No, the USS Wizard isn't going to steer itself toward playoff shores. At this point, it's all about tackling issues one wave at a time.
Perimeter defense has plagued the Wizards for years and this season is no exception. The task doesn't get any easier tonight against Kevin Martin and the Sacramento Kings.
Martin, who's missed 22 games due to injury, has averaged 28.4 points per game in January, good enough for fourth in the NBA. Dominic McGuire, Caron Butler and Nick Young may all try their hand at containing Martin, but for success, the Wiz will need a team effort.
Defending the pick and roll, closing out and contesting on shooters, and running opponents off the 3-point line, are major areas of concern when it comes to perimeter defense. But step one is simple: active hands that strive for deflections.
According to 82games.com, Washington opponents are getting assists on 73 percent of their jump shot attempts. That means that the ball has been moving around the perimeter much too easily and the Wiz are lacking sufficient pressure.
The Wizards need not carelessly gamble in passing lanes to play with aggression. Instead, improvement starts with desire.
Digging deep is hard to do in times of losing, but pride should be a given. And the Wiz will need heavy doses of it if they expect to win in Sacramento, or anywhere else on the current West Coast swing.