With the Olympics over and the United States bringing home gold again in basketball, the next big date on the NBA calendar is the Hall of Fame induction in early September and then training camp gets going October 2.So yes, it's less than two months until the Wizards lace them up again and start preparing for the 2012-13 season.
Is it too early to feel some optimism surrounding the Wizards with all the off-season changes that took place? Probably not, because one thing is certain:The Wizards will be better than last season when they went 20-46.How much better is an open question at this point.
Even though the Wizards added veteran forwards Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, and drafted shooting guard Bradley Beal in the first round of the draft, the Wizards' success will rely heavily on former 1 pick John Wall. The speedy and electric point guard had a solid second season but he will have to elevate his game even further this season if the Wizards want to stay out of being in the lottery for the fifth straight season.
Wall had a very good rookie season, averaging 16 points and 8 assists but he had almost identical numbers his sophomore campaign. It was not the improvement that was envisioned when he was taken with the top selection in the 2010 NBA draft. By comparison, Chicago's point guard Derrick Rose -- taken 1 in 2008 -- took huge leaps each season, especially in his second and third seasons in the league when his average went up from 16 points his rookie season to 25 by the end of year three.
Wall is going to have to score more this upcoming season and he has the potential to do so with his offensiveexplosiveness, but his jump shot must improve. Wall has been working on his jumper this summer and even hired a shooting specialist to help him find his touch.
Now we know Wall can't do it all on his own and that's why veterans Nene, Okafor and Ariza were brought on board to help. Adding a shooter in Beal also brings a dimension the Wizards lacked last year and can help spread the floor even further for Wall.
With Randy Wittman officially the new coach and the immature Andray Blatche finally gone, it's definitely a new beginning in D.C. Well start seeing how it all takes shape in the not too distant future.