Wizards

Wizards

With training camp starting later this month, we at NBC Sports are previewing the season for each player on the Wizards' roster.

The success of the Washington Wizards in 2018-19 begins and ends with John Wall. His efficiency, productive and health all set the tone for the team's upward, or downward, trajectory.

WIZARDS 2018-19 ROSTER OUTLOOK: JOHN WALL

Player: John Wall

Position: Point guard

Age: 27 (turns 28 on Sept. 6)

2018-19 salary: $19.2 million

2017-18 stats: 41 G, 34.4 mpg, 19.4 ppg, 9.6 apg, 3.7 rpg, 1.4 spg, 1.1 bpg, 42.0 FG%, 37.1 3P%, 72.6 FT%, 46.6 eFG%, 105 ORtg, 108 DRtg

2018-19 storyline: Wall's 2017-18 season was one of, if not the most frustrating year of his NBA career. He missed exactly half of the season due to a left knee injury and in many of the 41 games he did play, he wasn't himself. 

The Wizards ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs, which was a first for Wall. And on top of all that, there were some off-court disagreements that made for a tough and forgettable year.

Wall is always motivated to prove people wrong and that will undoubtedly be a part of his thinking throughout the 2018-19 season. With plenty of recency bias in professional sports, right now he probably feels underrated by the way many are characterizing him in the media. The fact he brought up not being considered a top-5 point guard earlier this summer is a good indication of that. 

If Wall is healthy, he will almost certainly have a better year than he did this past season and, if that's the case, the Wizards will likely be much better. But beyond the obvious, there are several parts of Wall's game to watch as he enters his ninth NBA campaign.

Most interesting will be his on-court relationship with Dwight Howard. Though Howard is 32 and not the dominant force he once was, he is the most athletic and gifted big man Wall has played with. The potential for them to thrive as a duo in the pick-and-roll and in transition is enticing. 

But there will need to be sacrifices made by both sides. There may be fewer shots to go around and Howard will have to buy in to being Wall's table-setter, committing to screens and being content if the ball doesn't swing his way.

Howard should also provide more rim protection than Wall is used to. That will help Wall's cause manning the perimeter, knowing he has some help behind him.

For Wall individually, improving his efficiency will be key. Though Wall shot a career-high 37.1 percent from three, his field goal percentage sunk to its lowest mark since his rookie year. Wall's efficiency numbers should go up if he is healthy as his speed creates easy looks around the rim.

In the big picture for the Wizards, this is an important season as it pertains to Wall. It is the final year of his first max contract extension. This season he will make $19.2 million, but next year his salary will skyrocket to $37.8 million. 

Wall has said it himself that this is the most talented team he has been a part of. If he can stay healthy, the potential is there for him and the Wizards to re-install themselves as contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Potential to improve: Availability, efficiency, rebounding

2018-19 WIZARDS ROSTER OUTLOOK: