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It looks like such a very long time in the past that the Washington Wizards had been in first place within the Jap Convention, successful 13 of their first 20 video games. Since Nov. 29, nevertheless, Washington has gone 8-13, dropping all of it the best way all the way down to ninth place within the East at 21-20. Speak about a fall from grace.

The Wizards had been one of many early shocks of the yr, together with the Chicago Bulls within the East. Chicago has continued upward and holds a 2.5-game lead over the Brooklyn Nets for first place within the convention. The Wizards have gone the other approach, and the percentages of them getting this ship again on target are slim.

It didn’t take lengthy for drama to floor within the Wizards’ locker room with teammates talking publicly about Bradley Beal and the variety of photographs he will get in comparison with others. Montrezl Harrell and Spencer Dinwiddie each voiced their dissatisfaction with how the offense is operating again in December. In equity to Beal, he’s taking three fewer photographs per sport this yr than he did in both of the final two seasons. Clearly, this hasn’t been sufficient to maintain Washington on monitor.

Beal is averaging simply 24 ppg this season in 34 video games performed. That’s his lowest ppg because the 2017-18 season. On high of that, Beal has been positioned into the NBA’s COVID health and safety protocol for the second time in lower than a month. Name it unhealthy luck, funky karma, or no matter, however the final six weeks haven’t been form to the Wizards. Protection is by far certainly one of their largest flaws, rating twenty second in defensive score. With a lineup that options Beal, Harrell, and Dinwiddie coming off an ACL damage, it’s no marvel the crew is struggling defensively.

It actually felt like they’d lastly carried out one thing proper within the trade for Russell Westbrook that introduced Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Kyle Kuzma over from the Lakers. They undoubtedly did the proper factor in buying and selling Westbrook, however the crew simply hasn’t carried out as much as their early season customary of late. Beal scoring over 30 ppg didn’t work for Washington, and now he’s scoring a lot much less, and so they’re nonetheless on the battle bus. This franchise simply can’t catch a break.

In a report launched this morning by The Athletic, crew sources advised them a couple of fight in the locker room throughout halftime of Tuesday evening’s 122-118 win towards the Thunder. Issues obtained bodily between Harrell and Caldwell-Pope after Harrell turned enraged over Caldwell-Pope not passing him the ball on a specific play within the first half. Though they obtained the win over OKC (which isn’t saying a lot), this newest locker room episode form of encapsulates the downward spiral this crew has been trapped in since December. When it rains, it definitely does pour.

The Wizards are at present nonetheless within the play-in playoff image, however there’s no assure they’ll be capable of keep afloat in the course of the second half of the season. It is a proficient crew, and so they have some items round Beal now and needs to be enjoying significantly better than they’ve during the last month’s price of video games. It sounds prefer it is perhaps time for a kind of “notorious” players-only conferences as soon as Beal returns to the crew from well being and security protocols.

Washington has some issues to handle ASAP. Whether or not it’s the protection, the stream of the offense, or teammates squaring as much as throw down. There are nonetheless 41 video games left to get everybody again on the identical web page. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. has an unlimited process on his palms with this group. We’ll see if they’ll get again into competition among the many high six within the East or in the event that they’ll do what the Wizards normally do and fade off into oblivion.


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