Breaking Bad Habits

The Wizards have often been compared to a dysfunctional family, and that’s essentially what they are. If you’ve seen the Washington Wizards play during the course of the past two seasons, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

From JaVale McGee’s many head-scratching plays — like him attempting to dunk from the free throw line – or Andray Blatche and Nick Young chucking up senseless shots, and even John Wall being out of control and turning the ball over. The Wizards have bad habits they need to break.

Randy Wittman came in as the interim coach this January and compared these poor basketball plays to smoking habits. But the 2012 season has shown that the Wizards still smoke the occasional cigarette.

JaVale McGee is by far the biggest chain smoker on the Wizards’ roster. Most recently against the Cleveland Cavaliers, McGee attempted to run a fast break — despite having guards open to pass to — and he ended up turning the ball over as he lost the basketball out of bounds. But Randy Wittman decided not to bench McGee. Instead he wanted him to learn from his recurring mistake by leaving him out on the court. A few plays later JaVale was put into a similar situation. This time McGee passed to a wide open Jordan Crawford, who finished the break with a dunk.

Bad habits are hard to break. Adding a few veterans to this young Washington Wizards team would help break these habits. Roger Mason Jr. is a veteran who was signed this past December to this young team by providing the proverbial “veteran presence”. Mo Evans is another veteran which was brought by Ernie Grunfeld during last season’s trade deadline deal with the Atlanta Hawks to help provide veteran leadership. Besides Mason and Evans the Wizards have no real veteran leadership outside of the already-in-the-bag Rashard Lewis and the injured Ronny Turiaf. Veterans that have been there and done that help the young players cope with losing by preventing a losing culture to form in Washington.

JaVale McGee is one player on the Wizards with astronomical potential that needs veteran help. Adding a big-man coach that McGee can seek for help on and off the court would also help McGee boost his play. As his mother, Pam McGee, said:

  “If I’m the Wizards and I’m really trying to build a franchise, really committed to rebuilding and developing, I would nurture that talent. I would help a kid like JaVale the best I could.”

But McGee isn’t the only player that needs veteran leadership and coaching help to break his bad habits.

As of right now, the Wizards have no true leader. John Wall was clearly put into a situation where he had to step up and become “the man” right from the start. Other young standouts like Bulls’ guard Derrick Rose and the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo were put into situations where they could learn on the job before coming leaders. Some say that Wizards’ assistant coach, and former point guard, Sam Cassell is a person Wall can seek for help. But is he really? Who can Wall seek for help on the floor? That is a question Ernie Grunfeld needs to address during the 2012 NBA free agency period.

Bad habits has put a hamper on the Washington Wizards as a whole.

As Randy Wittman says, “cigarette smoking is a tough habit to beat.”

Tags: Javale Mcgee John Wall Randy Wittman Washington Wizards

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