The Washington Wizards are only three games into the season, but after three losses — all of them highlighted by poor performances from his starting unit and an inability to finish strong, Coach Eddie Jordan is growing impatient.
The Wizards had hoped that despite the early absence of Gilbert Arenas they could remain competitive as they did last year, and receive well-balanced contributions from the veterans on their roster, mainly shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson, Antonio Daniels and possibly Andray Blatche.
But so far, none of the three have done his part to help All-Stars Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison carry the load. Meanwhile Daniels as of Wednesday night had averaged just six points and 4.3 assists, Stevenson had averaged 9.3 points while making just five of 17 3-pointers, and Blatche was averaging 7.3 points and 6.3 rebounds.
Meanwhile Nick Young and fellow backup Juan Dixon have provided sparks with 15.7 ppg on 16-for-32 shooting and 7.0 points on 9-for-16 shooting, respectively.
And following the 112-104 overtime loss to Milwaukee, which saw the Wizards struggle whenever Young and Dixon weren’t on the floor, Jordan let on that he’s seriously considering shaking up the starting lineup.
“There’s been a trend the last couple games,” Jordan said. “And maybe the trend is telling the coaching staff that the trend is the people that’s doing it and the way we’re playing. … We addressed [the problems] tonight in the locker room after the game. I’m going to put a careful eye on our personnel and what we’re doing out there. I think the trend is telling me something. I’m trying to be loyal to NBA vets, and I’m growing very impatient.”
Jordan began the year hoping to give rookie JaVale McGee time to develop behind his veteran centers, but now with Brendan Haywood out for up to six months with wrist surgery, Etan Thomas sidelined with an ankle sprain, and Blatche not producing, Jordan – who got nine points, five rebounds and a block from McGee on Wednesday in 13:28 minutes of play – said he also is considering “playing him to give him experience and just taking our lumps.”
Meanwhile, Butler – who through three games is averaging 20.3 points on 21-44 shooting – said the Wizards simply need to remain positive and keep working, and eventually the results will follow.
“I feel like we’re doing a good job,” Butler said. “We continue to get off to slow starts, and slow starts really affect us, but once we get a nice rotation out there we catch a rhythm and play ourselves back into the ball game. But we have to stay positive. We started off pretty bad last year [0-5]. We just have to stay positive and keep the morale around this locker room because it’s easy to buy into the negative energy.”