And that might not be such a bad thing. The Wizards are haven’t played in 9 days and their game on Friday just got postponed. 8 players are still in health and safety protocols so even if they did play, they would have been extremely shorthanded.
When the Wizards have been on the floor this year, they have just been abysmal defensively and I can’t imagine that it will be much better when they return, at first. Not only have games been postponed, but they just got cleared to practice today. Lack of practice time + limited guys = tired legs, which most certainly means there won’t be effort on both ends of the floor.
Don’t get me wrong, the Wiz play fast and they get BUCKETS. They lead the league in scoring and pace of play. However, the other team gets more buckets. In the draft this year, I really thought the best two fits for the Wiz were Onyeka Okongwu and Issac Okoro. Grab a rim protector or a true two way wing player. Obviously, neither one was there and they picked up Deni. Some people were calling him the steal of the draft, but I have to be honest, the Wiz did not need another offensive minded wing player. Between Beal, Westbrook, Bertans and Rui, there just aren’t enough chances for him to make an impact. Deni is good, but he just hasn’t had the opportunities.
Quite frankly, the Wizards really just need frontcourt help. Thomas Bryant went down with an ACL and Robin Lopez isn’t the same guy he was a few years ago. Rui is the best two-way player at the moment and he’s still got to improve. Bertans is shooting below 40% for the first time in his career and he’s an absolute liability on defense. He’s a 6’10” shooting guard that chills outside and waits for his shot. Mo Wagner has played well, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of him.
Bottom line, Scott Brooks has got to rally the guys and just get them to get just A FEW more stops a game. As bad as the Wiz have been defensively, in 7 of 8 losses, the game has been decided by single digits and the one that wasn’t, the Wiz had cut the Magic’s lead to 5 with 2:45 to go. Bradley Beal said it best when he said that they couldn’t guard a “parked car,” but if the keep up the offensive output, they just need to improve to like 25th in defense and they’ll win plenty more games. That sounds ridiculous, but I think this team can win games. Beal and Westbrook are too good.
I’ll be curious to see how the team looks after the extended layoff, but I’m hoping that defense will be stressed leading up to the first game back. I don’t think it’s time to jump ship…yet. Gotta believe.