There are a lot of hanging heads and depressed faces in the Wizards’ locker room right now. After last night’s double overtime feud against the Charlotte Bobcats, the Washington Wizards saw yet another opportunity to capture their first win of the season slip away. Wizards remain as the only winless team in the NBA right now.
The Wizards have had two great opportunities in their last two games to finally break the seemingly endless spell, which has prevented the team from winning this season. Against the Atlanta Hawks, Martell Webster hit the game winning shot in overtime, but thanks to modern technology the referees correctly reverted their decision, handing the Wizards another loss. Last night, Washington had every opportunity to win the game against the improved Bobcats, but fell short once again.
Wizards decided to take a new direction last season by shipping away JaVale McGee in exchange for the Nuggets’ center Nene. Shortly after the season the team continued to deal and acquired Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor, by giving up a second round draft pick and Rashard Lewis. With the new additions, the new-look Wizards showed promise on paper, and some might have even predicted that they would flirt with playoff contention this season.
Both Nene and John Wall were unable to start the season and the Wizards have understandably been struggling. Nene has returned to action but it will take some time for him to find his groove.
In John Wall’s absence the Wizards are looking lost on offense, ranking dead last in the league, averaging less than 90 points per game. The status on Wall is still unclear, as the Wizards say there is no timetable on his return. On a positive note, no setbacks on his injury have been reported either. Initially Wall was expected to be sidelined until at least late November, so it is not impossible that we will see the Wizards’ floor general run out on the court sooner rather than later.
While the Wizards will undoubtedly be a different team once Wall returns, it is hard to argue with the notion that the problem for the team has now become psychological. The third overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Bradley Beal, gave his two cents about the team’s struggles, after the loss to the Bobcats:
“It’s hard because you want to help, but sometimes you want to help too much and sometimes you underhelp. You pass up an open shot or you pass it to someone who is not open. I guess it’s kind of like nerves down the stretch.”
“We just need to relax and just play ball and let things flow as they may.”
When a team suffers through a tough stretch like this, it is only natural for players to start questioning themselves, rather than playing instinctively. At the end of the day, winning solves a lot of problems and if the Wizards can manage to break this curse, they still have a legitimate chance to turn their season around, despite the abysmal start. It will not get easier though, as the Wizards host San Antonio in their next game.
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