Note: This is the latest installment in a ten-part series on the top storylines facing the Wizards this season. Check CSNwashington.com daily for additional entries.
Can A.J. Price, Shelvin Mack and Jannero Pargo fill the huge void at point guard left by the injury to John Wall? That's a huge question for the Wizards heading into the regular season now that Wall is out for at least the first month of the season with a knee injury. With no clear-cut favorite so far in training camp, Price, Mack and Pargo all have a great opportunity to be the opening night starter at point guard.
"I told all three of them when they came in here, Im not looking for anything different than why we brought them in here, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. They are who they are and they dont need to be, now with John out, to try to come in and be somebody different."
Certainly none of these three players can match the talents that Wall brings -- he averaged 16 points and 8 assists the last two seasons for the Wizards. But what they can do -- and what they have shown at times they have the ability to do -- is to run an offense. However, all are relatively inexperienced as starters.
Mack backed up Wall last season and averaged 3.6 points and 2 assists in 12 minutes a game. Price played for Indiana for three years as a backup, averaging 6 points and 2 assists, while Pargo enters his ninth NBA season with experience mostly as a role player.
In the pre-season opening 100-88 loss at Charlotte on Sunday, A.J. Price got the start and scored 9 points but only had 1 assist and turned the ball over 5 times in 25 minutes of play. Mack came off the bench, scored 3 points but had 7 assists and no turnovers. Pargo did not play because of a rib injury but is expected back this week for practice.
The spot is definitely open," Pargo said. "Its not given to me or anyone else. If you want it youve got to go out there and prove you want it and show you can handle that position until John gets back."
It's not the ideal situation to not have your best player and court leader in Wall missing the first month of the season, but the Wizards will have to find a way to at least shore up the point guard position until he returns. They had better hope that Price, Mack and Pargo can do the job or it will be a tough start to a long 82-game season.