Caps and Wiz bring Christmas to those in need
No need to tell Eric Maynor he's been playing badly in his first season with the Wizards. He knows it. He's averaging 2.7 points, 1.9 assists and shooting 30.9%.
"What do you think?" Maynor responded when I asked if this is the worst stretch of his basketball career, including as a professional in his fifth season. "I'm in a funk offensively. We play 82 games. The way I've started the season off, of course I'm not happy about it. We've got 60 games left. I got to look forward to playing in these next games. … I will be better."
The mood around D.C. towards Maynor is overwhelmingly negative. Maynor signed a two-year deal for $4.1 million in July when team president Ernie Grunfeld opted to not re-sign A.J. Price. The decision was widely applauded, and correctly so. Now after 20 games, the sentiment seems to be that Grunfeld made a mistake and the other four years of Maynor's career suddenly are irrelevant.
Cut Maynor (Still would have to pay him). Trade Maynor (Must have value, which he doesn't at the moment, to get anyone of value in return). Or, maybe the Wizards should've kept Shannon Brown, who they acquired in a trade for Marcin Gortat but released before the season (This deal was brokered in late October and had absolutely nothing to do with Maynor, signed in July, and was orchestrated solely to get Gortat).
The Wizards didn't need another shooting guard (That would be Brown, who is not a point guard). This is typical D.C. logic: I was for the signing of Maynor but now I'm against it. It was a great move by the Wizards, but sometimes good signings on paper don't work out. It happens. Think Jamal Crawford with the Portland Trail Blazers. Now think Crawford with the L.A. Clippers.
This still is a small sample and 20 games don't invalidate Maynor's previous work, particularly with the Oklahoma City Thunder as the backup to Russell Westbrook. Even though he has been painful to watch play at times, Maynor has earned the benefit of the doubt though it's understandably hard for some.
"It's been real tough for me. Just trying to figure out everything, trying to figure out how I can really fit in. I'm a professional though. The thing I tell everybody is it might not be right now, but you're going to get the best out of me coming here soon. I'm going to keep putting the work in. Right now I'm not playing at a high level."
Coach Randy Wittman had a heart-to-heart with him Wednesday: "I told him, I would rather have to pull you aside and say -- 'Slow down a little bit, you're trying to do too much now' -- than to have to try to get you giddy-up and go. ... That's what you need from your bench, aggression rather than passiveness. … If I have to piss them off to get mad at me to get some aggression, I'm all for it. It's not just Eric."
Martell Webster offered this on Maynor: "I think he's good. He's very headstrong, which is the most important thing."