In the throes of Election Season, I figured there was no better time to watch a Wizards game and provide an outlook on their 2010-2011 prospects.
It will not be pretty. The team is a collection of individual parts, with little cohesion. I don't blame it on newcomers learning the scheme, but the attempt to capitalize on mismatches, to the detriment of development or team cohesion.
The Wizards have a few (two) bright spots.
1.) John Wall - Exciting and talented, and willing to defend and jump passing lanes. Needs to improve shot mechanics and bulk up (while keeping his speed). Beyond speed, he has the ability to fluidly change gears. Unfortunately, hits the floor 10-12 times a game; I hope he has the endurance to last a full NBA season.
2.) Javale McGee - He hustles and has size. Pithy compliments to pay a seven footer making millions, but it passes for praise on the Wizards. He received a standing ovation when he advanced the ball on a fast break.
3.) Andray Blatche - Has size, but refuses to battle in the paint. Content to "operate" from the perimeter and settle for an off-balance contested shot. Not looking to involve his teammates in the offense, marginal defender. Has had two years worth of NBA development in his sixth year in the league. Somehow this constitutes 'middling'.
4.) Nick Young - Spot-up shooter, cannot create his own shot. Had no interest in the outcome of the game.
4.) Kirk Hinrich - Lost a step since his time in Chicago, which is painful, considering he only started with 3/4 step. Cannot push the ball in transition, or create his own shot. Defensive liability.
And, barely jersey-worthy:
5.) Yi Jianlian - No low post presence. Refuses to work in the paint, and pulled all his rebounds on deflections. Plays like a guard, the worst guard in the NBA. I watched incredulously (and comically) as he hoisted threes. Cannot be in the lineup as the game concludes, as he is a poor FT shooter, and poor defender.
The Wizards need Gilbert Arenas in the lineup (to replace KH), but I worry he'll take shots from Wall. Wall had a great line in last night's Win over Philadelphia (29, 13, 9 steals) but looked exhausted after playing almost 45 minutes.
I'd love to see the Wizards distribute PT to some of the end-of-the-benchers. Cartier Martin has a good shot, appears to hustle, and led to the call of the night ("Cartier playing like a gem!"). They need to dismantle every component of the team not named Wall or McGee and develop size (at any cost). Get something for Arenas while he still has value (any value). I'd take Luke Babbitt for Arenas, who would provide size and an unselfish attitude.
The Wizards are going to have a difficult season. Game 3, at home versus the Sixers, was a must win, which required a buzzer-beating game-tying three to be pushed to overtime. Between a few great nights from Wall and/or Arenas &unexpected wins, I'd guess they win 25 games (25 - 57).
I'd forgotten the pain of the final two minutes of a close NBA game. The half court inbounds after a dead ball won the game for the Wizards, but it was a bore to watch.