Browsing all articles tagged with Earl Boykins
Feb
27

A Fresh Start for the Wizards

With two recent trades the Wizards have blown up almost all of their starting lineup. The first trade on February 13th traded C Brendan Haywood, SF Caron Butler, and SG DeShawn Stevenson to the Mavericks for Josh Howard,Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross, and James Singleton. A few days later on February 17th the Wizards participated in a three-team deal that sent Antawn Jamison to Cleveland, Drew Gooden from DC and Sebastain Telfair from Cleveland to the Los Angeles Clippers, and Zydrunas Ilgaukas, Al Thornton, and a 1st round pick here to DC. The only remaining starter from last season and the Wizards playoff run two years ago is Gilbert Arenas. Every Wizards fan knows that Gil is suspended for the rest of the season and is on his way out of Washington. Or he may not be according to a recent Washington Post article.

Many fans are disappointed with the drastic changes to the Wizards roster  but I think the moves have been for the best for a few reasons.

1. The young core of players has been retained. C JaVale McGee, F-C Andray Blatche, SG Nick Young,and G Randy Foye are all still on the roster. Al Thornton is a young forward in only his third year who also has potential.  Next year’s starting lineup could be Arenas at PG, Nick Young at SG, Thorton at SF, Blatche at Power Forward, and McGee at C. That may not be a formidable lineup next season but with an average age of 25.6 there will plenty of time for it become one. Blatche is blossoming in to a solid player on offense and defense who’s capable of putting up huge games. Young and McGee have been inconsistent but have shown flashes of brilliance and are a both potential superstars.

2. The old lineup had peaked. The core lineup of Arenas, Butler, Jamison, and Haywood had never passed the 2nd round of the playoffs. The previous two seasons Caron Butler missed starts in 39 regular season games and Arenas only played in 15 games. Last season Brendan Haywood only played in 6. The  old lineup had a tendency to break down late in the season.  And to be frank, the front-court of Haywood and Jamison wasn’t built to go deep in the playoffs. There just wasn’t enough power to match up well against Dwight Howard and the Magic or Shaq, LeBron and the Cavs.

3. Financial and Draft flexibility

The Wizards did not get much immediate value from their trades but  they did clear a lot of cap space and will now have four draft picks in the 2010 draft. Ilgauskas has already been bought out of his contract and Mike James will likely be bought as well. Josh Howard has a team option so the organization can decide whether his play before his season-ending injury justifies bringing him back. Quinton Ross has a player option next year and Mike Miller,Fabricio Oberto, and Earl Boykins contracts all expire as well. Wizards insider estimates that the recent moves have reduced the team payroll from around $79.3 to $68 Million. The big shakeup will likely continue.

While D.C. may not be one of the  most attractive options for the big name free agents like LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, etc…the Wizards may be one of the few teams able to pay a superstar salary next year. SI reported recently that a hard cap may be put in place before the 2011-2012 season. If owners and GMs begin to feel like that is a real possibility during the off-season, they’ll be even less likely to pay out for a big name.

The lingering question remains is what will happen with Gilbert Arenas? It seems like almost anything can happen. They could try to create a third “Big 3″ of him, Josh Howard, and another star brought in during the off-season. But Arenas was the most oft-injured and most expensive player of that old Big 3. He is only in the second year of a 6 year, $111 Million dollar contract. Unless they can renegotiate his contract he will be impossible to move through trades. The Wizards could still pursue voiding his contract but that is starting to seem more and more unlikely.

If Arenas stays or if he goes, I still think the Wiz will be in good shape next season. It’s hard right now as a Wizards fan to see some of our favorite faces shipped out, but I think these moves will help the team in the long run. Two years from now I really believe that the Wizards can be in playoff contention. But if the management had stayed the course with the current lineup I think it we would be watching a steady decline. So let’s not overreact. In the long run I think the Ernie Grunfeld and the ownership are doing the right thing for the team.


Dec
3

Five Reasons the Redskins can Win against the Saints

The Washington Redskins lost another heartbreaker on Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-24.  For the second straight week, the Redskins were unable to win with the lead going into the 4th quarter.  As a Skins fan, when the Redskins were held to a field goal late in the 4th, you knew it wasn’t going to end well.  That’s when Washington’s defense faltered again late in the game.  Last week it was Dallas, this week it was Philadelphia.

Could it get any worse for the Redskins right now; with starters on offense falling like flies and losing to divisional rivals in painful fashion for two straight weeks?

Why, yes.  Yes it could, the undefeated New Orleans Saints are coming to town.

Even though the situation seems bleak right now, the Redskins actually could pull out a win against New Orleans this weekend at FedEx Field.  Here are five reasons to stay hopeful on Sunday:

5. The Redskins won against a very good Saints team last year, 29-24. Mind you, our offensive line wasn’t so patchwork then as it is now, but our defense actually matched up pretty well against them.  This year, the Saints have come close to losing to the Miami Dolphins and the St. Louis Rams (oh don’t we know the feeling…) but have absolutely obliterated NFC East Opponents 96-49 (the Giants and Eagles).  Looking back at the Rams game, the Saints are beatable and the Skins may be able to finish what St. Louis couldn’t.

4.  The Skins should know what Gregg Williams, Defensive Coordinator of the New Orleans Saints will be doing against them. Besides the fact that Gregg Williams will be attempting to crush his former team, Washington should know what his plan will be: to blitz.  It will happen early, often, and probably always.  The Skins defense knows how much Williams loves to bring the pressure, especially with a lead and Washington should know the types of blitzes that Williams will employ better than anyone.  Hopefully that turns into good preparation for the Skins.

3. The Skins defense is #7 in the league right now, and #1 against the pass (but an atrocious 25th against the run).  Everyone knows that the Saints offense flows through Drew Brees (27 touchdowns, only 9 interceptions).  The Skins’ pass rush may be able to hurt  Brees’ rhythm and timing.  Obviously, this theory only holds if Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall play.

2. Jason Campbell and the offensive line seem to be improving and are now working well together. The last two weeks the Skins rotating offensive line has only given up 2 sacks (1 against Dallas and 1 against Philadelphia).  Campbell last week was releasing his passes much quicker than he had earlier this year.  Whether this is because he’s got his rhythm now or because he’s paranoid his head will get knocked off (like it almost did on the last play of the game against Philly last week), the results have been positive.  This would seem to be just in time for Gregg Williams and his blitz-happy schemes coming to town.

Also, worth noting is that the “young three”: Fred Davis, Devin Thomas, and Malcolm Kelly are getting more action and have started contributing on offense.  Against Dallas they combined for 6 catches for 93 yards and against Philly, 10 catches for 139 yards.

1. The weather could get ugly, which would favor an NFC East team. The Eagles and Giants would have had a much better chance if it had been on their turf at this time of the year, rather than in a dome or before the elements come into play.  The forecast for this weekend has the game at the low 40′s and it could get dirty out there on the field.  If it is windy, cold, rainy, it will slow down the high-powered, built for indoors scoring machine offense of the Saints.  If Rock Cartwright and Quinton Ganther get their game going early, it will help the Skins keep Brees off the field as well.

Later, I will post five reasons why the Skins won’t win against the Saints.

Other Local Links & Happenings:

Jarrett Carter writes about something that will cross every Washington fan while the game is being played on Sunday, “Why wasn’t it Gregg Williams?!”.  What Would Gibbs Do?  Williams would have been the hire, we don’t know what would have happened but I’m pretty sure it would be better than what’s going on now.

Earl Boykins helped the Wizards beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 102-104 last night.  How exciting is this guy?!  His final move to win the game and beat Brandon Jennings was incredibly savvy.  The Wizards have won 4 of their last 5, by the way.  Here are some highlights (Also, Brandon Jennings is the real deal.)