Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: Washington Wizards

Poet Lil’ John, most famously known for penning the rhyme “Get Low,” said of the Washington Wizards: “To the window, to John Wall. To the sweat drop down my basketballs.” I believe I heard him correctly, and what I think he was trying to say was that John Wall has arrived, so open your windows and clean off your balls, cause it’s going to get hot in here (sic). The Wizards are coming off what may have been both the worst of times and the best of times. Gone is the gun-toting Javaris Crittenton along with the idea that Gilbert Arenas is a franchise player, and here are the days of two young budding superstars in Wall and Andray Blatche. Damn it feels good to be a Wiz fan (good = OK).


"Excuse me, Mr. Wall, but do you know which way the beach is?"


Arenas has played a grand total of 47 games over the past three seasons. Anyone who thinks that he’s going to be a fantasy bargain this season is in for a Ravishing Rick Rude awakening. Yes, Arenas can score the basketball, shoot threes and pick up close to two steals per game, but he also kills you in oh so many categories. He’s a bulk shooter with a career FG% of 42.6, a bulk free-throw shooter (7.4 attempts per game) who can just barely hit 80% of his attempts, and a pretend point guard who turns the ball over 3.3 times per game. Factor in the health, attitude, and new role with the team (Robin to Wall’s Batman) and you’re looking at a 6th rounder, as far as I can see. The risk is not worth the reward. Again, he’s played in only 47 games over the past three seasons. Remember last year when we all got excited because Arenas was “finally healthy?” Yeah, he still found a way to screw his fantasy owners. (Bitter much, Lorenzo?)

The Wizards re-signed Al Thornton‘s clone, Josh Howard, making both players generally useless from a fantasy perspective. Both are scoring wings with little value to add to a fantasy roster. Howard can rebound the ball well (6.0 per game), but he too has had a tough time staying on the court over the past two seasons. His defense is minimal (1.1 steals) and his FG% has decreased in each of the last five seasons. Factor in the timeshare between these two and you’re looking at a deep-league roster fill in both cases. I do get a little jazzed over Thornton from time-to-time, but just looking at his numbers you can see that he adds nothing more than a 12-15 point-per-game scorer.

Blatche was the second-half performer of the 2009-10 season (sorry, Darren Collison). He averaged 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 48.1% shooting from the floor in 36 starts. Bingo, bango. I would take him in the late-5th if he’s still available. You still worry about his immaturity, but in round five it’s OK to take a shot on a player like Blatche. I promise you. As for Wall I think you’ll get a great bargain on him in the 5th or 6th round. I imiagine he’ll finish as a top 30 player, though I don’t suggest you use a 3rd-round pick to find out. I like JaVale McGee as well. If he can stay out of foul trouble and stay on the court he can be a beast in the middle. Last season his per-36 numbers were quite impressive: 14.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks. The other big who you’ll see come off the board in your draft is Yi Jianlian. If you can sell me on Yi then I’ll say something nice about him. But, in order for me to be sold you have to convince me that he’ll stay healthy enough to play in at least 70 games (something he’s yet to do in his three years in the league). Though I will admit that he does have the ability to give you one 3-pointer, one block, and one steal per game. I just don’t think he’ll be on the court enough to make those numbers matter.

PG – John Wall, Kirk Hinrich
SG – Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young
SF – Al Thornton, Josh Howard
PF – Andray Blatche, Yi Jianlian
C – JaVale McGee, Hilton Armstrong

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