ATLiens x Aquemini

Wizards aiming high; Garnett, J-Smoove dealing with injuries

By 09.17.09
Antawn Jamison

Antawn Jamison

A couple months ago, one of our writers picked the Wizards to make a return to the playoffs in 2010, slotting them eighth or ninth in the East. A lot of readers thought that was way too low; they had the crew of Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, a returning Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood, new pickups Randy Foye and Mike Miller, and young’uns Andray Blatche, Nick Young and JaVale McGee finishing as high as fourth in the East. Now Jamison is taking it a step further. In yesterday’s Washington Post, Jamison said he believes the Wizards can win a championship next year. Granted, just about every ballplayer (except Stephen Jackson) will say that when they’re still weeks away from training camp, but Jamison got specific with his, claiming the Wizards are in the same class with Orlando, Cleveland and Boston. Do you think he’s talking crazy, or are the Wizards legit like that? … Speaking of the Celtics, with all due respect to Pierce, Ray, Rondo and Scalabrine, Boston’s title hopes rest on the shoulders (well, the knees) of Kevin Garnett. The Boston Globe had an updare on KG, who’s been working out but has yet to get in a serious five-on-five run this offseason due to the program the team has him on. “He’s anxious and he has a ton of energy, but I think he gets it,” Danny Ainge said. “We don’t have bodyguards on him to keep him from working too hard.” If it were any other player, we could be 100% sure that’s a joke. With KG, you realistically might have to pay some offensive linemen-looking cats to keep him out of the gym. Anticipate a slow start to the season for Garnett, but for the Celts’ sake, he’ll round into shape in time for when it really matters … One Eastern Conference kinda-contender nobody’s really talking about is Atlanta. They’ve also got an injury issue with their starting power forward, but thankfully it’s nothing as serious as KG. Josh Smith cut his left (shooting) hand during a workout so badly that he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I could see all the way through there. It was split open, like somebody took some scissors and just cut it right open.” In classic J-Smoove fashion, he hurt himself on the rim while trying to spike somebody’s shot to Decatur. He got stitched up and should be fine … KG and Josh didn’t make the list of 5 contenders for Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. You can probably guess one of the guys who did; the other four might surprise you … Tim Thomas will have surgery on his right knee later this month, an injury he suffered during a pickup game. (Who knew?) Originally it was reported Thomas would be sidelined up to eight weeks, but now the return date is officially TBA. Maybe Tim has had the right idea all these years: Playing hard only leads to trouble … Stat lines from Wednesday’s action at the FIBA European Championships: Pau Gasol posted 20 points and three blocks and J.C. Navarro scored 23 in Spain’s win over Poland (Ricky Rubio recorded two points and four assists), while Marcin Gortat had 12 points and 12 boards; point guard Milos Teodosic posted 20 points and 12 dimes to lead Serbia over Lithuania; and Boki Nachbar led Slovenia with 16 points in a win over Turkey, who got 12 points from Hedo Turkoglu … The basketball world suffered two losses yesterday, as Indiana Pacers co-owner Mel Simon passed away at 82 years old, and NCAA president Myles Brand lost his battle with cancer at age 67. Thoughts and prayers go out to both their families and organizations … Continuing with our ranking of the NBA’s Top 30 go-to guys, Boris Diaw checked in at #29 yesterday. Some of us in the office agreed with some of the readers that Diaw shouldn’t be ahead of Rip Hamilton, but our guy has his reasons. Check it out HERE, and come back later today for #28 … In minor role-player news, the Pacers are reportedly close to a deal with Luther Head, and the Clippers re-signed Brian Skinner. Soon after, Brian Skinner’s Stupid Beard was offered an $8.00 buyout. Normally we’d say every NBA team can use a veteran big man like Skinner for his rebounding/screens/dirty work and all that, but honestly? He’s just somebody for Blake Griffin to dunk on in practice … We’re out like the stupid beard …


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