3 Questions Entering CampPosted on January 14, 2013 by FantasticWiz
Jeremy Hyman - WashingtonWizards.com Who will be in the rotation this year? Sometimes you enter a season and know which 7 or 8 guys are going to play a majority of the minutes for a team, but with this Wizards team it’s hard to say that as we enter camp. One of the things I like most about Head Coach Randy Wittman is that he won’t play favorites and will be honest with all of his players about playing time. He will tell them that the best players will play, which should make for an entertaining camp with a lot of competitive battles. As Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said in his press conference, “competition is a good thing”, and we should see plenty of it in camp. When healthy, it’s safe to say that John Wall and Nene will certainly be two guys you can peg into the starting lineup and log a lot of minutes. But both are nursing injuries as we enter camp, which will give other guys a chance to step up and show what they have. With Emeka Okafor on board, he will likely man the middle with Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, and Jan Vesely getting time at the 4 and 5 spots. Seraphin finished last season very strong and if Nene is unable to go to begin the year, he could find himself in a starting role. Another interesting battle will be at the 3 position, as we could see a mix of Trevor Ariza, Chris Singleton, Martell Webster, and Cartier Martin all get time playing the 2-3 spot. Webster and Martin are probably the two best shooters of the group, but Ariza and Singleton are probably the two better defenders and Ariza has the most experience as a starter. Jordan Crawford and Bradley Beal should have a very competitive battle at the off guard position as they could be the two best pure scorers on the Wizards roster. Both have shown ability to make plays with the ball in their hand, and with Wall out to begin the year, the offense will rely heavily on these two young guards. With Wall out, we could see a mix of A.J. Price, Jannero Pargo, and Shelvin Mack at the point guard position and it will likely be the one who plays the best in pre-season as the guy who starts the season at that spot. The good news is that there are a lot of solid players on this roster who can get the job done. The question will be can they put it all together and play with each other in order to win games. What can we expect from John Wall in Year 3? There is no question that there are high expectations of Wall as he enters his third season with the Wizards. Seeing him get sidelined with a knee injury right before camp was certainly a blow, but if all goes to plan and he is back in eight weeks, there is still a good majority of the season left to play and Wall could still lead this team to the playoffs. Wall himself admitted that he expected to lead this team to the postseason and wanted to really break out in his third year. He has all the physical tools and athleticism a young guard could want and had two outstanding seasons in years one and two. But, he wants to take it to the next level and be an All-Star guard who is considered one of the best point guards in the league. It’s not out of the question that Wall could become one of the best, and if he comes back healthy in December, I am eager to see if he’s made that leap to the next level. How good can this team be defensively? The Wizards have a chance to be one of the better defensive teams in the league in 2012-13 with an array of excellent one-on-one defenders and a group of guys who are willing to play solid team defense. When they acquired Nene last year, they immediately became a better defensive team, and this off-season they added two more rocks on defense in Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. They throw them with the likes of Chris Singleton, who was drafted for his defense first mentality, they have a pretty nice defensive squad. The team’s best defensive lineup could consist of Wall, Beal, Ariza/Singleton, Nene, and Okafor. This could be a lineup we see a lot of in 2012-13 and should be a lineup that shuts down opposing offenses. With John Wall out for the beginning of the year, the team may need to rely on their defense to win them games.