1. What is Gilbert Arenas’ target minutes per game?
One of the biggest (yet most entertaining) mistakes the Wizards made after acquiring Arenas was his back to back 40+ minutes per game seasons of 80 starts each. In Jason Kidd’s 19 14 years, he’s only eclipsed 40 mpg in a season once (John Stockton never did). This is the equivalent of when an NFL team gives their running back 400+ carries (think 1998 Jamal Anderson or 2006 Larry Johnson). Naturally Gil’s future looked bleaker than Jay-Z’s sidekick.
If I am Flip Saunders, I target Gilbert to a conservative 30 mpg. I take him out in blowouts. I don’t let him go for 50. I give him the occasional back-to-back off. I massage his feet during timeouts. I massage his feet at his house. I become a certified acupuncturist. I sacrifice woodland creatures to my altar of Nepthys (the Egyptian god of knee ligaments). Lastly, I call in a bomb threat to Barry Farm.
2. Is this the year Andray Blatche makes the leap?
You don’t need a Magic 8-Ball to know this is “very doubtful.”
Andray is now entering his 5th season in the NBA. We are well beyond the typical make or break point for a player (even one taken right out of high school). Since 2005, he has transitioned from Center, to Power Forward, to occasional Small Forward. He’s one more position fail away from becoming a 6’11″ shooting guard (Jared Jeffries, anyone?). As a result of these position changes, we’ve seen his rebounds per 36 minutes drop each of the past 3 seasons. We could give Blatche another five years and he’ll still be committing stupid fouls and hovering around a 15 PER. The good news is that he hasn’t been arrested in 14 months.
3. Is Randy Foye really the next Dwyane Wade?
Absolutely not. While he shows potential as a scorer, Foye just does not get to the free throw line nor exert himself defensively as young Wade did. That being said, Foye has superior range to Wade.
While he is certainly not Wade, the comparisons to Jason Terry and Gary Payton (offensively) might not be that far off…
4. Are there enough minutes to go around?
Unless a socialist approach is adopted, the biggest victims in the rotation will be the lovable misfits (aka Inglourious Wizerds). Specifically Nick Young, Andray Blatche, and Javale McGee. The new additions (Randy Foye, Mike Miller, and Ghetto Fabricio) will be given the first opportunity to succeed. It’s just the nature of the business.
The trickle effect will work it’s way all the way down to Javaris Crittenton, whose nickname will be “Street Clothes” by November.
5. How unheralded can Brendan Haywood become (and is there a limit)?
Brendan Haywood will be 30 in November. How quickly time flies. All he’s done is play 10 and 7 basketball while the Wizards have brought in failed replacement after failed replacement. He had a career year in 2007-08 prior to being lost for almost all of last season. Arenas’ absence from last years’ squad was well documented. With Haywood, we didn’t know what he was contributing until he was gone. Last season was a display in some of the most consistently atrocious defensive post play I’ve seen since the invention of vision.
For a player with numbers comparable to Kendrick Perkins, Haywood ranks between HBO’s The Wire and Wikipedia’s random link button on the Unheralded Scale.
6. How much does Dominic McGuire hate Mike Miller right now?
Dominic was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season. When he wasn’t flailing or picking up his dribble on offense, he was a rebounding prodigy. He earned 57 starts, a number unlikely to be repeated this season. The more likely scenario is that McGuire becomes Mike Miller’s defensive sub. The MOST likely scenario is that he defecates in Miller’s locker.
7. Will JaVale McGee have a memorable play that occurs outside of the semi-circle?
Well… I suppose there is a chance he dives to save a loose ball from the opposite sideline. Regardless you can count on him to lead the league in Times On SportsCenter/Minutes Per Game ratio. This is commonly referred to as the Sean Williams Ratio.
8. Is Nick Young capable of a 5 assist game?
Perhaps, but I’m not confident in the likelihood of a seven overtime game occurring. Also, Gilbert would have to be going for 100 points.
9. Flip Saunders?
That’s the entire question.
Lil Flip is known for a few things. He softened up the stellar defense of Larry Brown’s championship Piston’s team. He turned team icon, Ben Wallace, into a disgruntled outcast. He watched Kevin Garnett run wind sprints for eight years. Most recently, he turned Allen Iverson into a pariah (okay, maybe not his fault).
To Flip’s credit, the man has never missed the playoffs when coaching the entire season. Ever. Though he may have lost in the first round in his first seven full seasons, he’s made it to the conference finals in the last four.
10. Let’s say the Wizards are .500 at the trade deadline. Do they make a move for the future, for the present, or stand pat?
As tempting as the John Wall sweepstakes are, the Wizards are lining up their pieces for this season. The return of Arenas and Haywood will reunite the core of the 2006-07 playoff squad only with more depth.
On the contrary, the Wizards have a plethora of youth. Youth I’d rather not sacrifice for the rental of a semi-motivated big man (hello, Al Harrington).
The best case scenario is to stand pat. There is a log jam at almost every position but there is also an injury bug lurking. A bug as big as Peter John Ramos’ head.
…Of course, this question becomes irrelevant if the Wizards are well above .500. SI ranked the Wizards #8 in their preseason power rankings.
…the Wizards should rocket near the top of the East. New coach Flip Saunders will maximize the Wizards’ offensive potential … When Washington is clicking, few teams will be able to keep pace.
-Chris Mannix – Sports Illustrated
No question about it.