Even though the roster does possess other valuable talent, there is no denying that the former Kentucky star is the heart of the Wizards franchise. After all, the team has already spent one first overall selection on him and seems pretty committed to building the roster around him.
This, in fact, is one of the reasons why the Wizards find themselves with a dismal 9-30 record. When a team is built around a centerpiece that is unable to play due to a lingering knee injury, chances are the organization is going to watch its collection of players struggle to obtain wins, especially when said player is a point guard.
That has not been the only problem for the Wizards, though. Veteran additions Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and Nenê Hilário, all acquired in the last year, have failed to pan out. Also, prospects Jan Veselý, Kevin Seraphin, Jordan Crawford and Chris Singleton have not taken the next step in their individual games that Washington was probably hoping for.
Nevertheless, the Wall issue was undoubtedly the worst for the franchise. Since returning to action, the starting point guard has propelled the Wizards to four wins in their last six games.
Don't look now, but John Wall is on a quest to salvage Washington's season.
*All stats are accurate as of January 22, 2012.
Defenses will always key in on a player of John Wall's caliber.
That's no secret, as there are few point guards in the Association with the scoring prowess, athleticism and size of Wall.
The 22-year-old is often the subject of double-teams, which allows teammates to find open shots either under the basket or around the perimeter. Usually, these opportunities present themselves when Wall penetrates, which allows him time to survey the defense to find the correct pass for the situation.
Wall hasn't quite mastered this skill, but he is a much better distributor than the other points guards the team has trotted out there in his absence. Shelvin Mack, Shaun Livingston, Jannero Pargo and A.J. Price are all far inferior in the art of being an elite facilitator.
In his third season in the NBA, expect Wall to make major improvements in this area. The last two seasons, he has averaged a solid eight assists per night. With Bradley Beal in the mix, it is definitely possible for that numbers to increase into the double-digits.
Besides Jordan Crawford, the Wizards didn't really possess any other players that could score off the dribble when John Wall was out.
With Wall back, the team has two options that have this facet to their game. However, these two have different skill sets allowing them to take the opposition off the dribble.
Crawford relies on his sweet shooting stroke, while Wall utilizes his top-tier athleticism. However, Wall would become an elite scorer, if he can somehow develop a mid-range jumper.
Defenders sag off Wall, making life a bit more difficult for the point guard. Nevertheless, the Wizards rank dead last in points per game, averaging only 91 points per contest.
That statistic will greatly improve due to Wall's return.
The NBA season is one of the more grueling in professional sports.
The schedule spans over half the year, there are 82 games and the pressure is always on, considering that this is one of the most watched sports in the world.
Without a leader, it would be easy to see why a team would struggle to find cohesion, especially when said franchise just acquired multiple new veterans in the offseason.
With Wall's return, the Wizards finally possess the floor general the team needs to make the next step in its progression. With the talent on the roster, this team should not possess one of the worst records in the NBA at 9-30.
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