How Washington Wizards' Offseason Moves Will Propel John Wall into Playoffs
If one thing is for sure, star-studded PG Wall finally has the pieces to push his team into the top half of the Eastern Conference standings. First it was the trade for Nene to close out last season, then the acquisition of both Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor followed by the Bradley Beal selection in the 2012 NBA draft.
For the first time in his career, Wall now has the pieces to prove he can lead a team to the promised land. With a good seven to eight players that can all play solid minutes now on this team, there is no question the talent is there for Wall to take his talents to the next level.
Wizards fans can be thrilled to know their star can now prove his worth for the first time in his NBA career.
These are the three reasons why the moves the Wizards have made both closing out last season and prior to the start of the 2012-13 season will propel Wall's career and have this team in the playoffs.
Bradley Beal's Scoring Allows John Wall To Limit "Hero" Shots
The selection of Bradley Beal in the 2012 NBA draft was exactly the player this team needed.
With the exception of 11 games with Nene on the floor, John Wall was the only top-notch scoring threat on the floor for the Washington Wizards for the duration of last season.
As a result, Wall was taking a majority of tough shots and was getting defenders to collapse on him when he took the ball to the rim.On a more dynamic scoring team, this would have led to open three-point attempts and easy baskets for teammates. However, playing on a team that shot just 32 percent from three-point range, the third worst mark in the league, Wall and the Wizards came up empty more so than not.
In his one year with the Florida Gators, Bradley Beal proved he will have major upside as a scorer in the NBA. Last season, Beal posted 14.6 points per game on 44.5 percent shooting from the floor. He proved himself to be a slasher as well as a knock-down shooter.
Wall has yet to play with another guard with the scoring caliber that Beal possesses. Wall will certainly not have to force as many shots in the 2012-13 season. The two explosive, agile guards are going to create shots for the team and likely improve this team's shooting woes dramatically.
The Wizards now boast both Wall and Beal in the backcourt, a two-man game that is set to be as lethal as any in basketball.
A Top-Notch Frontcourt
Nene, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor will all make the difference for John Wall next season.
Time and time again, the Wizards were destroyed on the glass and had little to no offensive production in the frontcourt. The team ranked No. 20 at just 41.7 boards per game and ranked No. 22 in the league with 93.6 points per game.
Outside of step-up play from Trevor Booker to close out the season, the team's forwards and centers were non-existent. JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche were Washinton's two featured big men, both of which no longer are members of this team. The two averaged just 19.8 points and just 13.6 rebounds per game combined.
Blatche is as athletic as they come at the PF spot at 6'11'', 260 pounds, and he was still putting up just 5.8 rebounds per game. Yet, Wizards 2011 first-round selection Jan Vesely had 4.4 per contest himself in roughly six minutes fewer per game.
Talk about pathetic.
Wall had no bigs to go to inside, inconsistent play at the wing and as a result, he was forced to take tough baskets and live with teammates missing jumpers. A lack of depth up front was easily the most evident weakness for the Wizards all of last season.
Ariza scored 10.8 points and grabbed 5.2 rebounds in his 32 minutes per game last season. Not to mention, he is known for his ability to lock down defensively. Okafor and Nene are especially productive bigs on both ends, averaging a combined 23.6 points and 15.4 rebounds per game.
Their totals will be greatly appreciated next season by a team that failed to show consistency both scoring and rebounding the basketball.
Instilling a Different Dynamic In Washington
Each time the Washington Wizards took the court, it was as if they were indifferent to winning or losing the game.
This is not to say this team never came out and tried. Surely each team in the league looks to win games, even the 7-59 Charlotte Bobcats. But there was no question that Wall was on an island by himself for the majority of the 2011-12 campaign.
Wizards ownership undoubtedly had to know they were doing a disservice to their especially talented PG and knew they had to change the culture of their locker room.
Washington now boasts Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza in the frontcourt. All are character guys that are known for being able to play starter's minutes and produce especially effectively in their minutes on the floor.
Lackluster play in the frontcourt, an inability to score points and little to no efforts on the glass had this team finishing just 20-44 last season. Since Wall joined the team two season ago, the Wizards are just 43-103.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis now has this team up and ready to compete with the top dogs of the league. They have a frontcourt that boasts players with experience, an especially young and talented backcourt and two solid bench players in Trevor Booker and Jan Vesely.
Yet, more importantly, this allows Wall to finally have the chance to prove his worth as an elite PG in the game. His 16.3 points, eight assists and 4.5 rebounds per contest last season were truly remarkable figures. However, he will not be judged on his production any longer now that the pieces are in place.
Finally, Wall has the proper pieces in place to take his team to the next level. The stage is set, and Wall has the spotlight burning brighter than ever. And it is exactly what Wizards fans have to expect from this stud talent.
Make no mistake about it, Wall and these Wizards will be playoff bound come next season.
Follow Featured Columnist Luis Batlle on Twitter for the most current NBA opinion and analysis @lbatll1.
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