I suppose I could go on some diatribe about the Washington Wizards and toughness, rebounding, offensive execution, and perhaps even coaching, but what’s the point? That’s not to say I’ve become languid about the team, or even the season. It’s just not always worth the effort to harp on the same ol’, same ol’.
I also don’t subscribe to Ivan Carter’s theory that everyone played out of their ass last year and are incapable of doing so again as individuals. Basically, his sub-prime loan comparison doesn’t hold water in my opinion.
The best way I could explain it was by comparing the team to a subprime loan. Follow me if you can. The Wizards lived above their means last season, meaning that they managed to make payments on a playoff house because they all played out of their minds. They got career years from just about every player on the roster — Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood, Roger Mason, Antonio Daniels, DeShawn Stevenson, and even Eddie Jordan coached his tail off — and they survived and thrived without all star Gilbert Arenas.
Uhh…ok, so is the comparison to sub-prime loans or to the people who are doing the borrowing? I’ll assume it’s the borrowers since that’s the path Carter continues to go down in his post. It’s a reasonable assumption that when someone lives above their means, they are being reckless and irresponsible. The marks of sub-prime loans, for the most part, have checkered financial pasts. Thus, they serve as victims of predatory lending because they can only borrow money if the loan is attached to a bunch of ill-advised catches, such as high interest rates.
Carter’s sub-prime (or borrower) comparison doesn’t work because I don’t think any of the Wizards players came into the 07-08 season with bad credit ratings. On the contrary, they previously showed the potential for growth and built upon that. There’s no reason to assume that last year’s outstanding play of each Wizard was an anomaly that could not be repeated. Sure Jamison and Daniels are of age for a downturn, but you can’t say that Haywood and Butler are incapable of playing at the same level (Haywood’s injury notwithstanding). It also must be considered that Daniels is currently dealing with knee and wrist issues, and so far this season, Jamison’s PER is the highest it’s been in a Wizards uniform (2nd highest in his career).
But the interest rates have increased this season — the Eastern Conference has improved from a year ago — and the Wizards have less income with Haywood and now Mason out of the equation for different reasons (Haywood is hurt; Mason is in San Antonio).
Increasing interest rates? Sure, the Wizards are operating with less capital, but I’m not ready to directly correlate this year’s poor play to an improved Eastern Conference “market.” As of last night, the combined record of the seven teams from the East the Wizards have faced is 44-36, a .550 winning percentage. Big deal, a team with that percentage still doesn’t make the playoffs in the West (at least not last year).
So what has happened to the Wizards? Well, there’s been a bad storm (of injuries) and the company which depends on the crop that the storm destroyed is hemorrhaging money (losing). Because the company is without what makes its product whole (Haywood and Arenas), it cannot make ends meet. There was also a storm last year, but the company was able to weather it because of reserve crops. But now, even the reserves are unavailable because of other market factors and the confidence of the investors is shaky. If investors start hitting the panic button, the situation gets worse.
Theoretically, you wait out the trough and hope the next crest comes soon because the CEO (Ernie Grunfeld) should brace for the long run and not maneuver for the short term. But shareholders easily grow impatient and make unreasonable demands for changes in management. Personally, I know there’s a crop on the shelf that is, supposedly, getting ripe….healthy, so there is no impatience or panic on my part. Meanwhile, you bite the bullet, tighten the belt a notch, make any necessary minor adjustments, and hope for the best, even if that hope might not come to fruition until the next quarter.
Wizards-Hawks Web Highlights:
Stevenson waved his hand over his face, rookie JaVale McGee patted him on his backside and Stevenson then jumped into Caron Butler as a stunned Philips Arena crowd looked on. It was a premature celebration, because the Wizards don’t have the Eastern Conference’s worst record by mistake. They’ve earned it in a season that has been marked by fourth-quarter mishaps and an inability to close.
[On the Road, Wizards Run Out of Gas in Last Minute - The Washington Post]
On Wednesday night at Philips Arena, the opposing assailant was Atlanta Hawks guard Mike Bibby, who torched the Wizards in the third quarter and looked to bury them in the fourth.
[Wizards wither in clutch - The Washington Times]
But the Wizards cannot win if Butler and Jamison are going to be the only two consistent players each night. They need someone who is willing to ride with them without getting in the way. There are still 73 games left, and anything can happen in this league, but things are looking pretty bleak right now. They need a bailout plan real soon.
[Wizards Facing Foreclosure - Wizards Insider]
Zaza Pachulia’s pain threshold. He was clearly playing with, at best, 1+ arms. Just giving the Hawks 34 minutes would have been impressive. Spending those 34 minutes grabbing 8 offensive and 10 defensive rebounds was special.
[Hawks 91 Wizards 87 - Peachtree Hoops]
“Game ball has to go to Zaza,” [Marvin] Williams said. “The way he steps in and gets 18 rebounds is unbelievable. I’ve been here four years, and I’ve never seen him do that so. He really came out and made it a point, with Al out and Josh out, to rebound the ball tonight.”
[Marvin Williams' big 3 lifts Hawks - Atlanta Journal Constitution]
This isn’t to say that Washington had no chance in this. They could have pulled the win off with better shot selection and a more focused effort on the boards from both interior and wing-types.
[Behind the Box Score - Ball Don't Lie]
- Etan Thomas: Ambassador to Ukraine
- Wizards Game 9 Blog: at Atlanta Hawks – Crashing Down
- Washington Wizards vs Atlanta Hawks: The 07-08 History
- 2008-2009 Washington Wizards Game Blogs
[photo source: flickr/deNNis gErbECkx]