The Washington Wizards have concluded yet another sub par season with last night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls. Washington finished with just 29 wins, but have shown more promise this season than they have in the past several years. Since there are no Wizards on the roster in contention to win any major individual awards, I thought it would be a good idea to commemorate their performances by recognizing them in this years “Season Awards.”
Most Valuable Player: John Wall gets this recognition by default. Wall missed the first 33 games of the season, and in that period of time, the Wizards had a record of 5-28. That’s pathetic. In fact, John Wall had been ranked “the second most indispensable point guard”, right behind Chris Paul. With John Wall in the lineup, the Wizards finished one game below .500, winning 24 of 49 games. For the first time in his career, John Wall averaged nearly 19 points per game, mostly due to his improved perimeter shot. If John Wall continues to improve, he’ll continue to climb the ranks amongst some of the top NBA point guards.
Defensive Player of the Year: According to HoopData, the Washington Wizards were the seventh best defensive team in the NBA in terms of efficiency. With John Wall out, the Wizards were forced to rely on their scrappy and intimidating defense in order to stay competitive throughout the season. Emeka Okafor had emerged as the true defensive anchor on the team, and has been a large part in changing the teams defensive culture. Much like Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks, Emeka Okafor’s strong defensive presence helped instill that same defensive mentality to the rest of the guys on the roster.
Most Improved Player: At the beginning of the season, I was really hoping Jan Vesely would be mentioned in this category. Sadly, John Wall will once again get this recognition by default. His improved perimeter shot has added a new aspect to his offensive game, making him virtually impossible to defend. It’s clear that Wall had worked on his jump shot during the offseason, but his long layoff had caused some concern amongst the fan base. John Wall’s shooting percentage have all increased this season, but his three point shot is still a work in progress.
Sixth Man of the Year: Coming into the season, I think we all expected Trevor Ariza to be the starting small forward. As it turns out, Ariza was quite productive off the bench. Martell Webster had been hot all season long, which forced Ariza to take the “sixth starter role.” He struggled at the beginning of the year, but picked it up during the course of the season. Ariza had one of his best games of the season against the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring 25 points, most of which came from his 7 made threes. I was really down on Ariza at the start of the season, but I really like how he adjusted and ended up being a capable contributor for the Wizards on both sides of the floor. Not only did Ariza provide a spark on offense, but he was probably Washington’s most versatile defenders. Let’s hope Ariza can stay healthy next season.
Most Surprising Player of the Year: Who would’ve thought Martell Webster, a late roster addition, would mean so much to the struggling Wizards? Dealing with back issues, Webster was a health concern throughout the majority of his career. When healthy, Martell Webster is one of the best shooters in the entire league. He shot over 42% from downtown, ranked just below Steve Novak in 3 point percentage. Webster added a dynamic to the Wizards they hadn’t had in quite some time. With John Wall getting to the bucket at will, defenses were forced to collapse, often times leaving Martell Webster wide open in the corner. Not only did Webster contribute on the floor, but simply put, he’s an awesome person. Webster is probably the funniest and friendliest player in Washington’s locker room. I’m sure the Wizards got a lot more production out of Webster than they had anticipated, but they’ll certainly try to resign him this off season.
Most Disappointing Player of the Year: Kevin Seraphin. And it’s not even close. Seraphin looked like one of the most promising guys on the roster last season, but underwhelmed to a large extent this year. Seraphin showed lack of awareness on the court, turned the ball over in the post, and I don’t even want to get into his defense. Let’s just say he allowed Nazr Mohammed to score 17 points in 22 minutes last night. He has all the tools to become a successful NBA player, but he needs to improve his mentality. He wasn’t bad, but he didn’t live up to expectations.
So. who gets your picks in this years “Season Awards”? Let me know in the comment section.