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What's the Opposite of Improvement? Ask The Wizards

Nov 22, 2009 – 12:12 PM
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Tom Ziller

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If I may, for a second, get personal, I would like to announce that I regret one particular post I published over the summer. That would be the piece in which I argued that the Wizards would rise from the injury ashes and be the league's most improved team. We're still early in the season, but believe me, y'all, the Wizards ain't improved anything.

If anything, actually, the Wizards are in worse shape than before! Why? Because last year it was just players sniping at the coaching staff, for the most part -- not much internal player drama. That's not the case right now.

NBA.com's Tim Price checked in with the 'Zards after their bludgeoning at the hands of San Antonio, D.C.'s ninth loss of the season (only two teams have more) and eighth loss in the last nine games. This team was 2-10 at this point last season, and it's 3-9 now. All the while, the payroll has gotten larger, the roster has gotten older and the injury excuses have dried up.

Naturally, some of the players are bristling. Heeeeere's Gilbert Arenas:
When asked about sacrificing his game in order for the team to win, Arenas replied, "I think the only person who actually had to sacrifice is me. Everybody else can just play their game."
What do you think about that, Brendan Haywood?
"It's very frustrating because out talent isn't winning over our egos," Haywood said. "If you normally score 20 and you don't get your 20 but the team wins, who cares? Let's try and win.

"That's what the Celtics do. Paul Pierce can have 12 in the fourth quarter. [But] if they're up, he don't care. That's what we gotta do. Check your ego at the door. Move the ball. Play some defense."
And buuuuuurn. For what it's worth, Flip Saunders promised the rotation will see a change in advance of Tuesday's game. Hopefully, for Wizards fans, that's not just a commentary on the gruesome-sounding calf injury starting two-guard Mike Miller suffered Saturday night. The injury is expected to keep Miller out a few weeks.

Which players could be in trouble? Andray Blatche is on constant demotion alert, as he has been his entire career. Randy Foye started the second half in Miller's stead Saturday, with Nick Young (inactive against the Spurs) lurking behind him. But the question really comes down to Arenas and perhaps Caron Butler, in the end. And it seems pretty unlike Saunders to take as big a risk benching either of those stars would entail.
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