One of the biggest concerns in Richmond, VA during the Washington Wizards training camp was how will head coach Flip Saunders find enough minutes to go around to the plethora of guards that filled his roster. With Gilbert Arenas and DeShawn Stevenson coming back from injuries, the additions of Mike Miller and Randy Foye via trade, plus already having Nick Young, Javaris Crittenton, and Mike James the Wizards seemed over loaded in the back court. While that seemed like a good problem to have for the Wizards in Richmond, the reality a few weeks later is that the Wizards were forced to sign a 5’5” point guard who spent last season playing in Italy. Yesterday the Wizards announced that they had signed Earl “Not the Pearl” Boykins. Clearly times are tough for the Wizards. Recently it even had their $100 million dollar star Gilbert Arenas thinking the franchise is “cursed”.
Boykins apparently caught the eye of Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld in Italy last year as Grunfeld was scouting Brandon Jennings. Speaking of Brandon Jennings, man that kid looks good! Maybe Grunfeld shouldn’t have said that he was impressed with Boykins on that international scouting trip, because Jennings looks like a future all-star at the point guard position and the Wizards could have landed him easily with the 5th pick in last year’s draft, but that’s a whole different story there! I digress…
Earl Boykins, a 10 year veteran of the NBA has averaged 9.4 ppg and 3.4 apg while playing for Cleveland, Orlando, New Jersey, Los Angeles (Clippers), Golden State, Denver, Milwaukee, and Charlotte. His arrival in DC means one of two things. It could be that with both James and Crittenton expected to miss at least another month with their injuries the Wizards are just looking for another body to give them depth at the point guard position, that’s the optimistic take. However Boykins signing could mean that Randy Foye’s sprained right ankle is worse than they hoped (X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day) and Boykins will actually get some minutes on the court as the team tries to keep Arenas’s minutes down as he is still making his way back from multiple knee surgeries.
If Grunfeld thinks that Boykins is the short term solution during the Wizards injury battles, it’s because Grunfeld sees a glaring weakness on his team and it’s clearly their passing. I’m positive that Boykins (if he plays) won’t be forcing shots or turning the ball over as frequently as the rest of the Wizards have been this season. Boykins isn’t a scorer, but more of a facilitator on offense and a pest on defense that puts constant pressure on the ball. It’s a minor move in November for the Wizards, but the fact that the Wizards had to go out and sign another guard speaks volumes as to the current status of the Washington Wizards and the multitude of their injury issues…again.