Analyzing the Disappointing Teams Part I: Washington Wizards

Just like I did with some of the league’s surprise teams, I will now analyze each of the teams in the league I consider to be the most disappointing. The first team I’ll be looking at is the Washington Wizards. The Wizards have the second worst record in the NBA and the worst in the Eastern Conference.

Just like in years past, they have struggled on defense. Washington is currently ranked 28th in the league in defensive efficiency. They do a decent job of not fouling their opponent and they also do a good job of creating turnovers. However, they give up the highest field goal percentage in the NBA and are the second worst defensive rebounding team.

The problem this year is the offense. Normally the Wizards score enough points to make up for this porous defense, but this year their offensive efficiency is 25th in the NBA. Surprisingly, despite not being a good defensive rebounding team, they are good at grabbing offensive boards. However, besides getting to the free throw line, they struggle at the most important thing for having a good offense: shooting percentage. In a nutshell, Washington loses a lot of games because their opponents consistently outshoot them.

What has caused these struggles? Injuries are the main culprit. Everyone knows about the injury to Gilbert Arenas, and that should not be understated. Agent Zero was the workhorse for the offense, and he was able to create a lot of shots while at the same time being an efficient player. Without Arenas, teams have been able to focus on Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. Those two have played pretty well, but they’re not good enough to win games without any support.

Besides Arenas, an important injury has been the loss of Brendan Haywood. I’ve written about how good he is in the past and this season’s struggles for Washington have only confirmed my beliefs. Haywood’s not perfect by any measure, but he’s got size and bangs on both ends of the court. Perhaps even more importantly, the Wizards have nobody else that can play center well. JaVale McGee has been ok, but he’s just a rookie. Etan Thomas has been horrific (he has the lowest Defensive Composite Score of the entire league). Andray Blatche has been Washington’s best big man but he’s not exactly huge.

The Wizards just seem to have all the wrong types of players. They have guys that are athletic and look like they could be great players, but they just aren’t. They’re inefficient on offense and ineffective on defense. I don’t want to bash them too much because the team is still young and there have been many worse teams in the past. In addition, Butler would be a star on most other teams.

I’m not a proponent of tanking and I think teams should try their hardest all the way to the last minute of the last game. But if any team was going to consider it as an option, Washington might be it.

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