A team that knows its identity is a successful one. As of late, the Wizards have been just that.
They’re 16-14 since point John Wall’s return Jan. 12, and coach Randy Wittman has been preaching the need for them to create pace to finish the season on a high note.
In Wednesday’s 106-93 win vs. the Milwaukee Bucks, the Wizards (21-42) produced 18 fast-break points.
“The easiest thing to develop pace is to get them to miss shots, get a rebound and get out (on the break). Even if they make shots we have to be able to push the ball up,” said guard Garrett Temple, who has started the last three games while Bradley Beal has been out with a left ankle sprain since March 4. “We’re not a great half-court team that’s going to score very possession in half-court. …
“A couple times they scored, (John) pushed it up … and was able to get a layup anyway. Having a guy that good, the pace is real big for us.”
Wall has been reviewing film with Wittman and is beginning to understand his responsibilities better. Wall doesn't always have to get them a score quickly. He has to put pressure on defenders to get in position, not let them get settled and quickly get into offensive sets. That'll force the defense into more errors and create secondary break opportunities.
Shooters such as Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza, and Bradley Beal when he returns from a left ankle sprain, will get even cleaner looks at the basket.
“We can make shots in the half-court because we do a better job of setting guys up," Wall said. "We have post players that can score and play around the post. But we know our strength is pushing it, getting into pace and get open shots for Martell, Trevor."