Yes, the apocalypse is over for countless fans in Washington, DC. The Washington Wizards are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
A 118-92 shellacking of the Boston Celtics wasn’t the only thing the Wizards were celebrating on Wednesday night. Due to all their hard work and grinding during the season, the Wizards clinched a berth into the NBA Playoffs.
This franchise has endured a long postseason hiatus since 2008. Ever since the loss of Gilbert Arenas, the Wizards somewhat lost their spark. Fortunately for them, they have found their groove again and ultimately fought their way into the postseason.
For a team that went 29-53 last season, the Wizards have clearly reshaped the culture of their franchise. At 39-36, they have already won 10 more games than the previous year.
Coaching and leadership are key components to the success of the team this year. Head coach Randy Wittman has rallied his troops and point guard John Wall is the perfect reflection of coach Wittman on the floor.
Wall is having a memorable year by putting up 19.8 points, 8.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest. To add to his already impressive season, Wall is shooting a career-high 36.0% from behind the three-point line this year, which exhibits his improved shooting touch from mid-range and beyond. His point and assist averages are also career-highs. There was some criticism circulating about Wall trying to do to much or in other words, put the team on his back so to speak. Nonetheless, Wall has shut his naysayers up this year by displaying an ability to share the ball while continuing to score at will. Wall is a floor general who makes Coach Wittman’s game plan flow smoothly during the game. This proves that the success of the Wizards is fueled by the cooperative work of their star guard and head coach.
Although the Wizards have clinched a playoff berth, their work is not done. They still have a chance to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings. They are currently in sixth place. Seven regular season games remain on the schedule for this ball club. Washington still stands a chance of passing the Brooklyn Nets(40-34) in the standings because they are only one-and-a-half games behind them. Who knows? Maybe the Wizards can catch the Toronto Raptors(43-32) and Chicago Bulls(43-32), who are tied for the third spot in the East.
Wizards fans are definitely excited for their team. Heck, many analysts and other NBA followers are ecstatic to see a new team emerge in the playoff picture! Let’s be honest. The East is pretty bad in terms of overall records this season but not many people expected the Wizards to make the playoffs. That’s what makes this team special. They are resilient and have triumphed over adversity. The Wizards deserve to be in the playoffs. They make a ton of highlight plays and have no problem getting dirty if they have to. This hard-nosed group of guys have turned the franchise around. The postseason mission was a success. Now, the question is whether or not the Wizards can get past the first round of the playoffs. The Wizards’ playoff experience will undoubtedly be an interesting one as it unfolds.