Washington is not a franchise known for having a lot of success despite a rather deep and storied history. So when the Wizards enter each season, their definition of what counts as success can vary. On a grand scale, especially for a group like this, anything less of the Eastern Conference finals should be considered failure. However, in recent history some fans might just be happy to see Washington not fall flat on its face.

The Wizards were one win away last season from reaching the conference finals. They were also one shy from winning 50-regular season games. Both feats have not been achieved by this team since the 70's. At some point, though, the Wizards have to make a jump. Now that they've extended John Wall and locked him in until 2023 the standard has changed. Whether that's getting to the conference finals, or winning 50 games, they have to put themselves into the same conversation as the NBA's Elite.

New expectations

Washington comes into this season with its highest expectations in years. The East is weak, the Wizards have continuity and they were incredibly close to meeting the Cavs last season for a trip to the Finals. Their core is strong with a team built around Wall and Bradley Beal. They have great complementary pieces next to them like Markieff Morris and the always underappreciated Marcin Gortat.

With the Cavaliers and Celtics changing their rosters around, and the Raptors trying out a new offense, the Wizards have never been in a better situation to take the East. With a returning core and improving young guys such as Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre, the Wizards have a great opportunity to raise their ceiling. That ceiling might be where the Wizards' expectations sit at. They don't have to go out and win the East, but if they aren't among the teams battling for the top seed, will that be good enough?

Wall and Beal

If the Wizards are going to contend to win the East, that means they'll need a lot of out of Wall and Beal. They are the Wizards' most important players, not only in talent, but statistically. Everybody remembers last year's playoffs and how outmatched Washington looked whenever Wall and Beal sat together. The Wizards' bench was abysmal.

Washington's stars can play amazing, but without a strong bench, the Wizards simply won't go far without help. Last year, they sorely lacked that help. Last season, Washington scored 112.9 points per 100 possessions when Beal and Wall shared the court. However, take them off the floor and that plummeted to 101.2 points per 100, per NBAwowy. The Wizards didn't just rely on Beal and Wall. They needed them.

When stars are needed for a team to succeed it creates this weird black hole effect where nobody can win. Wall and Beal need the bench, because they can't possibly play more than 48 minutes a night. Anytime they slip up it's felt across the entire team. Such as Wall's Game 7 disappearing act in the conference semis. When he needed help the most he didn't get it.

The bench

So what have the Wizards done to shore up their shoddy bench? They addressed a major issue at the guard spot by signing rotation-level players like Jodie Meeks and Tim Frazier. Meeks is one of the NBA's best shooters when healthy, while Frazier proved himself to be a capable guard in New Orleans last season. The guard position was easily where Washington was at its weakest depth-wise. 

They have some quality players like Jason Smith, and if Ian Mahinmi can stay healthy, the Wizards will have four players they can expect to at least be decent. Head coach Scott Brooks will still need to stagger in starters with the bench to avoid it falling out like it did last year, but the real key will be finding ways to not collapse on themselves when Wall and Beal sit. 

The core

Wall and Beal are the stars, but the core around them is actually the most intriguing part of the Wizards. Morris proved himself to be vital to their success during the playoffs last season. He brings a toughness to them along with versatility on defense that lets them do all kinds of neat stuff.

Gortat might be the most underappreciated center in the NBA. Not enough people realize just how good this guy truly is. He's solid offensively, but his ability to recover in the pick and roll and contested shots makes him the exact type of center modern NBA teams want.

Oubre and Porter are both young wings that at some point the Wizards might choose to cash in on as trade assets. For now, though, they've provided some good versatility on the wing. Oubre still has room to grow, and at 21 years old, he has nothing but potential. That potential could play an important factor in how Washington approaches the future regarding Porter.

Porter had a breakout season last season which means, depending on where the Wizards stand later in the season, he might be their best trade asset. He shot 43 percent from 3-point range and the Wizards had a positive net rating with him on the floor. He has the potential to be their third star behind Wall and Beal, but he might be Washington's best bet at improving the roster without going through free agency. All of this depends on where the team is sitting around the trade deadline in February.

It's all about competing

It wouldn't be surprising to see the Wizards trade some of their assets for a player like DeAndre Jordan or Wilson Chandler. That would mean Washington's core is far from safe from changes. It would be different if the numbers without Beal and Wall weren't so one-sided, but if Washington feels a move is necessary in order to be more competitive with Cleveland, Boston or Toronto, then that call isn't out of the realm of possibility. 

Last offseason was proof that winning teams take risks, and the Wizards might have to do the same. They have to put themselves in a tier with the East's best teams, and if they find themselves once again in the middle of the pack, then their season can't be considered a success. 

It's time for Washington to take that next step. It's spent enough time building, enough time falling short of expectations. The current state of the East means that the Wizards should be a contender and they're ready for it. They just have to reach it.