Washington Wizards: 4 things the Wizards will be better at this season

Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. Mandatory Credit: Rob Carr/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. Mandatory Credit: Rob Carr/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

There was a lot about the 2019-20 season that wasn’t great for the Washington Wizards. Luckily, this season should be better.

I’m not going to mince words here. The Washington Wizards need to be better this season. Flat out. If they want to end their two-season playoff drought, and they do, the Wizards we saw last season won’t cut it.

Of course, the Wizards didn’t have Russell Westbrook last season. His presence alone should help elevate this team. But he’s not the only one bringing something new to the table for the 2020-21 season. Deni Avdija has done nothing to quell any excitement there was when he fell to the Wizards on draft night. Solid preseason outings from Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant also bode well for the new and improved Wizards.

Make no mistake; this is now Bradley Beal‘s team. For the first time, the Wizards have built a squad around the budding superstar by design. While he led the Wizards in each of the last two seasons, that wasn’t exactly the plan. Now, with John Wall in Houston instead of on the bench or in the backcourt, Bradley Beal is running the show. With a little bit of All-NBA help.

Here’s what we can expect the Washington Wizards to be better at this season.

The Washington Wizards will have a quicker pace

Last season, the Wizards played with the fastest pace since the 1978-79 season. That season, the Wizards made it to the NBA finals. Unfortunately, they weren’t quite as lucky last season.

Despite running at the seventh-highest clip in the NBA — 102.7 possessions per game — the Wizards will likely play even faster next season. Mainly due to the arrival of Russell Westbrook.

While the Mike D’antoni system should get most of the credit for the Houston Rockets’ blistering pace last season, it couldn’t be run without guys like Westbrook. The Rockets finished second in pace last season (103.7).

But it’s not just Westbrook. Rookie Deni Avdija joins the Wizards as another player — along with Westbrook, Beal, Hachimura, and Troy Brown Jr — who can grab a rebound on the defensive end and immediately push the ball the other way. Behind Westbrook is Ish Smith, who did a great job helping the Wizards keep their pace up when Beal sat last season. These WIzards are ready to run.

All in all, this team has the weapons to run teams off the floor. What was a fast and productive offense last season (seventh in points per game) should get even faster this season. As Jerome Robinson put it “(The Wizards’) pace is going to be unbelievable.