Change in Spell-Book: Things The Wizards Need to Change to Make The Playoffs
As the NBA All-Star Weekend approaches, marking the mid-point of the NBA season, the Wizards have yet to win a game on the road. The Wizards will eventually get their first road victory, but it is hard to determine when being that they play so inconsistently.
John Wall has been active for the past couple of weeks but has admitted to not being able to play at 100 percent like he would like.
On a good note, the Washington Wizards have found that they are more than half-way done with developing players that would probably be with the Wizards in the future; that being about 4-7 years. There is a lot of praise going toward the general manager Ernie Grunsfeld for getting rid of Gilbert Arenas because of the improved basketball the Wizards have been playing.
But many think that Ernie Grunsfeld could have done a lot better considering the many teams in the NBA that have valuable players to trade that could possibly fit the Wizards slightly better than Lewis is.
Then again, Ernie doesn't have a time machine and has expressed that the move had to be made or else they wouldn't have the deal still up for grabs.
The goal from the start of the season and even the goal of Rashard Lewis after his trade was to make the playoffs, that would be fitting in possibly with a 7th or 8th seed.
Be Active Near Trade Deadline, But Not Stupid
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Rumors have been soaring recently ever since Andray Blatche had that fight in the club with JaVale McGee. Both players served a one-game suspension and that was it. The fact that Blatche has gotten into so much trouble prior to this incident is what now has landed him on the trading block.
Timeline of Blatche's Troubles/Incidents
September 27, 2005- Andray Blatche was shot in the chest after a carjacking, this was after leaving a club (wasn't really his fault but should be a warning of being safe in the night life)
August 2, 2007- Blatche was charged with sexual solicitation in the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. after allegedly soliciting sex from an undercover police officer. The solicitation charge was dropped after Blatche followed court orders and attended a day-long seminar for men who solicit prostitutes.
June 4, 2008- Blatche was arrested in Virginia on charges of reckless driving and driving on a suspended license for the third time. Blatche was going 86 mph in a 70 mph zone in a Mercedes on Interstate 85. He was released on bond.
March 23, 2010- Blatche benches himself after a dispute with head coach Flip Saunders.
December 25, 2010- Blatche gets into fight with teammate JaVale McGee in a club.
It sounds like the Wizards have their work cut out for them; although Blatche isn't too bad of a player.
Therefore they shouldn't just take dead weight for a potential all-star or troublemaker. An ideal trade would include draft picks or a promising big man to replace him.
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As expressed in many other of my articles, Trevor Booker is a hungry man.
I use hungry to the fact that every time he goes out on the basketball court, he wants to rip someone's head off; and by his physique, I doubt I would want to test him.
He is very undersized at 6'8 1/2, but has the strength to compete on the boards and muscle everybody in the paint. With the PF slot being so congested, it's hard for Booker to even crack the rotation in most games.
In the forward slot there is Andray Blatche, Rashard Lewis, and Yi Jianlian. Out of those three I personally think that he should be off the bench quicker than the soft Yi Jianlian.
Right now the Wizards aren't playing like they are hungry for every win, but more like hungry for a good lottery pick, and Booker needs to play so others can play off his aggressiveness. I don't know what he has to do to make Flip Saunders realize it.
JaVale McGee Needs to Mature in His Decision-Making
This mostly is pointed towards the two players on the team that are most likely going to be with the Wizards for the next couple of years and that is John Wall and JaVale McGee.
There are too many occasions where JaVale would catch a rebound and dribble up the court and try to take it for a coast to coast dunk. Despite the sound of his teammates yelling at him to pass the ball up to a guard. Then there are other times where JaVale would try and do a spectacular dunk on a fastbreak just like the rock-the-cradle dunk he did in the summer league, and fail terribly.
Every game you are bound to see McGee grab a rebound and dribble it all the way up the court like he is a guard, which can help you sometimes, but most of the times hurt you.
It is amazing where basketball IQ can progress a player, any dominant big man in the league is dominant because they play smart, and in order for McGee to take that extra step he needs to get his head straight.
John Wall Needs to Play Defense
Not all the plays in the video was John Wall's fault, just poor pick and roll defense by the big men.
Derrick Rose ate up John Wall in their first match-up due to the fact that Wall doesn't get low every time he is in his defensive stance and reaches in whenever a guard gets past him, instead of trying to get in front of him. He needs to learn that if he keeps play without proper stance that most of the time a player will end up on ESPN due to getting crossed up.
John Wall also needs to mature from a mental standpoint because he needs to realize that in the NBA, everybody is as quick as you or quicker, therefore he needs to step up and play some real defense instead of playing defense just standing up.
Wall came into this league as an underrated defender, which he is.
But right now he isn't proving to be rated much higher because he only plays defense when he feels like it. I've seen him give PGs problems before, but it is a matter of stay consistent in being a nagging defender that makes players like Ron Artest, Shane Battier, and Chris Paul so special.
John Wall has the tools to become a great defender, we just have to see him put some work into it...maybe Kirk Hinrich can teach him a few things.
Feed The Hot Hand!
Nick Young has been playing phenomenal basketball this season so far.
He reached a new career high twice this season, and is continuing to score on a consistent basis. He is now averaging 22.1 ppg in the month of January and averaged 18.3 ppg in December.
The main thing that has improved this year is his confidence in his jump shot, in which previous years he struggled greatly with. Young is also starting to play defense a lot better; he isn't the quickest defender out there but he is starting to give good effort every time he is defending his opponents.
If Gilbert Arenas was still in D.C. , Nick Young would most likely be in the discussion for the Sixth Man of the Year Award, but now that he has earned a starting spot and Arenas has departed, he can make a run at the Most Improved Player Award.
Right now, Young is the Wizards' best scoring option ahead of Andray Blatche and possibly Rashard Lewis and needs to find his shooting stroke early in the game so his confidence can get a booster.
Just last season, the Wizards were talking about trading Nick Young and offering him to the Portland Trailblazers for Rudy Fernandez.
Now this season, he is an addition to the rebuilding process which is turning out to be a lot quicker than expected, and could make a name for himself and the Wizards if the Wizards make it to the eighth seed in the playoffs, even if that means being swept by whoever finishes first.