-- As teams complete their seasons, ESPN Insider's NBA team will take a look at the offseason picture and priorities for all 30 teams. Below, Kevin Pelton offers a snapshot of the Washington Wizards.
2014-15 record: 46-36
Pythagorean record: 43-39
Offensive Rating: 101.8 (19)
Defensive Rating: 100.0 (5)
Own first-round pick (19th)
Own second-round pick (49th)
Projected cap space
Maximum: $0.1 million
Possibly the entire rotation. Four of Washington's five starters are under contract through 2015-16, along with sixth man Otto Porter.
The Wizards' backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal figures to be a fixture in the District for years to come. Wall, who won't turn 25 until September, was one of two NBA players to average double-figure assists ( Chris Paul was the other). The remaining four years of his contract extension, which will pay him $70 million, could make Wall one of the league's biggest bargains as the salary cap increases. Beal, who will turn 22 in June, failed to take a step forward after his breakthrough in the 2014 postseason, but again stepped up his game as Washington advanced to the second round.
Veteran big men Marcin Gortat and Néné give Wizards coach Randy Wittman two reliable options up front. Eventually, Wittman determined he was better off rotating Gortat and Nené after they start the game together, giving Washington more shooting on the court and keeping both players fresh.
After an up-and-down second NBA season, Porter was aggressive and consistent throughout the playoffs, shooting 40 percent from 3-point range. There was never any question about the talent of the No. 3 pick of the 2013 draft, and he too will turn 22 next month. In addition to Porter, the Wizards return reserves Ramon Sessions (acquired midseason to back up Wall), Kris Humphries, Martell Webster (who fell out of the rotation after back surgery) and little-used DeJuan Blair.
The biggest question mark among Washington's rotation is ageless small forward Paul Pierce, who has a player option for 2015-16 worth $5.5 million. After Pierce made countless big shots during the postseason, it's hard to see him leaving. "I feel like even if it's one year, two years, or three years I'm here, I feel like I'm going to have a relationship with these guys for a long, long time even after basketball," Pierce told CSNWashington.com. "It seems like we connect, and I connected with the city."
Reserve big men Drew Gooden and Kevin Seraphin are both unrestricted free agents. Gooden ascended to the top of the depth chart behind Gortat and Nené in the postseason, stretching the floor by making nearly half of his 3-point attempts. Seraphin was one of the players Gooden edged out of the rotation, and he might find a new home after five seasons with the Wizards.
Biggest need: Youth in the frontcourt
While Beal and Wall are still developing, Washington's youngest starter in the frontcourt is Gortat, who turned 31 during the season. And though Gortat will be around for the long term -- his five-year contract runs through 2018-19 -- Nené and Pierce will be free agents in 2016 at the latest. Porter figures to eventually move into a starting role, but the Wizards could use a younger big man with the potential to replace Nené down the road.
Biggest question: Which is the real Washington team?
The Wizards won 46 games in the regular season, the league's 12th-best total. And in terms of point differential, Washington (plus-0.7) ranked 14th. A very different Wizards team swept the higher-seeded Toronto Raptors and threw a scare at the East-leading Atlanta Hawks despite Wall's injury.
In particular, Washington improved its shot selection by taking more 3s and fewer long 2-pointers, partially because Wittman used Pierce at power forward in effective small-ball lineups that made room for Porter. The Wizards outscored opponents by 11.3 points per 100 possessions with both Pierce and Porter on the court in the postseason, per NBA.com/Stats. If the playoff performance is the starting point, Washington is a lot closer to competing in the East.
Pierce opts in for another season of torturing fans foolish enough to chant insults at him, and Gooden re-ups for one more year at the veteran's minimum. Essentially, the Wizards run it back, albeit with the addition of Arkansas forward Bobby Portis via the draft. That gives Washington another chance at a playoff run with this group while also maintaining flexibility for the summer of 2016, when the Wizards could have the ability to clear max cap space if they delay a new contract for Beal.