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Wizards Roster set for Opening Night 2001. 
Posted on June 19, 2018 at 12:10 PM.


Wizards Roster set for Opening Night 2001.


There used to be five Wizards fans, and now there's suddenly five million. You'll be able to tell the real five by the tears of joy rolling down their cheeks this week, but they're glad to have you along anyway -- even if you've never heard of Joe Pace.

It's been 22 years since anyone's paid attention to their franchise, but Michael Jordan has decided to run with them, and that can only mean one thing: THE WIZARDS ARE IN THE LEAGUE AGAIN!

They're usually only on national TV once a year -- for the draft lottery -- but now we will be chronicling their every move, and, trust me, you're going to need a little background.

So, let us re-introduce the franchise to you casual fans: They are the Washington Wizards/Washington Bullets/Capitol Bullets/Baltimore Bullets/Chicago Zephyrs/Chicago Packers and God-knows-where-elses, and I don't think they've ever had one of their players pose for a bobble-head doll. Now they have 3 former Dream Teamer's on their roster.

They've played exactly one playoff series since 1988, and it lasted about a weekend. The first two times they made the NBA Finals, in '71 and '75, they got swept. They finally did win one, in '78, but most of the playoffs were on tape-delay.

More recently, they've made a lot of gaffes, as you're well aware. They have recently traded Chris Webber for Mitch Richmond, and Rasheed Wallace for Rod Strickland, and if you take both of those back, they could be in the Eastern conference finals or semi-finals the last two years. Truly a 'What If?' franchise.

But all that's moot now, because the Wizards are what they are: awful. On the other hand, despite what all the pundits say, with the right dose of Jordan, they may be able to pull something together.

So here's the all-important rundown of Michael's newest squad:

Starting Point Guard: Surprisingly it will be Richard Hamilton. He can handle the ball shockingly well, and, in limited time at the position in the last two years, he scored at will. And against zones, he will be lethal. The only concern will be the new eight-second rule when it comes to bringing the ball up the court. But as they used to say in junior high, a pass beats a dribble any time. Richard knows this.

Starting Shooting Guard: Courtney Alexander. He is a big-time scorer, and a Jordan favorite. He has an attitude (we hear even Jerry Tarkanian at Fresno State thought he was a bad kid), but he can get his own shot any time, and, at this position, that's all that matters.

Starting Small Forward: No. 23. He will post up more, and play some point forward at times, but if you have Hamilton and Alexander as starters, he won't have to score as much. In fact, his biggest impact may be defensively, plus all the intangibles. He'll still get the calls from the refs. He'll still draw double teams. He'll still be like Mike.

Starting Power Forward: Christian Laettner (with an asterisk): He will begin the season as the starter, but maybe not finish as one. Rookie Kwame Brown was promising in summer league and may eventually step in for him, and there's also the remote possibility of signing Dennis Rodman. But Laettner can still hit the open jump shot, and will cheat and grab your jersey to attain better position under the boards. And he won't act up with Jordan around. They know each other from the Dream Team days.

Starting Center: Patrick Ewing. He is the wrong side of 38 but he still know's how to play. Ewing was and still is a warrior. He knows how to win, but his main role this season will be to give good minutes and mentor Kwame Brown. Easily still the most skilled big man Jordan has ever teamed up with.

Sixth Man: Kwame Brown. The rookie will be the team's most athletic player, other than Jordan. Under Ewing and Jordan's mentorship, look for this kid to learn the ropes quickly.

Backup Point Guards: Chris Whitney will be a zone buster, and potential starter over Hamilton at the point. Tyronn Lue is an unknown. He was somewhat of a deterrent to Allen Iverson in the NBA Finals last year, but the Lakers didn't flinch when he threatened to leave. So the jury's out.

Backup Shooting Guard: You know Jordan was going to keep a Carolina guy around. Hubert Davis can still fill it up.

Backup Forwards: Popeye Jones will be an important rebounder, because Michael knows you need the ball to score. Chris Mullin has been coaxed out of retirement by Jordan. Mullin will provide 15 - 20 minutes of hard work on both ends, but will be most effective in spacing the floor. Etan Thomas, a lottery pick by Dallas a year ago, is a wild card, because he has an NBA body with skills.

Backup Center: Jahidi White. He can't guard Shaq and he can't stay out of foul trouble very often, but, as rotund as he is, he's a surprising shot blocker and leaper. He's no worse than Bill Wennington or Luc Longley or any of those other stiffs that Jordan won titles with. Will split minutes with Ewing.

Coach: Doug Collins knows what he's doing. He knew how to disguise a zone when it was illegal, and now he'll be able to play one for real. They won't be outcoached, for the first time in a while.

Front Office: He's in the front court.

If you're not ecstatic about the team we just named, think about it: How much talent did Jordan have around him in Chicago? During his first three titles, he had a young Scottie Pippen and a young Horace Grant and role players. Of course, Michael was young then, too. And during his last three titles, he had Pippen and Dennis Rodman and Toni Kukoc, plus, again, role players. The Wizards are not going to win any titles this year, but they're not gonna lose 50 either. Hallelujah!

The Wizards haven't been this excited about anything since Hamilton represented them in the All-Star game last year (okay, it was in the 2-Ball competition, but at least they had someone there).

So I know I speak for all of the real Wizards fans when I say to everyone else, welcome aboard. Oh, and the Wizards team colors are blue, black and bronze.
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