Ha ha! That headline seemed to go with the spirit of the day.
Record: 37-45, 3rd in Southeast Division, 8th in Eastern Conference
4th in blocks
15th in the league in scoring (98.2 ppg)
15th in opponent scoring (100.0 ppg)
19th in ppg differential (-1.8 ppg)
16th in field goal %
21st in opponent field goal %
18th in three-point %
7th in free throw attempts per game
7th in free throw percentage
12th in assists
14th in steals
22nd in turnovers
17th in opponent turnovers
Very Good offensive rebounding team
Poor defensive rebounding team
Significant Additions: Maurice Evans, Flip Murray,
Significant Subtractions: Josh Childress, Salim Stoudamire, Jeremy Richardson
Coach: Mike Woodson
PG: Mike Bibby, Acie Law
SG: Joe Johnson, Flip
SF: Marvin Williams, Maurice Evans
PF: Josh Smith, Solomon Jones
C: Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia
The Hawks aren’t poised to challenge the conference elite yet, but they should be a team that benefits from experience. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them post a winning record this year if a couple of the above-mentioned flaws get corrected. They’re not a team opponents can overlook anymore.
Record: 43-39, 2nd in Southeast Division, 5th in Eastern Conference
5th in free throw percentage
27th in assists
14th in the league in scoring (98.8 ppg)
12th in opponent scoring (99.2 ppg)
15th in ppg differential (-0.3 ppg)
22nd in field goal %
19th in opponent field goal %
17th in three-point %
19th in free throw attempts per game
10th in steals
15th in blocks
7th in turnovers
12th in opponent turnovers
Good offensive rebounding team
Poor defensive rebounding team
Significant Additions: Dermarr Johnson, Juan Dixon, JaVale McGee (R)
Significant Subtractions: Roger Mason
Coach: Eddie Jordan
PG: Gilbert Arenas, Antonio Daniels, Juan Dixon
SG: DeShawn Stevenson, Nick Young
SF: Caron Butler, Dominic McGuire
PF: Antawn Jamison, Darius Songalia, Oleksiy Pecherov, JaVale McGee
C: Brendan Haywood, Etan Thomas, Andre Blatche
Ahhhh…what the heck is going on in
Here’s what you love about the Wizards:
--They have dependable players in their major positions, provided Fauxstradamus is healthy.
--They have enough scoring to whip butt on you on any given night.
--When faced with the abysmal defensive performance of two seasons ago they righted the ship and actually bothered to watch a man or two (as opposed to watching the entire opposing team waltz down the lane for dunks). Not many veteran teams can or will adjust their style of play like that.
--Their bench has a lot of nice names…for a bench.
Like many of their compatriots in the mid-to-lower Eastern ranks, they don’t fit together seamlessly. Take Antawn Jamison, for example. He’s an amazing statistical player. He’s defying experts and nay-sayers by having some of the best seasons of his career after age 30. But he’s not the kind of guy you’d say complements Gilbert Arenas, who also likes to play with the ball in his hands. Caron Butler is the best team guy of their big three and a huge asset. When the other two are healthy he may not touch the ball enough. And then there are Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas. Haywood is a nice player but isn’t the type of guy to anchor your defense or key the fast break with a tough rebound and brilliant outlet pass. Thomas is a monster but plays his own game and doesn’t always get along with others. All of these guys are really good in their own ways. They’re like a pretty jigsaw puzzle with no more than two pieces that connect.
The Wizards’ great hope for advancement may be two of their youngsters, Nick Young and Dominic McGuire. Each has the athleticism to be special. Each should be able to score in this league when they get going. Young had a very good rookie season and should be primed for more playing time. McGuire was somewhat disappointing. But then again how invested is this team in helping those youngsters shine? It would do the Wizards a world of good if one or both stepped forward, allowing at least one of the established stars to get traded for decent value: defense, shooting, team players.
As it stands the Wizards will be in the middle mix in the conference as usual. Barring more injuries there’s no way their scoring power and experience will let them free fall. But there’s not much hope of them leaping forward either. How long is first-round-and-out good enough?