The best thing about John Wall is probably his ability to play basketball really well. But another awesome thing about him, is that his name is John Wall, which makes it really fun to come up with nicknames. Like: John “Off The” Wall, John “Another Brick In The” Wall, John “Wall To” Wall, John Wall-E, “Where’s” John “Walldo” … and those I just came up with as fast as I could type them. You can also check Dime’s commenters’ suggestions.
In my previous team preview (on the Portland Trail Blazers) I talked about depth. The Wizards are pretty much the opposite of that. They have capable players at each position, sure. But when you’re forced to fill Josh Howard’s spot at SF because he might not be ready for the start of the season, and you’re looking at Al Thornton… Well, Big Al’s points per 36 minutes sits at a career average of 15.7. Just to make sure you got that, I was referring to the statistic where you calculate how many points this person would score if given 36 minutes of playing time. And Al Thornton would score 15.7 points. And that’s not even hypothetical. In 2008-09, Al “My Name Does Not Lend Itself To Easy Nicknames” Thornton was given 37 minutes on a Struggling Clippers team (the Struggling part is the place they come from, not an adjective), and scored a whopping 16.8 points. Yessirp. That’s your Washington Wizards SF. You can see why their so keen on their savior “The Pope.”
Washington Wizards Depth Chart
PG: John Wall, Kirk Hinrich
SG: Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young
SF: Al Thornton, Josh Howard
PF: Andray Blatche, Yi Jianlian, Kevin Seraphin
C: JaVale McGee, Hilton Armstrong
Definitely the strongest part of the Wizards roster, if John Wall and Gilbert Arenas can play out the season. The obvious worry for Wall is the Rookie Wall (pun intended), while the worry for Arenas is that he might wrestle a grizzly bear. Arenas is clearly the top of the fantasy chart for the Wizards, and if he plays out a whole season in his old fantasy friendly style (which may be possible with Wall bringing the ball up and drawing attention from defenses), he’s a potential fantasy All Star.
The hardest part of fantasy basketball, though, is guessing whether a player will play 80 games and score 20+ points or whether they’ll only make it through a quarter (or four dimes) of the season. On the one hand, you look at Arenas’ games played for the last 4 years: 74, 13, 2, 32. But then you look at your other hand, and you’re like What the fuck? You’re so worthless! You can’t write or dribble a basketball or anything! But then you realize that your hand is pretty good at typing, so you continue on with thinking about Gilbert Arenas and what he did in the 32 games before his suspension last season, which was: 22 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 threes, and 1.3 steals. If you just saw those stats without the name Gilbert Arenas in the same sentence, you’d probably be like “Those are pretty good stats and I would like those stats on my fantasy basketball team.”
I’ve already made mean comments about Al Thornton’s basketball playing ability, so let’s move on to Josh Howard, Andray Blatche, and Yi Jianlian. Those are some decent to pretty good fantasy candidates, but Howard struggled with the Mavericks last year before being traded to Washington and tearing his ACL. He’ll be out until anywhere from October to December and until then, you’re stuck with Thornton. When Howard does get back, it’s not like he’s going to make a championship contender out of a mediocre fantasy team.
Then there’s Jianlian who will probably actually see a decent amount of PF minutes since Blatche (see below) will probably slide to the 5 quite a bit. That said, he’s not going to do much for you outside of Points and Rebounds, though he is a good free throw shooter for a 7-footer. But he certainly won’t have the volume from the line probably to make a championship contender out of a pretty decent fantasy team.
So, that leaves Andray Blatche (who is also eligible at Center in Yahoo leagues). Patrick is very optimistic when it comes to Blatche, putting him at 77 on our fantasy basketball player rankings, while Erik and I have him down around 100. My reasoning is that I just don’t see the history there to back up those numbers. If you look who Blatche was playing with last season, the 5-man unit with the most minutes after the trade for Howard consisted of Randy Foye, Mike Miller, Al Thornton, Blatche, and JaVale McGee. Yeah, and now you’re swapping out Foye for Wall and Miller for Arenas. You think Blatche is still going to get 19 shots per game? He’ll probably get close to the 37 minutes that he had after the All Star Break, but I’m still looking at a guy who took 5 years to break out and only got to 22 and 8 which seems like a bare minimum output for a Power Forward playing 37 minutes a game. But unlike Howard and Jianlian, if Blatche plays like he did in the second half of last season (22 points, 8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals) he actually could make a championship contender out of even just a half-decent fantasy team.
JaVale McGee is a Forward-Center. His per minute numbers are surprisingly close to Yi Jianlian’s. Unfortunately for both of them, that means they’re not too great.
Well, there’s Kirk Hinrich, who used to be a Top 50 fantasy player. He’s spent a lot of time at the SG position, so if Gilbert Arenas finds a way to not play a bunch of games again this season, he could very well be worth that 10th or 11th round pick.
Your official GMTR Guidance (for a 12 team league):
Gilbert Arenas – 5-6th round
John Wall – 6th round
Andray Blatche – 7th round
Kirk Hinrich – 10-11th round
Damn Lies and Statistics Washington Wizards Preview
Fantasy Basketball Blog Washington Wizards Team Analysis
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