Fading Drew Gooden, a 2015-16 Washington Wizards Look-Back | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Fading Drew Gooden, a 2015-16 Washington Wizards Look-Back

By
Updated: September 28, 2016

As we look forward to the 2016-17 Washington Wizards season, nothing wrong with looking back at the life and times of the past. And now we shall fade Drew Gooden…

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Drew Gooden was part of the eight-man Washington Wizards playoff rotation back in 2015. Read that twice if you need to. Then Ernie Grunfeld brought him back to play another season at age 34 for $3.3 million. Because Gooden could rebound and play stretch-4 (12-26, 46.2% on 3-pointers in the ’15 postseason); because he was a familiar leading voice in the locker room; maybe to keep favor with his agent; and perhaps just for the hell of it. It wasn’t the worst decision in the world. What is these days?

Then the Wizards shuttled Kris Humphries into the starting 4 spot in the fall of 2015 (he saw five total minutes in the aforementioned 2015 playoffs), and that experiment did not exactly work out. Humphries was traded in February as part of the Markieff Morris deal. Later, several within the organization, particularly the departed Randy Wittman, would partially blame the season’s ills on short-term contracts like Gooden’s. But it wasn’t really Gooden’s fault—maybe he simply represented the uninspiring churn of team management. So many maybes.

By early November of the 2015-16 season, Gooden was being inserted for a defensively inept Humphries on seemingly random occasions to start the second half of games. Then there were times—desperate times—when Randy Wittman paired Gooden and DeJuan Blair, the banana and mayonnaise sandwich of 4-5 combos. You may think that’s disgusting but it’s a big world.

Gooden ended up appearing in 30 games (305 minutes) last season and missed chunks of time from late November to late December, and from early March to early April. He played two minutes and 26 seconds in game 82 for the Wizards to (likely) close out his 14-year NBA career. Gooden’s best game last season (according to Game Score via Basketball-Reference.com), came on Jan. 11 when he helped fill-in for absentees Marcin Gortat and Kris Humphries (due to injury) and with Nene, Blair, and Gooden himself nursing ailments. He scored 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench, missing all four 3-point attempts in the process.

That 114-100 win over the Bulls in Chicago creeped the Wizards up to a 17-19 record, and they would go on to win their next two games (four in a row total) to pull to .500 before losing to the Celtics—a tough one—and toiling through the rest of the season. Just like Uncle Drew, Drizzle, Lego Man Gooden. The Wizards waived him and his non-guaranteed payments for 2016-17 in July, and the internet-skuttlebutt floated that teams like the Raptors, Lakers, and of course Doc Rivers’ Clippers could be, supposedly, interested.

A big part of the Drew Gooden Experience in Washington was him getting traded to the Wizards in Feb. 2010 as part of a three-team deal that landed Antawn Jamison in Cleveland. Gooden refused to play for the Wizards, was released, and then signed with Milwaukee. He later returned to D.C. on a 10-day contract in Feb. 2014 (1). He was just hanging out in Maryland with his girlfriend and doing yoga when he got a second chance to be a member of the Wiz, becoming a big hit with the cheese guys at the Rockville Whole Foods in the process.

Also part of the process: a bromance with Aaron Rodgers, a flirtation with playing for Finland at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, or the general connection that Gooden has to Washington Wizards basketball lore.

So here’s to Drew Gooden and his range of goofy, yet emotion-filled moments. Let’s close this by celebrating with a few below from this past season. Cheers.

  1. Read a review of Drew Gooden’s 2014-15 season with the Wizards by John Converse Townsend.
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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.