There's a reason I went to satire earlier today. We've seen this story before. They're the same problems that have been ailing this team all season. The same problems that will resurface at some point later this year unless the roster changes.
No attention to detail. Nobody to do the "little" things every team needs to do to take care of business. Nobody to settle down the masses when things start to go south. No role players willing to fall in line and really sacrifice stats or accolades for the good of the team.
In last night's game, this manifested itself on the glass. Minnesota hung around the rim on every missed shot and nobody really bothered to put a man on anyone. (Which, by the way, should never have happened - the only thing the Timberwolves do well offensively is rebound). The Timberwolves got 19 offensive rebounds in a fast-paced game, which is certainly bad, but it felt worse, probably because when the Wizards did get a rebound, it only came after someone from Minnesota tipped the ball to keep it alive. It wasn't even like one guy in particular killed us - no Timberwolves player had more than four offensive rebounds (Ramon Sessions, of all people!) and nine different players had at least one.
I mostly blame the forwards here. It's truly frustrating to watch Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison either forget to box out or just not even bother. It's as if they expect Brendan Haywood to take care of everything for them. Haywood does all the dirty work, they think, and then they get all the credit. Jamison in particular really pissed me off tonight. He played 40 minutes and had six rebounds. Meanwhile, as he kept sitting there watching the ball, the Timberwolves guys snuck in, pushed him underneath like any good offensive rebounder and rendered him totally useless. Not once did I see Jamison or Butler box anyone out, which is so frustrating because just one game ago, it seemed both had finally realized they need to partake in the little things like everyone else and not just leave them all to Haywood.
Offensively, both Gilbert Arenas and Randy Foye really struggled. Foye in particular seemed to take us out of our offense a lot last night, almost like he was trying to stick it to his old team. Meanwhile, Arenas took 28 shots, most jumpers, despite being hounded by the long Corey Brewer. Again, when things get rough, the individuals on this team take it upon themselves to solve it all. I'm only slightly annoyed at Arenas for this because, well, that's kind of his job. Everyone else, though, really needs to fall in line, and nobody has. Foye in particular has not displayed the ability to blend in at all since he got here. His whole career kind of depends on him doing that.
That's kind of the bottom line. If and when this team is remade, the new GM (because there will be a new GM) is hopefully one who understands the importance of role players and how to separate the ones who can play, but focus on those little things from the ones who just can't play. Teams with guys like that don't lose like this to Minnesota. I'm sorry, it's just the truth.
Four Factors (Bold=very good | Italics=very bad)
Snap Reaction: Ugly, ugly offensive game. The extreme fast pace made the offensive rebounding woes seem better -- 33.3% is high, but not obscene -- but it certainly felt a lot worse. The free throws for Minnesota are also pretty unacceptable, seeing as none of their players except Jonny Flynn are slashers.
Highest individual plus/minus: Nick Young (+2 in 7:36)
Lowest individual plus/minus: Randy Foye (-17 in 32:06)
Best five-man unit: Gilbert Arenas/Randy Foye/Caron Butler/Antawn Jamison/Brendan Haywood (+7 to start the game)
- Worst five-man unit: Gilbert Arenas/Randy Foye/Caron Butler/Antawn Jamison/Fabricio Oberto (-8 right after that in a 2:24 stretch)
Snap Reaction: Two very telling stats here. Young deserves the lions share of the shooting guard minutes at this point, and I'm not sure why he doesn't get them. Oberto also just doesn't have it and really shouldn't be playing anymore. He's too slow to guard anyone, too unable to hold his position on the glass and too offensively-challenged. You have to love his mindset, but he doesn't have the legs. Of course, Flip Saunders said today that Oberto is the team's best post defender. That sound you heard was me throwing up in my mouth.