Wizards Could Be Dark horse Contenders
The Wizards have faced a lot of adversity this season. They lost their star point guard John Wall in January to a knee injury. They’ve dealt with team drama as following Wall’s surgery Martin Gortat sent out a tweet that seemed directed at Wall. The tweet seemed to criticize Wall for a lack of passing. Even with all that the Wizards are the fourth best team in the Eastern Conference coming out of the All Star break. Even with Wall injured the Wizards still have Bradley Beal, and Gortat. They are not a team full of superstars but they are a very deep team. As the second half starts they will be looking to make a playoff push.
Right now the Wizards are only a game and a half behind Cleveland for the third spot in the East. They do not have much breathing room as the Miami Heat who are in the eight spot are only four and a half games back of Washington. With the NBA trade deadline having passed the Wizards don’t expect any major additions for the stretch run. They will get a huge boost from Wall once he returns from his injury. That is an addition better than any deal they could’ve made at the deadline. The Wizards made it to the playoffs last year but were eliminated in the Conference Semi Finals against the Celtics. This year’s team is different and much deeper.
After their elimination last postseason one thing the Wizards focused one was improving their bench. The Wizards brought in players such as Tim Frazier, Mike Scott, and Jodie Meeks to improve to help. Each of these players have contributed differently for the Wizards and at times provided a spark. Frazier has filled in admirably during Wall’s injury while Scott and Meeks have been effective scorers. While the improved bench is crucial what is critical to this team is Wall’s health.
The Wizards will receive a significant boost once he returns not just because of his performance but because of how he improves those around him. When Wall is healthy he and Bradley Beal form one of the best guard combinations in the NBA. Beal has stepped up and amid Wall’s Injury and his averaging a career high 23.7 points a game this season. Right now he is the Wizards best offensive player but the Wizards become much harder to guard when both Wall and him are healthy. Gortat is having a down year as he is averaging only 8.7 points a game. Gortat is someone who benefits from Wall’s passing ability. Even though Wall improves all those around him the Wizards have not let Wall’s injury derail there season.
Without Wall the Wizards have been better in certain aspects. There assist rate has increased as well as there assists per game. That is something the Wizards hope to keep up for the remainder of the season. So far this year Wall has struggled as many of his averages are down. The fact that the Wizards are playing well without him should worry teams. Once Wall returns he will be more motivated than ever given what was happened when he’s been healthy. This Wizards team could surprise people and come playoff time they will be highly motivated.