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Washington Wizards Plagued by Turnovers and Inconsistency

Matthew Brown@mlb923Correspondent INovember 7, 2009

The Washington Wizards were supposed to be the surprise team of the NBA this season, but after double-digit losses against the Cavaliers, Hawks, and Pacers, there is no surprise left.

Injuries are once again the biggest obstacle the Wizards have had to overcome. The veteran presence and excellent production of Antawn Jamison has been sorely missed, and the recent injuries to Mike Miller and Caron Butler have complicated the starting rotation.

Almost everything that could go wrong for the Wizards has.

In their losses against Cleveland, Indiana, and Atlanta, the Wizards lacked scoring from their key players.

Gilbert Arenas shouldered the scoring load against the Cavs and Hawks, but only chipped in 13 against the Pacers. Andray Blatche's hot start has cooled significantly, and he looks like the same player from last year.

How is a team that can't stay healthy or hold opponents to reasonable shooting numbers supposed to make a run at the playoffs?

Head coach Flip Saunders said, "We didn't play hard or with intelligence. Whenever we try to just play, we don't play very good."

The Wizards have looked great in their wins and awful in their losses. They had a close game against Miami, but Dwayne Wade shredded the Wizards for 41 points and a game-winner.

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In their big win over New Jersey, they allowed second year guard Chris Douglas-Roberts to score a career-high 25 points.

The Wizards show no signs of being a defensive team. They are as bad at defense as they are at holding on to the ball.

Statistically speaking, the Wizards don't turn the ball over more or less than any other team in the NBA. They average only 14.5 turnovers per game, but those turnovers seem to coincide with the Wizards' shooting woes.

In their last three games, the Wizards have shot under 40 percent from the field and 71.3 percent from the free throw line. Both totals are equal to the worst in the NBA.

The Wizards do not have a go-to guy whom they can ask to put the team on his back for this rough patch.

Jamison would have been that guy, but he is out. Arenas has shown flashes of his former ability, but doesn't seem to have it every night. Butler is hurt and hasn't shown ideal aggressiveness on offense.

So many problems to solve, plenty of time to solve them.

In the end, it is going to come down to the veteran players that are healthy right now. Arenas needs to find his stroke and Brendan Haywood needs to balance his rebounding and scoring.

Haywood has been a beast on the boards but hasn't brought it on the offensive end.

Haywood's numbers show vast improvement over his previous totals, which bodes well for the Wizards if he can stay healthy.

He is averaging 11.5 points and 10.8 points per game and provides a quality defensive presence, which was sorely lacking last season.

Haywood's consistency may be the right foundation for Saunders and the Wizards to build upon.

The NBA season is a long one and the Wizards will get their injured players back in due time. Even so, the Wizards need to find a way to win now so they aren't playing catch up for the rest of the season.