“Nobody really thought that we would be this far and for us to actually make it here and for us to believe in ourselves and make Indiana earn it, we should be proud of ourselves. There is nothing we should hang our heads about,” Bradley Beal said after the Wizards series loss to the Pacers.
Bradley Beal is absolutely right. The Washington Wizards team, organization and fans deserve an applause for their efforts this season.
After downing the Chicago Bulls in five games in the first round of the playoffs, the Wizards lack of playoff experience and disappointing play at the Verizon Center led to a second round exit in six games at the hands of the Indiana Pacers.
The 2013-14 season was full of up-and-downs for this Wizards team. Starting the season 2-7, many thought this season would be another disappointment. Instead, John Wall became an all-star, Bradley Beal let the world know his name while showing he is a young stud on the rise, Marcin Gortat proved he is an all-star caliber center, Trevor Ariza showed he is an elite defender and lethal three-point shooter and Randy Wittman established himself as a formidable head coach.
Additionally, The Wizards were able to shed off many of their past demons this season including getting over the .500 record hump, having an all-star on the roster and becoming the best road team in the East. For all the putrid basketball Wizards fans have dealt with over the years, it is finally a fun time to be a Wizards fan again.
This season has been nothing short of an extreme success. Nobody expected this team to be one of the final eight teams left in the championship hunt in mid-May.
For all the success the Wizards had this season, this offseason will be full of questions and uncertainty. The Wizards have to make important decisions on several key elements of the franchise. The organization must decide whether Randy Wittman should be retained as Head Coach. Aside from some front office decisions, the Wizards have a pleura of free agents including starters Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza. With about $16-20 million dollars of cap space this summer, the Wizards must use this money wisely to improve the team.
Before we start discussing whether Trevor Ariza is worth an $8-12 million dollar a year extension or if the team should bring back Andre Miller and the rest of the AARP Group, let’s sit back and appreciate how far the Wizards have come. Last season the Wizards finished with a record of 29-53, this season the Wizards finished 44-38 (the fifth best record in the East) and made it to the second round of the playoffs.
“I couldn’t be more proud of a group of guys than I am of these guys,” Randy Wittman said after Game 6.
Real championship contention comes from teams and star players experiencing tough playoff losses before making it to the big stage. Expect that John Wall and Bradley Beal will realize how high the bar is raised in the playoffs and improve even more for next season. This experience was vital for Washington’s young backcourt as they will be hungrier for more next season. The league is now on notice that this Wizards team is for real and is no longer the Wizards of old.Back to the Washington Wizards Newsfeed