- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2005

So Steve Blake has elected to join Juan Dixon in Portland, Ore., clutching the faint hope of reprising their College Park magic there.

Their stint on Fun Street always was viewed through the rose-colored lens of a national championship, and overvalued, as if excellence in the NCAA somehow correlates to stardom in the NBA.

The postgame callers to Scott Jackson inevitably sang this flawed tune in varying tones, never grasping the elementary liabilities of both players. Neither has an NBA body, for starters.

As energetic as Dixon is in the passing lanes, he cannot overcome the limitations of his modest physique. He is condemned by genetics to be the 98-pound weakling at the beach. The opposition routinely kicked sand in his face.

Whenever Dixon entered the game in the Wizards-Bulls playoff series last spring, the eyes of Bulls coach Scott Skiles would reveal traces of glee. The backcourt players of the Bulls attacked Dixon with uncommon passion. It was ugly. It was unfair. But that is the NBA. There is nothing egalitarian about it.

If you have a weakness, it will be exposed.

And so it was with Dixon and Blake.

The adulation spent on them was misplaced, misguided, and the Wizards are stronger by subtraction in this case.

Dixon was ever more delusional with the Wizards, as blind as his supporters.

Confidence is a funny thing. Coaches want players to be confident. They also want them to have a clue.

Dixon came to believe in the power of his career .396 shooting percentage, however one is swayed by that cold number.

It is true that Dixon can be a competent shooter if his feet are set and someone else has done the work that merited his open look.

Dixon, though, is not content to be a spot-up shooter. He wants to be Gilbert Arenas Lite, which is how he came to be known as No, Don’t Do It, Don’t Take That Shot.

But he would do it anyway — dribble the ball in place for about 15 seconds before making a move that all too often resulted in a field goal attempt with an incredibly high degree of difficulty.

Once every four or five games, when deployed against the opposition’s backups, he would have a performance that set tongues wagging, and it would be Maryland all over again on the airwaves.

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