Grit, experience of Webster and Ariza pay off

Grit, experience of Webster and Ariza pay off
April 22, 2013, 2:45 am
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Washington Wizards small forward Martell Webster (9) and point guard John Wall (2) hug after their win over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.

(Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

The Wizards (29-53) may look different next season as they set their sights on making a legitimate run for the playoffs. This is the third in a series breaking down the roster by position, how they fared and what's ahead. Small forwards:

Martell Webster

Numbers game: 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 44.2% FG shooting, 42.2% 3FG shooting, 84.8% FT shooting.

2013-14 status: He made $1.6 million on a one-year deal and becomes an unrestricted free agent going into his ninth season. PG John Wall wants him back and Webster made clear he wants to return.

Where he excels: Three-point range put him among the top 3 in the NBA until an abdominal injury derailed his effectiveness. Webster is a catch-and-shoot specialist and is a solid defender. Coach Randy Wittman credits him immensely for the positive turnaround in the locker room culture.

Quick fixes: Webster could benefit from becoming a ball-handler to help relieve the pressure on Wall and give himself more scoring options.

He said it: "Right now it’s just rest. I’m going to coordinate with Eric Waters, our trainer, and we’ll see what the next step is. As of right now, I don’t see surgery being in the future (for abdominal injury). But we’re going to have to continue to communicate and figure out what we’re going to do with this."

Grade: B+

Trevor Ariza

Numbers game: 9.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 41.7% FG shooting, 36.4% 3FG shooting, 82.1% FT shooting.

2013-14 status: Ariza, going into his 10th season, has a player option for the final year of his contract which will pay him $7.7 million. He said he won’t opt-out come July 1.

Where he excels: Ariza is the team's best one-on-one defender. At 6-8, he's long and quick enough to guard the swing position without much help. Shot a career-high percentage from long range and gets his share of hockey assists.

Quick fixes: Ariza wasn't happy with his finishing in the paint. He didn't have the same explosion because of issues with his left knee that kept him out the last five games of the regular season. Coach Randy Wittman tried to play him in the backcourt with Wall when Bradley Beal went down, but Ariza's lack of ball-handling proved problematic and he returned to being a sixth man.

He said it: "We had some good times to the season, some real good stretches, and some stretches that weren't so great. Early on it was rough for us, but as everybody got healthy, I think we got better as a team once we figured out what each other likes to do. That’s when it was fun. Losing sucks. It sucks to not be in the postseason."

Grade: B