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.
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.