Friday, July 4, 2008

Better Know an NBA Franchise: Washington Wizards

It's been awhile since my last post, but I have returned with a brand-spanking new series I'll be starting. I'm going to shine some insight on each of the 30 NBA teams. I plan to finish it, but don't hold me to it. You can't really blame me if I don't really feel like writing at length about the Bobcats. If David Stern doesn't care about them, then why should I...right? I thought about going in alphabetical order; but Fundamentally UnSound is all about the randomness. Gut feeling would tell me to start with the Knicks; but it pains me to even watch anything they do at this present time. Anyway, to the first team...

I figured I'd start with my hometown team, the Washington Wizards. For going on five years now, they have been an "up-and-coming team" that was supposed to rise to the top of the Eastern Conference's elite. Apparently, Lebron James didn't get that memo, as he's been judge, jury, and executioner for the inhabitants of the Phone Booth for the past three postseasons. It's not a rivalry if one team does all the winning. That "sleeper team" role only passes for so long. (See: 2000-2004 Sacramento Kings)

Players: The Wizards have an abundance of team chemistry. Despite Agent Zero's scorer's mentality, the rest of the team seems to enjoy him. And while he's still the best player of the team, the most valuable is unquestionably Caron Butler. He and Antawn Jamison are the heart and grit of the Wiz. Nick Young should see more time this year, since he has a natural knack to score. With that said, as stacked as they are offensively, they lack that interior presence needed to command games on the defensive end. Brendan Haywood, Andray Blatche, and new draft pick Javale McGee are not the answers. If they don't find someone to own the paint on both ends, they keep wearing "Round 2" T-Shirts and caps in the playoffs...

Coaching/Front Office: Eddie Jordan may be one of the better coaches in the Association. He successfully incorporated the Princeton-style offense; and, when executed correctly, (read: when Gilbert doesn't decide to do his own thing) is amazing to watch. For some reason, he can't translate his defensive-minded mentality over to his whole team. Caron and DeShawn "I Can't Feel My Face" Stevenson seem to be the only ones fully committed to it. As far as the front office goes, Abe Polland believes in his "Big 3" because he locked up both Arenas and Jamison to huge multi-year deals. Gilbert even took less money than the team offered him, hopefully so they could bring that missing championship piece into the franchise.

Bonus Info: It's becoming more and more known that the Wizards are a playful bunch. From DeShawn Stevenson making the rest of the team sign contracts to talk to him, to he and Gilbert's three-point shooting challenge, they like to have fun while working. They like to play practical jokes on each other. Of course, Gilbert is the ring leader and main culprit, and his main prey are Nick Young and Dominic McGuire. Paintball fights, fake boxing matches, and games of H-O-R-S-E are all a part of those two rookies-turned-sophomores daily routine. This is also further proof that basketball players have so much free time on their hands.

Projection: The Wizards are a top eight team in the East, but need interior toughness. That act they tried to pull on the Lebrons last year wasn't them. Now with Toronto, Milwaukee and Indiana getting better in this offseason, their window isn't going to stay open for long. Either defensive intensity needs to be magically instilled in the current roster, or they'll continue to be one-and-done in April.


No comments: