6 Big Decisions Facing Randy Wittman and Washington Wizards in 2012-13
The Washington Wizards had an awful record last season at 20-46, but did manage to finish the season on a six-game win streak. With new veterans added and a Rookie of the Year candidate in Bradley Beal ready to take off, this team could really make some noise this season.
While the optimism is high for many fans, many important decisions still have to be made for Washington to succeed. They must set a rotation, improve defensively and not throw out the idea of remaining active with transactions.
As it stands, this is a talented team. They have youth, athleticism and a lot of potential with growing players. Veterans like Nene and Emeka Okafor will bring some needed experience to the table making the Wizards a pretty well-rounded team. The playoffs aren't as much of a reach as the last few seasons, but even finishing closer to the 41-41 mark is a huge step forward.
Here are six decisions that Randy Wittman and the Washington Wizards should focus on for a promising season.
What to Do with Jan Vesely?
Jan Vesely is a bit of a wildcard for the Washington Wizards. Being the sixth pick in the NBA draft automatically puts a lot of expectations on a player, but the team must decide which direction to go to best utilize his potential.
Being such a raw talent at a young age, now is the best time to shape the forward's game. While he has a long skinny frame, he's not one likely make a difference defensively in the post. Putting on some weight would be a start if Washington wanted to move on with him being a power forward.
At the same time, Vesely was heavily coveted for his athletic ability. Letting him play the small forward position would allow him more freedom offensively and find chances to get to the rim off a slash. However, he does lack the ability to knock down shots consistently from long range.
Vesely must improve his shot or bulk up to improve his stature in the NBA. He has plenty of potential, but should commit to a position and build around it.
What Is Kevin Seraphin's Role for Washington?
Kevin Seraphin is on a nice track when it comes to progressing into a legitimate NBA player. His offensive ability was lacking in his rookie season, but that seems to be coming around along with his basketball IQ.
Washington now must decide what to do with the 22-year-old power forward. With newly acquired Emeka Okafor in town, the Wizards could look to pair him along side Nene to shut down the paint. While this would greatly improve Washington's defense from last year, Seraphin should see some heavy minutes as the season continues.
Bringing him off the bench allows Washington to have a solid center rotation with Nene and Okafor. Inserting Seraphin early in a game will open up plenty of rotation possibilities for Washington down the stretch of games.
Seraphin continues to grow in all areas of the game. Seeing him cut down on his foul tendencies is a major factor in garnering him some more court time. He's got great size to play either the power forward or center position, and will see limitless opportunity as he gets better over time.
Should Washington Bulk Up the Point Guard Depth?
Besides John Wall, the Washington Wizards do not have a legitimate point guard on the roster. They have players who can fill in for small spurts, but none that can really thrive at the position.
Washington does have expendable trade pieces to bring some help in. They are currently stacked with size, leaving room for a potential swap if needed. Plenty of teams will look to better themselves or rebuild near the All-Star break, which could be the opportune time to look around.
With the list of available free agents slowly dwindling down, it leaves little to no attractive options for the Wizards. They could look into a young guy like Jonny Flynn with high upside when healthy, but he wouldn't bring much to the table as-is. A veteran like Derek Fisher would be ideal, but he would likely only play for a contending team at this point.
Bringing in another point guard isn't a must, but could really help solidify a functioning rotation. Washington could end up being a sleeper for a playoff spot in a shifting Eastern Conference, but the point guard depth should not be forgotten about.
How Does Newly Acquired Trevor Ariza Fit In?
Trevor Ariza is the perfect pickup for the Washington Wizards. He's an athletic player who will improve the team's defense, but can also run with a fast-paced offensive attack.
Inserting Ariza into a starting role is a must for Washington. Seeing as how he isn't the greatest player when it comes to creating his own shots, playing with a great distributing point guard will improve his productivity.
John Wall dished out eight assists a game last season, but that could increase thanks to the addition of Ariza. He is a very good finisher at the rim who could see ample opportunity on the fast break.
Ariza might be a little pricy, but could make the difference in the Wizards quest for the playoffs. They lacked depth at the small forward position last season, but will love having a defensive asset to strengthen the glaring need.
Should the Wizards Focus on Zone Defenses?
Bringing in Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor shows that Washington will look to improve it's bad defense of the 2011-12 season. While they are an athletic team, there are plenty of ways to build a defensive unit to make them a playoff contender.
One great thing the Wizards possess is a lot of frontcourt depth. They have physical guys who bang inside and are forces defensively. Along with that Washington also has athletic guards who can create turnovers and not get torched off the dribble. Emphasizing zone defenses could bring different schemes to stop a specific weakness they might encounter.
A 2-3 zone could make a team focus on having to live or die by the long ball, but a 3-2 zone would make them test the big men of Washington. Either way we will see an improved defensive effort from the Wizards, but implementing different looks makes them a more versatile unit.
Who Should Play the Role of Sixth Man?
A starting lineup is vital to a team's success, but great coaches know how to spread production over the course of a game. That's why Washington must bring Jordan Crawford off the bench in order to create the best rotation.
Crawford is a capable scorer who averaged 14.7 points in a split role last season. The negative of his high scoring is his awful shot selection. In 27.4 minutes a game, he managed to throw up 13.6 shots a game on a sub-par 40 percent shooting.
This is a talented scorer, yes, but he would benefit from coming off the bench. Crawford can score in bunches and would give the second unit a dangerous scorer to work with. His biggest concern is his ability to stop the flow of an offense. He hardly looks to pass, but would receive plenty of opportunities coming in as a reserve.
Many successful NBA teams have that bulk scorer off the bench. Just look at how Jason Terry and James Harden make their livings. Washington needs Crawford to be that guy.