The good people of Bullets Forever are always up for some question answering. This weekend I spoke with Thomas Pruitt. I also answered some questions for him as well, so please check out Bullets Forever to see the things I said.
Here we go!
1.) John Wall is still out. What's going on with this whole situation?
At least as far as I can tell, it was just a stress injury that took longer than expected to heal. Right now everything seems fine, but if we don't see him back by the middle of January, something far more serious is probably wrong.
2.) Bradley Beal has had a rough shooting season for someone pegged as a shooter in he draft. Is it simply an issue of him being a rookie and being asked to do too much with Wall out? Or is there something more concerning underlying his play?
A little of both. The team has constructed a roster made up almost entirely of catch and shoot guys or big men who thrive on garbage buckets, so once Wall went out and Nene's minutes were lowered, the team's offense basically fell apart. While Beal has better ball skills than most people realize, he's not big or explosive enough to be able to create his own shot on a regular basis and has struggled when he's been asked to be the team's primary playmaker. That said, some of his troubles are likely a result of being one of the youngest rookies in the league. His jumper has always looked better than it actually is, and fans are hoping that, with enough repetitions, he'll eventually be an Eric Gordon-esque shooter and playmaker.
3.) How has the Okafor-Nene combination worked out?
Not all that well. While Nene's been incredible when he's played this year (Washington is a whopping 27.1 points per 100 possessions better when he's on the floor as per 82games), Wizards fans haven't seen all that much of him. He's only played in 16 games this year while averaging 22 minutes a night. He's gotten healthier and should be better going forward, but you always want a guy who's so crucial to everything your team does to be more durable. Meanwhile, Okafor's got the opposite problem: He's been healthy all year, but he's been really mediocre when he's seen the court. In addition to being overpaid, Okafor is a relic of a past age when power forwards were undersized centers, not overgrown shooting guards. Basically, Okafor can only guard centers, but anyone over, say, 250 pounds can outmuscle him and score at will.
4.) Are the Wizards looking to make any moves? If so, who would you like to see in a Wizards uniform?
I don't know if they are, but they definitely should be. There are rumors floating around right now about a possible deal for Demarcus Cousins, which wouldn't be bad per se, but I'm worried about what it could do to the team's chemistry. Personally, I'd like to see Washington stockpile draft picks and sit on their hands until someone better comes along. All things being equal, I'd like to see Washington bring in a rim protecting big man, a pick and pop power forward, or a perimeter player with ball skills who's over 6'5. Royce White would actually make a lot of sense for this team, since he'd be able to get a change of scenery, his playmaking could be a godsend for the offense, and he could get to and from half the country via Amtrak. Of Dallas' players, no one really jumps out, although Dominique Jones and Jae Crowder could be useful.
5.) Like Mark Cuban, Ted Leonsis seems to insist that the organization is on the right track, often on his blog or in comments to the media. Is he right or do you think the team direction needs to be overhauled? What would you do if you were the GM?
He's wrong, but not as wrong as people seem to think. This team is terrible, but there are a few things that fans seem to have forgotten, namely that their defense is 10th in the league despite their lack of a true rim protector and that Wall, Nene, Beal and a top five pick in the 2013 draft is actually a decent looking core. If I was the GM I'd continue to try to build through the draft and avoid taking on long term salary. Yes, that sounds really simple and vague, but it's mind boggling how reluctant the franchise has been to actually see a rebuilding project all the way through.
Thanks! Everyone be sure to visit Bullets Forever