Inside the black hole that has become the Washington Wizards’ season, there are actually a few glimmers of hope.
Don’t get us wrong here. The Wizards are bad – perhaps historically bad. They enter Monday night’s home game against the Spurs at 0-11, and there are whispers that they might challenge the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers for the title of worst (82-game season) team in league history. Those Sixers went 9-73, and the current Wizards are on pace to go, well 0-82.
But a check of the numbers shows that the current residents of the Verizon Center in downtown D.C. have been somewhat competitive. The Wizards are a middle-of-the-road cover team (5-6). They have beaten the number home and away against Boston, and their three others covers have all been on the road (Indiana, Dallas, Atlanta). They have been in every game.
Coach Randy Wittman has the Wiz playing hard despite an obvious lack of talent, but injuries to PG John Wall (left knee) and Nene (left foot) have robbed Washington of any momentum the Wiz were able to assemble after winning their final six games last season. They have yet to get much from top draft choice Bradley Beal, who is shooting less than 33 percent from the field.
Nene returned on Saturday night and gave the front line a huge lift (30 minutes, 19 points) in a 108-106 overtime loss to Charlotte (Washington failed to cover at -4.5). Wall’s return is uncertain – he was hurt five weeks ago and figured to be out eight weeks.
“Things are progressing [on Wall],” Wittman recently told the Washington Post. “No setbacks, no things that look differently. Things are moving in the right direction in terms what they are seeing, the doctors. Each day he’s taking the step of increased rehab work. Nothing on the floor, but that’s a good thing.”
Washington will try to end the losing streak one game shy of a dozen Monday night at home against the Spurs, who will be playing on back-to-back nights (San Antonio is in Toronto on Sunday) and in the middle of a seven-game road swing. The talent gap is enormous, but the Wizards should be getting a decent number of points and could catch the Spurs sleepwalking.