Since yesterday’s Sacramento Kings preview was so well received by our dozens of fans, we have decided to continue the series today with the team with the 2nd worst record in the NBA, the Washington Wizards.
Long story short, the Washington Bullets never really accomplished anything.
Sure they had players like Muggsy Bogues (the shortest player in NBA History at 5’3’’), Juwan Howard, Chris Webber, Mark Price, Gheorghe Muresan who stood at7’7’’, and many others.
But eventually it was decided that the “Bullets” was perhaps, maybe not the best name for a basketball team in the nation’s capital: where the president lives. So, the name was changed to the Washington Wizards.
Now in 1999, some guy named Michael Jordan became the minority owner of the team, as well as the president of basketball operations. And then in 2001, this guy had the nerve to play for the team, even if he did average 25 points per game, 5 assists and 5 rebounds.
Jordan decided he would return to the team the following season and brought in up-and-coming “star” Larry Hughes and All-Star guard Jerry Stackhouse. But it seemed that the Jordan Era in Washington was over after a disappointing season of 37-45.
Jordan was a failure in Washington, even if he did draft that stud Kwame Brown.
But Washington was to find success soon enough, by 2005 they were back into the playoffs under guys like Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, and (at the time) Larry Hughes.
But playoff succes in recent times has been dismal, the bane of the Wizard’s problems being LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, simply getting the upper hand in recent years.
Last season with Arenas out for most of the year, the Wizards finished a measly 19-63 for the season but look to rebound in 2009.
2008-2009 Record: 19-63 (Worst in Eastern Conference) (last in division)
Coach: Flip Saunders
G Gilbert Arenas: The quirky but insanely talented point guard was very recently very vocal about his role on this year’s Wizards team.
I’m 27 now, and I’m not the entertainer anymore
When I had fun, I got criticized. So we’ll see what happens when I’m serious
Since I’m going to have the ball more [under new coach Flip Saunders], I don’t have to take 500 threes this year. I’m trying to take less than a hundred.
SG Mike Miller
Mike Miller is an interesting player, coming from a troubled franchise in Minnesota where he struggled to make an impact, saw decent minutes in Memphis where his scoring average was in the mid to late teens. But ultimately Miller has never lived up to the 5th overall pick status he acuired when he was drafted by the Orlando Magic in 2000 (which by the way, was a fantastic draft class).
SF Caron Butler
A consistant scorer year after year, Butler brings finessse to the Wizards with his solid play. Unloading 25 points on the Cavaliers on April 2nd, Butler proves he can score just as easily as his teammates. Butler often picks up the slack when teammates Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison have cold shooting nights.
PF Antawn Jamison
A 19 point a game career guy, Jamison is the foundation in the post for this Wizards team. Even though there were talks of a trade during Washington’s miserable season last year, Jamison remains a key in the future of the franchise. Arenas was once quoted that he would take a pay cut to keep Jamison in town.(but that didn’t neccesarily stop Arenas from getting a $111 million contract)
C Brendan Haywood
The Wizards’ established Center who brings solid defense and average offense has made the transition from a young center to an substantial force.
Mike Miller (see above) and Randy Foye, a backup for Arenas, products of the trade that brought Johnny Flynn to Minnesota.
“When I had fun, I got criticized, so let’s see what happens when I’m serious” – (once again) Gilbert Arenas
So will Arenas’ seriousness lead the veteran team to playoff success (or the playoffs?) Can the Wizards compete with Eastern Conference powerhouses like Boston, Cleveland and Orlando? Maybe DeShawn Stevenson will have something to say about that.
Will they regret letting Larry Hughes get away?
We shall see, until my next season preview, the Champ is out. Thank God it was Wizards media day today…
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