I knew it was going to happen this way. Despite losing last night, the Bullets secured a playoff berth after Indiana lost to Philly. They're the wounded boxer who has to hope that the bell rings before they die. Indiana provided that bell last night. As for the playoffs, that's a different story. It's not their fault, but I really could see the Bullets not winning another game this season.
Remember before when I said it wasn't their fault? Welllll...that's not entirely true. One potential silver lining in this situation is that perhaps these injuries will allow the team to find out who is willing and/or able to be real players. So far, Darius Songalia and DeShawn Stevenson are among those who have consistently stepped up. (That said, no way should they have run TWO straight isolation plays for DeShawn in the final minutes. Bad coaching, period.)
But one guy who has not stepped up is Jarvis Hayes. According to the box score, Hayes scored 3 points on 1-7 shooting, to go with two big rebounds, one assist and one turnover, and three fouls. He went 1-4 from three and didn't get to the foul line one time. And even when hs is scoring, as in their previous loss to New Jersey, he adds virtually nothing else. He plays horrible, horrible defense, highlighted last night by his waaaaay late failed steal attempt in the final seconds that led to an uncontested, game-sealing Vince Carter dunk. So fine. But if you're going to be a shooting specialist, then there's one important aspect to that. You have to make shots. Every game. Not just when you're up 20 on the Hornets.
Now, Hayes seems like a nice guy. And he seems to want to "step up" and be a key cog on the team. I wonder if he gets a pass in the court of public opinion because he's so nice and earnest and clean-cut and is willing to give reporters thoughtful quotes. Either way, facts are facts. He's been a weak link for the Bullets ever since they took him with the 10th overall draft pick -- yes, he was a lottery pick -- in 2003. He's had some bad luck with injuries, but has been slow to recover from each one. When healthy, he breaks out for a 27-point game just often enough so that people think "oh, he might be turning the corner."
But he's not. He never will. He needs to be traded. Plenty of NBA teams could use a shooter off the bench. So let them talk themselves into Hayes just needing "a change of scenery," and let them get impressed over his "character." Then he won't be the Bullets' problem anymore. We can use his roster spot on a guy who's a little tougher. I wonder if Arron Afflalo will still be available when it's the Wizards' turn to pick...in the meantime, congratulations to the Bullets for making the playoffs for the third straight year. Five years ago, Bullets fans would have killed for that. All I'm saying, is get rid of Hayes. That's all. Thanks for your time.
- Wizards Back Into Postseason [Washington Post]
- Nets 96, Wizards 92 [ESPN]
- Wizards 114, Nets 120 [ESPN]
Technorati tags: Wizards, Washington Wizards, Jarvis Hayes, Arron Afflalo