Don’t let the Washington Wizards fool you on occasion, they are still a highly dysfunctional team. But they are our Wizards, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, right? There are signs of improvement… kind of like running Anacostia River water through a colander. You’re definitely going to filter out a boot, perhaps a used condom or two. No, the water isn’t now drinkable, still very tainted – Washington needs several Brita filters on their roster — but hey, progress.
In Washington’s 111-108 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday, the starting backcourt of John Wall and Nick Young set the tone — Wall with aggressive drives to the basket, and Young with his excellent ability to make rhythm shots that the offensive system provides for him. The duo combined for 60 points (31 from Wall, 29 from Young). Of course, as he’s apt to do, Young regressed over the course of the game. His points and field goals per quarter: 1st (11 pts, 4-7 FGs); 2nd (7 pts, 3-5 FGs); 3rd (5 pts, 2-6 FGs); 4th (4 pts, 0-1 FGs); OT (3 pts, 0-1 FGs). Toronto adjusted their defense to what Young was doing earlier in the game and he succumbed to it.
Afterward, Randy Wittman didn’t name names (he could’ve been talking about several of his players), but it was clear Young was the main target of his words.
“Do we have things to clean up? Absolutely,” said Wittman. “We still have to realize, when you’re a scorer in this league, and you are scoring, that the other team scouts just like we do. They’re going to get the ball out of your hands, and we have to be willing passers when that happens. That’s a compliment… that’s a compliment. They are doubling you for a reason, and now all we gotta do it make the simple plays,” continued the coach, speaking of how he decided to keep the ball in Wall’s hands toward the end of the game, heaping praise on his point guard for making a simple pass to Trevor Booker out of pick and roll action.
“You’re not going to dribble out of the double team more times than not,” Wittman later reiterated. ”You’ve just got to accept it, move the ball, make plays. Because then, when you do that three or four times early in that fourth quarter, they’re going to say, ‘We can’t double anymore and we got to play our own.’ Now it opens things back up again. We never made that adjustment, I thought, in that fourth quarter.”
Young, meanwhile, was seemingly oblivious to his play after the game. He spoke of how he got the team hyped before the game, said “the Kobe System” as he departed the media scrum and again several times as he trolled around the locker room, distracting Jordan Crawford with the phrase and his antics during Crawford’s own media session. Self pats on back were had and the season goes on. How much Young is actually increasing the value of his impending free agency with his play is a whole other question. The Chicago Bulls, for one, are probably glad that Young remains a Washington Wizard this season. In a contract year, he is shooting a career low 41-percent from the field. In two games against Chicago (supposedly Nick’s desired destination last summer before he signed a qualifying offer with Washington), Young has shot 29-percent on his field goal attempts.
The Wizards said WHAT? Yep, that’s what they said.