Links, Commentary, Notes From The Dallas Game and Caron Butler With A Clown
Some recent links (with commentary) and forgotten notes from last Friday’s preseason game against the Mavericks at the Verizon Center in D.C. …
Evidently on Sunday morning, Caron Butler was slated to co-chair the ‘Sister to Sister’s Bike For The Heart’ event with D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty at the Verizon Center in Washington. But the Wizards also had a preseason game in Toronto, Canada at 3 pm that afternoon. Event host Irene Pollin, Wizards co-owner, told Butler that he could attended that morning and just catch up with the team at their next stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The team’s other ‘co-owner’, Irene’s husband Abe, said “nope,” indicating he wanted Butler in Toronto, supporting his teammates. So Abe called up his private jet and whisked Butler, along with team president Ernie Grunfeld, to T-Dot after the event and in time for Butler to get in a workout before the Raptors game.
I contributed to a preview about the Wizards for a fellow ESPN TrueHoop Network blog, Nets Are Scorching. I’m not very high on the New Jersey Nets, but one of the writers, Mark Ginocchio, seems to be drinking the Kool-Aid. Can’t blame him, I’m probably a tad over-optimistic, yet cautiously so, when it comes to the Wiz. Mark gives Devin Harris and Brook Lopez the nod in their respective matchups against Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood. Seems far-fetched … we will see.
The Wizards brought in a hypnotist/entertainer during training camp. The WizzNutzz speculates what would have happened if Flip Saunders had brought in a better hypnotist …
Convinced DeShawn Stevenson that his tattoos were alive: Everyone watched in amazement as DeShawn talked animatedly to Abe Lincoln about how the world has changed since the former president got “clipped”. John-Ivan lifted the trance before DeShawn could finish his walkthrough of season 3 of “Martin.”
Stats + Video = That’s How You Do It
On Friday, ESPN’s TrueHoop had a post about Kevin Durant and how his abilities as a player send conflicting messages with his ability as a teammate, basically outlining a problem with Durant’s ‘plus/minus’.
Well, Durant didn’t like this too much … and got defensive.
On Monday, TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott got back to work in response. He previously used stats to diagnose that a problem existed, and then went to visual evidence to outline possible causes of problem. The result was a damn fine post that should not only be required reading for Durant, but for just about any basketball player and fan alike.
Flip Gets A B-minus
Somehow Charley Rosen of Fox Sports was able to play teacher and grade all of the NBA coaches. Flip Saunders was given a B-minus a mere game into the preseason (Rosen’s grades came out before noon on Friday) with a brand new team.
I won’t even get into the silliness of grading coaches so prematurely, or how absurd the fact is that Rosen leads his piece by calling it “a rundown on the comparative and ultimate value of each of the NBA’s coaches,” when letter grades aren’t really a good indication of comparative value. Kinda reminds me of jerk professors who grade on a curve.
Notes From Dallas Game:
Prime Time Dirk
Yes, Nowitzki is hard for anyone in the league to guard … but he was making Jamison look absolutely silly on Friday. It seemed like Antawn’s entire body was on skates … chasing after Dirk with the uncertainly of trying to catch a wild chicken, falling for every little pump fake.
Jamison probably could have been more aggressive, but that would have taken away from his energy on the offensive end, right? Oh yea, and “it’s the preseason.”
Nowitzki had eight points in the game’s first five minutes. Wonder if the Wizards will run more doubles at him on opening night.
Groundhog Day Dray
Some have taken to calling Andray Blatche ’7 Day Dray’ because of his jersey number change from 32 to 7. He’s spouted off about it meaning “seven days of hard work” … or something like that. A lot of people might get excited by his 17 points and nine rebounds in just over 25 minutes against Dallas. But he really resembled the ‘old’ Blatche to me (and against Memphis as well).
Not putting a body on somebody/missing weak side assignments on the defensive boards … looking confused on where to be in the matchup zone late in the game with his buddy JaVale McGee … etc.. Blatche also picked up five fouls during his time on the court. Yes, a couple of those were ‘cheap’ … but on at least one of those, Blatche fell victim to a Drew Gooden pump fake, which his undisciplined ways also did later in the game.
Starting At The Two…
I thought Nick Young played pretty well against the Mavs. You definitely notice a concentrated effort on his part. On Thursday, Flip Saunders said he would bring Young off the bench to chase Jason Terry around, but Nick also made Terry do some chasing himself that Terry didn’t look too enthused about.
Young’s ‘+7′ against Dallas was also the best of all the Wizards. Mike Prada of Bullets Forever thinks Young should start, essentially saying during the game that he might be best served playing alongside Arenas. That’s something I might be able to get on board with … we’ll see how the rest of the preseason plays out. Check out Prada’s game notes on Bullets Forever.
At Appearance By Our Friend Oleksiy
Last year at the Verizon during a ‘Dance Cam’ timeout, they would show goofy members of the audience on the big screen while in each corner there would be footage of Andray Blatche doing a horrendous ‘sprinkler’ dance, and Oleksiy Pecherov doing whatever it is that he does.
For a brief instance on Friday, we got to see that familiar, pasty Stewie-esque face gracing us with his presence. Unfortunately, it was only for a split second, as somebody with the Wizards surely noticed the gaffe … rendering me unable to take a picture.
If I’m reading my own scribbles correctly, Shawn Marion scored 18 of his first 19 points from inside the paint, and made 11 of his 15 shots and all of those 11 were in the paint, shouldn’t be penalized for one long-range miss because it was a buzzer-desperation thing, and finished with three steals, five rebounds, two assists and 26 points.
And get this: The Mavs ran only two plays for him.
Casual observers will take note of what seems to be Jason Kidd’s biggest contribution here: He shot 4-of-7 on 3’s and finished with 15 points and seven assists. But if you looked more closely, you saw Kidd fulfilling an equally important function: he is nurturing Beaubois at every turn, whispering to him, advising him, guiding him. … I lost count of the seemingly dozens of times Kidd gave Roddy a warm tap on the back of the head, J-Kidd’s sporting version of an Atta-Boy.
Keep An Eye On: Dallas’ Rodrigue Beaubois. The 6’0″ ’88 baby that the WaPost’s Michael Lee calls “The Darker Tony Parker” (they’re also both French) is going to be something else. George Panagakos of Washington Wizards Examiner has more on Beaubois.