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CSN reporters make predictions for Wizards, 2016-17 NBA season

CSN reporters make predictions for Wizards, 2016-17 NBA season

Here are some predictions for the Washington Wizards and the 2016-17 NBA season as a whole from CSN reporters...

J. Michael, CSN Wizards Insider

Wizards' 2016-17 record: 44-38

Playoffs: Yes

Biggest key for Wizards: Wall and Beal play like All-Stars.

NBA Finals prediction: Warriors over Cavaliers in 6

NBA MVP: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs

Chris Miller, CSN Wizards reporter

Wizards' 2016-17 record: 42-40

Playoffs: Yes

Biggest key for Wizards: The key for them is obviously Wall and Beal playing at an All-Star level. Then, staying healthy as possible and defending the rim.

NBA Finals prediction: Cavaliers over Spurs in 6

NBA MVP: Kyrie Irving, Cavs

Steve Buckhantz, CSN Wizards play-by-play announcer

Wizards' 2016-17 record: 45-37

Playoffs: Yes

Biggest key for Wizards: Key is the health of Bradley Beal and John Wall, and the continued improvement of Kelly Oubre, Jr.

NBA Finals prediction: Warriors over Cavs in 6

NBA MVP: LeBron James, Cavs

[RELATED: Southeast Division preview: A wide open field]

Tony Massenburg, CSN Wizards studio analyst

Wizards' 2016-17 record: 40-42

Playoffs: Yes

Biggest key for Wizards: Wizards will have to play great team basketball this year that involves everyone not just John and Brad.

NBA Finals prediction: Cavaliers over Warriors in 7

Chase Hughes, CSNmidatlantic.com

Wizards' 2016-17 record: 45-37

Playoffs: Yes

Biggest key for Wizards: Defense. They need to get back to what made them a playoff team. Mahinmi should help when healthy.

NBA Finals prediction: Warriors over Cavaliers in 6

NBA MVP: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs

Keely Diven, CSNmidatlantic.com

Wizards' 2016-17 record: 41-41

Playoffs: Yes

Biggest key for Wizards: Bradley Beal has to stay healthy, especially avoiding the stress reaction that has plagued him all four years of his NBA career. His per game numbers haven’t seen the kind of upward trajectory year over year that you’d expect of a player as young and talented as Beal, I suspect because he’s missed large portions of every season injured. If he can stay healthy, and establish an offensive rhythm, he has a good chance to make the big leap that has been anticipated the past two seasons and earn that contract. Honorable mention: Scoring off the bench!

NBA Finals prediction: Warriors beat Cavaliers in 7 (boring, I know)

NBA MVP: Russell Westbrook, Thunder

Sebastian Salazar, CSN studio host

Wizards' 2016-17 record: 43-39

Playoffs: Yes

Biggest key for Wizards: 3 point shooting. A lot of guys on roster have shown potential as three-point shooters, but need to bring their percentages up. If that happens, defensive improvements should be enough to make them very competitive in wide open SE Division.

NBA Finals prediction: Warriors over Cavs in 7

NBA MVP: Russell Westbrook, Thunder

[RELATED: Riding with C-Mills: Bradley Beal and John Wall]

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Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

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NBCSW

Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

Dwight Howard may play in the Wizards' regular-season opener on Thursday night against the Miami Heat, but the team will not know until the day of the game and likely won't announce the decision either way until head coach Scott Brooks addresses the media about two hours before tipoff.

Howard only has three practices under his belt but has made significant progress throughout this week after missing all five of the team's preseason games due to a strain in his piriformis muscle.

Head coach Scott Brooks said Howard has looked good in those three practices but has a lot of missed time to make up for.

"I think he's definitely winded at times, but that's part of it," Brooks said.

Brooks added that Howard is not getting the same lift when jumping that he's used to. Howard, 32, is used to playing above the rim and his vertical leap is an important part of his game.

The Wizards play their first two games at home, the second on Saturday against the Raptors. They then embark on a Western Conference road trip beginning with the Blazers on Monday.

Brooks said Howard will "definitely" make that trip with the team, which gives a good indication of how close he is to returning to game action. When Howard is ready to play will be left up to the team's medical staff.

If Howard does miss time, the Wizards are expected to rely on his backup Ian Mahinmi as the starting center. Jason Smith would then become the No. 2 center on the depth chart, though they could use forwards like Markieff Morris or Jeff Green at the five-spot.

Howard signed a two-year free-agent deal worth $11 million to join the Wizards in July.

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John Wall and Bradley Beal will depend on each other more than ever in year 7

John Wall and Bradley Beal will depend on each other more than ever in year 7

The Wizards will only go as far as John Wall and Bradley Beal take them. There's just no other way around it.

The chemistry between Wall and Beal has been the dominant topic for years surrounding this team, and the magnifying glass will only be pushed closer this season, despite all of the other additions the Wizards made this offseason.

It's all about the backcourt. 

Luckily, both Wizards All-Stars understand and embrace the pressure. 

"We're opposites, but we're the same in a way," Beal told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller. "He's more loud and outspoken, I'm more chill and relaxed, but you put us together, it's peanut butter and jelly."

Have you noticed that peanut butter and jelly always seems to be the go-to "good combination" for people? At least Beal didn't say something weird like tuna and bananas, although to each his own if that's what you like.

Anyway, more importantly, Wall understands this sandwich dynamic just as much as Beal does. Especially when the topic of a championship comes up. 

"I couldn't get it without him, and he couldn't do it without me," Wall said.  "I think that's the bond we have built, and it's gotten so much better each year."

One of the biggest reasons for divorce that we see in pro sports is ego. So many players don't understand what Wall alluded to. No matter how good you are, you can't do it alone. You need your wingman.

There were certainly rumblings or worries that Wall and Beal had their issues chemistry-wise earlier in their careers, but we're seeing two young stars grow as each season passes. 

That doesn't mean there still won't be times where they don't click. That's natural.

Keep in mind though, this is the seventh season the two will play together. The NBA is known to chew up and spit out young, inexperienced teams. The grind is part of the journey. Wall and Beal have had playoff success and failures, but they went through it together.

Now comes the time where those learning experiences become something they grow from, and use it to fuel a push to their ultimate goal – a championship.

And maybe a better peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

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