The last season Chris Webber played basketball in Washington was 1998, so it might surprise some that he remains a Wizards fan. As he was preparing for another season as a studio analyst for NBA TV, which will air 98 games this season, he talked about the Wizards and the key storylines around the league in 2012-2013.
What is the key to Washington improving this season?
Webber » "I am a fan of the Wizards, and I do follow them. I really think that for the first time in many years that they do have a plan to build a team with young stars and then add some quality free agents, so I like their plan. However, to start to become a playoff team and a real contender, it takes veteran leadership. Right now I don't see that on this team. I will say that guys like Emeka Okafor or Nene have the ability to be that guy, but someone simply must step up and take the role."
What about John Wall and his new partner, Bradley Beal?
Webber » "I really like Beal working with Wall. He is a great shooter, and he can make things happen, which means teams will have to account for him. This is a big year for Wall. He has to really step up and prove that he is a quality NBA point guard. I spoke earlier about Washington needing leadership. That could be John's role. The Wizards seem to be able to play really well against the top teams in the league, and if they could bring that same intensity to every game they played, there would be marked improvement. I am really not looking at Washington's wins and losses this year. I want to see how they have grown as a team. That to me will be their measure of success."
What is a storyline that you are looking forward to following this year?
Webber » "All the stories are based on expectations. One of the most interesting stories will be about the Knicks and Brooklyn. Brooklyn has a chance to be a really great team with the talent they have, and the Knicks have the pressure on them to be the best team in New York. Then there is which team will rule the Staples Center? Will it be the Lakers or the Clippers? This will be a fun season."
Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.