The Washington Post

As Washington Wizards begin NBA season, winning record may be too much to expect

John Wall had a good season last year, but he needs to improve his shooting and cut down on turnovers. (John McDonnel/THE WASHINGTON POST)

The Washington Wizards’ season begins Monday, the day after Christmas. Like lots of kids, the Wizards have a long holiday wish list. Let’s look at what the Wizards want for the upcoming National Basketball Association (NBA) season.

A healthy John Wall: The Wizards’ super-fast point guard is the key to any team success. Wall had a good rookie season last year, averaging more than 16 points and eight assists a game. Wall might become a star, but he needs to improve his shooting and commit fewer turnovers. Wall seemed to wear down during the long 82-game NBA season. Because of the late start, the NBA will play 66 games during a shorter regular season. The Wizards will need Wall at full speed for all of them.

A good rookie: The Wizards drafted two players in the first round of the NBA draft. Jan Vesely is an athletic 6-foot-11-inch forward from the Czech Republic known for his rim-rattling dunks. But Vesely is young (21 years old) and never played college or professional ball in the United States. So it might be expecting a lot for him to be good right away. Chris Singleton played three years at Florida State before being drafted by the Wizards. The rugged 6-foot-8-inch forward might help on defense and with rebounding, but don’t look for him to contribute much on offense.

Improved big men: It seems that every Wizards season begins with the hope that the team’s big men, Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee, will become big-time players. Both have shown flashes of talent. Blatche averaged almost 17 points a game last season, and McGee blocked a ton of shots. Coach Flip Saunders really needs Blatche and McGee to improve at rebounding and defense. The Wizards were near the bottom of the league in both.

A winning record: The Wizards had 23 wins and 59 losses last year. They haven’t changed much from the team that was overmatched against good NBA teams. Like the pony that some kids put on their wish list, a winning record may be too much to ask for.

Fred Bowen writes sports opinion column for the KidsPost. He is the author of 17 sports books for kids that combine sports fiction and sports history, including six basketball books.

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