Deepest Team This Decade?

When Fabricio Oberto puts his signature to a contract sometime in the next few weeks, the Washington Wizards' 2009-10 roster will be set and Team President Ernie Grunfeld's offseason makeover will be complete. The Wizards will likely enter the season with 14 players who form arguably the deepest team this organization has fielded in 30 years - on paper, at least.

And it very well should be at a price tag of almost $86 million ($77.8 million in salary and $7.9 million in luxury tax penalties).

Grunfeld entered this summer with a roster of healing stars, some young developing players, some excess foliage on the bench and the No. 5 pick. He turned that into a roster of healing stars, some young developing players and three veterans who can contribute and become regular rotation players. Nineteen wins should become a distant memory next season, and the Wizards are looking at making one of the more dramatic turnarounds in NBA history next season.

No need to worry about the Wizards setting the record for biggest turnaround. The 2008 NBA champion Boston Celtics had a 42-game improvement from the previous season. This Wizards team is not going to win 62 games. The San Antonio Spurs improved by 36 games after adding Tim Duncan and a healthy David Robinson in 1997-98, and they had improved by 35 games after adding Robinson in 1989-90.

The 2004 Denver Nuggets had the largest second-largest improvement for a team that failed to win at least 20 games the season before, as Carmelo Anthony, Andre Miller and Marcus Camby led them to a 26-game turnaround (The Heat improved by 28 games last season, going from 15 wins to 43). If the Wizards win 26 more games, they'll match the 2004-05 Wizards, who recorded the best regular season since 1979 (45-37).

My first year in Washington, I covered that team, which advanced to the conference semifinals for the first time since 1982. That team had an explosive young backcourt with Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes, the high-scoring, unorthodox power forward in Antawn Jamison, with the still-developing Brendan Haywood and Jared Jeffries filling in the gaps. The bench featured Jarvis Hayes, Kwame Brown, Juan Dixon, Steve Blake, Etan Thomas, Michael Ruffin and Anthony Peeler. That team improved by 20 wins from the previous season.

Now you have a team that features Arenas, two high-scoring forwards in Jamison and Caron Butler, a much-improved Haywood and a shooting guard spot that could be filled with either Mike Miller, Randy Foye or DeShawn Stevenson. Let's say that Coach Flip Saunders decides to start Miller, since he could be a big, playmaking guard who wouldn't mind being a setup man for Jamison, Butler and Arenas. That leaves a second unit of Foye, Nick Young, Stevenson, Mike James and Javaris Crittenton in the backcourt, with a frontcourt that features forwards Dominic McGuire and forward/centers JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and Oberto.

You could make the case that this is the best team that Grunfeld has assembled since coming to Washington. But again, that's on paper. The Wizards have seven guards that bring varying skills -- Arenas (at least the healthy one we remember) is an all-star who can score from anywhere on the floor; Miller can shoot threes and create for others; Foye can play either guard position and score in spurts; Young is a streaky scorer; Stevenson is a tough-minded defender; James is a veteran who can get on an occasional hot streak and Crittenton is a change-of-pace point guard who thrives on his speed.

Then, you have all-stars Butler and Jamison, a defensive specialist in Dominic McGuire, two finesse big men in the multi-dimensional Blatche and hyper-athletic McGee, and a hard-fouling, flop artist in Oberto.

That roster has few players who overlap, giving Saunders the chance to mix and match and try different lineups. And, given Saunders's history, you have to assume that four or five of those guys won't even make the regular rotation.

There still are several question marks with team and none is bigger than the one that follows Arenas. Arenas told me that he plans on being in Chicago the next few months, continuing his rehab workouts with trainer Tim Grover. Memphis guard O.J. Mayo told SI.com that he has been picking Arenas's brain while running drills with him in Chicago. Arenas has been trying to maintain a low profile this offseason, trying to focus on what is an important season for him after losing two years from his prime because of the left knee injury.

Jamison turned 33 last month and is also recovering from ankle surgery, while Stevenson is coming off back surgery in March. But assuming that those three players can come back healthy, you still have wonder if McGee and Blatche will be consistent and reliable reserves. That being said, this team looks better than the one that won 45 games in 2004-05, even with the Eastern Conference improving exponentially the past five years. On paper, at least.


By Michael Lee |  July 27, 2009; 10:03 AM ET
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Solid analysis, Mike. Come playoff time, it might come down to whether Arenas is back to All-Star form and has the transcendent game to at least mostly offset that of LeBron, Wade, and/or Garnett.

Posted by: dabnjab | July 27, 2009 10:18 AM

I say we win about 50 games, which would be a turnaround of 31.

But Michael, I think a more relevant question is whether we believe this team is going to eclipse the performance of the 2004 team that you mentioned.

I'd be interested in seeing a poll as to whether folks think this current team could get out of the 2nd round of the playoffs - which would be the high-mark of EG's tenure here.

Posted by: p1funk | July 27, 2009 10:22 AM

wow, 40 games?!? damn people, i love lez boulez too, but that's some serious wizard's juice to be drinking.. ;)

Posted by: 3tripleiii | July 27, 2009 10:35 AM

I'm with the group that suspects that clubs like Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, and Los Angeles haven't improved as much as the media thinks. Of course, they're all terrific teams to begin with. But their acquisitions have been mixed. For instance, Orlando adds Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson, Matt Barnes, and Brandon Bass, losing Hedo Turkoglu, Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee and Tony Battie. You could call that an overall talent upgrade, but will they be a better team than at the end of last year? Dwight Howard still has no low post game. Jameer Nelson is still short. Rashard Lewis still likes to drift outside and shoot threes. The Magic have to incorporate four new players into their scheme.

Boston signed Rasheed, but is that a real upgrade or an insurance policy for Kevin Garnett? LA has already lost Ariza and might lose Odom. If Lamar goes, the addition of Ronnie doesn't offset that.

Has any team upgraded as much as Denver did from the Billups trade? I've got only one candidate: San Antonio. But will Ginobili come back, and will Duncan stay healthy this season?

The Wiz, for all their problems, may improve quite a bit this coming season. Of course, they had a lot farther to go.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 27, 2009 10:36 AM

'I'd be interested in seeing a poll as to whether folks think this current team could get out of the 2nd round of the playoffs - which would be the high-mark of EG's tenure here.'

I think the bar should be set very high, we have lost years now due to injury and need to take a quantum leap forward. Anything less than a strong run at the Conf Finals would be a disappointment assuming we're healthy.

Call me crazy, but I think Boston is ripe for the picking.

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 10:37 AM

Very solid, if not unspectacular work by Ernie.

Posted by: lavar609 | July 27, 2009 10:40 AM

Ernie is one of the best GMs in the league. I love the moves he made this off season. The Wizards have a real chance to win the division this year. Orlando did not get better over the offseason. They lost three starters, Turk, Lee, and Alston, from the team that made a deep run into the playoffs. Good luck replacing that.

I can not wait till November.

Posted by: dominic10464 | July 27, 2009 10:49 AM

'Ernie is one of the best GMs in the league.'

Imagine if he'd followed Wilbon's advice and drafted Ricky Foolio? Where would we be right now? In limbo, waiting for a 19yr old kid to show up and impact the league right out of the box?

As was said, no one bats 1.000 but Ernie knows what he's doing and generally makes shrewd moves within the framework ownership allows.

*pech sucked tho!

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 10:53 AM

Another part of the equation: Three players likely slated for heavy minutes are in a contract year (e.g. Haywood, Foye, Miller). I'm sure the Wizards veterans are already going to be motivated. But if those three needed another incentive -- there it is.

I'm looking forward to seeing how things go.

Posted by: JPRS | July 27, 2009 10:56 AM

Call me crazy, but I think Boston is ripe for the picking.

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 10:37 AM


I agree. They're old. I wouldn't be surprised to see the wheels fall off this season. And when it does happen...they are going to suck...for the next 10 years.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 27, 2009 11:06 AM

"Memphis guard O.J. Mayo told SI.com that he has been picking Arenas's brain while running drills with him in Chicago."

With Gilbert's quirkiness and lack of commitment to defense, if I'm Memphis, this worries me.

Posted by: rbpalmer | July 27, 2009 11:12 AM

"I think the bar should be set very high, we have lost years now due to injury and need to take a quantum leap forward. Anything less than a strong run at the Conf Finals would be a disappointment assuming we're healthy....Posted by: divi3"

I don't think that way. IMO, it doesn't make any difference how long we've been waiting or how frustrated we are -- nothing that Flip or Ernie can do about any of that. The only thing they, or any of the current Wiz, can be expected to do is to show up every night ready to play, and to win as many games as they can. If they succeed, Ernie will be retained; if they don't... in the end, it will all depend on how Abe Pollin feels.

Maybe this is our year. Maybe it isn't.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 27, 2009 11:16 AM

The Wizards should definitely break the record for Teams under 20 wins the previous year. I expect them to win at least 50 games this season.

I also with the bunch that believe Orlando might have spoiled the punch.

I think it started when they brought short-dumpy back in the playoffs and put Rafer on the bench for no apparent good reason. Rafer was doing just fine.

Hell, short-dumpy changed the whole dynamics of Superman getting the ball inside. He was too slow and out of shape to run the offense at the speed they had gotten to in the playoffs.

They lost too much, too have to sync up again, even with 'half man - half amazing'.

The Wizards could turn out to be a tough Team to beat. If the Offense clicks along with sound defense, the W's are going to roll in.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | July 27, 2009 11:18 AM

The fate of the team largely depends on how good Arenas is when he comes back. Based on the last 3 times he tried to come back, the odds are not looking good. The Arenas re-signing may go down as the worst move in NBA history, and I do not exaggerate. Unless Arenas's comeback this time around is better than the last 3, Arenas's enormous contract will hamstring the team for the next half decade.

The only way around this is if Foye unexpectedly makes the leap to All Star level, and McGee unexpectedly develops into an All Star caliber big man once Jamison starts his inevitable age-driven decline.

Posted by: Dellis2 | July 27, 2009 11:19 AM

Where is the poll option for 50+ wins?

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | July 27, 2009 11:19 AM

"Finesse big man"? Is that an asset or a liability?

Posted by: tomtildrum | July 27, 2009 11:20 AM

Saunders/Cassell are going to turn Nick Young into a Rip-like, efficient scoring machine (possibly averaging a point per minute on the second team).

But EG/Saunders need to hire a big-man coach for McGee and Blatche. The Wiz need the improvement and these guys have the talent if it can be harnessed and developed.

The veterans should click right from the start of the season. Should be interesting to see what moves Flip makes with his starters and rotations.

Posted by: Izman | July 27, 2009 11:21 AM

AND YOU CAN'T SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES.

I have a sneaky suspicion that the League is gonna be quilty of that in sizing up these Wizards.

I think teams are going to look at them and think, Yeah, SOSA, and not realize that this Team is nothing like any Wizard Team that we have had before.

Yes, from a coaching perspective and a player perspective, there is an uncanny change afoot.

As I evauluate these Wizards, the bottom line of everything I see comes down to one thing.

Jus' Win' Baby.'

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | July 27, 2009 11:32 AM

'The fate of the team largely depends on how good Arenas is when he comes back. Based on the last 3 times he tried to come back, the odds are not looking good.'

Well, unless we are being lied to by the local and national media, it sounds as if Gil has been playing hard for awhile now without ill effects to the knee. That's a great sign.

As is him following orders from a renown trainer rather than constructing his own ridiculous rehab routine.

Gil's work ethic cant be questioned...I dont think anyone will be surprised if he comes back in tip-top shape with little rust on his J

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 11:34 AM

And one other thing, we traditionally have had stiffs at the end of the bench that we depended upon.

Thats changed now.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | July 27, 2009 11:35 AM

Michael,

When you get laid off from the Post, you can get a flack job with Fannie Mae writing about how prudent liar loans are.

After all fiction is fiction. If you're going to do PR, you might as well be well-paid.

Posted by: renostaging2005 | July 27, 2009 11:40 AM

As is him following orders from a renown trainer rather than constructing his own ridiculous rehab routine.

Gil's work ethic cant be questioned...I dont think anyone will be surprised if he comes back in tip-top shape with little rust on his J

Agreed. That's why this I think Gil is done thing is a little silly to me. Worst case scenario he still has the jumper. If the explosiveness and attacking the basket is less frequent, maybe he plays more of the style from the 2 games last season with a better jumper.

Which is what everybody wants anyway right?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 27, 2009 11:41 AM

"Saunders/Cassell are going to turn Nick Young into a Rip-like, efficient scoring machine.. posted by izman"

I was really impressed by how effective he was in that role during Summer League. With his length and hops (I'm starting to sound like Marty Blake), all he really has to do is come off a screen, elevate, and let the ball do the work. He could become one of those silent assassin types that coaches crave.

Of course, there's always the personality factor. Rip Hamilton never got many YouTube mentions... maybe this is expecting too much from Hollywood Nick Young.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 27, 2009 11:54 AM

I believe this season, the Zards will win 50 games for the first time in team history.
I'd feel even better about that happening if they make this addition to the coaching staff...after all, they were in NY together.
Posted from http://www.espnstar.com/us-sports/nba/news/detail/item298850/Oakley-wants-assistant-coach-gig/

"Oakley wants assistant coach gig
Charles Oakley is said to be interested in returning to the NBA as an assistant, having been away from the game since his retirement.
The former player would prefer a player development role on the team he joins.
"I think I have a lot to teach these young guys," Oakley told The New York Times. "Especially on the defensive end."
Oakley has seen the success former-New York teammate Patrick Ewing has had in Houston and Orlando, and has lobbied to Knicks president Donnie Walsh for a stint with the team, saying that he could have the same type of success.
"Nowadays, you may have better athletes," he said. "But unless they're taught, they aren't going to do anything in the league. I talked with Donnie after the last home game and told him that I think I have a lot to offer this team. You can't just score more points than last year without playing defense."

Posted by: bozomoeman | July 27, 2009 11:55 AM

"The Arenas re-signing may go down as the worst move in NBA history"

do u know a guy named JUWAN HOWARD?

Posted by: wizRjizz | July 27, 2009 11:57 AM

Of course, there's always the personality factor. Rip Hamilton never got many YouTube mentions... maybe this is expecting too much from Hollywood Nick Young.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 27, 2009 11:54 AM

The biggest hindrance to NY is that he wants to be Gil.

Arenas has had carte blanche with the organization for years, good or bad. NY sees Gil drop 60 on Kobe's head in front of Jack and thinks "I can do that. I want to be that."

Look how he bristled at scoring in droves during summer league because he felt Flip was hindering him. Kid was lighting it up yet complaining about his role and assuring us all the 'real' NY would be back.

Until he accepts he will never be Gil for this team, it's hard to see him filling the Rip role. We can hope though!

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 12:02 PM

A whole lot of ifs but if they stay healthy and the promise of all of those ifs don't come unglued and turn into a variety of bum knees, bad backs and ankles, stunted development and unfulfilled maturation (another generous slug of kool-aid required), I think the upside is that the Wiz could conceivably find their way into the Eastern Finals though not out the other side.

That said, the roster may be set for the season opener but it seems likely that as the season progresses, depending on injuries and performance, EG may be looking to improve the front court by moving some of the excess guards and perhaps an under-performing big as other teams shake out their own rosters and deal with injuries.

Posted by: midlevex | July 27, 2009 12:06 PM

I think 50 wins is doable for this team.
The big "?" will be health.
If "everyone" stays healthy the whole season I'll be disappointed if 50 isn't attained.
That said HEALTH is the big unknown. Not just for the Wizzies but for every other NBA team. Imagine where the Cavs, Lakers, Magic, Celts or any other team would be if they lost their "STAR" for a season. How many wins is LaBron or Kobe worth to their teams?

Posted by: VBFan | July 27, 2009 12:07 PM

CAN PEOPLE STOP REPEATING ONE ANOTHER PLEASE????

95% OF POSTS ON THIS FORUM= If the wizards stay healthy they should win 50 games...no way!!!! reallyz?

Posted by: wizRjizz | July 27, 2009 12:12 PM

Hell yeah get Oakley in here!!!

I always loved those Oakley/Thorpe/Ruland types who played tough and got most of their points as put backs.

Man, I am looking up some Morris Day and some Cameo on pandora so I can do the "Oak Tree."

Posted by: Blurred | July 27, 2009 12:15 PM

Michael, have you caught any of this Starbury tv? It is insane.

Posted by: 1stpick | July 27, 2009 12:25 PM

CAN PEOPLE STOP REPEATING ONE ANOTHER PLEASE????

95% OF POSTS ON THIS FORUM= If the wizards stay healthy they should win 50 games...no way!!!! reallyz?

Posted by: wizRjizz | July 27, 2009 12:12 PM

I think if the Wizards are healthy, we can win 50 games.

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 12:40 PM

is dixon going to be resigned?

HE IS THE JUAN!!

Posted by: wizRjizz | July 27, 2009 12:50 PM

So this roster has depth. Very nice. Good job Ernie. Doesn't mean squat if Flip can't mix and match all this inconsistent parts together to make a winning squad. There's definitely a lot of versatility with this squad - lot of interchangeable parts and possible combinations that could provide matchup problems on offense and/or compensate for deficiencies defensively. Still its all speculation and supposition at this point. Ernie did his job now Flip has to do his.

(lawd I hope Arenas is healthy)

Posted by: blackman1 | July 27, 2009 12:55 PM

Any team that has Stevenson on it can't be that good.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | July 27, 2009 12:59 PM

That said HEALTH is the big unknown. Not just for the Wizzies but for every other NBA team. Imagine where the Cavs, Lakers, Magic, Celts or any other team would be if they lost their "STAR" for a season. How many wins is LaBron or Kobe worth to their teams?

I've been saying that...the difference this time around is that the dropoff isn't as significant this year.
Arenas ----> Foye
LeBron ----> Wally
Kobe ------> Shannon/Sasha

they've got more depth for flexbility. Even with Miller being able to pickup for Caron's yearly injuries. I'd like to see another big added...jut for security...but I'm happy.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 27, 2009 1:02 PM

50 wins, healthy or not.

Oakley would be a good pick-up for the bigs.

Posted by: Izman | July 27, 2009 1:03 PM

We've heard before that Arenas is fully healthy, or largely healthy. Each time, Arenas has played briefly, complained about his sore knee, express concern over his game and how he feels, and then proceed to get more surgery and rehab. Arenas's game was premised on elite lateral quickness that allowed him to get around his defender at will. Will this still be possible after all these surgeries? Plenty of NBA stars have never been the same after knee injuries (See Penny Hardaway).

I hope I am wrong.

Posted by: Dellis2 | July 27, 2009 1:13 PM

I know that it's pretty much default behavior for fans to give their own team the benefit of the doubt while denying it to every other team, but there's really no logical basis for assuming that all of the Wiz's key guys will stay healthy, that their young players will blossom, and that their new acquisitions will shine, while assuming that none of those things will happen for the competition. The last time the Wiz and Cavs were both healthy, the Cavs were the better team. They've since added to their talent base. The Magic made it to the NBA Finals last season, something the Wiz haven't done in 20 years. Despite their most important player being injured, the Celtics made it to the second round and pushed the eventual conference champs to 7 games. The last time the Wiz made it to the second round they got swept by the eventual conference champs.

Are the Wiz better now than they were before? Theoretically, yes. But the problem is, so are all of those other teams, and they were better than the Wiz to begin with.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 27, 2009 1:40 PM

Anybody else almost hit 40+ before noticing that the question asks how much IMPROVEMENT there will be in the win total (not how many total wins)?

I caught myself, but I'm wondering if that's why so many people think a 40 win improvement is coming.

Posted by: manifested | July 27, 2009 1:46 PM

Any team that has Stevenson on it can't be that good.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | July 27, 2009 12:59 PM

That is just silly. Even if he did absolutely suck (which he didn't until he tried to play through a bad back), every Championship team has a 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th or 14th option that is basically there for the paycheck.

There is no basis for this statement and the logic is not only faulty, but non-existent.

Posted by: Blurred | July 27, 2009 1:48 PM

As great as Gil could be, the fate of this season is not based on him scoring 30ppg, it's on creating a cohesive unit that passes the ball for the Open Shot, and plays sustained Defense.

The quip on Oberto being our own hard fouling Flop Artist had me busting up laughing. I lobbied for him based on those qualities, plus rebounding, just because it's what we need, and Cleveland already has one in Verajao.

*Fabricio Oberto (6’10”, 2.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 57fg%) Smart Dog qualified, takes charges, rebounds and plays decent D

Now can we find a taker for James and his one year contract? If Tony Parker’s injury causes him to miss part of the season maybe San Antonio can be the destination of choice for yet another Wizard.

Posted by: liveride | July 27, 2009 1:59 PM

The wiz have an amazing bench. All 5 starters could go down and there is a young talented and intruiging squad to step in: McGee, Blatche, McGuire, Foye, Young, Critterton. Thats an entire team and a 6th man. James, Stevenson and Oberto are veteran throwaways. So the wiz are sitting pretty there.

Posted by: firemetalrat | July 27, 2009 2:02 PM

You know, you guys/ppl talk about "if they stay healthy they should win 50 games". As I'm "SURE" you all know, injuries are a part of the game, so we should "EXPECT" some injuries, and some minor set backs. I really don't care how many games they win, just as long as it's enough to get them in the playoffs, bcuz as we ALL know.......the season starts all over again once the playoffs start.....and my main concern is that they're/we're "HEALTHY" going into the play-offs. If they're "HEALTHY" in the play-offs.....then I expect them to at least make it to the second round, and take what ever team they play to the limit....or "to me" the season would be a bust.

DAGEEZ in Waldorf,Md

Posted by: DAGEEZ | July 27, 2009 2:08 PM

Michael,

When you get laid off from the Post, you can get a flack job with Fannie Mae writing about how prudent liar loans are.

After all fiction is fiction. If you're going to do PR, you might as well be well-paid.

Posted by: renostaging2005 | July 27, 2009 11:40 AM

////////////////////////////

Kind of off topic, but he'd actually need to work for a secondary lender like New Century or Countrywide (both now defunct). Fannie and Freddie deal with prime loans. Their subprime holdings weren't NINJA loans; they were holdings that they purchased originated by some of the aforementioned secondary lenders.

Saying that this team is the deepest Wizards team in a long-time isn't exactly PR; it's a statement of fact. Granted we're talking about a franchise that hasn't exactly burned up the league since the late 1970s.

Posted by: JPRS | July 27, 2009 2:19 PM

As great as Gil could be, the fate of this season is not based on him scoring 30ppg, it's on creating a cohesive unit that passes the ball for the Open Shot, and plays sustained Defense.

Posted by: liveride | July 27, 2009 1:59 PM

Agreed.

Even just with the two games he played this past year with the 10 assists, one turnover, and double-digit points he made this a much better team. If Arenas can average 16-20 points a game on a high shooting percentage with 10 assists he's going to help this team win a lot of games.

Posted by: JPRS | July 27, 2009 2:23 PM

Agreed.

Even just with the two games he played this past year with the 10 assists, one turnover, and double-digit points he made this a much better team. If Arenas can average 16-20 points a game on a high shooting percentage with 10 assists he's going to help this team win a lot of games.

Posted by: JPRS | July 27, 2009 2:23 PM

I agree with that 200%, bcuz if Gil does ave. 16-20 pts and dishes out 10 apg, then he really is (in essence) scoring (at least) 20 more pts bcuz he's helping someone else score while making the TEAM better (and at the same time) making the TEAM happy!

DAGEEZ in Waldorf,Md.

Posted by: DAGEEZ | July 27, 2009 2:35 PM

"The last time the Wiz and Cavs were both healthy, the Cavs were the better team. They've since added to their talent base. The Magic made it to the NBA Finals last season, something the Wiz haven't done in 20 years. Despite their most important player being injured, the Celtics made it to the second round and pushed the eventual conference champs to 7 games." -Kalorama

My memory is not good enough to recall the last time the Wiz were all healthy in any significant measure for any significant time. Considering the roster changes and the addition and subtraction of skills by age to various pieces of the puzzle it's largely a crap shoot comparing the teams on the basis of any particular moment in the past.

There are indeed questions about the Wiz and their theoretical improvement. However if the Wizards are to be analyzed in the cold harsh, light of reality then Boston, Orlando, Cleveland, Atlanta and Miami, the likely contenders should be considered similarly.
Others have already questioned and I think legitimately, the moves and talent Orlando, Cleveland and Boston have assembled this off-season.
Were those teams better than the Wiz before? Not all of them; we seemed competitive with Orlando, Detroit and Cleveland before the injury avalanche that began a couple of seasons ago and seriously hobbled the Wizards. Has the catalyst of time and experience improved or detracted from the Wizard core group more than say Boston with the addition of an aging Wallace and KG's rehab? Or Cleveland with the questionable, lumbering Shaq added to an older and slower Iglauskas? Haywood seems improved, Jamison is certainly older and Arenas remains the biggest question of all in regards recovery and maturity. Unknowable until the course of the season provides the answers.

Obviously what we are engaged in is mostly speculation seasoned with an assessment of the strategic blending of talent and potential of the assembled and ideally healthy rosters; largely crystal ball reckoning. At this happy point in time the grass looks greener; I prefer Saunders to EJ and I think EG has, as Mike Lee suggests, assembled a nice mix of players under the constraints of contracts and money.

Posted by: midlevex | July 27, 2009 2:37 PM

"No need to worry about the Wizards setting the record for biggest turnaround. The 2008 NBA champion Boston Celtics had a 42-game improvement from the previous season. This Wizards team is not going to win 62 games."

I don't know, Mike. As someone from that very same Celtics team once said: Anything is possibl(lllllllll)e. Who needs Amar'e?

Posted by: nittanybruin | July 27, 2009 2:41 PM

How could this team be considered deep when players Calvin Booth and Michael Ruffin are not participants? Thought you would get a good laugh.

These two players made way too much money for what they were worth.

And yes, this is the strongest team they have had in some time. Now, they just have to stay healthy (and maybe play a little defense).

Posted by: fearturtle44 | July 27, 2009 2:44 PM

I know that it's pretty much default behavior for fans to give their own team the benefit of the doubt while denying it to every other team, but there's really no logical basis for assuming that all of the Wiz's key guys will stay healthy, that their young players will blossom, and that their new acquisitions will shine, while assuming that none of those things will happen for the competition. The last time the Wiz and Cavs were both healthy, the Cavs were the better team. They've since added to their talent base. The Magic made it to the NBA Finals last season, something the Wiz haven't done in 20 years. Despite their most important player being injured, the Celtics made it to the second round and pushed the eventual conference champs to 7 games. The last time the Wiz made it to the second round they got swept by the eventual conference champs.

Are the Wiz better now than they were before? Theoretically, yes. But the problem is, so are all of those other teams, and they were better than the Wiz to begin with.

Kal...I usually agree with you, especially about the homerism...but 20 years ago doesn't matter now. Hell last year doesn't matter now. Boston is older. Garnett has been playing since his teenage years so it's an even older 33. 14 seasons for KG and Wallace, 13 for Ray, 11 for Pierce. Knee issues after 14 seasons? I dunno. Orlando got to the Finals true...but gutted the team. Nothing is to say they are going to re-create the same "Magic" again. Cleveland has gotten better?

Clevelands roster hasn't changed much since 2006. Still a bunch of clowns around LeBron who is ridiculously good (as much as I hate him)

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 27, 2009 2:47 PM

Flip has won 45 or more games 9 times. 50 or more 7 times including seasons with 58, 59, and 64 wins.

Compare that with what has qualified as 'success' amongst us long suffering Wiz fans.

Saunders knows EXACTLY what it takes to create and play like a championship contending team. EG has given him a talented roster to work with, no denying that. He will mix and match lineups, find what he is happy with, and bury malcontents/nonperformers at the end of the bench.

Does that mean he gets us a Championship? No, not at all.

But does it mean he quickly crafts a team that is winning 48+ games and a legit threat to get to the Finals?

Ya gotta think those odds stack up in our favor.

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 2:49 PM

"Saying that this team is the deepest Wizards team in a long-time isn't exactly PR; it's a statement of fact. Granted we're talking about a franchise that hasn't exactly burned up the league since the late 1970s.Posted by: JPRS"

True enough. Depth for depth's sake isn't the issue -- maybe ten players get significant minutes during a season. But when a key player goes down, there'd better be somebody good to replace him. Like Rafer Alston with Orlando. Suppose we'd had Randy Foye and Fabricio Oberto last year, would the Wiz have been a better club? Probably. Oberto is a better replacement for Haywood than Darius was, and Foye would have been an improvement over Antoinio Daniels and Mike James. But I suspect that would not have translated to 35 wins -- this team needs Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 27, 2009 2:53 PM

'Boston is older. Garnett has been playing since his teenage years so it's an even older 33. 14 seasons for KG and Wallace, 13 for Ray, 11 for Pierce. Knee issues after 14 seasons'

agree 100%, KG has 200k pro miles on that wiry frame and it's very telling he couldnt come back at all in the postseason. With Boston on the cusp of another Finals he was relegated to displaying his usual chest-thumping and faux rage on the bench. No guarantees in Beantown this season

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 2:55 PM

...the difference between this team being good and very good will be play of Blatche. And that is scary.

Posted by: oddjob1 | July 27, 2009 3:01 PM

Gilbert's knee --- The fact that he missed all of last season after having a minor procedure performed is not reassuring. Look up the lavage procedure. He should not have been out the entire season.

The reason he was out is because his knee kept swelling up, despite the PR efforts of the Wizard's organization to reassure us that he was fine and making progress. When he returned he wasn't even able to follow through on his commitment to play the final home games!

Hence, the real issue is whether he has finally found a rehab program that is working for him this summer. If not, then the drama will continue this season.

My prediction several months ago was that he would be out of the league in two years. I don't wish that to be the case, but thus far it seems to be the reality of the situation. I do hope that he can continue his career as a starter for the wizards, even if in modified form.

However, the Wizards are actually positioned to win more games this year than they did in 2007-2008 without him. Incidentally, why do you think they brought in a combo guard like Foye? If Gilbert is healthy he can play along side of him. If Gilbert is not healthy, his is our starting PG. Foye is the insurance policy that will prevent us from having 19 wins again this year because no one else on the team is a NBA level starting PG. (Yeah, yeah, "if healthy" Deshawn is… I know, I know…)

Posted by: MeviousMan | July 27, 2009 3:10 PM

"no one else on the team is a NBA level starting PG. (Yeah, yeah, "if healthy" Deshawn is… I know, I know…)Posted by: MeviousMan"

DeShawn is no PG. Healthy or no.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 27, 2009 3:15 PM

Are the Wiz better now than they were before? Theoretically, yes. But the problem is, so are all of those other teams, and they were better than the Wiz to begin with.

Yes, there are reasons to temper enthusiasm, but there also reasons to be excited about the upcoming season. Everything that is mentioned as something that could possibly go wrong with the Wizards could just as easily go wrong with any team. Just as the Wizards are only 'theoretically' better, so are all of the other teams mentioned.

It is unreasonable to expect the Wiz to stay healthy, but they are better able to survive injuries than years past. We not as reliant on the youngsters improving as we have been in years past.

It is equally unreasonable to expect Boston to stay healthy. Even when healthy, the Wiz have been able to play the Celtics tough.

Orlando is a tough matchup for the Wiz and they are deeper now. But they significantly changed their lineup. Hedo was a clutch player for them, and it remains to be seen how Vince affects their chemistry.

Cleveland always beats us, but when healthy, the series are tough. Shaq makes them better on paper, but again it remains to be seen how his addition affects the team.

So what the heck. We appear to be healthy, we appear to be deeper, we appear to have a more proven coach. It is unreasonable to expect all of the positive things to happen, but it is not unreasonable to expect some of them to happen.

My hope is that the Wizards concern themselves less with an impressive regular season record and instead focus on making the playoffs and preparing to make some noise there. To that end, focusing on offensive and defensive schemes and making sure the minutes of the principle players are controlled to keep them healthier for the playoffs.

Posted by: ts35 | July 27, 2009 3:16 PM

This is - by far - the deepest and most versatile roster Washington has fielded in over 20 years.
Is it the most talented?
Is Gil healthy? If he is, yes.
If he is not, no.
There is one player on the roster with franchise player potential - Gil. With him back in Second Team All-NBA form, Wiz have a mismatch at the point every night against the East.
That plus the reinforcements means 45-50 wins.
Oberto signing was great. Gives Flip different options in the frontcourt.
Haywood in a contract year. That is really good.

Posted by: BigWesGoingToTakeA | July 27, 2009 3:26 PM

You suppose Oakley wants to take on Wizard knuckleheads again? I hope so, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Posted by: WilliamCarr | July 27, 2009 3:37 PM

You suppose Oakley wants to take on Wizard knuckleheads again? I hope so, but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: WilliamCarr | July 27, 2009 3:40 PM

The Wiz have improved as much as any team in the East....Orlando actually took a step back by letting Turkoglu leave as a FA and trading their starting backcourt for an aging Vince Carter. Turkoglu was the glue that held the team together when Nelson was hurt. Boston is built around 4 players who are all going to be 33 or older with a lot of mileage. Do they have one more year left in their window? Maybe, but all could start a steady decline or suffer injuries like KG did last year. Cleveland improved the most, but does Shaq have much left? I don't see Jamario Moon putting them over the top.

There's no reason to think the Wiz can't win 45-50 games and came out of the East with the 4th seed. They should be able to beat Detroit, Philly, or Chicago based on their experience in a 1st round match up. It all comes down to whether Agent Zero can return at 80-90% of his old self and involve his teammates they way LeBron does in Cleveland.

Saunders and his staff are big upgrade over Eddie in the coaching department so there's no reason to believe he won't win close to or more than 50 games with the Wiz this season.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 27, 2009 3:54 PM

uhhh -

No one has discussd Haywood's health. yes he is in a contract year, and a few years removed from a knucklehead fistfight and quite a few miles removed from his nemesis - Etan T. He really has only delivered one good year for the team, otherwise, most of us have been complaining about him until two years ago (yet another soft Tar Heel center). Will haywood retrun to form??? If not, McGee may have to step up much sooner than is reasonable. In essence, we are all hoping that a bunch of historically unhealthy stars stay healthy for most of the season. If any two of our starters goes down for an extended period, I suspect that our team will stink up the joint like last year. And yes, they should keep juan on principal (unless they somehow land Joe Smith). Ex terps always get the biggest cheers at the Verizon Center.

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | July 27, 2009 4:04 PM

"but 20 years ago doesn't matter now. "

Given that the stated topic/title of this thread is an examination of how the team's present compares against its past, of course it matters. That's the whole foundation of the discussion.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 27, 2009 4:12 PM

Everything seems great until you list our bigs: Haywood, Oberto, McGhee and Blatche.

Being that jamison is really a tweener SF/PF, the Wiz really need to address the big position. If they could trade Stevenson or James for a journey 5-fouls and 7-8 rebounds i would feel better.

Posted by: oknow1 | July 27, 2009 4:17 PM

Actually your statement was: The Magic made it to the NBA Finals last season, something the Wiz haven't done in 20 years.

That doesn't matter to me when analyzing the Wizards chances for this season.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 27, 2009 4:22 PM

that is a journey man 5-fouls and 7-8 rebounds i would feel better. I don't see a real inside presence with this team. definitely not on offense, and minimal on defense.

Posted by: oknow1 | July 27, 2009 4:24 PM

I'm thinking alot of people read that poll question as "how many games will they win" as opposed to "how many games they will improve." A 40-game improvement would be 59 wins. That would be nice, but not likely. Either way, I believe the Wiz have made some very good moves, gotten rid of the deadwood and the silly "poets" and are now a very interesting team. You can almost view Gilbert and Haywood as if you're adding a couple strong free agents on top of Foye, Miller, and hopefully Oberto.

Posted by: AsstGM | July 27, 2009 4:31 PM

"That doesn't matter to me when analyzing the Wizards chances for this season."

Well, whether it matters to you or not is an issue of personal preference. But you implied that the past was somehow not germane to the general nature of this discussion. That's not true. It goes to the very heart of the discussion.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 27, 2009 4:34 PM

Being that jamison is really a tweener SF/PF, the Wiz really need to address the big position. If they could trade Stevenson or James for a journey 5-fouls and 7-8 rebounds i would feel better.

Posted by: oknow1 | July 27, 2009 4:17 PM
No confidence in Oberto? I thought he was brought in to address the big position.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | July 27, 2009 4:38 PM

"Orlando got to the Finals true...but gutted the team."

They didn't "gut" anything. They got rid of Alston because a healthy Nelson makes him expendable. They swapped Turkoglu and Lee for Carter and Bass, which is a net upgrade in my book.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 27, 2009 4:39 PM

Obviously ya cant take much from Haywood's 6 games played last season, but for whatever it's worth, his defensive presence was definitely there in the way we were all happy to see it develop (finally) 2 years ago. Cautiously optimistic that his recently found ruggedness is a permanent development, and he will go toe-to-toe with every other big in the league.

A huge factor in his 'breakout' year was his 74% FT number, an amazing 20% higher than the previous year. I'm a little more skeptical he'll shoot that well again, not after all this time off and a hand injury. But hopefully he does, because hitting FTs at a 74% clip (vs 55%) probably translates to 10 more wins on the season.

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 4:42 PM

Haywood doesn't get to the line often enough for his FT shooting to have dramatic an effect.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 27, 2009 4:51 PM

that is a journey man 5-fouls and 7-8 rebounds i would feel better. I don't see a real inside presence with this team. definitely not on offense, and minimal on defense.

Posted by: oknow1 | July 27, 2009 4:24 PM

They just signed a journeyman 4/5 - Oberto. I don't think they're planning on signing another.

Posted by: rbpalmer | July 27, 2009 5:05 PM

The Wizards are loaded for this season. If one of the young big men steps up his play who knows what this team will achieve. What makes me really hopeful about this upcoming season is not just the talent, but the coaching. The Wizards have winners in Flip Saunders and his staff. The team is deep not just because of the players they can put on the floor.

Posted by: TJGodel | July 27, 2009 5:16 PM

In other NBA news, apparently the Hornets and Bobcats are discussing a chandler for Okafor swap.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 27, 2009 5:28 PM

Looks like the Timberwolves have traded Etan Thomas, Minnesota’s 2010 second-round pick, and a conditional 2010 second-round pick, for guards Damien Wilkins and Chucky Atkins.

http://www.nba.com/thunder/news/thundertrade_090727.html

Posted by: SixFootSixx | July 27, 2009 5:56 PM

On talent, the Okafor for T. Chandler trade makes a lot of sense, but I don't think that it fits the Hornets' financial needs.

Maybe they think it will be easier moving Okafor to a young team with cap room in exchange for young/cheap players to save some money.

Posted by: SportzWiz | July 27, 2009 6:01 PM

I agree with that 200%, bcuz if Gil does ave. 16-20 pts and dishes out 10 apg, then he really is (in essence) scoring (at least) 20 more pts bcuz he's helping someone else score while making the TEAM better (and at the same time) making the TEAM happy!

DAGEEZ in Waldorf,Md.

Posted by: DAGEEZ | July 27, 2009 2:35 PM

I've never really liked Arenas in that he was scored first, pass second. I believe that a PG should be of the Nash/Magic Johnson mold, pass first, shoot second. The PG should be the facilitator of the offense. It was not a coincidence that we would do better in games where Arenas had higher assist numbers. However, I do not think he is going to change. He's got a scorer's mentality. I don't see many people in the NBA who can change their mentality. Take the Lakers for instance. On games where Kobe scores little and has about 10 dimes, the Lakers generally have the game sealed by the early 4th quarter.

So would it be nice if Gilbert turned into a 20-10 guy? Yes, of course.
Is he going to? I think not.

Posted by: frankiec54 | July 27, 2009 6:02 PM

Steve Nash was a 20/10 guy and won 2 MVPs while playing no defense whatsoever.

For what it's worth, Gil has the talent do the same if he wanted to and he's mentioned patterning his game more like Nash's in the past.

So maybe we will see more of a facilitator this season...

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 6:49 PM

"Saying that this team is the deepest Wizards team in a long-time isn't exactly PR; it's a statement of fact. Granted we're talking about a franchise that hasn't exactly burned up the league since the late 1970s.Posted by: JPRS"

True enough. Depth for depth's sake isn't the issue -- maybe ten players get significant minutes during a season. But when a key player goes down, there'd better be somebody good to replace him. Like Rafer Alston with Orlando. Suppose we'd had Randy Foye and Fabricio Oberto last year, would the Wiz have been a better club? Probably. Oberto is a better replacement for Haywood than Darius was, and Foye would have been an improvement over Antoinio Daniels and Mike James. But I suspect that would not have translated to 35 wins -- this team needs Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 27, 2009 2:53 PM

////////////

True.

Throw Miller into the mix last year and the Wizards might have been able to slide into the 7th or 8th spot.

Perhaps even more than the play at center, the play at point guard hurt the team the last year. In the half court sets, Butler was often put in the position of running the offense (as you'll recall, not only did his assists go down from the previous year, but his turnovers went up too. To top it off his 4.3 assists lead the team).

A lot of other players too like Songaila and even Jamison at the 5 were playing out of position.

I agree though, this team can probably make it through a short stretch without Arenas and Haywood, but in order to have a real shot at making it beyond the first round in the playoffs, they'll need both.

Posted by: JPRS | July 27, 2009 7:08 PM

Wow, perhaps I should take a job as a clairvoyant. I said two months ago in here that the Wiz should sign Oberto as he was the most likely of the possibilities to actually come here and then, just recently, I stated this is the best/deepest team we've had in 30 years (I didn't add "on paper"...lol).

Should be a fun season!

Posted by: rphilli721 | July 27, 2009 7:30 PM

Kal, the Wiz have not been to the NBA finals in 30 years!

Posted by: rphilli721 | July 27, 2009 7:34 PM

A few people already noted this - BUT....we gotta run the poll over; too many people must have read that as total wins, not improvement over the 19 wins. Even optimistic me voted for 26-29 because Wizards always find ways to lose games they should win, and 48 wins total is about right for optimism. 40 game improvement and we are odds on to win the title; not this year. I'll be happy with about 45 to 50 wins total, would love to see more but a lot of player attitudes on this team still need to be changed by coach, and that takes more than one season in most cases. Antawn can tell you, it's a lot of learnin' that needs to go on here.

My favorite sports year ever was a mid/late 70's year for Baltimore Colts, when they went through a season with a good team and won every stinkin' game they were supposed to, plus some other big games. You can't imagine what it is like to not get upset for long streaks. My biggest wish for the Wizards is to gain the composure to win 75% or more of the games they are supposed to win (against sucky teams). They do just fine against most of the better teams, including Lakers, Celtics, Cavs. Could do better vs the FLA teams though.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | July 27, 2009 7:37 PM

Yes, deep in mediocrity.

Just b/c a team is deep, doesn't mean it's any good.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | July 27, 2009 8:04 PM

Deep? Deep in sh*t maybe.

We are not deep in defense...not deep in rebounding...not deep in ball movement...nor deep in a true pg that is a playmaker and makes his teammates around him better.

Guess what...these attributes make you go deep in the playoffs.

Worst analysis ever...does this guy watch NBA basketball?

Posted by: jdgreger@yahoo.com | July 27, 2009 8:12 PM

Yeah, I was one that misread the poll question or more accurately didn't really read it period...lol. But, who cares...it will be a good season, a fun season, and infinitely better than last season!

Posted by: rphilli721 | July 27, 2009 8:38 PM

Some of the past rosters don't even look like playoff teams on paper.
Wizards Roster2006-2007.

Posted by: djnnnou | July 27, 2009 8:40 PM

"Deepest Team This Decade?"

Umm, no Mike.

The 04-05 team was deeper. They will improve on games simply if they stay healthy, but this team is not that deep.

Haywood goes down, who is going to play center? Blatche for 30+ minutes? Nope. I think he improved greatly, but until he shows he can do it every night then not a chance.

McGee? Too young.

Arenas goes down again, who takes his spot? Mike James? Crits? Laugh!

Jamison goes down, who makes up for his 20/10? Nobody.

Sorry I don't think this team is deep at all. They stay healthy, they win around 45 games like the last few years. I just don't see them winning 50 games this year, with the roster they have, with the East improving.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | July 27, 2009 9:03 PM

The 04-05 team deeper?
Arenas, Hughes, Jeffries, Jamison, Haywood, Juan Dixon, Steve Blake, Samaki Walker, Kwame Brown, LaRon Profit, Anthony Peeler, Jarvis Hayes, Etan Thomas, Peter John Ramos, and DaMone Brown

09-10
Arenas, Foye, Butler, Jamison, Haywood, Miller, Young, Blatche, McGee, Oberto, Crittenton, McGuire, Stevenson, James.

I don't even think it's close. This years team is much more talented.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 27, 2009 9:17 PM

If Arenas goes down, Foye takes his spot. Foye is nowhere near the player Gil can be, but the dropoff is not as precipitous as it was last year. And Foye would actually be an upgrade on D.

We are clearly much deeper at the 1, 2, 3 than we have been in years past. And Foye and Miller are actually good with moving the ball.

I do agree though that we are a little too thin in the front court. Losing Haywood or Jamison for an extended period would hurt, unless one of the youngsters could step up. I guess the hope is that if we lost one of those guys, EG would be able to turn James's contract into someone serviceable to bridge the gap (short of using it as part of a package to make a bigger move, which seems unlikely at this point).

I think this team is more talented than the '04 bunch. Call the big 3 a wash. '09 Haywood is better than '04 Haywood. Stevenson is about the same caliber as Jeffries was that year. After that Foye and Miller are definitely better than anyone off the '04/'05 bench. Etan that year was better than AB and JaVale are now, but both have more potential, and both are better than Kwame. I would say McGuire is akin to Blake. Not by position obviously, but in that they are effective players within a limited role. Young is definitely an upgrade as the designated scorer over Jarvis. No question that '09/'10 should be deeper.

It just remains to be seen if they can put it together on the court.

Posted by: ts35 | July 28, 2009 12:00 AM

He really has only delivered one good year for the team, otherwise, most of us have been complaining about him until two years ago (yet another soft Tar Heel center). Will haywood retrun to form???
Posted by: HughGRection | July 27, 2009 4:04 PM

Another soft Tar Heel center... chuckle Chuckle...

Mitch Kupchak...chuckle
Bob McAdoo...chuckle
Sam Perkins...chuckle
Brad Doherty...chuckle

HughGRection, you must be a Dukie.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | July 28, 2009 12:06 AM

ts35, you nailed the team comparison analysis; absolutely nailed it.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | July 28, 2009 12:22 AM

Ray,

Sorry to say it, but saying the 04-05 team is "deeper" than this roster is flat out ignorant!

6 of those players are not even in the NBA anymore and it's not bc they retired and a couple more probably shouldn't be or are barely hanging onto non-existent careers!

Looking at that roster I'm surprised we even made the playoffs...lol.

With this year's roster I would not be surprised if we won 50 games and are the 3/4 seed in the conference. Good luck finding agreement with that preposterous statement!

Posted by: rphilli721 | July 28, 2009 12:27 AM

Arenas - Potentially much better more mature player if health holds up.
Hughes - Career year that season never the same before or after.
Jeffries - Barely serviceable backup on bad team now was not that much better then.
Jamison - Probably same.
Haywood - Much better now than then.
Juan Dixon - Out of NBA or about to be.
Steve Blake - Serviceable backup NBA PG, probably not much better than Critt and definitely not the same potential.
Samaki Walker - Out of NBA.
Kwame Brown - Out of NBA or should be.
LaRon Profit - Out of NBA
Anthony Peeler - Out of NBA
Jarvis Hayes - Serviceable back up, definitely not a better scorer than NY even NY of now.
Etan Thomas - Career on ropes.
Peter John Ramos - Out of NBA.
DaMone Brown - Who? Was he ever in the NBA?

Posted by: rphilli721 | July 28, 2009 12:47 AM

Samson151 | July 27, 2009 10:36 AM

Cleveland may have improved a little bit DESPITE signing Shaq... maybe. Orlando... maybe/maybe not improved. Boston? Eh.... I don't know... could be an improvement. LA? What? LA? Holy s--t! What? Ron Artest to LA to play with Kobe and Pau Gasol? Damn! I mean... DAMN! If Lamar Odom stays... OMG! If he goes to Miami, he'll be giving another team the slimmest of chances to win it all.

Posted by: jistutz | July 28, 2009 12:48 AM

But my Wizards sure will be fun to watch and I know that on the right night they could put a fright in anybody. Get us to the second round and lets go to work!

Posted by: jistutz | July 28, 2009 12:50 AM

I would be shocked if the Wiz won more than 30 games next year the local expectations are unrealistic.

Posted by: waterboard | July 28, 2009 8:01 AM

I would be shocked if the Wiz won more than 30 games next year the local expectations are unrealistic.

Haywood, Foye and Miller alone are worth 11 more wins. That's if Arenas doesn't step foot on a court all season.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 28, 2009 8:49 AM

I've never really liked Arenas in that he was scored first, pass second. I believe that a PG should be of the Nash/Magic Johnson mold, pass first, shoot second. The PG should be the facilitator of the offense. It was not a coincidence that we would do better in games where Arenas had higher assist numbers. However, I do not think he is going to change. He's got a scorer's mentality. I don't see many people in the NBA who can change their mentality. Take the Lakers for instance. On games where Kobe scores little and has about 10 dimes, the Lakers generally have the game sealed by the early 4th quarter.

So would it be nice if Gilbert turned into a 20-10 guy? Yes, of course.
Is he going to? I think not.

Posted by: frankiec54 | July 27, 2009 6:02 PM

Steve Nash was a 20/10 guy and won 2 MVPs while playing no defense whatsoever.

For what it's worth, Gil has the talent do the same if he wanted to and he's mentioned patterning his game more like Nash's in the past.

So maybe we will see more of a facilitator this season...

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 6:49 PM

If you look at it....Arenas is/was NEVER a PG, even back in college. Nash had/has a better set-up and supporting cast than Arenas has ALWAYS had. Where ever Nash has played, he didn't have to score (per say)......it was a luxury for him to. Arenas on the other hand, had to be the man where ever he landed.....ARIZ/G.S./WSH. Arenas has been a scorer since he stepped foot outta the womb. If you think back to when he came to the WIZ, can you tell me who the PG was and if he was "good enough" to put on the floor with Arenas w/o sacrificing the SG position. You know what they say...."put your best players on the floor" Arenas is a freak of nature....he has handles, speed(used to b4 knee injuries...hopefully he will again), shooting touch, and at one point....he had bunnies. If I was his coach, I would put the ball in his hands too. More positive things happen then not. Tell me who else would you have to guard as soon as they come across half court for fear of him draining a 35 to 40 footer in your mouth. **Granted the chances of him doing that on a consistant basis is slim, but NO ONE else (other then a few players -LBJ/Kobe/DWade) puts that kind of fear in you heart. So in essence, he spreads the floor at the point. So if he can change his "score first" mentallity a little to where he ave's 7 apg...I'm ELATED! I still want him to put the fear of scoring in other teams hearts...bcuz it'll make it easier for him and THE TEAM to succeed.

Posted by: DAGEEZ | July 28, 2009 10:19 AM

A starting lineup of Foye, Miller, Butler, Jamison, and Haywood backed up Critt, Young, McGuire, Blatche, and McGee. With veterans Oberto, James, and Stephenson (if healthy) coached by Flip is going to win 40-45 games and slip into the playoffs.

Flip is a battle tested NBA coach that will get the most out of his team. He could have taken last year's roster and battled them into the 8th spot. Not after Jordan's 1-11 disaster start, but if he'd have taken that roster to camp he'd have sqeezed every thing out of them there was to get.

Jordan/Tapps together combined for one of the worst coaching jobs in team history. Right up there with Gar Heard.

Arenas is prepping with the best trainer in the league, he's waited long enough to get the inflamation out of the joint this time and let the healing take place before working on it. Now he's in the stage of strengthening and conditioning and building confidence in the knee.

Gil and the Wiz did a poor job of managing the first rehab. He overworked the knee before it healed, and Jordan did a poor job of manging his minutes and overplayed him in the first week of the season.

40+ minutes on back to back nights with a flight in between was just plain stupid. Take that knee up to 30,000 ft. and it's going to puff up like a ballon. Play on it, and it's going to get irratated from all of the fluid, keep playing on it and it's going to get re-injured.

Then trying to come back just months after microfracture was brave, but foolhardy. I've come to think that Eddie was one of those old school, "if you don't have a bone sticking out, you're ok to play guys".

Gil's comeback has been and will be better monitored this time around. With the depth at guard, I beleive we'll see nights after a flight that his minutes will be limited.

Flip's worked with Cassell when his knee's limited his play and managed to get the most out of him. Sam will be there to help monitor Gil too. The goal is to get him into the playoffs at the top of his game and healthy.

A healthy Gil could make this one of the top teams in the east.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | July 28, 2009 10:23 AM

I've never really liked Arenas in that he was scored first, pass second. I believe that a PG should be of the Nash/Magic Johnson mold, pass first, shoot second. The PG should be the facilitator of the offense. It was not a coincidence that we would do better in games where Arenas had higher assist numbers. However, I do not think he is going to change. He's got a scorer's mentality. I don't see many people in the NBA who can change their mentality. Take the Lakers for instance. On games where Kobe scores little and has about 10 dimes, the Lakers generally have the game sealed by the early 4th quarter.

So would it be nice if Gilbert turned into a 20-10 guy? Yes, of course.
Is he going to? I think not.

Posted by: frankiec54 | July 27, 2009 6:02 PM

Steve Nash was a 20/10 guy and won 2 MVPs while playing no defense whatsoever.

For what it's worth, Gil has the talent do the same if he wanted to and he's mentioned patterning his game more like Nash's in the past.

So maybe we will see more of a facilitator this season...

Posted by: divi3 | July 27, 2009 6:49 PM

If you look at it....Arenas is/was NEVER a PG, even back in college. Nash had/has a better set-up and supporting cast than Arenas has ALWAYS had. Where ever Nash has played, he didn't have to score (per say)......it was a luxury for him to. Arenas on the other hand, had to be the man where ever he landed.....ARIZ/G.S./WSH. Arenas has been a scorer since he stepped foot outta the womb. If you think back to when he came to the WIZ, can you tell me who the PG was and if he was "good enough" to put on the floor with Arenas w/o sacrificing the SG position. You know what they say...."put your best players on the floor" Arenas is a freak of nature....he has handles, speed(used to b4 knee injuries...hopefully he will again), shooting touch, and at one point....he had bunnies. If I was his coach, I would put the ball in his hands too. More positive things happen then not. Tell me who else would you have to guard as soon as they come across half court for fear of him draining a 35 to 40 footer in your mouth. **Granted the chances of him doing that on a consistant basis is slim, but NO ONE else (other then a few players -LBJ/Kobe/DWade) puts that kind of fear in you heart. So in essence, he spreads the floor at the point. So if he can change his "score first" mentallity a little to where he ave's 7 apg...I'm ELATED! I still want him to put the fear of scoring in other teams hearts...bcuz it'll make it easier for him and THE TEAM to succeed.

DAGEEZ in Waldorf,Md

Posted by: DAGEEZ | July 28, 2009 10:34 AM

Let me join the group 50 wins, possibly the division I'm thinking Orlando is done, Miami nope. Gil comes back with something to prove and he will. Everyone else will show up as well. The young players will improve and take that next step. The question remains is this a championship team? Boston will fold, Cleveland will fold, Orlando better luck next year, they still don't have anyone who can score at guard, Howard, looks good in a slam dunk contest, but can not bring it every night. The Wizards may not take it all this year, but they won't be to far from it. conference finals

Posted by: aviator3 | July 28, 2009 3:58 PM

I believe this season, the Zards will win 50 games for the first time in team history.
*******
Get your history right, unless you are referring to their record as the Wizards only the franchise record for wins in a season is 60 in 1975 followed by 57 in '69, 54 in '79, 52 in '73 and 50 in '70.

Posted by: bgc20886 | July 28, 2009 4:35 PM

Hoo boy, 30 wins total would shock you? Are you kidding me? I've got $1000 easy that says Wizards win more than 30 games. It's actually HARD to win fewer than 30 in the NBA, and I agree with others who are confident that the Wizards win over 30 if Gil disappears from the planet tomorrow. They SHOULD win 50, but because they can be so frustrating at times, 44 to 48 wins is a safe target. Even a massive team failure of monumental proportions and they win 32 or 34 games. Don't forget, most players from last season are improving, no one is on a steep decline, maybe a mild age decline for Antawn, and 2 to 3 key additions, plus expected key injury returns. 30 games???

Posted by: ragtop4spd | July 28, 2009 6:16 PM

Well first of all who beat Clevland twice last season? The Banged up Wizards!! And if didnt notice the team was stil competitive in most games until the second half came.. beacuse of fatigue and no solid role players. This year if the Wiz stay healthy, they will definetly beat Clevland, Magic, and definetly will compete agaisnt Boston... Because as far as the season goes... Boston looks the number 1 seed in the east for sure next season.. maybe the Magic.. But Clevland will definetly NOT be number 1 in the East come Allstar Break... Tell me what yall think... peace

Posted by: hawksbest08 | July 28, 2009 8:24 PM

I agree, Wiz play the Cavs well. They are motivated. They have played Celtics well in the past. But the Fla teams cause us problems often (going on memory and not checking the books). I hope we can get Orlando's number as well as Miami this season. Those big games seem to be issues of individual player match-ups as well as motivation.

But the question of whether Cavs will be #1 in the east - they could be, but not a definite. Cavs seem to always have some weakness. They have 2 great names at center, but questionable full season strength at C due to age. Average players all around except for LeBron. Everyone I knew was just waiting for the Cavs to fall off their cloud this past regular season, and they never did. Same could happen again, but any team playing exceptionally well could very realistically knock the Cavs out of first.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | July 28, 2009 10:52 PM

bullets will go .500 in 2009 - 10. first round playoff appearance and exit. this team is too new and inexperienced together to expect much from. a lot of good moves this offseason, but it's not like we added two future hall of famers like the celtics did a few years back with ray ray and KG. we added a bunch of capable role players. we'll be better in 2010 - 11.

i do applaud ernie for making moves to clear up cap space and dumping a bunch of losers this offseason though. now if we could only get rid of mike james and stevenson. those dudes are dead weight.

Posted by: bpjizay | July 30, 2009 11:26 AM

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