Bullets Fever

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

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Shooting Guard Spot Resolved, Center Spot Still Open

Remember how the first of the 5 burning things I said to look out for at Wizards training camp was the shooting guard battle? Apparently, there wasn't much of a battle at all. DeShawn Stevenson looks to have a strangelhold on the job, as he has consistently been playing with the first team in practice. Jarvis Hayes has been playing with the second team and it appears it will stay that way. Via ESPN:
Coach Eddie Jordan said he has settled on a five-man rotation of guards Gilbert Arenas and DeShawn Stevenson, forwards Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, and either Brendan Haywood or Etan Thomas at center.
Apparently, the other thing we learned from this is that the center spot isn't as resolved as I thought it would be. For the first time since 2002, there is a legitimate chance that Brendan Haywood will not be the starting center when the season rolls around. Jordan said he is still deciding between Haywood and Etan Thomas for the job.

I think this is great news for the Wizards because if Thomas is legitimately challenging for Haywood's job, it means he's all the way back from previous injury problems. I've said before that a healthy and effective Etan Thomas is the best chance for the Wizards to improve their interior defense. Thomas is the closest thing to the Wes Unseld/Ben Wallace type player the Wizards desperately need. If he can duplicate his 2004 season, the Wizards will be a much better team. The fact that he's already challenging for the starting center spot is a good sign that he will be closer to finally being worth his contract.

For Haywood, at the very least, he will always have this commercial.

In other news, Abe Pollin was down at training camp today and said he is impressed with the mentality of the team.
"I have never seen a team this focused," Pollin said. "I can sense in talking to them that they feel it -- the focus that everybody has. They think that we have a lot to prove, and they're going to try to prove it."
Pollin also told Ivan Carter that he's confident that this team can rally the city.
"Washington is a basketball town. If this team starts performing like it's capable of performing, this town is going to go nuts. It's going to go wild. This town is basketball town. If we prove that we can do it, the city is going to go bonkers. And we are going to do it."
Again, a lot of this seems like your classic training camp optimistic talk, but it's certainly a good sign to see yet another person comment on how special this team could be. We'll just have to wait and see if it actually rings true on the court, but early indications are that the Wizards are more focused than ever before.

Who wins the center job? Brendan Haywood, or Etan Thomas? Who would you rather see?

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