The Future of the Washington Wizards' Point Guards

Shaun AhmadSenior Analyst IJanuary 23, 2009

There comes a point in time for every franchise in every sport where decisions have to be made about the future. 

For some, those decisions are made in a short span of time as they gear up for more important things like the postseason or a championship.  But for the 2008-2009 Washington Wizards, like many others, that time is in great supply.

While they may be in a battle with regard to their record, it’s not the fight you want to be in.  The Wizards are looking to not finish last in the league as far as the win column goes.  Quite the contrast from last season. 

Over the next several days, I will take a look at each position on the Wizards' roster and analyze who should stay, who should go, and the like.  Today, we start with arguably the most important position on the floor—the position many call the quarterback or the floor general of basketball—the point guard.

Gilbert Arenas

The Good:  There is no question that, when healthy, Gilbert Arenas is among the top 10-15 players in the league.  His ability to get to the basket while providing deep scoring theatrics are nothing short of amazing. 

He has shown he is comfortable with the ball in the closing moments of a game and has delivered when called upon.  On the floor, he has matured and become a leader. 

The Bad: As of late, his biggest knock has been his health.  His second biggest knock has been his salary.  It’s not very often that people remain patient with a player who plays zero minutes all season but makes $14.6 million. 

But even if Arenas is healthy, the consensus is he is not a true point guard.  He doesn’t create for teammates and looks for his own shot too much, often causing teammates to become complacent as they tend to “watch the show." 

Moving Arenas to the shooting guard spot doesn’t really help either because he likes to create off the dribble.  What makes him great also can be seen as a liability—much like Allen Iverson in his Philadelphia, and even Denver days. 

The Ugly…?:  Regardless of how much he costs or how much he controls the ball, one thing is for certain.  Gilbert Arenas has made the Washington Wizards a relevant franchise in the eyes of the public and in the standings.  They have experienced more success with him than without him. 

Though he has areas that he can improve on, he is still a franchise player who when healthy, almost every team in the league would want to sign on for his services. 

Javaris Crittenton

The Good:  He's young and full of potential.  I know Wizards’ fans don’t want to hear that talk anymore because they’ve been burned by it before.

Enter Kwame Brown, Jarvis Hayes, to name a few. 

But Crittenton was touted by many coming out of Georgia Tech as an intelligent, athletic point guard who can defend with the best of them. 

Though defense has not been the motto in Washington for years, Crittenton has shown effort and enthusiasm in his playing time this season, working hard on both sides of the ball. 

It’s too early to tell how good Crittenton will be, but for at least the next two seasons, he is a solid point guard coming off the bench.

The Bad:  His potential could be misleading, as it usually is with young players.  His jump shot is weak, hitting just 40 percent from the field.  He hasn’t shown much offensively and will need to learn to control the ball better.  However, these are all flaws most commonly seen in young guards. 

The Ugly…?: 
The Wizards should keep him around for at least another two seasons just to see how he develops.  Point guards who want to play defense are hard to find, and if Crittenton can find a consistent role on the team, he could be a valuable asset off the bench.

Mike James

The Good:  He can score.  He can run an offense.  He can play the point guard position.  Mike James immediately won over Washington fans (the ones who are still watching games anyway) by showing his versatility on offense. 

He can just as easily get close to double-digit assists as he can score 20-plus points a game.  He is the truest point guard the Wizards have, and if he can mesh with Gilbert Arenas—perhaps at the tail end of this season—Washington might want to keep him around, even despite his $6.2 million dollar tag.

The Bad:  He is pricey for a 33-year-old veteran and his field goal percentage has not been great (just under 39 percent).  Furthermore, he has been pretty inconsistent as of late.

But, what Wizard hasn't been inconsistently lately?

The Ugly…?:  This is a tough one.  It all depends on how he gets along with Arenas, who obviously is not going anywhere.  If James can be the point guard that Washington needs in running the floor and feeding Arenas while also providing an alternative shooting option, then he should be kept around. 

However, if he is going to come off the bench behind Arenas and do nothing but gun from deep, then his salary is clearly not worth it. 

Next:  Shooting Guards

Shaun Ahmad covers the Washington Wizards for