- The Washington Times - Monday, November 23, 2009

Mike Miller is down to an arm and a leg. That means he probably will try to give it a go Tuesday night unless Flip Saunders ties him to a seat on the bench.

Miller has been one of the two reliable ones on the Wizards - Brendan Haywood being the other.

The sight of Miller being helped to the locker room in San Antonio is emblematic of a team wallowing in hurt, physical as well as mental.

Everyone can point a finger to the cause of the team’s 3-9 start, some of those fingers belonging to the would-be player-coaches in the locker room.


The grumbling is to be expected given the Wizards’ expectations going into the season.

Those expectations have been supplanted by a lack of resolve and continuity. If it is not the absence of defense in Oklahoma City, it is the absence of rebounding in San Antonio.

Either shortcoming undermines a team’s best intentions.

That is assuming the intentions of the Wizards are acceptable.

You could argue otherwise.

The Wizards have been careless with the ball, taken too many quick shots, taken too many bad shots and sometimes forgotten an elementary principle of playing on the road, which is to be aggressive.

The Wizards came out shooting perimeter shots in San Antonio. Not that this mode of attack was their only transgression. But it encapsulated their soft mindset. They would not be committing to the gritty stuff that is necessary on the road, especially against an opponent such as the Spurs.

Twelve games hardly constitute a season. Yet the Wizards are so out of sorts, so lacking in dependable player combinations, so devoid of energy on too many occasions, that it is not premature to think they are in a serious bind.

It turns out an encouraging opening night came about because of Gilbert Arenas being able to get any shot he wanted against the laterally challenged Jason Kidd. That has not been the case since then.

Arenas is missing a half-step. Even when he is able to get to the basket, he does not finish in the manner he once did. That makes him more reliant on his perimeter shot, where it is more difficult to establish a shooting rhythm. Nothing establishes a good shooting rhythm like a couple of easy baskets.

The Wizards, in effect, are still waiting on Arenas.

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