Washington Wizards Mailbag Monday: January 18, 2016
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, everyone!
While you’re hopefully reflecting on MLK’s legacy and enjoying time off with your family, the Washington Wizards will look to get back on track with a win in the nation’s capital.
Washington has finally started to put it together as they’ve won four of their last five games. Now that the schedule is starting to weaken, the Wizards will have a chance to make a push towards the NBA Playoffs.
Before we go any further, though, David Statman took the time to answer some of your questions.
Happy MLK Day, folks.
Today’s questions come from Twitter and Reddit.
In short, injuries. Lots of them.
Kelly Oubre has played over 30 minutes in only two games this year: December 21 against Sacramento, and December 26 against Brooklyn. Against Sacramento, the Wizards used seven players. Against Brooklyn, Otto Porter was fresh returning from injury, and the Wizards’ only other functioning wing was Jarell Eddie.
The Washington Wizards have built a team with a lot of similar pieces, and when Porter’s healthy, it’s a foregone conclusion that he’s going to start. The only way Oubre consistently plays 30+ minutes a night is if he’s starting, and I don’t think he merits that yet.
Oubre’s earned his spot in the rotation, to be sure, and his athleticism, versatility and consistent effort has been a huge boost. But for a team that’s trying to contend, they can’t be running him out there too much – he’s a game-changer in spurts, but his all-around game, especially his on-ball defense, just isn’t there yet.
In light of the Wizards recent win streak and the eighth seed nearing by the hour. How much more optimism do you have in terms of getting a higher seed(2-6)? – via oldmajorthepig
The Washington Wizards might have dug themselves too much of a hole to make it to the top half of the Eastern Conference standings, but if they can stay healthy and stop playing down to the competition (which is just so typical Wizards) I don’t see any reason that they shouldn’t pass the likes of the Celtics, the Pacers and the Pistons.
The fact of the matter is, when everyone’s back together, this is one of the deepest Wizards teams we’ve ever seen.
In my opinion, Bradley Beal should continue to come off the bench to allow the Wizards to better manage his minutes – that would leave a bench unit that can toss out the likes of Nene, Beal, Gary Neal, Ramon Sessions and Oubre, all of whom can really affect a game.
As many of the rest of the teams that have surged out to strong starts in the Eastern Conference begin to regress to the mean, the Wizards should have the depth and talent to climb back up the rankings.
For Beal: Hell naw. I don’t want him on Team USA either – his fiberglass legs may not be able to survive playing in the Olympics along with an NBA season.
For Wall: It’s a much tougher question, but I’d lean towards no. If we’ve learned anything about the way Mike Krzyzewski runs Team USA, it’s that it’s a huge old-boys’ club. Stephen Curry‘s on there; Chris Paul‘s on there because he’s always on there; Kyrie’s on there because he played at Duke.
Wall is behind all those guys in the rankings, and then there’s Russell Westbrook. The outlook isn’t good for John. It’s too dang hard to get your foot in the Team USA door.
Hello, guys. Is there a possibility for JW to not made it in the All-star game? If he don’t, what you guys think about will it make any influence on his next near games before all star and until the end of the season overall? (sorry for bad england) – via milesept
There’s always a chance that Wall doesn’t make the All-Star Game, but he should be pretty safe. If Kyle Lowry can complete his late charge and overtake Kyrie Irving, Wall will be a shoo-in – I doubt that Irving, after all his injuries, will be selected for the East if he isn’t voted in as a starter.
Jimmy Butler is a deserving All-Star, as is DeMar DeRozan, so Wall will have a fair bit of competition if Kyrie is in there. If Wall doesn’t make it, it’s hard to imagine that he won’t go absolutely nuts on the court – Wall’s the type to let that piss him off and drive him forward.
But he should be an All-Star starter, and life is a sham.
This is the toughest question currently outstanding about the Washington Wizards’ future. In the end, the Wizards probably don’t have a choice. They’ve got to shell out for Beal, taking the same type of calculated risk that they did with John Wall a few years ago.
When Wall came up for an extension after his third year, he had struggled with injuries himself, and really only had played at a near-All-Star level for the second half of the 2012-13 season. The Wizards took a chance giving him a max deal, and it more than paid off.
Spending a top-five pick on a talented player, watching him show so much promise over four years and letting him walk is probably not an option. Maybe he’ll be Eric Gordon, but the Wizards are going to have to. He’s one of the only guys on the team who actually moves the needle.
Either that, or they’ll trade him, as the Clippers did with Gordon after his third season.
What are the chances of us getting Beal for a discount because of his career minutes restriction? – via shaidester
It could be possible, but a lot remains to be seen before we can figure that out. If Beal’s injury problems continue throughout the year, I could see Beal being forced to settle for less than the max. If he’s able to roar back this year and play like he did in the playoffs over the second half of the season, it’ll be the max all the way.
There just aren’t that many 20 point-a-game scorers in the NBA, much less coming on the market this year: there’s KD, DeRozan and that’s about it. Bradley Beal is a go-to scorer, one of the rarest and most valuable commodities there is. A lot more would have to go wrong to force him to give DC a discount.
I mean, what can they do? Alan Anderson is making $4 million on a one-year deal; Oubre is still on his rookie contract. The Wizards can afford to sit Oubre for a little while if and when Anderson returns, because they’ve made much more of an immediate investment on Anderson.
They can’t just wait all this time for Anderson and then not play him.
Anderson, theoretically, could be a very valuable player for this team, especially with his underrated perimeter defense. But let’s be real: Anderson’s probably never going to play. He’ll just be the most well-paid assistant coach in the NBA.