NBA / Oct 3, 2008 / 4:35 pm

Highs and Lows: Washington Wizards

Caron ButlerCaron Butler, Dime #36

NBA training camps are underway. While we wait for the games to start, we’re going team-by-team, from 1 to 30, exploring what each team’s ceiling is for the upcoming season and where their basement is. In other words, what are the realistic best-case and worst-case scenarios for each squad?

Additions: C JaVale McGee, SG Juan Dixon, PG Dee Brown, SF Linton Johnson, SG DerMarr Johnson.

Losses: SG Roger Mason Jr.

Ceiling: Conference semifinals
I’m sure somewhere out there exists a Wizards season preview that doesn’t include the phrase “If they stay healthy.” But this isn’t it. Talent-wise, everyone knows Washington has the goods to be a serious contender in the East — or at least a tough playoff out for the real serious contenders. But that is, of course, If They Stay Healthy. And while Caron Butler did miss the ’07 postseason with a broken thumb, and Antawn Jamison has been nicked up here and there, “they” more specifically means “Gilbert Arenas.” With a new six-year, $111 million contract in hand, Arenas will miss at least the first month of the season following yet another knee surgery. Butler and Jamison have shown they can carry the team to a decent record without Arenas, so if Agent Zero can just stay intact upon his return — whenever that is — the Wizards go from a playoff team to a truly dangerous playoff team. Butler is arguably the second-best small forward in the League, Jamison is a 20-and-10 threat every night, DeShawn Stevenson is actually good for them when you don’t focus on his blatant attempts at getting attention, and the Wizards added some depth in the middle with first-round draft pick McGee and the returning Etan Thomas, who missed all of last year with a heart condition. The second round of the playoffs, which Washington hasn’t seen since ’05, is a realistic goal. But that’s only if … Well, you already know.

Basement: Another first-round exit
Let’s assume everyone is healthy and ready to go come playoff time. Even then, if you put the Wizards up against the top four teams in the East — Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, Orlando — would they prevail in a seven-game series where they don’t have home court advantage? Arenas, Butler and Jamison are good for 60 points a night between them, and defensively the Wizards are better than they get credit for (middle-of-the-pack compared to the rest of the NBA), but after the Big Three, this squad isn’t very deep. Even with the additions of McGee and Thomas, their center situation is one of the worst in the East considering Brendan Haywood is the headliner. A lot depends on the continued development of youngsters Nick Young, Dominic McGuire, Andray Blatche, Oleksiy Pecherov and McGee, and they’re just not ready yet (or mature enough) to be the kind of supporting cast you need for a contending team.

’08-09 NBA preview archives
10/2 — Utah Jazz
10/1 — Charlotte Bobcats
9/30 — Memphis Grizzlies
9/26 — Toronto Raptors
9/25 — New Orleans Hornets
9/24 — Atlanta Hawks
9/23 — Sacramento Kings
9/22 — Miami Heat
9/19 — Portland Trail Blazers
9/18 — New Jersey Nets
9/17 — Minnesota Timberwolves
9/16 — Cleveland Cavaliers
9/15 — Phoenix Suns
9/12 — Milwaukee Bucks
9/11 — L.A. Clippers
9/10 — Orlando Magic

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  • Leech

    The Wiz are perennially plagued by injuries and lack of defensive intensity. Even if everyone is healthy and secure a high seeding for the playoffs, I just can’t see them getting enough stops to get by Boston or Cleveland or any of other legitimate contender from the East.

  • Three Stacks

    How about adding some fantasy basketball advice when you review these teams? Like potential sleepers or something.

  • kermit the washington

    man, they could’ve seen Cleveland in each of the past 3 years….if they stayed healthy.

  • jeremy

    good preview…unlike someone at espn who predicted 33 wins for the wiz kids.

  • Tha Boddy

    The Washington Wizards are a very dangerous team when healthy and they cause a major matchup problem for Boston…The Wizards have the best chance of a champion ship run if they can meet Boston in the first round.Boston has good defense but does Paul Pierce and KG really wanna chase Butler and Jamison around all day…then there is the whole Agent Zero vs Rondo…Utter destruction for Rondo at the hands of Gilbert”Agent Zero DMV Hero” Arenas…Who else knows thats some real talk

  • Marcello

    Caron Butler 2nd best SF in the league. Now that’s comedy. Pierce, Marion, hell tayshaun as the fourth option is comparable with Caron(just doesn’t get to score as much). Put Tay on that squad, in that role.

  • craig990

    Nice read.. but lolll.. I doubt anyone can argue that Caron is the 2nd best S.F in the L

    I can guess a 3 guys, who if were on the Wiz instead of Caron, playing his position.. would make the team better.

    Carmelo Anthony
    Ron Artest
    Paul Pierce

    Caron Butler is around being the 4th or 5th best S.F in the L, not 2nd best!

  • George W Kush Sr

    He’s a premier SF, because there’s a lot of great SFs in the L, top ten for sure.
    It really just ends at them being healthy, because when they’re firing at all cylinders, they are as dangerous as any team in the NBA, for real. Offensively they can FUCK SHIT UP, but, they, ofcourse, have to be healthy, once again.

  • craig990

    Im not a Laker fan

    but can you imagine how terribly good they would have been if they didnt trade away Caron Butler…

    yea.. they would not have had Gason because they wouldnt have had Kwame Brown to deal away

    but Kobe, Caron, Odom, and Bynum would have been dangerous. A good mix of athleticism, scoring and defense.

  • Ian

    melo and artest are not better than butler

    u mentioned melo whos the number one option and all he does is shoot would do better than butler who does all that being prob the 3rd option on his team pleaseee. how can melo make a team better pleasee tell me that how???

    marion no prince hell no not even debatable

    pierce is the only one u guys mentioned that can fight for that number 2 with butler

  • Big Shot BOB

    Yeah I’d definitely would put Caron right behind Lebron and PP. He’s a perennial allstar now. If were talking about before last seasons championship then he would be #2 behind Lebron because PP was over shadowed by his team being a celler dweller.

  • Ian

    big shot
    exactly i had butler at 2 before a finals mvp award that sent caron to 3.

  • craig990


    How is this even disagreeable?

    A line up of a healthy Arenas, Carmelo, and Jamison can challenge the Celtics for the top spot in the East.

    A line up of a healthy Arenas, Butler, and Jamison can’t even get past Lebron!.. If they do this year, they wont make it past the 2nd round!

    Carmelo is that much better offensively. Sure Caron is a good defender and Carmelo doesnt play much or any D.

    But i guarantee you Eddie Jordan if given the chance would trade Butler for Carmelo any day of the week.

  • craig990

    Now, Ron Artest… hmmm I would say they are even offensively!

    But Ron is a much better, more physical, more capable defender than Caron, so he would get the nod there.

    Despite the fact that Ron is crazy and he isnt good in the locker room. thats does not matter! Talent, wise, Ron gets a slight nod over Caron.

    And Paul Pierce shouldnt even be an argument!

  • Ian

    u must be outta your mind
    with your melo post
    that arenas melo and jamison would challenge the celts and mention that the wizards with butler cant get out of the first round
    lol how many times has melo been to the second round with a good team????? let me answer that for u 0
    yeah a team with camby that has been to the finals iverson who has been to the finals martin who has been to he finals and melo the loser cant get outta the first round guess why???? MELO
    so please dont assume this isnt debateable when melo hasnt seen the second round.

  • Ian

    and no dont guarantee about jordan cuz i saw a poll that ranked butler as the third best sf in the league voted by players and coaches (a season ago cnnsi.com).

  • craig990


    I said that a team of Arenas, Melo, and Jamison can challenge the Celts for the east!

    What does carmelo not having come out the 1st round in the west have to do with that!?

    Yea Camby has been to the finals, yeah Iverson and Martin has to. But… Martin is old and isnt the Same martin we saw with J-Kidd. Camby is old and isnt the same Camby he was years back. and Iverson is well Iverson loll.. he doesnt slow down.

    but tht is the West.. and all those teams that kicked melo out the 1st round where pretty good in teams.

    But.. answer this.. What can Caron do that Carmelo can’t do, or learn to do?
    Play defense?… which melo showed he can do while on the Olympic team.. idk why he doesnt in Denver.

    What can Melo do that Caron cant?
    Single handedly take over a game. His offensive repertoire is one of a kind. he has great range, great post-up game, good at attacking the basket, finishing strong or laying up. He can hit the mid J, and has countless array of moves to get his shot off.

    You can argue that Caron had a better season than Melo.. but!!!

    At any given night.. Melo can be the best player in the League.. he just doesnt get it yet!

    Caron doesnt have that much upside! at most he’s an All-Star.

    Now who would you take?.. A guy that can be great at any moment? or a perennial All-Star?

  • craig990

    I think the answer is pretty simple…

    dont you think so Dime?

  • craig990

    i think can go out on a sturdy limb and say “Melo has the best overall offensive game in the league” without being killed!.. yes i mean.. even better than Kobe’s overall offensive game.

    Melo just needs to learn to play defense, play motivated, disciplined and be a leader.

    if Carmelo had, Kobe’s, Jordan, or even K.G’s mind set, motivation, leadership and discipline to the game. He would be unstoppable!

    And i dont think anyone can argue that!

    but unfortunately Melo doesn’t and he’s immature, and doesn’t yet understand how incredible he can become.

    he could have been better than Lebron sooooo many years ago. Lebron has, speed, strength,finishing, leadership and passing. Melo’s got Lebron on everything else.

  • Ian

    lol just had to read half the first post to realize u a nuggets or a melo fan u sir are crazy

    martin is old ?? he wasnt when he went to the nuggets
    camby is old?? still puts up the sames numbers

    the point u didnt get is that the nuggets are a team full of accomplished players yet their best player according to u cant lead past the first round and u talking about melo playing d he wont learn

    u dont know much about what makes a team u think there are enough balls for arenas and melo to get their shots

    your posts are filled with what ifs and potential not facts

    u think that a team with a lot of number one options can win??? so i guess if i had kobe melo arenas in the same team id win 82 wins according to u. no man u wrong

    say that u think melo is better i have no prob with that id rather have caron but dont base your arguments on talent what ifs and imagination. isnt darius miles more athletic than duncan?

    u say caron at most is an allstar??? melo is no superstar my man he just shoots alot doesnt rebound and gets abused by everyone. give me the team player that does everything u keep your shooter

  • Ian

    “Melo just needs to learn to play defense, play motivated, disciplined and be a leader” thats a lot of things he has to do

    “he could have been better than Lebron sooooo many years ago. Lebron has, speed, strength,finishing, leadership and passing. Melo’s got Lebron on everything else”
    lol whats everything else??? shooting more?? NO defense?? loser?? tell me pleaseeee whats everything else.

  • Ian

    wait a minute were u the guy that when he posted the top 15 in the nba had carmelo over duncan on your list?????
    if that was u ignore all my posts and forget everything i said. because IF that was u must be outta your mind.

  • Bron42 AkA Your Moms Best Friend

    Actually, outside of passing, melo is more legit than lebron. That bein said I gotta go wit Ian on this one. Melo on the wizards would suck. Hes too much of a volume shooter at this point and doesn’t really bring much else to the table. Caron can get buckets when he needs too (look what happen when zero went down) AND he still can get you defense and boards. Melo has POTENTIAL to be a all time great but at this point hes pretty much a jacker. I’d possibly take marion over caron, but sayin melo on the wizards would really make a difference? not so much, they wiz don’t need just another scorer. Cuz without caron, they’d be the nuggets since hes the only big of real toughness they have. Your basin your whole argument on shoulda coulda woulda and melos potential and not what hes done yet. Hes a great scorer but come on…theres more to ballin than that. caron fills stats

  • dagwaller

    HAHAHAHA. Bron, dude, please tell me you didn’t come out of retirement to say that Melo is better than LeBron – that’s some weak shite for sure. Passing, yes…and rebounding, and scoring, and defense, and any other measurable statistic. You even said two sentences in that he doesn’t bring anything to the table other than volume scoring. All time great? Pshhhhh.

    Only two SFs in the league better out and out than Caron – LeBron and PP. After that? Artest if he wasn’t crazy and if he would work within an offense (not likely on either count). Marion? Really? 5 seasons of jacked up stats has really affected some people on this site, apparently. IF he even plays the 3 (hasn’t for years, PF under Amare and over Beasley). Prince? Really? As a complementary player, he’s great, don’t get me wrong, but as part of a “big 3″? See Richard Jefferson.

  • Luigi

    blahh i love CB3. but like 2nd best?.

    i got only pierce n melo n matrix

    Caron Butler is a top 5 SF in the NBA

    Gilbert Arenas was the best guard in the NBA [arguably] at one point but hes gonna have to regain that swagger to get it backkk…or its the only way we make the playoffs let alone win a damn series

  • http://www.geocities.com/dimemag Dagomar

    Melo is only worse than Bron at scoring, passing, rebounding, defending, leading, athleticism, stealing, blocking, and clutch play. But he’s a slightly better shooter, so he must be a better SF, right?

    I have Butler at #3 in the league at SF. Statistically he has more of an impact on team wins than any SF other than Bron. He doesn’t shoot his way to many 30 or 40 point games, but he defends with passion and has a great all-around game. If you think he’s shit don’t lie: you just haven’t watched him play.

    And Arenas was never touching “best guard in the league” status. Defense is kind of important, and so is shot selection.

    I would be shocked if the Wiz make it out of the first round this year, even if they’re all healthy. The East has improved, but the Wiz keep bringing back the same flawed roster year after year.

  • dagwaller

    Dagomar, I’m a Wiz fan, so this is going to be slightly biased.

    That having been said, they were the best team in the League against the Celtics last year (they went like 3-1 or something). “When they were healthy”, the team was the best in the East a few years ago. Keep in mind also that they bring back the same guys, but the same guys have never been on the court at the same time, so why not give them another shot?

  • Ian

    bron thanks
    craig was talking ass about melo and only used what ifs.”
    “Lebron has, speed, strength,finishing, leadership and passing. Melo’s got Lebron on everything else”
    that was my fav part i really dont know whats left

    dagwaller yup thats true on those 2 even though id take caron over pierce for my team. bron didnt say melo was better he just kinda mentioned he had the potential.

  • craig990

    u think that a team with a lot of number one options can win??? so i guess if i had kobe melo arenas in the same team id win 82 wins according to u. no man u wrong

    say that u think melo is better i have no prob with that id rather have caron but dont base your arguments on talent what ifs and imagination. isnt darius miles more athletic than duncan?

    u say caron at most is an allstar??? melo is no superstar my man he just shoots alot doesnt rebound and gets abused by everyone. give me the team player that does everything u keep your shooter

    I never said a team filled with #1 options can win!

    im simply saying that Melo is better than Caron.
    ..loll we’ve even lost track of this argument!.. im being mis read … I never said Melo was better than Lebron.. i said he could have been.. and yes.. Melo is more legit than Lebron.. offensively!.. thats wat ive been saying all along! fuck blocking and rebounding. My argument was that Melo is a better offensive player!

    I guess we can agree to disagree.. You Prefer Caron, I’d Take Melo!

    And noooooooo I never placed Melo over Duncan on my top-15.. in fact i’ve never placed a top-15 on here. so it was not me.

  • craig990

    btw…… some ass said Lebron is clutch???

    really? i can remember alot of games where Lebron missed critical free throws to either win, or give his team a chance to win.

    I kno ppl suck Lebrons ass but…… he is not clutch… I mean unless he runs over your team in the finals seconds and dunks or lay-ups!

    oh and im not a Nugget Fan!.. although Melo is one of my fav players!

    Houston rockets.. champs in 09!
    the Hornets actually had Peja(always injured), and David West healthy for most of the season and for a deep playoff run!

    Who’s to say t-Mac and the rockets can’t do it too?

  • Marcello

    Let me break something down for the uneducated. Shawn matrix Marion is a double double machine at either forward spots. checks the other teams best player (usually regardless of their pos.)and shoots a great %. Steals, Blocks… see a pattern. Outside of his penchant for wanting to be the number 1, 2 option I would take him over everyone besides Bron and Paul.

  • Ian

    well marcello
    its not for the uneducated is just your opinion ud take marion as number 3 fine who cares but dont bring that bs here. marion disappearssssss in the playoffs and what happened to this numbers when he was traded and was the number one guy on his team they all dipped.
    uneducated is using only stats to say one player is better than the other.
    marion checks the other teams best player cuz he was in phoenix were nooneeeee can play any D. i still remember the 05 playoffs spurs vs suns were everyone said the same shit marion guarded parker and got destroyed then he guarded duncan and again got destoyed just because u can stand in front of everyone you are good at it. again its like i told craig this is an opinion thing but dont say someone is uneducated because we dont agree with marion whos very overrated imo.

    sorry about the top 15 but the way u defended melo sounded a lot like that guy that said melo was better than duncan, again sorry

  • Marcello

    can just stand in front of everyone? Is that really your take on marion D ? Top 5-10 in rebounds and blocks every year. steals anyone? My point is you don’t porduce stats like that year in and year out with out being a defensive stalwart. Honestly, who is the better defender? Marion. Who’s better offensively? tie. Both bring their own game…Let’s see Caron keep it up

  • craig990


    The is a difference!

    Marion does it while feeding from Nash. Nash and Amare get most of the attention so Marion gets his stats quietly in the background.

    I would say he is better defensively but CARON gets his numbers on his own. he isnt being baby fed by alley’s, open 3’s and other open shots by Nash. Caron does it all on his own.. cuz Gilbert aint settin him up.

    Plus it isnt painful to watch Caron shoot!

    I argued and made good cases about Melo and Ron being ahead of Caron… but Marion is just silly.

  • craig990

    Marion is a STAT filler when not required to handle the ball to create his own shot or shots for others.

  • Marcello

    What’s a stat filler? If you produce constantly. Marion was doing what he has been doing since starbury (if we still call him that. Marbury baby fed marion? First I’v heard of him doing that in his career.

  • Marcello

    Oh, and to answer Craig. you made good cases about ron and melo. marion is just silly. Really, Melo can score period. nothing else. ron hasn’t been relevant in years. marion has been doing it no matter the guard distributing (for years). silly is relative….like your comments.

  • Bron42 AkA Your Moms Best Friend

    Dag I was never retired, i just got TIRED of dumbasses talkin on here about stuff they know. And OFFENSIVLY, outside of passing melo is better than lebron. No confusion there. Melo is a wayyyyyy better overall scorer than lebron. lebrons just a more complete player. And where did marion get jacked up stats? and dont even gimme the “nash made him better” argument when his starts were almost identical since when marbury was there and his rookie season.

    you cant really hate on marion in miami since wade was hurt, shaq left. Marion will never be a number 1 option guy but to take away him doin his thing on the suns is crazy. everyone and their mother considers him a top 10 defender and he can guard every position. Disappears in the playoffs? alot of people do because good coaches can find ways to do that. Look at the way great godly nash disappears. Marions stats speak for themselves but hes not #1 option

  • craig990

    so my comments are relative… im ok with that!

    well he has been with Steve Nash for years so I assume he would be putting up those numbers for years

  • Marcello

    check out his stats since he’s been in the league. I’ll wait. Now check out Caron’s. It’s not even close. C’mon man quit hatin. Caron is good. not marion though

  • Ian

    i rather have marion than carmelo but not over butler
    like i said marion disappears and to me he is a bit of a stat buffer
    like u said marion has been doing it longer but he hit his ceiling caron can only get better and he cant be worse during the playoffs

    nash disappearss in the playoffs god man thats wrong go check out his stats and compare them to regular season stats didnt he have a series vs the mavs in 06 where that sucker avged almost a triple double nash is awesome overrated but still awesome and doesnt disappear

    and stop mentioning melo and bron together man

  • Bron42 AkA Your Moms Best Friend

    its the mavs, they play less D than the suns lol. And y not mention bron and melo, their friends, same position, same draft, neither won shit etc…and i was afreein wit u yet you still argue, this is why i had to pull a barry sanders rtirement lol

  • Ian

    bron i didnt argue i just pointed out the nash thing