The Washington Wizards have once again been hit hard by injuries. Gilbert Arenas has missed 57 games this season. Caron Butler has missed 20 games. Etan Thomas has yet to step on the court. So you take out the team's (arguably) best player, and a solid role player for most of the season. Then you take out their second best player for a good chunk of the season as well.
What would you expect to happen? The team to finish on the outside looking in, probably. But the Wizards have found a way to hang on, granted in the weak East. They now stand at 33-32, breathing a collective sigh of relief since regaining Caron Butler.
But these injuries may have been a good thing. The Wizards are most likely going to make the playoffs. If they remain in the 6th seed and Orlando stays at the 3rd seed, the Wizards could sneak past the first round.
Eddie Jordan has done wonders considering what he's been given. He's been helped tremendously thanks to a career season from Brendan Haywood, veteran leadership from Antonio Daniels, and a "carry the team on my back" mentality from Antawn Jamison.
But most importantly, the bench has really stepped up. The young players have gained invaluable experience due to the key injuries on this team. Roger Mason has found his role on the team as a 3 point sharpshooter. Andray Blatche has come off the bench as the backup center to provide a spark on the defensive end, gathering 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in just 21 minutes. Darius Songaila provides some grit and tough defense. Nick Young has started to find his groove as an explosive scorer off the bench, recently scoring a career high 22 points against the Cavaliers, and averaging 13.4 points over the last 5 games.
The experience these young players have gained will prove to be vital come playoff time. The veterans and young guys will come together and take this team past the first round. Sometimes it goes to show, it takes a bad situation, for a great situation to arise.
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