Join me as I count down my predictions of the regular season finishes for the 2012-13 NBA season, at a rate of three teams per day. Tell me why I’m wrong in the comments.

24. Washington Wizards
The Wizards have overhauled their roster in an attempt to build around John Wall, but going into his third NBA season, it remains to be seen if Wall is a legitimate franchise player. His mid-range and perimeter shooting have been abominable thus far, and his defense has not lived up to the expectations created by his otherworldly athleticism — according to, the Wizards gave up over 6 points more per 100 possessions when he was on the court compared to when he was on the bench. We’re going to have to wait a while to see if he’s going to make the necessary improvements in these areas because he’s expected to miss the first month of this season recovering from a knee injury.

Wall’s ceiling is not even close to the most questionable aspect of the Wizards going into this season. With a 118-238 record and a ..331 winning percentage spanning three different teams, head coach Randy Wittman has the worst winning percentage in NBA history among coaches with at least 350 games at the helm. The fact that he’s been empowered to try to turn Wall into an All-Star shows the lack of imagination prevalent in the management groups of too many teams.

23. Portland Trail Blazers
I’m not really sure what Blazers management saw in Terry Stotts and his 115-168 career pro record that led them to give him a third chance to prove that he can be a successful NBA coach, but here we are. Early reports indicate that Stotts plans to go young and athletic with this squad, with J.J. Hickson starting as an undersized center and rookie guard Damian Lillard likely to start. It’s a fan-friendly approach but it’s not likely to be a strategy that propels the Blazers into the playoffs.

The Blazers in their current iteration kind of remind me of my Raptors when they were led by Chris Bosh. Like Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge is a very good player, a fringe All-Star that any team would be happy to have. But if he’s your best player and there’s a significant gap between him and your second best player, you’re probably not going to finish above .500.

22. Milwaukee Bucks
Every season, people wonder if a backcourt of Monta Ellis and (fill in the blank) can work. The question used to focus on Ellis and Stephen Curry, and now it’s about Ellis and Brandon Jennings. The Bucks had a fairly impressive 12-9 record last season when Ellis and Jennings played together, but only one of those wins came against a team that finished with a winning record.

In trading Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson for Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown (the latter of whom is no longer a Buck), Milwaukee sacrificed defense for offensive firepower. They’ll be a more exciting team to watch, but I don’t expect them to make the playoffs unless Jennings can start performing at an All-Star level. Considering that he’s improved gradually every season and he’s still only 23 years old, it’s within the realm of possibility that he could elevate himself and the Bucks into the post-season.

Previously in the countdown: 30-28 | 27-25

Next in the countdown: 21-19

Comments (13)

  1. I’m interested to see how the Bucks team turns out. They’re built to let their scoring guards generate all the offense and have balanced that with limited offense, defensive big men (Dalembert, Udoh, Henson, Moute).

    • I think the Bucks will greatly out preform this ranking. Also, I think people will be surprised by the offensive game that John Henson can bring, but I just don’t see him averaging anymore then 20 minutes a game at best considering he’s a rookie and the depth they have in the front court. Not-to-mention, if they want to put more offense on the floor verses defense they can go Jennings at the 1, Ellis at the 2, Dunleavy/Harris at the 3, Ilyasova at the 4, and Gooden at the 5. If they want to go very defensive they can go either Jennings/Ellis at the 1, with Daniels at the 2, Moute at the 3, Sanders/Henson at the 4, Dalembert at the 5.

      • I believe they could fight it out for an 8 seed.

      • Three questions I have about the Bucks:

        1. How much did they improve their roster this off-season compared to the other teams in the 8th to 12th seeds in the East (Philly, Detroit, Toronto, Brooklyn)?

        2. Can Ilyasova sustain his crazy shooting and rebounding numbers from last season or is he likely to regress somewhat?

        3. Can Jennings develop into a borderline All-Star PG?

  2. Good call on the trailblazers-raptors comparison, though you could be slightly underestimating their supporting cast. Are they a playoff team? Not likely, though I do think 23 is a bit too low. Im surprised the hornets haven’t made an appearance yet.

  3. I agree, though I also agree with the article in that they should have hired a better coach.

  4. What’s even more surprising with Wittman remaining on the bench as head coach is nearly all his gigs came from being assistant and having the head coach resign. Not saying he had something to do with it. He’s even been credited doing a good job on the transition until the next year, where a new coach came in.

    What’s surprising is that I remember in a D. Aldridge (TNT-NBA.Com) article him saying he didn’t want the main gig and prefers being asssitant. Maybe he changed his mind since…

  5. Never liked what the Bucks got. I understand they needed scoring but Monta will put up numbers w/o playing any D…as usual. I like Lillard alot and Meyers leonard is intriguing to me. If Wall can learn to shoot and play some D the Wizards will improve.

  6. I think harris, Udoh, Hensen, dalembert and Lamb will get a lot of opportunities because in the bucks need young athletic players to complement the dynamic style of jennings and ellis. The bucks will win some games though. the 2 guards and illyasova and udon alone are enough to win 30 games.

  7. Raptors probably should have been in this batch. Love the optimism though.

  8. Man the trailblazers are better then the raptors, they also have more impact players. The raptors may have a chance at a playoff spot because they are in the east, but the blazers would be lock for 6th in the east.

  9. You’re seriously judging a coach on his win loss record. That’s completely ridiculous in the NBA, ignores his situation

  10. I can’t help but feel like yall are working OT to get a reaction “LA is fringe all–star” ??? I couldn’t care less about the Blazers (cept ADMO Bang Head), but come on. Dude is legit.

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