Is There Mandatory Drug Testing at the Sporting News?According to a feature in the July 6, 2009 issue of the Sporting News called "SN's 2009-10 Power Poll," the Washington Wizards rank third in the NBA, just behind the reigning champion L.A. Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The reason given for that ranking is even more hilarious than the ranking itself: "The Wizards picked up Miller Miller and Randy Foye for a draft pick, girding them against the injuries that tore them down last season." Miller and Foye? That duo vaults the Wizards ahead of the Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics? I don't know what they are smoking/injecting over at SN, but whatever it is has very strong hallucinogenic properties. If things break right then the Wizards have a good shot at making the playoffs next year--but the Wizards have not been an excellent defensive team since they were known as the Bullets and Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld were in their primes. It is highly unlikely that Miller and Foye will spearhead a defensive revival in Washington.
I don't know what kind of player Gilbert Arenas will be in 2009-10 in the wake of his multiple knee surgeries but his return is a "bad news/bad news" story for the Wizards: even if Arenas can play the way that he did prior to getting hurt, I still don't believe that Arenas can be the top player on a team that advances past the second round of the playoffs--and if Arenas never regains his old form then the Wizards will be paying max contract money while getting very little in return.
"SN's 2009-10 Power Poll" also places the Houston Rockets eighth and the Utah Jazz 21st. The Rockets will be without the services of Yao Ming, Ron Artest and, most probably, Tracy McGrady; the makeshift lineup that pushed the Lakers to seven games in the playoffs is not going to look so great over the course of an 82 game season. Injuries to multiple All-Star players are the only reason that the Jazz were not one of the top teams in the West in 2008-09; it is absurd to suggest that with Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur healthy the Jazz will miss the playoffs entirely.
posted by David Friedman @ 4:30 AM