Wizards need offensive spark

Wizards need offensive spark
December 18, 2012, 11:00 am
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With starting point guard John Wall's return from a sore knee still very much up in the air, center Nene's sore foot still an issue, starting small forward Trevor Ariza out with a bad calf, power forward Trevor Booker sitting with a bad knee, and guard A.J. Price out with a broken hand, the 3-18 Wizards face a serious uphill climb to close out the calendar year on a good note. Washington has seven games -- including two back-to-backs -- over the next 11 days, and it starts with Atlanta tonight at Verizon Center. 

"A lot of teams go through it and you’ve got to try to make do with the best you can," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said after practice Monday. The Wizards have lost three in a row, including their worst loss of the season at Miami, 102-72, on Saturday night in South Beach.

Especially minus Wall and Nene -- who is still not up to speed fitness-wise and who missed the Heat game with his continuing problem of plantar fasciitis --  the Wizards have languished offensively, averaging an NBA low 89.8 points a game and also shooting a league low 40 percent from the field.

The Wizards' leading scorer is guard Jordan Crawford, averaging just 14 points a game, but he has been asked to start at point guard and distribute more with Price injured. Shooting guard Bradley Beal has revved up his offensive production lately, but it's critical that more players increase their output if the Wizards are going to turn this brutal start around. 

Emeka Okafor is one Wizard who simply has to play better. The veteran power forward is averaging a career low 7 points so far this season, compared to his 12.5 points for his eight-year career. Chris Singleton is another player who is capable of doing more. Singleton is now starting at small forward but his offense has shown limited improvement from a year ago, as he is averaging just 5 points a game in 7 starts. Singleton clearly has to put up better numbers, especially as a starter.

Small forward Cartier Martin is showing signs he can contribute off the bench as evidenced by his 21 points versus the Lakers last Friday, which he followed up with 18 points against Miami Saturday. The bottom line is, with so many scorers hurt, someone has got to find a way to be more effective on the offensive end or the losing will continue.