From time to time, the Washington Wizards actually do decide to play basketball. Not that I’m saying that at other times their locker room is already occupied with other things like gunfights per example. It’s kind of sad that the most memorable thing that happened for the Washington Wizards in the past decade happened off the court. The Wizards started off the decade as a complete mess, missing the playoffs for the first four seasons, with not even the addition of Michael Jordan being enough to get them into postseason play. It was the addition of Antawn Jamison in the 2004-05 season that propelled Washington into the playoffs. Jamison and Gilbert Arenas teamed up with Larry Hughes and then Caron Butler to get the Wizards into the playoffs for four straight seasons. The recent fall from NBA stardom for Gilbert Arenas has brought the Wizards down with them and they have failed to get back to the postseason in each of the past two seasons. Arenas is the only player on this list that is still with the Wizards, and therefore it is up to him to carry the Wizards back to importance in the NBA Eastern Conference.
Here are the best five Washington Wizards from 2001-2010. (Only accomplishments and stats while playing for the Washington Wizards from 2000-2010 were considered.)
1. Gilbert Arenas
It is said that basketball fans will probably forever remember Arenas for the idiotic incident that took place in the locker room last season. Throw aside the gun pulling, injuries and crying as of late and you will see Arenas was one of the best talents in the NBA in the 2000’s. Of course, that is way too much to look past, but for just one moment let’s realize how good Agent Zero really was. Arenas signed with the Wizards in the summer of 2003. He struggled with injuries his first season, but was still able to score 19.6 points per contest in 55 games. The next three seasons Arenas realized his full potential, averaging over 25 points, and 5 assists in each of those seasons. He made the All-Star team in all three seasons and was able to carry the Wizards to the playoffs in 2005 and 2006. The start of the 2007-08 season is when everything started to crumble for the talented guard.
2. Antawn Jamison
Jamison played five and a half seasons with the Wizards, supplying them with a consistent scorer from the forward position. He scored at least 19.6 points per game in every season and managed to average a double double in 2007-08 with 21.4 points and a career high 10.2 rebounds per game. He was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team in both 2005 and 2008.
3. Caron Butler
Butler played for the Wizards for three and half seasons. His best season came in 07-08 when he averaged 20.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game. In that season, he had career highs in assists, steals, field goal percentage, three-point percentage and free throw percentage. He was selected for the Easter Conference All-Star Team in 2007 and 2008.
4. Larry Hughes
Hughes was considered a bust before he came to Washington, but the Wizards got themselves a bit of a surprise. When playing in the right system with the right people around him, Hughes could play. He only scored 12.8 points per contest in his first season with Washington, but improved to 18.8 and 22.2 points per game in the next two seasons respectively.
5. Michael Jordan
C’mon, who else did you think was going to squeak in at number five? Sure, he only played with the Wizards for two seasons and he wasn’t nearly as good as he was with the Bulls, but he is Michael Jordan. Besides, let’s be honest here; the Wizards of the 2000’s weren’t exactly filled with great players. Jordan shocked the basketball world by coming out of retirement and joining the Wizards for 2000-01 and 2001-02 season. He averaged 22.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 2000-01. In 2001-02, he averaged a career low 20.0 points. Isn’t it sick that a guy’s career low is 20 points per game?