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: 54-28, 1st in Southeast Division and No. 2 overall seed in East; advanced to the NBA Finals before losing to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.
Season series vs. Wizards: Tied 2-2, including a 17-point win for the Wizards at Verizon Center for their first signature win vs. an elite team.
Key losses: SF LeBron James, SF Shane Battier, SF/PF Rashard Lewis, SG Ray Allen, SF James Jones, PF Michael Beasley, C Greg Oden.
Key additions: PF Josh McRoberts, SF Danny Granger, PF Luol Deng, PG Shabazz Napier, SF James Ennis.
Outlook: The turnover has been significant, starting with James, but bringing Deng aboard and retaining PF/C Chris Bosh still makes for a talented core if Dwyane Wade can rebound from a terrible finish in the postseason in which he looked aged. The Heat have gotten younger and more versatile but the play of PG Mario Chalmers will be the linchpin. He came under fire for his play, and correctly so, and appeared to be on his way out as an unrestricted free agent. But Napier has been less than impressive, prompting Miami to re-sign Chalmers. Coach Erik Spoelstra no longer has James to handle PG duties when in a pinch, and if the Heat underachieve this will be the reason why. A solid team, yes. Not a championship team.
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