It’s clear and evident that the Washington Wizards need John Wall. It’s also clear and evident that the Wizards have this weird average when they’re more successful against teams with winning records. Hence, losing to the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks, but soaring past the San Antonio Spurs.
The bigger picture is the fact Washington has the tools to be more efficient in developing a strong scoring attack. The big question is why don’t the Wizards detect and utilize it?
A prime example of the Wizards using their strengths was recently against the Spurs. Washington showed out and was victorious simply because they all shared the ball and were very well-rounded offensively. Only five players were held to single digits, while the remaining seven kept the ball moving.
The Wizards scored a total of 116 points over Gregg Popovich’s Spurs, 61 coming from the bench alone. A successful bench allows the starters to rest, but keeps the momentum right where it was left off. Washington proved that as Jodie Meeks, Ramon Sessions, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Mike Scott combined for 48 points with 15 from behind the arc.
Solid shooting from Markieff Morris and Otto Porter Jr. assisted as well, combined missing only one shot for 29 points. A 38-point second quarter by the Wizards helped set them up for a strong first half lead.
Help From the Backcourt….(Yes Beal, We Mean You)
The biggest downfall was Bradley Beal, who didn’t hit his first shot until 4.1 seconds were left in the first half. Beal ended the game with seven points and six assists.
For someone who felt they were robbed of an All-Star selection last season and finally obtained it this year. Some more effort in his part would definitely suffice. Showing up in one game scoring 20+ points and then disappearing the next game won’t relieve the tension that’s left with Wall being out.
Granted it’s the whole team’s job to pick up the pace when a teammate is out. When you’re part of the top-10, arguably top five, best back court duos, it’s only right that it’s lived up to.
Now the Spurs lost LaMarcus Aldridge for most of the game, but what if the Wizards’ bench never came through like they did and Beal remained with his seven points? Washington could’ve easily lost and even been pushed down further in the Eastern Conference. With Wall supposedly returning possibly in the next few days, Beal can’t wait till then to battle it out. His game must be consistent regardless of who is in or out of the game.
Protect and Dominate the Paint
Another aspect to developing this “well-rounded” team is protecting and dominating the paint. This is major for centers Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi. For these big guys, it should be a given of having a good double-double type of game especially for Gortat. In the game versus the Spurs, Gortat added 12 points of his own and eight rebounds. Typically for the big fella, we could expect a decent amount of boards, but the scoring is a bit below average especially depending on the amount of minutes he’s playing. Mahinmi has moments when he starts off hot as well, but the games vary. Too many centers in the league who can do 20 and 20 easily, whereas the Wizards’ big men can barely score in double figures and grab 10 boards.
Other teams understand that the main scorers are Beal and Wall and if you force them off course, it makes the other players force more shots or play a game they’re not familiar with. It leads to destruction, but if Washington plays a game where they all contribute then it’s tough to stop them.