USA TODAY Sports
For a franchise in year three of a top-to-bottom rebuild, having your designated 'game-changer' coming back to the lineup is like Jesus coming back to the Alamo. Or something.
Barring a stretch of basketball that would be most at home in a Disney montage, the Wizards are once again gunning for a moral victory-type of season. Oddly, with Nene on the mend without an Olympics to muck up his offseason and John Wall cutting and driving like he's back to his old self, what we see over the remainder of the season may very well be a preview of 2013/14: a moral victory with some teeth. Hell, Trevor Booker may even make it back for Saturday's tilt.
General manager Ernie Grunfeld will no doubt be watching with bated breath. Ol' Grunny has taken heavy fire from all quarters as the team has floundered badly in Wall's absence. Should Bradley Beal continue to flourish aggressively with GameChanger running the point and Jordan Crawford settling into the sixth-man role so many fans have envisioned, the Wizards will be sporting a backcourt rotation most NBA analysts would be reminding fans at home not to sleep on next season. If Jan Vesely can build on his performance against the Thunder while Martell Webster continues to score reliably in a backup role, Grunfeld, to the chagrin of many, may very well keep his job.
Remember, without aggressive Beal and a healthy Nene, it is difficult to imagine how this team does appreciably better than the 2011-1212 squad. The only way: Wall has become a deadeye during his injury-fugue. The Man isn't going to be back for 35 minutes or any such nonsense, especially with the army of point guards the team employs. With the tone the team has set, to borrow Mike's phrasing once more, 'this is unacceptable but we're injured' rather than 'we may be injured but this is unacceptable', accountability starts on Saturday. I hope that sentence enrages you when read it as much as it bothered me to write it.
And so the future of the rebuild would seem to rest on Wall's shoulders. Just like we thought when the Wizards drafted him, but not like anyone planned.