John Wall will make his first start of the season tonight for the Wizards, who face the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at Verizon Center in the final contest of the first half of the 2012-13 NBA season.
“It’s time,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said asked what prompted the lineup change.
Wall has averaged 14.0 points and 6.9 assists in seven contests after missing the first 33 games of the season with a stress injury in his left patella. The Wizards (9-31) have gone 4-3 since his return and are coming off a five-game road trip in which they finished 2-3 but very well could’ve been 4-1.
“I’m a little disappointed how we started [the most recent game against Utah, a 92-88 loss],” Wittman said. “But when you look at the whole picture, we’re doing some good things. Now it’s important, with that behind us, to continue that momentum of what we’re doing, and continue to do that.”
Wall played 25 minutes or more in each game during the road trip, topping out at just under 31 in Washington’s 94-87 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers last weekend, and he remains on a minutes restriction.
That puts him in equal company with Timberwolves starting guard Ricky Rubio, who is currently limited to 28 minutes per night after ACL surgery on his left knee last year.
“You’ve got to learn how to play with John, there’s no question about that,” Wittman said. “I think guys are seeing that. There’s still an adjustment period there. Now it’ll be even a little bit different adjustment with him in the starting lineup. But they’re learning, both John and guys that haven’t played with him very much. It’s a process that hopefully will continue to be a positive moving forward.”