Think Times Are Hard for the Suns? Try Loving the Washington Wizards, Phoenix's Opponent Tonight.
In 2004-05, the Washington Wizards boasted the NBA's most fearsome backcourt. Led by ex-UA Wildcat standout Gilbert Arenas, Antwan Jamison, and Larry Hughes, Washington earned a modest forty-five victories in the regular season, but turned heads during the NBA Playoffs with its first-round conquest of the Chicago Bulls (before being swept by the Miami Heat).
That was so four years ago, dude.
The Wizards' decline to piss-poor status is just another example of how things quickly change in the NBA. Unlike elite college programs that can just reload at will, pro b-ball is filled with massive salary demands driven by inflated egos and a big-business mentality. It's rare for professional teams, aside from juggernauts like the San Antonio Spurs, to stay consistent winners.
Wanna know how much things have changed since the 2004-05 campaign? Well, the 9-34 Washington and other playoff teams from that year, including the aforementioned Bulls, as well as the Memphis Grizzlies, are riding a combined 38-88 record at the time of writing.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers
TicketsFri., Jun. 9, 6:40pm
All You Can Eat Value Pack - Mercury v Sparks
TicketsSat., Jun. 10, 7:00pm
Phoenix Mercury vs. Los Angeles Sparks
TicketsSat., Jun. 10, 7:00pm
Phoenix Rising Football Club vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
TicketsSat., Jun. 10, 7:30pm
Surprisingly, the team-first Jamison is still the main man in D.C. His 21 points, 9 boards, and 38 minutes played per game lead the team. But that's about the only good thing going for the cellar-dwelling Wizards, who are 25 games out of first place in the Southeast Division. They could be better if Arenas, a franchise player and arguably one of the top 10 ballers in the league, could stay healthy. Unfortunately, the 6-4 point guard hasn't played this season, and continues to rehab from off-season knee surgery.
There's been some talk of late that Larry Hughes (currently with the Chicago Bulls), a key to the Wizards playoff run in 2004-05, will be dealt back to Washington. On Thursday, the Chicago Tribune confirmed with Bulls general manager John Paxson that they are trying to deal Hughes. However, Paxson failed to mention a specific team. Although Hughes has been mostly average the past few seasons, his presence at small forward would add a much-needed scoring threat that the Wizards desperately need.
But for now, Washington will need to make do with what they have -- namely Jamison, forward Caron Butler (19 points and 4 assists per contest), point guard Mike James, and the much-improved Andray Blatche as the team's starting center -- when they take on the struggling Phoenix Suns at Washington D.C.'s Verizon Center. Tip-off's at 5 p.m. tonight. National TV: NBA TV. Local TV: My45. Radio: KTAR 620-AM.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.