- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 3, 2017

With two-and-a-half months to go before the tip-off of the 2017-18 NBA season, ESPN staff writer Kevin Pelton has released his projections for the upcoming campaign, predicting the Washington Wizards to finish as the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

Using the advanced metric real plus-minus (RPM), Pelton projects the Wizards to win 47.5 games, less than last season but good enough to propel them into the top three in the East.

“The Wizards bring back largely the same roster — they’re fifth in the percentage of projected minutes played by returning players — so it’s no surprise that Washington is expected to finish in largely the same spot as last season, when it went 49-33,” Peltonwrote Thursday.

With 49.4 and 49.2 wins, respectively, the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers are projected to finish as the East’s top two teams once again. It should be noted, however, Pelton’s projections  assume Kyrie Irving will be on Cleveland’s roster — no guarantee after the star point guard requested a trade last month.

After signing John Wall and Otto Porter Jr. to long-term contracts and fortifying their bench depth this summer, the Wizards look poised for another strong season, possibly even competing for the top seed in the weakened East.

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