John Wall's Return Won't Save Washington Wizards from NBA's Basement

Roy BurtonContributor IJanuary 6, 2013

According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, league sources have stated that Washington Wizards' point guard John Wall is expected to make his 2012-13 debut at some point within the next two weeks.

Wall, who has been sidelined all season with a stress injury to his left patella, was originally scheduled to miss eight weeks after he was initially diagnosed at the end of September. More than three months later, the 22-year-old point guard has just started practicing with the Wizards on a limited basis.

"This is Christmas all over for him, I'm sure, to finally reach this point," said Wizards head coach Randy Wittman on Thursday when asked about Wall by the Washington Post. "So we just got to be patient."

The eventual return of Wall—who averaged 16.3 points and 8.0 assists last season—will be a much-needed boost for a team that is last in the NBA in scoring (89.5 PPG). However, in terms of wins and losses, it really won't matter all that much.

The Wizards are a lowly 4-27 (their worst start in franchise history), and it would take an army of healthy John Walls to return the team to respectability. Washington has endured two losing streaks this year of eight games or more and has yet to string together back-to-back victories.

If Washington wants to climb out of the NBA's cellar, the franchise has plenty of ground to cover over the next three months. Every other team in the league has at least eight victories, and the Wizards will be forced to play catch up despite a schedule that is loaded with 21 games against the stout Western Conference.

Don't tell the Wizards that they have their work cut out for them, however: A number of players believe that the return of Wall will be a catalyst for greater things to come.

"It's a great feeling, because we know what kind of team we're capable of being and we're short now, but were still competing with teams with what we have," said rookie shooting guard Bradley Beal in an interview with the Washington Post. "So I'm really looking forward to it."

The Wizards are on pace for about 11 wins this season, and even with their franchise player back at 100 percent for the stretch run, it would be hard to see them finish with anything more than 20-22 victories.

And while that may be enough for Washington to pitch a spirited battle with the Charlotte Bobcats for fourth place in the Southeast Division, the smart money says that the Wizards will have the best odds in May's draft lottery.