In order to succeed, sometimes you must hit rock bottom. Hopefully, for the sake of the Wizards, it does not get any worse than this. In the last three games, the Wizards loss to the 76ers beat the Knicks despite giving up 47 points in the 4th quarter and last night dropped a game against Miami. Now their record stands at 3-9 and 14th in the Eastern Conference. Of course, the Wizards did not expect to be here, but this is where they are. At times they lack effort, leadership and really don’t seem to have a direction they are going in. Now the question that lingers around this team is How do the Wizards get out of this dark place?
Before that question can be answered it is important to understand how the Wizards got in this hole in the first place. Yes, you can take a look at the 2nd unit and put a lot of the blame there. Midway through November and 12 games into the season, head coach Scott Brooks is still trying to put together a reliable line-up that can compete. In addition to that, injuries have also played a role in the lack of success for the Wizards. John Wall for the first time this season played back-to-back games against Philadelphia and New York. Prior to that, Wall was restricted which was a part of his rehab regiment. Bradley Beal also found himself restricted with a nagging hamstring which kept him off the court. Without those two on the court, it makes having a reliable line-up very difficult for Brooks. Not to mention, Ian Mahinmi is still out. The upside to that news is, he is expected to return to practice tomorrow and the Washington Post is reporting he could perhaps return by the end of this month.
With these valid points being made, one thing the Wizards are lacking which can not be taught and that’s effort and leadership. When the Wizards found themselves down 20 points to the Philadelphia 76ers considering their record at some point the players must look at themselves and question why the lack of effort. Additionally, leadership is key. With this roster, despite the injuries and the new system, this team should not be 14th in the East. Looking ahead to the next six games the schedule includes, the hot shooting Suns, a relentless Westbrook, and the Spurs twice. Not to mention, the Kings and the Magic.
At times, the Wizards seem to be allergic to holding defense and defending the three point line. That is something to watch as they face potential opponents such as Devin Booker and Danny Green coming up.
Bradley Beal spoke with the media post game after losing to Miami and stated,
“Once we understand that we won’t win a game unless we defend, we’re not going to win.”
This is very true. The Wizards went into halftime down by one, 60-59. They then gave up 31 points in the 3rd and only scored 23 points. Yes, they made things look interesting down the stretch, but yet again they found themselves in another hole. Both teams midway through the game were shooting at a very high percentage. So offense was not the problem. Beal and Wall had a combined 68 points, which looks promising for their chemistry moving ahead. Nonetheless, the defensive lapses have always come at the worst times.
The Wizards now will have to ponder about what went wrong and then get prepared for the Suns on Monday night. Yes, it is still early in the season, however by the 20th game of the season most teams have a formal put in place to succeed. At what point, do the Wizards decide to turn things around before this gets way out of hand. It is imperative they start Monday because if they find themselves saying the same thing by January 1st, then this season would have already ended.