NBA: Rookie of the Year Talk

November 7th, 2008

By: Bill Ingram 

Blow Up the Wizards

It's amazing how patient the Washington Wizards have been. Whether it's ownership, management, or coaching staff, the Wizards organization has been fairly quiet as they wait for the day when all of their high-dollar stars finally take the court together.

For the third season in a row we have the same storyline dominating pre-season predictions for the Wizards:

"If this team can ever get healthy they could be the best team in the Eastern Conference."

Last season Antawn Jamison was the only star consistently healthy for the Wizards. Caron Butler appeared in only 58 games, while Gilbert Arenas missed all but 13 games of the season. In 2006-07, Arenas actually led the Big Three with 74 games played, while Jamison logged 70 and Butler 63. Clearly those numbers are headed in the wrong direction, and it's finally starting to get to head coach Eddie Jordan.

"That was not NBA basketball out there, it's as simple as that," Jordan said after his team coughed up an overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. "There were no NBA plays being made out there. We addressed them tonight in the locker room, so 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 the continuity theme but I'm growing very impatient with it."

What we're starting to see, unfortunately, is the final stages of the Washington Wizards as currently constructed. Even if you're not a Wizards fan you have to feel for their predicament. You go out and get amazing talent, lock them up long-term, and then never get a chance to see them play together when the games matter most.

Eddie JOrdan and his team have been amazingly patient with the injury process, but at some point you get tired of excuses and start making changes that will put 'W's on the board. It sounds like the Wizards are just about there.

Speaking of Rookie of the Year

In today's Morning Report, Steve Kyler began the Rookie of the Year discussion. Steve's early list includes Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Jason Thompson, Michael Beasley, and Rudy Fernandez, and while those are all great names, there's someone you shouldn't sleep on.

He's not putting up "amazing" numbers yet, but in each of the Milwaukee Bucks' three games second round pick Luc Mbah a Moute has shown marked improvement. He scored nine points (4-7 FG) in 19 minutes against the Raptors on opening night, posted a double double (11 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) in 35 minutes against the New York Knicks in their second game, and last night he dropped 17 points and six rebounds on the Wizards, including a couple of huge plays down the stretch. He also nearly hit the game-winner before overtime.

It's early, and there are a lot of names ahead of Luc Mbah a Moute's . . .names easier to say and spell . . .but he's definitely showing us early that he's someone to keep an eye on. There are very few expectations being put on the Bucks, which could mean an ideal situation for a young player to burst onto the NBA scene.