With the start of the 2013-14 NBA season rapidly approaching, we thought it only fair to share what makes each team so exciting. Ontologically speaking, all 30 teams deserve our eyeballs this season. Even disastrous lineups still present oodles of plays, personalities, highlights and headaches. Here are five things to keep in mind for each team before flipping the channel.
Next up, an up-and-coming Washington Wizards team featuring one of the most exciting backcourts in the NBA..
[5 Reasons To Watch: Kings, Lakers, Knicks, 76ers, Bobcats, Cavs, Magic, Warriors, Timberwolves, Nuggets, Clippers, Clippers, Rockets, Bulls, Pistons, Bucks, Nets, Pacers, Wizards, Thunder, Heat, Mavericks, Celtics, Raptors Hawks, Spurs, Trail Blazers, Grizzlies, Suns, Jazz]
The young duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal have a ceiling together that is limitless. Wall is coming into his fourth season in the NBA, having just received a maximum 5-year, $80 Million contract extension at the, still tender, 22 years of age. Bradley Beal was one of the youngest players in the NBA last season and JUST turned 20 years old this past June.
On top of their fresh-faced backcourt, this season holds the promise to be one the team’s best since their playoffs days of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison after the addition of Otto Porter Jr., Martell Webster‘s development into a legit 3-point threat and Nene Hilario‘s improved health. With that in mind, here are five reasons to watch the Wizards this season.
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John Wall Attacking the Rim
As much as Wall has improved on his mid-range jump shot, we all know where his strength lies. He attacks the rim, and he uses the threat of said ability to setup his mid-range jumper or to set up his teammates.
As much as I love the skills of Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry, there are the other ways to the hoop. They both use the threat of a 3-pointer to set up drives, though I will admit Kyrie’s goes on these rampages where he seems to cross up entire teams at will. Wall can get to that level too â€” he just has to continue to improve his balance on his jumper, go straight up and release the ball at the apogee of his jump â€” but he’s so fast he can get to the bucket even when defenders give him room to rise up.
Wall is also one of the most physical man-to-man perimeter defenders. He’s able to pick off a pass or pickpocket an opposing point guard and take it coast-to-coast; it really is a thing of beauty and large reason Wall is one of the most exciting younger point guards in the game.
Bradley Beal’s Picturesque Jumper
One of the reasons why it’s so exciting to see Wall and Beal on the floor together is how well they complement each other’s game. While Wall is a slashing attacker, Beal is the smooth sharpshooter. His stroke is perfection, I don’t know how else to put it.
Beal was often compared to a young Ray Allen during the NBA drafting process, which wasn’t totally inaccurate. Allen shot 39.3 percent from 3-point range in his rookie season while Beal shot 38.6 percent. However, more so than efficiency, the comparison comes in the aesthetics and form of their shot: Allen had more lift, Beal is more fluid.
Comparisons to the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history isn’t a bad way to start out a career. Here’s to hoping Beal can have a similarly long and productive career, as well as breaking out even more in his sophomore NBA season.
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Otto Porter’s Potential
I, personally, wasn’t too crazy about the Wizards drafting Porter Jr with the No. 3 pick in the 2013 Draft. First of all, I don’t believe in drafting for need in the NBA; GM’s should go with talent over need, because in the NBA you can always trade talent for need. The most obvious case was the Portland Trailblazers selecting a big in Sam Bowie over a certain Michael Jordan because they already had a shooting guard for the future in Clyde Drexler.
Despite my reservations, Porter displayed an astute basketball mind, mid-range game and ability to mesh with teammates. It’s enough to warrant his No. 3 selection. With Trevor Ariza on the final year of his dreadful deal, and Martell Webster already struggling with injuries, this is Porter’s position to lose by the end of the year.â€¨
If Porter can play competent defense, continue to develop his jump shot (off screens and the dribble), this could possibly form a lethal 1-2-3 punch for a Wizards team that has lacked continuity since the Big 3 of Arenas-Butler-Jamison were broken up.
However – deep down, just like Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose fear – I believe Porter has very high “bust” potential. Though he possesses an excellent wing-span, he is not a great athlete, and he’s unable to create his own shot, which is a red flag for a position where some playmaking ability is necessary at the NBA level. Porter will have to get very creative coming off picks and really develop a solid jumper off-the-catch. Until then, he’ll be heavily dependent on Wall to get him the ball in the right spots.
Jan Vesely’s Free Throws.
First of all, not to ride Jan Vesely too hard, but his free throws baffle me. If anyone were to just watch his form, without actually seeing the outcome of this shot, they would think he were a 70-75 percent free throw shooter. However, the reality is that he shot 30.8 percent from the charity stripe last season on 39 attempts.
His first free throw in an official professional game was an air-ball. This is totally understandable if he were playing in his first High School game or first official organized game, but this is where players are paid to play basketball. Then, this past summer, during the EuroBasket Tournament, Vesely showed why he was selected so high in the 2011 NBA Draft. He put up double-doubles in points and rebounds on a regular basis and put his team in a position to advance. But his 1-for-10 performance from the line doomed the Czech Republic against Croatia.
The ugly reality is Vesely is an awful free throw shooter and in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, his free throws are “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”
In the past two seasons, Randy Wittman has somehow managed to keep his job despite the fact his team has missed the postseason each year. Despite the losing, he still has the ear of the team. The losing is largely the result of injuries to key players â€” including Wall.
Another way that Wittman has managed not to “lose” his team is because, I believe, his body language and facial expressions convey his message rather than using audible invective. Being too talkative or nagging grown men is one way of getting run out of town as a coach in the NBA.
Wittman has an array of go-to facial expressions to convey disgust, anger or just plain displeasure, which all the Wizards have become very familiar with. Hopefully there’s a sunnier countenance to Whittman this season as he attempts to get them into the playoffs.
What do you think?
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