Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hardwood Paroxysm Playoff Preview: Washington Wizards

It's hard to keep track of everything you need to know about all the teams in the playoffs. So we thought we'd do a quick and dirty playoff preview with our favorite bloggers. We asked a simple 20 Question survey to bloggers from all of the playoff teams, and got responses back from most of them. We begin our playoff previews with the Washington Wizards, with responses from Pradamaster of Bullets Forever and Truth About It Dot Net.







Starting off is Pradamaster from Bullets Forever:
1. Team Name: Washington Wizards
2. Biggest Star: Gilbert Arenas, technically. More accurately, it's probably Caron Butler, though Oleksiy Pecherov has a strong case.
3. Playoff Seed: 5th Seed.
4. Mascot's Name: G-Wiz and G-Man.
5. Best player: Tossup between Caron and Antawn Jamison. Jamison's outstanding season has gone unnoticed, but it's pretty incredible how he's improved his defense and rebounding at age 31.
6. Most important player: Again, tossup between Caron and Antawn. Antawn is the team's best rebounder, inside scorer, and leader, while Butler is the best passer and scorer (sans Arenas) while also playing a position nobody else on the team plays (except for Dominic McGuire).
7. Better at zone or man: *Neither. The Wizards play a hybrid man-to-man/zone defense that involves every single player sinking below the foul line as soon as an offensive player even takes a baby step into the lane. If this were still 1994, the Wizards would be called for more illegal defenses than any other team in basketball. In fact, I wish the rule still was there, because maybe they'd change their ways when their defense results in millions of technical fouls.
8. Grade your offense going into the playoffs: A-
9. Grade your defense going into the playoffs: D+, and it's been struggling even before Gilbert came back.
10. Worst player: Etan Thomas.
11. Glue guy: Everyone says DeShawn Stevenson, but it's really Brendan Haywood. The amount of defensive work he does for this team is really unfair. If only he could play on a team where guards could control dribble penetration.
12. Five words to describe the team heading into the playoffs: Dangerous, lacking defense and continuity.
13. Best-case scenario: Beat Cleveland, because Cleveland is reeling, and get destroyed by the Celtics.
14. Worst case scenario: Lose four straight games by a combined six points, with LeBron playing a role in every game-winning shot. In other words, a repeat of 2006.
15. First player that comes to mind, "Thunder": Caron Butler.
16. First player that comes to mind, "Twinkie": Nick Young. Put on some weight and drive to the basket,
17. Current emotion you feel about this team: I don't have an emotion. I have no idea what to think or expect from this team right now. Nothing would surprise me.
18. Team you don't want to see in the next two months: Orlando. Please not Orlando. They're the best three-point shooting team in the Eastern Conference, and the Wizards defend the three-point line like the Minutemen defended Lexington in the Revolutionary War.
19. Team you want to see in the next two months: Cleveland, because they're a one-man team, aren't shooting threes well (unless Damon Jones gets off the bench), have no real inside presence except for Big Z (who Haywood always defends well), and aren't playing defense at a level that's anywhere close to last year.
20. What food best describes this team?: Really, really spicy chicken. It tastes great, until you put it in your mouth and your mouth burns.

And from Truth About It Dot Net:
1. Team Name: Washington Wizards.
2. Biggest Star:
Gilbert Arenas (replace 'star' with 'ham')

3. Playoff Seed:
(I'll fill this in).
4. Mascot's Name: G-Wiz - Yup, he pretty much sucks, but at least he's performed in Holland. Real Bullets fans know that G-Wiz pales in comparison to Hoops.
5. Best player: Caron Butler aka Tuff Juice....opening cans at both ends.
6. Most important player: Brendan Haywood - If he can anchor the interior D, the Wiz may surprise.
7. Better at zone or man: Randy Ayers has implemented a functional zone this season....Assistant of the Year.
8. Grade your offense going into the playoffs: B+ (very inconsistent though....A- some nights, C+ some nights - but they've been without Gilbert for most of the season).
9. Grade your defense going into the playoffs: C- (part of defense is keeping the opponent off the offensive boards - the Wiz could also stand to guard the 3-point line too).
10. Worst player: This is a tough one because I see genuine promise in each player on the Wizards' roster (Ernie Grunfeld is a helluva GM) - so, I'll change this one to the Wizard who could use the most improvement: Dominic McGuire - the rookie has a ton of energy (what's that called? -- a good motor?) in his ability to block shots and get rebounds (D-Mac can jump out the gym) -- but his offensive game could use a lot of refinement.
11. Glue guy: #1 Darius Songaila - the team can actually feed off his hustle swag. #2 would be Antonio Daniels - he shows veteran moxie off the bench or in the starting line-up.
12. Five words to describe the team heading into the playoffs: Ready To Kinda Sorta Rule.
13. Best-case scenario: Gut one out in the 1st round, Win a wild game 7 in the 2nd round, Lose in 6 games in the conference finals. (this depends 100% on health)
14. Worst case scenario: Curse O' Les Boulez and a 1st round sweep by Cleveland or Orlando.
15. First player that comes to mind, "Thunder": Antawn Jamison - Mr. 20-10, unconventional offense, rebounds at a much greater rate than his athletic ability, etc., etc.
16. First player that comes to mind, "Twinkie": Nick Young.
17. Current emotion you feel about this team: Cautiously optimistic.
18. Team you don't want to see in the next two months: Don't want to slip to Detroit or Boston.
19. Team you want to see in the next two months: Orlando's inexperience or LeBron's back spasms.
20. What food best describes this team?: Neapolitan ice cream.

Thanks to both of these great bloggers for their contributions.

 
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