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Riding the Wizards Bench November

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Thank You, Terry - But What About The Roster?

Thank You, Terry

Wow, Terry Davis has already made an impact on this team. Not offensively, but in terms of defense and attitude. You just can't beat that impact.

It goes beyond the numbers (drawing 8 charging fouls in just 2 games, in particular). There is a certain attitude that he represents, a certain flair even though he's never played on a playoff team. Part of it is the veteran savvy that the Wizards wanted in a free agent all summer (but could never find - the closest approximation being Rick Mahorn).

No, part of Davis' fire is probably borne out of taking last year off. He wants to be back in basketball, he's willing to make the sacrifices necessary to help a team win. And while the little things aren't always tangible in terms of numbers, your teammates pick up on them and raise their level of performance ever so slightly.

We saw it last year, when Rod finally asserted his leadership on this team and helped will them into the playoffs under Bickerstaff's tutelage. Now, Terry Davis comes and shows the young bucks (CWebb and Howard in particular) a little more.

Don't expect an instantaneous rise in performance across the team. And don't expect Davis to draw 4 charging fouls a game. (Further, I don't dare speculate how good Davis' conditioning really is; hopefully, he'll stay healthy.) But this is a young team that needs to gradually learn the little things that veterans have already learned - things about winning, staying focused, and doing your job in the construct of a team. And I think Davis is eminently qualified to help this team learn those things.

This Begs Some Roster Questions

A very popular question to ask now is: does the success of Davis mark the end of Ben Wallace on this team? Has Ben Wallace sealed his own fate by bringing in the guy to replace him when Muresan returns from IR in a month or two?

I say no. One factor to consider is the fragility of Lorenzo Williams, who is currently day-to-day with a hyperextended elbow suffered in the Denver game. Even if Williams stays on the roster, I think Ben Wallace will just find his way to the IR. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he's already "suffering" from tendonitis - it would explain his underperformance in the preseason and his position at the bottom of the depth chart.

I think we can all agree that Darvin Ham has earned himself a major role on this team, in addition to Terry Davis. So what happens when Tim Legler returns from IR after his hamstring has healed? The same thing they were going to do before the hamstring injuries suffered by Rod Strickland and Legler - put Shammgod on IR. As long as the Wizards aren't in need of another point guard (i.e., a long-term injury to Strickland or Whitney), it's the probable course for the team. Shammgod is too good of a pure point guard (despite the turnovers and poor shooting, which are correctible) to let another team snap him up.

Think about the depth on this team, if Legler and Muresan return:

Starters: Muresan, CWebb, Howard, Strickland, Cheaney
Front court depth: Davis, Lorenzo Williams, Darvin Ham, Harvey Grant
Back court depth: Whitney, Legler, Murray

(Keep in mind that Muresan may not return to the starting roster - it's still too early to tell how Bickerstaff wants to handle that, but for the purposes of this exercise, we'll assume last year's starting roster.)

Hey, that doesn't look too bad, does it? Not much scoring in the front court depth, but plenty of hustle and defense. And you've got the outside shooting in the back court depth.

No, it's not perfect. But the flexibility there means that there are still weapons to be had. Not quite championship quality stuff yet (we can always dream, though), but getting much closer. Compared to last year, much better.

I now retire for the weekend with a smile on my face...

wtf 7 November 1997

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