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Who's going to be the punching bag?

Every team has that one player (or more) that absorb the scorn of the fans as the reason for why the team isn't all they could be. Every team has one, even the happiest Spurs fans can go on a vicious tirade if asked about Jacque Vaughn. No team is safe, especially the Wizards. Last year's champion was Jarvis Hayes, with Michael Ruffin finishing a close second, but they're not going to be back this season so who's going to pick up the slack? It's never easy to know who's going to sink into a season-long slump so let's take a look at who could end up the scapegoat for this year's team and how it could happen.

Gilbert Arenas
Agent Zero finds himself at a crossroads in his career. There's a good chance Arenas takes his game to the next level knowing a fat paycheck is waiting on the other side for him, but let's say the Wizards stumble out of the gates and people start to panic. Then the locker room grumbling starts, players complain about minutes, and the fans and media demand answers. Before you know it, the Wizards are entrenched in lottery land and Gilbert is headed off to a new team. It might sound unlikely right now, but worse endings have taken place. Steve McNair anyone?

Antawn Jamison
If Jamison's body starts to break down (again, unlikely but look at Antoine Walker who's not that much older than Jamison and he's almost fallen off the face of the earth) and his defense doesn't get any better, #4 could face a long season in D.C. Or worse yet, let's say he has a Kirilenko-like loss of his shot this season, if it did happen, it wouldn't be that hard to envision him getting the same treatment that AK-47 is getting in Utah right now.

Brendan Haywood
Definitely the front-runner for the spot as of right now. If he can't settle his disputes with Eddie Jordan or establish himself as the guy down low, the Brenda chants could drive him out of D.C. faster than Adam Archuleta.

DeShawn Stevenson
I for one have never seen anyone fail to live up to expectations after signing a big contract. Never. (Heavy sarcasm) It also isn't going to help that everytime he misses a shot, someone is going to say "Y'know, I bet JCN could've made that."

Darius Songaila
If Pecherov eats up Songaila's mintues, Darius could very well go off on a shoulder scoring frenzy to grab people attention. That in and of itself might not be a bad thing, but it will be if he scores in the wrong basket again.

Andray Blatche
I'm sure opposing fans won't try to damage his ego by bringing up his run-in with the law this off-season. But if it does happen and Andray loses all of his confidence, Grunfeld could trade him for another future All-Star. Hey, if he could do it with Kwame, he could do it again. Worse trades have happened.

Antonio Daniels
You can be sure as soon as AD committs a turnover someone's going to talk about how he should've been traded, and if he has a lot of turnovers this season...well, you'll probably hear it a whole lot more.

Nick Young
Considering the Wizards lack of success with draft picks over most of their history, I can't envision many fans being thrilled if he struggles early, especially if McGuire outperforms him.

Eddie Jordan
Jordan's still in the honeymoon period with most fans just for getting the Wizards to the playoffs the last 3 years but if he can't get the honeymoon cruise ship headed to a new location (as in, the second round) the captain might find himself the victim of a mutiny.

Ernie Grunfeld
I don't think there are any Wizards fans that have any problems with what Grunfeld has done as GM of the Wizards as of yet. Things could change very quickly if Navarro goes for 20 points per game and gets Memphis back in the playoff hunt.