The Wizards have high hopes this season of entering the Eastern Conference elite. Outlook If Washington in known for anything, it’s broken promises, and while the Wizards enter the 2014-15 season with tremendous promise following last season’s strong finish, that promise could fall short. Wall is a bona fide superstar and has grown up as a floor- and a locker-room leader. But injuries to his supporting cast could shortcircuit the offense and test his patience and trust in his teammates, especially early on. The Wizards are strong upfront and Pierce is, well, the Truth and is still capable of vintage nights. But he’ll be used sparingly to save him Rob Carr/NBAE/Getty Images for April and the playoffs. The early going will test the Wizards’ depth, particularly at guard, and their resolve. If the Wizards can tread water over the first month, they still can win 50 games and be a force in the postseason. If not, the season could careen out of control and quickly. SPOTLIGHT: John Wall What’s the difference between being perceived as a selfish, rebellious kid and a selfless leader? Team wins, of course. That’s the change in point of view Wall is experiencing. The former first overall pick in 2010, who was poster boy for the an out-of-control, me-first brat when the Wizards were a lottery team is now the super-distributing sparkplug for a team predicted by many as the favorite to win the Southeast and by some to get to the Eastern Conference championship. Wall’s skill is unquestioned, as his averages of 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists, through his first 266 career games, put him in company with Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Chris Paul. Last season, when he made his first All-Star Game appearance, Wall was one of only three players to average 19 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds, joining Paul and Golden State’s Stephen Curry. The 6-4 blazer led the League in total assists (721) and tied for second in assists per game (8.8 apg) but his breakneck pace has been a double-edged sword, as he led the NBA in turnovers for the second time in three years. Veteran Andre Miller, brought in to mentor Wall last season, should have a calming influence on him and Miller already has raved over Wall’s leadership. The tandem of Wall and Bradley Beal makes Washington’s one of the top backcourts in the League. The biggest test of Wall’s maturity and leadership will be how he handles life without Beal, who is due back in December. If Wall can get the Wizards to the realm of 50 wins, expect that Wall will be an MVP candidate this season.
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