- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Washington Wizards go into the season projected to be anywhere from six games under .500 to one of the mid-level playoff seeds in the Eastern Conference. Here are three things to pay attention to as the season unfolds:

Beal’s playmaking

Much of what shooting guard Bradley Beal does has stayed the same through his first four seasons in the league. This year, new coach Scott Brooks has asked Beal to be more of a playmaker. He finished the preseason with a nine assist, zero turnover game. That’s not going to happen each night. But, Beal moving his assists from three to five per game, and his free throw attempts the same margin would have a significant impact on the Wizards.

What will Satoransky’s role be?

Rookie Tomas Satoransky can play point guard and shooting guard. He’s an interesting option behind John Wall and Beal, though it appears the Wizards are going to give Trey Burke and Marcus Thornton first shot at those spots. After waiting four years to bring Satoransky over from Spain, it seems odd they would shelve him to start the season.

Steps forward at the wing

Small forward Otto Porter’s first half of last season was not good. His second half was excellent. Which guy is he? Backup small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. finished last season with abysmal shooting percentages (42.7 from the field and 31.6 percent from behind the 3-point line). What has he added to his game in the offseason? He shot 3-pointers much better in the preseason. Can that translate to the regular season? Can either of these players defensively limit the league’s marquee names at this spot?

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