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Wall still confident Wizards will make playoffs

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Wall still confident Wizards will make playoffs

After hearing the news that hed miss the next eight weeks with a stress injury to his left knee, Wizards guard John Wall turned off his cell phone and sat alone with his thoughts.

The whole ride back to D.C. I didnt talk to anybody, Wall said of his Thursday night trip back to Washington.

On Monday, Wall joined his teammates at Verizon Center, where the Wizards held their annual media day session. Wall posed for photos and dribbled a basketball, but for the foreseeable future he can do little else.

I cant do anything, he said. I cant run. I cant jump. Its kind of tough being in the gym. You cant pick up a basketball. All you can do is stand still dribbling.

So what does the Wizards franchise player do during his free time?

Play video games, sleep, play video games, Wall said.

For the record, Walls favorites are Call of Duty, Madden and NBA2K, but he thinks there can be improvements on the digital version of John Wall.

I like myself in 2K12, Wall said. But I think 2K13 needs to give me a lot more bounce so I can dunk on people. Thats what I want to do.

In all likelihood, it could be December before Wizards fans see the real John Wall dunking a basketball. The early prognosis has him sidelined until Thanksgiving, meaning the Wizards will be forced to find a way to win without their star guard for at least their first 10 games.

With training camp set to open on Tuesday at George Mason University, coach Randy Wittman will try to fill the void with Jordan Crawford, rookie Bradley Beal, A.J. Price, Sheldon Mack, rookie Steve Gray and newly signed veteran Janerro Pargo.

Crawford, who finished third on the Wizards in scoring last season with 14.7 points, said hes capable of running the floor in Walls absence.

Its a setback because hes a major component on the team, but its time for everybody to step up until hes back, Crawford said. I can easily move into that until he gets back. Its a natural position for me, whatever the coaches ask.

Wall was taken first in the 2010 NBA draft and said Monday its once in a lifetime to find people like that. But he also said he believes the Wizards are deep enough to stay afloat while hes nursing his injury, the second serious setback of an NBA career entering its third year. As a rookie, Wall missed 13 games with a sprained foot.

I think I came back earlier than I was supposed to, Wall said. Im just learning from it, maturing and not trying to rush anything back. This is something different than your foot, its your knee. It can stop you from playing if I dont take my time.

As for his off-court habits this summer, Wall smiled when he was asked about social media reports that he partied excessively.

Listen man, its summertime, he said. Im going to enjoy myself. But as long as Im up every morning at 6 a.m. and going to the gym at 7 it doesnt bother me.

Throughout the season if I was doing it, it would be a lot different. But Im happy to enjoy basketball and Im going to enjoy myself in the summer. At the same time, theres a time for me to enjoy myself with my family and my friends, and theres also a time for me to get better at basketball. And if Im doing that, Im OK with it.

Wall said that despite his injury, his goal is still to lead the Wizards into the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

I know coming in here I have high expectations, he said, but thats my goal, to get D.C. basketball and the Wizards back where they belong and thats in the playoffs and hopefully contend for a championship. I like the pressure.

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Jodie Meeks

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Jodie Meeks

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Jodie Meeks' season...

Player: Jodie Meeks

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 30

2017-18 salary: $3.3 million

2017-18 stats: 77 G, 14.5 mpg, 6.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.9 FG%, 34.3 3P%, 86.3 FT%, 49.1 eFG%, 111 ORtg, 112 DRtg

Best game: 11/29 at Sixers - 21 points, 4 rebounds, assist, steal, 5-for-11 FG, 3-for-6 3PT, 8-for-9 FT

Season review: The Wizards took a flier on Jodie Meeks last summer in what seemed at the time to be a low-risk contract with a potentially high reward, if he could stay healthy and play to his career norms. They were in obvious need of help at backup shooting guard and three-point shooting for their bench.

Meeks fell short of those expectations for a variety of reasons. Though he stayed healthy for the first time in years, he could not make shots at the clip the Wizards were hoping for. His field goal percentage was not far off from what he posted in recent years, but his three-point percentage was nowhere near the 38.8 percent he shot in his previous four seasons.

Meeks bottomed out midseason, shooting 28.9 percent from three in December and 28 percent in January. Those numbers ticked up beginning in February, but Meeks never fully gained the trust of his coaching staff. He rarely got hot enough to alter games and his best stat-lines often came in blowouts. 

There was a domino effect from Meeks' struggles, as starting shooting guard Bradley Beal had no one to spell him. As a result, Beal logged the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player this season.

For Meeks personally, it was a bittersweet year because staying healthy was no small feat. He had a run of bad luck and finally broke out of it this season. On the other hand, he never made the impact he felt he was capable of and that wasn't easy for a guy joining a new team and a new locker room.

Meeks' 2017-18 season was ultimately defined by more than his shooting woes. First, he expressed interest in a trade in February and did not get his wish. Then, he was suspended for allegedy using performance-enhancing drugs after the regular season ended. He was out for the playoffs and will miss the first 19 games of the 2018-19 season without pay as he waits out a 25-game ban.

Meeks may or may not serve that suspension as a member of the Wizards. He has a player option for next season worth $3.5 million. He has yet to inform the team of his decision, but the expectation is that he will pick it up. Given how poorly his season went and ended, it would likely be the smart move financially for him to opt in and hope for better results next season.

Potential to improve: Shooting percentage, perimeter defense, passing

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

Tim Frazier, PG

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Tim Frazier's season...

Player: Tim Frazier

Position: Point guard

Age: 27

2017-18 salary: $2 million

2017-18 stats: 59 G, 14.2 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.5 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 76.7 FT%, 44.5 eFG%, 105 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 1/27 at Hawks - 4 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2-for-5 FG

Season review: The Wizards tabbed Tim Frazier to be their backup point guard nearly a year ago when they sent a second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans on the eve of draft night. They viewed Frazier as the solution to their years-long search for a capable backup behind John Wall. Frazier had thrived as a replacement starter in New Orleans and the Wizards saw him as worth a draft pick, even though he had just one year left on his contract.

Frazier began the season as the primary backup point guard, but ultimately lost the job to Tomas Satoransky once Wall went out with a left knee injury. Frazier became the starter and Satoransky the backup, but through two weeks Satoransky outplayed him and became No. 2 on the depth chart once Wall returned. Then, when Wall went down for months late in the season, Satoransky started and Frazier backed him up.

Frazier never found consistency as he moved back and forth between roles. His minutes, points and assists averages were all career-lows.

The Wizards added competition to their roster for Frazier and Satoransky midseason, first by signing Ramon Sessions in March and then adding Ty Lawson just before the playoffs began. That led to Frazier being inactive for four of the Wizards' six postseason games.

All in all, it was a frustrating year for Frazier. He even had to deal with a broken nose and surgery to repair it after getting inadvertently kneed in the face by Bobby Portis in a game against the Bulls in February.

Frazier has been part of small group of Wizards players continuing to work out at the team facility this summer. He has been there along with Wall, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith. That said, it does seem likely Frazier returns given how the Wizards used him this season. He was completely out of the rotation for extended periods of time.

Helping his cause in that regard is that the Wizards have his Bird rights, meaning they can re-sign him while going above the salary cap. They currently have five open roster spots and not much money to spend. Frazier could represent a cheap option and help them fill out their roster.

Potential to improve: Shooting, on-ball defense, consistency

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

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