The NBA All-Star break was a win for the Washington Wizards. John Wall showed some strut in both the All-Star Game and the dunk "contest," and the team, now healthy, got some rest for the playoff push in the Eastern Conference.
When thinking about the Wizards, one may encounter feelings of disappointment. But this version of the capital's team shows promise, taking advantage of a weak conference and the development of an exciting backcourt headed by one of the premier point guards in the Association.
However, hidden beneath the promising surface of Wall, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Nene and Marcin Gortat is an ugly bench of Eric Maynor, Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin and Otto Porter—players brought into Washington by general manager Ernie Grunfeld whom coach Randy Wittman hasn't been able to do much with short of throwing them on the court.
The Wizards bench has the third-worst net rating per 100 possessions in the league, according to NBA.com statistics.
But the future is bright in Washington. As of publication, the Wizards are 26-28 and hold the No. 6 seed in the playoffs—just 2.5 games behind a top-four seeding.
They will likely make the playoffs and, in the next few slides, I'll predict how they get there.
Statistics and records accurate as of Feb. 19, 2014. Follow Wes on Twitter @wcgoldberg.