Early-Season Studs and Duds for the Washington Wizards

Martin BaterContributor IINovember 16, 2012

Early-Season Studs and Duds for the Washington Wizards

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    The Washington Wizards are 0-7, the only winless team in the NBA as of Saturday, November 17, so talking about studs and duds seems kind of pointless, doesn’t it?

    The problem with the Wizards isn’t their sad record.

    After all, you just have to go back to the 2003-04 season to remember a scrappy Miami Heat team led by some rookie called Dwyane Wade that started 0-7 and then made the playoffs with a 42-40 record.

    The real problem in Washington is the utter feeling of hopelessness that the franchise has nowadays.

    When the Charlotte Bobcats beat you convincingly by 16 points and you only scored 76, then your franchise really has to take a look around and ask itself what has prompted it to have an 88-231 record since 2008.

    However, as bad as things seem right now in D.C., there have been some bright spots in this hollow start of the season.

    So let’s take a look at the studs and (mostly) duds for the Wizards so far this year.

Stud: Kevin Seraphin

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    Kevin Seraphin plays just 22 minutes a game off the bench, but he has made the most of his playing time by scoring more than 15 points three times this season.

    Yes, the standard is that low to call someone a stud on this roster.

    The Wizards are a desperate woman and Seraphin is a middle-aged guy with a steady job and no criminal record. Not ideal, but good enough.

    The 22-year-old power forward drew praise for his 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting in a gutsy effort that ultimately ended in a 107-101 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

    If Seraphin can prove he is a consistent, reliable weapon in the key moments of a game, then the Wizards will be that much better off in the future.

Dud: Jan Vesely

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    Jan Vesely is just in his second year in the NBA, but it seems like everything has gone steadily downhill for the small forward from the Czech Republic since he was the protagonist of one of the coolest draft moments of the past decade.

    However, there is nothing his girlfriend or anybody else can do when you are a top-10 pick but you barely see time on the floor and your teammate is trying to take free throws in your place.

    The fact is that Vesely started in 20 games last season while averaging 19 minutes and 4.7 points.

    This year has been a different story, since he hasn’t been on the court for the opening tip yet and his minutes have dropped to just 13.6 .

    Long story short, he is the lowest scorer on the team.

    Vesely has room for improvement, that’s for sure, but a lot more is and should be expected from a player that was the sixth pick of the draft in 2011.

    It remains to be seen whether Vesely can live up to those expectations or if he will pull a Darko and become the high pick that shouldn’t have been.

Stud: Bradley Beal

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    The Wizards starters have been so putrid and unremarkable this season that they were outscored by the second unit four times this season, the most recent humiliation came against the Mavs when those who came off the bench scored 63 of their 101 points.

    However, if there is a ray of sunshine in this otherwise stormy season for the Wizards, it is the fact that Bradley Beal is a promising player.

    Beal has had his struggles, including going 4-of-25 in his last two games, but he is the team’s stud because he is the team’s leading scorer with 11.6 points per game.

    Beal hasn’t been outstanding by any stretch of the imagination, but three of Washington’s closest losses came in a three-game stretch when Beal scored 16, 22 and 17 points.

    Those losses came against the Celtics by six in overtime, the Bucks by 10 and the Pacers by four.

    Take the silver linings where you can take them if you are in Washington.

    Beal might be inconsistent, but the Wizards need him to keep progressing if they hope to be respectable this season.

Dud: A.J. Price

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    The stats say that A.J. Price leads the Wizards in assists with 6.9 per game and is scoring at a career-high rate, but the eye test says that he is a below-average replacement for John Wall.

    If he wasn’t, the Wizards wouldn’t bring in Shaun Livingston.

    Livingston is the same player that tore up his knee in 2007 and has started a grand total of 63 games for four different teams during the past four seasons.

    Price’s Player Efficiency Rating is of 11.12, almost four points below the league average.

    The bottom line is that Price had a chance to prove he was ready to step up in his third year in the league, but he has failed to do so and that is why his starting spot is on the line.

Dud: Jannero Pargo

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    Jannero Pargo was unceremoniously waived on Thursday to make room for Livingston, and there is little reason to question head coach Randy Wittman for reaching that conclusion.

    Pargo averaged 3.0 points and 2.0 assists per game in 14.6 minutes in his brief, forgettable stint as a Wizard.

    The Chicago Bulls are among the teams interested in his services now that he is a free agent (h/t realgm.com).

    Who knows, maybe playing for a contender would ignite the fire that was certainly missing during his time in Washington.  

Stud: Washington Wizards Fans

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    The Wizards may have the worst record in the league, but their fans are the ones who have to endure it, so they are the true studs of this 2012-13 NBA season.

    Cheers to you, Washington fans. May 2013 bring you a better Wizards team, RG3 as a more polished quarterback, a full year of Strasburg and Capitals hockey.

    In the meantime, the Wizards will cross their fingers to get a win, any win, before Nene and Wall come back.  

    Their fans certainly deserve to enjoy one soon enough.