John Wall- John has made huge strides this season. He has a vastly improved jump shot which still needs to get better. He is understanding pace a lot better and how to change speeds. He has had some great moments in crunch time( I remember some big threes down the stretch of games despite being off most of the game. IMO this is the definition of being clutch.) He is getting really good at the drive and kick game. He has improved his free throw shooting as well. Things I would like to see him improve on. First, the whole point of him learning to make a jump shot was to create more interior passing lanes and driving lanes. There have been a lot more interior passing lanes. However with the found jumpshot sometimes John settles for jumpers way too much. Being the fastest player in the league with good handles(although time sloppy) John should attack the rim pretty much at will and get to the free throw line a lot more than he does(sometimes he doesn't go to the line because of the lack of calls). Hopefully with an All-Star selection he will start to get the "star" calls.
Also he needs to cut down or preferably eliminate the games where it seems like he is just going through the motions. Games like tonight at Memphis I just didn't see the effort I expect from a max, franchise, and All-Star player, Its one thing to have an off night shooting and its totally another to not play with effort. Russel Westbrook's greatest attribute is that he brings it every night with incredible intensity. Point guards aren't called floor generals for nothing. This means leading not only vocally (which I would like to see more from Wall) , but also through actions. As the team's leader if you come into a game with a lack of effort it sets the tone for the whole. team. John is still really young and has room to grow in this departmentThere is no reason Wall can't accomplish that. Finally. sometimes John gets caught playing hero ball and jacking shots. This is especially bad when he is off shooting. When he is off shooting needs to attack the rim more or look to play distributor more.
Overall I have been really impressed in the improvements and growth he has made to his game. Grade: A
Bradley Beal- When he was drafted I thought he would struggle being an undersized shooting guard. However, most of the league has SGs around his height or less. The day of the prototype 6'6 SG is over in the NBA. Beal has made some minor improvements to his game IMO. He is a little better ball handler/creator, but still gets the ball stripped a lot due to his shaky handles. He still has picture perfect shooting form and has the potential to be the Wizards leading scorer for years to come.(IMO this would be the ideal blueprint. I think Wall is better as a distributor and being the second best or even third best scoring option if the Wiz were to acquire a dominant scoring big) He lately his shown the ability to rack up some assists. The biggest strength I see in Beal's game is to hit big shots late in the game.
Improving his ability to create off the dribble will be the thing that allows him to be a great player or if he doesn't he is just a good player. Without this teams will continue to deny him the ball off of screen which I think is leading to frustration and why his shot selection a lot this season has been questionable.. I also would like to see him improve on the defensive end of the floor. There is no reason why he can't be a very good or great defensive player. Grade: B
Trevor Ariza: He is often the second best player on the Wizards on any given night. Wall seems to be the best kind of guard to maximize Ariza's abilities. His three point shooting, consistency, and great defense has been invaluable to the Wiz. I can't think of a stretch where Ariza has gone more than 2 games struggling with his shot. He makes great cuts to the basket and gets some nice offensive rebounds. I am in the camp that he should not be traded unless a player like Monroe is in the deal. He is invaluable to this team's success this season. I can think of at least 5 games that without his three point shooting and defense the Wiz would have lost. Grade: A-
Nene- I was ready to give up on him earlier in the season when it seemed like he would always be hampered by nagging injuries. As the terrible record without Nene shows he is absolutely invaluable to this teams success. He is more important than anyone except Wall. Nene has a uniqure ability to create offense for others as a bigman. He is the second best player on this team behind Wall. He plays really good post defense against strong post playing big man types(the way he played Cousins the other night was a masterpiece). I still think going forward the Wiz will be better off finding another big man (assuming they resign Gortat) to allowing Nene to be the first bigman off the bench. This will keep his mins around 20-25 mins and should help him stay healthy more. Grade: B+
Marcin Gortat: Where would the Wizards be without hiim? Okafor isn't even with the Suns he is home still rehabbing. Could you imagine having to start Seraphin, Booker, or Ves for long periods of time next to Nene. The Wizards wouldn't be in playoff contention without Gortat. He seems to be building a better rapport with John on the pick n roll. He has a pretty soft touch for a big man and runs the floor well. He has actually been a much better shot blocker than I would have thought. I would like to see him dunk the ball with two hands a lot more. He misses way too many chippies because he refuses to use to backboard most of the time or dunk it. Grade: B
Garret Temple: Filled in admirably for Maynor's inability to hold down the back up PG spot. He is playing out of position and probably is best served being a defensive specialist. He at least gets the Wiz into their sets and plays great D. However, his lack of ability to create a whole lot of the dribble or score really still hinders the Wizards bench offensively. One thing I like about him though is he will give you max effort every night and thats all you can really ask from him. Grade: C+
Martell Webster: He hasn't been quite as good as last year for the most part. Without looking at the stats he probably hitting around the same many threes but, I remember hitting many more clutch threes. He really suffered playing with Maynor and still does with Temple. When Beal was out with injury was the best stretch I have seen from Webster all season. The reason being he got to play with Wall more. Thats is still in general a big problem with this roster is there are too many players that need Wall to be successful. I also think he played defense better last year. I still think he was well worth the contract he got. He was shown loyalty by a team for the first time in his career. This in return should mean that Webster feels a sense of needing to repay the loyalty shown. Also he comes to play hard every night. Sometimes his shot doesn't fall but, he doesn't let that take away his effort. Grade: C+
Kevin Seraphin-He is a player that absolutely baffles me; Of the floatsm he is the one player that I think still has a chance to be a really good bench big man or even a starter for some teams. He has really good footwork which you can't teach. Nice soft touch for the most part. We have seen the flashes of good post defense. However, he is a player that seems to be completely hindered between the ears. He just isn't a very confident player for the most part. When he is missing shots he doesn't play any of the other facets of the game. He doesn't play defense well, rebound hard and becomes a fouling machine when his shot is off. I contribute this to poor player development and EG drafting him way too high. I think if he was a 2nd round pick nobody would complain. He seems to have turned the corner some and hopefully Randy can find consistent minutes for him. Grade: D+
Jan Vesely- He made some great strides for him early on in the season. He kinda figured out what he has to be in the NBA which is a energy player and he started to use his length to really bother people on defense. He also like Seraphin is a player who is hindered by not being confident. Furthermore, like Kevin he was drafted way too high. If he was a late 1st round or 2nd round pick I don't think anyone one have much problem with him. He is actually the prototype guy you want to get from the second round. A energy guy that maybe could be molded into something more. He should model his game after Anderson Varejo. Varejo came into this league just as raw and not as athletic as Jan. He worked on his touch around the basket and combined with one of the best motors in the game became a really good frontcourt player. There isn't a team in the NBA that wouldn't want Varejo. Grade: D
Trevor Booker- Trevor will go as far as his outside shot and touch around the basket will take him. He is extremely undersized( I think he is more like 6'6 rather than 6'8) and will need to continue to develop that mid range game and keep them honest. Trevor is blessed with incredible hops which allows him to sky over much bigger players and put backs. He would actually be better served as a SF with his speed and jumping ability if he could ever learn how to shoot a 3. Right now he is a max effort guy and a really good rebounder. He is really an awful post defender and gambles way too much. He has had some monster rebounding games though this season. Grade: C-
Chris Singleton- Is an absolute bust IMO. I expected him to be much more coming into the league from Florida State. Being a Terp fan also I watched him a lot in college and thought at the very least his defense would translate in the NBA. His defense in his NBA career has been average at best. He hasn't gotten any better since his rookie season either. At least you can say that Booker has worked on his jumper and Seraphin is light years away from his rookie season. However, Singleton is the same player you saw his rookie season if not worse. I have no idea why he is still active over Glen Rice Jr. Grade: F
Otto Porter: Not having a training camp or preseason really hampered him. However, I still haven't even seen flashes for the most part of the player he was advertised to be. The whole point of drafting him over a Noel, Len, or even Zeller was the he was supposed to be the safest and most NBA-READY player in the draft. Folks he looks absolutely lost out there. Like he doesn't even belong on the court. which is one of the worst things you can say about any player. He looks as lost as Seraphin or Vesely did as a rookie. The thing is we all knew Seraphin and Ves were high-ceiling projects. Porter was supposed to be close to a finished project. I didn't watch enough Georgetown basketball to see how his game would translate to the pros. All I really have to judge off is what I have seen.Its still early in his career, but right now I wouldn't be losing it if the Wizards traded him (It would have to bring back something good of course). I actually am in the camp of trading Otto and resigning Ariza. Otto is projected to be Ariza at best and he is so far away from being Ariza right now. Who knows if he will ever get close. I know what I have an Ariza and it fits the Wiz perfectly. Grade: D
Eric Maynor- He was brought in to basically not mess up for 10 mins a game. His biggest calling card was his high assist/turnover ratio. However, he turned over the ball left and right when he was getting playing times. I don't feel like writing more on him. Grade: F
Al Harrington: Likely the most forgotten man on this team. However, I think he is crucial to the Wizards bench simply because his ability to hit threes and stretch the floor. He hit some big threes while he was healthy. Unfortunately he has been injured most of the season. The Wizards would gladly welcome him back if he is ready after the All-Star break. Grade: D+
Glen Rice Jr: It baffles me why Wittman doesn't seem to trust him with minutes. Before Maynor lost his backup PG job Temple got primarily the minutes that Glen Rice Jr. could get it SG. Glen Rice needed minutes to continue to develop. Even now back from injury somehow is inactive over Chris Singleton. Glen can do everything Singleton or Temple can do and even better. I thought he would be a logical choice to see if he could handle some backup PG duties after Maynor got pulled. Rice played a lot of PG at Georgia Tech and has shown the ability with the Wizards to have good court vision. I like what I have seen from him defensively. He uses his length and pretty good quickness to bother the ball handlers and is a good help defender. Ironically, his shooting hasn't been good in the NBA yet. Grade: D(Although not really his fault due to the lack of playing time)
Randy Wittman- Randy is the most polarizing figure on this site. Some people absolutely detest him while others think people are too harsh on him and think he is doing the best he can. I probably fall somewhere in the middle here but, leaning more to detest. I don't think he is bad as some people think he is or deserves the apologies some people give him.
The Wizards aren't going to be an elite team with him as the head coach. The elite teams often have great or good coaches. Look what Thibodeau has done without Rose and Deng. The Bulls are nothing but, a collection of good role players without a star playing .500 ball still. Thats what great coaching can get you.
Randy's rotations, can't really be called rotations. None of the Wizards bigs on the bench have any idea if they will play tomorrow or how many games they will go without playing. For players like Kev and Ves this hinders their development greatly because those two are boom or bust depending on if they are confident are not. How confident do you think it made Kevin feel after having a 18 point game not playing for the next two games. For whatever reason its a no brainer to have a lineup of Wall, Beal, Webster, Ariza, and Nene for stretches in the game. That is a floor stretching lineup if I ever saw one and should be used especially at the end of games when the Wizards are down and need to catch up.
He has no concept of momentum in a basketball game. He always calls the timeout if at all usually 5 or 6 possessions way too late. He needs to take them at the first sign of a momentum swing.
His biggest fault imo is he is neither a motivator or a strategist. Those are the two styles of professional coaching that work. What makes Phil Jackson and Poppovich so great is that they are a combination of both. For whatever reason he has failed to consistently motivate his players to be mentally prepared. This is the biggest thing a professional coach in any sport should be able to do. Too many games the Wizards come into the game going through the motions. Same goes for the beginning of the third quarter. Those lapses are directly correlated to bad motivation. Yes, the players need to take responsibility and be a pro ready to come to work every night. However, this is what coaches are for.
I will give Randy credit where credit is due. He has got this team to play more defense than I can ever recall any Wizards team in the past. When the Wizards are playing their best defensively and hitting threes, they are one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA. Grade: D+
Comments are welcomed and I open to listening to anyone who has fault with anything I have written.