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Home Sports Originally published November 15, 2012

Wizards’ "Others" Not Performing in Stars' Absence

Wizards Weekly-1

by Stephen D. Riley
Special to the AFRO

    Washington DC Wizards (Courtesy Image)
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Fighting the Injury Bug
With stars Nene and John Wall shelved with leg and foot injuries, the rest of the Washington Wizards have found tough sledding in the opening stages of the young 2012-2013 season. A lack of star power and certified go-to guys has resulted in an 0-6 start.

While disappointing, Washington has stayed competitive, losing three games by six points or less.

Prize rookie Bradley Beal took center stage as the Wizards’ leading scorer, pacing the team with 12.2 points per game. The first-year guard out of Florida has been inconsistent with his shooting, hitting less than 35 percent of his shots from the field and three-point range. He’s been stellar at the charity stripe, however, connecting on 95 percent from the free throw line.

Beal hasn’t exactly set the world on fire as a rookie but he lacks a pivot man in Wall, who was predicted to set Beal up for easy scores. It’s clear that Beal is a good player in this league, but until Wall returns fans won't see Beal at his most effective.

Newcomers Struggling in Washington
The Trevor Ariza/Emeka Okafor experiment has been a bust so far. Despite a few solid performances from the pair of former New Orleans Hornets, neither has brought the veteran scoring or leadership as expected. Ariza and Okafor are each averaging eight points this season, a far cry from what they were expected to bring after a midsummer trade.

Aside from Beal, reserve point guard turned starter A.J. Price has been the only Wizard to average double figures, with 10 points per game. With only two scorers averaging in double figures for the year, Washington is last in the NBA in points scored at 86 per night. They're also tied for last in the league in three-point percentage and are currently at the bottom in overall field goal percentage.

A lot will change once Wall and Nene return, but recent reports suggest that Nene is at least three weeks from taking the court, while Wall's possible December return is still in question.

“Positive reports on John,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman told reporters at the Verizon Center on Nov. 8.

With their losing streak at six and counting, the Wizards are just hungry for their first win. Effort isn't good enough to win in the NBA, and Washington's head coach knows that.

“We just got to do what we have to do” Wittman told reporters on Nov. 12. “We put ourselves in position every game. You just got to execute.”

Washington badly needs Nene and Wall to return, but they’re hurting even more for their first win of the season.