Zach Lowe with another awesome piece. http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-trian ... the-throne
"It's sort of a "duh" thing, but the Wizards for the rest of the season will serve as a useful reminder that having good NBA players is sort of important. The Wiz have been a disaster offensively this season, spending almost the entirety of it ranked dead last in points per possession, with a mark rivaling Charlotte's historically bad figure from last year's messy lockout season. Their shot selection profile has been dreadful; the Wiz rank last in shots per game at the rim and "first" in long 2-point attempts.
But Washington's offense hasn't looked that bad, aesthetically, with the exception of some horrific crunch-time disorganization (shot clock violations, Jordan Crawford recklessness) here and there. They've moved the ball, assisting on a higher-than-average share of their baskets, and they've made an effort to run some almost artful NBA sets. Even Crawford, perhaps the league's premier ball-hog, upped his assist rate to a career-best level while spending significant time running the offense in John Wall's absence.
The team just had bad or untested NBA players, at almost every position. Things changed when Nenê returned and started playing more minutes; the Wiz have actually outscored opponents by about 5 points per 100 possessions with Nenê on the floor, a mark that would rank 6th overall — pretty remarkable for a 7-29 team. It's amazing how much better those semi-artful sets work with a big guy who can actually shoot, pass, and cut in smart ways — and how many more sets become possible for Randy Wittman to actually use.
Now Wall is back, too, and though the returns haven't been quite as robust, you can already see the Wall/Bradley Beal duo bearing fruit. Beal is 12-of-22 from the floor in his very limited minutes with Wall, and his 26-point explosion against Sacramento last night showed Beal has already learned one very important Wall-related lesson: Run to the corners when Wall pushes the ball, and spot-up for wide-open 3's. We even saw Washington run a Wall/Beal pick-and-roll, with Beal screening and fading to the left wing for open 3's.
Here's a prediction: I'll bet the Wizards end up outscoring the opposition for the season when both Wall and Nenê are on the court."