What's Wrong With the Wizards?
*Photo via Washington Post
Through the first month of the season one of the biggest surprises is the struggles of the Washington Wizards. The Wizards earned the fifth seed in the East last season and made a strong playoff push, dismantling the Raptors in a sweep and taking the number one seed Atlanta Hawks to six games. The Wizards were looking to build off another strong postseason run and try to get out of the second round this year. However with the way they’ve been playing they’ll be lucky to make the playoffs.
They currently sit at 7-9, last in the Southeast division, and 12th in the East. Not the best way to start if you’re trying to contend or attract Kevin Durant back home to D.C. in the summer.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why this team has struggled out of the gate, for one they rank towards the bottom of the league in major defensive categories, such as 26th in rebounds per game and 25th in opponent’s points per game. Not rebounding or playing defense won’t win you many games, but this team also ranks below average in points per game. The Wizards are supposed to have the next great backcourt, but the duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal has not lived up to its full potential. John Wall has taken a step backwards in his development this year and has struggled so far shooting 42 percent from the field and 32 percent from three. Wall has never been a great shooter, but a guard of his talent level has to shoot above 42 percent from the field. Beal has had himself a nice season, and seems to be the only Wizard having a good year, averaging 18.8 points a game shooting above 44 percent from the field and 37 percent from three. Beal cannot carry this team, The team as a total is shooting only 43 percent from the field struggling to get easy looks.
This slide will continue unless Wall starts playing like the All-Star he has shown he can be, he will also need some sort of help from someone else who isn’t named Bradley Beal. I believe the Wizards are missing Paul Pierces leadership, he held Wall and Beal to higher standards and pushed them to be great. He had a louder voice than coach Randy Wittman, who may have lost this team. His job was saved when the Wizards had a good postseason run, but the struggles the Wizards had post all-star break last season are rearing their ugly heads, and Wittman may not be able to save his job. It’s only been 16 games for this squad so there is time to turn it around, but they are going to need to do it quickly, because the East is more competitive than in years past.