At 27, DeShawn Stevenson has found a comfortable role -- and a home -- with the eccentric Wizards.
DeShawn Stevenson has started 250 consecutive games dating to '04-05, when he was with the Magic. Among active players, only the Pistons' Tayshaun Prince has a longer starting streak (355 games).
Record: 43-39 (5th in East) Points scored: 98.8 (14th in NBA) Points allowed: 99.2 (12th)
Agent Zero's protégé has a new mission: Score a bunch until his mentor gets healthy
DeShawn Stevenson's eccentricities? They're mainly the product of hisenvironment. Take his preferred celebration (waving his palm in front of hisface). Or his fashion sense (spending $15,000 on an '80s-themed wardrobe). Orhis incendiary opinions (calling LeBron James "overrated" last March, which ledto an alliance with rapper Soulja Boy and a feud with Jay-Z). Each one bizarre,yes -- but, given the odd characters in the Wizards' locker room, entirelyunderstandable. "I don't really try to do things," says Stevenson. "Beingaround the people here, I can't help it."
Indeed, the most curious player on the Washington roster -- along with mosttalented and injury-prone -- remains Gilbert Arenas, the guard-cum-blogger whonegotiated his own six-year, $111 million deal this summer beforeundergoing the third surgery on his left knee in less than two years; Agent Zerowill miss at least the first month of the season. "It's gonna suck," saysStevenson, who describes his relationship with Arenas as a "brother situation."He adds, "He's our star player. But we all gotta step up."
Stevenson especially. Drafted by the Jazz out of Washington Union High inFresno eight years ago, he has found a home in D.C. over the past two seasons asa kind of proto-Arenas, in both persona and shot selection. Stevenson will bethe team's top perimeter threat in Arenas's absence, and his marksmanship willdetermine whether defenses can key on All-Star forwards Caron Butler and AntawnJamison.
"DeShawn plays hard at both ends of the court," says Butler. "He's trying tomake his mark." In so many ways. -- Pablo S. Torre
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