5 Things the Washington Wizards Need to Do to Get Back into Playoffs Next Season

Joye Pruitt@hoopselectSenior Analyst IApril 23, 2012

5 Things the Washington Wizards Need to Do to Get Back into Playoffs Next Season

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    The Washington Wizards have most recently been labeled, with the exception of John Wall, as the “not so smart” squad of the Eastern Conference thanks to a few comments from Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets (for now).

    There is a way that they can redeem themselves next year.

    It starts, but doesn’t end, with Wall.

    The 2011 Rookie of the Year runner-up has been surrounded by inferior talent for almost his entire time in the league, but there seems to be a turnaround forming. The Wizards brought in veteran Nene Hilario and shipped a member of the “not so smart” faction, JaVale McGee, to Denver

    There are several other steps Washington must take in order to return to mediocrity for next season, because as plenty of Eastern Conference teams have proven, it only takes just enough to make it into the playoffs. 

Build Around John Wall

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    Wall is the Wizards' best player.

    Coming out of the University of Kentucky, Wall was supposed to rescue the Wizards’ franchise.

    He has not been able to because he has been surrounded by less-than-capable counterparts.

    Still, that does not dim what Wall has the potential to be. He has an improving jumper, good court vision, solid passing skills, etc. That only contributes to what Wall will be able to accomplish at this level.

    Putting more talented players around him, with much higher basketball IQs, will enable him to operate at his own pace. He would not be so concerned with wrangling his teammates in as much as controlling the pace of the offense to his liking.

Draft Thomas Robinson

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    Thomas Robinson is the best draft option for the Wizards, primarily because of his mental toughness.

    Robinson went through one of the roughest patches a student-athlete could experience, with the loss of some truly irreplaceable family members. Yet he thrived in their absence.

    It is as if he provided strength for his teammates when they would have wanted to give him a shoulder to lean on. Robinson has exhibited this same strength throughout the past year with the Kansas Jayhawks, by leading them past the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Final Four only to be defeated by the Kentucky Wildcats in the 2012 NCAA championship game.

    The loss didn’t take away from Robinson’s capacities as the most reliable scorer and defender for the Jayhawks. Robinson has an incredible work ethic that would only translate into greatness in the NBA. Washington needs players who lack that sense of entitlement and instead thrive on the need to succeed. 

Release Andray Blatche

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    Blatche is ridiculously out of shape and has a horrible work ethic. He truly sits at the opposite end of the spectrum of what Robinson has the potential to be.

    Blatche doesn’t take Washington seriously, and few other players in the history of the franchise have. At one point he was looked at as a veteran leader who would be able to pull the younger players in and give them a sense of drive. However, he has dropped to being entirely replaceable at his position.

    Blatche needs to go. 

Change Locker Room Mentality

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    The sense of entitlement is what has killed Washington throughout the season.

    With Wall in the picture, Washington was supposed to up the ante in the Eastern Conference, but that has not been the case.

    The Wizards are barreling through the dumps and becoming more and more beleaguered as time wilts on.

    Washington will come back better than they were this season if they go back to the drawing board and realize that they have not earned anything. They have a lot of grinding to endure before they earn playoff position in the Eastern Conference. 

Improving Fan Involvement

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    Washington has lost the camaraderie of their fans. They need to regain the trust and confidence of their hometown fans before they make any valuable strides towards next year’s postseason.

    Bringing in Robinson would help, seeing as how he is a native of DC. He would be the first step in rebuilding support for the franchise.

    Winning more games would help, too.