It is almost 2014 for your Washington Wizards, so as the .500 ball club makes to look a push for the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season, here are a few things to watch out for in the new year:
Does John Wall finally get some national recognition?
Wall has been superb so far this season. He has been the catalyst for the Wizards success and has the playing their best basketball of the season as they have won five of their last six games. He is the only player besides Chris Paul who is averaging more than 19 points per game while also averaging more than nine assists, four rebounds and two steals. He does it all for the Wizards.
And yet you rarely hear anything about Wall outside of the D.C. area.
He is destined to make his first All-Star Game this February and should be a starting guard in the game. The Cavs’ Kyrie Irving likely will be a starting guard because of fan voting, but Wall is doing more his team than Irving and his team has a better record. Irving gets more publicity, but if Wall keeps playing at the level he is than he will finally get the national recognition he deserves.
John Wall #NBABallot
Otto Porter as a legit contributor?
Porter missed the entire training camp and preseason as well as most of the regular season so far. So, the Wizards third pick from Georgetown has not been a factor so far this season. He is beginning to get minutes for the Wizards as of late. He is averaging 12 minutes on the season, but still does not look comfortable on an NBA court. Porter is averaging only 1.9 points per game. He will continue to get more and more comfortable as the new year goes on and if he can defend his position, rebound, and hit open shots, he has a chance to help the Wizards.
It does not look like he will be much of a contributor this season and missing all the time in the beginning of the season is a huge reason for this. However, coach Randy Wittman has made him a regular in the rotation as of late. Look to see if Porter can add some depth for this team as time goes on.
Does Marcin Gortat become D.C.’s most beloved athlete?
The Polish Hammer is awesome and has taken the District of Columbia by storm since he arrived in the beginning of the season. With the D.C. sports scene being a complete mess in a lot of ways at the moment, Gortat seems like a prime candidate to become the man. There is just something about him that is awesome. The colorful tattoos? The sweet wristbands? Or maybe that he plays his hardest every night (Yes, this is sadly a compliment in the NBA)? He has formed one hell of a pick and roll combination with Wall. And his Twitter game is off the charts.
How can you not love this?!
Hey wiz fans!! Great win!! Im sorry i played like s..t:((( i have to be better on the glass!! Im glad other guys stepped in !!!
— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) December 31, 2013
Great team win!!!! On the plane…. Back to DC!!! Que passa Wizards:))
— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) December 21, 2013
The Polish Hammer don’t want no drama.
Thats BS …. People trying create drama within our team! I know my role and im not frustraded!!!
— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) December 16, 2013
He loves his sidekick Nene Hilario, the Brazilian Gladiator apparently.
Nene……… Brazilian gladiator!!! Great victory over lakers !!!
— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) November 27, 2013
Try and tell me this doesn’t look right.
— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) November 17, 2013
Does RGIII, Alex Ovechkin, or Stephen Strasburg do things like this? Nope. Case closed.
I am only kidding about Gortat becoming D.C.’s most beloved athlete. Wait, I am, right?
I leave you with this:
Does everyone’s body hold up?
The Wizards have been one of the most injury plagued teams in the last couple years and this year is no different. Key players, Nene and Bradley Beal, have already missed significant time. The Wizards lack depth and if injuries continue to occur they will have a tough time being taken serious as they get to the heart of the season.
Injuries is a big reason why their bench has been one of the worst in the entire league thus far this season (currently the worst ranked, according to hoopsstats.com), but with a healthy team the last six games the bench has been very good, averaging 35.5 points per game while the Wizards have won five of those six games. It is no coincidence the Wizards have been playing at a high level while their bench is putting up really good numbers. Of course it is only six games, but 35.5 points a game from the bench would be in the upper-half of the league. If the Wizards can continue to stay healthy their bench will help them win more and more games.
Also, Wall is playing the second most minutes of any point guard in the league at 37.3 minutes and Wall has been injury prone throughout his short career, so it will be interesting to see if his body will hold up in the new year.
Can Trevor Ariza keep up his play?
Ariza in his ninth year is having the best year of his career. He is averaging a would be career-high 15.5 points per games, shooting a career high 43.3 percent from beyond the arc, and averaging a career high 5.7 rebounds. Ariza’s play on both ends of the floor (1.8 steals per game) is a big part why the Wizards are a dangerous team. It will be interesting to see if Ariza continues to be hot and have the best year of his professional career in Washington. I do not see any reason for his play to slow down, but it is something to watch for.