I like the Wizards in 6. It’s a hopeful prediction, yes. It’s also doable if the following happens.
1. Wall plays fast. John Wooden’s famous adage “be quick but don’t hurry” doesn’t apply here. Wall is more fast than quick and fast is where he and the team excel. Up-tempo is where he thrives and part of Wall’s up-tempo is at times out of control. That out of control leads to crazy shot attempts at times and turnovers too but the Wall good-to-bad ratio when he’s up-tempo is 2.5 to 1. I’ll take that because the alternative of walking the ball up court is a 2 to 1 ratio the wrong way. And as far as that saying about the playoffs being a half court game, tell the Lakers of the 80’s that. The Wizards are poor offensively in the half court. They should avoid playing that way as much as possible.
2. Beal averages 20+. His shot attempts are something to watch in this series. Of course shooting a solid percentage is big too but he can’t pass on open shots no matter how early in the possession it is. He must be aggressive shooting the ball in this series. I want 16+ shot attempts a game with at least 4+ three-point attempts per game.
3. Limit the turnovers. Too many turnovers in this series spell doom. Toronto is going to score. The Wizards can’t give up 12+ possessions without a shot attempt. Even worse, turnovers against the Raptors will turn into scores on the other end. Many of those scores being threes.
4. Wittman figures things out. Despite all you’ve heard or you will hear from so-called experts about this series, nobody really knows what Wizards lineups will work best. Is going small (Gooden or Pierce at PF) to match small the more favorable matchup or is going big (Gortat & Nene) against small and pounding the Raptors on the glass the best way to go. When Toronto goes Lowry, DeRozan, and Williams….do the Wizards match that with Sessions and Wall in the game at the same time? How much does Porter play. Does Pierce take the big shots late in games. Lots of questions about the best way for them to go. Bottom line, a lot of this will be figured out once it starts and Wittman needs to have a keen sense of what works for his team and each night might be different. The answers right now are far from obvious.