The Washington Wizards have yet to win a game this season. Sitting at 0-5 one has to wonder when this team will finally catch a break and win one of these close games. To be fair the 0-5 record is misleading; this team isn’t hapless, they’re not a lost group of underachievers like the past Wizards teams, these guys play hard. Head Coach Randy Wittman, considered a stop-gap option for the franchise in a rebuilding year, has done something that none of his predecessors could accomplish: he’s gotten these guy’s to compete on defense.
Through their first five games the Wiz have lost by 10 (twice, Cavs and Bucks), 6 (in OT @ Boston), 3 (at home to Boston), and 4 (@ Indy Saturday night). All of these games have been close in the fourth quarter, and all of them could have easily gone the other way had the Wizards been able to execute down the stretch. Now, I don’t say that to imply the Wiz can’t execute, A.J. Price has been great (8.0 assists a game) moving the ball as he’s been filling in for John Wall at the point, but there’s a clear dearth of leadership at the end of games. In other words: this team needs a bonafide Alpha. Once he’s in place the Wiz’s other solid role players should fall into place accordingly.
Is John Wall that Alpha? Time will tell, but when he returns he’ll get every opportunity to be the Man. For all of the good Price has given the Wiz at the point, he’s been abused on defense by the likes of Kyrie Irving, Rajon Rondo (twice), and Brandon Jennings. Aside from Wall’s upside as a ball handler, attacker, and distributor for the Wiz, he brings a level of explosiveness to the point that most teams can’t defend (if only he could hit a jump shot…I digress…). When Wall returns it will bolster the Wizards backcourt, sending Price back to the bench. Not only that, but with Wall back on the court players like Beal, Ariza, Crawford and other shooters should get open looks as Wall will collapse defenses with his speed and ability to attack the basket.
So, you just read 300+ words telling you that the Wizards are an unfinished project, DUH. Inactive C, Nene, should be cleared to practice in about three weeks. His presence, like Wall’s, will change the whole dynamic for the Wizard’s front court. The team that’s played hard these first five game has consisted of a rotation full of role and bench players. One has to think that with a full arsenal at their disposal this team has more upside than its 0-5 record lets on.
Prediction: The Wizards will get their first win of the season, best odds will be Tuesday night against the suddenly formidable Bobcats. I’m not joking around when I say I see actual improvement with this team, but I’m also trying to be realistic in my expectations. I’m cautiously optimistic that this is not the worst team in the NBA…but I’ve been wrong before.
Coming Up: @Charlotte Tuesday, @Dallas Wednesday, vs. Utah 11/17, vs. Indy 11/19, @ ATL 11/21
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.