This is a series to look at how the Wizards stack up against their opponents in the East, where they finished 44-38 last season for a No. 5 playoff seed and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Today:
2013-14 finish: 33-49, 3rd in Central Division
Season series vs. Wizards: Split 2-2 in the regular season.
Key losses: F Luol Deng, C Spencer Hawes, G C.J. Miles, G Jarrett Jack, C Tyler Zeller, G Carrick Felix, F Alonzo Gee, G Scotty Hopson, F Sergey Karasev,
Key additions: F LeBron James, F Mike Miller, F James Jones, F Andrew Wiggins, F Joe Harris, F Dwight Powell, C Brendan Haywood, G John Lucas III, F Erik Murphy, F Malcolm Thomas, coach David Blatt
Outlook: Look at all those moves and then note the Cavaliers are not officially done yet. The Kevin Love trade for Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a 2015 first round pick is expected to be finalized later this week. At that point, we can officially rank Cleveland as the team to beat in the East. Oh, yeah, Shawn Marion reportedly agreed to join forces as well. That's a lot of pieces to organize and a job left to first-year NBA coach David Blatt, who by all accounts will be up to the challenge. Love is a double-double machine and the frontcourt is deeper, but lacks a rim protector and needs Anderson Varejao to remain in one piece. The top two returning players, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters face new roles. Irving, the 2013 All-Star Game MVP, will play more off the ball while the uber-confident Waiters must handle the reality of being the fourth option on most plays. All of that is interesting and yet a non-factor in the minds of the masses. LeBron James can do no wrong, so the narrative goes. Hey, we are talking about a four-time MVP and two-time NBA champion after all. If Ohio's favorite son (he is again, right?) brings a title to this championship-starved state, there will be no better story in sports. Whether James can help organize the Cavs into a cohesive, title-winning team in Year 1 of his second stint with the organization is the ultimate question.