31 August 2007

The Southeast Division Outlook, Part Five: Washington Wizards

Before going on with today's preview, I'd like to acknowledge that divers in Pennsylvania are searching the Delaware river for Floyd Nelson, Jameer Nelson's father, who went missing from his tugboat repair shop job yesterday. It doesn't look like much good can come of this, and my thoughts are with Jameer and his family. For what it's worth, Mr. Nelson wrote a book about Jameer, which can be purchased from Amazon.com by clicking here.

And now, the preview, sans introductory text:

Washington Wizards
Last season: 41-41, second in Southeast

  • Guard Nick Young (via draft)
  • Guard Dominic McGuire (via draft)
  • Center Oleksiy Pecherov (via 2005 draft)
  • Forward Jarvis Hayes (via free-agency to Detroit)
The Wizards are a tough team to figure out. When healthy, the trio of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Antoine Jamison is one of the best in the league; any one of those guys is capable of scoring 40 points on any given night. Their biggest weakness was their complete lack of an interior presence; Etan Thomas just isn't cutting it.

Naturally, the solution for the Wizards' lack of a pivot-man was for them to spend their two draft picks this year on guards. When I first sat down to write this piece, I was ready to dismiss the Wizards as irrelevant, at least for the coming season. But then I looked at the Eastern standings from last season, and I was astonished at how good the Wizards are when their big three is healthy. In fact, they controlled the Southeast division for an eleven-week span, only yielding to the Heat when Arenas and Butler went down with season-ending injuries.

Washington didn't address its biggest area of need, but it also didn't lose much; only Jarvis Hayes is gone, and he was a marginal player. Essentially, the Wizards are fielding the exact same team that was a conference contender for much of last season. I expect them to maintain that position this year.

1 comment:


The Wizards were better than the Heat, and the rest of the Conference the entire season until they lost 2 of their all-stars.

The Cavs were very lucky to draw the Wizards in the playoffs; if the Wizards were healthy, who knows what would have been in the East last season.

Last season I often thought to myself; if you combine the Magic and the Wizards, we'd dominate the league. Of course that will never happen, but the point was, we had what they need in Dwight and Darko, and they had what we needed at the 1, 2, and 3.

On the positive, at least the Magic made a lot of great changes this off season, and the Wizards can't say the same thing.