Washington Wizards: 4 goals for the second half of the season

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook.
Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Goal #1: Get a non-play-in playoff spot

Due to the shortened season and the success of the play-in tournaments we saw in the Bubble last season, the NBA is going with a new approach in 2021.

In each conference, the top 10 teams will all technically make it to the postseason. Before the playoffs “officially” start, though, there will be a short play-in tournament that will determine the seventh and eighth seeds.

In this new system, the seventh and eight-placed teams at the end of the regular season will square off. The winner will secure the seventh seed, while the loser will play the winner of a matchup between the ninth and tenth-placed teams for the eighth and final playoff spot. So if you’re sitting at tenth after 72 games, you could still make the playoffs. If you’re seventh after 72, you’re not quite locked in yet.

The Wizards are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference but are only four games behind the fourth-seeded Boston Celtics and only three games behind the sixth-seeded Miami Heat. Technically, the Wizards are just 1.5 games out of the playoff hunt, but they’ll want to skip the play-in tournament if they can.

For one, ending the season in the top six eliminates the risk that the Wizards may get sent home before the first round really starts. A top-six finish would also buy the Wizards some much-needed rest before heading into the postseason.

Because six of their first-half games were postponed, the Wizards have a back-loaded schedule that sees them playing 38 games in 69 days to finish the season. By the end of it all, the Wizards will be exhausted. Adding additional play-in games will just exhaust them more before they start playing seven-game series. If the Wizards can get a top-six seed, they’ll get a little extra rest while seven through ten battle it out.

Anything else will just feel bittersweet.

Next. 4 stats that prove the Wizards are better than their record. dark