Brendan Todd Haywood: Washington Wizards Player Evaluation
After a brief hiatus, it’s time to get back to Washington Wizards 2007-2008 player evaluations…..only four players left: Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, and today, Brendan Todd Haywood. My thoughts are below, head over to Bullets Forever and check out what the Pradamaster and Jake The Snake have to say about BTH.
Etan Thomas | Oleksiy Pecherov | Dominic McGuire | Nick Young | Andray Blatche | Roger Mason | Darius Songaila | Antonio Daniels | DeShawn Stevenson
Before the 2007-2008 season, I had feelings of intense frustration, and perhaps despite, towards Brendan Todd Haywood during his tenure as a Washington Wizard. I found BTH to be a bumbling, soft, waste-of-space….leading to frequent use of the effeminate moniker, Brenda. My opinion was so negative because I simply expected more use of his potential, and Haywood seemed to be a never-ending source of disappointment.
In my second game blog of 07-08, the massacre in Boston, I wrote this:
1st Quarter: Haywood dunk! Great positioning on the rebound…AND…the subsequent block! Please do this all year. If you do, I will write a personal letter to you apologizing for all the times I’ve referred to you as Brenda Haywood. You can hold me to that.
It wasn’t until game 21 versus the ‘Sota T’Wolves when I “officially” stopped calling Brendan, Brenda. Haywood was able to sustain whatever it was that got into him for the entire season and led me to turn an about face, believing the chances of him reverting back to his former self to be very slim.
This past season, Brendan Haywood posted career highs in: games started (80), minutes played (2228), FGM (316), FTM (216), PPG (10.6), RPG (7.2), BLKs (133), FT% (.735), PER (18.3)…..among other categories. We can certainly consider a number of factors for Haywood’s improvement: confidence in being able to play without looking over his shoulder at Etan, which led to increased minutes, which resulted from an off-season conversation with coach Eddie Jordan, which helped amend the past maligned relationship between the two.
But a lot of those are indicators of a change in Haywood’s external psychological environment. What has Haywood accomplished internally? We can certainly attribute a drastic increase in free-throw shooting to Dave Hopla, but it’s not like Brendan didn’t put in work on that area himself. What I noticed most out of Haywood was increased hand strength, improved concentration, and better leadership skills, displayed in one of my favorite quotes imploring Gilbert Arenas to put reality in perspective. Sure, BTH had a couple lapses (maybe contributing to the Wizards-Cavs trash talk, even in jest, was one of these lapses), but those were more far and few between than I could have ever imagined.
In a matter of a twelve months, Brendan Todd Haywood made vast advances in his maturity as a basketball player. I have confidence that this will be a continued trend and thus a vital ingredient to franchise success……given that Haywood always works like it’s his first day on the job, or in his case, the first day of his seventh year on the job. Perhaps my hopes should be more cautiously optimistic, but in the least, I owe the guy a letter, so here goes:
Next Evaluation: Gilbert Arenas