2018-19 Season Preview: Washington Wizards

Scott Brooks and the Wizards have struggled to defend in the early season.

Coach: Scott Brooks (entering his third season with Washington, 92-72, .561; his 10th season overall, 430-279, .606).

Last Season: 43-39, lost in the first round of the playoffs to Toronto, 4-2.

Key Returnees: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Kelly Oubre, Markieff Morris, Tomas Satoransky, Ian Mahinmi.

Key Additions: Dwight Howard (Charlotte), Jeff Green (Cleveland), Troy Brown, Jr. (rookie, Oregon), Austin Rivers (LA Clippers).

Key Losses: Marcin Gortat (LA Clippers), Mike Scott (LA Clippers).

Outlook: It’s time for the Wizards to show what they are made of … or aren’t. With LeBron James heading for Hollywood, the bar on the door that led to the NBA Finals has been removed. All-Star point guard John Wall, who played in only 41 games last season before undergoing knee surgery, is back and his tag-team partner in the backcourt, Bradley Beal, flashed during Wall’s absence. Meanwhile, Otto Porter Jr. was third in the league in 3-point shooting at 44.1 percent. Other than Kelly Oubre, however, the Wizards were clearly lacking as they lost nine of their last 12 regular-season games before being bounced by Toronto in six games in the first round of the playoffs. They signed Dwight Howard after he was traded by Charlotte to Brooklyn and quickly bought out, to take over in the pivot, and while he has never developed his offensive game and is not the dominant, rim-protecting force he was in his prime, Howard remains a glass-eating big man (12.5 boards a game last season). Washington swapped center Marcin Gortat to the Clippers for combo guard Austin Rivers, who shot 37.8 percent from deep last season, signed the veteran, well-traveled forward Jeff Green as a free agent and drafted swingman Troy Brown out of Oregon with the 15th overall selection. Wall is 27, Beal 25 and James has taken his talents to the West. Is this the season the Wizards’ play finally matches their verbal bravado?