Apr 14, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luke Harangody (44) and point guard Donald Sloan (15) during the first half at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
There's been a lot of talk about the dearth of ranged firepower on the Wizards roster. It is absolutely a fair criticism, one that merits serious thought when considering the development of John Wall. Of course, chucking bricks while defenders sag off, run under screens and pack the paint isn't going to do much for any rookie's growth. Serviceable shooting is a requirement for nearly every player on a contending squad, so why have owner Ted Leonsis and General Manager Ernie Grunfeld failed to secure a shooter's services on a multiyear deal?
To me, that answer is relatively simple. "The first wave of massive change has been completed," right? The team's priority during that first wave was to acquire as many high value assets as possible. The best way to do that is to lose a lot of games. Mission: Accomplished. Winning wasn't a priority, and properly spacing the floor isn't the only way to skin the developemental cat. Of course, no one is going to argue Kyle Korver would have been the difference betwee 20 and 30 wins.
The roster ended up stacked in such a way that forced young players to attempt carrying the offensive load. The team often struggled to score, which made every shot seem to matter that much more. From personal experience, missing a few shots when your team needs a bucket badly has a way of getting you to put in significant reps during your downtime. And if the coaches tell you to be ready to take that shot, that's all the impetus you need.
We've seen significant shooting improvement outside the paint from Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin in their second season and it seems Jan Vesely is primed to follow in their footsteps. In the end, the Wizards' roster construction required young players to step up and take shots. Jordan Crawford is on the record about players developing on the floor, and our guys have gotten a lot of time to put work in a regular season setting.
With the first wave of massive change in the books and the need for young players to step up on the record, the roster has been constructed to demand those young guys make those shots. Higher expectations means more pressure on the youth to perform, but as they say, the hotter the fire, the stronger the steel. When it comes down to it, the Wizards haven't signed a shooter to a multiyear deal because they expect their youth squad to grow into that role. And to be perfectly honest, reliable three point shooting is one of the easiest skillsets to come by in Free Agency. So if the team isn't expected to compete right away while you're also trying to encourage better in-house shooting percentages by the same, can not signing a player or four to space the floor better make sense? This team is set to live and die by the shooting of its youngest players, a titular holistic cure, and I find more and more that I can live with it, too.