I’ll admit I was calling for Randy Wittman’s job after the Wizards 0-3 start to the season. Since then, I've been pleasantly surprised by the performance from Washington when playing some of the better teams in the league such as Brooklyn and Oklahoma City. The Wizards have won 2 of their last 3 games. Their most recent loss came on Sunday in an OT thriller against OKC.
While it may appear on the surface that the Wizards are heading for yet another subpar season, here are 4 reasons Wizards fans shouldn’t give up on the team just yet.
1. They are 2-1 with their true starting five
While the Wizards are 2-4 overall, they’re 2-1 when Wall, Beal, Ariza, Nene and Gortat start. Gortat didn’t start the first couple games of the season after being traded from Phoenix just days before the season. Nene missed a pair of games due to a calf injury. When these five are on the court together, the Wizards offense has looked pretty darn good.
Nene and Gortat have meshed well together and look like one of the most formidable frontcourts in the NBA. Both are skilled big men, who rebound well and have a nice touch around the rim.
Beal has found his stroke, dropping 29 points in the team’s win over the Nets and a career-high 34 points in Sunday’s loss to the Thunder. Ariza has played well on both ends of the floor, providing gritty defense and stretching the floor by knocking down the three ball. While John Wall needs to do a better job with his shot selection, he looks to have taken that next step as the leader of the team. Averaging 18 points and over 9 assists through 6 games.
With their true starting five in the lineup the Wiz have been impressive on both ends of the floor. Showing fluent offense with ball movement and low-post play and good effort on the defensive end as well. As this starting five continues to mesh, they will figure out how to close out games.
2. The Front Office got it right by trading for Marcin Gortat
Remember when Nene was grinning from ear-to-ear after finding out the Wizards received Marcin Gortat in a trade with the Phoenix Suns? Well, we’re seeing why Nene was so giddy about the arrival of the Polish Hammer.
Gortat is one of the more underrated players in the league. The average NBA fan probably doesn’t realize just how good he is. Through 6 games he is averaging 13 points and almost 10 boards a game. Not only does Gortat allow Nene to play at the 4 where he is more comfortable, but Gortat has a very polished offensive skillset. He runs the floor, finishes at the rim and can knock down the mid-range jumper.
After years of bad trades, Washington’s front office made a smart move by trading for Gortat.
3. Bradley Beal is starting to heat up
After staggering out the gate and struggling in the first couple games of the season, Beal has found his groove, scoring a career high 34 points against OKC on Sunday. Through 6 games, Beal is averaging 21 points per contest while shooting a sizzling 47% from downtown.
As I mentioned in my NBA Awards predictions article, Beal will be in the running for the Most Improved Player award. Wizards fans should be excited as Beal’s star will continue to rise throughout the season.
4. John Wall looks like a Franchise Player
I mentioned before that Wall is averaging 18 points and almost 10 dimes per game. Aside from his averages, Wall has played with a much better pace than we’ve seen during his first 3 seasons. Wall is used to playing one way - FAST. So far this season he has demonstrated much more control of the offense and seems to have a better feel for the game. He has done a better job of controlling tempo and setting up teammates where they are comfortable on the court.
Lets not overlook Wall’s defense either. Wall is averaging a career-high 2 steals per game. His feisty defense is necessary as he sets the tone for his teammates.
While he is only shooting 38% from the field and his shot selection must improve, he has played pretty well overall. He is shooting a respectable 35% from the behind the arc.
Look for Wall’s shooting to improve as the season progresses. For now, he looks the part of a player ready to take the next step into all-star territory.Back to the Washington Wizards Newsfeed