There are some things in life that are certainties: The sun will rise in the morning, the Los Angeles Clippers will suck, and Greg Oden will get hurt. Oh yeah, and the Washington Wizards will woefully underachieve.
Every year, it seems, the Wizards are a trendy pick to rise near the top of the Eastern Conference. A few years ago, when Gilbert Arenas was coming into his own and it was easy to be wow’ed by the potential of the Arenas-Antawn Jamison-Caron Butler trio, it was acceptable for people to be enticed by the potential of a young, exciting team.
But it’s now, what?, five or six years later, and it should be clear to anyone and everyone that they will never fulfill their potential. For whatever reason, the Wizards seem destined to continue to fall short of expectations, year after year. Whether it be because they don’t play defense, rely on too many shoot-first players, never stay healthy, or have never rounded out their roster with reliable role players, the Wizards never, ever live up to people’s preseason prognostications.
This season, they were supposed to be much improved. With a “healthy” Gilbert Arenas in tow and Mike Miller and Randy Foye to add depth, the Wiz were supposed to be the league’s most-improved team, and they were supposed to fight for one of the East’s top four seeds. Looking back, it’s hard not to laugh about the preseason predictions. Almost a quarter of the way into the season, the Wizards are 7-12 and look to be lottery-bound. Meanwhile, they are suffering from the same maladies that have long been the cause of their shortcomings, health, selfishness, and lack of cohesion.
Too bad for the Wizards, the Celtics come into Washington tonight, and bring with them an eight-game winning streak. The C’s have looked unbeatable on the road of late, Kevin Garnett is rounding into form, and Kendrick Perkins all of a sudden looks like one of the league’s top center. All that probably spells trouble for Washington, which, according to Antawn Jamison, has got to “make the ball move, be more aggressive going to the basket – too many jumpers. And defensively we’ve got to do a better job with dribble penetration.”
On paper, this looks like a mismatch of epic proportions, but that’s why they play the games. Every dog has his day.
Three things to look for in tonight’s game
- The Celtics frontcourt – It seems like, every game, I say the C’s frontcourt should have their way, and that’s because most nights it’s true. If the Wiz start Antawn Jamison at power forward, Garnett should punish him down low. Especially with the way Garnett is playing, he should have a field day on Jamison, never a good defender.
- Gilbert Arenas – I’m curious to see how Gilbert decides to play in this game. It seems like, some games, he decides to be strictly a scorer and, others, he decides to be strictly a passer. He hasn’t been able to find the right balance to where he can keep his teammates involved but still be a scoring assassin. Plus, I miss him screaming “Hibachi” after big buckets.
- Earl Boykins – If you can see him on the t.v. screen, that is. Boykins is small, but he’s a joy for me to watch play basketball. He’s constantly moving, constantly energetic, and somehow finds a way to score despite being a midget. Also, he bench-presses twice what I do, so I have to say good things about him for fear of getting beat up by someone half my height.