Archive for the ‘Washington Wizards’ Category

Oh, I get it — Lapdance Tuesday is today, so Make It Rain Monday was last night. The Wizards have more theme days than a high school homecoming week.

(via DC Sports Bog)

dennis-schroeder-celebrate

With the dust mostly settled on this offseason’s player movement — and there was a whole lot of it this year — it’s time to take stock of all the fascinating new faces in new places, as well as the more compelling stories of players who will face new challenges while sticking around. Over the course of the next few weeks, Andrew Unterberger will do a team-by-team look at the most interesting players going into next season — one new to the team, and one returning — as we all try to pass the dog days of NBA-less summer, dreaming of hoops-filled months to come. The series continues today with the teams in the Southeast Division: the Hawks, Bobcats, Heat, Magic and Wizards.

ATLANTA HAWKS

Most Interesting New Player: Dennis Schroeder

Yeah, I know this guy is kind of a trendy pick after his Summer League success and all, but man, did you see this guy? That video of assists-that-weren’t Trey posted a few weeks ago should be all you need to see to get excited about Schroeder, and every game I watched of his left me more convinced that he was eventually going to be Rajon Rondo with better shooting range. “Eventually” might not be next year, but I don’t think the court vision and basic floor general confidence on the level Schroeder seemed to display in Vegas could end up being a mirage — if there was one showcase rookie this year whose skills were legit, I’d bet it’s Schroeder. It was a little disappointing that Atlanta balked and re-signed Jeff Teague. It’s a fair deal, sure, but if they’d seen Schroeder’s Summer League game first, I think they’d leave pretty convinced this was their Point Guard of the Future.

Also disappointing that Schroeder probably won’t be joined by fellow rookie Bebe Noguiera on the court this year, as it looks like the Hawks are keeping him stashed overseas for a season. Nogueira was extremely impressive himself in Vegas, and the two showed surprisingly good on-court chemistry and such awesome rookie duos are pretty rare these days. Between them and John Jenkins/Mike Scott in ’12, Atlanta has had a couple sneaky awesome drafts now since Danny Ferry came over.

Most Interesting Returning Player: Al Horford

I guess? I didn’t find any of the players on their roster last year all that interesting, which is why I hoped they’d blow it up in the offseason, which they sorta did but not really. I actually kinda feel bad for Horford, since after a half-decade of playing out of position at center to accommodate the undersized Josh Smith at power forward, Smith finally flew the coop, and they just replaced him with another undersized power forward, one who should also take plenty of post touches away from Horford. At least this is the East, where there are only like two centers you really have to worry about killing you down low on offense, but man, it might be nearly a decade into his career before Al gets to maybe play his actual position on the court with any regularity. Seems like a raw deal.

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Probably fake.

(via Dime)

From the people who brought you Russell Westbrook Dancing in a Room by Himself comes the hotly anticipated sequel, John Wall Dancing on a Sidewalk by Himself. It’s a part of the Cousin Terio collection, whatever that is, and while most of the times sequels aren’t as good as their predecessors, I think this might be a “Back to the Future 2″ scenario. Those wiggles are just mesmerizing, and John Wall remains just a little bit too good at dancing.

(via TNLP)

It has been a while since I’ve seen a “Sabotage” remake and probably an equally long time since I’ve thought about Jan Vesely in a truly positive light, so this couldn’t come at a better time. RIP MCA.

(via DC Sports Bog/Mr. I)

jason-collins-rebounding

Yesterday was a great day because someone announced they were gay.

It shouldn’t have been news, but it was. This is news, big news. This is the first out active male athlete in the major American team sports. For anyone interested in sports, this was a giant step towards the end of its last great discriminatory boundary. For anyone concerned with gay rights, the accursed world of sports became an accessible arena for discussion. And so for any of us concerned with both, this day was special.

The truly special day will be the one in which announcements such as this are no longer considered special. This ideal, perhaps far-fetched, is still the goal for anyone concerned with the freedom and protection of human dignity. And it is steps such as this, ones which take a sledgehammer to a social stigma that has long needed it, that give us a chance of realizing this.

Therein lies the enormity of Collins’s announcement. He is a veteran, and a widely respected one, who brought an overdue and highly sought-after resolution to the question of who was going to be first, and did so completely out of the blue. More pertinently, he did so correctly. In the Sports Illustrated article that announced his news, Collins speaks from a place of candor and depth of feeling, without the chip on his shoulder that could so readily be developed in light of his situation. His nuanced introspection gives no one any reason to think less of him, to judge his character and the words it brings forth with anything less than sincerity and respect. If you don’t believe homosexuality is right, and/or you think less of homosexuals, Collins is challenging your belief with the very delivery of the words.

Context is needed to temper any overreactions, however. The world hasn’t been changed; indeed, the world of sport might not even recognize any palpable change for a while. Collins’ announcement is but a blip on the global problem of discrimination against homosexuality. We live in a world in which homosexuality remains illegal in 76 countries, and punishable by death in nine of them. Homosexuality remains an unacceptable reality in much of the world and many walks of life. One gay sportsman isn’t stopping this.

However, in the context of team sports, we’re seeing history made. And, with only the rarest of exceptions, we’re seeing this history accepted. In recent years, the likes of Orlando Cruz, Gareth Thomas, John Amaechi, Steven Davies and Brittney Griner have come out, pushing back the barrier slightly further each time. Major American team sports were one of the few hurdles remaining. With this announcement, we get one step closer to normalcy. And normalcy is the aim.

This, then is a plea. A plea then for everyone to both recognize this statement for what it is and for what it isn’t. A plea for everyone to treat Collins the same as they did yesterday, which is a plea he himself rose above making. A plea to other players not to believe Collins isn’t going to start jumping their bones every time he sees them naked (which he’s managed to avoid doing so far), and to dispense with the idea that locker room sanctity is threatened by the realization that people are different. And a plea to us all — if Collins isn’t in the NBA next year, let’s not assume this is why. If we’re willing to believe that being a gay NBA player is no big thing, we must also be willing to believe that being a gay free agent is no big deal, either. If we want to develop a society whereby people do not judge or treat others on their sexuality, we mustn’t look for instances of it happening.

If Jason Collins has already played his last NBA game, let us not forget that he can’t score, rebound, shoot, pass or defend the rim. He contributes very little as a player — even the one tangible strength he does have, his man-to-man defensive versatility on opposing bigs, is mitigated by his foul rates. Indeed, Collins himself lauds his own ability as being good at fouling. That doesn’t cut it for anyone else.

If we want to realize this ideal, whereby coming out means nothing, recognition of Collins as a player must come before any recognition of him as a person. Whatever happens in his career now, Collins’ homosexuality can and will be cited as a reason, be it being left on the shelf (“discrimination!”) or signing with a new team (“great PR move!”). If this happens, the good work will be all for naught. It is up to us to prevent that.

The world is a slightly better place for Collins’ announcement. He’s done his bit. Let’s do our bit to keep it that way.

Jason-Collins-is-gay

Here is the most important part of Jason Collins’ very important, groundbreaking Sports Illustrated essay:

I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.

And here is the funniest part, where he explains he might be the best fouler the game has ever seen:

On the court I graciously accept one label sometimes bestowed on me: “the pro’s pro.” I got that handle because of my fearlessness and my commitment to my teammates. I take charges and I foul — that’s been my forte. In fact, during the 2004-05 season my 322 personals led the NBA. I enter the court knowing I have six hard fouls to give. I set picks with my 7-foot, 255-pound body to get guys like Jason Kidd, John Wall and Paul Pierce open. I sacrifice myself for other players. I look out for teammates as I would my kid brother.

I’m not afraid to take on any opponent. I love playing against the best. Though Shaquille O’Neal is a Hall of Famer, I never shirked from the challenge of trying to frustrate the heck out of him. (Note to Shaq: My flopping has nothing to do with being gay.) My mouthpiece is in, and my wrists are taped. Go ahead, take a swing — I’ll get up. I hate to say it, and I’m not proud of it, but I once fouled a player so hard that he had to leave the arena on a stretcher.

Not much for me to add here — except that that Shaq line is an instant classic — so go read the entire thing.