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Wizards coach: John Wall must take 'next step'

Wednesday - 9/26/2012, 3:36pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman says point guard John Wall needs to progress in his NBA development.

"This is a big year for him," Wittman said. "It's time to take that next step."

Wall, entering his third season after the Wizards picked him No. 1 overall in 2010, averaged 16.3 points, 8.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game last year _ all slightly down from his rookie season.

Wittman also predicted Wednesday that Nene, who will likely be limited during training camp due to plantar fasciitis, won't miss much time.

"I don't foresee this being a long thing," Wittman said. "I foresee that he's going to be back in this thing pretty quickly."

Wittman said Emeka Okafor dislocated his finger Wednesday, but it was popped back into place and Okafor is fine.

Nene and Okafar are part of a new cast surrounding Wall that Wittman says has increased the team's professionalism.

"You have to try to figure out and get players that, when it does become uncomfortable, when it gets tough, that you dig a little bit deeper and you don't say, `Well, wait a minute. I'm getting paid a lot of money, and this is getting tough. I don't need any of this,'" Wittman said. "We need to have those guys that when it does become tough, when it becomes uncomfortable, they're not asking the whys. They're going out and becoming tougher themselves and digging deeper.

"I think we've made that part of our team better."

In March, Washington traded JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Ronny Turiaf for Nene, Brian Cook and a second-round pick. After their season, the Wizards traded Rashard Lewis and a second-round pick for Okafor and Trevor Ariza, drafted Bradley Beal with the No. 3 overall pick and signed A.J. Price and Martell Webster.

Wittman also said Wall will benefit from receiving a single message during the summer about his jump shot.

"Your brother tells you to do one thing," Wittman said. "Your mom might tell you another, and your agent tells you you're crazy, and I've got you doing this. I think that was beneficial for John that it was a consistent over-and-over situation for him, and it's got to continue to be that now."

Wittman, who became the Wizards' head coach after they fired Flip Saunders in January, said the team's playing style won't change.

"We're going to be an up-tempo team with the ability to play inside- out," Wittman said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)