5 Reasons Why the Washington Wizards Will Be in Playoff Contention in 2012
Tired of having the NBA Draft Lottery being the only thing of importance in the months of May and June for the Washington Wizards?
Sure, having a top draft pick is exciting, but Wizards fans want their team to be back into the playoffs.
When the Wizards were one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, back when they had Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler, basketball was relevant in Washington DC.
For the past couple seasons, the Wizards have been non-existent, but that will come to an end this year.
Heading into the 2012 season, here are five reasons why the Wizards will be in playoff contention and become relevant again.
No More "Knuckleheads"
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For years the Washington Wizards have been a team filled with players who only care about themselves and money.
Whether it was Andray Blatche, Nick Young or Javale McGee, these guys were a cancer to the team.
As talented as these guys are, there is no chance they will ever have any success in the NBA if they continue to act like immature kids.
The Wizards made one of their smarter moves in recent history, trading McGee and Young midseason and also benching Blatche for the rest of the season because of his conditioning.
What were the Wizards thinking at the beginning of the year, to name Blatche their team captain when he has been the poster child of immaturity and a reputation for being the laziest player in the NBA? Did they really think Blatche could lead a team as young as the Wizards?
Heading into 2012, the Wizards will be a roster filled with players who are there to win basketball games, rather than collect paychecks and get fat like Blatche has done. The locker room will have better chemistry and a more focused mentality.
Blatche has not officially been let go from the Wizards yet, but it is certain that he will not be a part of the team in 2012.
Veteran Presence on the Team
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Now that the Washington Wizards have finally gotten rid of the immature players who were holding the team back, they have made great moves this past year by bringing in veterans who can lead this team.
With the additions of players like Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, all the young players on the Wizards now have athletes to look up to.
Think of the difference, looking to Andray Blatche as your captain compared to Nene. It is like day and night.
These three new additions all have playoff experience and have been leaders for their teams.They are going to give the Wizards locker room a new feel to it that is going to make young players like John Wall and Bradley Beal ready to come to practice.
Back when the Wizards had veteran leaders like Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler, this team had great leadership presence that made sure each player brought their A-game.
Expect the Wizards to be a much more energetic and hardworking team in 2012 with guys like Okafor and Nene pushing them to improve every day.
The Addition of Bradley Beal
As great of a player as John Wall is, he cannot be the Washington Wizards' go-to scorer.
For the past two seasons, Wall had no one to team up with in his backcourt, to help him out.
Do not try to tell me Nick Young or Jordan Crawford are good enough to fill in the starting shooting guard spot. Young is way too inconsistent and immature to rely on for a full season and Crawford is at best a scoring option off the bench.
Adding Bradley Beal is going to make the Wizards a much better team. Beal is the first legit shooting guard that the Wizards have had in a while and it is going to improve Wall's game significantly.
The Wizards were one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA in 2011. Beal is not going to come in as a rookie and dominate in the NBA, but he is definitely going to have a significant impact on the Wizards.
In 2012, Beal should have enough impact to put the Wizards in playoff contention. After that, the backcourt of Wall and Beal could become one of the best in the entire league.
Another Year for John Wall and the Young Guns
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The Washington Wizards have been struggling for the past couple seasons for numerous reasons. One of them has been the fact that this team is very young.
Last season, the Wizards had seven players on their roster who were either rookies or entering their second year in the NBA.
Heading into 2012, these players will definitely improve from the experience they gained last year.
Don't think so? John Wall has had no one to help him out in his first two years in the NBA. Going into 2012, the Wizards have finally given him some pieces to help him improve his game.
The additions of Nene, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor should take a significant amount of pressure off of Wall's shoulders and help him take that next step to become an elite point guard.
Towards the end of last year, players like Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker made huge strides and showed they can be solid players in the NBA.
After the All-Star break, Seraphin went from being a player who rarely touched the floor to becoming a starter. He averaged over 10 points per game and shot over 57 percent from the field. In his last 16 games of the season, Seraphin scored double digits in each of them.
Booker also flourished under head coach Randy Wittman, averaging over 10 points and eight rebounds per game.
Young guys like Booker, Seraphin and Chris Singleton are not going to be All-Stars, but they are going to provide the Wizards with great depth in 2012.
Head Coach They Want to Play For
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When the Washington Wizards had Flip Saunders as their head coach, it seemed like there was no chemistry.
Players like Andray Blatche did not respect him and Saunders could not connect with the team.
For the 2012 season, this is not the case at all with Randy Wittman as the head coach.
After taking over the team as the interim head coach in 2011, Wittman's interim tag was removed and he is now the man in charge.
In his time as head coach for the Wizards, the team enjoyed playing for Wittman.
One of the main reasons why the Wizards brought him back was because their top players, Nene and John Wall, made it known to owner Ted Leonsis that they support Wittman.
Wittman was able to bring the best out of the young players and helped the Wizards put together a six-game win streak to end the season.
Having a head coach who the players respect and will listen to in the NBA is huge. Most of these coaches know the X's and O's. What makes an NBA head coach successful, though, is if he can motivate his players to give it their all every single day.
Wittman has gotten his two top players to buy into his system, so he must be doing something right. In 2012, these Wizards should have a whole new look compared to the Saunders era.