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Making It Drizzle?


See, Dom. If you guys want to get your form right from long distance, this is how. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)


Quick question: Who leads the Washington Wizards in three-point shooting?

(Go ahead, guess. I bet you won't get it right)

The answer: Dominic McGuire. Yep, Mr. McGuire is shooting 50 percent from behind the arc.

(I'm not kidding. You can check for yourself. Click here.)

Okay. I know I'm being silly, because McGuire has taken only four three-pointers this season. Mike James is the active leader among players who have taken at least 100 three-pointers at 36.4 percent (60 of 165). His combined average from his days in New Orleans is 37.3 percent, which ranks 72nd in the league. The next highest-ranking three-point shooter on the roster is Antawn Jamison, who is 98th at 35 percent (91 of 260).

Why do I bring this up? Because it was all that I could think of as I watched Steve Novak, Eric Gordon, Fred Jones and Baron Davis bury three-pointer upon three-pointer during the Wizards' 123-108 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers last night.

Anyone who watched the game last night, realizes that the Los Angeles Clippers' ability to hit three-pointers combined with the Wizards' inability to defend them or hit them contributed mightily the Wizards losing ground in the standings, but gaining ground in ping pong balls.

The Clippers shot 15 of 26 (57.7 percent) from long distance, with Novak hitting six, Gordon four and Jones three and Davis two. The 15 three-pointers were one shy of the opponents' season-high of 16, which came on Nov. 22 against the New York Knicks (Eddie Jordan's final game).

The Wizards had no response against the Clippers, as they shot 2 of 10. Nick Young was 1-for-2. James was 1-for-5. Jamison was 0-for-3. It's pretty tough when teams are making it rain on one end and you can't even make it drizzle.

The loss to the Clippers was reminder of a season-long problem for a team filled with problems: The three-point shot. For the season, the Wizards rank 29th in the NBA in three-point shooting at 33 percent, with Philadelphia scraping the bottom at 32 percent. But they also rank 26th in opponents' three-point percentage, allowing them to shoot 39 percent from beyond the arc for the season.

Last season, the Wizards had two players ranked in the top 50 in three-point shooting percentage with Roger Mason Jr. (39.8, 36th) and DeShawn Stevenson (38.3, 50th). Mason, of course, is now in San Antonio making 42.6 percent of his three-pointers, which ranks 16th in the league (just below former Wizard Steve Blake of Portland). Stevenson is on the shelf with a back injury.

A 16-win team has a lot of needs, but you have to figure that if Ernie Grunfeld does anything to improve the team -- after hiring a coach and landing a high draft pick -- he should look into finding a shooter for a team that desperately needs one, especially if Gilbert Arenas returns and is able to drive and kick. Whom is he going to kick it to?

Thoughts?

By Michael Lee  |  March 19, 2009; 1:47 PM ET
 
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Comments

Great point about the 3 point shooting. I am personally tired of watching the Wiz allow teams to continually get wide open 3 point shots to either widen a lead or overcome a deficit, then try to answer with a 3 of their own when that is not their forte. They wind up shooting themselves out of a game when the mid-range and post plays are the best options for this lineup. I don't know who they could sign next year to stretch the defense, I was hoping Juan could do that this year

Posted by: DSJRBRKS | March 19, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

There is a big difference in the percentage of completed shots between the open shots and contested shots.

Also, the percentage varies depending on distance (e.g., a dunk versus a jump shot).

In contrast to his 3 point shooting prowess, McGuire is averaging 35% for garden-variety jumps. When good teams actually defend him, he totally disappears on offense.

That said, Dom can be a solid back-up. But he is not the answer to the Wiz woes.

The issue is a team commitment to D. With Arenas and Jamison as the two highest players, that is unlikely to happen.

A lot of pieces have to fall in the right direction for the Wiz to be good next year.

Posted by: Izman | March 19, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz have been dreadful defending against the three - heck defending at all. It's just not in this group of players. Can a new coach really change that?

Re: a three ball specialist, the Wiz have been in need of that for a long time. Guess I sort of took Mason Jr. for granted while he was here considering what's happened this season.

Posted by: City11 | March 19, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Having Gil back will make a big difference. Not only does he stroke the three himself, but he gets the Wiz's other shooters better looks because of all the attention he draws.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | March 19, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping Juan could do that this year

Posted by: DSJRBRKS
-----------------------------------------

Yeah, I was hoping that too, sort of Mason's role last season, but that turned out to be not the case. BTW, I am afraid this could be the last season in NBA for Juan; if he could not play well in his hometown where he still has many fans and supports...

Posted by: sagaliba | March 19, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

only 3 point play the wizards have is when AJ drives to basket and expects to get the call EVERYTIME... even if it is the worst looking shot ever...

p.s. free throws were horrible last night too.

Posted by: sexypills03 | March 19, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I only play pickup basketball but I know exactly what to do. Man-up. No more help defense unless you are guarding LeBron. Taps is so stupid. Stick players man on man no help. Let the young Wiz learn to play defense on their own.

Posted by: jercha | March 19, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, dissapointed in Juan. I love him for what he did back in college but he's just not cutting it on the NBA level.

Posted by: City11 | March 19, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Is Curtis Staples (2nd all-time in ACC behind Reddick) still playing ball somewhere? Now THAT was the best 3 point shooter I've seen in game situations...

btw I'm just kidding about Staples (sort of). Lemme join the chorus and say that we should have found a way to pay Roger Mason Jr. last summer...

Posted by: MEssex | March 19, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Been saying this for a while, Mike. Thanks for bringing it up. It's another reason Gil is so valuable. Drawing fouls and shooting threes is a combination very few players have.

This 3 point deficit has killed us for a while now. I hope we address it. It's one thing that Caron is lacking. I thought he'd addressed it when he started the season shooting them but he tailed off.

Posted by: original_mark | March 19, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

How about Hollinger's assessment on the Wiz future...

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=PERDiem-090319

And there's one other really good sign -- Washington's stable of young talent. JaVale McGee is going to be a monster once he figures out how to play, Andray Blatche and Nick Young already are productive reserves and Dominic McGuire is developing into a defensive ace on the wings. While each has his shortcomings -- McGee is clueless on D, Blatche doesn't always play hard, Young passes only as a last resort and McGuire can't score to save his life -- together they should make a pretty potent second unit when Washington's starting lineup is intact.

Posted by: original_mark | March 19, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

LOL! We have 3pt shooters, Pech & Dixon,even Young could hit the try in college. It's just that they can't sniff a minute of floor time, and if they did, no plays are run for them. Pech should at-least be given the chance to be our 3pt specialist, even if he might suck at everything else.

Bring in a new coach and ditch the Princeton offense and we might start seeing some-more ball movement AND 3-pint shooting.

Posted by: closg | March 19, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Easy,

swing gil to the 2,

done

Posted by: BurgwithaU | March 19, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"JaVale McGee is going to be a monster once he figures out how to play".

Not unless he gets good "big man" coaching, game-time minutes and the confidence of the coaches to keep him in the game after a silly mistake.

The Wiz have this guy locked into a low-cost, long-term contract. It's baffling why they didn't develop him in a year that they will win less than 20 games. He could have been playing at a $10M/year level in two years, which is exactly what they need. Now he'll be an unproductive benchwarmer next year. Bizarre.

I watch the games on NBA League Pass and there isn't one out-of-town broadcaster (including color commentators with NBA experience) who don't extol this guy's potential and wonder what Tapscott is doing. Mind boggling.

Posted by: Izman | March 19, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"Washington's stable of young talent. JaVale McGee is going to be a monster once he figures out how to play, Andray Blatche and Nick Young already are productive reserves and Dominic McGuire is developing into a defensive ace on the wings. While each has his shortcomings -- McGee is clueless on D, Blatche doesn't always play hard, Young passes only as a last resort and McGuire can't score to save his life -- together they should make a pretty potent second unit when Washington's starting lineup is intact."

That's not a bad analysis. Could have said sommething similar about the Celts youngsters before Ainge made The Trade two years ago.

Basically, the Wiz have the makings of a pretty good second unit. They just don't have the first unit to go with them.

Question is, will any of them be viable first-unit regulars by next season?

Posted by: Samson151 | March 19, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"We have 3pt shooters, Pech & Dixon,even Young could hit the try in college. It's just that they can't sniff a minute of floor time, and if they did, no plays are run for them. Pech should at-least be given the chance to be our 3pt specialist, even if he might suck at everything else."

The Wiz sure made Steve Novak look good last night, didn't they?

Posted by: Samson151 | March 19, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

EVEN IF ERNIE KNOWS HES NOT EAGER ENUFF TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM, EJ SAID IN HIS COMCAST INTERVIEW EXACTLY WHAT HE NEEDED TO WIN, AND ERNIE DIDN'T GET IT DONE, ERNIE WE NEED HELP NICK, PECH, MIKE JAMES, AND CRITT ARE NOT AN ANSWER .... GRUNFELD SUCKS

Posted by: redstick2 | March 19, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Steve Novak does not need the Wiz to make him look good, he is an excellent 3-point shooter under ANY circumstances.

Getting Gil (and even DeShawn, providing he is paired with Gil) back will solve part of the Wizards 3-point shooting problems but I really hope they can do a draft day deal to get Stephen Curry, who is as close to a lock as an NBA 3-point shooter as there is in this year's college class.

Posted by: khrabb | March 19, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm concerned about YOUNG's and McGEE's basketball I.Q.'s. Smart on the floor, AND superior athletics make great players. I'm not sure either of our guys have it, but its still early. As they get copious burn they may pick up.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 19, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

krabb: Steve Novak does not need the Wiz to make him look good, he is an excellent 3-point shooter under ANY circumstances."

Particularly when he's wide open. Bet it's harder when somebody actually plays defense on him, however. Not much danger of that with the Wiz...

Posted by: Samson151 | March 19, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert Arenas = 3 point shooter.

Any chance the Post might arrange for a trade so we can keep Ivan?

Posted by: jon_quest | March 20, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Three point shooting is hardly the issue. Three point defense is much more important. We would win a lot more games if the Wiz would watch the Terps and see what defense is all about. When are we going to start talking about Gary Williams for Wiz head coach?

Gary is probably the best teacher, motivator, and game coach in college basketball. He just won his 9th first round NCAA Tourney win in a row. This is about coaching. And the Wiz have young talent that needs to be developed. Tap is a great guy, but not a head coach in the NBA. Gary would get the very most out of the Wiz talent. If he would leave Maryland. Maybe the Wash Post deliberate attack on Gary will encourage him to consider leaving if the Wiz offer him a 5 year deal at $4 million a year.

Posted by: smallwhiteforward | March 20, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Commenting on Hollinger's assessment of our young guys. I'm encouraged. I agree with some comments here. John is assuming that we will try to develop these kids, and there is no evidence that the Wiz are capable of doing that. You see flashes of talent from all of them, and very solid play from Dom, but for them to grow and become very solid NBA contributors, the Wiz need a strong coach and staff to motivate the vets to play a little defense and develop the young players, so we have a very solid second unit that can play good D, c'mon Dom, Dray, and McGee in the frontcourt should be very strong defensively.

Guys call me crazy but I'm an optimist, with this starting lineup:

BTH - 5
AJ - 4
CB - 3
DeShawn - 2, if he can comesback from surgery and with GA beside him, he can return to his role from a few years ago
GA - 1, even at 80% of himself, think about it, that has probably been our weakest positiion this year, and it could be our strongest next year
CB and AJ won't feel that they need to be the first option every night, so a new coach may be able to get them to focus more on D, cutting the TOs, and passing the ball more
Remember the Wiz will never be a defensive juggernaut, but with improved D from the starting unit, a 2nd unit that can play D, a coach who knows how to win in the playoffs, a top 3 pick, and potentially a top 5 offense again, they can be very good and contend next year.

Oh my, I just woke up from an incredible dream, it's spring 2010, the Wiz are in 2nd place in the East, and they have had no major injuries all season...I can dream can't I?

Ron

Posted by: faninAlex | March 20, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

He can kick it to Pech when he's in the game

Posted by: CBell29 | March 21, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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