The biggest question for the Wizards heading into the upcoming 2012-13 NBA season clearly is John Wall and can he make that next step and become a star in this league? Wall, the former No. 1 overall pick, really doesn't have a choice if the Wizards wants to turn around a squad that went 20-46 last season. Wall has to take his game and his team to another level this season.
Two years ago, Wall had a solid rookie season, averaging 16 points and 8 assists but averaged nearly identical statistics in his second season when many expected him to take a bigger leap. Wall shows flashes of brilliance with his dazzling speed and his high-level ability to finish around the rim but he has yet to find consistency in his jump shot, which has been his Achilles heel so far.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman has been with the team since it drafted Wall in 2010 -- then as an assistant and now as head coach -- and he knows this is a huge season for the point guard.
"This is a big year for him and its time to take the next step," Wittman said. "It's his third year and he knows the ins and outs of what to expect."
Wall was a big reason the Wizards closed out last season with a six-game winning streak. Wall went four straight games with a double-double in points and assists during that run, including a 21-point, 13-assist effort in a win over Cleveland in late April.
In the off-season, Wall has apparently worked on his jump shot and on getting stronger for the season, which starts in just one month.
There is no doubt that Wall is extremely talented but does he have the make-up to do whatever it takes to get better? Wittman believes he does.
"He's done a lot of things this summer to improve, work ethic being a part of it," Wittman said. "It just doesn't happen. You have to be willing to put time and effort."
Wall has to become the go-to player offensively and must be more of a vocal leader for this rebuilding Wizards team to become a factor in the eastern conference this season. If he doesn't, it will be another long season in D.C.