With Main Core Still Intact, Wizards Try To Take Next Step Forward In 2015-16


As one of the league’s best backcourts, John Wall and Bradley Beal have consistently kept the Washington Wizards in the conversation whenever the subject of the Eastern Conference’s best teams arises.

The 2015-16 season won’t be any different for Washington, which will also once more boast one of the NBA’s most bruising inside tandems in veteran big men Marcin Gortat (12 points, nine rebounds) and Nene Hilario (11 points, five rebounds). If the Wizards continue to get improved play from Otto Porter Jr. (10 points, eight rebounds, two assists), who broke out in a big way in last season’s playoffs, they could be poised to take the next step in their evolution.

Without question, fans will want to take part in what could be a very special season for the franchise. For those who reside outside our nation’s capital, cheap Washington DC flights can be had with Hipmunk.com, which carries a variety of options from most major airline carriers. In addition, Hipmunk also features affordable Washington DC hotel listings for fans desiring a basketball vacation built around Wizards basketball.

None of it will come easy for Washington, which opens the season on the road against upstart teams Orlando (Oct. 28) and Milwaukee (Oct. 30). The Wizards host the New York Knicks Halloween night in their home opener at the Verizon Center, before welcoming perennial Western Conference power San Antonio four nights later.  

In all, Washington will face seven teams that made the playoffs last season over the first full month of the upcoming campaign, and over one two-week stretch in early-November, go toe-to-toe with the Spurs, Hawks, Celtics and Bucks.

But with Wall (18 points, 10 assists, five rebounds) and Beal (15 points, four rebounds, three assists) leading the way, no task seems totally insurmountable. When healthy, the two easily rate as one of the league’s most dynamic duos and both seem poised for even bigger and better things this season.

Washington will need both to be clicking on all cylinders come a brutal four-game stretch just before Christmas, when they travel to New Orleans,  Dallas, Memphis and San Antonio. All four made the playoffs in the rugged Western Conference a year ago. In January, the Wizards play 11 of their 16 games at home, including hosting the Portland Trailblazers in a 2 p.m. matinee on Jan. 18 to mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

In all, NBAsavant.com estimates that the Wizards will travel some 40, 834 miles this season and many of those miles will be accumulated during the month of March, a time when they play 10 of their 16 games on the road, including tilts against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kobe Bryant and Los Angeles Lakers, and Stephen Curry and the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

Now, that’s some heavy lifting. But with Wall and Bradley, anything is possible.

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