#WizardsRank: Ranking Washington Wizards from the Last Five Seasons (Nos. 46 to 42)
Truth About It.net will turn a whole five years old at the end of this October.
Hard to believe/interesting. Nonetheless, over the life of the site from the 2007-08 season to 2011-12, we’ve seen/lived/suffered through 131 wins, 263 losses, four coaches, two owners, one GM/team president, one Phil Chenier mustache removal, and 56 total players (amazingly, 48 players over the last three seasons).
TAI anonymously polled 27 members of the Wizards pixel establishment — from mainstream media to new media, TAI staffers included, to a few pixel consumers (readers of the site) — and got 17 responses.
Participants were given the full list of 56 in alphabetical order, and included for each player were total games, minutes, PER (player efficiency rating), and WS/48 (win-shares per 48 minutes) only from the last five seasons. Participants were asked to rate each player on the scale of 1-to-10 according to this criteria: on court performance; off court performance; intangibles; and own personal memory. Yes, this is totally subjective, but relatively collective. So let’s get it started…
No. 56: Cedric Jackson; No. 55: Mike Bibby; No. 54: Paul Davis; No. 53: Edwin Ubiles; No. 52: Quinton Ross.
No. 51: Mike Wilks; No. 50: Mike Harris; No. 49: Javaris Crittenton; No. 48: Dee Brown; No. 47: Morris Almond.
NOTE: this post will contain players ranked 46 to 42, and we will update one player at a time periodically.
2.35 out of 10
(5 games, 112 minutes, 11.0 PER, .064 WS/48)
As the Wizards were playing out the string in 2011, Larry Owens was provided an opportunity to showcase his skills for the final five games on a 10-day contract from the D-League’s Tulsa 66ers. Owens, along with Mustafa Shakur and Othyus Jeffers, was one of three D-League call-ups by Washington in 2010-11; Owens also received consecutive 10-day contracts from the San Antonio Spurs earlier that season and saw seven games of action with them. The 6-foot-7 wing out of Oral Roberts performed solidly in his Wizards debut against the Indiana Pacers on the day he was signed with nine points on 4-for-5 shooting from the field. He tallied a career-high 10 points in a 115-83 Wizards drubbing of the Atlanta Hawks in his third game with Washington on April 9. Owens, who turned 29 last January, might have been on the Wizards’ 2011 Summer League roster had it not been cancelled due to the lockout (the Wizards extended the qualifying offer to him in mid-June 2011, before the lockout). In December 2011, Owens did get an invite to Washington’s short training camp, but he was waived 11 days later. He started last season back in Tulsa, where he played in 10 games before being called up by the New Jersey Nets in January for seven games; he finished 2011-12 playing 22 more games for 66ers. Owens played with the Boston Celtics summer league team in both Orlando and Las Vegas.
Adam McGinnis ][ @AdamMcGinnis
2.41 out of 10
(22 games, 159 minutes, 6.8 PER, -0.112 WS/48)
Mustafa Shakur is one of three University of Arizona point guards who will appear in #WizardsRank (Mike Bibby was No. 55, Gilbert Arenas is still to come), but his route was probably the most scenic. He went undrafted in 2007 and spent time on the rosters of the Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder (but never suited up for a regular season NBA game); he also spent some time playing in Europe (Poland, Spain and Greece). On January 22, 2011, during his second season in the D-League, the Wizards called on Shakur’s services because Kirk Hinrich was out with a sprained elbow (Mustafa at first thought his agent was joking when he received the call).
His most memorable game with Washington just happened to be his first. For one, his No. 22 jersey appeared to be stitched together by a three-year old. On top of that, he had to make his NBA debut against Rajon Rondo and the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics. When John Wall picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter, Shakur had to enter the game with the Wizards down, 24-11. In the eight minutes he played before Wall checked back in, Shakur posted five points, three assists, one rebound, and one drawn charge against Nate Robinson. He finished the game with five points, five assists and zero turnovers, and his ability to successfully spell point guard duties helped lead the Wizards to a 85-83 victory. (Afterward, then coach Flip Saunders said Shakur could have been player of the game.) With that performance and continued effectiveness (and confidence) running the team (along with the February 23 trade of Hinrich and subsequent buyout of Bibby), Shakur earned a second 10-day contract with the Wizards and was eventually signed for the rest of the season. He appeared in 22 games, averaging 7.2 minutes, 2.3 points and 1.1 assists. The 2011 NBA lockout robbed Shakur of the possibility of staying with the Wizards via summer league or other means, and he has not been back to the NBA since, spending last season playing in France and Italy.
Rashad Mobley ][ @Rashad20
2.53 out of 10
(16 games, 155 minutes, 10.4 PER, .058 WS/48)
On March 15, 2012, the Washington Wizards sent Nick Young to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for nine-year veteran Brian Cook and a 2015 second round pick. The move was part of a three-team trade finalized just moments before the NBA trade deadline. The 6-foot-9 Cook was a reserve in Los Angeles, appearing in 16 out of a possible 43 games with the Clippers, and his role didn’t change much in D.C. Cook averaged 3.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 9.7 minutes off the bench over 16 games as a Wizard—and it seemed like he rarely stepped inside the 3-point arc, even during pregame warm-ups. Unfortunately, his line-drive lasers from downtown disappointed: he went 5-for-23 from 3-point range (20-for-49 from the field overall).
Spotty shooting aside, Cook was a positive locker room influence, a good culture guy, and he seemed content in Washington (after all, he didn’t ask to be waived in lieu of suiting up for the lowly Wizards). And while his highlights as a Wizard are few and far between, Cook did score 10 points and grab nine rebounds in an April 4th meeting with the Indiana Pacers. It was the first time he reached double-digit points all season, and his nine rebounds tied a season-high. Also worth mentioning: about four minutes into the fourth quarter of Washington’s April 16 contest against the Chicago Bulls, Cook hit his second 3-pointer of the game to tie the score at 68 (Cartier Martin and Mo Evans would be the only other Wizards to hit 3s that night; one each). On top of that bucket, Cook notched four rebounds, an assist, and a steal in the final period (six points and eight rebounds total on the night), and the Wizards took the victory, which was the first of their season-ending six-game winning streak.
John Converse Townsend ][ @JohnCTownsend
2.53 out of 10
(19 games, 83 minutes, 4.7 PER, .031 WS/48)
Hamady N’diaye was the 56th pick of 2010 NBA Draft. Technically selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Wizards had a prior agreement in place to send their 30th and 35th picks to Minnesota in exchange for their 23rd (Trevor Booker) and 56th picks — Washington selected Lazar Hayward and Nemanja Bjelica respectively for the T-Wolves. N’Diaye saw very limited action with the Wizards as both a rookie and a sophomore (with time-spent in the D-League during both seasons), and eventually fell victim to the NBA numbers game, getting waived by Washington in February 2012. The 7-foot center could have benefited from the 2011 Summer League had it not been cancelled due to the lockout; N’diaye played for the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Bobcats during the 2012 summer, but as of now, finds himself without an NBA team. If there was one Wizards player who smiled more than Nick Young, it was “H.” The Senegal native’s default emotion of joy was always conveyed by his huge grin and by how happy he seemed to be around his teammates — in the locker room, during practice, in pre-game warm-ups, and from his spot on the bench. TAI’s Kyle Weidie interviewed N’diaye at the 2012 summer league, and it’s a must read.
Adam McGinnis ][ @AdamMcGinnis
2.65 out of 10
(60 games, 1,743 minutes, 11.4 PER, .048 WS/48)
We know. Rashard Lewis was bad in D.C. His awkward but tested shot — the reason he’s still in the league; why he’s had such a decorated 14-year career; why the Orlando Magic signed him to a six-year, $112 million contract in 2007 — failed him as a Wizard. After a 2011 summer labor lockout provided his weary knees and body extra time to heal, Lewis mustered just 28 games and .239 from the 3-point line (16-for-67) in 2011-12. Donte Greene, on the books for just over $2.1 million from the Sacramento Kings last season, can do that. Lewis made a cool, prorated $21 million.
Contract commas and court inability shapes Lewis’ tenure as a Wizard, but his connection to Gilbert Arenas is what makes it. In the 2010 summer things were immediately looking up for the Wizards with No. 1 draft pick John Wall in tow, but how could they truly rebuild around him with the albatross of Arenas’ contract present? He had four years and $80 million left. Un-f-ing-tradeable. Who knew that two summers later the Wizards would have flipped that $80 million for a rental of Lewis’ creaky knees over 550 days and, later, into actual basketball players, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. The Wizards now owe two players, who will contribute, about $43 million over the next two seasons. The Wizards would have paid Arenas the same amount.
Thank timing. Thank Otis Smith. Thank the amnesty provision. Sure, the Wizards didn’t ‘have’ to sign Andray Blatche to a contract extension in September 2010 only to amnesty him 22 months later, but at least — thanks to Lewis, from Orlando and then to New Orleans — they didn’t have to chose between two absurd and worthless contract/player combinations.