sure if this roster is what anybody expected when Philadelphia was “trusting the process” and asset collecting just a few seasons ago. Yet, Philadelphia got the desired result — a championship contender — and they’ll be a tough matchup for the Washington Wizards this season.

The 76ers lost some key pieces from last year’s team, which was just a couple of bounces from the Eastern Conference championship but had one of the more intriguing reloads in the country. Their biggest outside shooting threat, J.J. Redick is with the New Orleans Pelicans to be apart of Zion-mania. Jimmy Butler, their best perimeter defender and go-to scoring option late in games, is now with Pat Riley and the Miami Heat. However, the Heat sent back a stud defender of their own in Josh Richardson. Then the 76ers went out and got Al Horford to pair alongside Embiid.

Maybe I’m just in the Halloween spirit, but that’s a scary backcourt.

Looking at the 76ers likely starting five of Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, and Joel Embiid, one thing jumps out: length. At 6’6″, Josh Richardson is the shortest person in their starting lineup.

It will certainly take some time for this new group to gel, but once they put everything together, their ceiling is almost unimaginably high. They lost a bit on defense when Butler went to Miami, and a bit of shooting when Redick went to New Orleans, but they’ve managed to reload well.

Richardson is a lock-down defender on the perimeter and should be able to replace Butler on that end. There are high hopes for what rookie Matisse Tybulle and his seven-foot wingspan can bring to the 76ers defense as well.

Although they didn’t bring in dead-eye shooter to replace Redick, both Richardson and Horford are serviceable from outside. Horford’s versatility on the pick and roll with Simmons will cause nightmares for opposing defenses, as Horford can roll to the basket or pop out for a jumper with ease.

Although they lost some key pieces, this team should be just fine. They will make another run at the Eastern Conference crown.

Wizards to Watch

Thomas Bryant is going to have a tall task whenever the Wizards take on the 76ers. He’ll either have his hands full with Joel Embiid or Al Horford or maybe a little bit of both. The 76ers backcourt of All-Stars can score well, rebound well, and defend well. They’re both multi-time All-Stars for a reason.

Judging by the three-year extension the Wizards signed Bryant to this past summer, they want, if not expect, him to become an All-Star center before his NBA career is over. How he handles himself against two of the established low post juggernauts in the NBA will tell us a lot about what we can come to expect from Bryant this season and for seasons to come.

2019-20 Game Predictions

Thursday, December 5 in Washington

This game is early enough in the season that the Wizards might be able to capitalize against a team with a lot of mouths to feed and not enough to go around. It will be tough to get everyone comfortable in that offense, and it won’t happen overnight. But even if they struggle at first, the 76ers have enough talent to beat some of the NBA’s worst teams. Give game one to the 76ers.

Saturday, December 21 in Philadelphia

This is the second game of a home back to back for Philadelphia and will be their third game in four nights. There’s a good chance the 76ers rest a starter or two for this one. If they do, expect the Wizards to make the most of it and steal one in Philly.

Monday, March 16 in Philadelphia

The Wizards play the night before against the Oklahoma City Thunder. They’re already outmatched against the 76ers, but traveling to their city after playing the previous night, well there’s just no chance. They might even want to rest Beal for this one if he lets them.

Next. Washington Wizards Season Preview: New York Knicks. dark

Friday, April 3 in Washington

The 76ers could very well be playing for playoff seeding, otherwise, they’re probably just coasting until their first-round matchup. The Wizards, however, will be playing for lottery position. You do the math.