JaVale McGee is quietly becoming one of the most effective Center's in the Eastern Conference. Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- If you told me at the beginning of the season the Wizards would be playing the Bulls without Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton, then I would've told you John Wall went absolutely bananas in the game. The Bulls biggest weakness by far is their lack of depth at the guard position.
What happened instead? Well, the Wizards recorded their lowest point total in franchise history during Wednesday's 78-64 loss in Chicago. Even after an inspiring 12-2 run in the third quarter, Washington was completely overwhelmed on the glass, losing the rebounding war 62-46.
I've now clearly laid out my position on Wall. I'm not writing him off, but his undeniable regression has been the number one reason for the Wizards pathetic start to the season. Offense in the NBA is not like offense in the SEC. You can't just run by people every time and expect to become an upper echelon player.
The worst part about the loss Wednesday wasn't Wall's now seemingly standard day at the office -- 11 points, 4-of-13 shooting and four turnovers. No, the worst part was first-time starter John Lucas III scored a career-high 25 points. And those are 25 points in an extremely low scoring game. Plus, seven of Lucas's 11 baskets were inside the paint, effectively proving he beat John Wall at his own game.
So the blame goes to Wall, but also to Flip Saunders. There has to be more innovative ways to get Wall going. To Wall's credit he did look sharp passing the ball in the first half and had a gorgeous left-handed slam in the second quarter.
*JaVale McGee was so effective on Joakim Noah that Bulls coach Tom Thibedeau elected to bench his center for much of the fourth quarter (his sore thumb is also a reason, but still). McGee is now second in the league in blocks per game (3.2) and registered five against the Bulls stacked frontcourt. McGee also flashed an improving set shot, canning four of his five field goals outside the paint. This was a good bounce back from the 23-year-old after several down games.
*Although Wall gets most of the blame from me, Nick Young did not help at all. His poor start -- getting torched on defense, turning the ball over twice and missing McGee on a wide open lob -- seems to always doom Young. If he's not hot early in a game, its usually an off night for 'Swaggy P'. The Wizards should take note of this with his impending free agency.
*Even though the loss wasn't pretty, the Trevor Booker/Chris Singleton starting combination is much improved basketball. It passes the eye test, meaning it actually looks like these guys want to be playing basketball. Booker's continuing to get comfortable on the left block and I'll reiterate once again that the Wizards feed off of Singleton's aggression on defense.
*Jan Vesely was getting pushed around by Taj Gibson and Omer Asik during his 15 minutes of play. Something tells me Vesely is going to be a much better player at home than on the road. It will be interesting to see how he matches up with Thaddeus Young of the 76ers Friday and Saturday. Young is one of the more underrated forwards in the NBA.
*The Wizards shot 31 percent from the field (26-of-84)
*Here are where all nine of Wall's misses came from: 21-feet, 20-feet, 17-feet, 10-feet, 6-feet, two layups and two shots blocked. He also had two offensive charging fouls.
*Jordan Crawford hit all three of Washington's three-point attempts. He led the team in scoring with 14 but also finished last in +/- with a -18.
*Just four of the Wizards 10 players who saw action recorded an assist. Booker had one, McGee had one, Shelvin Mack had two and Wall boasted eight. A total of 12 assists. Yikes.