Over the past 3 years, 2 things have constantly given the D.C. sports scene a black eye: The Wizards' defense, and the Washington Nationals. The Wizards have finished 22nd, 28th, and 24th in defensive rating in the last 3 years, respectively. Meanwhile, the Nationals have finished 71-91, 73-89, and 59-102 in that same span. Not exactly the kind of stuff you'll see advertised by the Washington tourism agency.
We won't be able to see if the Nationals can improve until next April, but the Wizards' D has a chance for redemption starting in about a month. Can they begin to restore some pride in the nation's capital? That's the subject of this week's poll. Your question to ponder is, which percentage will be lower: The Nationals' winning percentage in the season they just finished, or the 3 point percentage given up by Wizards this upcoming season?
Before you vote, here are a few things to consider carefully:
- A record of 59-102 comes out to a winning percentage of .366 for the Nats.
- The Wizards have allowed three point percentages of .357, .377, .386 from beyond the arc in the last 3 years. Certainly not the trend that you'd like to see from your defense, but in training camp Ivan has liked what he's seen defensively in training camp.
- If they want to beat the Nats, the Wizards would have to improve by at least .021 this season. For reference, .021 is the gap between being the 2nd best 3 point defense in the NBA and the 8th best 3 point defense in the NBA (Bonus points to anyone that can identify the 8th best 3 point defense in the NBA, you might be surprised).
- To look at it another way, .021 is difference between being the Nationals and the Padres (who finished 63-99). It's just slightly larger than the gap that separated the Rays and Red Sox in AL East standings.
Personally, I think the future is bright for the Wizards' defense and for the Nationals. Another year in Ayers' system and the emergence of Dominic McGuire (and maybe Andray?) as defensive stoppers should go a long way in making the Wizards better defensively. The Nationals have some promising signs as well, they've got the top pick in next year's draft, 3 players you can build around in Ryan Zimmerman, Lastings Milledge, and Elijah Dukes, plus an up-and-coming pitcher that should make the team really dangerous next year. I'd say he's a can't-miss prospect.