By: Samuel Jalloh
Left- Bradley Beal (3),
Center- John Wall (2),
Right- Nene (42);
Photo Credit: hoopshabit.com
Hello, and welcome to the first Washington Wizards blog for Nuts and Bolts Sports by yours truly. It’s looking to be an exciting season for Wizards fan. The team is just coming off a win vs. the Boston Celtics winning in double overtime (133-132). The team has been seeing a lot of success lately, which is something that Wizards fans aren’t use to seeing.
The Wizards haven’t won an NBA title since the 1977-1978 season, haven’t won the Southeast division since the 1978-79 season and besides going .537 last season, haven’t gone plus .500 since the 07-08 season; Wizards fans remember that as the “Gilbert Arenas’ Era”.
Now only 14- weeks into the season, Wizards are 2nd in their Division and 3rd in the Eastern Conference with a record of (21-8) and a pct. of .724. This same time last year, Wizards were only (14-15)!!! What has changed to make this team such a contender in the East?
Well I think we can all agree it starts with John Wall. The point guard has been nothing less than sensational since he joined the Wizards in 2010. This season so far he is averaging a double double with 17.8 points, 10.3 assist, and 2 steals a game. He is currently tied for 1st in the NBA in Assist, and tied for 2nd in steals; making him a noticeable threat on the court.
Always trying to elevate his game, Wall posted a career high with 17 assists this season against Boston Dec. 08 and Dec. 16 vs. Minnesota, winning both games. With his skills improving and his ability to get his teammates involved while still playing the role as floor general, John Wall is pushing the Wizards into a position to be division leaders by the end of the season.
He’s also quieting critics that don’t consider John Wall as one of the top point guards in the league.
Bradley Beal is the next reason I believe the Wizards are having recent success. Beal ended his last season well with post season stats of 19.2 points, 4.5 assists, 1.6 steals, and a 3 point percentage of 41.5%. In Oct, Bradley Beal under went surgery on his left wrist (non-shooting hand), thus keeping him from starting the season until a few weeks in.
Since coming back from the surgery, the 2012 All-Team Rookie is averaging 14.9 – 3 – 3 with a 3 point percentage of 46.1%. That 3P% is 6th in the league.
Beal was a big factor in the Wizards playoff run last year, and will continue to be a player the Wizards rely on in critical clutch situations.
Great off-season picks are another reason. Picking up good support players like Kris Humphries, and Dejuan Blair. Bringing in veterans like Paul Pierce, and Rasual Butler who bring wisdom and experience to an otherwise very young team. Paul Pierce is averaging 12.9 – 4.5 – 2.3, while Rasual Butler is producing 10.7 – 3 – 1 with a 3P% of 50%. His 3P% is second in the league currently.
Lastly credit has to be given to the way the bench is producing so far this season. The official bench of the Wizards is Andre Miller, Rasual Butler, Otto Porter, Kris Humphries, and Kevin Seraphin.
The bench is supporting the starters well averaging 36.6 pts. a game, ranking 4th overall in the East. Consistency from these players is sure to keep the team as heavy weights in the East.
The question I leave you with today is do the Wizards have it in them to keep this run going into the All-Star break? I believe if the teams stays healthy, and bench players produce the team will surely be top contenders in the East which leads to post season coverage.
Wizards will have a chance to prove them self’s more than they have already have with their next four games being dominant West Coast teams. It starts on Dec. 29 with the Rockets lead by James Harden; Harden is currently leading the league in points per game with 27.2. Games after are newly revamped Mavericks, Durant-less Thunder, and the reigning champs The Spurs. This stretch of West Coast teams should put the Wizards to the test, and bring nothing but the best out of all players.
Till next time, ill leave you with a video of John Wall’s 360 lay-up on Christmas day. Giving us hope that the best is yet to come.