There is no denying the Washington Wizards have struggled quite bit this season, mostly due to the absence of star John Wall. The first overall pick of the 2012 draft has yet to see any action on the court this season due to a stress injury to his left patella.
This was a devastating blow to both the organization and Wall, whom many predicted to have a breakout year.
His injury has forced the franchise to look for other players on the roster to replace all the production that the team was expecting from the former Kentucky star. Simply put, this search hasn't been too pretty.
Washington possesses a dismal 3-16 record, and their are few positives to take away from the first quarter of games. Veterans Nenê Hilário, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, who have all been acquired in the last year, have failed to turn this team into a competitor for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Prospects Jan Veselý, Kevin Seraphin, Jordan Crawford and Chris Singleton have shown little improvement in their respective games from last season, but the biggest disappointment is the play of Bradley Beal.
The rookie is scoring only 12 points per contest on 36 percent shooting from the field. The Wizards were probably expecting a little more production and efficiency from the third overall pick of this year's draft.
Nevertheless, a return of their point guard would do wonders in bringing this team around. However, the team doesn't have a timetable for Wall, which hurts the Wizards' quest to salvage their season.
The Washington Wizards are the worst offensive team in the entire NBA, only averaging about 90 points per contest. In a league all about scoring, this fact does not bode well for the lowly franchise.
While they weren't much better last season, as the team was only scoring four more points per night, it is worthy to note that Washington made quite the effort to bring talent to the franchise. The new acquisitions (Trevor Ariza, Nenê Hilário and Emeka Okafor) have just failed to pan out.
Insert John Wall, though, and the Wizards become a completely different squad on offense.
Wall is the only player currently on the roster who can create mismatches with his size and athleticism in isolation plays. With a 6'4" frame, explosive speed, solid fundamentals and a strong base, there are few player in the entire NBA that can handle this point guard one-on-one.
His ability to penetrate to the basket is spectacular, but there is one aspect of his offensive game that needs polishing.
Wall has always been a inconsistent jump shooter, allowing players to back off on him on defense. This, of course, takes away him main weapon—athleticism.
If Wall can find a decent mid-range jumper, then this point guard will immediately become one of the best scorers in the league.
The Washington Wizards offense has been stagnant the last month, which is a major reason the team finds itself in this monstrous hole. A.J. Price, the temporary starting point guard, has played poorly in the seventeen games he has filled in for Wall, only averaging nine points and five assists in 28 minutes of action.
While those numbers aren't horrible, defenses don't key in on Price like teams do with Wall. Due to averaging 16 points per game, opposing squads would sometimes resort to double-teaming on the facilitator, allowing him to find open shooters and big men for assists.
There is no doubting that Wall is fantastic finding the open player, as he averaged eight assists per contest last year. Now, with new faces on offense, Wall will have the potential to explode after a disappointing sophomore year.
The guard just has to recover from this difficult knee injury.
The Washington Wizards actually possess a solid starting lineup, barring injuries. Wall, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor and Nenê Hilário make up a pretty solid core that has the ability to excel on defense.
Their bench, however, is far from excellent, as the only consistent contributors are Jordan Crawford, Chris Singleton and Kevin Seraphin.
It is pretty clear to see the Wizards lack depth in numerous departments, including both guard slots and small forward. Luckily for Washington, though, Wall has the ability to play all three of those positions.
At Kentucky, Wall would sometimes be designated to the shooting guard position when former teammate Eric Bledsoe was inserted into the game. Obviously, a 6'4" frame and spectacular athleticism allows Wall to also excel in this off-ball role.
Also, Wall, who is a pretty solid defender, can come in a guard the opposing team's best perimeter player, if the team needs his defensive skill set.
Wall can do it all, which is why the team needs him so desperately.