Are the Wizards washed already?

2013-14:  44-38
2014-15:  46-36

As I sit here at this ungodly hour, my Wizards have fallen to 6-7 after losing their third straight game– with a rather listless performance to the C’s tonight (111-78). Their second lopsided loss to the green and white in this still very young season.

For those scoring at home, this was not a loss that qualifies as being close or hard fought. They got their doors blown off.

Now to start the season, it was apparent that the team had not completely grown comfortable with their new “pace and space” offense. I mean they were flat out playing middle school level careless with the ball, in favor of speed pace. But that was somewhat to be expected.

But where’s the defense? Why has it only showed up in spots so far in 2015? Could be because their signal caller (Nene) has been relegated to the bench this season. Could be because, they don’t have the ability to focus on both ends, as they continue to figure out all the nuances of this new playing style.

Personally I feel both are legitimate issues, but are not the real crux of the matter. Aside from the fact that I am NOT a fan of the  physical make up of this team–I feel the squad’s two burgeoning superstars haven’t realized and accepted that they are ready for prime time.

It goes without saying, that both John and Brad have had individual as well as collective moments where they’ve showed how special they are and can be. But there were x-factor’s who contributed to those moments and the teams success over the past two seasons, that they leaned on.

In 2013-2014, they had Sam Cassell on the bench. The perfect former guard to have for a team whose success leaned so heavily on two young guards– because of his temperament and ability to speak from a place of success in the league.

In 2014-15, they had Paul Pierce suiting up with them nightly. Pierce, was the perfect veteran complement to add to the team after Sam’s departure because he showed in the locker room, on the road and in games, how to “move” in all situations. And he brought with him a credibility and pedigree, that made it easy to stop and listen to whatever he said…whenever he said it.

What both former World Champions provided in addition to relatability from a personality standpoint, was a buffer between the strict and at times stubborn father figure persona of Coach Randy Wittman. By offering an answer to the “but why”, “this is stupid”, “I know what I’m doing” moments they may have from time to time in relating to the Bobby Knight disciple.

In short, both need to get out of their own heads and just play the way they are capable of playing. They’ve shown flashes this season. But when things don’t go their way, they revert to some old habits which get not only them, but the team in bad situations.

John is thinking too much about his offensive output. He may be the only starting point in the league that can go for 25 and 10 one night and be just as effective if not moreso the next night with a line of 9-15-6-4 and 3. Totally arbitrary numbers for pts-ast-reb-steals and blocks. Accept that. It’s not a deficiency, that’s special. And Brad just needs to stay aggressive no matter if that’s when looking for his shot, or making plays for others.

John and Brad are definitely not the only reason’s why this team is 6-7 right now. But their inconsistencies, glow like neon because they are the big NAMES on the roster, And short & long term success are tied to their play. In regards to the team however:

  • DEFENSE – A team that has been a top half of the league defense, needs to once again embrace being able to stop people regardless of if shots are falling
  • OFFENSE – simplify it. There is a LOT of extra movement in it, that yields zero return. Don’t completely abandon what you did well the past two seasons either
  • scrap the Kris Humphries starting stretch 4 experiment – your starting 4 can not average 4.8rebs, .6blks and sub 9pts per
  • start exploring trade options for Nene – the team has to get younger at the 4 (part of the reason why I was hoping we’d grab Portis in the draft, eventhough the jury is still out on both he and Oubre for the same reasons- lack of playing time)

This is not a great team as presently constructed (and the injuries do not help matters). But they should be a lot better than what they’ve shown to date. Addressing the lack of focus on defense and rebounding, will go a ways to pushing thru their current issues. A number of times after losses this season, someone has said that they know what needs to be done to fix things.

Well…uhhh, whenever you’re ready fellas. You’re gonna need a 42-27 record down the stretch to keep up with your two game EOS win total improvement since ’13-’14, just saying.

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