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Washington Wizards need to let John Wall be John Wall

5:17 PM, Jan 3, 2012   |    comments
An increased role for Chris Singleton could give this Wizards team a spark. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Zero wins. Zero nail biting games. Zero enthusiasm about the way John Wall has been playing. Zero teams have a worse record than the Wizards. Now, it seems like there's zero chance a potential star player named DeMarcus Cousins would be traded to Washington.

Going into the season everyone in Washington D.C. had curbed their expectations for the Wizards. Most would be enamored with 30 victories from a roster just laying the foundation for a massive rebuilding project. What many people didn't expect is that Washington may be the worst team in the entire NBA.

Like most sports teams in the area, covering the Wizards can be extremely challenging. I don't want to be overly negative, but at the same time there are clearly some issues on the court that need to be tweaked.

Note: The biggest tweak needs to be in the Wizards overall attitude. Losing becomes a mentality and staying positive is the only way that things could change. But there's no real sense in analyzing this for the 17,312th time.

1) Start Chris Singleton over Rashard Lewis.

For those against this decision, is it really that drastic of a move? The organization has no future plans for the 32-year-old besides maybe using the amnesty clause. Lewis is what he is at this point in his career; an overpaid shooting forward with below average speed. Lewis is supposed to be the teams best three-point threat, but he's yet to flourish his shooting while in D.C.

Enter Chris Singleton. The rookie's aggressive defense creates opportunities on offense and he's been a burgeoning factor in connecting fast breaks. Let's not totally knock his supposed wretched offensive game either. Singleton has as many three-pointers made as Lewis and will continue to refine that shot. Singleton's 18 minutes per game need to be swapped for Lewis' 31.

2) There shouldn't be a game where JaVale McGee has less than 10 shots.

If you've watched all five of the Wizards defeats, there's no questioning the teams best player has been McGee. Once a clumsy project better known for his WNBA mom, McGee is ranked 17th in ESPN's offensive efficiency rankings. That's the second best rating for true center's -- behind Andrew Bynum -- and McGee even ranks ahead of notable players like Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

So its kind of simple Flip Saunders. Unsure of which play to call? The pick-n-pop not working with Andray Blatche? Feed your big fella' down low. There are reasons to believe McGee could become a 16 points per game, 12 rebounds per game stalwart with the right play calling.

3) Let John Wall be John Wall

As of now, the comparisons to Isiah Thomas, Derrick Rose and even Russell Westbrook need to be muted. I'm just as guilty of gushing over Wall's good plays as anyone else who follows the Wizards. But the bad plays like turnovers, and body control issues have been far too prevalent in each game to anoint Wall as a savior just yet.

I think that's the problem Wall is having. He's trying too much to be like the young stars in the league rather than just playing the basketball he knows. He gives off the feeling that he's already defeated during a game that is still going on.

Let's wait until the 15th game to assess whether Wall is going through a sophomore slump or not. It happened to Tyreke Evans, a fellow John Calipari disciple. It happens, and a player can recover. Wall, like the rest of us basketball geeks, is still figuring out which type of point guard he will ultimately become.

One huge positive from Wall: free throw attempts. Wall's averaging eight on the season, tops for any point guard in the league.

4) Less of Jordan Crawford would be beneficial, meaning more Shelvin Mack.

Surprisingly two of the Wizards best quarters of the season -- the first against New Jersey and the third against Milwaukee -- came with Jordan Crawford catching heat. He totaled eight points in each of those periods while dominating the ball.

Still, if you are a fan of advanced stats -- I think they reveal a whole different picture -- Crawford has an absurd usage rating of 25.2 percent, effectively meaning the ball is in his hands a fourth of the time he's on the court. That's more than Rudy Gay, Manu Ginobili and Steph Curry. Crawford is better in two longer spurts rather than being put in the lineup sporadically.

82games.com breaks down a Wizards lineup that has actually been the most beneficial. Mack-Young-Singleton-Booker-Turiaf has the best +/- ratio of any five-man-unit used by the Wizards. Macks distribution skills may honestly be the most reliable on the team. He should eat some of Crawford's minutes.

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