Washington Wizards' Biggest Disappointments and Surprises of the 2013 Season

Jonathan MunshawCorrespondent IMay 3, 2013

Washington Wizards' Biggest Disappointments and Surprises of the 2013 Season

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    The Washington Wizards' 2013 season was full of surprises and disappointments—well, mostly disappointment. 

    After finishing below .500, yet again, Wizards fans are left wanting more, looking hopefully toward October.

    It wasn't all bad news for the Wiz, however. A number of players proved that they are ready to perform for the team in the future.

    These players came from all sorts of background, giving the team hope that they have not only a young base to build around but also veterans who can bring some experience to the team.

    These surprises were truly something that the team was not expecting heading into this season, therefore John Wall is not a surprise.

    The disappointments on the team were players expected to perform well for the team, only to fall flat and hold the team back from growing this season. That's not to say these disappointments can't turn into surprises next season, but the 2012-13 season was certainly bad news for them.

Disappointment No. 3: Bradley Beal's Injuries

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    Thirteen points and three rebounds per game are certainly solid numbers for a rookie, but because Bradley Beal was constantly facing injury, his numbers weren't as great as they could have been.

    In all, Beal missed 26 total games, most of them coming at the end of the season when he since he missed the latter part.

    Damian Lillard ended up taking the title of Rookie of the Year, and with his numbers, it's hard to say that a healthy Beal could have caught Lillard.

    During the last part of the year, John Wall had to pick up the slack on the offense, but still, the team ultimately struggled in Beal's absence. 

    It's not likely that the Wizards would have made the playoffs with a healthy Beal, but having him for a full year would give Washington a better idea of what he brings to the table. Plus, at 19, Beal could use all the experience he can get in this league.

Disappointment No. 2: A.J. Price

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    When the Washington Wizards learned that John Wall would miss the first part of the season with injury, they immediately turned to A.J. Price to fill in at starting point guard.

    However, Price fell flat, as did the team. During October and November, when Price filled in, he only averaged eight points and over five assists per game. 

    Even in the backup role, Price failed to impress. He finished the year, averaging just under eight points per game while shooting 39 percent from the floor. 

    He did pick up some steam toward the end of the year, putting up 24 points in the final game of the season against the Chicago Bulls and 23 points three games before that against the Miami Heat.

    Prior to that, Price hadn't scored any more than 18 points in one game the entire season. 

    Like Bradley Beal, Price was also bitten by the injury bug and only appeared in 57 of 82 games this season.

    At 26, Price is starting to reach the peak of his NBA career, but he still has time to show that he can contribute to the Wizards.

Disappointment No. 1: Jan Vesely

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    Ever since Jan Vesely was taken No. 6 overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2011 NBA draft, Washington fans knew they were in for some bad news.

    Vesely was passed up by other teams in the draft, and players like Kemba Walker and Klay Thompson, who were taken after Vesely, have had much more successful careers than the Czech native thus far. 

    Vesely only saw more time on the court than one other player on the team—Jason Collins.

    After only averaging four points per game last year, Vesely followed up his rookie year averaging just over two points per game.

    On top of that, his 30 percent free-throw percentage was one of the worst in the league.

    Vesely's performance in every major statistical category went down this season, taking away any hope fans had of the big man contributing to the Wizards. Sure, there wasn't much to expect after the 2011-12 season, but as a first-round pick, Vesely was at least expected to maintain his numbers.

Surprise No. 3: Trevor Ariza

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    When Washington Wizards fans had heard that the team traded Rashard Lewis to the New Orleans Hornets, they were more focused on the fact that Lewis's outrageous contract was gone rather than the acquisitions of Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor. 

    However, Ariza turned out to be a nice surprise for the Wizards this season, becoming one of the better players coming off the bench for the team.

    The 27-year-old only started in 15 games for Washington, but still averaged 26 minutes per game.

    In those minutes, Ariza was very productive, averaging nine points per game. 

    Ariza was also a huge threat from three, shooting a career-high 36 percent from behind the arc.

    In addition to offense, Ariza contributed on defense, pulling down four defensive rebounds per game. Ariza tacked on just over a steal per game.

    Ariza will probably never be a starter on the Wizards, but it will be nice having him around next year, as his presence on the bench adds a valuable scoring threat to the roster.

Surprise No. 2: Emeka Okafor

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    Speaking of the Rashard Lewis trade, Emeka Okafor was also a valuable piece brought in to Washington through that trade.

    Okafor, now 30, was the best defensive player for the Washington Wizards this season. The 6'10" center averaged a block per game and was the team's leading rebounder with over eight per game.

    Most of those rebounds came on defense as well, pulling down six defensive boards per game. 

    Okafor's offensive numbers were certainly down from previous years, but that wasn't an emphasis for Washington as the team finished with the eighth-best scoring defense in the league.

    No one expected Okafor to contribute as much as he did to this team after spending three years with the New Orleans Hornets, but Okafor certainly proved he can still play in the NBA.

    He doesn't have too many more years left in his career, but he is a valuable asset for the Wizards to have around as long as he can continue to produce on defense. 

Surprise No. 1: The Team's Performance After Its Slow Start

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    After the Washington Wizards started out the season with a 12-game losing streak, fans were already turning off their televisions expecting the team to have yet another awful season.

    With no John Wall in the lineup for the first 33 games of the season, Washington only won one five games.

    When Wall returned, the Wizards record improved to 24-25 with their star point guard in the lineup.

    That's still below .500, but it's much better than fans had ever expected them to be after the dismal start they got out to.

    Unlike previous seasons, the Wizards were not the laughingstock of the league, as Wall actually gave the media a reason to give the team some airtime. 

    Wall gave the team some great moments to reflect on during the offseason, especially his 47-point game against the Memphis Grizzlies

    When Wall and Bradley Beal were actually able to be on the court together, they gave Wizards fans hope that one day the team could compete for a playoff spot.

    A 29-53 record is certainly nothing to be shouting about, but the turnaround for the Wizards in the second half of the season certainly was a surprise, considering the awful start the team had gotten out to in 2012. 

Honorable Mentions

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    Surprise: Martell Webster 

    While the entire team's performance improved when John Wall came back from injury, no single player improved more than Martell Webster.

    Webster had a career year, averaging 11 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the floor.

    The Washington Wizards are lacking at small forward outside of Webster and Ariza, but Webster looks to be the starter at that position heading into the 2013-14 season.


    Disappointment: Garrett Temple

    When Bradley Beal was out with a injury, Garrett Temple filled in at starting shooting guard.

    Temple struggled in that spot, only averaging five points per game. Considering Temple played an average of 22 minutes every game, his point production is expected to be higher than that. However, he wasn't a complete disappointment, as virtually no one expected Temple to be a starting shooting guard heading into this season.

    But, a below-average shooting percentage of 40 percent is hard to overlook.