Last season Gilbert Arenas became the franchise's first guard to average 25 points since Archie Clark in 1971-72 (25.1 for the Baltimore Bullets).
Record: 45-37 (5th in East) Points scored: 100.5 (6th in NBA) Points allowed: 100.8 (23rd) Coach: Eddie Jordan (third season with the Wizards)
They finally won a playoff series. Can a new guard take them further?
He doesn't have slicked-back hair and you won't often see him in an Armani suit, but Wizards coach Eddie Jordan has one thing in common with Gordon Gekko. "Greed is good," says Jordan, borrowing the corporate raider's famous line from the movie Wall Street. "We're not satisfied with just making the playoffs. We want more."
More for Washington would mean an improvement on last season's 45 wins and going deep into the postseason after the franchise's first playoff series victory in 23 years. But those tasks became tougher after guard Larry Hughes took his 22.0 points per game and league-leading 2.89 steals and signed with the Cavaliers as a free agent in the off-season.
Enter Antonio Daniels, who along with forward Caron Butler and guard Chucky Atkins was acquired by general manager Ernie Grunfeld not only to replace Hughes's production but also to fortify the bench. "We were very humbled by Miami," says Jordan, referring to the Wizards' second-round ouster. "Improving our depth was a priority, and we accomplished that."
A bullish combination guard, Daniels, 30, brings a wealth of experience along with the championship ring he picked up as a member of the 1999 Spurs. His leadership will be as important as his scoring -- more so if you consider that Washington could break camp with nine players under 25. "Chucky and I, we're going to be vocal leaders," says Daniels, who will assume Hughes's starring spot alongside All-Star Gilbert Arenas. "We were brought here to help this team advance, and one way or another we're going to do that."
Exactly what Gordon, er, Jordan, wants to hear.
-- Chris Mannix