Could John Wall make the Washington Wizards playoff contenders?

Jan 12, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) defends Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague (0) during the first half at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports

The Washington Wizards struggled to a 5-28 record without star point guard, John Wall.

But in his return to the court, Wall’s 14 points and four assists over 21 minutes led the Wizards over the slumping Atlanta Hawks.

While this is absolutely a rebuilding year for the Wizards, a core of Wall and Nene can only be seen as a positive in what has become a guard-heavy, big man-less Eastern Conference.

Over his career, Wall has averaged 18 points and eight assists per game in what was considered the laughing stock of the NBA. During the offseason, Washington’s management made a concerted effort to rebuild the roster, around Wall, with a “team-first” locker room atmosphere.

While it would be difficult for the Wizards to climb out of the difficult hole they’ve dug themselves this season, it might not be far off to presume Washington will be in contention for a playoff spot come next season.

Check out video of Wall’s return below: