Washington Wizards: Everybody eats mentality is working

Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images /

The Washington Wizards continue to excel with John Wall out of the lineup. Their “everybody eats” mentality speaks more on them playing team ball.

The Washington Wizards have looked like a completely different team with John Wall out of the lineup the second time around. They are currently 9-3 since Wall went down with his current knee injury.

They lost 122-105 to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night, snapping a three-game winning streak. The Hornets seem to be an Achilles heel for Washington this season, but other potential playoff teams certainly aren’t.

The Wizards cruised to a 109-94 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday night, giving themselves a little bit of breathing room in what is shaping up to be a fierce playoff race. The Wizards are currently 35-25, fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. They are half a game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for third place and one game ahead of the Indiana Pacers, who are in fifth.

The Washington Wizards got a much-needed victory over the Cavaliers last Thursday as well. In that game, swingman Jodie Meeks‘ 10 points off the bench in 17 minutes of playing time came in handy.

The team is learning to spread the ball around and trust each other more. It’s a good sign when it comes to John Wall’s return to the lineup. What Wall is learning is key to the Wizards’ growth going forward.

Everybody eats

So far, the Washington Wizards mentality of “everybody eats” has worked. It’s not a knock on John Wall. After all, the Wizards are 21-16 with Wall in the rotation this season. Without him, the team has posted an overall record of 14-9 in 2017-18. While it’s still a positive record, it has more to do with the team spreading the ball around on offense.

The Wizards are averaging 30.3 assists per game in their past 12 games. Looking across the past 12 games for all teams in the NBA, Washington ranks first in assists per game as a team. Bradley Beal is averaging 6.8 assists per game in that same span and Tomas Satoransky is averaging 6.1 assists per game.

If anything, this “everybody eats” mentality has helped Washington discover there should be more than one distributor on the roster.

In essence, a new sense of trust has been built with this roster. Since Wall has gone out, Tim Frazier is averaging 4.3 assists per game in 15.1 minutes per contest. Jodie Meeks is averaging 6.2 points in 11.2 minutes per game.

Head coach Scott Brooks has done a good job utilizing every piece on the roster rather than relying on one guy to do it all. Instead of one guy (John Wall) being responsible for running the offense, ball movement has been the driving force in Washington’s latest run.

If anything, it’s something John Wall can learn from. Now, he can see on film where guys are successful on the floor, putting them in good positions to score in the process.

Satoransky proving to be a two-way threat

Speaking of defense, second-year Washington Wizards player Tomas Satoransky has shown that he is more than just a scoring guard. Satoransky is averaging 11.5 points, 6.1 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game since being inserted into the starting lineup in place of John Wall.

Beyond that, he’s turned in an offensive rating of 113.7 with a defensive rating of 102.0 across the same span. His net rating is +11.8. Satoransky’s defensive prowess has been a hidden gem for the Wizards given his length.

At 6’7″, Satoransky has the ability to play both guard positions, something they can take advantage of when John Wall returns from injury. Satoransky is shooting 56.8 percent from the floor and 60.7 percent from 3-point range on offense as well.

Next: NBA Rookie of the Year ladder, Week 20

February has been a month of discovery for the Washington Wizards as it’s coming to a close. The Wizards still have some big games coming up as they face the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, followed by the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. Washington has a combined record of 1-3 against the two teams. They’ll need to close out the month strong to start March on a high note.