Oct 25, 2009

Zards Alards! Who's Number Two?

The Washington Post reported this morning that head coach Flip Saunders "remains guarded about his rotation, refusing to announce his starting shooting guard." Flip, the season starts tomorrow! Make up your mind!

Imagine it's 3 AM and Flip Saunders is still awake in the living room, trying to finish the puzzle he started back in April (by the way, in my family, that is not an implausible timeline for puzzle completion). He's down to his last empty spot, generally the time you discover a piece is missing, freak out, then realize you're sitting on it. But Flip's got the opposite problem. He's got one spot and four pieces left. I don't know who blew it at the puzzle factory, but the point is, he's got to make a choice.

Everyone and their mom assumes that Flip is choosing between Mike Miller and Deshawn Stevenson. But that's boring, and Zards Alards would never dream of denying you, the reader, our take on a hypothetical starting five. So without further ado, a breakdown of what each candidate brings to the table:

Randy Foye


Randy Foye had the best scoring average (16.3 ppg) of the four last season and put up a respectable 4.3 assists per game. He's entering his fourth season in the league, which would suggest he still has room to grow. It's hard to argue he could take that next step coming off the pine. Foye's also been running the point in preseason, which would ostensibly give the Wizards another creator in the backcourt.


Have you watched the preseason? Randy is really, really good at dribbling between his legs. Penetration, not so much. As for taking the next step, things were simpler for him in Minnesota. Growth for Foye on the Wizards won't be increased production, it'll be greater efficiency. He might as well learn that on the bench.

Nick Young


Nick Young is supremely confident. He's confident enough to shoot when the game's on the line. He's confident enough to shoot when Gilbert is calling for the ball. He's confident enough to shoot despite the Big 3 looming over him. Nick Young really likes to shoot and, despite what seemed like strong initial evidence to the contrary, he's pretty good at it. He is also super goofy (note which category that's in) and if you don't separate him, Andray, and Javale, this is what they do with their time.


Despite spending his entire career (two seasons) with the Wiz, Nick is the least proven commodity of the bunch. Perhaps because he's so young, he has yet to exhibit consistent starter quality. Even if he is for real, the starting five don't need another scorer. Antawn and Gilbert get buckets in their sleep, and Caron is lethal in his own right. Put Young on the bench and you've got instant offense.

Deshawn Stevenson


Deshawn Stevenson has excellent facial hair, and has shown a willingness to experiment within that format. He is rumored to have played good defense in the past. Starting Deshawn would indulge every Wizards fan greatest fantasy and turn back the clock to the 06-07 season when, for a brief and shining moment, the Washington Wizards sat atop the Eastern Conference standings. If there's any of that old magic left, this move would capture it.


Everything else. That aforementioned defense? Check the numbers from last season. The Wizards D was consistently awful, but it actually got worse when Deshawn was involved. Also he can't shoot. Or create. And he just had back surgery. Remind us why people think it's him or Miller? Gotta be the neck tats.

Mike Miller


Mike Miller is the best outside shooter of the bunch, the pure 3 point threat these Wizards have never had. He's 6' 8", which would create tremendous defensive flexibility and hopefully take some pressure of the frontcourt on the glass. Miller's unselfish to a fault, which would make Flip's life easier. He's also an excellent passer who could create for others if Gilbert needs a blow or finally decides to fire up the Hibachi.


Mike Miller could be the natural leader of one of the most potent second units in the league. Randy Foye, for one, seems to improve markedly in his presence. Also, if Miller starts, our shooting guard is taller than our small forward, which is embarrassing for everyone involved.

The Envelope Please

Enough idle talk. The NBA is experiencing a statistical revolution and Zards Alards refuses to be left behind. Using our top secret computational statistical analysis (no it does not involve NBA Jam, who have you been talking to?) we've exhaustively broken down the options and arrived at our unassailable conclusion.

In the 2009-2010 NBA season, Zards Alards, after great deliberation, enthusiastically endorses Nick Young as the Washington Wizards starting shooting guard. Yes, the risk is great, but the upside is greater. We firmly believe his hunger will push the Big 3 to new heights while his own game is simultaneously elevated. The time has come. Let the young fella play.

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