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Michael Lee: 2006/07 Wizards=2001/02 Bucks

The Wizards late-season collapse may seem unprecedented, but by labeling it as such, we often forget that there have been other similar slumps throughout NBA history.

Over at the Wizards Insider blog, Michael Lee makes an interesting and somewhat eerie comparison between this Wizards team and the 2001/2002 Milwaukee Bucks, who went from first place to out of the playoffs with a similar late-season swoon.

The common links with both teams: They had explosive, high-scoring offenses, non-existent defenses and Ernie Grunfeld was the general manager.

The Wizards can blame their increible plunge to season-ending injuries to Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas. The Bucks blamed alleged chemistry-killer Anthony Mason (although there were other issues involving selfish play).

But this is hardly a crazy coincidence, according to Lee.

But the most troubling aspect of the Bucks' breakdown was that by the start of the 2003-04 season, Grunfeld was general manager of the Wizards, Allen was the starting shooting guard for Seattle, Robinson was the starting small forward in Atlanta and Cassell was the starting point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves. From Big Three to Zero in one season.

What does this mean for the Wizards? Nothing more than it proves the point that the window to be a legitimate competition in the NBA isn't open very long - and this will probably be the most important summer for the franchise in decades.

Now that's scary to think about.  Antawn Jamison will be a free agent after next season, and Gilbert Arenas has an opt-out clause then if he wishes to use it.  Needless to say, it's going to be extremely important for the Wizards to be smart this offseason while still putting out a conference-contending team.