NBA / Nov 19, 2009 / 12:37 pm

No More Excuses For The Washington Wizards

Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas

In this young NBA season, no team has been a bigger disappointment than the Washington Wizards. With Gilbert Arenas being healthy again and having arguably one of the deepest rosters in the league, there were high expectations for the team coming into the season. Right now, the Wizards’ record stands at 3-7 – fourth in the Southeast Division. Prior to last night’s big win against the Cavs, Washington had lost six in a row and four of those games were by double digits. That dramatic opening night road victory in Dallas seems like a distant memory.

Luck hasn’t been on their side so far. Just like in years past, the injury bug has hit the Wizards as several key players including Antawn Jamison have already missed significant time this season. The players who have been on the court have not produced like they should have. Gilbert Arenas is putting up good stats 22.9 points and a career high 6.5 assists (his 10 apg in ’08-09 don’t count because he played in just 2 games), but has admitted he has struggled getting comfortable in the new offense and says he finds himself thinking too much on the court.

“I find myself doing more thinking than I am just reacting, off my instincts. Players in this league, they react,” Arenas told the Washington Post. “I was a reactor. Now I find myself being a thinker. I’m sitting there concentrating on getting assists — averaging eight assists, averaging nine assists — because I want to be labeled a ‘point guard.’ You see the players out there, Chris Paul averaging 20 [points] and 10 [assists], and you know they consider him the best point guard. So you put that in your mind, like, ‘Man, in this system I can average 20 and 10. Let me go average 20 and 10.’ And then I catch myself trying to force it.”

Caron Butler has struggled a little bit in the new offense as well. His shooting percentages are down, his steals are down and his assists are way down. He averaged over 4 assists per game the past two seasons, but is averaging just 0.9 dimes in ’09-10. Besides injuries and problems scoring the ball, the Wizards have all looked hesitant out there. The ball movement has been bad and there was too much standing around watching Gilbert or Caron do their thing. Nobody else looked like they wanted to shoot the ball.

Antawn Jamison is back in the lineup after missing most of the preseason and the first eight regular season games and looked good in his debut last night against Cleveland, scoring 31 points and 10 rebounds. Now that the big three of Arenas, Jamison and Butler are in full force, the Wizards have no more excuses. I understand, the team still has to adjust to Flip Saunders’ system and all the new faces on the roster like Mike Miller, Randy Foye and Earl Boykins. Even Arenas, who basically missed two seasons, is still trying to find his chemistry with the team again.

Bottom line is Washington has enough talent on that roster to finish in the top five of the East. The ball movement looked a lot better last night and maybe this win can get their confidence up. If the team can get comfortable in the offense in the next 10 games and the team escapes any more injuries, than this team has no excuses why they shouldn’t be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. But even with injuries, it shouldn’t be an excuse. Last year, Orlando and L.A. made the Finals with some of their key guys hurt, so why can’t Washington do that?

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  • boombastic

    shaq and andy were both hurt and it was still a close game till the fourth…. wouldnt put too much on this game

  • Rizwan

    Thanks Gerald for pointing out that his 10apg didnt count(!) I never would have guessed that.

    And the Wiz cant make the finals because they suck! This is coming from a massive Arenas fan as well, who was expecting big things form his season. So far he has been a slight letdown. I expected his average to be more around 25ppg but the assists are about right.

  • sh!tfaced

    Shaq wasn’t hurt. The Cavs had to take some precautions because the “triangle offense” is heating up between Hibachi, his fiance and The Cleveland Steamer.

  • Shaw32

    I hate Cav fans cuz ther all Just Bron fans not fans of the team. Thi Wiz beat them last night getover it. and shaq better stay away from Gil’s girl, cause we dont know how far deshawn will go for Gilbert

  • LakeShow84

    Depth at all the positions EXCEPT for C&PF spots.. And Jamison isnt really too much a great post defender.. undersized..

    Bottom line is that team is too small to make it all the way..

  • fallinup

    Haywood has really stepped up his play. Jamison is back. Of course Gil isn’t the old Gil, but he’s healthy and can only get better barring injury. Miller and Foye are good pick ups. And Boykins is perfect to come off the bench and score kinda like how Billups did for Flip back in Minny. They could use a straight up post player who can score in the paint.

    But, with all the talent they have, I had em finishing in the middle of the East pack come playoff time. They arn’t contenders, but with Flip’s offensive schemes… they are a fun team to watch when healthy.

  • http://www.FireLuviSmith.bastard Chicagorilla

    Good, Apparently Gilbert got the memo about Allen Iverson and Steph Marbury. Those days are over, work on being a REAL basketball player who plays with the other 4 people on the court and not just by himself. Although i never considered Gil a ball hog though. he always seemed to get his buckets in the flow of the offense and had no problems passing to Butler and Jamison.

    Either way, the Wiz better buckle down and play some serious ball because the East isn’t weak enough to be bullshitting early in the season like in years past.

  • flavur

    @Rizwan what’s wrong with 23 and 7 a night?

  • http://www.FireLuviSmith.bastard Chicagorilla


    the cleveland Steamer. Classic!

  • Notorious

    Umm, Flip is still the coach right? So whose expectations were really high on the Wizrards to begin with? Certainly not mine, not with Flip.

  • http://www.FireLuviSmith.bastard Chicagorilla

    And if Andray Blanch, Javel McGee, Brendon Haywood and Fabrico Oberto aren’t a big front line, then who is? That front court can Bang (brendon and Fab)with you or Run (Javel and Andray) with you.

    And Earl Boykins is the absolute worse pick-up possible for these guys. Foye brings all the scoring power they need off the bench. Plus they have 3 other scorers and 3 different positions and one of them should always be on the floor.

    The Wiz have a very good line-up, Flip and Gilbert have no excuses (outside of injury) for not having a deep playoff run. This team should compete on any level if Gil is a TRUE superstar and if Flip can actually coach.

  • Rizwan

    @ flavur

    not much, I expected him to score a bit more to push the Wiz to the playoffs.

  • LakeShow84

    @ Chitown

    They need a skilled big man.. ill admit Haywood looks better but they still need a viable post defender/player.. Look at the 2&1/2 elite teams in the east.. they have SKILLED post players and defenders.. And the half goes to Cleveland cuz Shaq cant defend JACK but even still u got Varejaos weak ass poppin in and takin charges..

    Honestly Blatche, Mcgee are back up PF’s IMO, and Haywood is a backup as well.. Oberto is roster fill who occasionally takes a good charge..

    That front court wont get them anywhere near the trophy..

  • ejay

    Gilbert Arenas just started a twitter account being the Agent 0 as he was again.

    He won’t start twittering untill he has a million followers

    love the good ol’ gil back

  • K Dizzle

    What happened to Nick Young? Did dude just go milk carton when he was expected to be buckets off the bench this season?

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    if it is widely believed that orlando, boston and cleveland will land the top 3 seeds come playoff time….

    imagine if the wiz landed a 5th seed and played a 4th seeded atlanta hawks.

    pound for pound; that might be one of the best 1st round matchups ever.

    gilbert arenas vs mike bibby
    mike miller vs joe johnson
    caron butler vs marvin williams
    antawn jamison vs josh smith
    brendan haywood vs al horford

    flip saunders vs mike woodson
    randy foye vs jamal crawford

    damn. i hope this matchup happens.

  • control

    This isn’t an excuse, it’s an explanation: They Suck.

  • matthew

    what expectations?

    I thought everyone that follows the NBA expected them to win 39 – 43 games, which looks like they probably will. Even if they only win 35, I don’t think that would shock anyone.

    Mediocrity, thy name is Wizards.

  • Da_Griff

    matthew, everyone that follows the NBA expected them to go playoffs.

    Were you hiding under a rock the last three months?

    Gil and Caron are the problem. Neither of them are shooting straight, and Gil is turning the ball over at an astonishingly bad rate. I think he leads the league. You can’t win anything if you can’t hold onto the ball.

    A badly missed shot is as good as a turnover too. If you shoot under 40% (they both are well below) then you aren’t going anywhere. I’m sure this will improve as the season progresses though.

  • wiz

    Great game!!!!!deshawn should have been in the game earlier though to gaurd lebron

  • Sweet English

    The Wizards might have been doing the scoring against the cavs, but it sounds like the Cavs are having a better time scoring with the wizards wives and girlfriends.