DA's Offseason Rank: No. 6
Last season: 19-63, fifth place, Southeast; Did not make Playoffs.
Added: G Randy Foye (trade with Minnesota), F/G Mike Miller (trade with Minnesota), F/C Fabricio Oberto (free agent, San Antonio; one year, $1.9 million), hired coach Flip Saunders
Lost: F/C Darius Songalia (traded to Minnesota), F/C Alexiy Pecherov (traded to Minnesota), C Etan Thomas (traded to Minnesota), reassigned interim head coach Ed Tapscott
The key man: G Gilbert Arenas. Well, duh. The Wizards are a lottery team without him; a second-round team with him. Simple as that.
The skinny: The first time GM Ernie Grunfeld had the fifth pick in D.C., he got Antawn Jamison from Dallas. The Wizards expect they'll do just as well this time after dealing 2009's No. 5 pick to Minnesota for Foye and Miller, who add even more firepower to an already-loaded group. Saunders should be worth a few wins by himself. If Arenas is back to his 2006-'07 form and one of their young bigs develops fast, Washington is a contender in the East.
Washington: "We won 19 games last year. Let's go all-in." Hey, if Boston can do it after winning 24 games, why not these guys?
That said, this isn't quite like landing Garnett and Ray Allen. Washington obtained Mike Miller and Randy Foye from Minnesota and is hoping that Gilbert Arenas can finally shake off two years of knee injuries and become a dominating scorer again. While the Wizards are finding out if this works any better than last season's outfit, or the procession of 40-something-win teams that preceded it, they'll also be paying luxury tax through the nose.
Only one offseason move can allay my cynicism, and that's the hiring of Flip Saunders. Yes, he's had some playoff failures, but the dude wins. Somehow, he'll figure out how to get some competent defense from these guys and teach talented-but-frustrating young 'uns like JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and Nick Young how to play with others. If somehow Arenas can regain his old form, it might all work out spectacularly well.
I bring these up for a couple reasons. First, opinions from national writers are just opinions. They don't have a bias against the Wizards; they just have their own thoughts about how things go. They're informed opinions and people here possess informed opinions. Don't make too much out of the implications of what these guys are saying. Second, get ready for a lot of the "I don't know what they're getting and they're paying a lot for that" angles. There's nothing wrong with those angles because, well, they're true. There's so much that's unknown with this team -- will Gilbert Arenas be okay, will the new guys fit in, will Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison break down, is Brendan Haywood okay, etc. There's just as much reason to be skeptical as there is to be optimistic.
Basically, don't get too defensive if national guys disagree with you. That is, unless their evidence makes no sense, which is not what you can say for either Aldridge or Hollinger.