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…
NOTE: this post will contain players ranked 51 to 47, and we will update one player at a time every hour or so.
1.94 out of 10
(4 games, 44 minutes, 10.1 PER, .094 WS/48)
Mike Wilks has played for eight NBA teams, nine if you count both the Supersonics and the Thunder, and in 2007-08, he played for three different teams, including the Wizards. Wilks started that season on the Denver Nuggets, who at the time had Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson (and Nene). In eight games through November, Wilks averaged 15.3 minutes, 3.0 points, and 0.8 assists backing up Iverson while Anthony Carter and Chucky Atkins were nursing injuries. In late December 2007, nearly a month after being waived by Denver, the Wizards signed the 5-foot-10 guard as a free agent — Gilbert Arenas had knee surgery in November and Antonio Daniels went down with a sprained knee on December 15. Wilks appeared in four games with Washington, playing 44 total minutes and averaging 1.3 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists. Just under 24 of Wilks’ minutes came in his last game, a 96-74 win by the 15-14 Wizards over the 8-23 Miami Heat (my, how things have changed). That game, Wilks scored five points (his only points scored for the Wiz), and pulled down five rebounds. He was waived the last day of 2007 with Daniels set to return. Wilks signed a 10-day contract with Seattle in late February and appeared in three games. Otherwise, he bounced around, appeared in four games with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009, and was brought back to Wizards training camp in 2011 (in the lockout aftermath scramble), but was waived five days before the start of the season.
2.00 out of 10
(5 games, 14 minutes, 11.9 PER, .179 WS/48)
On February 13, 2010, the Wizards traded part of the old gang to Dallas — Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson (they later won championship rings). On February 17, another member, Antawn Jamison, was sent to Cleveland. On February 18, Dominic McGuire was traded, with cash, to Sacramento for a conditional second round pick (which was not exercised). Four days later, Josh Howard, who came in the trade from Dallas, tore his ACL. The Wizards were blown to pieces and they needed warm bodies to help man the sinking ship.
On February 24, Mike Harris became Washington’s very first 10-day contract, D-League call-up after the wreckage. Shaun Livingston, Alonzo Gee, Cartier Martin, and Cedric Jackson followed that season, but Harris was first. Unlike some of the others, however, he only stuck for a single 10-day contract, but did get to appear in five games over those 10 days, which must be some kind of record. Called up from the Rio Grande Vipers, Harris had spent time with the Houston Rockets earlier in the season. The day he was signed was also his debut for the Wiz; he made his only field goal attempt and got a steal in 1:22 of action against the Memphis Grizzlies, a Wizards loss. Otherwise, in 14 total minutes over five games, four points and four rebounds were the only returns. Harris went back to Rio Grande when his contract ran out, and at the end of March, back to the Rockets for seven appearances. He spent four games with Houston in 2010-11, but played in China in the aftermath of the lockout and more recently in Puerto Rico. There’s not much to remember about Mike Harris, other than him being named MVP in 2010, D-League MVP — in 34 games with the Vipers he averaged 27.1 points.
Kyle Weidie ][ @Truth_About_It
2.00 out of 10
(56 games, 1,130 minutes, 10.3 PER, .000 WS/48)
To adequately rank Javaris Crittenton, you need to throw out everything that immediately pops into your mind. Because the real story about the various incidents will probably never be known, nor can we gauge his mindset. So we will let go of GunGate, release the thoughts of a guy currently on bail for murder charges and instead concentrate Javaris Crittenton the player. In a three-team deal, Crittenton was acquired from Memphis with another notable Wizard, Mike James (from New Orleans), for veteran point guard Antonio Daniels (to the Hornets) and the return of the rights to a protected lottery pick to Memphis (from the Juan Carlos Navarro deal). The word at the time was that Crittenton was a player that team president Ernie Grunfeld coveted (much like Kirk Hinrich or Yi Jianlian) and was the primary focus of the trade rather than James, who was seen as a veteran stand in for Daniels (James also with cost savings versus Daniels).
The book on Crittenton was that he was a scoring point guard who couldn't pass. (In lieu of Crittenton, the Wizards selected Nick Young, a wing player who couldn't pass, three spots earlier in the 2007 draft.) In his one year actually playing for Washington (2008-09), the numbers gave credence to that theory, as Crittenton failed to log over 10 assists in a game, despite getting increased minutes due to injury and other Wizards-related drama. His scoring touch was still evident, but with so many mouths to feed. he was limited to between three and 10 shots on most nights. Most damningly, he failed to properly execute Flip Saunders' Hawk-offense, which led to many Wizards possessions where the team just stood around, which was followed by the first pronouncement of "hero ball" from the coach. Whether Crittenton would have improved or had a place on the team the next year remains an unanswerable question; on top of a lingering ankle injury that kept him off the court to start 2009-10, GunGate in December essentially put an end to his NBA career. The Charlotte Bobcats signed Crittenton in September 2010, but waived him before the season; he has since played in China and for the Dakota Wizards of the D-League. Now with a murder charge hanging over his head, Crittenton has a lot more to worry about than floor spacing and first step distribution. Well, perhaps not too much, since he was recently spotted (and interviewed) while partying in Los Angeles by none other than TMZ. Go figure.
Sean Fagan ][ @McCarrick
2.06 out of 10
(17 games, 233 minutes, 7.8 PER, -0.006 WS/48)
The opening was there for Dee Brown to be the starting point guard for Eddie Jordan's 2008 Washington Wizards. To begin the season, Gilbert Arenas was in the midst of knee injury drama, which meant Antonio Daniels, Juan Dixon, DeShawn Stevenson and Nick Young (yes, Nick Young) were all available to run the Princeton offense. Brown was a better ball-handler than Dixon or Stevenson, a better defender than Young, and he was quicker and younger than Antonio Daniels. These skills were enough to convince Jordan that Brown deserved a roster spot, although his play in the first six games of the season was spotty, at best. But when Juan Dixon proved to be ineffective as a replacement for the injured Daniels (knee issues), Brown was thrust into the starting lineup, as was JaVale McGee, whose post-game response to his promotion was, "That was some scary sh*t."
Brown started 11 straight games and led the Wizards to just three victories, but he did have two noteworthy moments. In his fourth start, which also happened to be the first game after Eddie Jordan was fired, Brown scored 10 points (4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from the 3-point line), and helped guide the Wizards to a win over the Golden State Warriors, their second of the season (to go with 10 losses). In his seventh start, Brown played the best game of his Wizards career by producing the following line in a victory over the New Jersey Nets: eight points, seven assists, three rebounds, and zero turnovers. A little over a week later, the Wizards decided their 4-15 record warranted a change at the point guard position and traded for Javaris Crittenton (size and speed) and Mike James (experience). Brown was unceremoniously waived, had a brief two-game stint with the Phoenix Suns three weeks later, and never played in the NBA again. Four years later, Crittenton and Arenas joined him as former NBA players, albeit under very different circumstances.
Rashad Mobley ][ @Rashad20
2.18 out of 10
(4 games, 67 minutes, 8.7 PER, .032 WS/48)
There was a big smile on Mo Almond's face. I'm sure of it.
It was tough to see the man, surrounded by a scrum of reporters in the Wizards locker room, that night back in April. But the smile was peeking out, through corners and elbows and fists holding iPhones like tape recorders.
Almost two hours earlier, Almond had checked into his first NBA game in three years. Just a few minutes later, he canned his first bucket since February 2009, a long 2 from the wing.
(I can still close my eyes and see the ball swish through the hoop; Almond has great shooting form.)
It was a feel-good moment at the end of a mostly feel-bad Wizards season. After seven stops on three continents -- including a star turn in the NBDL, followed by stints in Italy and the Ukraine -- @FreeMoAlmond had been set loose on the league once more.
A 10-day contract got Almond to Washington; four mostly meaningless games later, his Wizards career was likely over. He may never be back in the NBA. (He's suiting up for Serbia's Red Star Belgrade this year.) But no one can take that moment away from him -- that late April night in D.C., when his J was falling and his grin was lighting up a locker room.