Wizards' mid-season grades: Guard

Wizards' mid-season grades: Guard
February 4, 2013, 11:45 am
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John Wall: Grade: B 

Wall shot right out of the gate after his return from a sore knee, giving the Wizards renewed spirit and confidence, but that has subsided a bit as the team has lost four in a row to put Washington's record with Wall back playing at 6-7. After two recent sub-par games, Wall scored 21 points, dished out 9 assists and grabbed 5 rebounds in a 96-86 loss at San Antonio. 

Wall drastically changes the dynamic for the Wizards on offense. His blazing end-to-end speed and ability to attack the basket puts so much pressure on the opposing defenses that it just makes Washington's offense so much more potent. The Wizards scored 100 points only six times in their first 33 games but after Wall came back the team has scored 100 three times in the last 13 games. 

Still, the Wizards need more from Wall as he continues to get more minutes and is now in the starting lineup. On the recent three-game road trip, Wall struggled in the first two games, scoring just 9 points in both losses at Philadelphia and Memphis. If the 11-35 Wizards are going to close out this season on a better note, Wall has to play better.

Bradley Beal: B+

Winner of rookie of the month in the eastern conference for two straight months, Beal has improved steadily since the start of his first season with the Wizards. The owner of one of the sweetest strokes in the game, Beal is averaging 13.2 points a game but has missed the last three contests with a bad wrist. 

The highlight of the first half of the season for the 19-year old Beal was hitting a game- winning jumper in that huge upset win over Oklahoma City back in early January. The Wizards drafted Beal specifically to run and spot up with Wall pushing the ball. With Wall in the fold, Beal immediately scored in double figures in 5 straight games including a career high 26 points in a loss to Sacramento last week. 

Beal's play lately had trailed off, perhaps due to his ailing wrist, but the future is bright with Beal and Wall in the same back court. 

Jordan Crawford: B-

Crawford has never met a shot he didn't like. When he's hot he's a big asset for the Wizards but when he is cold he is a liability. Crawford pumped in a 30-foot game winner at Portland a few weeks ago but since then he has only scored in doubles figures once. With the return of Wall, his role as one of the go-to scorers has diminished and he seems to be trying to figure out his new role. 

For the season, Crawford is averaging almost 14 points a game on 41 percent shooting. Shot selection has been the knock on Crawford since his rookie year and he still takes questionable shots. 

Garrett Temple: C+

Picked up by the Wizards on Christmas day, Temple has actually started nine games for the Wizards but he's spending more time on the bench lately as the return of Wall has limited his minutes. The 6'-6" Temple can play both guard positions and provides depth and is a decent defender, but is limited offensively.