Flying Under the Radar: DeShawn Stevenson

DeShawn Stevenson left Orlando in 2006 as a free agent thinking he would cash in, but when no teams offered him the money he thought he deserved, Stevenson had to settle on a low salary contract with the Washington Wizards. Now, Stevenson is filling in for the injured Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler, and is starting to surprise some teams with his offensive prowess.

Stevenson has always been known for his defense, but was never considered a good offensive player, and was often compared to defensive specialist, Bruce Bowen. With a 6'5, 218 lb. frame, Stevenson can guard three positions, as he combines size and athleticism to shut down opponents. While his strong defensive play for the Wizards has been expected this season, Stevenson's offensive game has come on strong as of late.

With the energetic scoring threats of Arenas and Butler sidelined, Stevenson has teamed up with forward Antwan Jamison to create a fairly effective one-two punch on O. Last week, Stevenson scored a career-high 33 points. In that game, Stevenson also scored the game winning three-pointer to defeat New Orleans. Prior to his career game, Stevenson had scored in double-digits the previous nine games, including five games in which he scored over 18 points.

Despite Stevenson's offensive renaissance, he still has his shooting woes. In between his 33-point performance and another solid game in which he scored 16 points, Stevenson combined for just seven points in two games, shooting 3 for 20 from the field.

Stevenson will face his former team on Wednesday, when the Wizards host the Magic. When he played for the Magic, he was advised to not shoot, and so attempted one three-pointer every five games. Now, he is shooting over 4 a game, and is making 36% of them.

While Stevenson is still better known for his defense, he has become a more complete player since his days in Orlando. The Magic will likely be able to contain Stevenson with guards Maurice Evans and Keith Bogans, who are both solid one on one defenders. In fact, Stevenson's defensive ability may not be properly utilized against the Magic, as he will likely have to defend Evans or Bogans, who aren't top scoring options for Orlando. Without two of their top three players, Washington needs Stevenson to continue to pick up the slack on offense and if he has another performance like he did against New Orleans last week, he could propel Washington to an upset victory over Orlando and could help them gain some valuable ground in the division.