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Wizards predictions: Bradley Beal's bust out season?


Wizards predictions: Bradley Beal's bust out season?

Some are bold, some are mild, some are straight to the point. Either way, I made lots of predictions about the Washington Wizards and the NBA for the about to tip-off 2015-16 season. So many predictions in fact that we split them into two parts.

Bradley Beal makes the 2016 All-Star team

Here's how the Wizards can make a leap this campaign: Regular season Bradley Beal starts playing like playoff Bradley Beal.

2014: Regular season (17.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 40.2 3-point FG%); Playoffs (19.2, 5.0., 4.5, 41.5%)     

2015: Regular season (15.3, 3.8, 3.1, 40.9%); Playoffs (23.4, 5.5., 4.6, 36.5%)

There are factors on both ends of the stats including various injuries and John Wall's busted hand during the 2015 postseason. Here's another factor heading into this season: Beal becomes a restricted free agent next summer. Here's one more: The 22-year-old -- yes, still just 22 -- now has three seasons of experience. Three seasons worth of understanding what it takes to make it night and night in the league. Shining in those playoff games as the primary ball handler without Wall certainly helps the confidence.

As for the East All-Star team, the practical matter is Kyrie Irving's injury opens a spot for someone. With stats in the 19-5-4-41% range plus some clutch shot highlights in the post-Paul Pierce world, Beal grabs it.

RELATED: Morning tip: Playing off the ball should benefit John Wall

DeJuan Blair records a double-double. Twice.

None who watched Blair watching from the bench throughout last season will mock that low bar. Heck, Blair averaged a mere 1.9 points,1.9 rebounds and 6.2 minutes over 29 games during an unforgettable first season in Chinatown. Don't expect consistent minutes for the 6-foot-5 "big man," but Blair is in MUCH better physical shape this season and he's always been a bull inside when motivated. Whether during times when Nene misses games or the Wizards are involved with a blowout game, Blair will get his.

Kris Humphries averages at least one made 3-pointer per game

For those just catching up with this transformation, the power forward last made a shot from beyond the arc during his rookie season. That was 2004. Now Humphries is stretching his range; he shot 35 percent on 3's during the preseason. The issue was never touch -- Humphries always had a quality mid-range game. It was just a matter of trying. For now he's the best bet to start at PF at least until Jared Dudley truly recovers from offseason back surgery. Minutes could get tricky at times with Drew Gooden also in the mix. As long as he can make at last 33-34 percent of his attempts and keep up rebounding prowess, playing time won't be an issue for Kris Hump-threes.

Most points scored in one game by a Wizard this season including exact number, opponent and date

1. John Wall - 38 (vs. Portland, Jan. 18)

2. Bradley Beal - 35 (at Dallas, Dec. 12)

3. John Wall - 34 (vs. Oklahoma City, Nov. 10; gets triple-double with 10 rebounds and 11 assists)

It's going to take most of the season for many casual fans and pundits to understand the Wizards are still good defensively even if they allow many more points.

More possessions equal more points. The Wizards' up-tempo plan means a quicker pace and more shots fired up. This also means more opportunities for the other team. This is why the "Points per 100 possessions" rating becomes the one to track. For example, the reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors ranked 16th in points allowed last season (99.9), but were tops in defensive rating. Now, if the Wizards lose their defensive presence because of the small-and-speed approach, coach Randy Wittman's face will let you know. Speaking of more possessions...

John Wall leads the NBA in assists

Came in second (10.0) to Chris Paul (10.2) last season. With more plays and more shooters around him, look for Wall dropping more dimes. Let's go 10.8.

Part 2: Will KD2DC happen?

Check back this afternoon for the answer.

MORE WIZARDS: Blatche shares heartache, regret in wake of Flip Saunders' death

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:


2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:


4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:



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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets (26-33) for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, they were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.


Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:


Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.