By Ben Standig and Brian Jackson
Ben Standig: For starters, this premise involves tangible concerns as opposed to say made up injuries to John Wall or Bradley Beal. Could we focus on Paul Pierce or Andre Miller battling father time? Sure. Locker room chemistry with so many changes this offseason makes the short list. The head coach will be directing a team coming off a playoff appearance for the first time. That said, I’m going down the bumps and bruises category. Martell Webster’s recovery from mid-summer back surgery could keep him off the game-day roster until late 2014. At that point, the sweet-shooting swingman still might not be close to 100 percent. Last season Webster served as the primary backup at small forward and wing guard.
Right now, those roles are left to unproven second-year players Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr. Granted both looked great during the Las Vegas Summer League, but games during wintertime are another level. The Wizards don’t want to play Pierce heavy minutes all season and some off that run will come at power forward. We’ve seen Bradley Beal’s body break down when his minutes soar. Garrett Temple can step in and help on both ends, but Rice is the one poised to provide offensive punch off the bench. If Rice can’t cook from the field, the default position could be overworking Beal. All of this has me a tad surprised the Wizards haven’t used their 15th roster spot on another swingman. Maybe they will or maybe Webster returns soon or maybe Porter and Rice step up as hoped. Until then, we’re left to wonder a little bit, right?
Brian Jackson: With the addition of Paul Pierce to go along with a backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal the Wizards should have no problems scoring next season. But after losing Trevor Ariza to Houston what will they look like on the other end of the floor?
The Wizards ended last season tied for ninth in NBA defensive efficiency. Night in and night out Ariza was tasked with harassing the opposing team's best wing scorer. Outside of a 39-point effort in game four, Ariza held Paul George in check during their second round playoff series against Indiana. George shot just 34% from the field in the other five games of the series. In the first round of the playoffs, Ariza shut down D.J. Augustin as the Wizards closed out the Chicago Bulls in five games.
Individually both Wall and Beal turn it on defensively in spots. As currently constructed the Wizards don't have a player on their roster that can be considered a lock down one-on-one defender. Outside of Dwyane Wade the Wizards won't run into that many elite wing scorers in the South East Division. However, come playoff time this could become an issue.