When I was a kid, I had the same thing that’s going on now with Anthony Spencer
The Washington Wizards point guard Anthony Spencer is not the kind of guy you want to see on the court.
When he’s not being a distraction for the opposing team, he’s just a guy that plays defense.
In the playoffs, he averaged a career-high 11.7 points per game.
In two postseasons, Spencer has averaged 13.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, so he’s still one of the best big men in the league at his position.
And yet, when you think about how hard Spencer works and how important he is to the Wizards, you can understand why he was a free agent and why he has been on the decline.
Spencer’s struggles in his first season in Washington were part of an overall decline for the Wizards that has been happening for quite some time.
As a rookie, Spencer averaged 6.5 points per contest while shooting just 33 percent from the field.
He was a minus-13 in two playoff games, and he was outscored by the Warriors by 3.4 points per 100 possessions.
In his first full year as a starter, Spencer finished with a career low in points per play (13.4), rebounds per contest (8.9), and field goal percentage (51.2).
Spencer’s overall numbers improved in each of his first three seasons with the Wizards (the Wizards’ first season was actually the second time in their history they had a point guard play more than 20 percent of the team’s minutes).
And the trend continued for Spencer in 2017-18, when he averaged 8.2 points per team game, shot better than 70 percent from 3-point range, and averaged 9.3 assists per game as a rookie.
But the Wizards were not able to win many playoff games as a team.
In fact, the Wizards fell in the first round of the playoffs only twice in the last decade.
Spencer was never a good defensive player, and his defensive prowess was not at all apparent at the time.
He also struggled on offense, and the Wizards averaged just 27.5 offensive points per 60 minutes of play.
And it was clear that Spencer was not playing up to his potential.
The first-round exit from the playoffs was a real blow to Spencer’s NBA legacy.
He would become the third point guard to never reach the Finals, behind Stephen Curry and LeBron James.
Spencer went on to lead the Warriors to their first NBA championship in 2020.
The Wizards have had a good shot at another championship in Spencer’s first full season with the team, but it’s not looking very promising.
When the Washington Wizards were able to get over the hump, Spencer was part of the reason.
In 2018-19, Spencer signed a six-year, $84 million contract extension.
The deal included a player option for 2019-20.
While Spencer has played in just one of his past six NBA Finals, he has never been better.
Spencer has become a dominant defender, averaging 10.6 blocks per game in his six-season career.
He’s also become a better passer and rebounder, finishing third in both categories last season.
But there is no denying that the Wizards did not make a lot of strides in the offensive end of the floor in 2018-18.
The point guard position was still in flux with the departure of Otto Porter, and Spencer did not help the cause in the offense department.
The team finished 26th in points allowed per possession, 28th in field goal attempts, and 27th in scoring efficiency.
Spencer had just four seasons of over 20 points per possession in his career before last season, and it was not until the second half of 2018-2019 that he started to reach that level again.
Spencer shot a career best 52.9 percent from deep last season and had career highs in steals, assists, and blocks.
But his offense was still a work in progress.
Injuries hampered his offensive output and the offensive rating dropped from 29th to 28th.
The problem was that Spencer played in a low-scoring offense that was very difficult to score in.
And he did not have a great offense in the playoffs.
Spencer finished his second season averaging just 6.8 points per shot, shooting just 35 percent from beyond the arc.
It was a disappointing season for Spencer, who played with an injury-riddled offensive team that lacked a ton of shooting talent.
So how can the Washington Capitals hope to replicate the success they had last season with a new point guard?
The Capitals made it work last year with the acquisition of Bradley Beal and Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Capitals had been looking for a new big man since the departure in free agency of Andre Burakovsky.
But after the arrival of Fleury, the Capitals were able play some of their best ball in the post this past season.
The Washington Capitals won 20 games in 2017 with