Race to the Bottom

With the season quickly winding down, it's shaping up as a four-team lottery ball race with the Kings, Wizards, Clippers and Grizzlies all "hot" in the sense that they've continued losing at a solid rate.

The standings:

1. Kings (15-55) 2-8 in the last 10.
2. Wizards (16-56) 2-8 in the last 10. Lost last night to Chicago.
3. Clippers (17-54) 2-8 in the last 10. Lost last night to Boston.
4. Grizzlies (17-53) 1-9 in the last 10. Lost last night to Miami.

The only "key" game tonight involves 20-50 Oklahoma City, which has hurt its chances for landing home state boy Blake Griffin by going a ice cold 5-5 in the last 10 games. C'mon Oky City, you can lose better than that. The Thunder hosts the Lakers tonight.

It remains to be seen what impact Gilbert Arenas will have on the race. According to what he said yesterday, and we all know that could change, he wants to play in five or six games. Of course, he's not going to play at Memphis, Indiana or Toronto because, well, that just wouldn't be Gilbert-like. Cleveland and Boston? That's more like it.

Meantime, it's interesting to see Antawn Jamison out there busting his tail as he did last night in the close loss to Chicago.

By Ivan Carter |  March 24, 2009; 8:50 AM ET
Previous: Bulls 101, Wizards 99 | Next: Wizards Report Card: Mike James

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What was ANTAWN's line last night plus or minus?

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 24, 2009 10:44 AM

I wouldn't mind seeing a couple of games with Gil out there so we can see what we can see as far as the kind of player he is going to be after this wonky knee.

That being said I'm draft rooting now so the les bullez need to lose every game till the end of the season, heh. Baskteball gods should be with us and we land Griffin.

Posted by: usiel3 | March 24, 2009 11:55 AM

I respect the hell out of Antawn for the effort he's given this season, but I heard something the other night that made me crazy. They said during the game that he leads the league in total minutes played. That is ridiculous. There is absolutely no reason for them to be wearing out a 32 year-old guy who is vital to the team's future over the next 2-3 years on a 16 win team. That is inexcusable.

Posted by: pondaz | March 24, 2009 12:21 PM

Regarding the question about +/- last night:

Antawn was +1. Nobody really distinguished themselves last night +/-. In order:

Mike James: +4
Javale McGee: +4
Juan Dixon: +3
Antawn: +1
OPech: 0 (even)
J. Crittenton: 0 (even)
D. McGuire: -4
A. Blatche: -7
N. Young: -11

Posted by: Hawaiiexpat | March 24, 2009 12:51 PM

Sarcasm: Does the Wizards really need Blake Griffin? This team is set for the next 10 years with Jamison, Stevenson, Haywood and Tapscott as coach.

Posted by: iamdawalrus | March 24, 2009 12:53 PM

Jamison's minutes have always been too high and make no sense on a 16-56 team. I suspect that Butler's hamstring injury was the result of overuse as he was playing 40+ minutes a night until he got hurt. A common theme of the Wiz since 2004-2005 is playing the starters too many minutes, seeing them get hurt, trying to bring them back too quickly, and then seeing them get reinjured. I think people will find that Agent Zero, Butler, and Jamison were all in the Top 10 in minutes PG back in 2006-2007 (last season they were all healthy at the start of the year).

Posted by: wizfan89 | March 24, 2009 12:56 PM

We only win the lottery when there isn't a good player available (see Kwame Brown). Gil will come in, probably Haywood too, and we'll string some nice wins together only to pull ourselves out of lottery contention. Blake will go elsewhere and probably be a beast...we are cursed until we change our name back to the Bullets and wear 1977 shorts and tube socks...that is the only way to break the curse.

Posted by: authorofpoetry | March 24, 2009 12:57 PM

Buck the Wizards!!They will never do anything close to winning a championship!!!I'm sorry to tell you that Mr. Abe, but it's better to tell you now than you wasting the rest of your life dreaming. Young men will dream, and old ones will have visions, but this is a nightmare of a team!! What a waste of a team. Firing E. Jordan was the trick eh??!!

Posted by: joe12341 | March 24, 2009 1:11 PM

I know people have been talking about Thabeet here in our quest for the bottom. Here is what is on ESPN.com today

Hasheem Thabeet, C, Jr., UConn
Once again, Thabeet is proving that just because you're 7-foot-3 and taller than anyone else in college basketball doesn't mean you'll be making a huge impact on the floor. UConn largely ignored him on offense during its rout of Texas A&M on Saturday.

Against Texas A&M's strong front line, Thabeet took two shots in the game, grabbed six boards and watched Jeff Adrien do all the work down low. That's not the type of performance you really want to see in the tournament from a possible top-10 pick.

Posted by: lameotron | March 24, 2009 1:12 PM

As far as prospects I like what I saw from DeRozan in the tourney really nice upside which is lacking from some of the top 10 prospects.

1. Griffin
2. Rubio
3. Derozan

Posted by: usiel3 | March 24, 2009 1:36 PM

I think maybe the point of running AJ and CB into the ground is so that they will be washed up in a season or two so that a new set of players can take over...

Posted by: charley42 | March 24, 2009 1:41 PM

We will get a top 5 pick. A big tough agile tough guy to replace the minutes of ETAN and DSON.

I hope Gilbert changes his mind and does not come back. I think he is doing what best right now by schooling in practice. Nothing to be gained by a few games this year.

As for Caron Butler:

I think Butler breaks down precisely because of too many minutes. A blogger asked did anyone notice how Caron always loses time to injury since he's been here?

He has and Butler may be more aptly used as the prominent role player he is. Few players can withstand major minutes game after game.

These are the exceptional players. And exceptional in this case does not mean great players, it means the health and durability of some players may be greater than others.

Antwann Jamison so far has proven to be such a player. Michael Jordan was, Wilt Chamberlin, Robert Parrish, Shaquille O'neal, Dennis Rodman, Kareem Jabbar, Kolby Bryant, and others.

Luck or lack of it also plays a part.

Gilbert Arenas believe it or not is such a player. Bad luck took him down and if I am correct about him being such a player and if his knee is completely healed his durability will be evident in the years to come.

Medically, when a person chews it causes a reaction in the mouth all the way down to the stomach. Chewing sets the body for digestion and I asked this once before, but did not get a response.

Would anyone believe besides me that chewing on a straw while playing basketball eventually has a negative effect on the body?

Caron, or any player for that matter should only use a mouthpiece while playing.

Any medical knowledge out there?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 24, 2009 2:17 PM

Yes jamison plays hard but taking 27 shots while compiling 0 assists is a bit ridiculous, nobody in the game took more than 15 shots for either team other than aj. James continuing to start is an embarrassment, right now crit and dom are the only ones that make the players around them better.

Posted by: bford1kb | March 24, 2009 2:20 PM

I think this is the year we may have learned Nick Young is developing into a bust. At his best, he is lost on defense. On offense, he is completely reliant on his jump shot and refuses to use his body to either get easier shots or create contact and fouls. His mind is frequently out of the game and he gets frustrated way too easily. The inconsistency of his shot makes him a liability at the 2 and his inability to generate easy opportunities for his teammates makes him a poor fit at the 1.

So where does Nick Young belong? The D-League.

Posted by: awb9h | March 24, 2009 2:23 PM

Didn't see the game, but looking at the box score further cements my belief in the uselessness of the plus/minus measure. To wit:

McGee was tied with the highest +/- at +4. But according to the box score, he went 1 for 7, scored 4 points, and had 1 assist, 1 rebound, and 0 blocks in 20 minutes. Normally I'd assumed he played some great defense of the kind that doesn't show up in the stat sheet, but this is McGee we're talking about, so I'm assuming that wasn't the case.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 24, 2009 5:18 PM

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