What the Wizards can learn from every remaining playoff team

Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards celebrates during game against the Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards celebrates during game against the Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

The Washington Wizards have not made the Playoffs since 2020-21. They haven’t made any major steps to fight for a playoff spot the last two years, only reaching 35 wins both times. With the continued mediocrity, changes need to be made. A good basis for the Wizards to learn from is looking at all the teams that made the second round this year.

Everyone know this is a copy-cat league. Teams are always using the same style, plays, schemes as other teams. The Wizards already have three foundation players in Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis and some quality role players that fit with them. They have a core to build off of, but they still have plenty to learn.

Boston Celtics: multi-faceted role players

Boston have been successful for a long time surrounding their duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown with 3-Point shooting. The two young forwards are athletic, knockdown shooters, and play tough defense. Surrounding them with 3-D players helps their spacing which, in turn, allows Tatum and Brown to attack the basket or kick the ball out to shooters.

Boston has a Defensive Player of the Year at point guard with Marcus Smart, who is the heart and soul behind the ball club. Al Horford who is also a leader for this team and his skill set fits very well. He is able to defend, shoot the 3 and does not need a lot of shots to make an impact on the game. Even though Robert Williams hasn’t played much this season, he was a big part of the 2022 Finals run. The Wizards potentially have a player with a similar skillset in Daniel Gafford. The pickups of Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon are very underrated for the Celtics as well.

Philadelphia 76ers: finding efficiency in the pick ‘n’ roll

The 76ers rely heavily on the pick and roll system between Joel Embiid and James Harden. It resulted to Embiid leading the league in scoring while capturing his first MVP trophy and Harden leading the league in assists. A pick and roll offense from Beal and Porzingis or even Gafford can open up a lot of opportunities for this offense.

New York Knicks: fighting for every rebound

The Knicks have great rebounders in Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Josh Hart, and Isaiah Hartenstein. Rebounders are important for teams with winning aspirations. You can’t secure winning a defensive possession without getting the rebound. Knicks currently rank 3rd amongst the remaining Playoff teams in rebounding. Wizards have three decent rebounders in Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma and Gafford, but they can greatly improve by making it a main focus next season.

Miami Heat: Grit, toughness and veteran leadership

We all know Miami as a tough, hardnosed team. There are no stats for that.  Just winning. Players like Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent, Bam Adebayo, Max Strus are all workhorses. Their entire team is not afraid to get dirty and scrap their way to a win. I’m not sure if the Wizards have that type of mentality. If they can find some gritty players in free agency, it can change their whole identity as a team.

Los Angeles Lakers: playing defense in the halfcourt

Lakers are currently first in the playoffs in defensive rating. They struggled with their defense at beginning of the season but with acquisitions made during from the trade deadline, the Lakers were able to fight their way to a playoff spot. They also rank 1st in opposing field goal percentage and opposing two-point percentage. The defensive work of Anthony Davis and Jarred Vanderbilt has been excellent this postseason run. The Wizards do not have any players with the size and defensive versatility as AD and Vando. Their flexibility on that side can help contain scorers when their defense is set. The Wizards should seek out players with that skillset in the offseason.

Golden State Warriors: team rebounding and getting second chances

The Warriors’ system has been built on ball movement and fighting for extra chances every opportunity they get. Making smart and simple plays with the basketball can go a long way for a team.

A lot of their opportunities have come off offensive rebounds. The Warriors are currently 2nd amongst the current playoff teams in offensive rebounds, led by Kevon Looney who has been on a rebounding tear. Those offensive rebounds lead to the opposing team scrambling to recover and a smart team like Golden State can find holes in the defense when this happens for easy points. One of the biggest things that helps the Warriors rebound despite their smaller roster is their willingness to go fight for every single rebound, even if it seems unlikely.

The Wizards have the size to capitalize on the glass, but it also takes high IQ players to make the right play when the defense is not in position. Instilling a fight for the ball mindset will be important to the success of this team.

Phoenix Suns: finding opportunities in the in-between areas

The midrange isn’t dead. A lot of teams rely on it to win games. The Suns lead the Playoffs in 2-pointers made and attempted. It’s a hard shot to guard but also hard to make. It takes a player who knows how to get to the shot, understanding angles and able to stop on a dime to elevate for the shot. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker are two of the best midrange scorers in the league. Bradley Beal has that skillset in his game and when he got that shot going, he’s almost unstoppable. A player like Deni Avdija or Johnny Davis adding this to their game would add another dimension to the Wizards offense.

Denver Nuggets: team-oriented offense

Denver is loaded with scorers. Five players have been averaging double-figures in their playoff run. With Jokic leading the way with his passing ability, the team has multiple options on offense. That also comes from ball movement, making the right decisions and unselfishness. The Wizards have to understand that giving up a good shot for a better one is the way to win games.

If the Washington Wizards can even learn a few of these skills, it will translate to more wins and maybe even a playoff berth. All of these skills can and will lead directly to winning if implemented in Wes Unseld Jr’s system.

Next. Delon Wright sees an All-Defensive team in his future. dark