Training camp opens tomorrow at Verizon Center. Here is the first of three keys to this year’s camp:
Since the Wizards did little to upgrade the roster aside from adding three draft picks, the team’s improvement will likely depend on John Wall’s progression in his second season. Wall said he wasn’t healthy for most of his first campaign – when he dealt with injuries to his knees and left foot but still averaged 16.4 points, 8.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds and finished a distant second to Blake Griffin for rookie of the year honors.
Wall took advantage of the lockout to study film of the league’s elite point guards , review his mistakes, figure out the areas in which he needed to get better and others that he could exploit. He regained his explosiveness and used his athleticism to erupt for huge scoring outbursts in several charity exhibitions, summer league games and the so-called “lockout league” in Las Vegas, but he also learned some tricks of the trade from veterans such as Chauncey Billups.
Not used to losing, Wall had a difficult season in which the Wizards won just 23 games. With a 66-game season, the Wizards certainly won’t lose that many again, but Wall is focused on leading the franchise back to the playoffs for the first time in four years. He will have to stay healthy, continue to improve on jump shot, and become a better leader for the Wizards to even come close.