There's no shortage of people questioning how much the Wizards improved with their addition Wednesday of Russell Westbrook in exchange for franchise stalwart John Wall. One person who isn't tempering expectations following the trade, however, is Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson.
After the news broke, Johnson took to Twitter to declare the Wizards a playoff team. In fact, he said a backcourt of Westbrook and Bradley Beal will "terrorize" the Eastern Conference this season.
Skeptics of the trade point to similarities in Wall and Westbrook's style of play -- point guards who prefer to score closer to the basket and don't shoot well from long range -- as a reason why the Wizards will see marginal improvements, if any. They may even say Wall's pass-first approach makes him a better fit next to a scorer like Beal, as opposed to the attacking style of Westbrook.
If Wall is able to return somewhere close to his pre-injury form, Washington may have pushed for a playoff spot anyway. But Wall hasn't played in two years, and an Achilles injury isn't an easy one to bounce back from. Westbrook is a former league MVP coming off a season he shot a career-high 47% from the field while averaging 27.2 points per game. And if there's anyone who knows a thing or two about point guards, it's Johnson.
If the Wizards are able to make the playoffs, it would be their first appearance since the 2017-18 season.