Remember Gilbert Arenas’ final act as a Washington Wizard? It wasn’t pretty. It was self-destructiveness with a premonition. JaVale McGee’s exit act is not as egregious, but it’s so JaVale, with a twist of Wizards past to boot.
There were about 70 seconds left in Tuesday’s game at Dallas, the Mavericks holding a 107-96 lead. McGee blocked a Jason Terry shot and sprinted his hardest in the other direction, leaving his teammates to recover the ball. Jordan Crawford did, and he pushed it, eventually finding himself and McGee with a 2-on-1 advantage… Could the result be anything other than a lob dunk?
Unfortunately the oft-absent concentration was broken, McGee missed the easy dunk. Would it have made a difference in the outcome? You can never be sure (in most situations), but McGee didn’t play like that. He played within himself, as if that next offensive possession or that next block opportunity was his and his alone, and not a collection of game possessions that belonged to the team.
After McGee craned his neck to see the ball bounce behind him, he came down from high after his missed dunk and worked to run back uphill on defense. Meanwhile, former teammate Brendan Haywood, a guy who gave the impression that he wasn’t really a fan of McGee during Haywood’s own last playing days as a Wizard, positioned himself just so… in a manner to provide McGee with one last parting shot, former Wizard to future former Wizard.
The last lasting GIFery of JaVale McGee.
My rapid reaction to the Wizards-Hornets game is up on ESPN Daily Dime… check it out.
The New NENÊ.
There’s a Denver Post article by Mark Kiszla from March 1 that pokes criticism at Nene, questioning his toughness. A passage:
On the eve of a month that promises to make or break this NBA season for the Nuggets, Nene dressed in his all-too-regular attire on game night: finely tailored clothes. Nice suit.
Rather than manning his post for a team that desperately needed a victory against Portland, Nene took his usual position: a seat at the end of the Denver bench.
The whole article is an interesting read. For the Wizards, it makes you wonder: is Nene less than healthy because of the lockout, and should this concerned by lessened as he comes to Washington, doesn’t have pressure to perform for a non-playoff team, and is allowed to build up to next season using the rest of this shortened season at his discretion? Do the Wizards trust him? Will he come to play?
From a February 18, 2011 article by Marc Spears on Yahoo! Sports, before the Nuggets offered Nene a contract extension:
Nene wants to stay in Denver. His wife is from Colorado and the couple is expecting their first child in June.
“I’ve been there for nine years and I’d prefer to be there,” Nene said. “But I can’t guarantee my future. It’s hard. My wife is pregnant. All the family and friends are there.”
Obviously Denver was unhappy enough — with whatever — to send Nene packing. Imaginably, Nene might be unhappy with the shock of the trade. Nonetheless, Nene, John Wall (and Dwight Howard) all share the same agent, Dan Fegan.
And otherwise, there are many positives to hope for, especially from a big, bruising post player with a history of high field-goal percentages and unselfish offense. It’s just that the positives won’t truly shine through until the questions are answered. Stay tuned…
Kelly Dwyer’s piece about the Wizards-Nuggets trade on Ball Don’t Lie is a must-read, but this part is especially great:
This isn’t a screwup on the level with Wes Unseld’s famous young-for-old deals (this time, Washington sent a guy named “Young” away and received a player in Nene whose name literally translates to “baby”), but it is a little worrying considering Nene’s baggage and contract. In the meantime, though, he’ll play fantastic basketball when he’s healthy, he’s a real pro in the locker room and on the court (despite injury concerns, Nene won’t be showing up out of shape anytime soon), and despite that big contract he remains quite tradeable as a borderline All-Star at a tough position to fill.
This is twisted, but I’m going to miss how sublimely clueless Nick and JaVale were to the end. They never understood how or why an off-the-backboard dunk in the middle of a loss or a jack-knifing, three-point prayer with 21 seconds left on the 24-second shot clock — often when the Wizards were leading in the final minute — pushed any of the game’s etiquette or dumb-shot barriers.
Reading between the Ernie Grunfeld lines via the Post’s Michael Lee:
“I think it’s a combination of things,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said, explaining the motivation for the deal. “We want to have guys that are competitive, that care about winning and losing. It has nothing to do personally with the two players. It has more to do with getting a player that does come from a winning situation and is competitive and is a good defender and a good passer and a good all-around player” in Nene.
Jersey on the plane seat… via Kevin Seraphin’s Twitter account.
On Twitter, Adam McGinnis points out:
Holy Crap, Ronny Turiaf never missed a shot as a Washington Wizard! Gotta be a record
Indeed it is a record, only a few Wizard/Bullet have ever shot 100-percent for their career with the franchise (Turiaf was 3-for-3). There are two others: Chris Corchiani was 1-for-1 in three total minutes (over one game) with the 1993 Bullets, and Mel Peterson was 1-for-1 in three minutes (over two games) for the ’64 Baltimore Bullets. [via Basketball-Reference.com]
Quite the lengthy video of Shelvin Mack making his bracket picks… via NBA.com/Wizards
…Uh oh, but then Mack (@ShelvinMack) Tweets after Day One:
Well my bracket is terrible right now smh…….