Washington Wizards: 5 Things The Wizards Must Do To Win Games
There have been several impressive games from the Washington Wizards, from John Wall's 28 points and nine assists against the Atlanta Hawks to his 29 points, 13 assists, and nine steals during his D.C. debut against the Philadelphia 76ers. Other than those performances, nothing has really been an eye opener towards success upon this season.
The only game this season that was really out of hand was the Orlando Magic game, in which they got shut out from the first two minutes of the game. Other games were tightly matched up until probably the last two minutes of the fourth quarter, when the Wizards didn't seem to kick into full gear.
I believe that the Washington Wizards can turn the tide of what looks like a bad season into a promising one if they do the following:
Defense is a word that can be emphasized to almost every team in the NBA, but the Wizards need it more than other teams. Kirk Hinrich and JaVale McGee have been the only Wizards that have shown flashes of great defense against opposing teams.
I have to point this out: John Wall is an impressive defender when he wants to be. In his game against the 76ers, he was racking up steals. But when defending after a fastbreak, he seemed like he wasn't getting down the floor, which caused him to get beat and let someone pull a jumper in his face.
Kirk Hinrich is, by far, the team's best defender. What I really like about him is that he doesn't care whether he gets crossed up. He just wants to make it as tough as possible on the ballhandler. JaVale is getting a lot better with his blocking instincts, but he looks clueless when it comes to help-side defense. A lot of times, when you catch a player passing by someone on the wing, JaVale is hesitant to come over and contest the layup.
By the way, Al Thornton is improving his defense also.
Get To The Foul Line
One of the things that people always complain about in regards to the Washington Wizards is how often they tend to take the worst shot available. Mainly, Nick Young and Andray Blatche are the culprits of this.
Nick Young has horrible shot selection, which is one of the reasons that I believe he struggles with consistency every game. Andray Blatche recently said that he will start taking the ball towards the rim more. Coming off of a foot injury and gaining even more weight, Blatche needs to keep taking the ball to the hoop until he can get his shot back to last year's form.
Nick Young, on the other hand, has tremendous leaping abilities, which makes me question why he doesn't take it to the rim more often, rather than just driving and shooting fade-away jumpers.
Ever since Andray has dedicated himself to taking it in and getting to the foul line, he has been averaging 20 points per game.
Better Coaching Decisions
I love Flip Saunders, I really do. I love the fact that he has such a great offensive mind. I even take some plays I see him run and run them on my rec league team.
But recently he has been struggling with substitutions. In the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Al Thornton was having a monster game going into the fourth quarter. Thornton had 23 points and six rebounds. But Saunders subbed the hot-handed Al Thornton for Gilbert Arenas to work with the three-guard rotation. That's fine. Give Thornton some rest because he is probably tired.
But the problem was that he didn't play Al Thornton the whole fourth quarter. He later apologized, but he still should have had Thornton out there, especially since it was a close game near the end.
Coach Saunders needs to realize that the team needs to win, even if you have to play someone more than you may have wanted.
Josh Howard is expected to be playing next month, which means more depth on the roster. Howard already is cleared to participate in full-contact drills, but he isn't 100 percent yet, with his ACL still recovering. The Wizards can use all the help they can get off the bench because the production just isn't there yet.
That being said, I'm assuming Howard would start and Thornton would come off the bench.
Gilbert is another health concern, even though we are holding onto him for now. We still want to see what he can do, and so do the other teams who may have a slight interest in trading for him.
If we can maintain health throughout the season, it would be a whole lot easier to evaluate the team in terms of how good the Wizards are compared to other teams.
Allow John Wall And Bigs to Perfect Pick & Roll Game
The pick-and=roll offense is valuable in the NBA because it allows the PG to create space and could allow an easy look to the big man depending on how effective the screen is. Wall hasn't had too many troubles with performing the pick-and-roll, but the bigs seem like they have problems setting solid screens.
Wall has the ability to be nearly unstoppable if he can get his chemistry right with the team during the pick-and-roll situations. He can drive or dish it out to a teammate.
JaVale McGee is the main one I want to point out, because he never really sets a solid screen to get open. But when he does, the play usually either finishes with a quick Wall layup or an athletic McGee alley-oop finish.
Andray Blatche is solid with his screens. But as I discussed before, I just wish he would go to the basket more instead of settling for the jumper all the time. For being a player compared to KG, he needs to realize that KG used to dunk on people early in his career.
For right now, the Wizards are in a slump. But they are lucky it is the beginning of the season, so they can make up for it. Luckily for the NBA, John Wall's threat level is on yellow right now. Any more than that and the Wizards may be a team to look out for.
Is this a little too early for the Wizards to panic?
But the Wizards do need to start winning if they want any possibility of making it to playoffs.