Witches are better, and so is the rest of the East

Many Washington Wizards came out of their long summer with a different look. Dini Avdija dyed his hair. Kristaps Porzingis has grown a beard. Although Bradley Bell still looks as young as he did 11 years ago when he started this journey, he now sports a father of three.

Wizards’ menu as a whole has a different look and feel as well.

There’s Monty Morris, who follows his childhood friend Kyle Kuzma to D.C. to provide Washington with a springboard. Will Barton, who came in the same trade from Denver as Morris, is here to get buckets as soon as he gets into the game. and Dillon Wright, ready to pick up his leg for 94 feet and raise the team’s defensive mojo.

In a way, the team of 11 returning players still looks different. And yes better.

After failing to make the playoffs last season – a year that started promising but ended with top players injured or sitting down, while new faces took their lumps – the Wizards have spent the summer reshaping the squad in specific ways.

They can all look around and see it. From team boss and general manager Tommy Sheppard and head coach Wes Unseld Jr to the players themselves, note how talent has improved – and just as important – the veteran presence has improved since a year ago.

“We were all brought here to win. To help Brad,” Porsings, who if you think about it, should count as the Wizards’ first acquisition of the summer, said on Friday’s media. Porsingis arrived in Washington after a deal on the trade deadline, but since he’s made 17 appearances, his game can only hint at the future.

“I think we’re trying to do the best job we can,” Porsingis said. “But I think we are moving in the right direction.”

Sure, the wizards spent all summer doing the right moves. that they a look deeper and better. The only problem: the Eastern Conference got better too.

Young teams that struggled to make play better now.

Atlanta Hawks All-star goalkeeper Dejounte Murray To pair up with all-star guard Trae Young. And in Cleveland, the rookie Cavaliers added more sportsmanship to the mix with Trade for Donovan Mitchell.

Veteran teams that haven’t lived up to the high expectations are also the best.

The Philadelphia 76ers solidified their rotation by signing PJ Tucker, at the same time weakening their opponent in the conference in Miami. And in spite of wreaking havoc on trade demand, Kevin Durant chose to return and fulfilling his contract in Brooklyn (for now), while keeping the Nets number one.

Despite the chaos in Boston, with coach Im Odoka Now serving 1 year suspension For breaking team rules, defending champion Celtics improved by adding goalkeeper Malcolm Brogdon. And even two non-playback teams a year ago—the New York Knicks got their big free agent Jalen Bronson, and the Detroit Pistons traded sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovich—moved the needle and improved.

So where does that leave the witches? In a familiar place where outside expectations remain muted. But DC’s core players see hidden potential, such as matching Beal, Porzingis, and Kuzma. They are arguably the top three players on the team, but they haven’t even played a small game together.

“It’s a waiting game because we didn’t see each other on the field either,” Kuzma said. “I love all the possibilities. Watching an open gym and imagining some line-ups, certain things. We are all interchangeable. We can all score clear goals, we are all ready to pass, we all know how to play the game of basketball. We are all… three special players.” and different.”

Likewise, Sheppard wants a wait-and-see approach to the bigger picture: whether these changes will produce more wins and a playoff appearance.

When asked in the pre-training press conference if he feels the 2022-23 Wizards are a playoff team, Sheppard responded with a two-and-a-half minute response. Talk about young players who have to prove themselves, veterans who brought their experience from winning programs and defensive concerns addressed. However, Sheppard’s main point focused on the simple concept of Night Improvement.

“Qualifying, for sure, that’s the goal. That’s everybody’s goal. I just want to see the improvement that we think is really happening,” Sheppard said. “We’ve seen it translate on the ground, and it only translates into wins. really no. So this will be a huge challenge for all of us to manage the expectations of this team, and see how they perform.”

The Wizards sure have a new look – Avdija with his blonde and blonde streaks and Porzingis is getting used to his facial hair. But the changes will be simply cosmetic if the team stops improving in the winning column.

“I go out and my main focus is winning games and trying to help this organization take on Larry [O’Brien trophy] one day. Bill said. “That’s my dream. I showed that I can score with the best of them, and I showed that I can be a star. I showed that I can be an NBA player. I tick almost every square, so I have to win now and win. So this is the last square.” Which I want to check and I’m going to check it out. So, that’s my main focus. That’s what I want to prove – that I can win.”

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