The Washington Wizards seem incapable of deciding if they want to be an elite team in the NBA or if the team is content with being .500 and doing minimal post-season damage. Monday, February 3rd marked the first date in all-star point guard, John Wall’s entire Wizards career that the team had a winning record. Although a very diminutive tone was taken when this satisfying yet shameful milestone was mentioned, a noticeable burden was removed from the team’s shoulders. Fittingly so, Wall, the face of the franchise, produced a full stat-line tallying 22 points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks in the quietly big win versus the Blazers. The typically candid Wall admitted, “It’s only one game over (500) but yeah it’s a big relief.” Yet showing his maturation, Wall added “ But the main thing is we’ve got bigger goals to try to keep winning games and not back down – so we don’t have to have this talk again.” (Via CSN Washington.com)
In spite of the validity of his words, the Wizards find themselves right back in the rut that they fought tooth and nail to climb out of. A crushing overtime loss to the reigning Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs ; coupled with an infuriating and inexplicable home loss to the subpar Cleveland Cavaliers leave the Wizards with a 24-25 record. Teams losing games is understandable as the NBA is laden with talent, but in order for this squad to take the next step the close games need to begin to fall in their favor.
The “Grittin’ Wittman’s” are nearly impossible to read as one night they will play their best basketball and beat a team they are “not supposed to”, then, just as they appear to have momentum they lay an egg. While picking up impressive victories against the Heat, Blazers, Warriors and Thunder, the team has also not shown up in losses to the Bucks, Jazz and Celtics. On one hand the chances of winning a title this year are slim to none with the two Eastern Conference powerhouses as well as the loaded Western Conference. On the other, the team has to look around at the destitute non contenders in the East and start to gain a “why not?” mentality. On paper all signs lead to this team continuing to grow in the future with their outstanding guard play and veteran leadership that appears to be sticking around for a while. Nonetheless, as we all know, nothing in life is guaranteed and most certainly nothing in sports can be assured before it happens. The Wizards must take advantage of their current situation with a talented enough roster to make some noise in the playoffs and a conference where the prosperous playoff seeds are ripe for the picking. With tilts against the Kings, Grizzlies and the Rockets on their upcoming schedule, maybe the Wizards will begin to answer some of the puzzling questions surrounding their team.