LeBron James going back to Cleveland changed, not only the fortunes for the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, but the fortunes of every other ‘contending’ team in the Eastern Conference. And Washington Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall is extremely aware of that.
“It helps us in our division, so we can get a top-three seed and homecourt advantage,” Wall said of James’s move to the Central Division. “We still got to battle it out with Charlotte, but we knew it was always going to be tough getting No. 1 in our division with Miami being at the top the whole time. We know they’re not the same team, but they’re still talented. We got great veteran guys that’s going to come in and push all of us.”
While Wall made it known that the Wizards’ goal for the upcoming season is competing in the NBA Finals, he seems aware that the road to that goal won’t casually open up, allowing the Wizards to stroll through. Winning the division would be a glaring sign that this Wizards team has greatly improved from and would mean they’re one step closer to topping the East.
There are some questions going forward for Washington that could answer where they end up last season: Can NeNe stay healthy? Is Otto Porter a rotation player? Can Bradley Beal make a leap after suffering through the sophomore lump? Can Randy Wittman–the teams biggest weak link–improve as a head coach?
If these questions are all answered positively, the jump can happen. If not, the Wizards will remain a middle-of-the-pack team out East.