After having high expectations coming into the season, the Washington Wizards failed to live up to them as their campaign came to an end with a first-round playoff exit.
The Toronto Raptors eventually overcame a resilient effort by the Wizards to claim a 102-92 win in the nation’s capital and wrap up the series in six games to advance to the second round.
Prior to the start of the year, John Wall admitted that having lost out to the Boston Celtics in game seven of round two last season, their aim was to go one step further this time around and at least reach the Eastern Conference finals.
However, they fell way short of that target and paid the price for a disappointing eighth-placed finish in the east, which led to a matchup with the Raptors.
But despite the elimination, Wall believes Washington has the foundations of a good team and expects himself and Bradley Beal to continue improving together.
The All-Star, however, also believes the front office must do a good job of surrounding the backcourt duo with the right pieces in the offseason.
“I think we have an opportunity this summer to try to make our team better,” said Wall, per ESPN.
“Being in the situation before where we fall short in certain situations, most importantly, me and Brad just keep getting better and improving our game and improving our conditioning and all the types of things that we can prepare ourselves for a long season.
“And then it is up to our front office to add the pieces that they think we need to make our team better, more complete.”
Outside of the star tandem, the Wizards had little scoring from others on the team and it proved to be the decisive factor as Toronto got great production from their bench unit throughout the series.
Beal couldn’t hide his disappoint at suffering his first opening-round exit and admitted that they hadn’t reached the high standards they’d set for themselves.
“We haven’t been knocked out of the first round [before] — I am a little bothered by that. We are a better team than that,” he said. “We have high expectations coming into the year and we fell short of them.”
It will be an interesting summer ahead for Washington as the onus will be on the top brass to make some moves in the summer.
But with Wall, Beal and Otto Porter Jr. locked into huge long-term contracts, they have little cap space to work with to pursue any top free agents and could struggle to make significant moves unless they potentially choose to trade one of that trio.
Something clearly has to change in order for them to take that next step so there’ll be big decisions ahead for the franchise.
Listen HERE to the first episode of the new GiveMeSport NBA podcast, featuring former Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin.
Enjoy, and please subscribe for all future episodes.