WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- The Wizards are the Wizards so far. At 2-4, there have been some agonizing moments, but some bright spots as well. Let's dive in.
Bradley Beal can help mask some of the Wizards downfalls
The last time the Wizards had a consistent shooting guard they could count on to carry the entire load? Michael Jordan. Beal showed flashes in his rookie season he had potential to be a capable sidekick with John Wall. Now those flashes have developed into a growing perception around the NBA that Beal may in actuality be the real star in Washington.
If there's games where Beal starts catching fire, the Wizards can toss out some set plays and keep feeding him the ball. The Warriors do this with Steph Curry, a guard with a similar skill set to Beal. Pre-LeBron, the Heat let Dwayne Wade run loose. This strategy, as implemented against the Thunder on Sunday, can work. Beal hoisting 20 shots a game should be a normality.
Averaging 23-25 points in not unrealistic for the 20-year-old. His dribbling for a non-point guard and ability to make buckets with a man in his face put him amongst a small group of players in the league. Anyone arguing John Wall should be taking game winning shot attempts over Beal isn't watching the same team I am.
Beal can't do it all by himself. He needs Wall to penetrate to keep guards on their toes. He needs Nene on the court every night for obvious reasons. And he needs Randy Wittman's full trust to ensure his torrid start is not just a hot streak. If the circumstances above fall in line like dominoes, an all-star appearance is not out of the question for the second year player.
Marcin Gortat is an upgrade over Emeka Okafor
With the basketball, Gortat has an athletic arsenal of moves. As of the writing of this post, he's 13th in the NBA in rebounding (9.8). And theoretically, I'll argue Gortat will continue to improve as a Wizard. The spacing Martell Webster and Al Harrington provide give him plenty of room to operate. Plus it's apparent he thrives playing in up-tempo systems, a place where John Wall also operates effectively. I can agree Okafor was a defensive beast last season, but Gortat is no slouch himself in that category.
Five games into the season, the Wizards small forward is third on the team in minutes with 37.8, even with two strong backups in Webster and Harrington. Ariza has lapses and gets overconfident at times, but statistically (14.7 points, 7.2 rebounds), he's off to a good start. More film is needed on the 10-year veteran to determine if it's worth trading his $7.73 expiring contract later in the season. But as of now, he's been more effective than predicted for the Wizards.
Randy Wittman should tone it down a notch
I get that his anxiety filled facial expressions and brutally honest press conferences are just a part of who Randy Wittman is. As a media member I appreciate him being real. He's cursed me out before too. But he should stop acting like the Wizards ship is sinking -- because it's not. This isn't a disjointed roster staring JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche anymore. There is talent here. I understand each coach has their own unique style. But looking from a far, the Wizards roster seem like guys who respond better to a surprising change in Wittman's tone.