For the first time in John Wall’s tenure as a Washington Wizard, the team did not struggle out of the gates to begin the season. Already passed the midway point the Wizards are sitting with a record of 23-23. As with any team there have been bright spots as well as players who have severely underperformed. To some degree the Wizards’ early season success is a welcome surprise to fans, while on the other hand the “zards” are a couple of late losses away from a far superior record. With the all-star game quickly approaching I decided to take a look at the individual performances of the players and I have given them each letter grades and commentary on their performance.
John Wall – A
The undisputed leader of the balanced Washington Wizards squad has played to an all-league level thus far. Averaging 20 points and nine assists per game Wall has put the Wizards on his back and earned every bit of his newly signed maximum contract worth 5 years and 80 million dollars. Any playoff aspirations that the Wizards may have for this year or any year will run directly through the heart and soul of their team, John Wall.
Bradley Beal- B
For the Wizards to truly keep competing, the burden can not lie solely on the shoulders of John Wall. The second year shooting guard has averaged a healthy 16.8 points per game to go along with multiple clutch baskets such as a game winner in Madison Square Garden. Beal’s shot selection is often questionable as can be expected from a second year player. Beal still needs work on the defensive end but overall looks like a solid player.
Trevor Ariza- B
Trevor Ariza is quietly putting together the best year of his career. Averaging a truly shocking 14.4 points per game and being widely regarded as the Wizards’ best defender, Ariza has stepped up big time. While usually having the task of covering the opponent’s best perimeter player, Ariza has remained solid on the offensive end.
Nene – A-
Simply put, the Wizards are at their best when Nene is on the court. Since the Brazilian big man joined the Wizards, the team has a sub .200 win percentage in games that Nene has not played in. Bringing an imposing presence on both ends of the floor Nene is a player the Wizards simply can not seem to perform well without. To continue their promising play, the Wizards need Nene on the court.
Marcin Gortat- B
“Mogo” as his teammates often call him has done extremely well in his role of replacing former Wizards center Emeka Okafor. Averaging a solid 12 points and 9 rebounds Gortat has provided a significant upgrade at the center position.
Martell Webster- C
In the offseason Martell Webster signed a large contract to remain with the Wizards. Webster signed for more than J.R. Smith a more established shooting guard in the league. Webster has been no more than average on both ends of the floor. As a 6th man and a handsomely paid one at that, Webster’s production needs to be significantly improved as the season goes on.
Trevor Booker- B
In his limited playing time, especially during Nene’s absence, the Clemson product played extremely well. Booker was a beast on the boards and proved to be very serviceable in finishing near the basket. With the importance of depth in today’s NBA, Booker’s performance down the stretch will loom large.
Jan Vesely, Otto Porter, Chris Singleton, Eric Maynor – F
To be brutally honest none of these players have provided any impact on the Wizards’ season so far. These players are simply not in the regular rotation and at their current playing abilities are not good enough to consistently help the team.
In conclusion the Wizards have had a solid start so far with a mix of good and bad play. For them to take the next step as a team the players that are under-performing need to step up their play while the team leaders need to keep rolling.