A D.C. pic, commentary and links …
[Frazier's Funeral Home - Florida Ave. & Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. - K. Weidie]
Josh Howard recently said ‘all the right things’ in an interview with HoopsHype … ‘all the right things’ that are almost hard to believe. Perhaps it was a proclamation, of sorts — a personal challenge from Josh to Josh. Howard saying that the Wizards “see a natural-born leader” in him certainly drew faint scoffs from several prominent websites: ESPN Dallas, SLAM, Yahoo!.
Which makes me wonder … is skepticism wrong? Why are we skeptics? I’m sure there’s been a ton of psychoanalysis about it, but does it accomplish much aside from a potential future “I told you so”? That being said, I’ve been guilty of skepticism before … from being leery of Ernie Grunfeld’s romanticism of old school team management tactics to past battles with assessments of Andray Blatche (after being around him as a person this past season, I’ve grown to like him … it’s just that his previous bonehead decisions and court attitude have been teeth-grinders).
Maybe skepticism is just human nature. Unavoidable. And as with anything else, you need to keep it in check. You can be skeptical of a chef opening a new restaurant when, from experience, you didn’t think his last one was so great. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give the new endeavor a fair chance, especially if the restaurant is in your neighborhood.
Josh Howard deserves skepticism. You can’t do his past ill deeds and expect them not to be reflected upon, or scrutinized, or innocently enough scoffed at. It’s called consequences. But also know that jarring, life-altering events … a trade, a knee injury, a fresh start … can affect change.
Howard has made a bold leadership statement to D.C. fans and media not as familiar with his past (in comparison to Dallas). And the return of Gilbert Arenas, arrival of John Wall, continued trials and tribulations of Andray Blatche, and a new Chinese import with millions of accompanying eyes will not cast much of a shadow on the fact that this is a very important year for the former NBA All-Star.
Eyes will be on Howard from Dallas to D.C. and all points North Carolina in between. Now age 30, this could be the last chance he ever gets to so significantly alter the course of his professional basketball career.
The NBA surveyed 40 of this year’s rookies at the annual NBA Rookie Photo Shoot about how their fellow classmates would fare. The rookies couldn’t vote for themselves, college teammates or NBA teammates. Click the link below for the full results, but Wizards-related notations are below that in bullet form.
- 38.5-percent pegged Wall to win Rookie of the Year, beating Blake Griffin’s 23.1-percent.
- 23.7-percent picked Wall to have the best career, DeMarcus Cousins came in second with 13.2-percent.
- Trevor Booker was among the ‘others receiving votes’ in the “Which rookie is being most overlooked?” category.
- Booker also received other votes for the “Which rookies is the most athletic?” question.
- And again, Booker received “other votes” in a question about who is the best defender — Wall’s name didn’t show up at all in the defensive category, which doesn’t exactly jibe with Flip Saunders proclaiming that he can “be like a Gary Payton.”
- 67.6-percent voted Wall as the best playmaker, his Kentucky teammate Eric Bledsoe came in second with 5.4-percent, which was also tied with Jordan Crawford and Evan Turner.
- The rookies were also surveyed on what would be their biggest adjustment coming into the NBA (length of schedule was first) and their favorite NBA player (Kobe beat LeBron 38.2-percent to 10.5-percent).
Hilton Armstrong says he wants to start at center. Good. Somebody needs to challenge JaVale McGee … he can’t be thinking that the job is his no matter what.
Michael Lee breaks down the Wizards’ small forward situation and calls Al Thornton, “a 26-year-old who has an annoying ability to dominate and then disappear.”
The “Can Arenas and Wall get along?” question will get plenty of attention as the season approaches, Sekou Smith writes:
This is a turning point season for the franchise, now that Ted Leonsis is in control and the Wizards are starting basically from scratch. This Arenas-Wall chemistry experiment either works like magic and the Wizards take a turn for the better or it blows up and Arenas has to go. Either way, it is must-see drama, especially during training camp, for all of us.
Sam Cassell doing a Bruce Lee imitation on a basketball card.
[Fat Shawn Kemp]
Who the Wizards would likely protect, and not protect, if an NBA expansion draft were held today.
[Pick & Scroll]
A team with a bunch of high-usage players will have some figuring out to do.
SLAM ranks Gilbert Arenas at No. 49 in their annual listing of top 50 NBA players.
They also rank John Wall at No. 47.
(O.J. Mayo is ranked 46 … yuck.)
Can D.C. product Roger Mason, Jr. have a bounce back year with the Knicks?
Can I get an Amen?
The Big NBA Blogger Team Previews:
Sixers: Liberty Ballers
Old School Yi Jianlian commercial where he wears a Paul Pierce jersey:
[h/t: Red's Army]