Al Harrington arrived in D.C. as the rare veteran that chose a minimum offer in D.C. over any other possibilities. The hope was that he was behind his injury woes that plagued him since 2012 and could temporarily fill the void as a shooting big man off the bench.
In reality, he missed half the season and provided only flashes of any sort of on-court impact. His best work came as an emotional leader, as he was one of the key drivers behind the now-famous November summit that turned the Wizards' season around.
What were our preseason expectations?
There was much optimism that Harrington could provide the Wizards with a useful Stretch 4 that could play key minutes off the bench. There was talk that he'd be the first big man off the bench if his health checked out, for example. Harrington helped fuel optimism by suggesting that he "envisioned himself" on the Wizards while stumbling around in his lost year in Orlando.
How did his performance square with those expectations?
As it turned out, we were asking too much. Harrington was OK for a few games before his knee flared up again. The original prognosis was unclear, but Harrington ended up missing the first half of the season to get right. It felt more like a second rehab than a new injury.
After he returned, he showed flashes the kind of play the Wizards hoped when they signed him. He was a key member of the AARP Unit and had some big games off the bench, including a 12-point second-quarter barrage in a late-season victory over the Pacers. One could argue he was the key member of the group because the threat of his jumper and abiltiy to attack closeouts opened up opportunities for everyone else. Still, he was a situational player that didn't always get significant playing time.
Harrington also became a key voice in the locker room, offering wisdom to the team's younger players when needed. When the Wizards were struggling to pick up the one win needed to clinch a playoff berth, Harrington implored them to have more fun and stop pressing. They blew out the Celtics in the very next game.
How did he step up (or down) in the playoffs?
Harrington was mostly banished to the bench, save for one big performance in Game 4 against the Pacers. He scored 11 points in 23 minutes in that game, helping the Wizards get out to a huge second-quarter lead that they eventually blew.
Otherwise, though, he picked up a number of DNP-CDs as Randy Wittman chose to go with Trevor Booker and Drew Gooden. It's a little surprising that he did not play sooner against the Pacers, but it's also possible that Harrington just didn't have enough left to play even spot minutes.
If he leaves, what will the team miss most?
His leadership. On the court, Harrington was a shell of his old self. Off the court, though, his relentless positive energy helped the Wizards through a number of rough patches. He was a great teammate that surely made an impact in John Wall and Bradley Beal's seasons.
Final grade: C+
Given the noise Harrington made over the summer about being ready to play, it was disappointing that he wasn't able to log consistent rotation minutes. Nevertheless, he avoids a worse grade because he helped the Wizards off the court.