Wizards-Bobcats Part II within about 72 hours of each other… the two worst teams in the NBA and truly the polar opposite of a #LeaguePassAlert. Washington is not without a plethora of questions from game-to-game, as goes their perpetually inconsistent state. If wouldn’t be any fun otherwise… you know, if they were just bad and not like a bunch of breakable eggs on the court each time. In any case, let’s begin the 3-on-3 drill featuring some of the most disgruntled Wizards bloggers out there… Sean Fagan of Bullets Forever along with TAI’s Adam McGinnis and yours truly, Kyle Weidie… Let the three questions, three answers begin…
#1) Randy Wittman surprised by starting Jan Vesely over Andray Blatche in Houston. What does he do tonight against the Bobcats? Or rather, what starting lineup would you like to see?
FAGAN: Last night, we saw a type of pedal-to-the-metal play that I think the team should continue for the rest of the year, because for at least the first two quarters, the team appeared to be having fun. Against the Bobcats, I think this type of controlled disorganization has a greater chance of success than of failure. The game might resemble more of a scrum than actual basketball, but I’ll take wins over aesthetics any day of the week. A guy like Vesely, who is everywhere at once, is integral to this type of play. He isn’t AK-47, but he is whatever the slightly cheaper Czech knockoff of that weaponry might be. As such, your starting lineup should be: Wall, Young, McGee (if I had my way, Turiaf would heal overnight), Vesely, and Singleton.
McGINNIS: At 3-16, no one’s starting spot should be secure. My issue with McGee and Vesely as your front line starters is that neither are scorers. I would expect Randy to change it up again as he appears to sending some messages to players because honestly, he has nothing to lose at all. The team stinks and it’s highly unlikely the organization will fire him before end of season, so why not keep throwing different lineups out there? I would roll with Wall, Mack, Singleton, Booker, Vesely. Those five will play hard and leave it all out on the court.
WEIDIE: The Wizards really don’t have anyone who can score in the post. People say Blatche is the best at doing this, but what’s the point? Here is my ‘screw it’ lineup: Wall, Singleton, Vesely, Booker and Seraphin. OK, but somebody has to score… So, Jordan Crawford instead of Singleton at the 2-guard. I’m wearing of Crawford regressing if he’s thrown back in the starting lineup, but I think he deserves more of a chance than Nick Young, who should be preparing for a future role off the bench anyway.
#2) Set the over/under on the number of NBA draft lotteries left for each of these franchises before they make the playoffs.
FAGAN: It all depends on the veteran “additions” both teams plan to make in the future. The Bobcats future looks immediately bleaker, so I would put it at four years before they become slightly average. I just don’t trust MJ to not go out and acquire the John Salmons of the world. As for the Wizards, I would put the number at two years, and that is only if they clean house completely. And by cleaning house I mean making gutsy decisions like trading McGee, letting Young walk, and using the amnesty on Blatche. It always hurts to rip off the band-aid, but it needs to be done to get the ship pointed somewhere near the right direction. Continue the course as is….I think we are looking at a least another five years before Washington hits .500.
McGINNIS: Adam Silver: “With the second pick in the 2013 draft, the Charlotte Bobcats select Marcus Jordan out of Central Florida.” I kid, although you see MJ picking his son, do you not? For the many ills of Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld, at least he did not give a roster spot to his son Dan, who was a standout baller out of Stanford (Dan Grunfeld did end up in training camp with the Knicks a couple years ago). This is currently happening with Bobcats rookie shooting guard Corey Higgins, who’s father Rod is Charlotte’s president of basketball operations. Rod was with MJ in D.C. for four years and contributed to such brilliant moves as trading Rip Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse. The Wizards have their own remaining nepotism with Ryan Saunders still with team after Flip’s firing, but Coach Paul Silas employs his son on the Charlotte staff too. These things happen. For Charlotte, Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson and Bismack Biyombo are keepers, but rest of roster can be jettisoned. With eight first or second year players, Washington appears to be in better rebuilding shape than the Bobcats. Two draft lotteries for Wizards, especially after bringing in a new decision-maker (Hello, Kevin Pritchard), and four lotteries for the Bobcats because Jordan’s track record of running teams is truly horrible.
WEIDIE: Since Vegas likes to work in half numbers, I’d set the over/under for Wizards lotteries at 2.5… and I’d take the under. They can be so close with a very good pick in 2012 and a solid free agent (although I’m not inspired by the 2012 FA class). The Bobcats, on the other hand, look to be a 5.5 lottery over/under… or maybe not… I don’t know. I’d take the under on that one, betting that Jordan the gambler throws some ill-advised money at someone, makes the post-season, and then sets true success for the franchise back for years.
#3) The Wizards remain the NBA’s only winless team on the road. Charlotte is missing two of their top players in D.J. Augustine and Corey Maggette. Bobcats are struggling and Washington is actually favored by two points. Can the Wizards pull out this winnable game? Or do the road woes continue?
FAGAN: The Wizards get the road win tonight because John Wall is the best player on the floor and the Bobcats have no fans with which to intimidate the increasingly fragile McGee/Blatche tandem. If the Wizards revealed themselves as “mentally weak” last night in Houston, than a loss to a severely depleted Bobcats team would officially make them mentally vacant. No more excuses, no more articles from over-protective mothers, just beat the REALLY bad teams, and I can sleep more soundly at night.
McGINNIS: The Wizards are not just losing away from home but are getting gobsmacked. Their average margin of defeat in eight road losses is 18.4 points; the only time Washington kept it under double digits was an eight point loss in Boston on January 2. Checking out Charlotte’s roster sparks a reaction of “who?” and “he is still in the NBA?” The Wizards have more talent and can not let this game slip out of their reach because this is likely last time that they will be favored on the road. Wizards by eight points.
WEIDIE: The Wizards win this game, and I want to say it’s going to be closer than you might think. However, Gerald Henderson might be back in the lineup tonight after missing a few game with a bad back (he played in a 17 point loss last night to the Sixers), and Henderson tends to kill the Wizards in Charlotte for some reason [UPDATE: Henderson out vs. Wizards tonight]. Initially my feeling was Wizards by six, but seeing how Washington is fragile (which can work to their advantage when playing a bad team like the Bobcats), I say the Wizards win by 11 points, 97-86.