A 12-game losing streak to begin the season tends to put your fan base in a foul mood, so we shouldn’t blame Washington Wizards ticket holders or the media for totally ignoring one of the best stories in the NBA since the new year. The team just got off on the wrong foot, and only have themselves to blame for their rough start.
Fortunately for Randy Wittman, his team has dug themselves out of last place and put on a pretty good show for die-hard basketball fans to boot. While Washington had been poor all year on offense they have been much better in the 14 games since point guard John Wall came back from injury. Going 7-7 during this time shows that they are improving as a team, which is reason for fans to be excited.
Martell Webster for one is thrilled that Wall is back healthy. The swingman has been scorching opposing defenses as of late averaging 15 PPG with incredible efficiency (1.7 Points/FGA) over the Wizards last 9 contests.
Going virtually un-noticed is The Wizards tremendous defensive effort (6th best in NBA). They are a better all-around defensive squad than the two favorites to make the NBA Finals, the Heat and Thunder.
82games.com directs us to two awesome lineups the Wizards can produce:
- A.J. Price-Bradley Beal-Martell Webster-Nene Hilario-Emeka Okafor: +44 points
- John Wall-Beal-Webster-Nene-Okafor: +47 points
The John Wall lineup is better than a number of teams who will make the playoffs this year but even with back-up point guard A.J. Price the Wizards are a winning team. Price, the 52nd pick in the 2009 Draft, is sporting a phenomenal 3.5 AST/TO ratio (4th best in the NBA).
The former UConn star has earned a nice pay bump from the $900k he signed for this year.
Starting power forward Nene Hilario has struggled offensively this year. While Nene’s career True Shooting Percentage ranks in the top 20 all-time in NBA history he is posting a mere mortal 54% TS this year for the Wizards. The former Nugget has been his usual terrific self on defense though. According to 82games.com opposing 4’s and 5’s are having a terrible time scoring on Nene.
He should be a lock to make an All-Defensive team this year. Don’t be surprised if the voters get this wrong.
Wittman has a lot of W’s to look forward to in Washington. A back court of a healthy John Wall and phenom Bradley Beal combined with Nene and Emeka Okafor, both signed up to play in Washington next year, puts the Wiz on a great track for a playoff spot in 2014.
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