Archive for the ‘Washington Wizards’ Category

J.R. Smith is like, “Been there bro.”

martell-webster-gazing-at-ball

Seriously.

From the Washington Post:

“I don’t know, man. I think it’s sorcery, some evil witchcraft involved, because it just doesn’t make any sense,” forward Martell Webster said of the Wizards’ track record against Detroit. “I’m going to stick to that. I believe really there’s some sorcery going on. That’s the only thing that can explain this.”

Seriously.

(via DC Sports Bog)

jordan-crawford-laughing-it-up

There’s not going to be a big deal this trade deadline. Not again, anyway — we’ve already had it. No, instead, there are just teams taking free part-season looks at backups. Looks, they believe, are worth taking. Are they right? Perhaps.

To set the tone, Miami traded Dexter Pittman and a second round pick to Memphis, whose 12-man roster and available trade exception made them prime salary-dumping candidates. In Big Pitt, however, they see more than just a salary. Are they right? Perhaps not.

Pittman is one of those enticing prospects who entices without doing much to truly justify it. His combination of being a nice guy with great size, terrific footwork and decent touch is a rare one — when interspersed with an easy feel-good narrative about his weight loss, the attraction is obvious. But the less alluring part of the story is that Pittman just isn’t that impactful, and nor was he ever. He wasn’t at Texas, he hasn’t been in the D-League, and he definitely hasn’t been in the NBA. Pittman can’t defend without fouling, turns it over an excessively large amount, and doesn’t defensive rebound. The potential of Pittman, or the perceived potential of Pittman, far outweighs the production.

Nevertheless, he’s free. And he comes with a pick, which could bag another fringe prospect, who is also free. That, truly, is a look worth taking.

Miami, for their troubles, open up a roster spot without having to waste dollars in eating Pittman’s contract to do so. Since he had no role on the team, he was nothing more than a tax burden. As a matter of bookkeeping, Memphis — obliged by NBA rules to send out something in a trade, however trivial — sent Miami the draft rights to Ricky Sanchez, rights they had previously acquired in the deal that sent Sam Young to Philadelphia. Essentially, then, they traded Sam Young for Dexter Pittman and a pick, saving on some luxury tax dollars in the process. They also got to call Ricky Sanchez their own for a year. The real winner here is Ricky Sanchez, whose name gets splashed over the American basketball media all over again. (Without wishing to be callous, however, Ricky Sanchez is not a look worth taking.)

In a similar deal, Toronto traded the recently acquired contract of Hamed Haddadi (who never reported to Toronto, due to visa issues and general redundancy) along with a protected second round pick for Sebastian Telfair. After trading Jose Calderon in the Rudy Gay deal, the Raptors were down to two point guards and a cursory search of the waiver wire and the D-League turned up little. With no incentive to turn to retreads like Allen Iverson, Mike Bibby or Carlos Arroyo, and with little in the D-League point guard pool other than Ben Uzoh (whom they’ve already danced a merry dance with), Toronto turned their attention to the trade market, where Telfair could be found stealing Kendall Marshall’s minutes. Telfair’s legend blew out long before his candle ever will, but he’s proven himself to be a sufficiently mediocre backup NBA point guard to merit a look from a team that needs exactly that going forward. For the cost of a man who couldn’t even get into the country, it’s a look worth taking.

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There was a sort of moment of revelation for me last Saturday night, when I saw that there was a Bulls-Wizards game on NBA TV, and instinctively reached for my remote to DVR it. There’s nothing more unwatchable in the NBA than a game between a team that’s good-but-not-great and a team that’s totally awful — there’s no drama, no stakes, and 95 percent of the time, no interest — and for most of the first half of the NBA season, that’s exactly what a Chicago-Washington Saturday nighter would’ve been. But something had changed about these Wizards over the few weeks prior: They’d gone from depressing to watchable to oddly exciting. They might not have even been terrible anymore.

Going into Monday night’s game against the Kings, the Wizards had won five straight at the Verizon Center. I’d venture to say it’s the first time this season that the Wizards had won five straight of anything, considering that before they started their home streak, they were just 4-28 on the year. Going back further, Washington hadn’t won even one-third of their games for a season since 2008, their last full season with Eddie Jordan at the helm. Since then, they’d become the laughing stock of the league, and kind of an anti-Thunder, a team that proved that sustained tanking was far from a foolproof way to rebuild a franchise. There was the Gilbert Arenas contract, the Gilbert Arenas locker room fiasco, the Mike Miller and Randy Foye trade, the BALTCHE incident, and a whole lot of Nick Young and JaVale McGee. It’s been a minute since the Wizards were anything but a dark cloud hanging over the NBA.

Over the last few weeks, though, there’s been life, legitimate life out of DC. Not only did they win five straight at home, but they beat a handful of pretty good teams — the Thunder, Hawks and the previously mentioned Bulls on that Saturday-nighter — and absolutely ran a couple lousy ones off the court, destroying the Magic 120-91, and drubbing the Timberwolves 114-101 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated. Even on their five-game West Coast road trip in between home stints, they went a respectable 2-3, beating two solid teams in the Nuggets and Blazers, and not losing any game by more than seven points. The improvement from the team that started 4-28 was evident, to say the least.

Of course, there was an inciting incident for all this, both in terms of the team playing better and the team being more watchable: The return of point guard (and for lack of another feasible option, face of the franchise) John Wall. Out for the season up until that point, Wall was a forgotten man among the league’s exciting young players, having come off a disappointing sophomore season and playing for a team that seemed to be beyond redemption. But Wall proved a surprisingly steady contributor and leader coming off the bench upon his return, scoring in double digits in every game but one and racking a couple double-doubles. Wall’s return coincided with a couple other Wizards who’d been out for stretches — A.J. Price, Trevor Ariza, Nene — and suddenly, the team had something dangerously close to a full roster, with Wall at the helm.

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So the Wizards beat the Heat, joining the Grizzlies as the only team in the league to beat both of last season’s Finals competitors. And even though Skeetstradamus told you on yesterday’s show that the Wizards would keep things close because the Thunder wouldn’t care about the game, when that did happen, people were still confused.

And yes, that is exactly what happened, at least according to the team’s best player and superstar, which seems like a pretty trustworthy source as far as I’m concerned. From the AP:

“We let them stick around, because we’re not taking them serious enough,” Durant said. “We can’t do that, man. We can’t do that.”

To be fair, this is a team that has won just 25 of its last 99 games (including last night’s win), so not taking them seriously enough is probably OK most of the time. Just not all of the time, lest you lose on a buzzer beater by a 19-year-old rookie.

But this sort of thing does happen, good teams not playing their hardest against bad teams. How else do you explain the Bobcats having such a good record against the Lakers? It’s nothing to worry about, unless the Thunder decide to treat every team like the Wizards. But since most teams don’t poop in each other’s shoes, that shouldn’t be a problem.

However, if every other team in the league starts acting like the Wizards, then the Thunder are in trouble and my job gets super easy. A man can dream.

I am not sure how the whole id-ego-superego psyche portion of the dearly departed Knucklehead Wizards breaks down, but I do know that JaVale McGee was the silly side of the coin and Andray Blatche was the dark side. While we all delighted in JaVale’s antics, anything notable that Andray Blatche did was truly embarrassing. JaVale McGee tried to get triple-doubles, Andray Blatche got sent home because he was out of shape. You see what I mean.

And that’s why tomorrow’s Wizards-Nets game is such a big deal, because it’s Blatche’s first time back in D.C. Trevor Booker says he should be prepared. From the Washington Post:

Booker said he already knows what kind of reaction his former teammate will receive when he makes his debut in an opposing team’s uniform.

“Probably a lot of boos,” he said. “I heard they got extra security over on his bench, just in case somebody wants to throw stuff. So I don’t know how true that is.”

Booker then joked, “I hope he makes it out alive.”

Perhaps I am underestimating how embarrassing Andray Blatche was to the Washington, D.C. metro area, but I am going to guess that he will make it out of the Verizon Center alive. At the very least, he has the Predator on his side now, so the odds are in his favor.

Booing though? That’s going to happen. Ohhh, that’s going to happen. This is a fan base that booed Andray Blatche when he was on their team and one of their highest-paid players, so now that he’s been amnestied and the team is still paying a portion of his salary and he’s finally in shape and he’s contributing to a winning team, yeah they’re going to boo him. Loudly. Like super loud. Like turn up your TV so you can bask in the hate loud.

Personally, I can’t wait. It’ll be like we finished a movie about the Knucklehead Wizards and during the credits they’re telling us what happened to all those guys once they left the team. You know, like “Gilbert Arenas is out of the NBA” or “Antawn Jamison can’t get off the bench for the most disappointing Lakers team of our generation” or “Rashard Lewis is now in the rotation for the defending NBA champion Miami Heat.” It’s going to be great. Set your DVRs now.

We all know the Wizards have had a rough go of it the past few decades. Three seasons with less than 20 wins since 1999, coaches eating at Subway, the gun stuff, the knee stuff, the other knee stuff, the other other knee stuff drafting Kwame Brown on purpose, having the worst ever version of Michael Jordan — you know, classic Wizards nonsense.

But I’m not sure things have ever been this bad. In yet another season where the Wiz are in last place and challenging the all-time record for futility, they’ve been so horrible that their players can’t even get excited about their own birthdays. From WUSA9.com:

Back on December 7th, Seraphin refused to celebrate his 23rd birthday out on the town, even with his roommate Taylor and girlfriend Allison pestering him that he deserved to have some fun. “We keep losing. I feel guilty to celebrate. Not this year,” said Seraphin in a frustrated tone.

This is so sad. Kevin Seraphin is so destroyed by the Wizards’ season that he can’t bring himself to enjoy his one and only 23rd birthday. You can’t get that back, you guys. 23 is a once in a lifetime celebration, but Kevin Seraphin had to literally say, “Not this year.” Truly heart-wrenching.

To make matters worse, the Wizards played on December 7, the very date of Seraphin’s big 2-3. Not surprisingly, they lost, dropping a road game to the Hawks to move to 2-14. Worst birthday ever.