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NBA Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards: Mid-Season Fundamental Grades

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Washington Wizards: Mid-Season Fundamental Grades

wizards
Rob Carr - Getty Images

The NBA is already half way through the 2013-14 regulars season. The Washington Wizards are currently 22-22 and are seen as one of the Eastern Conference's underdogs.

Washington is a young and talented team. They have put on some amazing performances this year, but have also had some questionable ones. Inconsistency has been the Wizards' Achilles heel this season,which has contributed to the failed attempts to get over the .500 mark.

Due to their lack of superstar power, Washington is a team that must rely on fundamental basketball to win games; inconsistency in fundamental skills have been the cause of a rocky season.

This article will examine and grade the Wizards as a team. It will take the whole team into consideration when grading how Washington has performed in these fundamental categories halfway through the 2013-14 season.

Grading Goes As Follows:

A: Team Has Exceeded Expectations

B: Team Is Performing Above Average

C: Team Is Meeting Expectation

D: Team Is Performing Below Average

F: Team Has Failed To Meet Expectations

Strong fundamental basketball has kept the Wizards at 5th place in the East. If Washington wants to get over .500, grab the 3rd playoff seed, and get home playoff advantage, they will need to continue to focus on their fundamentals. Washington has only one All-Star, John Wall, so it is important that everyone on the roster continues to fill their fundamental roles and provide proper support to their leader.

All statistics credited to Basketball-reference.com

Jack Bolesta is a Washington Wizards writer for Rantsports.com Follow him on Twitter @JackBolesta, "Like: Him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Free Throw Shooting

shooting
Ned Dishman - Getty Images

Grade: D+

The Washington Wizards are currently shooting 73.2 percent from the charity line this season. Out of the 30 teams in the NBA, the Wizards are shooting the 24th worst from free throw line.

Foul shot shooting is very important on all levels on basketball.There is no excuse for professionals to be missing a lot of free throws. For example, Jan Vesely is shooting 25 percent, Garrett Temple is shooing 68 percent, Nene Hilario is shooting 61 percent, and Trevor Booker is 56 percent from free throw range.

As a team, the Wizards could shoot better from the foul line. Since Washington usually finds themselves in neck-to-neck games, every basket counts and games can be won or lost on the free throw line.

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Play In Transition

transition
Noah Graham - Getty Images

Grade: B

Washington has played well in transition this season. Their transitional attack, led by John Wall, has been strong and has gotten the rest of the league paying attention to Washington's young backcourt. The Wizards are currently 6th in the league for fast break points per game, averaging 16.1.

Washington is currently averaging more fast break points per game than the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors.

A key to success this season will be how well Washington can attack in transition to secure quick buckets and control the momentum of the game.

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Ability To Close Out Games

ability
Rob Carr - Getty Images

Grade: C-

The Wizards have been frustrating to watch for Washington fans this season, as they have failed five times to get over the .500 mark. Washington has beat great teams like the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors, but when they need the win the most, Washington has dropped the ball, losing to bad teams like the Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers.

Washington needs to close out games and play strong 3rd and 4th quarters. If they do, they will end the season on a high note. If they can not improve closing games against inferior teams, Washington could end up with an early exit ticket from the playoffs.

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Offensive Scoring

scoring
Geoff Burke - USA TODAY Sports

Grade: C

The Wizards are averaging 98.7 PTs per game this season, but allow an average of 99.2 PTs. Bradley Beal and John Wall have made a name of themselves this season as one of the best young backcourts around today; together, the duo averages almost 40 PTs per game.

As a team, Washington is shooting 44.7 percent from field goal range. It is unfortunate that Washington is still waiting for Otto Porter Jr. to come alive, as they need more offensive contributors. The Wizards should be averaging more points scored than points allowed.

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Offensive Passing

passing
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Grade: B

John Wall is Washington's best passer, averaging 8.4 ASTs per game. Thanks to Wall, Washington is 9th in the league for assists per game, averaging 22.9.

Other than Wall, there are not a whole lot of big time passer on the Wizards. Nene Hilario and Bradley Beal are the only two who average at least three ASTs per game, the rest average below three per game. Washington does have good nights of passing, but inconsistency has been their biggest problem. They must become a team that can consistently pass the ball well each night.

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Defense

defense
Joe Murphy - Getty Images

Grade: B

The Wizards have improved defensively since last year. This season, the Wizards are 7th in the league for steals, averaging 8.5 STLs per game. Washington is 13th in blocks, averaging 4.8 BLKS per game.

Washington has good defenders on their team. Together, Nene Hilario and Marcin Gortat have provided Washington with a strong interior defensive presence. The Wizards are holding opponents to 46 percent from field goal range as well.

Washington's defense is good, but still has room for improvement.

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Rebounding

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Ned Dishman - Getty Images

Grade: B

Rebounding is one of the most important things in basketball. A lot of games can be decided by who wins the rebounding matchup. This season, the Wizards are averaging 43.1 REBs per game. Additionally, they are averaging 11.1 offensive boards and 32.0 defensive boards per game.

Washington has become a good rebounding team with the addition of Marcin Gortat, who averages a team high, 8.8 REBs per game.

The Wizards only have a rebounding difference of +0.9 against opponents. Washington has room for improvement, and out-rebounding opponents by a lot more will help the them in close games.