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Wes Unseld Jr. deserves a front-and-center spot in the early-season Coach of the Year discussion. He has the Washington Wizards playing like a defensive powerhouse.
They are fourth in points allowed per possession and first in opponent effective field-goal percentage. Arch nemeses won't continue to shoot sub-32 percent from behind the rainbow, and the Wizards are 24th in foul rate yet force turnovers at the league's lowest rate. They have also gorged on below-.500 opponents.
But their defensive success does not forecast completely fly-by-night. They get back in transition and have a handful of pesky positional defenders. Raul Neto still wears other players' skin, and going from Russell Westbrook to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Kuzma on the perimeter is a demonstrative upgrade.
Deni Avdija is making plays up and down the positional spectrum. His defense is suffocating, both on and off the ball. Among 150-plus players standing under 6'10" who have logged more than 300 minutes, his block rate ranks seventh. Washington's entire defense has generally held up versus top-10 offenses.
The Wizards' own offense leaves much to be desired. Bradley Beal hasn't yet hit his stride, and Kuzma is the lone player shooting better than 32 percent on above-the-break threes. Davis Bertans looked broken before suffering an ankle injury. Strong finishing at the rim, led by Montrezl Harrell, has propped up the team's overall efficiency.
Washington has exceeded expectations in the aggregate. Its staying power just remains in question.
Source : https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2950518-early-season-report-card-grades-for-every-nba-team429