There is an odd atmosphere around the Washington Wizards this off-season. An atmosphere not felt just among the ball club but also by the local and national media as well as with the fans. It’s not a sensation often felt by a D.C sports club, a sensation that can best be described as silent confidence.
With the under the radar reports that the one-time man of the city, Gilbert Arenas, may finally be healthy again, apprehensive fans are starting to subconsciously get their hopes up once again.
Hope is a feeling that has not been kind to Washington basketball fans for a long time.
In the 1980’s the club was able to put together a mediocre squad for the good part of the decade, reaching and losing in the first round of the Eastern Conference First Round five years in a row (1983-1988). However the club was hardly anything to hope about, the team had a winning percentage of only .473 with a 194-216.
After the club stormed into the post-season, they took out another youthful club in the Chicago Bulls. The team’s season would end in the next round by the hands of Dwayne Wade and Shaq with the Miami Heat.
Hope continued to build however as the team acquired Caron Butler and boasted a talented trio dubbed ‘the big three’ by most of the league. But between Lebron James travels, and Gilbert Arenas knee surgeries, the Wizards failed to make it out of the first round for three consecutive seasons, while last year of course going an abysmal 19-63.
Things are changing however, and Wizards fans are silently turning their heads and whispering to one another. No one wants to say it, but this could be the best Wizards team in decades.
Still in tact is the big three, Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Antawn Jameson. Now joining them however will be proven veterans Mike Miller and Randy Foye. These two players have been scorers their entire career and will provide much needed scoring depth. The Wizards up and comers are poised to break out too. For the last three years Andray Blatche and Nick Young have shown slow developing promise that many think will blossom this year. Last year’s athletic rookies, Dominic Mcguire and JaVale McGee now have a year of experience under their belt and hope to be forces defensively.
Leading the club now is new head coach Flip Saunders. Saunders of course if a veteran coach who has vast playoff experience, and unlike Eddie Jordan, may institute some defensive reliability.
The pieces are in place, the table is set, and hopefully the knee is healed. If it is, watch out Orlando, watch out Boston, and (insert expletive) Cleveland.