nate33 wrote:Orlando has lost 5 in a row and 7 of their last 8. They are struggling with Isaac out of the lineup and he'll be out until mid-March.
And the Nets are 5-14 in their last 19 games, having only beaten the Bulls (no Markkanen or Carter), Pistons (x2 - No Griffin, Jackson or Kennard in either game), Hawks (no Trae), with one surprise win against the Heat. They've been in an absolute tailspin for a while now and if they don't be the Suns or Warriors in their next two games, they run into the Raptors, Pacers and then Raptors again before the allstar break. They've actually got a pretty tough schedule to end the season with some of their easier games being against the Wizards. If the Wizards can pull those games out, it really would put the Nets in a really tough spot.
I don't think it's likely that the Wizards make the playoffs but it's certainly possible. After the top 6 who are all on pace for 51 wins or better, the rest of the conference is an absolute mess. I wouldn't be totally surprised to see the 7th and 8th seed both below 35 wins. The Nets and Magic are only on pace for 36 and 35 wins at present anyway.
What the Wizards have going for them is they've established a relatively deep rotation where one player isn't necessarily inherently more valuable than another. If Beal were to get hurt, it'd be game over, but for as long as he can stay healthy, they can really suffer an injury or two here and there with depth of Bonga, Brown, Rui, Bertans, McCrae, Ish, Payton, Thomas (yes, him too), Matthews, Bryant, Mahinmi, Wagner and Pasecniks. If one guy is hurt, the other guys jump in and you don't notice that much of a dropoff because none of them have really separated themselves from the pack and they're being competitive by having a large pack that doesn't quit and doesn't really drop off too bad no matter who is playing. It's not totally unlike what the Nets did last season, honestly, with a decent system and a swarm of players they just kept rolling out.