Final First-Half Player Power Rankings for Washington Wizards
Almost halfway through the NBA season, the Washington Wizards look almost exactly like what fans thought they would at the beginning of the season: a middle-of-the-pack team, who could make the playoffs if John Wall stays healthy.
The only thing that's changed since those original predictions is how poorly other teams in the Eastern Conference have played, making the Wizards look like a favorite to make the playoffs even with a sub-.500 record.
Washington has been arguably the most inconsistent team in the NBA this season, failing to break the .500 mark all season. They've put up two, four-game losing streaks (with a possible third coming if the team can't beat the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night).
But when the Wizards are able to have consistency in the lineup when players are finally able to get and stay healthy, especially the starting five.
So which players have been able to play in the most games and make the biggest impact? You'll just have to check out the power rankings for the first half of the 2013-14 season.
Note: All statistics are as of Jan. 7 and are prior to the Wizards' game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
15. Garrett Temple - Temple has played in 10.8 minutes per game this season, yet only averages 1.7 points.
Even a non-basketball fan knows that's not good. Temple is only shooting 30.8 percent from the floor and wouldn't work as a starter if Bradley Beal and/or Martell Webster were to miss time. Temple just hasn't been effective this year and needs to find his shot if he wants to play more minutes.
14. Otto Porter Jr. - The Wizards (and their fans) were certainly hoping for more out of the rookie, but because he essentially missed all of training camp, Porter has struggled to find his role on offense.
When watching him play, it's hard to even point out one thing that he is good at and the Wizards could utilize as a strength. Porter needs more time (maybe even some playing time in the D-League?) to get a feel for the pace of an NBA game.
13. Eric Maynor - The Wizards can't afford John Wall to miss time because he's the backbone of the team.
But what would be just as concerning is having to watch Eric Maynor play point guard. Head coach Randy Wittman isn't even giving him 10 minutes per game, but rightfully so. Maynor is averaging just 2.4 points and 1.8 assists and just isn't involved in the offense.
12. Glen Rice Jr. - After having a solid Summer League, Rice came out flat in the first part of the season, appearing in 11 games (and even starting in one) but only averaged 2.9 points before having to sit out with a wrist injury.
He is going to be out for another two weeks or so, and he'll need to do better than 29.7 percent shooting in order to get any sort of meaningful playing time.
11. Chris Singleton - Singleton hasn't necessarily done anything wrong this year, but he hasn't done anything right, either.
After missing the first 13 games of the season, Singleton has struggled to find his role on the team, appearing in just 11 games and averaging less than five points. However, he's shooting over 46 percent from three, so if he can find his way into the lineup, Singleton could be a good role player in about 10 minutes or so per game at small forward.
10. Kevin Seraphin
It's weird to think that prior to the Marcin Gortat trade, Kevin Seraphin was actually the favorite to start at center with Emeka Okafor out.
Following the Gortat trade, Seraphin has been reduced to a minor bench player, appearing in 10 minutes per game.
Seraphin started the season poorly, averaging just four points per game in November, according to ESPN, and continuing to struggle on defense as he has his entire career.
But the fourth-year player improved his play in December, putting up over six points per game in eight games on 55.3 percent shooting, according to ESPN.
Trevor Booker has taken over as Washington's main big man off the bench, leaving Seraphin to pick up what little minutes he can. Barring some injuries, Seraphin's 2014 probably won't be a particularly productive one on the basketball court.
9. Al Harrington
Looking at all of Washington's injuries this season (Bradley Beal, Nene, Trevor Ariza, Chris Singleton), it's easy to forget that Al Harrington even played seven games for the Wizards this season.
Harrington's injury early on in the season has gotten passed over by fans, and it doesn't seem like a timetable for his return is even a realistic thing at this point.
The 15th-year player was signed in the offseason to be a perimeter threat, but other players have managed to take over the role of the three-point shooter in the offense without Harrington.
But Harrington doesn't fall too far down the power rankings just yet because of the promise of having him on the roster.
Should the Wizards continue to be playoff contenders as the year goes on, Harrington could be a valuable asset down the stretch. In the seven games that he did play in, he had three games of double-digit points, shooting almost 43 percent from behind the arc.
When (or if) he finds his way back on the court, the Wizards will be happy they signed Harrington this offseason.
8. Jan Vesely
Please don't look at Jan Vesely's free-throw shooting. Or his points per game. Or pretty much anything in his box score, for that matter.
Vesely's effectiveness this year has come on defense, and effort isn't something that will show up in a stat line.
The former first-round draft pick is playing over 15 minutes per game as a defensive specialist and is putting up a steal and a half and a block per game.
But until he can figure out something on offense, Vesely will continue to be the punch line to a lot of Wizards-related jokes. He is shooting less than 30 percent from the charity stripe and is only averaging three points per game.
Vesely is a solid contributor to the defense and should continue to do so in 2014, but his offensive struggles should not go unnoticed.
7. Trevor Booker
After starting in just 14 games last season, Trevor Booker has already started 15 games this year, in part due to Nene's questionable health and the injury to Al Harrington.
In his last five games, Booker has played at least 22 minutes, and that's with Nene in the lineup.
Booker seems to be loving the starting role, as well, shooting 55.8 percent from the floor and averaging almost nine points in his 15 starts, according to ESPN.
The 26-year-old also passes the eye test, playing some tough minutes and generally being involved on offense and defense, averaging about four defensive rebounds per game and three offensive rebounds.
Don't sleep on Booker to be a regular starter for the rest of the season with minute restrictions on Nene.
6. Martell Webster
Although the Wizards are paying Martell Webster starting money, he has basically been the team's sixth man besides a string of starts with Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal out a few weeks back.
Webster has only started in 13 games this season, but is still on pace to surpass his career-highs in points, rebounds and steals.
With Ariza starting at small forward due to his strong defense, Webster has been effective coming off the bench, shooting about three percentage points better from three coming off the bench than when he starts a game, according to ESPN.
He's not going to be causing any opposing coaches to lose sleep at night, but he's an effective bench player who can make long-range shots in crunch time.
The start of the 2013-14 season for Nene was nothing new for the big man. When he's healthy, he's effective, but when he's hurt, the Wizards really feel the effects.
In games that Nene missed this season, the Wizards are just 1-7.
But in order to keep him healthy, Nene has been playing limited minutes. In his last five games, Nene only played more than 25 minutes once, and the limited minutes aren't hurting his production too much.
Coming off the bench, Nene has a better free-throw percentage and is only averaging about three less points in nine less minutes when he's coming off the bench, according to ESPN.
If the Wizards are serious about making a playoff run, they're better off continuing to limit Nene's minutes in order to keep him as healthy as possible heading into March and April because the Wizards are a significantly better team when he plays.
4. Trevor Ariza
It'd be difficult to find someone who would have said heading into this season that Trevor Ariza would have a career year, but at this point in the season it's certainly a possibility.
Ariza is shooting 41.3 percent from three, and is averaging over 14 points, which could match his career-high from the 2009-10 season when Ariza was with the Houston Rockets.
On defense, he continues to show why he was named the starter in the first place by averaging almost two steals per game and showing more effort on defense than almost anyone else on the team.
Unfortunately, improved play from Ariza could mean an eventual trade prior to the deadline because of his expiring contract, but as long as he's on the roster Ariza deserves to be the starter and the small forward in the crunch time of games.
3. Marcin Gortat
Marcin Gortat has had a very interesting season thus far to say the least. After showing up in Washington just days before the start of the season, Gortat has become a big player in the offense.
But his season got really interesting just a few weeks ago when he made headlines for all the wrong reasons for complaining about his role in the offense, especially with Nene out.
Despite his attention-grabbing headlines, Gortat has grabbed even more fans' attentions for his play, happy or not with his role.
Gortat has nine double-doubles already this season and has had some standout games where he's stepped up and become the No. 2 offensive option after John Wall.
However, there have been games when Gortat has been overpowered on defense by opposing big men, but it seems to change on a night-to-night basis on how Gortat has played on the defensive side of the ball.
According to Basketball Reference, Gortat currently has 1.1 defensive win shares, which measures how many wins a player contributes to a team based upon his defense. If Gortat continues that pace, it will be his lowest DWS since his rookie season.
But Gortat has been effective down low and has developed a decent mid-range shot, although he may not like shooting from 10 feet.
2. Bradley Beal
In just his second year in the NBA, Bradley Beal is looking like one of the most promising players in the league.
Now a lot of that depends upon how healthy he can stay with Beal missing time already this season, but when in the lineup, Beal is an exciting player to watch.
The 20-year-old is fourth among shooting guards in the Eastern Conference in points and is fifth in three-point shooting.
In his 22 starts, Beal already has games of 28, 29 and 34 points and could easily be the No. 1 offensive option on the team were it not for John Wall.
Unfortunately, Beal is having to take more shots to get his points, attempting almost 17 field goals per game and only shooting 40.3 percent. But when he's on, he's on and is a threat to sink a clutch three at any time in the fourth quarter of games.
In the second half of the season, Beal should look to take smarter shots if he really wants to take that next step as a NBA player.
1. John Wall
No one should be surprised that Wall is at the top of this list. Wall is the only player besides Marcin Gortat to play in every game, and he is the undisputed leader of the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards are starting to adopt Wall's attitude on the court, and they generally play up (or down) to Wall's level of play.
But thankfully for the Wizards, Wall has mainly only had "up" games. After receiving a max contract in the offseason, Wall has shown that he is well worth the money.
Wall is also on pace to put up career-high numbers in points, assists, steals, three-point shooting and free-throw shooting.
If he really wants to take his game to the next level and lift the Wizards to the playoffs and beyond, he needs to get better at getting to the foul line.
Wall is only attempting 5.2 free throws per game, which is the lowest average of his career. Wall is best when he's getting to the hoop, and a decline in free throws shows he's settling for jump shots rather than forcing the issue.
But that shouldn't take away from the fantastic season Wall is having as he makes a very compelling case to make the first All-Star game of his career.