I hate to say it, but we may have just overshot in our expectations with this team. I was as guilty as anyone in thinking that our depth and overall talent would push us into the upper crust this year. But I also, like most everyone else, knew that our lack of frontcourt talent would be what held us back. I just didn't think it would hold us back this much.
I know there are many other things to point to for our struggles right now. Such as..
Arenas is far from the star he was before the initial injury. He used to be in, or at least near, the same league as Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Paul Pierce, etc. I know he says he's "holding back", but I think it's much more than that. I see him passing up shots that he used to take in his sleep, shots he used to RELISH taking. That's no holding back, that's lacking confidence. And it shows in his free throw shooting as well. One good sign is that he seems to be able to move with his trademark quickness, and get to the basket, when he so chooses. So maybe we haven't seen the last of "Agent Zero." Hopefully he just needs a 40 point outburst to boost his confidence.
Butler, to me at least, is a different story. He just looks to me like a completely different player this year. Not only has he morphed into a complete jumpshooter, he too seems to lack confidence. But it's more than that. He is making bad decisions all over the place. Passing up open looks to get a step closer, only to then be challenged. That tells me he has a lack of faith in his shooting ability. But when he drives to the basket, he just seems a step slower than his defender. Also, he is dribbling the air out of the ball on the wings, and pump faking WAY too much.
Our injuries are a legit problem, but they aren't the reason why we are where we are. Given our much - touted depth, we should be able to handle the (short term) loss of any player other than Haywood. So I refuse to use injuries as an excuse this year. The simple fact is that our "depth" has not been playing as good as we envisioned. I know my thoughts on Foye are not popular, but I stick by them. I'm not saying he is a bad player. I just don't think his talent is the right fit for this team. Sure, he's underachieved, but I think he's the type of player that needs major minutes to make an impact, and he just won't get them here.
Now, there ARE a few bright spots to garner optimism....
Brendan Haywood is playing terrific. I will be the first to admit that I had long lost faith in him. But I will also admit that I have a true affinity for big guys who "play big", and Haywood is doing that heaps this year. No, he is not going ot beat you with his athleticism, but he IS beating guys with his length, strength, and smarts right now. Personally, and I NEVER thought I'd say this, but I do believe he deserves to be mentioned in the all star talk. No, I'm not saying that he IS an all star, but he at least deserves to be on the ballot.
Antawn Jamison is playing like, well, Antawn Jamison. Not much to say here. You know what you're going to get from him, and you get it every night.
Andray Blache finally seems to have "gotten it." He does what he's supposed to, which is what is needed of your most versatile player. Whether it be 20-10 as a starter, solid post defense, or a spark off the bench, he has become a "glue guy."
Now, for the rest of the young'uns..
I said last week I thought Nick Young should get more playing time. But I didn't think that he would play this well. Right now, in my opinion, he is our best perimeter player on offense. Sure, it's only been a few games. But I think every one of those games has been better than any game Butler has had this year, and about as good as any Arenas has had. Not to mention his much improved defense. As I see it, he should be the starter at SG even when Miller comes back. He seems to play much better when starting, and we know that Miller can thrive in either role. Plus, that would open up Miller to play at the 3 more.
While McGee shows every night that he still needs plenty of work (especially on staying out of foul trouble), he also shows every time he goes out there that he will be a vital part of this team at some point in the (hopefully near) future. His athleticism is off the charts, and he will always be in the thoughts of every player thinking about driving the lane against the Wizards. Again, nothing new to most Wizards fans.
Last, there's McGuire. To me, his (limited) opportunities to show off his defense have proven to me that he is the "defensive stopper" Stevenson is SUPPOSED to be. Why Dom doesn't get more time, I just don't get. Players like Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace have always given us fits, and he seems to legitimately be able to lock them down. That foul call on the breakaway last night was frustrating as hell, cuz I think Dom got all ball. He seems to be developing into a reincarnation of Bruce Bowen, and I hope we don't cast him aside like Miami did Bowen.
Sorry, for the length of this. I didn't think I would go on this much. But I think that we have problems that can't be solved with our current roster which, given our cap situation, and the age/money invested in our big three, really sucks. Am I alone here?