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NBA power rankings 2012: Wizards out of picture until John Wall return

The Washington Wizards won't be much of a challenge for opponents as John Wall rehabs his knee, although there is some hope for the team going forward with a healthy Wall.

Soobum Im-US PRESSWIRE

The Washington Wizards are actually beginning to put together the pieces of a team that can scrap for one of the last Eastern Conference playoff picture, but Randy Wittman's team will have trouble doing much of anything without their star point guard.

John Wall will miss the first bit of the season as he deals with a stress injury in his knee, and Nene is bothered by plantar fasciitis, a condition that tends to linger. Together, the former No. 1 pick and athletic big man could make for a potent pick-and-roll combination, but Seth Rosenthal writes that without the eventual pairing fully healthy, there's not much to look forward to for the Wizards. Rosenthal put the team 28th in his initial SB Nation NBA Power Rankings, just two spots from the bottom of the league:

With all their limbs intact, the Wizards might actually be the kind of defense-first team to approach the bottom of the playoff bracket. As long as John Wall is out and Nene is iffy, this team looks like it kinda sucks.

The Wizards are the first team to start their season, as they tip off the year Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who also find themselves in the bottom five of the league in those rankings.