Tag:Washington Wizards
Posted on: December 24, 2008 1:28 pm

Wizards F Blatche has Cabrera feeling to him

The Washington Wizards just made franchise history. Not the good type of history. They're off to their worst start in franchise history.

Ownership canned coach Eddie Jordan, in an attempt to jumpstart the plodding team.

The team has three wins since.

President Ernie Grunfeld has tried his Magic to fix things, sending hybrid guard Antonio Daniels in a three-way deal for young point guard Javaris Crittenton and old point guard Mike James.

Javaris Crittenton has yet to see much playing time on the court and Mike James has topped five assists just twice since joining the true-point-guardless Wizards.

Interim coach Ed Tapscott has tried too. He's gone with four different starting lineups in the past two weeks, highlighted by last night's subbing of DeShawn Stevenson (275 straight starts, second longest in league) for second-year forward Dominic McGuire.

It didn't work. The Wizards were 12-4 vs. the Bobcats coming into the game. Make that 12-5. They fell thanks to a lacklustAndray Blatcheer effort and minimal inside presence, 80-72.

There are plenty of reasons why. Injuries to Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood are two big ones. A desire not to play defense could be another. Lack of a true point guard can always be added to the reasons-we-stink list.

But here's another -- Andray Blatche.

Blatche is a tricky subject. He's just 22 years old, despite being a pro since 2005. He's improved slightly every year in the league, and now he's up to 9 ppg and a few other notable stats each night. But I just can't help but think of another local-area product when I watch Blatche play.

Like Blatche this athlete oozed talent and size, but lacked maturity and the know-how to put it all together. For years he'd often flash enough of the former to overcome complaints about the latter.

Now he's closer to Blatche than ever. Daniel Cabrera, inked by the Nationals earlier this week, was the Blatche of Baseball. And now Blatche is the Cabrera of the Court.

Daniel CabreraHe's good enough to give minutes too, but bad enough to regularly hurt your team on the court. Watching him last night vs. the Bobcats (a fate I wouldn't wish on anybody) I noticed a player that drives me nuts. One with great size, but small instincts. He's 6-11, but plays like he's 6-5. He settles for jumpers. He doesn't have a post-up game. He doesn't rebound particularly well on either side of the court. He's a guard. A real big guard. Just like waste-of-alliteration Jarred Jeffries was.

Again, I know it's hard to reign down fury on a 22-year-old big guy. He has lots to learn. But he's done plenty to make people not want to teach him. He's been arrested twice, he fell in and out of favor with Jordan because of a lack hustle and on-court acumen and hasn't been a consistent threat in any noticeable capacity on this bad Wizards team.

Again, he's 22 years old. He's a big guy. They take time to develop. But on this team, with so few people available to make a difference, Blatche could be making his mark. Instead, like in last night's game, he gets in foul trouble vs. better big men (Emeka Okafor and Gerald Wallace), inhibiting from playing with any aggressiveness.  It's indicative of a bigger problem -- he's just sloppy on the court. He'll follow up a pretty jumper with a frustration foul. In 23 minutes he was 2-of-10 from the field.

Maybe he really is just a coach away from turning on the light switch. Or maybe he's the next of Daniel Cabrera, somebody we're going talk about in terms of "ifs" and "buts."

Inside the Beltway is a place chock full of unmet expectations, let's hope the sports world doesn't add two more with Blatche and the latest Nationals' retread pitcher.

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around


Boozer's Beat Life in the AFC asks a question I've been pondering the past week or so: how did your Fantasy football draft strategy work? The blogger examines three strategies, but the fun will come from commenting on this one.

10 things I learned this week. looks at Ten things learned this week, including Tuesday night's bowl game, the Sunday night football classic and the Atlanta Falcons.

No longe rthe JailBlazers, Portland is making noise in the Pacific Northwest. Hangin With Mr Koopa examines how the Blazers went from the disaster the followed the 2002 team to this.

A nice voice of reason comes from Sports Over-reactions. The blog says the knee-jerk postseason predictions for the Yankees are a bit, well, on the overreaction side. I agree wholeheartedly and will happily take the field vs. the Yanks.

Klick of the Day


JibJab's 2008 rewind video

Posted on: December 3, 2008 11:32 am
Edited on: December 3, 2008 11:45 am

What if the Wiz had never traded Devin Harris?

Sometimes it's fun to rewrite history.

Just ask Oliver Stone.

So what if the Wizards had never traded Devin Harris to the Mavericks for Antawn Jamison?Devin Harris

How would the Wizards have fared since 2004 and how would they be right now? It's anybody guess what would have been, but what could be?

That's an attractive proposition.

A true point guard in a town that hasn't had one since Rod Strickland left during the 2000-'01 season?

A lineup of Harris, Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, insert PF here, and JaVale McGee?

Taking away Antawn Jamison is almost heretical. He's been the one rock in a lineup full of shredded ligaments and cartilage since the team acquired him. He's a solid citizen, a tremendous teammate and a heckuva offensive player.

But he's a small forward in a power forward's body, and hardly a rare commodity in today's basketball marketplace.

An electrifying point guard, meanwhile, is tough to come by.

A Devin Harris-powered Wizards could have a completely different consistency to them. It would free up Arenas to play more off the ball, if he ever gets healthy, and give the team the one thing it most sorely needs -- a ball distributer.

It also would have given the Wizards the opportunity to part ways with Arenas, which until the team gets the star on the court, seems more and more attractive considering the crop of free agents in two seasons.While it's hard to, and unfair to condemn the injured, it just feels like locking up Arenas for what the Wizards did was a crippling move. It seemed more like the Knicks locking Allan Houston in the late '90s than it did the T-Wolves locking up Kevin Garnett. Arenas is a tremendous player when healthy, but so much of what he does relies on his knees. And those knees are in serious jeopardy of never being fully healthy. Had the Wizards been in control of Devin Harris, the pressure may not have been there to sign Arenas and the team could have enjoyed cap flexibility over the next half dozen years. Particularly as someone like Carmelo Anthony, a Baltimore native, enters the free-agent market.

It's always easy to go back and muddle with history. But with each passing game it seems like the Wizards did the cardinal sin in basketball -- traded away a young point guard for an aging star forward. 

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around 

Under interim coach Ed Tapscott the Wizards are 2-2 including last night's win over the Nets. Sports breaks down how the team is different with Easy Ed at the helm.

There once was a time in New York when Plaxico Burress was just a tall, gifted wide receiver not meeting his potential. The Blue Streak remembers the way the city was when the Michigan State product came via Pittsburgh as the potential pass-catching savior for the franchise.

The Wizards, again on the mind of our bloggers, are the subject of The Truth is bout to be told. With a little help from "that Space Jam water" the team rallies in the second half last night to beat Devin Harris and the Nets.

The Rockets went 1-2 last week, which was unacceptable for Houston Rockets '08-'09. Like every season, it's a matter of staying healthy for Rick Adelman's club.

Klick of the Day 

A Plaxico Burress Story

Posted on: January 15, 2008 1:12 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2008 5:35 pm

Are the Wiz better without Arenas?

The Wizards own a team (move over Bobcats). And it's the best team in all of basketball. The team with the Big 3 (ahem). The team with the coach named Doc and the GM named Danny. Yes, the Wizards are responsible for 33.3 percent of the Celtics' losses.

Last night's 88-83 win AT BOSTON wasn't supposed to happen. The C's were supposed to correct the aberration that was Saturday night's 85-78 loss in Chinatown. But Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and the second-best center in the East, Brendan Haywood (that sounds odd, but the numbers say he's not-so-bad, which is all you need to be in the East).

WashPost's Michael Lee shares his take in his gamer:

"If the first time was improbable, the second time was incredible."

This team is 17-11 without Gilbert Arenas in the lineup with three quality wins over Dallas and now Boston twice.

So, uh, could they be better without Gil?

DeShawn Stevenson's take:

"We're getting there," Stevenson said in the Post. "It's taking time, but we're getting there at our own pace. We believe in each other at the right time. We doing all this without Gilbert. Imagine if we had him."

I'm going to Imagination Land.

I'm back.

Here's what I imagined:

If the Wizards never had Gilbert Arenas they wouldn't be where they are now -- a perennial winner in the East.

But maybe this is one of those additions by subtractions. An instance where the team is more of a team than just the Big 3 of Gil, Jamison and Caron. Everybody HAS to get involved for them to win. There's no more relying on Gilbert to save the day in the final 4 minutes. Roger Mason has to contribute. Haywood has to be fed the ball. Antonio Daniels does have to pass the ball better (the team has only lost once since Dec. 1 when he dishes more than four times) and Andray Blatche has to rebound (they rarely lose when he pulls down five or more boards).

I don't think this recipe could last a full 82 games with the current personnel. But if Gilbert does leave and the team fills his shoes with a capable scorer, say a Monta Ellis, this team may be better off in the long haul without a true NBA superstar.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com