Jan 26, 2012

Second Season

Whatever you think of Flip Saunder's firing, give Ernie Grunfeld this: he certainly timed it right.

Wednesday night the Wizards enjoyed a visit from the Charlotte Bobcats. New head coach Randy Wittman probably enjoyed it the most. The Bobcats were 3-15 when they arrived in the District, having lost to the Knicks (the 6-10 Knicks) by 33 points the night before. They were also without their leading scorer, second leading scorer, and third leading scorer. That's not to say Gerald Henderson, D.J. Augustine, and Corey Maggette would have been the difference (dead cat bounce and all), but imagine us playing without John Wall, Nick Young, and Jordan Crawford. There but for the grace of God.

With a win pretty much in the bag, the discerning fan was less interested in the final (92-75) than the changes Wittman would make. While the easiest game of the year is an admittedly small and biased sample, there were still surprises, disappointments, and encouraging signs.

The biggest surprise was the starting lineup, which was the same one Flip used on opening night, and the same five that got blown out Monday against Philly. Wall-Young-Lewis-Blatche-McGee. For Zards lovers it was a bitter disappointment. Andray will get his own post in the very near future, but for now, let's talk about Rashard. 

There is no reason to start Rashard Lewis at small forward. He's a shooter who can't shoot (39.6% from the field, 22.2% from three), a below average rebounder, a nonexistent passer (0.9 assists per game), and a terrible defender. Rashard is a veteran leader who, just over two weeks ago, had a spat with a coach and then refused to play. On top of all this, he is 32 years old and almost certain to be gone next year. Yet not only does Rashard start, we're giving him 27 minutes a game. That's 27 minutes that should be going to Trevor Booker or Chris Singleton. All of it. 

On the other hand, Randy did find more time for Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphin, another pair of youngsters, and that was a wonderful thing. Thus far the Flying Czech has only seen 12 minutes a game. His numbers haven't been great, but he seems to make things happen in a chaotic sort of way that a fast-breaking team like the Wiz should love. Seraphin (just 22 years old) doesn't get nearly as much attention, but he's a good rebounder and an excellent shot blocker who's been playing only 10 minutes a game. Against Charlotte, Jan got 19 minutes and Kevin saw 22, both near season-highs.

Beautiful chaos

Wittman's probably not going to shake things up too much. As he told the Post, given the lockout-condensed schedule, there's just not time to install a new offense or change the defensive philosophy. But the one thing he can change is who plays and who doesn't. So be smart. The nice thing about being awful, as opposed to just bad, is you're free to think long term. As long as we're going to lose a heap of games, let's find out if the kids can play.

1 comment:

  1. Went to the game last night, got a chance to see the softness of Blatche in person. Even tho he had a very quiet 17 and 10, he was blocked at least 5 times going up to dunk off nice assists. No upper body strength to finish around the rim like a man. Sidenote Tyrus Thomas had 9 blocks that game, probably all on Dray!