Washington Wizards star point guard John Wall may miss around two months following a knee surgery, according to recent league reports.
Former NBA big man Brendan Haywood said the team is no longer a lock to make the postseason. This argument might make sense but don’t count the team out quite yet.
Washington has outscored opponents by 4.3 points per 100 possessions when Wall has been on the court. As noted by ESPN’s Zach Lowe, sixteen of their upcoming twenty games will be against teams who are currently set to make the postseason. The road ahead will not be easy for the Wizards.
Unfortunately, the main lineup that does not feature Wall has not performed well. When Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris have played with Tim Frazier, the unit has been outscored by 4.5 points per 100 possessions.
Beal has been a much more effective player with Wall off the court so far this season. There are two lineups that have performed surprisingly well (albeit with a small sample size) that rely mostly on Beal.
One features Gortat, Morris, Porter and Tomas Satoransky. The other is Beal alongside Satoransky as well as Ian Mahini, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Mike Scott. The latter had a remarkably high offensive rebound percentage and both had strong true shooting percentages.
While Satoransky and Frazier will both see increased minutes as the team hopes to stay competitive in the Eastern Conference, it’s players like Beal, Porter and Oubre who will need to step up in the absence of Wall.
Frazier recently recorded 14 assists against the Atlanta Hawks, though it came during garbage time. Beal, Porter, Scott and Morris are all shooting over 40 percent from three-point range after passes from Frazier.
The point guard has also shot significantly better as a starter, including a three-point percentage almost twice as high.
Beal is a first-time All-Star this season for the Wizards. It won’t be an easy road to keep them in playoff contention but it’s certainly possible he proves himself capable.
With the Eastern Conference postseason in a close race and Washington currently in the picture, they can find a way to stay in contention.