If you blinked at the wrong/right time, you probably missed Mike Bibby on the Washington Wizards.
Those four names might make up the extremely niche and oddly specific “Wizards Point Guards” Mt. Rushmore. But there’s one pretty big name that – although enjoying a great career AND spending some time in Washington – is certainly not remembered as a great Wizards point guard. Hell, most people probably don’t even remember that he was a Wizards point guard at all.
Earlier this week, we kicked off our latest series – Wizards We Forgot – when Jack Skolnik revisited Rashard Lewis’ Wizards years. We continue things today with a guy who would probably prefer we never mention his time in D.C.: Mike Bibby.
Revisiting Mike Bibby’s impressively brief stint with the Washington Wizards.
The 2010-11 season was a mixed bag for the Washington Wizards. The team started the season dancing, with John Wall breaking out his now-infamous dougie before his NBA debut. After that, there weren’t many more joyful moments.
Even as Wall emerged, an obvious star even as a rookie, the Wizards just weren’t good. They were in the midst of their third consecutive losing season. It was time to build around the rookie phenom. So that’s what they did.
On February 23, 2011, in the middle of game vs the Philadelphia 76ers, the Wizards traded Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong to the Atlanta Hawks for Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans, and a 2011 first-round pick.
The trade was supposed to help the Wizards rebuild in a few ways. Hinrich was shipped out for a younger, more dynamic shooting guard in Jordan Crawford, who had been buried on the bench of a playoff-bound Hawks team. The first-round draft pick would help them add even more young talent around Wall, and as the young rookie grew, veteran floor general Mike Bibby could bring him up to speed on the NBA game.
Not a bad plan right? Well, things didn’t exactly turn out that way.
Doomed from the Start
Jordan Crawford was excited about the new playing opportunities he was going to get. Maurice Evans was ready for a reunion with Wizards then-head coach Flip Saunders. But Mike Bibby, he was not happy about being traded. And certainly wasn’t happy about being traded to the Wizards.
Besides feeling a bit blindsided and disrespected – the 12-year vet got no heads up from Atlanta regarding the trade – Bibby didn’t seem excited to be in Washington. Bibby, heading towards the end of his career, wasn’t interested in joining in on any rebuild. Even if that rebuild role meant tutoring the NBA’s most exciting young guard.
Before joining the Wizards in 2011, Bibby had been to the playoffs eight of the previous nine seasons. He was ready to get a ring, not be a mentor. And the Wizards were a long way from a title.
The result? Two games, nine shots, eight assists, three rebounds, two fouls, and two points in 29 total minutes for the Washington Wizards. That’s the entire Mike Bibby-Washington Wizards experience.
He wanted out so bad, Bibby left over $6 million behind when the Wizards bought him out.
There’s not much to think about really when it comes to the Mike Bibby trade. It was one that, on paper, actually made a lot of sense. The Wizards were trying to get younger while, at the same time, also getting some veteran leadership where they needed it. Not all the trades from the Grunfeld era seemed so sound.
Ultimately, it didn’t work out. Bibby bolted. Crawford never really panned out. And the draft pick was used on Chris Singleton, who was out of the league after three seasons in Washington.
It’s still a fun blip in Wizards history, though. Even without Bibby’s mentorship, I think John Wall turned out just fine, too.
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