9.2 reasons not to give up on the Wizards yet

Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) celebrates a play with Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat, left, from Poland,in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Washington. The Celtics won 119-117. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
WASHINGTON — Coming out of the All-Star break, Basketball Reference listed the Washington Wizards’ odds of making the playoffs at just 9.2 percent, despite the fact that they are just 3 games out of the eight spot in the Eastern Conference. And while the Wizards’ season has been mostly a disaster at this point, there are still 31 games to turn it around and avoid the draft lottery. In that spirit, here are 9.2 reasons not to give up on this season yet and to hold out hope for a strong finish. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
Philadelphia 76ers guard Hollis Thompson, left, and forward Nerlens Noel (4) defend Washington Wizards guard Ramon Sessions (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, in Washington. The Wizards won 106-94. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
1. Road Warriors The Wizards haven’t been able to win at home, but their 12-12 mark away from Verizon Center is tied for the fourth-best road record in the conference. Only the Cavs, Raptors and Celtics have winning ledgers away from home. With 17 of their final 31 on the road, the Wizards will need to keep finding ways to win in hostile territory. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
Washington Wizards' John Wall (2) drives against Milwaukee Bucks' O.J. Mayo (3) during an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
2. They still have #2 Despite Washington’s lackluster year, John Wall has still performed at a high level, posting a PER over 20 for just the second time in his career. He’s just a tick off career high marks in points, rebounds and assists per game, while averaging a career high 2.1 steals. If he can get a little help from his friends down the stretch, he may finish with the best year of his career to date. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash) (AP/Aaron Gash)
Washington Wizards guard Garrett Temple (17) dunks against the Detroit Pistons in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
3. Three more with Detroit The Wizards play the current nine-seed Pistons — who they beat on the road back in November, 97-95 — three more times this season. Before they can think about the playoffs, the Wiz first need to leapfrog the team directly in front of them. Three (or even two) head-to-head wins would be a step in the right direction. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (AP/Paul Sancya)
Washington Wizards' Otto Porter Jr. (22) looks up during an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
4. The Wizards are finally using Otto Porter at the 4 Despite shifting their offensive approach to adapt to the more fluid, open NBA of today, the Wizards continued forcing multiple slow, plodding big men into the same lineup, leaving gaping holes on the defensive end. It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that the team publicly committed to trying to use Porter, the type of player who can guard multiple positions and stretch the opposing defense, at the power forward position. It may be too little, too late, but it’s a good start. It should also help with … (AP Photo/Aaron Gash) (AP/Aaron Gash)
Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) fights for control of the ball with Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins, rear, and guard Rajon Rondo during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Washington. Wizards forward Jared Dudley is at right. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
5. The rebounding No area is more disconcerting for Washington, which ranks dead last in the NBA in both offensive (8.6) and defensive (31.2) rebounds per game. That’s a whopping 18.1 percent and 8.7 percent decline from last year, respectively. Thankfully, Porter is an aggressive, athletic rebounder that should help those numbers immediately. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Philadelphia 76ers guard Nik Stauskas (11) reacts as Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) hangs from the rim after his second dunk in a row, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, in Washington. The Wizards won 106-94. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
6. Washington is +2.6 per game with Beal back in the lineup In the 13 games since Bradley Beal has been back, he’s posted an average plus-minus of +2.6. Beal also was a combined 10-18 from three-point range in his final three games before the All-Star break, re-establishing himself as Washington’s best deep threat. Beal has been limited to 30 games due to injury, though, and will need to be on the floor to give Washington its best chance to win down the stretch. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) drives to the basket against Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris (14) and forward Darrell Arthur (00) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Washington. The Nuggets won 117-113. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
7. The lonesome crowded West Washington has two more west coast road trips ahead, first through Portland, Utah and Denver, all hovering at or below .500. The Wizards’ second visit west takes them to Los Angeles (to face the Lakers and Clippers), Golden State, Sacramento and Phoenix. With three bad teams out of five on that leg, Washington needs to take advantage of their competition and find a way to a winning mark between those eight games. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Washington Wizards forward Kris Humphries (43) goes to the basket past Brooklyn Nets forward Thaddeus Young (30) and center Mason Plumlee during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 10, 2015, at  New York.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
8. No sleep ’till Brooklyn Beginning April 6, Washington faces Detroit, Charlotte, Atlanta and lowly Brooklyn twice to round out its final five games. If the Wizards can fight back within striking distance heading into that finishing stretch, they’ll give themselves a chance. And if they can solve enough issues to play well enough to get in — as we saw last year — who knows what could happen. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (AP/Mary Altaffer)
New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (33) goes up for a shot in front of Orlando Magic forward Andrew Nicholson (44) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
9. They can still get help You will no doubt see a bevy of names tossed around between now and the NBA trade deadline at 3 p.m. Thursday. Underachieving teams like the Suns or Pelicans may have pieces available that could immediately improve Washington’s perimeter defense, rebounding, and/or offensive attack. Whether or not it’s worth mortgaging a future draft pick to bring in help is another question. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman reacts with Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) behind him, in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
9.2. If none of this happens, there will be a full reset Rest assured that if the Wizards miss the playoffs after a year of high expectations, heads will roll. The new offensive spread system may actually work under a new head coach who knows a thing or two about implementing it and a new GM who can construct the roster in a way to optimize his personnel. Even if this team squeaks into the postseason, if they are run out in four games by the Cavs, they could well see the same overhaul. So what’s the “. 2?” The chance for the core of Wall, Beal and Porter (and Kelly Oubre) to get a second chance with a better scheme. It wouldn’t exactly be version 2.0, but a version 1.2 — with a better supporting cast and lineup construction — would be a vast improvement. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
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Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) celebrates a play with Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat, left, from Poland,in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Washington. The Celtics won 119-117. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Philadelphia 76ers guard Hollis Thompson, left, and forward Nerlens Noel (4) defend Washington Wizards guard Ramon Sessions (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, in Washington. The Wizards won 106-94. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Wizards' John Wall (2) drives against Milwaukee Bucks' O.J. Mayo (3) during an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Washington Wizards guard Garrett Temple (17) dunks against the Detroit Pistons in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Washington Wizards' Otto Porter Jr. (22) looks up during an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) fights for control of the ball with Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins, rear, and guard Rajon Rondo during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Washington. Wizards forward Jared Dudley is at right. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Philadelphia 76ers guard Nik Stauskas (11) reacts as Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) hangs from the rim after his second dunk in a row, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, in Washington. The Wizards won 106-94. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) drives to the basket against Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris (14) and forward Darrell Arthur (00) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Washington. The Nuggets won 117-113. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Wizards forward Kris Humphries (43) goes to the basket past Brooklyn Nets forward Thaddeus Young (30) and center Mason Plumlee during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 10, 2015, at  New York.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (33) goes up for a shot in front of Orlando Magic forward Andrew Nicholson (44) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman reacts with Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) behind him, in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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