Bullets Fever

A blog and community website for the Washington Wizards and their fans.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Point-Counterpoint: The Starting Center

I'm going to start a feature here called "Point-Counterpoint." I'm going to take a look at a controversial issue regarding the Wizards, present both point of views, and ultimately make a final decision. The cool thing about this, however, is that I’ll have the two sides arguing against each other directly, meaning that we’re really just going inside someone’s head, and since it’s always fun to simulate fake conversations, we’re going to do that in this feature.

The first topic: Who starts at center for the Wizards? Brendan Haywood, or Etan Thomas? Let’s go inside Eddie Jordan’s head. Try to imagine two little fairies of Haywood and Thomas popping up on Jordan’s shoulders if you can.

Eddie Jordan:
Who should I start at center this season? Arenas, Butler, Jamison, Stevenson, and who else?

Brendan Haywood fairy: Geez Eddie, the decision’s easy. I’ve started for this team since 2003. I even started for Michael Freaking Jordan! Why is this even a competition?

Etan Thomas fairy:
Wrong you are, Mr. Haywood
Steal your spot on the floor, I could
All your skills are still the same
While I’ve been focusing on my game

BH: Come on Etan, let’s get real here. Since you signed that huge contract, what exactly have you done? You put up 9 and 7 in a contract year, and since then, you’ve been crap.

Crap, my friend, is the operative word.
Because if you don’t think that’s you, you’re absurd
What have you done in your career?
7 and 6? That’s no reason to cheer

BH: Etan, this team needs a dependable big guy in the middle. I’ve averaged over 70 games a season in my career. You, my friend, have averaged 56 in that same time. In that same period, I’ve had better numbers across the board. I’ve averaged more points, rebounds, and blocks than you have. Need any more advice as to the better player, Eddie?

The times are changing, my Carolina pal
LeBron’s path to the hoop was as wide as a canal
The days of the 7 foot plodder are all but done
The ones of the athlete have just begun

BH: Look, Eddie, the choice is clear. If we’re going to keep with our prevailing theme of continuity, look no further than our Mr. Stability. That may have been a dumb rhyme, but it’s a statement of truth. I get a bad rep as an overrated crappy center, but how many teams can say they’ve had a consistent 7 footer in the middle? I’m a better defender than you think and I can score much better than Robert Frost over there.

Don’t make the mistake of listening to him
If he’s in there, our chances are grim
This isn’t your fathers’ plodding team
My style fits in better with our running scheme

Brendan wants to score like David Robinson
But that’ll get us nowhere in the postseason
We have plenty of guys to who can score the rock
So pick me, the athlete, who can actually shotblock

EJ: Could you guys be more annoying? Where’s Peter John Ramos when you need him?

Bullets Fever’s take

After reading Michael Lee's article on Haywood and Jordan's relationship, I can’t help but wonder whether this competition is real or not. Is Jordan keeping this close only to try to light a fire under Haywood? If that’s the case, I’d be really disappointed, because it would mean that Etan Thomas isn’t really all the way back to his 2004 form. Ultimately, Haywood should start, but I want to see Thomas finish more games. Haywood’s not as bad as he’s made out to be, but he’s a halfcourt center that doesn’t fit all that well to the Wizards’ running style. Thomas, while injury prone and inconsistent, is more of the type of player the Wizards should be looking for. He’s undersized, but he’s a great athlete and, most importantly, can be a real enforcer down low. If he can get back to his 2004 form, he, and not Haywood, should get the majority of the minutes at the center spot. Granted, that’s a huge if, but despite the stability of Haywood, Eddie Jordan should try to give Thomas as many chances as possible to gain the starting job.

Who do you think should win the starting center’s job? Can you really trust Etan Thomas to play to his potential?

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Anonymous Melbournehoopdude said...

Great Post.
Wasn't Haywood supposed to be threatening to join the ranks of the upper ecehelon centers in the NBA last preseason? Neither Thomas or Haywood are spectacular options when it comes to playing the pivot but as you correctly allude to, the running game favours Thomas who is more of an athlete. His numbers could inflate more because of this type of game than Haywood who I don't see being able to keep up in a flat out running game. It's really going to come down to this though: With Arenas, Jamison, Butler, Hayes, Daniels, Andray Blatche and Donnell Taylor infront of these guys as offensive options, the sole important factor for these guys to get time in the rotation is defend post players, block shots and rebound. If they can do that then they may be considered more than 6 fouls apiece.


6:06 AM


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