After starting off the season 2-8, the Washington Wizards have solidified themselves amongst the Eastern Conference’s elite. While the team has impressed overall, their starting to look a little sketchy, especially on the defensive end. In any event, the NBA Playoffs are right around the corner and the Wizards are looking to turn some heads.

Jake Weingarten from Bullets Forever joins Hoops Nation for a little preview for the playoffs, as well as answer some general questions about the team.

Q: How have the Wizards been able to make a comeback after starting the season off poorly?

Jake: Adjusting to a new system, some new players, and a new coach. New things take time; it’s a process and it’s one that Scott Brooks has developed into a top-4 team in the Eastern Conference.

Q: Who has been more surprising this year? Bradley Beal or Otto Porter Jr.?

Jake: Otto. We all knew that Brad is an excellent shooter and can definitely score — it’s just that the injury bug has interfered with his play. Otto improved in almost every stat; his points went up significantly and he had one stretch where he was #1 in three-point percentage.

Q: Where does this reformed Wizards bench rank among the top Eastern Conference playoff teams?

Jake: I’d say right behind the [Cleveland] Cavaliers. Bojan [Bogdanovic] has done well off the bench, and the two big men (Ian Mahinmi, Jason Smith) have improved over the last few weeks.

Q: Will the Wizards’ defense improve? Is it anything to be concerned about?

Jake: We need to hope for the best. I think it could improve over the next few games and heading into the playoffs. They need to find a way to keep up with the quicker players that they go against — if they can do that, the defense will be very successful.

Q: Can the Wizards really make it to the NBA Finals?

Jake: In this league, anything can happen. The Wizards can make the Finals 100 percent. They can get past the Cavs, [Boston] Celtics, and [Toronto] Raptors. I think it’s possible.

Should all go according to plan, the Wizards may find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals. They certainly have a solid team from top-to-bottom. In the past, the Wizards have proved they can perform at a high level in the postseason.

The Wizards will be led by John Wall and Bradley Beal. With a (finally) talented group, time will tell how serious this team actually is.

And before we forget…

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