Who's Ready for a Breakout Season?

A lot has been made about the influx of proven NBA talent with the Washington Wizards this season. Mike Miller has won a rookie of the year award and a sixth man of the year award, Randy Foye has averaged double-digits in scoring in each of his first three seasons and Fabricio Oberto has won an Olympic gold medal and an NBA championship. The Wizards also have three former all-stars in Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. And, before playing just six games last season, Brendan Haywood had just completed the best season of his career.

Last season was incredibly disappointing for the Wizards, with the reliance on unproven talent yielding a 19-win season. Of the young players who were given an opportunity to play, only Dominic McGuire made the most of it, as he finished the season with the third-most starts after Jamison and Butler. The rest had their moments, but were too inconsistent to be reliable.

The Wizards expect to field a healthy, more veteran team, but in order for the Wizards to really become a serious contender in the Eastern Conference, they will surely need one of their younger players to have something close to a breakthrough season. Nick Young and JaVale McGee were impressive during summer league play, McGuire played as he normally does, Javaris Crittenton showed some flashes and Andray Blatche showed up, despite saying that he wouldn't, and expressed a new commitment to the game.

New Coach Flip Saunders has said that he would be flexible with his eight-man rotation if more players prove worthy of more minutes. But I wanted to see which Wizards player you expect/hope to have a breakout season in 2009-10 and be the X-factor the team will likely need to leapfrog from 15th to the top five in the conference. Let's look at the candidates.


I'm changing to No. 7. This really is my year. (Photo by Ned Nishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

ANDRAY BLATCHE
Why it will happen:
Blatche will certainly get an opportunity, with his size, versatility and ability to play two or three positions. Blatche is blessed with a decent skill set and can be a dangerous player when focused. With no other backup big man capable of creating his own shot, Blatche will likely be Jamison's primary relief man.
Why it won't happen: This is Blatche's fifth season and he has yet to be much more than a tease. While he has provided good production given his salary and draft status, his work ethic and dedication have justifiably been questioned.

JAVARIS CRITTENTON
Why it will happen:
He is the only pass-first point guard on the roster and he could be a willing set up man for a team that has several scoring options. His speed and quickness could make him a change of pace backup for the Wizards.
Why it won't happen: The Wizards are stacked in the backcourt and Crittenton still hasn't established himself as a floor general and leader. His decision-making and jump shot need to improve.


If I blow up, I might get a bigger chair. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

JAVALE MCGEE
Why it will happen:
He is the only 7-footer on the bench, the only shot blocker on the team not named Brendan Haywood, and has already declared this season, The Rise of The McGee. McGee has seemingly boundless potential and athleticism and could generate more playing time if he proves that he can play power forward as well. If Team USA likes him, why wouldn't Flip?
Why it won't happen: With Haywood back in the fold, there might not be a lot of minutes at the center position. Saunders might not lean on him too much if he starts believing his own hype and focuses more on video and music production and less on rebounding and blocking shots.

RANDY FOYE
Why it will happen:
Foye is a combo guard who has improved his scoring average in each of his first three seasons in the NBA. He will have the opportunity to play, given his toughness, scoring ability and willingness to defend. He is also entering a contract season.
Why it won't happen: The backcourt will be crowded and if Arenas is healthy, the key to extended minutes at shooting guard will be the ability to play alongside him. If Foye cannot play well sharing the floor with Arenas, he might not have the chance to explode.


There will be more of this next season. Trust me. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

NICK YOUNG
Why it will happen:
Young was almost unstoppable in summer league, as Saunders used him in a Richard Hamilton mode. Young is a potentially explosive scorer who can create for himself or shoot off of screens. This is his third season and he certainly has the talent to be a bigger contributor.
Why it won't happen: He can be silly and immature. With the depth in the backcourt, Young may have to diversify from just being scorer and grasp schemes better to play more minutes for Saunders.

DOMINIC MCGUIRE
Why it will happen:
McGuire can defend three positions and has proven that he is willing to work hard to get better. On a team with few perimeter defenders, McGuire might be Saunders's best option to slow down a LeBron James or Vince Carter in a pinch.
Why it won't happen: With Mike Miller around and capable of playing small forward, McGuire might have limited opportunities. His jump shot still makes him a liability on offense.



By Michael Lee |  August 24, 2009; 1:03 PM ET
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1st. If young continues to play like rich hamilton, hell have a breakout year alongside agent 0/randy/crit

Posted by: wizskins | August 24, 2009 1:46 PM

"Who's ready for a breakout season?"

I am. Definitely. Aren't you?

Posted by: Samson151 | August 24, 2009 1:46 PM

McGee looks like he is set to explode. Hopefully all these guys will break out though.

Posted by: Dellis2 | August 24, 2009 2:17 PM

Nick...
Nick...
c'mon dawg please stop smiling stop playing stop joking all the time and get to balling dawg!!!

Posted by: blackman1 | August 24, 2009 2:27 PM

McGee is probably set up the best to have a breakout season, but my vote is actually for McGuire. The team has a ton of scorers but fewer players than ever who do the dirty work and still move the ball. What hurts him is that Miller does a lot of the same things, but also has a good jumper.

Posted by: ts35 | August 24, 2009 2:30 PM

They forgot Stevenson! I'm sure his in the running for MVP (at least in Tapsquatch's mind).

Posted by: Fontana1 | August 24, 2009 2:31 PM

Well, expect and hope are two totally different things. I hope that the wiz have a breakout year in the positions where they have been the weakest. Their weaknesses over the last few years, as i see them, have been at the starting 2 and the reserve 4 and 5. So I hope that Foye, who I see as the starter, has a breakout year. And I hope that Blatche takes that next step towards being a reliable 4. I expect Young to have a break out year in a reserve role.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | August 24, 2009 2:32 PM

I voted for Randy Foye as the breakout player for the Zards.

1. He has improved statistically every year.
2. He's in a contract year.
3. And, assuming Gil's healthy, every guard to share the back court with Gilbert has had impressive seasons.(Larry Hughes and DeShawn)

Here's to hoping that a Foye/Arenas back court rivals the Hughes/Arenas back court.

Posted by: bozomoeman | August 24, 2009 3:02 PM

@ZardsFan1:
You called it. The 2 and the 4. Blatche got my vote, but that's just because I think the waters are murky at the 2. Could be Foye, could be Stevenson, could even be Young. And as we saw with Stevenson before, playing on the floor with Gil is a 2 guard's dream. I expect all three of those guys to produce.

Posted by: Matte | August 24, 2009 3:02 PM

Foye

If he is capable of playing next to Gil, he will benefit from playing with the Big 3, in a role similar to DeShawns role. Nick being a scorer only keeps him as a 6-man type.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 24, 2009 3:04 PM

the only players that could have a breakout year are mcgee and mcguire.....crit wont get enough pt to make much of an impact, Ny is a ballhugg who cant defend, and Blatche is a bum.

Posted by: wizRjizz | August 24, 2009 3:07 PM

^^^ typo

Posted by: wizRjizz | August 24, 2009 3:09 PM

Being the only reserve big man with some experience and talent, I believe Blatche will be given every opportunity to breakout this season. Otherwise, he will be sent out of town in a mid-season trade with Mike James.

Posted by: thecomedian2 | August 24, 2009 3:15 PM

If Randy Foye can maintain last year's scoring average, but increase his efficency that's all the Wiz will ask.
He doesn't need to "blow up" just continue his improvement.

His scoring won't go up a lot just because of shot distribution, but he will get more easy shots then he got last year on a team devoid of scoring options.

McGee is the guy that's most likely to show the biggest leap forward of the group. Haywood's never logged "heavy" minutes, so it's likely his numbers will be somewhere between 30-35 minutes a game. If McGee plays well enough to earn some time at the 4 as well as the 5, it's possible that he could carve out 20 minutes or so a game.

There's every reason to believe that having the veteran Oberto to school both him and Blatche, and the battle for PT will push both youngsters in camp and the preseason. Oberto's ability to use his veteran savvy will make both young guys tougher and more prepared this time around as well.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 24, 2009 3:19 PM

Blatche is going to have the most opportunity, and he's at least been saying the right things lately. I've got my fingers crossed.

Posted by: IrenePollin | August 24, 2009 3:24 PM

I doubt haywood will be able to play much more than 32 minutes a game, if that, so JM has the opportunity to get the most minutes if he has beefed up enough to not get shoved around and gets in the rythm of the game.

I wish Blatche would make the move cuz this is his last chance. McGee probably has until next year to have a breakout season, but it would be nice if he had it this year.

Don't know what to say about Young. Love to watch him score; hate to watch him on D.

D Mac is a good solid roleplayer, but he is never going to have a break out season and is probably destined to be a career backup on any healthy NBA team.

I just don't see how Crittenton fits into getting enough PT on this roster to breakout.spelling GA only gets you about 8 minutes on the court and that has to be shared with Foye moving to the point once in a while to accomodate Miller, Stevenson and/or NY

Posted by: Blurred | August 24, 2009 3:26 PM

this is NY's breakout year. he and Critter will ball this year barring injury. I like McGee but i think he's already on the radar b/c of the team usa stuff, a big season to validate all this offseason luv is almost expected of him. NY and critter guys

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 24, 2009 3:28 PM

Where is the "All Of The Above" option?

Posted by: MBUSA | August 24, 2009 3:45 PM

...I look for CB to have another allstar year. The strengths of the new players on the Wiz complement what CB does well--open up the midrange and his ability to drive to the hole.

I think DMac may start slow as he has to adjust his game to foucs on the paint a bit more to get playing time.

NY atill doesnt get it...will see his mins tail off considerably until he does.

DSteve will be given time to let his back fully heal, so he will just see spot duty until the 2nd half/playoffs.

JCritt will see alot of DNPs.

AJ will start to look old this year...and AB will be Dr Jeckel/Mr Hyde.

Foye will also be an allstar this year.

BTH will also get somer allstar votes, but wont quite make it.

All this is ofcoarse dependent on GA being healthy and more saavy than previous years.

Posted by: oddjob1 | August 24, 2009 3:47 PM

I voted for Blatche because he's the one we NEED to break out.

Foye will be hard-pressed to improve his numbers from last year, playing beside Gil, but he will take a lot of playing time away from Crit and Young (and Stevenson). McGee and McGuire will provide defensive intensity off the bench, and McGee will make a couple of saluting highlights.

Mike Miller is the X factor. His shooting will open everything else up.

And if Blatche breaks out, and everybody stays healthy, we win the East. If he doesn't live up to his potential, Boston or Cleveland win it.

Posted by: zinger1 | August 24, 2009 3:51 PM

Lots of rational thinking today. The bedwetters probably are suffering from hangovers and not online.

Posted by: Izman | August 24, 2009 4:00 PM

Some very logical posts here for a nice change.
I think Andray could break out and Nick. I think Dom broke out last year and that there won't be much more from him except maybe a little improvement in his jumper. Critt will have a hard time making a mark but he gotta take advantage of his PT. Foye is "what you see is what you are gonna get"---will be tuff to break out with limited touches. Javale will be in his 2nd year and he should continue to try & improve & learn --- his breakout is a year or 2 away.
BUT I said before that if a couple of these guys that are cursed with "POTENTIAL" break out this year it's gonna be fun to watch.

Posted by: VBFan | August 24, 2009 4:00 PM

Maybe I'm crazy, but I see the guard position coming down to mostly Arenas, Foye and Critt. Everyone is saying Critt won't play much, but both Arenas and Foye are competent scorers so the need for a guy like Nick Young really isn't there. Critt is the better defender, better ball handler and seems the most poised to play on a playoff bound team. This is all assuming that MM plays mostly the 3.

I hope this is the season for Blatche because he's the one we need the most.

Posted by: jon_quest | August 24, 2009 4:02 PM

With Gilbert back that will limit the chances of any other backcourt player having a breakout season - although Mike Miller will have a good year. Really only Blatche or McGee have a chanceto contribute significantly - all the others will play major roles but will contribute as role players which doesn't really allow them to "break out."

Posted by: AsstGM | August 24, 2009 4:03 PM

...whoever starts at the 2 will have a stellar, if not allstar year. GA even made DSteve look like a world-beater--not to mention his pedecessors. A healthy GA demands the double team on the perimeter. Someone(s) who can knock down open looks is going to have a big year. My bet is that it will be Foye, and CB will clearly benefit as well as he has in the past.

Posted by: oddjob1 | August 24, 2009 4:24 PM

check the 1s and 2s in the east before u crown Foye an all star

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 24, 2009 4:32 PM

Gil 26 ppg
AJ 20 ppg
CB 19 ppg
Foye 17 ppg
BH 11 PPG

MM 14 ppg
NY 7 ppg
AB 6 ppg
DM 5 ppg
JM 5 ppg
OB 3 ppg

133 PPG

YEAHHH!!!!!

Posted by: wizRjizz | August 24, 2009 4:36 PM

actually 117....add ten from DS and JC and you get 127 ppg

YEAH

Posted by: wizRjizz | August 24, 2009 4:40 PM

I chose Blatche. I'm not expecting a monster season, just consistency where we can count of 10 and 7 EVERY night. That would be a breakout.

I don't understand the infatuation with Nick. Pure scorer? Absolutely. That's ALL he brings though. With a team FULL of scoring what's his reason for getting off the bench? Until he increases his IQ, I think Critt and D-Mac should eat his minutes like a free lunch.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 24, 2009 4:48 PM

The player isn't as important as the team. Caron & Haywood are in contract years, as are Miller & Foye. I think everyone will contribute and potentially be better than a 50 win team. This list is hard to gage.

Posted by: Gooddad | August 24, 2009 5:00 PM

...its obvious the East has got studs in the backcourt (DWade, JoeJohnson at the 2 and Nelson and Calderon at the 1) but with a great yr playing off of GA, there is an oppty for Foye step into the elite cirlce; consider that Vince Carter and Ray Allen are clearly past their prime and Gordon, Rondo and DRose are really on the bubble. Nobody else is a lock. Funny but it may come down to GA or Foye for the last allstar spot, particularly if CB is in too. It could happen...

Posted by: oddjob1 | August 24, 2009 5:10 PM

...no room for knuckle-heads on this year's squad. NY & AB's me first attitudes, the can't-feel-my-face taliban-bearded version of DSteve, and that stupid post-dunk salute thing McGee now does all need to go. Oh, and Gilbertology needs to no longer be an acceptable major--drop it from the Wizard's curriculum.

Posted by: oddjob1 | August 24, 2009 5:17 PM

I am kind of surprised that Foye is not (so far) the number one pick for a breakout year. I can see him pairing with Arenas a la Larry Hughes as some above have already mentioned. My second pick would be McGee.

Blatche will be better, but he has never shown he is willing to work hard enough to really improve himself. Young is only interested in scoring and not in being a more complete player.

McGuire will likely not get enough minutes to even show he can have a breakout year. It remains to be seen if Critt can improve enough (jump shot, better floor generalship) to get the minutes he would need as well.

Posted by: cannontl | August 24, 2009 5:19 PM

...its obvious the East has got studs in the backcourt (DWade, JoeJohnson at the 2 and Nelson and Calderon at the 1) but with a great yr playing off of GA, there is an oppty for Foye step into the elite cirlce; consider that Vince Carter and Ray Allen are clearly past their prime and Gordon, Rondo and DRose are really on the bubble. Nobody else is a lock. Funny but it may come down to GA or Foye for the last allstar spot, particularly if CB is in too. It could happen...


Posted by: oddjob1 | August 24, 2009 5:10 PM

i don't know many people who see foye as better than any of the players you just mentioned. 32 mpg added up to 16 pts and 4 assts how much more will he do when Gil comes back and gets to chuckin it. Foye's a nice addition but nobody's all star.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 24, 2009 5:21 PM

Foye is going to be the fourth option on the team.....i dont remember the last player who was the fourth option (specially a gaurd) make the allstar game.

Posted by: wizRjizz | August 24, 2009 5:29 PM

...I'm pretty sure we're talking about the future here, not the past. what Foye did last season (while not playing alongside GA) will not bare on his evaluation for the 2009-10 allstar squad. Its all speculation of coarse but if you are going to play along, look at the increase in production each of GA's counterparts in the backcourt had pre and post playing a full yr with GA. I'd say Foy could see maybe 27pt/7asst per game on a team on pace for a 50-60 win season...that could get him in.

Posted by: oddjob1 | August 24, 2009 5:34 PM

Partly because of the Wiz's better fire power this year and partly for other reasons, I am expecting Gil's scoring to be less this year (say in the low 20's ppg) and his assists to be more.

Posted by: cannontl | August 24, 2009 5:42 PM

Foye? 27 ppg?

Not so much.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 24, 2009 5:45 PM

"Is that funny because it's such a poor prediction? or because you think it's true?

Posted by: crs-one | August 24, 2009 8:29 AM "

It struck me as funny b/c even I don't think Les BouleS will be back in the lottery.

Whoever wrote that had me going that Les BouleS were going to be "vastly improved," but then dropped the "9th place finish in the East" on me. Shocked...moreso.

Les BouleS would need to be blown up if they go back to the lottery.

http://hoopshype.com/previews/washington.htm

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 24, 2009 7:10 PM

That hoopshype prediction seems off base. They think Orlando will be better. OK. I can see that. They must think Atlanta will be better. Not sold on that. And I guess they're saying Miami will be better. And I think that's unlikely. Washington, as its made up now, should really be competing with Orlando for tops in the division, but I don't think they're in that class defensively, which is why they might place second. But certainly there as competitive as the Hawks and more talented than the Heat.

Posted by: CDon | August 24, 2009 7:24 PM

ok, here is one of the Wizards' biggest defenders agreeing; if they are lottery this year, then we all agree, the team needs to be torn apart as chronic underacheivers. I don't think there is any "realistic" likely way that happens, but there is a "possible" way, because sports are fickle. But count me in - if they are lottery, I don't care who they ship out, all of them maybe (well, hold onto McGee I guess).

Posted by: ragtop4spd | August 24, 2009 8:06 PM

IF the Wizzies are a lottery team next year then that would mean that a couple of key players were injured if that's not the case then it would definitely be the fault of the coach.

Posted by: VBFan | August 24, 2009 8:32 PM

I see this team as hungry and multiple break-out seasons. I think this will ease the wear and tear off the big 3.

Get this out early hoops hype is way off. I think 3rd without injury and here is the key 5th with inuries. I think this team is built to survive injuries.

RF will get 23 a game as the starting 2 guard. Great relief for GA that would bring in NY 12 - 16 ppg.
JMac will be the guy who is helped most by obrecio and will play more savvy at the 4 and 5.
I see AB as the other option on the second string besides nick young. two monster questions?
is his handle ready for point forward and can he handle the responsibility??? I think he will get there.
MacGuire and Crit will get minutes as a shutdown energy guys especially on the older 2 guards and 3 small forwards.
I think the fight for PT will really motivate these guys who want to win and win now. I think Cleaveland is in for a world of disappointment again.

Posted by: zariah | August 24, 2009 8:32 PM

0, AJ and CB will take 75% of the shots and score 75% of the points. That leaves very little in terms of scoring by which to count as a breakout season. I think that it will be a breakout season for the TEAM with just about everyone contributing to the success.

Posted by: getabigboyoffense | August 24, 2009 8:38 PM

I think Crittenton will get a chance to make a statement. He's the only one of the young guards who's got the potential ability to impact a game without necessarily scoring a lot, which should get him minutes on the floor on a team loaded with guys who need the ball. Unless Stevenson really bounces back (and beyond) from where he was before he got hurt, I can easily see Foye starting with Arenas and Crittenton coming off the bench as the first backup PG.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 24, 2009 9:13 PM

I'm a big sucker for stats. I used to sit watching TV games as a kid with a sheet of paper keeping track of Big E rebounds. BUT, the best thing that could happen for team and fans this season is for no player to put up flashy big numbers. Just good numbers across the entire rotation. That will bring is second round playoffs. Maybe one player over 20 pts per game (but several in high teens), one player with over 6 assists (but several with around 4 or 5), and 2 players averaging over 7 rebounds, but several at 5 or 6. Ok, I'll enjoy a few strong stat players, but really, spread the glory to go far. Gilbert, 38 minutes per game MAX for you, preferably 35 or less.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | August 24, 2009 9:16 PM

I'm hoping for Mcgeee with his explosiveness and ability to run the floor. I think getting some minutes at 4 with Haywood could give the Wizards defense some much needed punch.But Mcgee is playing on a team full of gunner and chuckers and they don't like sharing or have much respect for young guys so my hope may not be realized unless Saunders convinces his Vets mainly (Jamison, Butler and Arenas) to give up the ball and stop acting like the only guys contributing is them.

BUT I think the pl;ayer most likely top break out is Foye. He has the Billups feel to him sorta stocky fundamentally sound pg who plays under control and has the ability to score in bunches. I think his steady hand will be huge for the Wizards. With Young, Mcgee, and Blache all part of the silly squad of young players I think the serious and something to prove Foye is ready for the break out season.

Posted by: jrwalkerivory | August 24, 2009 11:18 PM

One exception Jrwalker; the big guns enjoyed tossing the alley-oop to Javale last season. It was kinda like the big uncle playing with their nephew. A nice novelty and crowd pleaser, and I recall being stunned they were willing to go back to the well so often and toss to him. Reason was, he converted so many of them.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | August 24, 2009 11:23 PM

Nothing against Crittenton, Mcguire, or Young, but Oberto has a better chance at a break out season in his mid thirties. I expect the rest of that list to dominate though. Arenas=Finals MVP.

Posted by: bosshog7169 | August 25, 2009 1:52 AM

I am so excited for this season i can hardly stand it.

I want 50 wins. We can do it.

And as for breakout... Hell. If Nick Young was properly UNLEASHED, he'll break out. Look what happened when he actually got consistent minutes last year. Nick is my boy. Scoring machine.

Posted by: iamse7en | August 25, 2009 2:43 AM

"the can't-feel-my-face taliban-bearded version of DSteve, and that stupid post-dunk salute thing McGee now does all need to go"

Agreed!


A top notch coach, 3 all stars, a sixth man of the year, a gold medalist, a healthy Arenas, a healthy Haywood, several young players ready to break out, no more ugly gold uniforms. This could be the year! Go Bullets!

Posted by: wiz_fan | August 25, 2009 5:18 AM

I wish everyone would stop judging the young guys based on the lousy coaching of both Eddies. The team had no definitive schemes, offensive or defensive. The Princeton offense is lousy as a full time offense and a defense that left 3-pointers the opportunity to shoot at will was completely asinine. In all his years here EJ never developed any big men or young talent. Trust me when I say Young, Blatche and McGee will be major contributors this season. Mcguire will have his moments. Stevenson and MJ will have a hard time getting minutes. Foye will start with Arenas in the backcourt and MM will be the 6th man at the 3.

Posted by: garrybrown | August 25, 2009 7:08 AM

garrybrown, you hit the proverbial nail right smack on the head!

Poster after poster will go after Blatche, Young, or even McGee and swear why doesn't that lazy so in so do something with all that talent. Eddie Jordon had no clue how to develop and mentor young guys.

Can't expect guys that have spent maybe 80% of their free time on the playgrounds to come to the NBA and act like they're a "systems engineer" working for the Gov't. Eddie needed some help in relating to the younger generation of players.

Eddie didn't know what to make of some of the young guy's silly nature, so he just ignored it. Just like he ignored anything else that he didn't know what to make of. Sounds like Flip's working on getting to know his guys and plans to take a different approach.

I think Gil's now aware of the fact that even though Jamison is his "big brother" as the two of them like to say. He's been around the league long enough that this is "his" team when he's healthy. Teams take on the personality of their best player. Sounds like Flip and Gil have spent a lot of time talking about that this summer.

Flip took on a veteran team that was very set in it's ways when he went to Detroit, he seems determined to take control of things from day one here. But he seems to be taking the time to feel the players out one on one before the first ball hits the floor.

His challenges here are far different then in Detroit.

The Wiz have a wealth of young talent, Flip's going to have a juggling act to get them court time and work his way toward an 8 man playoff rotation. During the regular season he's going to have to get creative in order to see what he's got with the young guys.

A up tempo, pressing second unit, that could turn up the defensive pressure could be one way of going deeper into the bench and giving teams a different look.

Blatche, McGee, and McGuire could give the team a long and rangy frontcourt capable of playing pressure D. And Crittenton would be the ideal pressure D point guard. Mike Miller has the length to make a nice trapping two guard and could be the veteran scorer that unit could use. But Nick Young also could fit in that role if Flip wanted to use Miller more as a classic 6th man.

Finding a way to really use these kids while jockeying to the top of the East is a job I think Flip will be up to.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 25, 2009 8:12 AM

I still think Nick needs to be buried on the bench until he becomes more well-rounded.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 25, 2009 8:35 AM

Going into his 5th NBA season, age ceases to be much of an excuse.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 24, 2009 1:41 PM

Precisely the logic that led Portland to give up on Jermaine O'Neal just before he finally began to live up to his potential--in his fifth year (and he didn't really blow up until his sixth).

Posted by: psdfx | August 25, 2009 8:51 AM

It will be Blatche.

I thought he played very well last year given the circumstances. He should get 20 mins a night at the 4 and 5 and if he's not in the 12-14 points a night and 8 rebs then I will be disappointed.

Sounds like he's coming in focused this year also.

McGee is solid, but I am not sure how he fits this year into Saunders plans. Especially if he's only going 8-9 players. Same with Dom.

Nick Young still doesn't get it, Crits won't get he playing time, and we're gonna have to see what Foye is gonna bring to the table.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | August 25, 2009 8:53 AM

Second Unit = Defense I think is the right formula for this team. Flip and Gil are going to set the table for this team to score enough to win 45-55 games. My question is come playoff time where's the late games stops going to come from?

There's some talent in slots 7-9 that you have to love, but where's the big D? I don't/can't see Dom keeping up with the big scorers in the East during the playoffs. Blatche doesn't bring it. McGee has the length and the size to really help. So, I'm pulling for this man to see consistent PT during the year and get his opportunity to break-out.

Well either the surprise comes on the defensive side or it won't really matter. If it doesn't come through, it's still a very nice season and a 2nd round exit. I won't complain.

Posted by: EWE1 | August 25, 2009 8:56 AM

Foye based on the obscurity of playing in Minnesota and McGuire; since all the contenders have a legit SF (LeBron, VC, Pierce, the other AI, Joe Johnson, I believe McGuire's defense and underrated rebounding at the 3 will prove to be a irreplacable asset for the wiz

Posted by: bernard_thompson | August 25, 2009 9:21 AM

NBA.com power ranking has Wiz ranked 9th (4th in the East).
http://www.nba.com/2009/news/powerrankings/08/17/offseason.rankings/index.html

Posted by: sagaliba | August 25, 2009 9:53 AM

I think several of the young guys will break out, mostly on the forehead, from eating all those fries. But Clearasil to the rescue.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 25, 2009 10:04 AM

The Bullets ... er, ah, Wizards will be deeper and more versatile than any team since the early days in Landover - even deep enough to survive a few non-catastrophic injuries. 50+ wins, guaranteed. Now, if they could only go back to that cool team name and the orange/white & black trim uniforms instead of the Wiz in blue. Yeah, that would be cool.

Posted by: shanks1 | August 25, 2009 10:06 AM

Man I wish they would completely re-do the uniforms. Bring back red,white and blue. Re-incorporate the stars and stripes. Kinda like how the Caps updated the old school look. I think those were some of the best NBA uniforms ever.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 25, 2009 10:10 AM

Can't expect guys that have spent maybe 80% of their free time on the playgrounds to come to the NBA and act like they're a "systems engineer" working for the Gov't. Eddie needed some help in relating to the younger generation of players.

GM,

Wanting to be the best comes from within. Is the player willing to listen to coaches and other players to learn what he needs to do to become better, is he willing to take the time to work on his weaknesses, and is he willing to work on his game (without being told too) by himself because deep down inside he wants to be the best player he can be.

Talent alone does not make you great, there are at least 10 players in the top 50 greatest NBA players of all time that weren’t born with the talent other players have wasted. The difference is they had heart and a burning desire to become the best.

That’s why I voted for JC, the guy has a video library of other point guards and he takes the time to study them in order to be a better point guard. I like DM but I don’t see him taking away minutes from CB and MM at the 3.

I hope JM’s mother has a big influence on his character and maybe he can step up and play some this year. I look at NY and AB as guys that can’t leave their past behind them and it will always be the thing that keeps them from taking the next step.

We all have seen players with that problem.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 25, 2009 10:14 AM

I vote for Foye but Javaris with his D should get PT as well. On thing for sure, the "Big 3" mentality should be kick out by now. This is a new and deeper team with a lot of talent and balance. I hope the "big 3" let some of the responsibility (shots) go to other players. By the way, Miller's 3 pt shooting will help this team a lot since they were near the bottom of the list in that category last season.

Posted by: Dave381 | August 25, 2009 10:14 AM

Oh, and I voted for AB.

Yes, he has been frustrating to watch at times. Part of the reason it has been frustrating is because he has shown flashes (sometimes, game-long flashes) of talent and potential. We never felt nearly as frustrated with OPech, who was drafted higher, because we didn't expect as much.

Look back at the 2005 draft class. Based on what AB has done already--and on his upside--I'd argue that there aren't even 12 guys from the 05 draft that the Wizards would rather have right now. There may not be 7. And EG picked him late in the 2nd, at 49.

While some would have us believe age isn't an excuse, I'd buy that if AB had been through four years of college and was now 26 or 27. At 23, the jury is still out on him, and I'd argue there is great reason for optimism and continued patience.

Posted by: psdfx | August 25, 2009 10:19 AM

I voted for McGee. If Arenas is healthy, I don't see any of the guards getting enough PT to breakout. Most likely they will all regress (in terms of stats). The backcourt is too crowded. So it basically comes down to Blatche or McGee. Blatche has shown flashes here and there, but I have a feeling McGee will show more improvement than what he did last year.

Posted by: al_kohaulic | August 25, 2009 10:23 AM

"Precisely the logic that led Portland to give up on Jermaine O'Neal just before he finally began to live up to his potential--in his fifth year (and he didn't really blow up until his sixth)."

As has been well-documented in the past, the Blazers didn't "give up" on O'Neal. I won't bother explaining again what happened because you clearly didn't pay any attention all of the other times it was explained, so there's no reason to thionk this one will be any different.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 25, 2009 10:48 AM

I know the backcourt is crowded, but I am happy about that. What happens if Foye goes down?

We still have several options - everything from Crit taking lead on the PG and GA moving to 2 or Miller being first string 2 and PG stays the same or Young starts at 2 and Miller comes in...and we still haven't played Stevenson or James.

What if Crit goes down? then Foye pulls a couple minutes at pg and opens up some pt at the 2.

If Gilbert goes down - not like a full injury, but gets sick or something...we have guys that can step up and fill in a couple games and everybody had plenty of rest. AJ and CB pick up a little extra offense, Miller chucks a couple extra and foye has a breakout game or two.

Now, if any of the 4's and 5's go down, we don't have that depth. But I guess that is what Mike James is on the roster for...someone will be desperate for 2 about the same time we get desperate for a 5.

Posted by: Blurred | August 25, 2009 10:53 AM

Now, if any of the 4's and 5's go down, we don't have that depth. But I guess that is what Mike James is on the roster for...someone will be desperate for 2 about the same time we get desperate for a 5.

I just can't see anybody getting desperate for Mike James.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 25, 2009 10:59 AM

Desperate for Mike James? No. Desperate for $6+ mil. in cap relief? Possibly. Desperate enough to trade a rotation quality big man who doesn't come with a ton of baggage? Not likely.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 25, 2009 11:02 AM

The Big 3 will not have to carry the team. They know they have other options on offense that they can trust when the game is not on the line. Others will have to prove that they can come thru when the game is on the line though. Until they prove that, Gil, Caron, and Antawn will be the main factors in the 4th.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 25, 2009 11:03 AM

"Precisely the logic that led Portland to give up on Jermaine O'Neal just before he finally began to live up to his potential--in his fifth year (and he didn't really blow up until his sixth)."

As has been well-documented in the past, the Blazers didn't "give up" on O'Neal. I won't bother explaining again what happened because you clearly didn't pay any attention all of the other times it was explained, so there's no reason to thionk this one will be any different.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 25, 2009 10:48 AM

Nice deflection, Kalo.

The real point is that Blatche is only 23, and some of us recognize that a 23 year old still has room to mature.

As for O'Neal, one can choose to believe whatever one would like about whether or not Portland gave up on him. I know the party line: O'Neal wasn't happy, demanded a trade, the Blazers were already good and got Dale Davis (I think) in return--blah blah blah, the fact of the matter is that if the Blazers knew what they had in O'Neal--or were a little more patient with a then 22/23 year old--they never make that deal.

Posted by: psdfx | August 25, 2009 11:20 AM

"The real point is that Blatche is only 23, and some of us recognize that a 23 year old still has room to mature."

If that was the "real point" what point was served by bringing up O'Neal, whose situation bore no resemblance to Blatche's. oh, wait. There was no point. My Bad.

"I know the party line: *BLAH BLAH BLAH*"

Nice try. Maybe next time around you might actually touch one of the bases.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 25, 2009 11:29 AM

Desperate for Mike James? No. Desperate for $6+ mil. in cap relief? Possibly. Desperate enough to trade a rotation quality big man who doesn't come with a ton of baggage? Not likely.

Agreed.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 25, 2009 11:30 AM

When I think of a "break out" year, I think of a year that jettisons a player from one level of play to another.

In Foye's case that next level would be All-Star status -- not producing starter level production. He's in a different category as far as his development goes.

If the question is: Who will contribute the most minutes this season?

The answer still is Foye. Odds are he'll be Arenas's primary back-up, and he'll probably get some minutes at the two guard with Arenas on the court. Blatche is probably a close second in terms of minutes/opportunity to shine.

Posted by: JPRS | August 25, 2009 12:30 PM

"The answer still is Foye. Odds are he'll be Arenas's primary back-up, and he'll probably get some minutes at the two guard with Arenas on the court. Blatche is probably a close second in terms of minutes/opportunity to shine. Posted by: JPRS"

Maybe he'll start, alongside Arenas, with somebody else coming off the bench.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 25, 2009 12:35 PM

"Hoops Hype" rating Wiz ninth best in East is way out of line with the NBA.com Power Ranking. NBA.com ranks them ninth overall of all thirty teams. They finished last season at 28 of 30. The eight teams presently ranked ahead of the Wiz all won 50+ last year. Personally, I'm optimistic enough to say that even NBA.com has under-rated the Wizards but I guess any team coming off a nineteen win season has to play a few games before they are annointed kings.

Posted by: phil27 | August 25, 2009 12:41 PM

Yeah, not really getting all the supposed value that Mike James contract holds. I think this roster is the one that is going to go through the entire season and the value of his contract coming off the cap is going to be used by us to resign our own free agents. Stop the nonsense!

As far as breakouts are concerned, we need that to come from a "big" as opposed to a guard from the team balance standpoint.

I think McGee will be slightly improved, but not enough to have a "breakout" year. He is still a year or two away.

The team has the most to gain if the breakout year belongs to Blatche. No new news there. It's just this year I think the coach will deal with him better and there is already anecdotal evidence this is already happening. Frankly, he only needs to be more consistent as he is already ahead of say McGee on the development curve. Blatche will get the opportunity to start the season of this I am sure. Let's hope he makes the most of it. If McGee jumps ahead of him on the development curve, Blatche's time in DC is over.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 25, 2009 1:03 PM

By the way, I think the NBA.com power ranking are pretty spot on as far as the Wiz are concerned.

If we get a breakout year from one of our players as we are discussing in here, we could possibly crack the top 4. Plus, there is always the possibility that one of the top 4 falters. What happens if LeBron misses 25 games? What happens if Boston's AARP club can't hold up? I saw signs last year that Pierce is on the downside of his career now and he is the youngest of their "big 3". Unfortunate things happen to teams as the Wiz very well know. Perhaps, this could be our year of good fortune with a seed higher than 4th. I think 4th is a virtual lock.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 25, 2009 1:11 PM

We need the 3 all-stars to step up not just by scoring but by making others better. We all know what they are capable of doing, and still not winning, so try making plays for the rest of the group and you take over when is necessary.

Posted by: Isah_Umar | August 25, 2009 1:15 PM

If "Hoops Hype" has Wash 9th in the East this year, then they are not a real reputable outfit. That's just pure stupidity. If they are basing it on last season, they need to pay attention to why that happened and what has happened this summer. Sounds like any of a myriad of clueless internet publications. Wannabe's.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 25, 2009 1:17 PM

I'm not sure if a 4th seed is a lock for them. I think it will be 4th - 7th for them. Atlanta, 76ers and even Toronto can give them a tough fight for the 4th seed.

Posted by: Dave381 | August 25, 2009 1:34 PM

Blatche is the guy, hands down. First, he's a back-up at the three, four and five, and if his head is screwed on straight, he'll easily take a few minutes from Oberto, JaVale and Dom. Like it or not, the Wizards are in "win now" mode and that doesn't bode well for McGee, who in the summer league at least, was still blowing defensive and rebounding resposibilities. The sky is the limit for McGee but he's extremely raw and is best utilized as an "energy" guy at this point.

Posted by: Firuz1 | August 25, 2009 1:41 PM

"Hoops Hype" ranking means very little at this point. The Wizzies need to move past the Cavs & Celts. Possible??
I don't think the addition of Shaq will be that much of a plus for the Cavs. Will be interesting to watch how he & Labron get along.
Also the Celts addition of Rasheed isn't a big deal either he has definitely lost some of his game.
Those teams face the same problem as the Wizzies and every other team. How will they play together as a TEAM?
Can Shaq play 2nd banana to Labron?
Can the Celts put up with Sheed's pouting?
Can the Wizzies "BIG 3" play well with others??
We'll know more come New Years day.

Posted by: VBFan | August 25, 2009 1:56 PM

I'm not sure if a 4th seed is a lock for them. I think it will be 4th - 7th for them. Atlanta, 76ers and even Toronto can give them a tough fight for the 4th seed.

Atlanta? Maybe. I just don't see them improving at all. Jamaal Crawford will shoot them in and OUT of some games. They just seem...the same but that's the team they will fight for #4. I would take the Wizards at 4 and Atlanta at 5.

Philly? Lou Williams is the starting PG now. The Kapono addition is huge. Brand can't stay healthy...I see them as a 7 or 8.

Toronto? They might be the most talented, soft team in history. They will probably have shootouts with the Wizards. However, Bargniani playing C? Not so much. At least Haywood can play defense. I see them in the 5-7 range. All the bottom teams are almost interchangeable to me. The Wizards just seem to have MORE talent.

Injuries and all not included.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 25, 2009 2:04 PM

The Bullets can go a lot deeper than an eight man rotation. According to this post, "New Coach Flip Saunders has said that he would be flexible with his eight-man rotation if more players prove worthy of more minutes". I sure hope he means it. If not, there could be cause for consternation from some the players riding the pine.

Posted by: jdwilliams | August 25, 2009 2:11 PM

Atlanta? - Horford will elevate his game another notch. Joe Smith keeps improving and Mike Bibby (I know he's old) but PG will not be their problem.

Philly? - Good coach (lol)...Dalembert, Brand and Iguodola frontline is very much underrated. I think Jrue Holiday will be the surprise of the draft.

Toronto? - a fan of Turkoglu....will make the team (and Bosh) better.

Don't get me wrong I'm a huge Wizards supporter but I just don't think there is a huge gap between them and the teams I mentioned.

Posted by: Dave381 | August 25, 2009 2:20 PM

I think Atlanta has a shot at being better with the acquisition of Smith (who'll make a nice complement to Horford). Whether they'll be good enough to hold off the Wiz remains to be seen. But they get the benefit of the doubt because they made the playoffs last season and Washington didn't.

Don't see good things happening in Toronto. Turkoglu is a nice player, but I fail to see how the Raptors were crying out for yet another jumpshooting "big" man who doesn't defend or rebound. Bosh better make sure his passport is up to date.

I can see Philly really making a move. Brand is a perfect fit for Jordan's offense and the acquisition of Kapono is a perfect complement. Losing Miller will hurt but it won't be a crippling loss. His lack of outside shooting would make him a lot less valuable in a slower, half-court offense than he was in the helter-skelter style they ran the last couple of years.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 25, 2009 3:07 PM

I like the IDEA of Nick Young as a Rip-Hamilton-type scorer who runs defenses ragged by making them fight through screens. In a roundabout way that at least contributes to team D (if only by fatiguing the opposition). It'd be nice, of course, if he actually committed to playing REAL D, but I'll believe it when I see it.

It's hard to know what to make of the few summer league games he played, but if he really can buckle down and commit to the role the new coaching staff seems to have in mind for him, I think he could be a huge asset to that second unit and have a break-out year. Obviously the backcourt is crowded so he'll have to impress early, but I think he's got a wicked combo of talent and athleticism, so I went with the longshot on NY.

Posted by: Plix | August 25, 2009 3:16 PM

"Bring back red,white and blue. Re-incorporate the stars and stripes. Kinda like how the Caps updated the old school look. I think those were some of the best NBA uniforms ever."

Agreed!

Prediction: The Wiz won't win a championship until they change the name back to the Bullets and bring back the red, white and blue uniforms.

*you heard it here first*

Posted by: wiz_fan | August 25, 2009 3:43 PM

"The answer still is Foye. Odds are he'll be Arenas's primary back-up, and he'll probably get some minutes at the two guard with Arenas on the court. Blatche is probably a close second in terms of minutes/opportunity to shine. Posted by: JPRS"

Maybe he'll start, alongside Arenas, with somebody else coming off the bench.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 25, 2009 12:35 PM

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

That could happen too. Although it would probably require Crittenton to take a big leap in his development.

Posted by: JPRS | August 25, 2009 4:08 PM

Maybe Abe could swing a deal to get the NRA to buy the naming rights to the Arena. They could bring back the Bullets name and call the place the "Shooting Gallery".

I really don't see Brand as the perfect fit for Eddie's offense. Eddie wants his lowpost guys scoring on quick cuts off of backscreens. Brand wants to battle for position and score down low. But the Princeton has no lowpost position, people modify it to run one, but Eddie only had about two lowpost plays he'd call. And he didn't run a lowpost in NJ either.

Brand is a good passer,and has better hands then the Wizards' centers, so Eddie's going to pull him out to the top of the key and use him in the wheel position.
Eddie will flash him to the basket from the post to the lowpost for quick catch and shoots down low.

Philly will not have a smooth transition to Eddie's offense, Brand won't be the only guy that will be slow to adapt if Eddie insists on using the Princeton. Look for Dalembert to get buried and Brand to end up playing a lot of center. I'll be surprised if it's a smooth transition in Philly.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 25, 2009 4:26 PM

The reason Jordan never called low post scoring plays with the Wizards or Nets was because he didn't have a big man who could execute them. Now he does, one of the best in the league at it. The Sixers failed last season trying to get Brand to play the kind of uptempo system they already had in place. I think it's safe to assume that one of the first questions Stefanski asked Jordan in the interview was how he'd maximize Brand's ability.

And while Brand is a great low post scorer, he's not just a banger. He has very nice touch on his jump shot and really developed the mid-range jumper as a weapon when he was in L.A. Brand's ability to score both down low and facing the basket out to mid-range, along with his passing, make him just the kind of big the Princeton style offense needs.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 25, 2009 4:41 PM

I chose McGuire purely attributed to work ethic. NY and Blatche have none. Jury is still out for McGee and Crittendon. As for Foye, he's on a new team, with a new system, and new coach - anything can happen up and down.

Posted by: ThatGuy2 | August 25, 2009 5:09 PM

I can appreciate anyone of the indicated having a breakout year.

However, for the Wizards to have the type of season I expect they should have (ie top three in the east) they all will have to have a breakout year one way or another.

The NBA power rankings have the Wizards overall as nine in the League and the fourth best in the East. That I think is astounding for a 19 win Team from a year ago.

It speaks volumes for our returning Team and additions. It also indicates that collectively, that the entire Team will be breaking out sotospeak.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 25, 2009 6:56 PM

Unwittingly, Mike has it right. A breakout season its gonna be.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 25, 2009 8:34 PM

OK, I'll go slow here for you Kalo... You make vague references to where *I* missed the point, but you haven't followed my reasoning yet.

You say their situations were different. No kidding.

That said, Blatche's situation is EXACTLY like O'Neal's in one relevant way... which, upon further review, is why I brought O'Neal up.

Blatche has just finished his fourth year, after jumping straight from high school. O'Neal's first four years (after jumping straight from high school) were ... let's just say less than stellar.

Portland had no clue what they had on their hands, didn't see the wisdom in giving more PT to O'Neal as he matured, and in fact continued to acquire bigs, which aliented Jermaine.

But bottom line, the situation and reasons are unimportant. The fact is (for whatever reason) that O'Neal did NOT flourish until year 5 in the NBA, and did not begin the ascent to stardom until year 6.

I thought I spelled out my obvious point: despite the fact that AB has been frustrating, we need patience with him still. I completely disagree with your implication that AB's age should no longer be taken into account when evaluating where he is in his career.

Again, if he were 25 or 26, I'd see your point, but not at a young 23.

Posted by: psdfx | August 25, 2009 9:01 PM

You're not too bright, are you?

You can can slap the skippy about O'Neal all you want, but it doesn't change the basic fact: Andray Blatche is not Jermaine O'Neal. You're all hot and bothered over the supposed parallels. Guess what? There aren't any.

I could list a bunch highly touted guys who turned out to be utter disappointments or complete busts after their 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th years. I could list a bunch more who were traded after four years (or before) and never caused the teams that traded them to have one moment of regret or a single second thought because they never amounted to anything. Blatche could be any of those guys. Or he could be none of them. It's all a crap shoot.

You hold up Jermaine O'Neal as some kind of exemplar. He's not. He's one example of what could happen. But there's not a damned thing that says he's an example of what will happen. So the idea that he should be held up as some kind of dire cautionary tale is paranoid delusion.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 25, 2009 9:28 PM

What!

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 25, 2009 9:49 PM

Blatche could be any of those guys. Or he could be none of them. It's all a crap shoot....

But there's not a damned thing that says he's an example of what will happen.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 25, 2009 9:28 PM

That is simultaneously:

(a) Profound
(b) Insightful
(b) Thought-provoking

NObody has ever made those sorts of observations before, so I suppose I'm not quite as bright as you.

Posted by: psdfx | August 25, 2009 9:51 PM

Portland had no clue what they had on their hands, didn't see the wisdom in giving more PT to O'Neal as he matured, and in fact continued to acquire bigs, which aliented Jermaine.

At the time Portland was trying to win a championship and O'Neal wasn't good enough to take minutes from Sabonis or Rasheed Wallace. He didn't really have any PF skills and he wasn't strong enough to play C effectively for many minutes. Some people would fault the player for complaining about PT after the team made the Western Conference Finals, but I think the trade was good for both teams.

Posted by: djnnnou | August 25, 2009 10:00 PM

(a) Profound
(b) Insightful
(b) Thought-provoking

and probably most certainly

(c) confiscuous

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 25, 2009 10:13 PM

True, DJ, you are right. I agree that his complaining about PT was a sign of immaturity (see again, youth). And certainly winning a championship takes precedence over developing young talent, so again I agree.

None of that, however, negates the point that they gave up on him too quickly. Once he DID get playing time (in Indiana, sadly for the Blazers) he quickly developed into more of an asset than either Sabonis at that point (who could have been all-world if his body would have cooperated) or Wallace.

Posted by: psdfx | August 25, 2009 10:26 PM

The a-b-b thing was intentional... ;)

Posted by: psdfx | August 25, 2009 10:28 PM

I figured that. I got you. My c comment was for that other guy.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 25, 2009 11:30 PM

I fully believe that JM will be the difference this year. The exprience playing on the USA team will change the mindset of basketball period. He has the package of a 4/5, the atheleticism, and the length that any team needs to be succesfull in tne NBA.

Posted by: fromeka1 | August 26, 2009 8:03 AM

Atlanta? - Horford will elevate his game another notch. Joe Smith keeps improving and Mike Bibby (I know he's old) but PG will not be their problem.

Philly? - Good coach (lol)...Dalembert, Brand and Iguodola frontline is very much underrated. I think Jrue Holiday will be the surprise of the draft.

Toronto? - a fan of Turkoglu....will make the team (and Bosh) better.

Don't get me wrong I'm a huge Wizards supporter but I just don't think there is a huge gap between them and the teams I mentioned.

Posted by: Dave381 | August 25, 2009 2:20 PM
_____

I guess it's the proverbial we'll have to see.
However, there is nothing here that gets me excited about this supposed competition.

Philly is overrated, lost their PG, and now has a first year head coach who has never overly impressed me. Plus, perhaps, Brand's lack of production in Philly is bc a) not a good fit with the team b) not the same player since his injuries. Regardless, they are nowhere near as deep as us either. I see them as a 6/7 seed and about as good as Chicago at best.

Toronto is a consistent underachiever. As mentioned, they are extremely soft (softer than us). Turkoglu is a nice addition, but I just don't see them as more talented than our team operating on all cylinders. Not at all.

Atlanta might be the biggest competition from this group. But, don't know what to say about the Joe Smith keeps improving comment. What?? He's been the same player for a long time. And, yes, Bibby is getting up there. I think we are deeper and more talented than them when whole.

Overall, I think we are more talented and deeper than all three of these teams. And, I think we have by far the best head coach. Injuries not included we are no worse than the 4th seed.

By the way Kal, I don't put much credence in the Atlanta getting the benefit of the doubt for making the playoffs last year comment. So what? We are talking about this season. I don't see Atlanta as further ahead in the development of their team as contenders than us in the least. Did they make the playoffs the 3 previous seasons?

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 26, 2009 8:35 AM

The Wizards are right there. They could easily be this years Orlando.

If they truly get mentally to the point that Teams can't stop them and KNOW that they have an answer for Defense with their Offense, they could finagle the East.

It could happen. There are some strong posters here that do not see it. Kalo, 88er', BF78, and some others based upon conventional wisdom would say I am delusional.

They would like to point out all the negatives on why it cannot be done.

I would like to point out the positives on why it can be done.

Being rated 4th in the East going in means anything can happen.

Having three Allstars and one being argubly one the best players in the League with something to prove is huge.

A coach that clearly wants to and has a gameplan to win it all.

An Owner that clearly has one goal to win another championship before Father Time comes calling.

What do you think? I think it is possible?

Whereas as I am sure Gilbert might say, the impossible might never be possible, if you never believed it to be so.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 26, 2009 10:34 AM

Larry,

I don't think you're delusional. I respect the fact that you see the glass half full and want to point out the positives on why it can be done.

I just think there are too many factors (new coach, players coming off injuries, depending on players AB, JM who haven't proven they can play in the NBA yet, team chemistry, and the willingness to play "D") for this team to win a championship.

Is the team going to be better than the 19 wins last year? YES! Should they make the playoffs? YES! Can they beat the Lakers if both teams are healthy? NO!

After being disappointed by this team for 30 years you start to look at things differently. If it were the NFL (where any team has a chance to win a Super Bowl) I may be persuaded by your enthusiasm, but this is the NBA. In the NFL playoff system any team can win one game but over a seven game series usually the better team wins and I don’t see the Wizards being the best team.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 26, 2009 11:14 AM

rphil: "Philly is overrated, lost their PG, and now has a first year head coach who has never overly impressed me. Plus, perhaps, Brand's lack of production in Philly is bc a) not a good fit with the team b) not the same player since his injuries."

Now see, I think Brand, if he's healthy, will be better.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 26, 2009 11:39 AM

...no room for knuckle-heads on this year's squad. NY & AB's me first attitudes, the can't-feel-my-face taliban-bearded version of DSteve, and that stupid post-dunk salute thing McGee now does all need to go. Oh, and Gilbertology needs to no longer be an acceptable major--drop it from the Wizard's curriculum.

There's nothing wrong with having a little swagger in your game. In fact almost all NBA teams do. Look at Lebron James and how he does the stupid routine when he claps his hands with baby powder or when Kobe was trying to emulate Jordan after a shot but he actually tripped (that was funny). Anyways all of those things you just pointed out all brings positive energy and momentum to the team and more importantly gives these players more confidence. So i say look out East cause the Habatchi grill is going to be cooking and be prepared to salute us this season

Posted by: wizkid12 | August 26, 2009 4:32 PM

Samson,

I believe Brand had an achilles heel rupture. Have a couple of friends that had that happen that were gym players and they said they were absolutely never the same. Now, obviously, they are not world class athletes like a Brand, but I don't think it's out of the realm of possibilities with an injury that severe.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 26, 2009 6:52 PM

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