Truth About It.net turns a whole five years old at the end of October, which is right about now.
Hard to believe/interesting. Nonetheless, over the life of the site from the 2007-08 season to 2011-12, we’ve seen/lived/suffered through 131 wins, 263 losses, four coaches, two owners, one GM/team president, one Phil Chenier mustache removal, and 56 total players (amazingly, 48 players over the last three seasons).
You may have heard of ESPN’s #NBArank project, now in year two. Now hear of #WizardsRank, where we rank each of those 56 players during Truth About It.net’s five-year run. TAI anonymously polled 27 members of the Wizards pixel establishment — from mainstream media to new media, TAI staffers included, to a few pixel consumers (readers of the site) — and got 17 responses.
Participants were given the full list of 56 in alphabetical order, and included for each player were total games, minutes, PER (player efficiency rating), and WS/48 (win-shares per 48 minutes) only from the last five seasons. Participants were asked to rate each player on the scale of 1-to-10 according to this criteria: on court performance; off court performance; intangibles; and own personal memory. Yes, this is totally subjective, but relatively collective.
#WizardsRank Nos. 56 to 12 have been posted and links can be found at the bottom of this post. -Kyle W.
5.71 out of 10
(154 games, 4,066 minutes, 10.0 PER, .038 WS/48)
Future people might very well write books about how the characters of the mid-2000s Washington Wizards coincided with the explosion of the Internets, blogs and social media.
Gilbert Arenas was the first blogging athlete. The escapades of JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and Nick Young — which earned the Wizards the nickname “Clown U” from the self-ordained determiner of terrible sports towns, Michael Wilbon — were seen by more people than ever with today’s finger-snap Web dissemination.
And then there was DeShawn Stevenson, who is elevated as much in this new media category as any Wizard of the past five years. After all, the dude was a subject of the Jay-Z diss track, “Blow the Whistle,” which was hastily put together over a Too $hort beat in response to Stevenson calling LeBron James ”overrated.”
“Ask my N—- LeBron
We so big we ain’t gotta respond
When you talkin to a don,
please have respect like you’re talkin to your mom”
[* Ironically enough, Stevenson’s NBA peers,
via a February 2009 Sports Illustrated poll,
nominated him & Kendrick Perkins as the top NBA players
who think they are a lot better than they really are. *]
So Stevenson wasn’t mentioned by name in Jay-Z’s two verse track that “debuted” at D.C.’s Love Nightclub in April 2008 during a heated playoff series between the Wizards and Cavaliers. Names are unnecessary when you’re belittled in verse and forever memorialized in song.
Stevenson later said he was flattered, Arenas seemed thrilled with the idea that Jay-Z took three minutes to write the words, and the Washington Post’s Mike Wise wrote a column about the whole affair.
Let’s also not forget Drew Gooden’s role in all of this. Stevenson’s West Coast comrade was a facilitator in having LeBron’s locker room chatter about DeShawn make it all the way from Cleveland to D.C.
It was all good fun under the guise of a potential rivalry between two teams that never came to fruition, torn down by the very characters who helped shape it. If we are not associating NBA “rivalries” with an enduring time period or relative evenness in competition (instead of domination), then the Wizards-Cavaliers might rank in the top five NBA rivalries of the first decade in the new millennium.
Then there’s DeShawn’s Abe Lincoln frontal neck tattoo, which certainly had an influence on this very site (still the most visited TAI post by far). Prior to Wizards Media Day 2009, only those outside of Stevenson’s circle with an acute awareness of his social media involvement that summer would have been aware of his new ink. Stevenson was present on Twitter, and he was broadcasting himself on U-Stream, sometimes while rehabilitating his ailing back in Vancouver, Canada of all places. It was no Stephon Marbury eating Vasoline, but Stevenson did chow down on some Ramen noodles while telling people that he lived on a “mutha-f*cking lake.”
Of course, there were other unveiled face tats on that 2009 media day — a backwards Pittsburgh Pirates “P” and a fake crack extending down from Stevenson’s hairline (both speculated by some to be gang-related). Over time, there was Stevenson’s “Can’t Feel My Face” hand gesture after made shots (speculated from being cocaine-related to something created by 50 Cent’s son, amongst other things). There was the 2009 Mike Wise feel-good column about Stevenson which made mention of a 2001 statutory rape case involving Stevenson. The details of the player’s story didn’t exactly add up in Wise’s piece. There was the 2007 incident where some guy got shot at Stevenson’s Orlando home after a post-strip club stripper party that no one said nothing about.
Must it only be about the bad things? Well that’s part of who DeShawn Stevenson was.
He was also a warrior on the court. For all that he yapped, instigated and antagonized, he was one of the few defensive protagonists on the tail end of Washington’s flirtation with the playoffs, and was as prevalent of a role player as ever as last generation’s Wizards came crashing down. Plus, he played hurt. A lot.
Consider Stevenson one of Ernie Grunfeld’s more cost economical signings during the team president’s tenure. In the 2006 offseason, Stevenson opted out of one-year contract with the Orlando Magic—he was due $3 million—only to turn down a three-year, $10 million offer from Orlando. Instead, he accepted a two-year contract with Washington which paid him just $932,015 in year one, with a player option for year two.
In D.C., Stevenson immediately found a 3-point shot. His 40.4 percent (74-for-183) from deep led the Wizards fun-and-gun pro-style Princeton offense in his first season with the franchise. The 74 makes over 2,400-plus minutes on the court in 2006-07 topped his previous career total of 72 made 3-pointers over six seasons and more than 10,800 minutes in Utah and Orlando. But without Arenas and Caron Butler due to injury toward the end of the season, Stevenson was no-show in the playoffs against a 22-year-old LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. He shot 19.6 percent from the field over a four-game sweep. With the series shifting back to Washington for game three, Stevenson went 1-for-7 from deep, giving little support to Antawn Jamison’s 38 points.
In the offseason, the 26-year-old Stevenson opted out of his contract and sought a nice pay-day on the open market, but eventually he had to settle for Grunfeld’s four-year, $15 million offer when no one came calling. Some things considered, it was a very cost-effective move. All things considered, without Arenas for most of 2007-08, Stevenson shot more 3-pointers (413 attempts), made them at a lower rate (38.3 percent, 158 made), and drew the ire of fans because of the nature and frequency at which he put up the rock. He remained similarly (in)effective in the playoffs (but not as bad as the previous year), and the undermanned Wizards still fell to Cleveland, four games to two. Stevenson was fined during the series for making a “menacing” gesture.
In 2008-09, Stevenson joined the parade of injured Wizards — Arenas, Brendan Haywood, Etan Thomas — and only appeared in 32 games. Near the end of the season he had surgery on his back to repair a herniated disk.
In the infamous 2009-10 season, Stevenson the character was relatively quiet, perhaps ironically. Sure, he made a public deal about Mike Miller wearing LeBron James’ shoes, and rightly so, even if it contributed to the snowball of distractions and lack of institutional control under head coach Flip Saunders. Otherwise, Stevenson can’t say much when he shoots 28.2 percent from the field and 17.7 percent from deep over 40 games.
Stevenson was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in February 2010 as part of the Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood (and cash) package. Movie over. Character done.
At this point, the most unexpected of “where are they now” montages…
Stevenson wins a championship ring with the Mavericks in 2011. He goes 3-5 from deep in the deciding game six against the hated LeBron James and the Miami Heat. He signs with the team owned by Jay-Z (1/15 of one percent). He gets traded to Atlanta before the Nets can move to Brooklyn. He installs an ATM in his kitchen. He calls former Nets teammate Deron Williams a “Fake Muthafuckas That Quit On team” (sic) on Twitter (and later apologizes). Life goes on.
Stevenson is the former high school phenom drafted into the NBA who found a niche as a professional role player. He played a key part on two Wizards playoff teams that didn’t make it past the first round. And what Stevenson later called “gimmicks” going on between the Wizards and Cavaliers provided fodder, entertainment — and memories — for the blog set. Unfortunately, Stevenson’s postseason appearances with Washington didn’t have much basketball significance, but at least the Internets knew about them. And at least I was one of the first to get a picture of his Abe Lincoln neck tat. We all have our moments.
Kyle Weidie ][ @Truth_About_It
No. 56: Cedric Jackson; No. 55: Mike Bibby; No. 54: Paul Davis; No. 53: Edwin Ubiles; No. 52: Quinton Ross.
No. 51: Mike Wilks; No. 50: Mike Harris; No. 49: Javaris Crittenton; No. 48: Dee Brown; No. 47: Morris Almond.
No. 46: Larry Owens; No. 45: Mustafa Shakur; No. 44: Brian Cook; No. 43: Hamady N’diaye; No. 42: Rashard Lewis.
No. 41: Hilton Armstrong; No. 40: Oleksiy Pecherov; No. 39: Mike James; No. 38: Fabricio Oberto; No. 37: Ronny Turiaf.
No. 36: Lester Hudson; No. 35: Yi Jianlian; No. 34: Juan Dixon; No. 33: Josh Howard; No. 32: Chris Singleton.
No. 31: Al Thornton; No. 30: Shelvin Mack; No. 29: Mo Evans; No. 28: Mike Miller; No. 27: Alonzo Gee.
No. 26: Randy Foye; No. 25: Dominic McGuire; No. 24: Andray Blatche; No. 23: Earl Boykins; No. 22: Roger Mason.