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The Wiz Are Playing Defense!

Last night I heard the Sports Reporters complaining that this Wiz team will simply never play defense. Not true! Compare the first three games this year (0-3) with the first three games last year (1-2), and you'll see that the defensive trends are encouraging! And those exclamation marks are only partly ironic in this case!

Last year opponents were scoring 106.7 ppg, this year it's down to 105.3 ppg.

Last year opponents were shooting 50.2 percent from the field, this year it's down to 44.0 percent.

Last year the Wiz were being outrebounded by an average of 54-43; this year they're actually out-rebounding teams 50-49 per game. Oh Brendan, what have you wrought!

These are clear improvements, across the board. So maybe when the Wiz say they need to step back for a minute and concentrate on their offensive game, they're actually correct, because a year-to-year comparison on the offensive end is far more disturbing.

Even during last year's poor three-game start, the team was averaging 107 ppg; now they're down to 91.7. That's a drop of 15.3 ppg. Where did those points go? Here's an easy answer: Antawn Jamison and Antonio Daniels.

Through three games last year Jamison was shooting 57 percent from the field and averaging 26 ppg; now he's down to 30 percent and 19 ppg.

Last year A.D. was shooting 53 percent from the field and averaging 11 ppg; now he's down to 29 percent and 1.3 ppg. So together, Jamison and A.D.'s scoring output has dropped nearly 17 points a game.

Meanwhile, despite all the drama about his knee, Gilbert's shooting percentage has dropped only slightly, from 39 to 33. Ditto his scoring: from 25.5 to 21.7. Remember, he had a very rocky first month last year. DeShawn Stevenson is also off to a poor start, but remember, he also had a pretty bad start to his Wiz tenure last November, and his numbers are hardly different at all.

Still, when the Internets are all over a video showing an NBA superstar screaming about how the Wizards don't want to defend the pick-and-roll....well, maybe the defense could also use some work.

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 6, 2007; 10:19 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: Gilbert Responds to the Internet Critics


heh - my RSS feed picked up the 5 different incarnations of the title of this post. it's like watching Steinberg's inner editor working in real time. notice the subtle change each time to reach the last (and best, i think) title:

The Wiz Are Playing Defense!
The Wizards are Playing Defense!
The Wizards are Playing Defense
The Wizards Are Playing Defense!
The Wizards are Playing Defense (reconsidered?)
The Wizards ARE Playing Defense

and i guess then it went back to option #4 at some point.

Posted by: jamie | November 6, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I thought we were supposed to throw out the first 20 days of November for this team.

Posted by: B.A. | November 6, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

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