A more realistic goal would be to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, win their first-round series and put up a decent fight against one of those top three teams. What would a "decent fight" entail? I'm not sure, but I think it's safe to say it would be a better performance than what Atlanta gave against Cleveland in the second round of the playoffs last year. The Wizards could then more easily justify another round of going over the luxury tax, which would include re-signing Haywood, Miller and maybe Foye while making a talent upgrade.
Is it possible Gilbert Arenas comes back a better, more complete player than before? Is it possible Caron Butler solidifies himself as an All-Star, proving to be more than a second fiddle? Is it possible Antawn Jamison maintains his workman-like consistency? Is it possible Brendan Haywood shows the world he’s a top ten NBA center? Is it possible a deep and diverse supporting cast comes together under the leadership of Flip Saunders? Whether you think all of these improbabilities can magically come together with a dash of wizardry is possible or not doesn’t matter. It only matters that those in the locker room believe.
Back when Tony Kornheiser was a writer for the Washington Post, and the Washington Wizards were still the "Bullets", he coined the phrase, "Curse of Lez Boulez". No matter how much success the Bullets seemed to have, bad coaching, bad play or injuries would invariably have them off to a 9-20 start by December, and the curse was in full effect. A new team name, several playoff appearances, and a several coaches later, that curse still hovers over the team like the Balloon Boy–and it hovers in the form of injuries