D.C. Council Opening Statements: Wizards at 76ers, Game 4 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

D.C. Council Opening Statements: Wizards at 76ers, Game 4

Updated: November 6, 2013

Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia 76ers

You know the drill. To get to the playoffs, games like this are for real. So let’s jump right into the opening statements. Joining us today is Tom Sunnergren (@tsunnergren) from the Sixers TrueHoop blog Hoop76.com, as well as special guest, Wizards coach Randy Wittman (via some quotes of his from practice on Tuesday). Start it…

Teams: Wizards (0-3) at 76ers (3-1)
Time: 7:oo p.m. ET
Venue: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Television: CSN Washington
Radio: WFED-AM 1500/THE FAN-FM 106.7
Spread: Wizards favored by 2.0 points

Q #1: OK, things came back to earth for the 76ers against the Warriors. I didn’t watch the game, so were known weaknesses exposed, or did new issues arise? (Or were the Warriors simply too good at what they do?) 

@tsunnergrenThe Sixers perimeter defense was leaky—Andre Iguodala was 7-for-11 on 3-pointers and, in the first half, when he did most of his damage, Philadelphia more or less ignored him—but it was really a matter of the Sixers regressing a bit and doing so against a team that’s capable of blowing anybody out of the gym on any given night. Philly’s hot start obscured something important: the Sixers don’t have very good shooters. On Monday night they didn’t shoot very well. Philadelphia was 5-for-25 from 3-point territory and, despite scoring 44 points in the paint, shot just 35.2 percent overall. I suspect this will be a recurring theme with this team: sound shot selection and middling shot outcomes. They sure are fast, though.

Q #2: Is it fair to call Michael Carter-Williams the next Jeremy Lin? Also, we know that Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young, and Evan Turner have stepped up so far this season—aside from those guys, which player would you say is next responsible for Philly’s 3-1 start?

@tsunnergrenI think Jeremy Lin is probably a fair analog for MCW in some ways, though the Syracuse product has a much higher ceiling. Both players got off to bonkers starts that proved (or, in Carter-Williams’ case, will soon prove) unsustainable, received a disproportionate amount of attention and fanfare in the process, then weathered (or, again, in MCW’s case, will probably weather) a bit of a backlash when they came back down to earth. What gets lost in the shuffle though is this: both are good basketball players.

As for part two: What’s been bizarre about the Sixers’ success so far this season is that, aside from Michael Carter-Williams and the three veterans, the team hasn’t gotten much help. Entering Monday, Philadelphia’s starting lineup had outscored opponents by 11 points per 100 possessions, while its bench was outscored by 1.2 points per. (That said, the reserves did much better against Golden State.) Tony Wroten is a bundle of energy, a pest on defense, and, to this point, an improved shooter, but the advanced stats hate him: he has a 14.1 PER, a sub-average 0.016 Win Shares per 48 minutes, and -0.1 wins produced on the season. And he’s pretty much the bench.

Q #3: Only three times since 1990 has the team with the best odds won the NBA’s draft lottery. 1990, 2003 and 2004.

2013: 3rd (Cavaliers), 2012: 4th (Hornets/Pelicans), 2011: 8th (Clippers [to Cavs]),
2010: 5th (Wizards), 2009: 3rd (Clippers), 2008: 9th (Bulls),
2007: 7th (Trail Blazers),  2006: 5th (Raptors), 2005: 6th (Bucks),
2004: 1st (Magic), 2003: 1st (Cavaliers),  2002: 5th (Rockets),
2001: 3rd (Wizards), 2000: 7th (Nets), 1999: 3rd (Bulls),
1998: 3rd (Clippers), 1997: 3rd (Spurs), 1996: 2nd (76ers),
1995: 5th (Warriors),  1994: 4th (Bucks), 1993: 11th (Magic),
1992: 2nd (Magic), 1991: 5th (Hornets, CHA), 1990: 1st (Nets).

The average of all lottery-winning positions: 4.6

So why are people so wrapped up in the tanking narrative? It rarely pays to be first in line for the lottery (or even second or third)?

@tsunnergren: There’s an argument to be made that we shouldn’t be so wrapped up in the whole tanking thing, sure, but this draft class is unique. Andrew Wiggins will be the most heralded prospect to enter the NBA since Greg Oden (let’s just let that one sit), and behind him Julius Randle, Dante Exum, Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart, and even Aaron Gordon look unusually likely to be impact players. As you’ve pointed out, there’s risk involved in deliberately weakening your team to improve your odds of landing one of these (very) young men, but for a franchise that has won 50 games exactly once in the last 24 years, it’s a risk that most fans and close followers of the team are willing to take. I’m with them.

{Randy Wittman from Tuesday’s practice…}

Q #4: What was the deal with those 74 points in the paint scored by the 76ers in D.C. last Friday?

Wittman: If we don’t do better than that, alright, if it’s more than 74, then we’re going to be in trouble. So yea, that’s got to be the number one factor of defending off the dribble and trying to stay out of rotations because of being beat off the dribble. They didn’t throw it to the post-up guys. It was either offensive rebounds, fast-break layups, or getting it in from the perimeter from penetration, so that’s going to be important.

Q #5: What about offensive chemistry between John Wall and Marcin Gortat?

Wittman: It’s coming. I thought at the end of the Miami game, we found him rolling to the basket for three baskets there late in that game. It’s a process of them understanding where his positioning is and the timing of his positioning. It’s different. His timing of rolling is a lot crisper, sharper than maybe a Kevin. You know it’s different. It takes a little time, but I see it progressing. I really do. At the end of the Miami game I saw that transform. And John’s really good at picking things up, where guys like it, and where he knows that they need to be in certain situations. That’s coming along I think.

Q #6: What about getting fined $20,000 for dropping the f-bomb in the home opener post-game presser?

Let’s go to the video…


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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.