Scouting Report: Washington Wizards
Washington is building its franchise around John Wall, the top overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. Wall, however, is currently out of the lineup with a stress injury in his left patella.
Wall’s injury leaves Jordan Crawford as the team’s incumbent go-to scorer. But let’s make things clear: Crawford is not a star in this league just yet.
Crawford has been a double-digit scorer since his rookie year and logged a career-high 14.7 PPG last season. He’s putting up 16.0 PPG this season despite coming off of the bench. The C’s saw Crawford drop 21 points on them Saturday night as he shot 8-for-14 from the field. Crawford has a combination of speed, shooting ability and lack of conscience at the offensive end of the court. He’ll get his shots up one way or another.
Most of the roster is healthy, but the Wizards are missing their top two players. Wall (left patella) and Nene (plantar fasciitis in left foot) are both out for the foreseeable future. Those injuries leave Washington with a bunch of solid players, but no top-tier players. Having 13 healthy players is great; missing your two best players is not.
Many believe that Washington had one of the better offseasons in the NBA. The Wizards already had two strong players in Wall and Nene, and they were able to add more pieces by acquiring established veterans Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor. Washington also drafted one of the best pure shooters in the draft, Bradley Beal, with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft. The team has now laid its foundation.
Wall, Ariza, Nene and Okafor are all strong defensive players. That was supposed to be a strong point for this Wizards team. Washington also looked as if it would establish itself as a balanced offense attack with five players who could score at any time, much the way Nene’s former team, the Nuggets, have been over the past couple of seasons. But with their early-season injuries and lack of practice time, none of this has come to fruition. At the moment, Washington remains M.O.-less.
The Wizards had to be frustrated with their start to Saturday’s game against Boston – they fell behind 17-2 to start the game – but they also have to be excited that they came back and almost won the contest. They actually took a lead late in the fourth quarter before Paul Pierce hit a game-winning 3-pointer.
Washington was nearly able to steal a win despite the fact that their starters played atrociously and their top two players were out. All five starters finished with a plus/minus of at least minus-10. The Wizards may be 0-2, but there must be some positive vibes flowing through their locker room after nearly pulling off an improbable comeback against Boston.
Their Achilles’ Heel
The Wizards franchise has had an Achilles’ heel of inconsistency ever since its 43-win season back in 2007-08. They were a perennial playoff team with lots of talent when Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison were teaming up to lead them. Ever since that duo was broken up, the team has been in shambles.
Washington has been inconsistent at every level as of late. Since 2007, the team has switched ownership once, has had four different coaches, two different faces of the franchise, and the roster has been a revolving door. It’s difficult to turn a team’s fate around in the midst of all of those inconsistencies, and that’s why the Wizards have averaged just 22 wins over the last four seasons.