KEY BENCH PLAYERS:
G Antonio Daniels, F Darius Songalls, F Andray Blatche, G Nick Young (R)
Record: 41-41 (7th in East) Points Scored: 104.3 (4th in NBA) Points allowed
104.9 (28th) Coach: Eddie Jordan (fifth season with Wizards)
Jamison doesn't have to peruse NBA season previews to know that few people
expect his team to win the wide-open East this season. " Gilbert [Arenas] is
always on the Internet, so he's reading that stuff and letting us know,"
Jamison says. "And Caron [Butler] has always got his head in a magazine.
He'll come into the locker room and say, 'They're picking us to do this or
that,' or, 'We're the underdogs.' "
Wizards if they feel overlooked entering the season. After all, they had the
best record in the conference (27-18) as late as Feb.�1, before they were
decimated by injuries. First, Jamison sprained left knee on Jan. 30 and was
sidelined for a month, then Arenas (left knee) and Butler (right hand) were
lost for the season in April.
With its Big Three
healthy again and few changes to the roster, Washington hopes to resume playing
with the success it had in the first half of last season. The Wizards certainly
won't have trouble scoring (they were fourth in the NBA at 104.3 points per
game), but they must improve a defense that ranked among the bottom four in
points allowed (104.9) and opponents' field�goal percentage (47.3).
Jamison estimates that he and his teammates spent 80% of training camp working
on defense, compared with a 50-50 split in the past. "The main thing is, we
just have to be more consistent," Jamison says. "In the past we'd do it
for five to 10 games, then we'd slack off for 10 to 15 games."