10 Thoughts on the Washington Wizards in 2011-2012 (NBA Season Preview)

1.       This team’s success will be all about John Wall and if last year is any indication, this is a team that could get into competition quickly.   Wall is fast, strong, can shoot and create.  He’s the perfect young point guard and if he develops, which his work ethic and talent suggests he will, he could quickly join the elite.


2.       Wall’s passing really makes Jan Vesley interesting.  A freak athlete, Vesley is very raw, but as he adds strength, his leaping should transform him into a force thanks at the 4 to all the attention Wall will command.  This year, though, he’s just a skinny backup 3.


3.       The reason Vesely’s building of mass is important is that the Wizard’s other first-round draft pick this year should develop into a long-term answer at the 3.  Chris Singleton is already a lockdown defender and with the Heat and Knicks stacked at the wing, teams looking to compete in the East will absolutely need to have a defender of Singleton’s quality, especially since Singleton can effectively both run and knock down spot-up opportunities.


4.       This development would likely mean Andre Blatche is the odd man out.  Wildly talented, Blatche often doesn’t appear to care, especially on defense.  He’s an effective pick and pop 4, but has the potential to be much more.  His character issues, however, make that unlikely.  Look for the Wizards to move him for someone that still believes in his potential.


5.       Will Javale McGhee’s shot blocking instincts allow him to become an elite defender?  It’s imperative for this team’s hopes that he continues to move in the right direction.  He gets lost a ton now, but experience with the same unit and the Wizard’s solid coaching should get him to some rapid improvement. 


6.       Rashard Lewis is needed this year for the minimum salary, but look for the absurdly overpaid Lewis to be amnestied after this season so that the Wizards can find another top player to pair with Wall.  Still, Lewis can shoot and isn’t without value this season.


7.       Nick Young will be back with the team, but he’s a black hole passer and that could limit the development of his frankly more important teammates.  Jordan Crawford already doubles many of his skills and Jordan at least shows an ability, if not a willingness, to pass.


8.       The rest of the team’s bench might as well not exist.  It’s a weak situation for backups, but given that time on court should develop the young risers on the team, that isn’t so bad. 


9.       Flip Saunders is a good coach, but was here for the veteran, Arenas lead squad that was trying to compete.  Saunders has never shown any great skill in developing talent and since that’s the priority, likely won’t last long in this position.


10.   This is going to be another lean year and another high pick for the Wizards, but all that really matters is Wall develops.  Everyone else is fungible as a franchise player PG in a good market will draw top talent.  A good pick in a loaded draft next year and a ton of cap space should do the rest, even if Vesley doesn’t develop as his athleticism promises. 

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