The early results are in and they aren't pretty. The Wizards are 0-3 for the first time since 1992, Gilbert Areans is NOT back to full strength and that precision Princeton offense is looking more like Cornell's. Following a blowout loss at Boston - this shouldn't have been a real surprise to anyone - the Wiz dropped their home opener to the Orlando Magic on Saturday, 94-82.
Eighty-two points? That's it? Take a look at the box score and you'll realize they were lucky to get that many. The Wizards shot under 37 percent (34.8) for the third time in as many games and connected on just 6-of-23 three-point attempts. The Big Three are getting their points - Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison are all averaging over 19 points per game - but it's taking them far too many shots to get those totals.
- Arenas - 21.7ppg --- 33.3% fg --- 5.9% 3-point fg
- Butler - 20 --------- 45.1% ------ 20%
- Jamison - 19 ------- 29.5% ------ 30%
- TEAM - 91.7 ------- 35.4% ------ 20%
The only way for an offense that revolves entirely around jump shooting and perimeter play to prosper is if the shooters make their shots. It's pretty simple. So far, the Wizards aren't doing it.
The biggest concern here has to be Arenas, who was seem grimacing as he left the court following the loss to Orlando.
"It's stiff. It feels like a 5-pound weight is on it."
If the Wizards are going to turn it around - which they need to do before they slip any further behind the pack - it has to start with Arenas making shots. But since he relies so much on his legs as a jump shooter, consistency won't come as immediately as the Wiz would like.
Note - Gil is a deplorable 1-for-17 from downtown, with his sole triple coming to send the season opening overtime loss to Indiana into the extra period.
- The mighty Baby Bulls and Miami Heat are keeping the Wiz company in the 0-3 cellar.
- Brendan Haywood is playing like a true starting center. Through three games the 7-foot Tar Heel has three double-doubles and is averaging just over 31 minutes per game. With 10 points in each game and 13, 12 and 16 boards respectively, Haywood has already put together the longest streak of double-doubles in his sever-year career. What's most impressive is his activity on the offensive glass. Haywood's 25 offensive boards lead the league. Then again, with all the bricks the rest of the team has been heaving, how can he not end up with a few of them?
- Next up for the Wiz is a short trip north to take on the J-Kidd and the Nets (2-1) - against who they're 1-12 in their last 13 contests. They then return home to host Melo and the Denver Nuggets (2-1). Not an easy stretch but they've got to get things turned around to regain some footing in the division and the conference. Right now things don't look too good.
-- The Tar Heel