Monday, December 22, 2008

The Real Washington Wizards: An Interview with Truth About It

With a win last night in the Nation's capital, the Mavericks are back on track, sitting at 15-11 and only a half game behind both Phoenix and Utah. After the game, we caught up with Truth About It, a Washington Wizards blog, and exchanged some questions. You can view our interview with them here. Below is the Q&A session we had with him:

1) What has been the biggest problem with the Wizards this season?

To start the season, it was the defense and the absence of Brendan Haywood. The Wizards gave up a ton of threes last year (led the league in most allowed, 683, and tied the best opponent 3P%, .386), and that trend continues this year. But without Haywood patrolling the paint, the Wizards have had to pack their match-up zone closer to the hoop, allowing for copious amounts of free ball movement around the perimeter.

Lately, the Wizards have struggled mightily on offense in crunch time. There is no one like a Gilbert Arenas to take the focus off Caron Butler or Antawn Jamison, and when teams concentrate their defense on those two, no one else has been stepping up to put points on the board.

Combine those two factors and you easily arrive at the conclusion of a 4-21 record.

2) I noticed that the Wizards are 0-8 in games decided by 7 or less points this season, is this a coaching problem or a personnel problem?

See above, or this post: Wizards-Sixers Game 24 Recap: Losing A Clutch Mentality, for more on the Wizards and close game failure.

As far as the coaching thing, the firing of Eddie Jordan is looking more and more like a bad idea. His replacement, Ed Tapscott, previously director of player development, and whose only prior head coaching experience includes an 8-year stint at American University in the 80s, is not really an Xs and Os guy. Heck, he's been having the 31-year old Wes Unseld, Jr. draw up crunch time plays in the me unimpressed.

3) How much is Gilbert Arenas missed? With him being gone so long, is he still considered the building block of the franchise or do you think the front office has moved on?

Gilbert Arenas is missed a ton, and some may make the case that considering the results from last season to this season, both sans Agent Zero for the most part, the Wizards miss Brendan Haywood even more....but that's neither here nor there.

Thing is, with signing Arenas to a 6-year, $111 million contract over the summer, he is kinda stuck in the "franchise player" role. And...I'm fine with that. I have hope that he can come back as the old Gilbert, but if not.....well, that's what we call the 'Curse O' Les Boulez' in DC.

4) What improvements do Washington need to make to get back into playoff contention?

Pray to the gods of health from every religion in the world.

And the children, somebody has to think about the children.....the Wiz have a ton of promising youth: Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Nick Young, Dominic McGuire. These guys really need to develop. Blatche a versatile 6'11" big (think poor man's Garnett/ wait, change 'poor man' to 'junkie') and is in his 4th year. He was horrendously disappointing in the early going, but has come along lately. Young and McGuire, both sophomores, have the potential to be an elite scorer and glue guy/perfect role player respectively. And McGee: 7'1" with no shoes, 7'6" wing span, sick hops, some 3-point range on his jumper, mom was a WNBA player.....the kid just needs to get some strength and more instinct and he will be more that alright.

5) _______ is the best player five years from now.

JaVale McGee.

Thanks again to Truth About it, and good luck to the Wizards.


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