Attention Boston fans: You don’t have the only “Big Three” in the East.
The Wizards have a pretty good trio themselves.
While Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce have been stealing headlines all summer long, Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison haven’t gone anywhere. Sure, Washington hasn’t been high on anybody’s radar thanks to a first round playoff sweep by the Cavaliers last spring but let’s not forget that the threesome led the Wizards to a 12-4 record in the month of December last season and have five All-Star selections between them over the last three seasons.
Brian McKnight sings that it “starts back at one,” but everything starts back at zero for Washington. Gilbert Arenas, a.k.a. Agent Zero, has developed into one of the most lethal scorers and clutch players in the NBA today.
Arenas has averaged better than 25 points per game in each of the last three seasons, but defense is the area where No. 0 and his teammates need to step up as the Wizards were 28th in the league last season, allowing 104.9 points per game.
The Wizards have made the playoffs each of the last three seasons, but haven’t made much noise once there. In today’s NBA a team usually only has about a five year lifespan to try to win a championship before fans call for a new formula. This is year three for the “Big Three” and a contract year for Arenas to boot, so it’s make-or-break time for the current regime.
Ever since Larry Hughes
left the Wizards have auditioned for the opening of the starting guard spot next to Arenas. It looks like DeShawn Stevenson
has reached out and grabbed the role as he started all 82 games last season and shot 40 percent from deep. Antonio Daniels
will once again be the back-up point guard and rookie Nick Young
could be looked to for scoring off the bench.
In the last couple of years, the Wizards have been about as strong in the middle as a jelly donut. The two-headed monster of Etan Thomas
and Brendan Haywood
gets your team about 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 fouls per game so more production, especially on the offensive glass, would be key with Arenas and Butler hoisting from the perimeter. Outside of Butler and Jamison at forward, Washington will use Andray Blatche
, who is a project but has major upside, and Darius Songaila
, who was hurt last year but can be effective as he stands 6-9 with a butter jumper.
-- Dave McMenamin
All-Star Action Guaranteed: Purchase a Wizards 13-game All-Star plan and see Gilbert Arenas take on Kobe, Lebron, Garnett and much more. For more information call 202-661-5050.
He has blogged
about hyperbaric tents, sharks, baseballs and Duke, but even Gilbert Arenas will tell you that that’s all secondary to what he does on the 94x50.
Arenas was on pace for an MVP type of season last year before he hurt his knee in April and spent the off-season rehabbing from a MCL tear. Now in his seventh season, it is the time for him to put it all together -- the scoring, the defense, the clutch shots and the leadership.
Remember, Jordan won his first ring in his seventh season and KG won the MVP in year seven of his career too.
Arenas will be faced with the task of coming off the toughest injury he has sustained as a pro and proving he can achieve as much success with the Wizards as he does on the World Wide Web.
-- Dave McMenamin
||The Wizards were 5-4 in games decided by last-second shots last season. Gilbert Arenas had four game winners and Caron Butler had one for Washington while New York's Steve Francis, Miami's Udonis Haslem, New Jersey's Vince Carter and Toronto's Morris Peterson hit late shots that led to Wizards losses in either the end of regulation or in overtime.
Seventh Season, Fourth with Washington
Three times, 6-14 (.300)
Eddie Jordan has made his mark on the league for his offensive schemes, but he knows that if he is going to take the Wizards to the next level, it will be from defense and rebounding. "We watched a lot of tape this summer and our defense was active, we were in good position and I didn't think we were horrible in terms of what we tried to do," Jordan told the Washington Times
. "We just didn't get the rebounds we should have ... we need to rebound better."
-- Dave McMenamin
KNOW YOUR WIZARDS
Gilbert Arenas owns a collection of more than 350 jerseys of past and present players.
Gilbert is one of the top five matchup problems in this whole league. He's so fast, no one outworks him, and he can win games. Jamison is a tough matchup as well because he can score from anywhere on the floor.
They've got three guys who average 70 points between them and those guys get to the free throw line too.
The only solace is that they're all perimeter guys, which hurts them a bit. They're also not that deep. They've let a lot of guys leave (Dixon, Blake, Jefferies) and they haven't added much.
They might be the worst defensive teams in the East, and it's not because of the coaching, it's the personnel. If you don't have guys that want to guard, they're not going to do it. Gilbert doesn't want to guard anybody. They're just gonna try to outscore you.
Songaila is solid, but he's not a guy that scares you. Haywood is inconsistent and Etan can have three fouls in the first four trips down.
They had injury problems, but they were kind of freakish injuries with Butler's hand and then Gilbert is such an elite athlete, I don't foresee him getting hurt that much.
I see them third in the division behind Miami and Orlando.
-- Eastern Conference Scout