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Wizards Report Card: Juan Dixon

Juan Dixon was a big part of the team's 110-99 win at Minnesota Monday night as the veteran guard played some critical fourth-quarter minutes and helped put the game away with two late buckets and three free throws.

It was the kind of role Dixon fully expected for himself when he rejoined the Wizards late last summer on a one-year deal worth just under $1 million, but things haven't worked out that way.

After a brief stint early in the season when then-coach Eddie Jordan was desperately seeking a formula that would work, Dixon's role and playing time have fluctuated wildly and he's really only been only a spot player most of the season.

He's appeared in 40 games (with six starts) and averaged a modest 5.2 points and 2.4 assists in 15.9 minutes while shooting 39.8 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from three-point range.

Dixon's plus/minus is minus 8.1, which ranks ninth on the team behind Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, Nick Young, Andray Blatche, Darius Songaila, Javaris Crittenton, Mike James and Dominic McGuire. But any evaluation of his season has to be looked at within the context of his spotty playing time.

On the positive side, Dixon has remained a true pro all season. He shows up to work, prepares himself as if he's a starter and has been a good influence in in a locker room filled with young guys who don't know what they are doing.

Given the team's salary cap and luxury tax situation, it's hard to imagine Dixon being back next season. And, assuming that Gilbert Arenas does return and Mike James picks up his contract option (he will), the team will have Arenas, James, DeShawn Stevenson, Javaris Crittenton and Nick Young under contract as guards.

In terms of a grade and given his salary, history and role, I'll give Juan a C for the season.

By Ivan Carter  |  March 11, 2009; 1:24 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards Report Card  
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Comments

"...young guys who don't know what they are doing." Nice work, glad you're on board the blame it on the young guys bus, while there hasn't been an ounce of worthwhile coverage detailing tapscott's fundamental incompetency, would anyone in the same situation keep mcgee playing 12 minutes and song 30? why do aj and caron still log top 5 in the league minutes? remember tapscott's unleashing of nick young? I seem to have missed that one. why is there a double standard with juan versus the young guys, "But any evaluation of his season has to be looked at within the context of his spotty playing time." This after repeatedly calling the young guys inconsistent, how regular are their minutes? the vets are allowed to make awful plays, the young guys are not, this makes no sense except that of course a team headed by tapscott will have zero accountability. write about that

Posted by: bford1kb | March 11, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the first poster. Ivan, be honest, you really have ridden the young guns alot and given free passes to the vets (especially All-Stars) and to Taps. Where are the tough questions to Taps and Ernie about getting the young guys experience? I guess you have to take this "official" perspective to keep the peace and stay on the beat. But, I really wonder what you think "unofficially"?

Posted by: jfleming209 | March 11, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm just curious which veterans know what they are doing? Jamison takes horrible shot after horrible shot when there is still plenty of time left on the shot clock and refuses to pass the ball most of the time. Butler continues to make crucial bad passes late in games, and I think there may be a reason Mike James has been on 11 teams and that when he was sick the other night, Dixon was able to step up and make plays to help win the games. Songalia seems to know what he's doing but he's a role player at best. If these guys are so good and know what they are doing, how is it the Wiz have only won 15 games? Especially considering Butler and Jamison get 40 minutes a night and James usually gets 30+. Don't mistake yourself with being a reporter with knowing the game of basketball.

Posted by: mschmall625 | March 11, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"Don't mistake yourself with being a reporter with knowing the game of basketball. "

But it's okay to "mistake yourself with being" a guy posting on an Internet blog with knowing the game of basketball?

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 11, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"Dixon's role and playing time have fluctuated wildly ..."

The Wizards bench could form a support group.

Posted by: rodeoclown | March 11, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

There should be about 10+ alley-oops tonight from CP to Chandler...BUMMER!!

Posted by: BurgwithaU | March 11, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Cosigned! That's about all I can add to what the majority of my fellow commentors have expressed. I am waiting for Ivan Carter to take take any of the veterans (i.e. Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler) to task for their poor defensive play, shot-jacking and "blame-it-on-the-young-guys" leadership. A DC snowstorm in mid-July is likely to happen before you hear any criticism from him of his media-friendly darlings.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | March 11, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Juan Dixon deserves a "D" grade at best. He plays well sometimes for Juan Dixon but in comparison to competent NBA players, he is terrible. He is an end of the bench NBA player, at best. And because the season was pretty much a lost cause after 20 games, what would be the point of giving a player with no future (Dixon) regular minutes ahead of players that will be here next year?

Posted by: Chad32 | March 11, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I concur with people questioning why Jamison and Butler never seem to be questioned about their suspect defense -- Jamison is a beast on offense (with some ill advised shots) but I am sick of seeing him get blown by on defense then looking at his teammates like they should have been there for help defense. Maybe if Jamison slowed down his man just a bit, the defense can rotate over but when the guy just blows the doors off Jamison, what are the other guys to do -- I don't think they understand that they are playing defense 4 on 5.

Posted by: Chad32 | March 11, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Chad32,

Any grade that Dixon gets really doesn't mean a lot because of his lack of playing time.

To be fair you can't give him a B and can't give him a D.

So Ivan has this one right.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 11, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Chad32,

When Jamison (or anyone else) gets beaten off the dribble, the other guys are supposed to rotate in coverage. That's how good team defense is played. If they don't do it, then they're not executing the defensive game plan. As for them playing defense 4 on 5 . . that would imply that the other 4 Wizards players are playing defense, which is a fallacy.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 11, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

A beast on offense? Jamison plays 40 minutes a night, has the ball in his hands almost every time down the court, yet averages 1.9 assists a game. Not to mention his lack of effort on defense, now you know why this team has 15 wins. Guys who can score in the NBA are a dime a dozen. It's the guys that do things to make other players better that can be considered "beasts".

Posted by: mschmall625 | March 11, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Still waiting for an article on Tap's awful coaching, rotations and blaming the young guys for being inconsistent when they have no consistent playing time and so forth.

Every single fan that watches the Wizards knows that Tap is a horrible coach but it seems like he's paid off the POST to not write any negative articles about him. And here I thought that Stevenson was the only one rubbing Taps back.

Posted by: Fontana1 | March 11, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I still laugh @ the people who were up in arms when the Wiz let Juan leave for free agency a few years ago.

Now I just cry about the Roger Mason thing.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 11, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Juan Dixon producing when given PT is nothing new.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 11, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

the team gets a D. On one hand you cannot argue Jamison's numbers. he is a sure 20 and 10, but his defense is deplorable. He misses Haywood the most. Butler started tanking it early, and just put up numbers. Even his defense slid. Early in the season i saw him go one on one too often and not pass the ball. The young guys do deserve horrible grades. I would give them a collective "F". Mainly this is Nick Young and Blatche. they celebrate and get hyped over ONE play. Meanwhile, the opponent is kicking your butt and you are losing by 20. They need self discipline, mental toughness, pride a work ethic and more. the problem is this organization fails to build professionalism and character. They have historically drafted good talent to only see it leave and haunt this team. the biggest F's go to Tapscott and Grunfeld. Tapscott is not a NBA coach. thus, Grunfeld has to take the blame for that decision.

Posted by: oknow1 | March 11, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Problem is that the roster contains only 3 players that are not listed out of position -
BTH at 5, CB at 3, and OP at DNP. The next closest is JC who could learn 1.

Posted by: lrmc623 | March 11, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

mschmall625: "If these guys are so good and know what they are doing, how is it the Wiz have only won 15 games? Especially considering Butler and Jamison get 40 minutes a night..."

Thanks for this post, mschmall. We do a lot of this kind of reasoning here. We start with the outcome -- the team having only won 15 games -- and make a bunch of assumptions about the cause(s). I admit it's a lot easier than proving your point, but ultimately fruitless in terms of fixing the team's problems.

Basically, it's just venting.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 11, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

With a $1 million salary, I'd give Dixon a B plus.

He comes to play when he does get in games; he doesn't introduce distractions; he's a professional. He's helped the Wiz win a couple games in a season when they didn't have many wins.

He accounts for a small fraction of the cap.

The more a player gets paid, the more a player is expected to produce.

In the NBA a one year $1 mill. deal to a veteran typically says "this guy is just insurance, he won't be part of the regular rotation". Having said that, I don't think Dixon gets re-signed, because the Wiz are so close to the cap that they have to count their $1 mill.'s.

Hopefully, there is a team that can benefit from having Dixon on the roster. He's a solid reserve veteran who could be an asset in the right system for a coach that knows how to make use of his skills.

Posted by: JPRS | March 11, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

1. Ivan's assessment of Juan Dixon's performance this year seems quite reasonable. I hope Juan gives Europe a shot next year, as I believe he could be a stellar performer for a Champions League team here.

2. Regardless of what you all may think, I believe Tap has done what he has had to do with this team... and getting a decent crack at the #1 draft pick may well have been one of his unspoken objectives. Gilbert Arenas also said as much earlier this season. In addition, Tap has given Dominic McGuire time to develop into a valuable "glue guy" and has given Javaris Crittenten ample opportunity to show that he will be a valuable rotation guard. He has played Young and Blatche (10 ppg each) enough to make them either good rotation players or attractive as trade bait to accompany a potential 2-3-4-5 pick (and an expiring contract player) in a deal for a rotation player and a mid-first round pick that could turn into DeJuan Blair or Stephen Curry. And he has actually developed JaVale McGee quite well within the context of (a) his physical maturity and (b) the fact that he will not be expected to play more than 12-18 minutes a game behind Haywood for the next one or two seasons.

3. By letting Jamison and Butler maintain the tpe of numbers they had during their all-star seasons, Tap has left them in position to either remain in the old high-scring "Big 3" when Gilbert returns... or to deal them in exchange for premium talent should the opportunity arise.

By no means do I think that Tap should be considered to coach this team in 2009-10, but I don't think that scenario has ever been a serious consideration.

This has been a truly ugly season of basketball for the fans, and a frustrating one for the players and management as well, but under the circumstances I do think the glass is half full here.

Posted by: khrabb | March 11, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

This season was lost before it began. Roger Mason was the smartest and most effective basketball player this team has had in years, maybe ever. He made, makes a team, a team, if you know what I mean, and that is on both ends.

He has plenty of offensive game with the ball in his hands, and has always, even at Good Counsel, used those skills judiciously. He was this team's leader last year, its unofficial leader, and they miss him terribly.

Trading Roger was the second biggest biggest mistake that Ernie made this year, and the third biggest mistake in the franchise's history, the first being the signing of Rod Stricklan which ruined a very, very promising young team.

The biggest mistake Ernie made this season was resigning Gilbert. Gilbert can play great team ball three on three. He simply cannot play the game five on five, at least on offense. How Edie went from a coach utilizing one of the best offensive concepts ever created, the Princeton, which is designed to play through the pivot, as all great offenses are, ie, the Triangle, to "the Big Three," is a story yet to be told. It was oh so not Edie's style, not as a coach, but then again his Rutger's coach was wedded to a star system.

I cannot help but wonder what conversations took place between Edie and Ernie with regard to trading Roger and resigning Gilbert and how those conversations might have played a roll in Edie's firing.

I think that the guy who should have gone was Ernie, that Edie should still be here, and so should Roger, and that with Roger and healthy Daniels who was being asked to do way too much with Roger gone, we would not be having this conversation.

Roger and Daniels would have made the youngsters, especially the bigs, oh so much better, and taken the pressure off of Butler and Jamison. Song, right now, is the smartest player the Wizzards have to put on the court. When he is out there, there is some semblence of an offensive attack that is mounted in a team concept. Without him, it is completely every man for himself. Not even Edie could have changed that.


Posted by: cohenra | March 11, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Ivan,

Can you ask Tapscott why he isn't playing the younger guys more?

For example, why is Darius starting over Andrey? Why is Mike James starting over Javaris? The Wizards have the second worst record in the league....it can't get that much worse,,,,

Posted by: askhosh10 | March 11, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

" Trading Roger was the second biggest biggest mistake that Ernie made this year, and the third biggest mistake in the franchise's history, the first being the signing of Rod Stricklan which ruined a very, very promising young team.

The biggest mistake Ernie made this season was resigning Gilbert. Gilbert can play great team ball three on three. He simply cannot play the game five on five, at least on offense. "

You must not follow the wizards very closely " cohenra " because they never signed Roger Mason to trade him, he was a free agent that was never offered a contract to return, and I honestly see why, his defense is horrible, he's terribly slow to be playing in the NBA, and secondly you stated Gilbert cant play team ball 5 on 5 especially on Offense" What ever your smoking, you need to retire from your current job and become a PROFESSIONAL WEED HEAD TESTER because you have to be insane if you think GILBERT cant play team ball 5 on 5!! Gilbert is one of the best players in the NBA when he's healthy..point blank, PERIOD!!....Its clear what the wizards problems are 1) terrible coaching- poor rotations, 2) basketball knowledge- young guys not having the experience 3) turnovers- Caron Butler is a very good player, but he averages what? 5 to 6 turnovers a game!! 3) Poor defense- 4 words to sum up that statement- A. jamison and mike james.

And another thing, lets be clear on one thing here, Antonio Daniels and Roger mason cant play defense...they are as slow as a 40 year vet in the NBA...what are you watching? Mike " Jackem Up " james.....there is a reason why he's been playing on 8 or 9 different teams, he's slow, cant play defense ( want proof? just DVR the game vs. New Orleans last night)


Posted by: rf2litenva | March 12, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I too agree Dixon likely will be with another team (or playing in Europe) come next season.

BUT IN PERFECT WORLD, he would be resigned in the summer so we can see if these Wizards really have what it takes to make a run at the Finals. That push was due this year, but the injuries and firing Jordan (big mistake) killed all chances of that happening. I (like a lot of Wiz fans) want to see what this group of players would have done (with a few tweeks... package James and Thomas and pick [Blake Griffin is not Tim Duncan; this draft class is WEAK!] for Ben Gordon??? add Young to bring back Tyrus Thomas or Noah????)

Posted by: fishin41 | March 17, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse


Juan is the hardest to grade. He got a lot of spot minutes during the season, but when he was on the court, he did help bring energy to the team. When Stevenson went down, i figured Juan would get some more minutes but it still remained the same. I don't know why the Wizards signed him if they weren't going to use him as much. I will also give Juan a C- because he didn't get as much playing time off the bench as he probably should have when Stevenson went down.

Posted by: rcnasa | March 18, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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