The Washington Wizards have punched their ticket into the postseason. They now have the unenviable task of trying to stop Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

The Wizards have a non-zero chance of winning this series against the Sixers. But obviously that figure is realistically a lot closer to zero than even die-hard fans like myself would want to admit.

Wizard vs. Sixers: 2 Major Adjustments for D.C.

For Washington to have any shot at upsetting the top seed in the East, they'll need to clean up two crucial lineup mistakes they've been making as of late.

1. Free Daniel Gafford

The Wizards turned their season around just in time to sneak into the postseason picture. Most would credit Russell Westbrook's rise in the second half of the season, and for good reason. Russ went from high-usage enigma earlier in the season to team mitochondria powering the Wiz with a triple-double every other night.

But the Wizards' resurgence also coincided with the addition of big man Daniel Gafford, who came along with Chandler Hutchison via trade with the Chicago Bulls. Washington was reeling from the ACL tear suffered by starting center Thomas Bryant up until the trade.

Gafford has formed an instant chemistry with Russell Westbrook, who's no stranger when it comes to building up his center. Brodie had a near-telepathic connection with former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Steven Adams back during his prime years. The second-year man came up big for the Wizards in their do-or-die matchup against the Indiana Pacers, posting a monster line of 15 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks in just 22 minutes of action.

Gafford has shown flashes of high-level center play and has been a positive influence on the scoreboard all season.

Going up against Joel Embiid, the Wizards are going to lose the center matchup no matter what. It's just a matter of limiting the damage and being able to scrape production out of that spot. Scott Brooks has often gone to Alex Len way more than he should. Gafford meanwhile has been limited to just 17.7 minutes of action in his 23 regular-season games with Washington.

Gafford spoke out about the upcoming matchup with Sixers star Joel Embiid, via The Athletic's Fred Katz.

“He’s gonna talk a lot of trash. That’s for sure. But Joel Embiid is one of the best bigs in this league, and we can’t come out thinking he’s gonna take it easy on us…He’s gonna come out and play.”

Freeing Daniel Gafford entirely and playing him a ton could backfire, but the Wizards certainly need to take the gamble if they want to scare the Sixers in any way.

2. Shorten the leash on Davis Bertans

Davis Bertans has been the biggest boom-or-bust player the Wizards have had this season. On a team with Russell Westbrook on their roster, that's saying something. At least with Westbrook you're anticipating the good with the bad, as his hyper-aggressive style of play works at times and backfires during others.

But Bertans has been the definition of hot or cold throughout the year. There have been games when he single-handedly swings the result because of his red-hot shooting. He shoots 7.5 3-pointers per contest on a stellar 39.5% from deep. But when he's not shooting well, he basically contributes nothing to the Wizards' chances.

If anything, he becomes a massive burden when his shot isn't falling. His defense is absolutely horrid, especially when going up against dynamic wing scorers. We saw what happened during the Wizards' first play-in tournament game against the Boston Celtics. Jayson Tatum ate Bertans alive over and over during his 50-point night, and Scott Brooks just let it happen. Just peep how many times in the second half Bertans gets cooked and you'll get what I mean.

It was especially egregious considering that Bertans was ice-cold during that game. He played 33 minutes for the Wizards, the only player aside from Bradley Beal or Russell Westbrook to play over 27. His final line during that game? Four points, one field goal made, 0-for-7 from 3-point land, and getting blown by on defense a hundred times, give or take.

The Wizards must be able to deploy Bertans accordingly. His value as a shooter is clearly still immense. Being able to space the floor for their backcourt weapons in Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook is a must. But if his shot isn't falling, having him defend the pick-and-roll involving any of their dynamic offensive weapons in Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, or Tobias Harris is simply not ideal.

The Washington Wizards need to push all the right buttons if they want to take down the Sixers. Game 1 is on Sunday.