2008-09 RecapRecord: 19-63 (.439)
- Fifth in Southeast Division
- Last in Eastern Conference
What Went Wrong: Washington stumbled out of the gate and never got up. Coach Eddie Jordan was fired with the team at 1-10, with Ed Tapscott taking over on an interim basis. But with no Arenas, no Haywood (just five games played all year) and with Stevenson and Butler missing extended stretches, the Wizards just didn't have the talent to compete most nights.
Adding insult to injury -- despite having the NBA's second-worst record (their 19-63 tied the Clippers for next-to-last in the league; only Sacramento, at 17-65, was worse), the Wizards fell to fifth in the Draft Lottery.
Offseason MovesKey Additions: Mike Miller, Randy Foye (trade - Timberwolves), Fabricio Oberto (free agent)
Key Subtractions: Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila, Oleksiy Pecherov (trade - Timberwolves)
The Wizards took a calculated risk in the offseason, trading away the fifth overall pick in the draft and some dead weight in return for some quality depth. For now, it seems like a solid gamble -- Minnesota used the pick on Ricky Rubio, who will be playing in Spain for the next two seasons, while the Wizards got backcourt depth and one of the NBA's top long-range shooters in the form of Foye and Miller.
2009-10 OutlookWhen all their key players are healthy, this team will be a nightmare to guard. Arenas was one of the top scorers in the league, but repeated knee surgeries have sidelined him for the bulk of the last two seasons. Butler is one of the better all-around wings in the league, but is injury prone; in the last three seasons he's played 63, 58 and 67 games. Jamison is a near-automatic 20-and-9, and has played 68 or more games every year of his career -- including four seasons when he played all 82. Next to his teammates, he's Lou Gehrig.
But as they say in all the financial commercials, past performance does not guarantee future results. Jamison will miss the remainder of the postseason after partially dislocating his shoulder; at this point it's unclear if he'll miss any regular-season time.
Not that the preseason is unimportant -- for a team adjusting to a new coach and several new players, time on the practice court is crucial. Veteran coach Flip Saunders -- best known as Kevin Garnett's coach in Minnesota and for his run with the Pistons -- takes over in Washington this season. Saunders isn't the type to try and make his players fit into his system -- he's expected to play to the strength of his roster, and that will mean a high-powered offense.
The new arrivals -- particularly Foye and Miller -- give Saunders something the Wizards haven't had much of in recent years: depth. Assuming everyone's healthy, the two ex-Wolves could be used to give some real scoring punch to the second unit.