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All NBA fans are surely eager to watch their teams back in action as the league returns from the COVID-19 hiatus. For Wizards fans, this return is another way to analyze the future of the team and evaluate young talent.

Here are some specific things for Wizards’ fans to watch for as we see them return to the floor starting July 31st.

In the absence of superstar and primary scorer Bradley Beal, it should be interesting to see who takes the reigns as the leader of the offense. Will it be the veteran presence of guard Ish Smith? Or the rookie Forward Rui Hachimura? Someone else?

Since Washington’s release of Isaiah Thomas, Ish Smith (undersized, though speedy point guard) has done a nice job contributing offensively and providing a spark getting to the basket, averaging 10.5 PPG. Rui Hachimura is also a relentless rebounder and has good finishing ability inside and from mid-range, shooting 47.8% FG on the year. 

Jordan McRae, after developing with Washington’s G League team in the early stages of his career, has also provided decent scoring off the bench. Keep an eye out for who steps up to lead the team offensively without Beal.

In a rebuilding stage for the Wizards in which they are not title contenders, one persisting challenge for the young squad has been to find their identity. With young rookies, former G-league players, and veteran free agents being thrown together onto a lackluster Wizards team, Wizards fans are yet to see much team chemistry or consistent play.

So, who will be the leading force to bring the team together and compete in games down the stretch? One player whose energy levels have impressed throughout his young career is Thomas Bryant. Despite what has seemed to be an uninspired team, Bryant has brought defensive intensity and infectious energy to the table which can light up a stadium and galvanize a whole team.

It should be interesting to see who will rise as a leader to make their presence felt and establish themself as a future piece in Washington’s franchise.

Though Washington may not be a title contender at the moment, this season is a part of a longer rebuilding stage which hopefully can lead the team to success in future years. So, as basketball returns soon, look out for players who could be a solid part of the Wizards basketball organization for years to come.


Image: USA Today