Sep 12, 2013, 2:22 PM EDT
There are a lot of things that need to go right for the Washington Wizards to make their playoff goal — Nene needs to stay healthy and be a force in the paint, Bradley Beal needs to take a step forward, Otto Porter has to fit in, Emeka Okafor needs a solid season.
But in the end it’s really all about John Wall.
Finally healthy, he is the guy who has to carry this team as a leader, the guy who is the lynchpin of their offense.
Coach Randy Wittman, when asked by J. Michael of CSNWashington.com which Wizards player he expects the most growth from this season, singled out Wall, who just signed a new five-year, $80 million contract with the team.
John (Wall) has had another good summer. I see him not only physically, on the court, but I think his maturity is at another level. People forget how old John is (23). Going through what he’s gone through this summer, his work in becoming a better player, his contract, the responsibility of that I’ve been really pleased with his development. I see a different John Wall.
He needs to be the same John Wall from a stretch of late last season — for a 10-game stretch last season he averaged 24.6 points a game, shooting 49.1 percent overall and 53.3 percent from beyond the arc, plus he dished out 8.4 points per game. The final 10 games of the season, as the Wizards were just playing out the string, those numbers faded. But you get the idea — when Wall plays like that, the Wizards are in the playoff mix. He needs to be that guy every night now.
Wittman also talked about other guys where he has seen improvement.
“Kevin (Seraphin) is a more confident person in himself right now. He’s had two years where he’s played. Once you realize and believe that you belong, you carry yourself differently. I noticed that in him. Bradley (Beal) has had a really good summer. He was a little disappointed in the amount he missed having to sit through the first part of the summer to get him healthy (because of a stress injury to his lower right leg). He had a great July and August. Emeka (Okafor) was in town just about every day working on his body. There was a lot of good things we were able to accomplish and we still have time to. … (Otto) Porter has no hamstring issues. He’s been full-go the last three weeks. Martell (Webster) and is great. He’s been back here since the third week of August and he’s been a full-go. No problem with the (abdominal) strain. I expect a fully competitive training camp.”
Jul 11, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT
LeBron: ‘ I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?’
Jul 11, 2014, 12:54 PM EDT
“My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.” —LeBron James
Jul 11, 2014, 12:20 PM EDT
LeBron leaving Heat after four seasons
Report: After cross-country plane flight with him, Dwyane Wade doesn’t know what LeBron James will do
Jul 11, 2014, 11:32 AM EDT
Another sign this could drag on a while longer.
Jul 11, 2014, 10:46 AM EDT
Landing Parsons would squeeze some of the money for other Dallas role players.
Jul 11, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT
Could such a leak be LeBron setting up a reason to reject Cavaliers and return to Heat?
Jul 11, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT
If Carmelo chooses New York or Chicago, the Lakers should wait for the next big star.
Jul 11, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
He’s waiting to see what option is the most attractive… which really means who offers the most money.
Jul 11, 2014, 12:35 AM EDT
Will we actually know the result of Heat-Cavaliers before Germany-Argentina? Probably, but not definitely
Jul 10, 2014, 11:48 PM EDT
Hornets first-round pick making a lot of headlines for the wrong reasons
Jul 10, 2014, 10:47 PM EDT
Of course, Wallace believes Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant take over games
Jul 10, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT
Apparently, Melo returning to New York is not a forgone conclusion
Jul 10, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT
Closing arguments are set for July 28, so no quick end to this.
Jul 10, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
The Suns keep a fan favorite.
Jul 10, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT
The Suns already have a deep backcourt, but Thomas would fit their offense.
Jul 10, 2014, 6:50 PM EDT
This will either be the garbage-time sideshow for Miami next season, or the lone bastion of hope for the future of what remains of Heat fans.
Jul 10, 2014, 5:59 PM EDT
Like everyone else, Phil Jackson is in a holding pattern.
Jul 10, 2014, 5:40 PM EDT
Why would you show up to LeBron’s empty house?
Jul 10, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT
He had a good playoff run for Memphis, that got him a new deal.
Jul 10, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT
“Instead of thinking of reasons why your coach should be playing you, honestly assess reasons as to why he isn’t.”
- LeBron James in his own words on why he chose Cleveland 34
- LeBron James going home, to sign with Cleveland Cavaliers 186
- Report: After cross-country plane flight with him, Dwyane Wade doesn’t know what LeBron James will do 27
- Report: LeBron James still upset by Dan Gilbert’s infamous letter 93
- While waiting on Plan A to make up his mind, Lakers mulling Plan B options 23
- Report: Heat and Cavaliers expect decision before LeBron James leaves for Sunday’s World Cup final 59
- Reports: Carmelo Anthony unsure on Knicks, can’t get the Bulls out of his head 54
- Phil Jackson says he has not heard from Carmelo, has tried to recruit Gasol 36