The Wizards play the Thunder at 8 pm tonight in Oklahoma City. I’ll be Twittering and perhaps chatting a bit on ESPN’s Daily Dime.
We’ll see if the Wiz have the consistency, energy and focus it takes to win. Word out of Oklahoma is that the Thunder practiced their zone offense at shoot-around today.
Watch out for that Thabo Sefolosha cat. His on-ball defense is something to get excited about … when not playing the Wizards, obviously. It won’t be easy for Mike Miller or Caron Butler, whomever Thabo is guarding. That means … no dribbling around and trying to force things, Caron.
Brendan Haywood will also being going against his old buddy, Etan ‘The Poet’ Thomas. Wizards Insider has more on the game’s matchup.
Finally, it’s Zero vs. Zero tonight, as my fellow ESPN TrueHoop Network blog, Daily Thunder, points out. Russell Westbrook vs. Gilbert Arenas … hopefully it will be fun to watch (and Gil’s not throwing up stink bombs from deep).
Keep scrolling for what you need to know …
Haywood is a key player for the Wizards who is having a damn fine season … he might even be besting the recognition of ‘Top Five Center In The East” I’ve been giving him since the offseason. Really, how could this guy be left off the All-Star ballot? The selecting panel of six should be ashamed of themselves.
Haywood said his increased rebounding, scoring and shot-blocking numbers this season are a direct correlation to playing a career-best 33.8 minutes. “That’s big because it helps me from a mental aspect. If I go out there and I know I’m going to play 30 minutes, it gives you confidence, because you feel your coach has confidence in you. You don’t have to go out there pressing,” said Haywood, who is averaging 10.9 points.
“Not trying to speak negatively about anyone, but in previous years, I was playing like I had to make something happen. If it didn’t happen in the first five minutes I felt like I had to do something or I might not play in the second half. That’s a tough way to play.”
Some have criticized that Big Ol’ Meanie Eddie Jordan for doing Haywood so, so wrong (your facetious meter should be going off) … but I don’t always buy the “I need a certain amount of time so I can be good” argument. Players, in my opinion, should be mentally strong enough and ready to play hard, smart basketball no matter how long they are in the game.
Clearly this current situation is working for Haywood, so everybody wins. The man deserves over 30 minutes so give him over 30 minutes. In other news, Haywood is heavy on Drake and listens to him to get pumped before games.
Gilbert Arenas technically “tweeted” but still isn’t “tweeting” as far as actually writing them. Mike Jones of the Washington Times has the scoop.
Evidently, JaVale McGee took footage from earlier this summer of Arenas whipping/belting Nick Young (which is odd in itself … is it a connotation that Arenas is Young’s daddy?), and added some voice-overs about Twitter (which invoke the name “Shaq” — intentional or unintentional symbolism slightly broaching a subject in Arenas’ personal life that has been covered by gossip rags. Mention Shaq and you will get whipped?).
The end result was the below homemade video posted to Arenas’ Twitter account.
Irresponsible Journalism Makes Haywood A Denver Target
I don’t like having to call people out. But when a situation, or suggestion, arrives that’s so absurd and baseless … and it involves the Washington Wizards … for the sake of accuracy and justice, it can’t be allowed to slide.
Garrett Olsen currently has an article up on InDenverTimes.com (a site which was started by 30 former Rocky Mountain News journalists last March after the paper stopped publishing) called, ‘Nuggets should target Wizards’ Haywood’.
Olsen starts out innocently enough, depicting the rebounding woes of the Nuggets and how they need another big man. But he somehow nails down Haywood as a target. How does he come to the conclusion that Haywood is available in the first place?
With Antawn Jamison locked in for three more years at $15 million, and youngsters Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee looking to cash in once they are eligible for free agency, that leaves the older Haywood the odd man out.
Makes absolutely no sense. But please, continue …
Jamison is back from his injury, and the Wizards are expecting to start Blatche at center, with Jamison at power forward, and McGee and Haywood coming off the bench.
Uh … to rebut this simply, f*ck no. Haywood has been the starter all along. Jamison’s injury has nothing to do with his playing time. No one is expecting Blatche to start.
But I’ll let Olsen continue with his “ideas”:
The deal for Haywood sounds complicated, and it is, but it could be done. Would Washington bite on such a deal? I don’t know, but NBA.com had a blurb that Washington may be shopping Haywood now that Jamison is back from injury.
With 99.9% certainty, I can say that this is a flat-out lie. For one, Olsen doesn’t link this mysterious NBA.com blurb that does not come up in multiple searches.
Two, there is absolutely no way the Wizards are shopping Haywood. If this clown did any research, he’d know that the Wizards have a dearth in the front-court and are not looking to trade a big for … oh yea, you have to hear Olsen’s proposed deal, sheer comedy. But I’ll get to that in a second.
Back to the point of Haywood being on the trade block. I could send a text to a Wizards PR guy in search of an “official” response from the team that they are not looking to move Brendan. But doing so would lend a shred of credence to Olsen’s lie … and it’d just make me look silly for even checking.
I can say with 100% certainty, even though there is a risk the Wizards lose Haywood, an unrestricted free-agent, at the end of this year, Ernie Grunfeld is not looking to move him, especially not 10 games into the season.
Again, the Wizards don’t have a lot of front court depth, Haywood is valuable, and someone the Wizards likely want to keep this season and beyond. And remember, Haywood likes money. Holding his Larry Bird rights, the Wizards will be able to offer him more than any other team.
Ok, back to Olsen and how he thinks Denver can trade for Haywood.
The scenario I’ve come up with would have Denver trading the $3.6 million TPE to Cleveland in a sign-and-trade for Wally Szczerbiak. Denver then would send a second-round pick in a mini deal for a D-leaguer, who would then be cut.
Ummm … okay.
With that move, Denver would have a $3.6 million contract with Szczerbiak. Denver could then offer Szczerbiak ($3.6 million), Balkman ($2.2 million), Allen ($1.3 million), a first- and second-round pick to Washington for Haywood.
So the Wizards, in exchange for their number one center, who is second in the NBA in blocks per game and sixth in rebounds per game, …
- The cadaverous Malik Allen who, in eight games this season, has a PER of 0.4 … ZERO POINT FOUR. Allen’s $1.3 million comes off the books after this season.
- Renaldo Balkman, and undersized PF who can’t shoot or dribble and is owed $5 million over the next three seasons. (Uh, we already have Dominic McGuire, we like him much better).
- Wally Effing Shizzleback. Has this Olsen dude even seen the Wizards lineup? The Wizards have no need for Szczerbiak, he wouldn’t get off the bench.
- And a late first round pick and a second rounder that the Wizards would give away for cash.
Here’s the kicker from Olsen:
Szczerbiak brings another veteran leader for Washington and an insurance policy for Caron Butler, who is injury-prone. If Washington wants to make a serious run in the playoffs this year, it needs to add another player behind Butler for depth.
So … to make a “serious” run, the Wizards need to add the former Cro-Magnon known as Szczerbiak to an already crowded perimeter contingent while losing their starting center. WTF?
There’s a reason no team has picked up Wally World … not to mention that if he was traded from Cleveland to Denver, the Nuggets would have to keep him for two months before trading him again (if he’s part of a package in the second trade that includes multiple players — a window that could possibly be longer considering that Olsen’s proposal involves an initial sign-and-trade of Szczerbiak).
Face palm smack.
Was it really worth me using all these words to call out such a questionable piece of writing … such an idiotic theory? Well, of course … debunking the preposterously absurd is therapeutic for me. The internet has a plethora of information. Mr. Olsen, please … check the stats, do the research, put out an intelligent piece. That’s all I ask.
And Finally … LeBron
(I just gotta mention him, don’t I?)
Michael Jordan on Bron’s idea to change his number and retire #23? No thanks brah. And the best part is that Jordan suggests LeBron might be trying to sell more jerseys.
Stepien’s Rules points out an interesting quirk to this ridiculous retiring of the number nonsense. If James files, that’s an indicator he at least THINKS he’ll be in Cleveland next year. If he doesn’t file, either he doesn’t really care about the number thing, or… you know…
Lastly, Comcast’s Ivan Carter weighs in with some knocks on LeBron:
Another word on James, who is a great player but also a bit of a phony in my book: Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey is not buying LeBron’s take that he’d make a good NFL player. Via twitter, Shockey said James wouldn’t even make a good “practice squad” player. I agree. The dude can’t even keep from holding his lip every time someone barely touches him on a basketball court. Again, he is a heck of a basketball player though. Give him that. One more thing: LeBron, before you demand that no NBA player should wear number 23 in honor of MJ simply because you think it’s a good idea (not to mention a good marketing ploy right? I mean, how many number 6 jerseys did you plan on selling just in time for X-mas with that stunt?) why not win, oh, maybe one ring first? Just a thought.