As things currently stand we have lots of boots on the ground covering, reporting and analyzing all things Washington Wizards - but another take can't hurt.
Especially when it comes from Kurt Helin, the lead NBA guru with our online partners at ProBasketballTalk.com. Kurt and the rest of the PBT crew are in the process of previewing every team. Yesterday, they got around to the Wizards, from recapping the offseason maneuvers to offering up the keys to the season, including:
When will John Wall be healthy, and can he make the leap? There are two more keys discussed below, but this is THE question for the Wizards. If youre going to be a title contender, an elite team in the NBA, you need one of the dozen or so elite players in the NBA. When drafted No. 1, it was thought Wall might be that guy. So far he hasnt been.
Wall will be out until around Thanksgiving (maybe a little earlier) with a stress fracture in his patella. This is something he should come all the way back from. However, missing that month, that 10 or so games, could be the difference between the Wizards making the playoffs and missing out. Again.
Whenever he returns, Wall has to prove he is the promised franchise player. If he cant, the Wizards need to treat him like a role player and not keep paying for potential. But we want to see him bust out. Wall hasnt had a reliable jump shot, has been slowed by injuries, couldnt seem to lead the team. He has to push the tempo and make plays in transition, he needs to hit jump shots consistently, and he needs to really be more of a force in the half court offense and work better off picks. He has to step up his game. The time is now.
For a couple seasons he has been good. The Wizards need great.
PBT's second key to the Wizards season - "Their defense should be good, will they get enough offense?" - is not getting a ton of attention right now in the wake of Wall's injury, but it will.
The question is where do the points come from and do they have the shooters to stretch the floor when Wall drives. Wall has to get and create points, and he should get help inside from Nene and Okafor. But the Wizards need Ariza to bury corner threes consistently and they need the rookie Beal to be a sharpshooter. Do that and they will get enough points to win some games. If they remain a bottom 10 offense its going to be a long, long season.
Check out the entire preview and, if I may suggest, make ProBasketballTalk part of your overall NBA online reading. And I don't say that simply because I met Kurt this year covering the Las Vegas summer league and as it turns out he's both super nice and knows his stuff - though that doesn't hurt.