- The Wizards now have +450 odds to make the NBA Playoffs
- Current 8-seed Orlando has lost 8 of their last 10, opening Washington’s window
- Bradley Beal has heated up after his snub from the All-Star Game
Despite their 18-33 record as the NBA reaches the All-Star break, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards have just +450 odds to make the playoffs.
They have a chance to catch faltering squads in the seventh and eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference, and the NBA Playoff odds suggest there’s a chance we could see postseason basketball in the nation’s capital.
Eastern Conference Odds to Make NBA Playoffs
|Team||Odds to Make Playoffs||Odds to Miss|
|New York Knicks||+3300||-10000|
Odds taken Feb 10th
Washington started the season with just +600 odds to get into the playoff field, and at 18-33, their performance has followed suit. However, with recent struggles from the seventh and eighth seeds, the Wizards’ window to make the playoffs is now a bit more open than most initially thought.
Orlando, especially, has been trending downwards. In the last ten games, the Magic have lost eight of them. The Nets have gone .500 in the same period, meaning the bar for a Wizards playoff berth hasn’t been raised at all in the last couple of weeks.
Wizards Have to Start Winning
While Orlando and Brooklyn have given up ground, Washington could do so much more in closing the gap. Their record is obviously sub par at 18-33, and they’ve dropped some very winnable games. One of those games came Sunday, where despite leading for almost the entirety of the first three quarters, they were outscored 26-14 in the fourth quarter as they fell to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Two young, up-and-coming players that should be key for Washington are Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura. They each had a huge December, with Bertans averaging 19.4 points per game and Hachimura averaging 17.3. January, however, saw a regression. Hachimura was out with an injury for a large chunk of the month, and Bertans saw his output drop to only 13.8 points per game.
Hachimura is back, and Bertans is off to a better February start, so there should be some more contribution coming from players not named Bradley Beal in the coming weeks.
Beal Fired Up After All-Star Snub
Bradley Beal is one of the most underrated players in the league, and a big part of that is the fact that he plays for a team that has been so bad in the last couple of seasons. He’s having another strong year, averaging 29.1 points and 6.3 assists per game this season.
However, after he was snubbed from the NBA All-Star Game, he’s gotten even better. Through the beginning of February, he’s putting up 33 points per game, and it’s obvious that his emotional reaction to the snub has translated onto the court. Only two players are averaging over 30 points per game this season, so while it’s just a 10-day sample size for Beal, it shows how much of an impact he’s having at the moment.
Can the Wiz Sneak In?
With around 30 games left in the season, every night is so important for these teams fighting for a playoff spot.
Fortunately for Washington, they’ll get to enter and exit the All-Star break on a winning note. Chicago and New York are the two teams left between Washington and All-Star weekend, and Cleveland is the team that Washington will begin the second half of the season against.
That will be a common thread for Beal and company, because they play in the NBA’s worst division. That means they’ll play several games down the stretch against Atlanta, Charlotte, and Orlando. Miami is the lone divisional opponent that is significantly better than Washington.
The team that Washington is eyeing to catch is Orlando, and they’re on track to do so. 72% of Magic victories came before Christmas Day. That stands in contrast to just 50% for Washington. The Wizards have been the far more consistent team, and with Orlando continuing to free fall, the Wizards have a great shot at that eighth seed.
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