Yes, the return of John Wall has helped to rejuvenate the Washington Wizards, but they still have plenty of work to do before they can truly say that they have turned a corner. Wall gives the team a true playmaker and dynamic presence on the court. Unfortunately, he doesn’t wipe away all of the losses or mental breakdowns during games that resulted in those losses. Respectability comes with pulling out the tough wins. It also comes with playing the game the right way, all of the time.
The Wizards went into this current west coast trip riding a 3-game winning streak and the return of its leader. Last night they failed to do some of the little things that they were doing in the previous games, resulting in a 4th quarter collapse and eventual loss. Missed free throws, defensive breakdowns, late rotations – the little things. Specifically, Wall missed a pair of free throws that could have went a long way to sealing the victory last night. The loss doesn’t come down to those two free throws, but they were the culmination of mistakes made in the 4th quarter that ended the Wizards winning streak.
Once Wall is in condition to play more minutes and Jordan Crawford returns, Randy Whittman needs to tighten up the rotation. Emeka Okafor should be seeing more minutes on the floor as well. Kevin Seraphin has turned into a scoring machine but tends to do little else. He missed a few key defensive assignments last night and took a few shots early in the possession. Seraphin also needs to be better on the boards.
The Wizards are indeed playing better and more energized. With all of their players returning to the lineup finally, Whittman can see what kind of team he truly has. In order for the Wizards to go on another winning streak, they have to take care of the little things that matter on the basketball. Even at full strength, they are still out matched talent-wise on most nights.