Brief Thoughts on Washington Wizards Progress

Steve O Speak

I haven’t gotten a chance to post much on the Wizards due to commitments for other sports, but I’ve gotten to watch a couple of their recent games including their matchup against the Heat and I have come away very impressed.

Now no one is going to mistake these Wizards for a playoff team, but they are showing some signs of a brighter future. Against the Heat they were without Rashard Lewis, Josh Howard, Nick Young and Trevor Booker, not to mention Andray Blatche was just returning from injury and not a 100%. The Wizards should have been blown out the entire game, particularly when John Wall got ejected early in the game, but instead the Wizards were in the game until midway through the 4th quarter. Although it was just one game, I think it spoke volumes about where the Wizards are right now, and where they are going.

Here is a summary of the key Wizards going forward and what I think Washington should look to do:

John Wall:

Wall has basically been as good as advertised. While he isn’t the ‘savoir’ he has played very good basketball, and shows the potential to be an elite point guard. Hey needs to be the focal point of the offense and if the Wizards can add some better talent around him I really believe he will take off.

Jordan Crawford:

The Wizards got Crawford in the Kirk Hinrich deal at the deadline, and he was considered by most to be just a backup point guard to John Wall. Now just one month later Crawford looks like a steal for Washington and has shown an ability to be an effective back court mate to Wall. Crawford is a better shooter than his numbers suggest, and needs better shot selection and reps to really develop into a starter. Crawford is quick and should develop into a good defensive guard.

Nick Young:

Young has finally begun to take his game to the next level this season, and prior to getting injured was arguably the Wizards best player. Unfortunately while Young improved on both ends of the court he still has a ways to go as a defender and rebounder. This makes it next to impossible for the Wizards to use more of a smaller lineup with, Wall and Crawford in the back court and Young at the 3. Young will be a restricted free agent this offseason and Wizards could attempt to shop him in a sign and trade, otherwise they will need to make a fairly significant financial commitment to Young.

Trevor Booker:

Booker was considered a bit of a surprise pick for the Wizards as he looked like a man without a position. He was considered too short to play either the 4 or the 5, and apparently didn’t have the athletic ability to play the 3. Well Booker proved everyone wrong, because he showed that he could play all 3. Center is his weakest position, but if opposing teams are going small, Booker has shown that he can match-up. Booker’s 5.3 ppg and 3.9 rpg aren’t too impressive, but a lot of that has to do with him getting in a number of games for just 1-10 minutes. A better indication is his 13.0 points per 40 minutes, and 9.4 rebounds per 40 minutes. While an injury will sideline Booker for the rest of this season, he looks to be guy who should get about 25-30 minutes a game next year, and be a very effective player for the Wizards.

Andray Blatche:

The Wizards locked up the talented big man last year, but thus far they are probably regretting their decision. Offensively Blatche has almost limitless potential, and could be a 20-25 ppg guy, who can distribute the ball underneath. Unfortunately attitude has never allowed that player come to fruition, and that has led to locker room squabbles and lazy play on the court. Combine that with his weak defense and the Wizards have a bit of an issue on their hands. Should they keep Blatche and hope that he finally matures or try to trade him and not receive full value for his services.

Kevin Seraphin:

Seraphin was known to be a raw talent when the Wizards selected him in the middle of the first round. While Washington can afford to be a little patient I really question the way they have handled him. Seraphin has barely gotten to play this year and that is despite having Howard, Lewis, Booker and Blatche miss significant time. While I don’t think Seraphin is ready to start by any means, he deserves more than the 11.6 minutes he’s averaged over the last two months. He should be getting more significant minutes in the 17-24 per game range. Also, he should get more opportunities to play alongside the Wizards top players like Wall and Crawford, to hopefully boost his game.

JaVale McGee:

McGee has quietly become an emerging young center and a player that the Wizards can build around. He is a shot blocking stud, and is consistently a major threat on the boards. His offensive game doesn’t bring much to the table, but if their is an opening inside he will finish. McGee also gets credit for becoming a better free throw shooter as the year has gone on, which is beginning to make it a liability to foul him. The Wizards should look to extend McGee this offseason, and make him their primary center.


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