Wizards lack depth, variety behind Nene

Wizards lack depth, variety behind Nene
April 23, 2013, 11:30 am
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The Wizards (29-53) may look different next season as they set their sights on making a legitimate run for the playoffs. This is the fourth in a series breaking down the roster by position, how they fared and what's ahead. Power forwards:

Nene

Numbers game: 12.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 48% FG shooting, 72.9% FT shooting.

2013-14 status: He will make $13 million in the third year of a five-year, $67 million deal he originally signed with the Denver Nuggets. 

Where he excels: Can make the mid-range jump shot and is the Wizards' best interior passer. Plays well off C Emeka Okafor and able to create his own shot in tight spaces. 

Quick fixes: Foot and leg injuries slowed the 7-footer's progress and his rebounding suffered. The Wizards should monitor his minutes from the start of the season to prevent setbacks and put his backups on the spot to perform. 

He said it: "Your body, your mind, when you get so stressed, so frustrated, that’s the sort of thing (retirement) you think about. If I don’t take care of my body, for sure I could shrink my career. ... I need to be responsible for my body."

Grade: C

 

Trevor Booker

Numbers game: 5.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 49.1% FG shooting, 55.6% FT shooting.

2013-14 status: Going into the fourth year of his rookie scale contract, he is due $2.35 million. Booker openly talked about playing elsewhere and is the Wizards' best trade asset at this position.

Where he excels: A glue player who missed 34 games, he brings energy and effort. He isn't a threat to make the mid-range shot, but he cleans up everything else in between.

Quick fixes: Like so many others on the Wizards, health is a primary concern. A left hamstring strain, a right knee strain and a bruised tailbone derailed him this season. Booker also has had problems with both feet that have led to missed games. It's unlikely that he'll ever be a shooter, but any sort of improvement he can make on his range outside the paint and at the foul line would be helpful. 

He said it: "All I need is some minutes, I can show that I can produce. It was a good opportunity to show what we can do (at the end of the season).”

Grade: B

 

Chris Singleton

Numbers game: 4.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 38.2% FG shooting, 19.4% 3FG shooting, 57.1% FT shooting.

2013-14 status: He'll make $1.61 million for his third season on his rookie scale contract. Too much potential to give up on, unless there's a trade that can give the Wizards better diversity at this position. He went from starting 51 games as a rookie to just 11. 

Where he excels: This season, nowhere. Singleton regressed in every category, particularly three-point shooting after having 34.6% accuracy as a rookie. When playing well, he can defend "stretch fours" with his length at 6-8, mobility and strength. He can show glimpses of being a good shooter which could provide matchup problems for the opposing team. That didn't happen as his minutes were sporadic. 

Quick fixes: Ideally, he could be the pick-and-pop option behind Nene. Singleton is the one player behind him who has the range and potential for scoring outside the paint. By season's end, Singleton was shooting airballs and had no confidence. He has to be decisive and finish plays with strong moves to the basket. When he's unsure, it tends to show. 

He said it: “It was kind of tough because we brought in so many veterans that had already proven themselves in the league. in his (coach Randy WIttman's) position it was probably tough to look over them and try and play me. My time will come.  When I signed up to come to the NBA, I knew everything wasn't going to go my way. I just have to tough it out and get through it."

Grade: D

Jan Vesely

Numbers game: 2.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 50% FG shooting, 30.8% FT shooting.

2013-14 status: Will make $3.34 million for his third season on a rookie scale contract. He's the highest draft pick among the reserves at his position, but also the least productive. 

Where he excels: Plays with good energy and with Wall, who sets him up for easy baskets at point-blank range. Has soft hands as evidenced by touch passes he makes from the post. When he stays under control can give good minutes on the defensive end with challenging shots and clogging the paint.

Quick fixes: There aren't any. Wittman said it best: "He needs to work on his head first." Vesely, who appears fluid in practice, noticeably has stage fright in actual games. He tends to fumble the ball, has no range on his shot and panics on the foul line. He has to remedy the mental hangups first or the rest is useless. 

He said it: “Working out with them was a great experience, just to learn from them, like (Okafor) and Nene. It was a great experience to see them in practice. I have to work hard and just come back ready. First of all I have get stronger a little bit, so that’s I think the main focus.”

Grade: F