Wizards stronger than least of the East

Wizards stronger than least of the East
April 30, 2013, 4:00 pm
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This is the second of a two-part series on the Wizards' outlook in the East. There are about eight teams that they have a chance of besting for one of two playoff spots that are expected to be up for grabs in the 2013-14 season.

Sunday, it was assessing how they'd stack up vs. the Celtics, 76ers, Bucks and Raptors. Today, it's the other four teams that the Wizards will have to compete with to end a five-year playoff drought:

Detroit Pistons (29-53) 

Head-to-head: Pistons won 4-0.

Trending: Downward. The Pistons are going through turnover again with the firing of coach Lawrence Frank. Jose Calderon, Jason Maxiell, Corey Maggette and Will Bynum are free agents. Rodney Stuckey has an non-guaranteed  year at $8.5 million. 

Wizards chances: Very strong.  Moves the Pistons have made in recent years, including the hiring of Frank, point to lack of direction. 

Cleveland Cavaliers (24-58)

Head-to-head: Cavs won 3-0.

Trending: Upward. Mike Brown has returned as coach and PG Kyrie Irving and PF Anderson Varejao will have to be healthy. Will be active in the off-season. Daniel Gibson and Luke Walton become free agents, Mo Speights has a player option at $4.5 million for next season and C.J. Miles is non-guaranteed at $2.2 million.

Wizards chances: Very strong. Wizards finished with more wins and were even more decimated by injuries. Under Brown, the Cavs will be better defensively but there are too many question marks about the roster. They're about one year behind Wizards' pace of rebuilding but have the draft pick. 

 

Charlotte Bobcats (21-61)

Head-to-head: Bobcats won 3-1.

Trending: Downward. This franchise has no direction or identity and is in such disarray it is light years away from being on the upswing. Josh McRoberts, DeSagana Diop, Reggie Williams and Jannero Pargo become free agents.

Wizards chances: Even though Washington has struggled overall, it has been good enough to be better than the Bobcats. That may not be saying much, but it makes the path easier. 

 

Orlando Magic (20-62)  

Head-to-head: Tied 2-2

Trending: Downward. Four players, Kyle O'Quinn, Hedo Turkoglu, E'Twaun Moore and Al Harrington, are going into non-guaranteed seasons.  Beno Udrih becomes a free agent. 

Wizards chances: Very good. The Magic are still trying to regroup after losing C Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers, and it'll be a while before they're able to bounce back. Stability gives Wizards an edge.