The Wizards were not supposed to be anything special entering this season. In fact, I was one of the more optimistic Wizards bloggers, picking them to finish as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
At 5-9, Washington has not looked like eight-seed material. I’m not ready to back off my prediction–it’s far too early to just give up–but I’m noticing some terrible habits that, if they continue, will quickly knock the Wiz out of the playoff hunt.
Please allow me to get the following off my chest, and post your Wizards complaints below.
- Andray Blatche is one of the worst defenders in the NBA. Frankly, he’s lazy. He barely boxes out, he doesn’t hedge off screens, and whomever he guards typically has a herculean effort against Washington. I appreciate Andray’s offensive game, but he needs to put more effort in on both sides of the court. Flip Saunders needs to up Trevor Booker’s minutes until Blatche gets the message.
- JaVale McGee is so difficult to watch. His talent tantalizes Wizards fans–we see the Sportscenter-worthy dunks and incredible blocks, but he makes too many boneheaded decisions. Jumping at the wrong times, chasing after shooters instead of staying in the lane to grab rebounds, attempting pointless jumpshots–JaVale needs a big man coach to seriously train him on the mechanics of the center position. He has raw ability to morph into a Marcus Camby-esque player (with more highlight-reel dunks), but will never reach that point without help. I appreciate that Flip is giving JaVale minutes, but he’s going to keep making the same mistakes if nothing changes.
- John Wall is slowing the offense down too much. I know it is a cardinal sin to criticize the face of the franchise, but let’s get real. Wall routinely catches the ball, stares down his defender for three to five seconds, then swings it back, or he takes it up court, dribbles in place, waits until the shot clock is at 14, and passes around the perimeter. I think John Wall is outstanding–he’s exceeded all expectations, he’s a phenomenal defender, his jump shot is better than we thought it would be, and he’s a born leader. And look, at 20 years old, he has plenty of time to correct some of his flaws. But Sam Cassell and Flip Saunders need to convince Wall to speed up the tempo a bit. That’s how young teams win, and that’s when Wall shines.