#WizardsRank: Antonio Daniels, No. 10: Eternal Cypher
Truth About It.net turns a whole five years old at the end of October, which is right about now.
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).
You may have heard of ESPN’s #NBArank project, now in year two. Now hear of #WizardsRank, where we rank each of those 56 players during Truth About It.net’s five-year run. 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.
#WizardsRank Nos. 56 to 11 have been posted and links can be found at the bottom of this post. -Kyle W.
5.71 out of 10
(84 games, 2,449 minutes, 13.4 PER, .094 WS/48)
From season to season, there has always been one nagging little doubt about the assembly of the Washington Wizards that has put its fandom at unease. During the brief era of the “Big Three,” there were concerns that the Wizards did not have enough size in their frontcourt and that the porous nature of Antawn Jamison’s defense would leave Brendan Haywood and the rotating cast of characters that were the Wizards pivot men to try to defend the entire court themselves. There was also the prevalent concern that the Wizards’ lacked a true 3-point presence, someone of the Kyle Korver mold who could step in and deliver a dagger to take the pressure off of Gilbert Arenas and provide an alternative to the erratic 3-point shooting of Jamison and Caron Butler. Today’s bugbear is the situation at point guard and the fact that the organization has yet to unearth a reliable backup for their superstar John Wall. They utilized the veteran they had under contract (Kirk Hinrich) to assemble more young assets, leaving Wall without either the “mentor” who many thought he needed or a good enough player to allow him to rest for more than seven minutes a game. Now we have situation with Wall injured and no true backup with the experience needed to lead the team, and instead Wizards fans are being forced to deal with reality of a lot of Jannero Pargo.
Things, however, were not always like this. In one of the savvier moves of the Ernie Grunfeld era, Ernie Grunfeld signed veteran Antonio Daniels to a four-year contract in August of 2005. Daniels, like many of Grunfeld’s acquisitions, was touted as having the “leadership and veteran” ability to take the team to the next level, having won a championship with San Antonio and having made trips to the playoffs with the then Seattle Supersonics. And while Daniels fell short of that goal, there was a point during his tenure on the Wizards when he played well enough during Arenas’ first major injury where there were several articles written about how Washington was “better off without Arenas,” and that Daniels represented the type of “true” point guard the team had always needed.
Of course, this was not merely an exaggeration, but an overstatement of Daniels’ abilities. While the truth of the matter is that Daniels did run the offense in a more disciplined manner than the quixotic Arenas (and developed a wicked pick-and-pop with Darius Songalia), he wasn’t quite the pure point that many remember. Despite averaging over 25 minutes of playing time, Daniels rarely, if ever, registered assist totals in the double digits and remained a wildly inconsistent scorer. He also had little to no range, thus many of his attempts were are drives to the rim that were swatted away more often than not.
If this sounds like a rip job on Daniels, it isn’t meant to be, as he was one of my favorite Wizards of the “Big Three” era. He brought a consistency to the team—you could predict what he could do like clockwork—which is why he got regular playing time under each coach for whom he suited up. The strangest part is how much of a cypher Daniels was until his playing time began to dry up. He literally made little impression on the media during a time of out-sized personalities, so one was left to imagine that his weekends consisted of going golfing with Songalia or members of the Washington Capitals. His time with Wizards came at the end of the Wizards golden period, as he was shipped off to New Orleans along with a second round pick for Mike James and Javaris Crittenton. I think we would take that trade back if we could. Ironically, Daniels was later traded for his old running mate Songalia and shipped off to the Timberwolves. Last seen, Daniels was laboring in the D-League at age 36, though he received a single 10-day contract from the Philadelphia 76ers in April 2011.
In conclusion, what can one make of the Antonio Daniels era? The honest answer is that there isn’t much to say at the end of the day except for the fact that he was a man who did his job admirably and to the best of his ability. He won’t be remembered with a life-size ice statue at Love nightclub, but he will also have a place at the back of my closet when I want to pull out my most obscure Wizards jersey.
Sean Fagan ][ @McCarrick
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.
No. 46: Larry Owens; No. 45: Mustafa Shakur; No. 44: Brian Cook; No. 43: Hamady N’diaye; No. 42: Rashard Lewis.
No. 41: Hilton Armstrong; No. 40: Oleksiy Pecherov; No. 39: Mike James; No. 38: Fabricio Oberto; No. 37: Ronny Turiaf.
No. 36: Lester Hudson; No. 35: Yi Jianlian; No. 34: Juan Dixon; No. 33: Josh Howard; No. 32: Chris Singleton.
No. 31: Al Thornton; No. 30: Shelvin Mack; No. 29: Mo Evans; No. 28: Mike Miller; No. 27: Alonzo Gee.
No. 26: Randy Foye; No. 25: Dominic McGuire; No. 24: Andray Blatche; No. 23: Earl Boykins; No. 22: Roger Mason.