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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: Evaluating the Wizards’ January

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Ish Smith’s recent success and Troy Brown finding a clear role on this team has been the positives, but what are some of the issues that ail this team?

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Ish Smith

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Ish has been amazing in recent weeks and has really become a stabilizing force off the bench. His PPG in the month of January (13.3) is the highest of any month this season. More impressive than his scoring, has been his efficiency. He is shooting 47 percent from the field and 6.6 assists per 36 minutes this month. Going forward Ish is looking to hold down the fort as the #1 option as the backup PG once John Wall returns. So far so good.

Troy Brown Jr….off the bench

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TBJ has figured out a role that he seems to have thrived at, which is coming off the bench and being the Wizards 6th man. I don’t know if we can point to a single thing that explains his success, but Brown has been a much better player coming off the bench. He is averaging about 6 more points per 36 minutes, shooting 16 percent more from the field and nearly 24 percent higher from 3. All of these stats come with 28 games played off the bench, which is clearly not a small sample size. It is nice to see TBJ finding his niche on this team.

Bad

Thomas Bryant

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Thomas Bryant has missed a lot of time in the past few weeks due to a foot injury. Upon his return, he started out coming off the bench, but he has also spent some time starting at power forward. I understand the sentiment of using Bryant and not taking minutes away from Ian Mahinmi, but this is not going to work as a long term solution. Not only is Bryant not a natural Power Forward, but it begs the question of where is this going? Are we really saying that Bryant, on a team with a .326 winning percentage, cannot outplay Ian Mahinmi? No offense to Mahinmi, but Bryant was expected to be the starting center for this team, but right now Mahinmi is clearly the better option, but will that change?

Ugly

Unable to Sustain Success

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The Wizards cannot seem to get on a roll long enough to get them to move up the standings. They have beaten Denver and Boston on back to back games at the beginning of the month. But then they lost games to Chicago and Atlanta. It’s really hard to pinpoint what the ceiling and the floor of this team really is, which complicates their expectations going into the trade deadline. If you aren’t winning consistently, can you really get excited for these random wins? Wizards will give us some thrilling moments but it feels like this season will continue to be a roller coaster ride.