2016-17 Record: 49-33 (4th in East)
Players Added: Carrick Felix (FA), Tim Frazier (Trade with NOP), Jodie Meeks (FA), Devin Robinson (FA), Mike Scott (FA), Donald Sloan (FA), Michael Young (FA)
Players Lost: Bojan Bogdanovic (FA), Trey Burke (FA), Brandon Jennings (FA)
Projected Team MVP: John Wall
John Wall is very, very good at basketball. The former No. 1 pick “broke out” at the age of 26 a year ago, averaging 23.1 points, 10.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds in what was his best individual season as a professional. The 6’4 point guard isn’t a flawless player in that there are still real questions about his long-range shooting (32.7 percent from three a season ago) but Wall’s ability to facilitate and create for others at the point of attack is elite and he has improved vastly as an individual scorer.
On the defensive end, Wall sneakily wasn’t as good a season ago as he had been previously and much of that can likely be attributed to a massive offensive workload. Those defensive issues were on display when he allowed Atlanta’s Dennis Schröder free reign in a first round playoff series but, when engaged, Wall can be a game-changer given his length and burst and he actually averaged a career-best in steals (2.0 per game) last season.
Is there any reason to see Wall dropping off? Probably not, at least for this season. He just turned 27 years old and, while there is plenty of mileage on his body, Wall’s athletic gifts and feel for the game should be able to translate into off-the-charts production once again. There is no reason to doubt, especially after this offseason, he is one of the best players in the Eastern Conference today.