Keeler: Wizards primed for big run in playoffs

The Washington Wizards host their first playoff game tonight, and it certainly won’t be their last.

The Wizards have a chance to make a big impact on the playoffs.

This is the first time the Wizards have made the playoffs since the 2007-08 season. I truly think the Wizards have a chance to go far in the playoffs this year.

It seems like every year there’s a surprise team that makes a run in the playoffs, and I think this year that could easily be the Wizards.

Even though I have the NBA package with DirecTV, I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t watched a lot of the Wizards this season. But I finally got a chance to watch a little more of them in the playoffs, and I have been impressed.

They are currently up 2-0 on the Chicago Bulls, and with the home crowd behind them I wouldn’t be surprised to see them sweep the Bulls.

Like most people who haven’t watched much of the Wizards, I thought they were basically just John Wall and Bradley Beal. However, the Wizards have plenty of other talented players, including some with playoff experience. I think that is a big key.

Nene has been big for them all season, and continues to be. When he comes out of the game, Trevor Booker has done a good job inside the paint. Marcin Gortat has also been a force inside for the Wizards.

Trevor Ariza and Andre Miller have also given the Wizards a big lift, and both have valuable playoff experience.

I think it’s important to have some solid veterans who can help out the exciting young tandem of Wall and Beal.

One thing that’s been clear in the playoffs so far, is that it’s going to be wide-open — to some extent. The top-seeded Indiana Pacers have struggled and I think anyone can beat them in a best-of-7 series right now. I still think they will get past Atlanta in the first round, but I think either Chicago or Washington could beat them in the next round.

The Wizards haven’t been in the conference semifinals since 2004-05. They beat the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs that year as well, before being swept by the Miami Heat.

There’s no doubt in my mind the Wizards are capable of getting to the conference finals this year, and they could go even further than that. After all, Washington has done well against the Miami Heat this season. Granted, the playoffs are a different beast, but you never know. They went 2-2 against Miami this season, winning the two games by an average of 19 points.

The Wizards showed in Game 2 against the Bulls that they have a lot of heart, pulling out a tough overtime game.

Wall and Beal are key pieces to a team that could be ready to not only make a huge run this season but in future years as well.

I think the Wizards can build off of any kind of success they have in the postseason this year.

I truly believe the future is very bright for the Wizards, probably the brightest since the 1970s, when they were the Bullets.

The D.C. teams have struggled for a while now, and I hope the fans and the city enjoys the playoffs this season. Hopefully, the atmosphere will be electric tonight at the Verizon Center.

I think this could be the beginning of something very special.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd