John Wall: Why Injury Hurts Washington Wizards More Than You Think

Bradley Beal and John Wall

Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com

John Wall is slated to be out for around eight weeks with a stress injury to his left knee. It’s obvious that the Washington Wizards are going to miss him, as he’s their best player and their superstar. However, the missed time could be even larger for one major reason – the schedule.

Usually, the preseason and the first portion of the regular season is for building chemistry among teammates. The Wizards have a bunch of new players on the roster, with Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal and Martell Webster as the key newcomers.

Instead, the Wizards are in a position where A.J. Price and Shelvin Mack will play point guard for at least the first month of the regular season. Without Wall, the chemistry will be compromised. This was supposed to be a much-improved defensive team, and Wall is a key part of their success. He’s long and remarkably athletic, and his 1.4 steals per game will be missed.

Offensively, Wall had finally started to come around as a facilitator late in the 2011-12 season. Take a look at these game logs from his last seven games. His shooting numbers could use some work, but he was getting into the flow of making his teammates better. Eight less weeks of that hurts a lot.

Rk Date Tm Opp MP FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
60 2012-04-14 WAS CLE L 39:57 8 16 0 0 3 4 2 9 1 1 2 1 19
61 2012-04-16 WAS @ CHI W 36:04 5 15 0 2 6 7 2 5 1 2 1 1 16
62 2012-04-18 WAS MIL W 35:07 5 13 0 0 4 7 3 10 0 1 4 2 14
63 2012-04-21 WAS @ MIA W 39:42 6 11 0 1 1 1 6 13 4 0 5 3 13
64 2012-04-23 WAS CHA W 29:48 7 13 0 1 2 4 5 14 0 1 2 2 16
65 2012-04-25 WAS @ CLE W 32:28 7 16 0 0 7 8 7 13 7 0 6 2 21
66 2012-04-26 WAS MIA W 25:16 3 8 0 0 1 2 2 12 2 0 2 2 7
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/7/2012.

Initially, I had pegged the Wizards for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. However, I was assuming they would be able to take advantage of a relatively-soft first two months of the season. If they are chasing the playoffs and need wins in the last two weeks of the season, they’re in trouble.

Check out this horrid stretch of games:

April 6th vs. Indiana Pacers
April 7th at Boston Celtics
April 9th at New York Knicks
April 10th vs. Miami Heat
April 12th vs. Philadelphia 76ers
April 15th at Brooklyn Nets
April 17th at Chicago Bulls

That stretch represents the seven other teams that will likely be in the playoffs. It’s a great tune-up and an excellent measuring stick for the Wizards, but if they are tied with a team like Milwaukee or Toronto going into these seven games, they’re going to be in trouble.

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Tags: Eastern Conference John Wall NBA Southeast Division Washington Wizards

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