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Wizards have no one of the old guard

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

With Wizards training camp set to begin next Tuesday at George Mason, The Washington Examiner will look at the storylines for each of the team's position groups this week.

Pedigree abounds in Washington's backcourt of the future with No. 1 and No. 3 overall draft picks among its guards. Third-year point guard John Wall remains the face of the franchise -- and he's eligible for a contract extension next summer. Meanwhile, the No. 3 pick, rookie Bradley Beal, will start his NBA career behind shooting guard Jordan Crawford, who was drafted late in the first round in the same year as Wall.

Surrounded by an improved cast and now the longest-tenured player on the team, Wall (16.3 ppg, 8.0 apg, 4.5 rpg) has no one to blame but himself if he can't improve his shooting and make the leap to become one of the best in the NBA at his position. His 3-point shooting has nowhere to go but up after he made just 7.1 percent last season, while his turnovers increased marginally to 3.9 from 3.8 as a rookie.

Crawford (14.7 ppg, 3.0 apg) has so far embraced the competition for a starting spot he struggled to defend when he was challenged by Nick Young. Beal's shooting stroke is smooth and will allow him to put pressure on Crawford, who is 27.9 percent in his career from beyond the arc.

Shelvin Mack (3.6 ppg, 2.0 apg) didn't exactly cement a role as the backup point guard behind Wall in the Las Vegas Summer League. A.J. Price (3.9 ppg, 2.0 apg) brings only one more year of experience than Mack, but it's a subtle improvement over recent seasons.

- Craig Stouffer

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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