Updated: Oct. 27, 2006, 12:02 PM ET

SPECIAL PREVIEW EDITION
Wizardry to the power of Zero

Wizards

Team Page | Schedule | Roster | Hollinger Stats

Where will the Washington Wizards finish in the Southeast Division and the Eastern Conference? Get 10 different takes from ESPN's NBA experts.

ANALYST COMMENT
Greg
Anthony

ESPN.com
As dangerous as a team as you have in East, because of explosive ability of Gilbert Arenas. The question is defense -- and that's been the focus of the past season and training camp with Eddie Jordan. An improved defense could mean a lot of noise in the postseason.
DIVISION RANK: 2 | CONFERENCE RANK: 6
Chris
Broussard

ESPN Mag
Arenas will be even better than last year, but with 7-footer Andray Blatche being at least a year away from doing anything significant, they won't contend because of a lack of productive big men.
DIVISION RANK: 2 | CONFERENCE RANK: 6
Ric
Bucher

ESPN Mag
Gilbert Arenas believes Team USA booted him because he's not a big enough star. Wrong. It's because he's proving to be the next AI, an incredibly gifted player who makes the game harder, not easier, for his less-talented teammates.
DIVISION RANK: 2 | CONFERENCE RANK: 6
Chad
Ford

ESPN.com
They hovered above .500 the past two years, and nothing much has changed, but the competition is stronger. The combo of Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison probably doesn't have enough juice to get them back to the playoffs.
DIVISION RANK: 3 | CONFERENCE RANK: 9
John
Hollinger

ESPN.com
Am I underestimating them? Perhaps. Will Gilbert Arenas use that as motivation to average 40 and 12 this year? Probably. I just think they relied too much on the Big 3 last year, and I'm unmoved by the additions of Darius Songaila and DeShawn Stevenson.
DIVISION RANK: 3 | CONFERENCE RANK: 10
Scoop
Jackson

ESPN.com
Gilbert Arenas is The Truth (sorry P234). He goes, they go. Will be the squad no one wants to play in April or May. Caron Butler is the key. And maybe some (understatement) work on team defense.
DIVISION RANK: 2 | CONFERENCE RANK: 6
Tim
Legler

ESPN.com
Because of the trio of Arenas, Butler and Jamison, the Wizards will make their third straight playoff appearance. But having no interior threat and an aversion to playing defense will limit their success.
DIVISION RANK: 2 | CONFERENCE RANK: 7
Jim
O'Brien

ESPN.com
Arenas and Jamison are a great duo but another year of subpar defense (25th in field-goal defense last season, and Jared Jeffries gone) will limit them. Eddie Jordan knows this and will focus on changing the culture.
DIVISION RANK: 3 | CONFERENCE RANK: 7
Chris
Sheridan

ESPN.com
The chemistry is lacking, as Antawn Jamison implied in hinting that Gilbert Arenas needs to become a little less selfish on offense. Losing Jared Jeffries and settling for DeShawn Stevenson was a step backward.
DIVISION RANK: 2 | CONFERENCE RANK: 6
Marc
Stein
ESPN.com
The Wiz are still a playoff team and still too small and defensively challenged to crack the East elite. So the story, to me, is more Arenas than ever after his Team USA snub and those haunting missed FTs vs. Cleveland.
DIVISION RANK: 2 | CONFERENCE RANK: 6
 
Average ranks

DIVISION: 2.3 | Standings
CONFERENCE: 6.9 | Standings


Best And Brightest
Arenas
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
His shooting prowess can be blinding. Is this the year Gilbert Arenas makes the jump to the superstar elite?


Lineup Breakdown

STARTERS ANALYSIS
Gilbert Arenas
Point Guard
6-4 | 210
Captain Quirk needs a breather (3,384 minutes topped NBA).
DeShawn Stevenson
Shooting Guard
6-5 | 210
Maybe it's clicking: career bests in FG% and FTA last season.
Caron Butler
Small Forward
6-7 | 228
Range Rover in waiting? Career-high 34.2 percent on 3s; only 120 tries.
Antawn Jamison
Power Forward
6-9 | 235
Happy to run with everyone. Can't stop anyone.
Brendan Haywood
Center
7-0 | 263
Soft heart, hard hands. He's got it all backward
Bench: Jarvis Hayes and Antonio Daniels can ball, but Etan Thomas and Donell Taylor provide no rest for the weary.

ESPN The Magazine's NBA Preview hits newsstands October 25.



Hollinger's Player Spotlight
Jarvis Hayes
Player efficiency rating
projection: 11.61
vs. NBA avg.: -3.39
Wizards profiles
Scouting report: Hayes is a 6-foot-8 swingman who certainly can shoot -- he hit 36.2 percent of his 3-pointers last season and is an 81.7 percent foul shooter for his career.

However, he's more "good" than "great" from outside and doesn't bring much else to the table.

He doesn't have a great first step or elevation, so when he gets in trouble he likes to just take a couple dribbles and then pull up from 18. As percentage moves go, this is a poor one unless you're Larry Bird.

Hayes has good size and strength and decent lateral movement so his defense hasn't been a problem, although that could change depending on his knee recovery. He's more suited to guarding the small forward spot, as his size matches up a bit better.

2006-07 outlook: This is the biggest season of Hayes' career. He's a restricted free agent after the season and will have to prove he's overcome the knee problems for teams to give him a second look.

In the meantime, he has some other demons to fight. He won't be more than a role player unless he can diversify his offensive game away from the long jumpers. Plus, his minutes aren't guaranteed since the Wizards have other wing players to turn to if he struggles.


The Line On Agent Zero
Arenas
David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images
Gilbert Arenas can drive to the hoop or sink the three (36.7 percent). And he's an 82 percent FT shooter ... except on those two fateful freebies vs. the Cavs.


SportsNation Speaks
The Wizards could play better defense. But SportsNation remains excited about a certain guard.

Which word or nickname best describes Gilbert Arenas?
36.1% Amazing
17.3% Eccentric
15.3% The Stealth
13.1% Agent Zero
6.8% Self-centered
6.1% Zero Hero
5.4% Crazy

Vote: Wizards in 2006-07



Ask A Blogger
Wizards

What would it take for you to get a tattoo of the Wizards' logo on your chest?

We would get Wiz logo tats if we could ...

... share a ham with Kevin Duckworth.
... be God Shammgod's MySpace friend.
... get Tyrone Nesby to stop calling our mom.
... trade Ike Austin for Ben Wallace.
... get the relationship between Jerry Stackhouse and G-Wiz recognized by the state of Maryland.
... record the commentary on the "My Giant" DVD.
... find a publisher for "The Devil Wears Fubu", our nonfiction account of Michael Jordan's DC comeback.
... get OUR logo tattooed on the chest of Michael Ruffin, just below the "Fear No Squirrels" one he already has.

Wizznutzz | wizznutzz.com



Coach's Corner

EDDIE JORDAN COACHING FILE
Experience: 5 years
Record: 145-198
Playoffs: 6-10
NBA titles: 0
Coach's profile

For the Wizards to make progress towards a conference finals berth, Eddie Jordan will have to develop some of their young talent.

The X-factor for this team is last year's second-round pick, Andray Blatche, who can someday be an East Coast Boris Diaw. He'll need time and opportunties, as well as a formal education in classes like "defense" and "being a pro." But he has a tremendous amount of talent that could help carry the Wizards to new heights.

David Thorpe, ESPN.com NBA analyst



Hollinger's Team Strength
Off-the-dribble scoring. Nobody plays off the bounce better than the Wizards. Forget the screen-and-roll and don't worry so much about Jordan's Princeton offense; what these guys really want to do is clear out and then go to the rim.

Obviously, the leader of the pack is Arenas. Incredibly quick off the dribble going to either side, his ability to break down defenses at the end of the shot clock gives the Wizards an easy out when their plays break down. His frequent penetration also forces opposing big men to react, clearing room for offensive boards -- one reason the team's offensive rebound rate was well above the league average.

Butler excels off the dribble too, but in a different way. He likes to get his man to start backing up and then pull up from mid-range for a jump shot, and is very effective at shooting 20-footers off the dribble. Of course, he goes to the basket enough to keep defenders honest, and that makes him a tough matchup for opposing wings.

Antonio Daniels is another threat. He annually posts turnover rates that are among the lowest in basketball, which is amazing since he's constantly going to the rim and getting himself to the line. In fact, Daniels' arrival is a huge reason the Wizards' turnover rate declined so much from the year before, as few players are as adept at getting to the line without giving the ball away.

More Hollinger Wizards analysis Insider



Fantasy Fix
Daniels
Daniels

Sleeper: Antonio Daniels had a disappointing debut season in Washington, but he could bounce back to some degree this season. He had his worst field-goal percentage since his rookie season, but he should be better this season, even if he's still a reserve. He's always posted great assist-to-turnover numbers, although they are tempered in Washington with Gilbert Arenas dominating the ball.

Bust: DeShawn Stevenson enjoyed his best season as a pro last season in Orlando, a team with very few offensive options. He joins a Wizards team with most pieces in place already, so his numbers will drop. He's never done any one thing well enough to be a good fantasy option anyway.

Keith Lipscomb | Fantasy Hoops Index



 

Search Arrow