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Fight for Old DC is a blog covering all sports in and around the District. Main focus will be on the Capitals, Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, United, and Hokies (I know they aren't DC, but it's my alma mater). Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2009-2010 Wizards Preview

So I've kept the Wizards chatter to a minimum, mostly because there hasn't been a ton to talk about with Gilbert's recent "silence." Of course the beginning of football season paired with hockey has taken a little away from the Wiz hype as well. Maybe I'd be more excited if they were the Bullets again. At any rate, the season is now a week away, and with a Redskin/Hokie/Capital bye week, why not give the Bullets their love? Here are some major questions facing the Wizards this season and some things to watch for:
  • will Flip Saunders manage the egos and playing time of this roster? As some people have noted, the Wiz are basically a collection of swingmen and scorers, so who gets the minutes? Will Mike Miller become a starter or stay a sixth man? What about "defensive minded" resident psycho DeShawn Stevenson? Will he and his neck tattoos see slashed minutes this season? Will he be able to push Randy Foye and Andray Blatche to their potential productivity? All of these are big questions entering the season with Flip at the helm.
  • Depth...speaking of roster management, last season saw Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Dominic McGuire, and Blatche gain some experience with significant injuries. How valuable that experience was comes in to question when you consider that those guys were playing for a lame-duck coach and didn't show a ton of progress as the season slogged on. Will these guys be able to fight their way into a regular rotation, or will they give up their minutes easily to Foye and Miller? Each of these guys is under 25, and the competition has to be helpful for a team that seemed a bit complacent before all the injuries set in.
  • Consistency...can the Wizards remember how to win right out of the gate or will they stumble. Once they figure it out, can they maintain a high level of play? Everyone seems to think that they're a lock to be the NBA's most improved team this season, but how they respond to being kicked around for the entire 2008-2009 season will be a story to watch. If they can establish consistency against bad teams (something they couldn't do last year), as well as grab a few pelts from the Bostons, Clevelands and Orlandos of the world, it could be a good season.
The biggest story of the season will easily be the Arenas/Haywood recovery process. How will they perform? Will their presence, plus solid coaching from Saunders allow them to challenge the elite teams in the East, or will their talent alone carry them to a low seed in the conference? Overall, I have to think the season will go somewhere in between. You have to think that the "big three" of Caron, Gilbert and Antawn (considering injury) have lost at least a step since their heyday a few years ago, so it's hard to expect any more than a 4-5 seed in the East. However, while they might not be as good, it seems that the depth (and overall youth) has improved as a result of decent drafting and dealing. Will that be enough to be the best of the non-elite in the East? I think so. I think the best case scenario is for the Wiz to challenge a 50 win season, while the worst is another injury plagued year where they struggle to hit 35. I believe with their talent, they should fall somewhere in between. I'll go with the high side and make my prediction for the season:

44-38, 5th in the Eastern Conference, lose in Eastern Conference Semifinals

1 comment:

tdbowles said...

great analysis of the wiz. i personally think that they will hit the 50 game mark especially since i don't have a very high opinion of Cleveland (both objectively and subjectively). i see the starting five being explosive offensively and possibly good defensively while the bench could be both solid offensively with Oberto, Stevenson, Foye, Young Blache and McGee providing scoring and rebounding. conference semi-finals is a realistic expectation, but i an hopeful that we can be the ORlando of last year.