To say there's one answer to what ails the Wizards, who are 10-14 entering Saturday's game with the Charlotte Hornets, is incorrect. It's never that simple.
Health is a major issue, but before they started down this path they Bradley Beal (leg) and Nene (calf) on the court.
The trade market will heat up and most names publicly linked with the Wizards will be misdirection. Who knows who will be available, so instead of specific names this is about the single greatest need.
I've come up with three. Correcting them all by season's end will not happen. But a combination of getting some players back and making a move by the February trade deadline can possibly solve two of them.
Keep in mind that the Wizards only have 14 of the maximum 15 guaranteed contracts. Ryan Hollins is non-guaranteed until Jan. 10, so he can be released at any time between now and then without penalty under the cap to open a roster spot. Plus, they have a Traded Player Exception granted by the league for Martell Webster who was waived because of right hip surgery:
Perimeter defender: Just look at how opponents shoot from distance. The Wizards are last in field-goal accuracy allowed from 25-29 feet (42.4%). By comparison, the New York Knicks allow 24% which is best in the NBA. The Hornets are third at 28.3%. Two years ago, when the Wizards had Trevor Ariza as their best perimeter defender, they were third best allowing just 32.2%. Last year with Paul Pierce, they were middle of the pack at 33.7%.
Size inside: If center Marcin Gortat isn't on, or gets into foul trouble or has to leave for a personal matter like he did when he missed three games, who can be relied on? Hollins made a couple of starts in his absence but now is out of the rotation. DeJuan Blair is getting the call for the moment but he's undersized at 6-7 and his lateral movement isn't as good. Even when Nene returns, he'll probably miss time again based on his history.
Stretch four: This is a problem area because Kris Humphries, who has started most of the games as the power forward, isn't a three-point shooter though he can make one occasionally. And when he has to defend true stretch players like C.J. Miles of the Indiana Pacers he's even more out of sorts. Drew Gooden (calf) probably works best here but he hasn't been healthy all season so Jared Dudley, who is 6-7, gets the call. Dudley isn't athletic and recovering off of help defense to contest at the arc is problematic for him, too. So a player with Gooden's size and Dudley's IQ would work best but that's a tall order.