ShareBullets: Hot Cocoa, Wave Papi, Polish Heritage Night, and More | Wizards Blog Truth About

ShareBullets: Hot Cocoa, Wave Papi, Polish Heritage Night, and More

Updated: February 26, 2016

ShareBullets: Links, pixels, bullet points, other stuff … shared.

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It has been awhile since we last took a twirl around the interwebs and the Wiz pixels have been popping.

Journalist Michael Lee, formerly of The Washington Post and now at Yahoo!, spent four days last week shadowing John Wall. Lee produced an excellent story with a glimpse into Wall’s life, perspectives on basketball and game-day routines. [The Vertical]

Among the highlights from Lee’s piece, the All-Star point guard loves hot chocolate (not breaking news, by any means) and Chinese food:

Roughly two hours after a late afternoon practice ended, Wall finally emerged from the locker room wearing sweats while holding a plastic container filled with beef and broccoli and a cup of Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate. (He prefers McDonald’s but the machine at the restaurant attached to Verizon Center is down for the umpteenth time.) As usual, Wall was the last player to leave, having spent time in the cold tub, fulfilling his media obligations and receiving treatment on a right knee injury that nearly kept him from participating in his third All-Star Game in Toronto.

Wall has a funny personality that often doesn’t appear in his post-game interviews:

When Wall arrived to the arena before facing the Jazz, Wizards assistant Pat Sullivan joked that the team was trying to move him “but nobody wanted you.” Wall later mimed rubbing tears from his eyes and laughed as he said, “I was scared. I thought I was going to get traded.”

Wall considers his point guard talents to be among the best in the NBA:

“I still think I get overlooked sometimes,” Wall told The Vertical. “Some people say I’m not a top-five point guard. In my opinion, I think I’m top three. I only see two people ahead of me: Steph [Curry] and Russ [Westbrook] right now. Steph is on a heck of a pedestal and Russ is putting up triple doubles and they’re winning. That’s my opinion. That’s just being honest, but I just go out and compete and if I’m winning games, my game will do the talking for itself.”

In 2015, Wall was one of the top overall All-Star vote-getters and was named an Eastern Conference starter. He received almost 500,000 fewer votes in 2016, but was selected to the team as a reserve by the coaches. Reasons for this dramatic drop off were discussed ad nauseam on multiple Pixel-And-Roll podcasts. Lack of national TV exposure, fallout with adidas, poor marketing by Dan Fegan’s agency, the Wizards underachieving, and Wall’s November slump were all theories proposed.

It is no secret that franchise’s plan is to make a run at Kevin Durant this summer. If they miss out on K.D. (Editors note: almost guaranteed!), keeping John Wall around—and happy—might end up being the top priority.

Another outstanding piece on the Wizards was Rich Bucher’s deep dive on newly acquired Markieff Morris and his twin brother, Marcus. There is essential background on their upbringing in Philadelphia.[Bleacher Report]

The situation in Phoenix quickly turned toxic for the Morris twins.

“Everybody thinking that we’re upset because we don’t get to play with each other,” says Marcus, legs stretched in front of him after a Pistons practice in late January. “Kieff can’t deal with adversity? We’re from north Philadelphia. This isn’t adversity. This is betrayal.”

Teams in every sport, of course, are notorious for preaching loyalty and not practicing it. There is no technical requirement for a team to give any player, star or otherwise, advance notice that they’re planning to make a trade. Most teams do, however, solicit the input of their best players on talent they might consider moving or acquiring. Most owners also don’t casually invite players to their homes to work out or play cards with them on the plane; Sarver did both, the twins say. If they somehow thought their relationship with the Suns was not strictly business, they might have had reason.

“What bothers me most are two things,” says Marcus. “I sat down with the owner and we agreed guys were going to get paid more, but they told us, ‘Don’t get upset, we’re a family, we’re helping each other.’ Everybody in this league is concerned about money. We were looking for stability and the chance to be part of something.”

When the Morris twins found themselves in legal trouble, both felt abandoned by the Suns organization.

As for the assault charges, sources close to both the brothers and the team believe they will not hold up. In the meantime, Markieff questions why the team hasn’t given him and his brother the benefit of the doubt publicly until the case is settled. “When things like that happen with other teams, the owner and GM stand by [their players],” Markieff says. “[In Phoenix] it wasn’t about figuring out what happened, it was assuming we did something wrong.”

Former Suns Coach Jeff Hornacek, who feuded with Markieff, gave a positive recommendation to Washington about the moody Forward.
Among the reasons the Wizards aren’t worried about Markieff’s volatility is because they reached out to Hornacek, who was fired Feb. 2 and replaced by Watson. Although Hornacek was publicly critical at times of Markieff’s effort, a league source says Hornacek gave his stamp of approval to the Wizards when asked about him. “I think he was just fighting himself for a while there,” Hornacek said of Markieff shortly before his firing.

Want criticism of the trade? Scott Davis has it. [Business Insider]

Follow Markieff Morris at @Keefmorris.

Jorge Castillo has a breakdown of Washington’s likely salary cap situation this offseason. [Washington Post]

John Wall: $16,957,900
Marcin Gortat: $12,000,000
Markieff Morris: $7,400,000
Otto Porter Jr.: $5,893,981
Kelly Oubre Jr.: $2,006,640
Minimum salary: $543,471
Minimum salary: $543,471
Minimum salary: $543,471
Minimum salary: $543,471
Minimum salary: $543,471
Minimum salary: $543,471
Bradley Beal: $14,236,685
Martell Webster: $833,334
TOTAL: $62,589,364

That leaves Washington with $27,410,635 in cap room plus a projected $2.898 million mid-level room exception the league grants teams under the cap. The exception can be used on one player or split on multiple players for for one-year or two-year contracts. When the cap room and exception are used, the Wizards can re-sign Beal, who is eligible for a max contract that would pay him around $21 million next season, and go over the cap without penalty because they own his full Bird Rights. They then would only be able fill out their roster with minimum salaries to avoid paying the luxury tax.

The cap room is enough to take on a $25 million salary. Kevin Durant, DeMar DeRozan, Al Horford, Nicolas Batum and Mike Conley are among the top free agents eligible for that money. If they can’t lure a player of that caliber, the plan is to divvy up the money for two or three players to surround their core and vault in the Eastern Conference hierarchy.

Gortat’s annual Polish Heritage Night will be on March 5—the center has begun to give away free tickets to fans via social media. [Facebook Event]

Douglas Reyes-Ceron was the first winner of Gortat’s give away and had a memorable experience at the Polish Embassy. [Bullets Forever]

Bradley Beal should definitely, probably, be a better free throw shooter. [CSN]

Life-long Wizards fan and supporter of TAI, Dan Shanoff, has left Facebook and accepted a position with Monumental Network. [Sports Business Daily]

SportsCenter featured this video on Wall’s friendship with the late Miyah, a six-year-old girl who passed away of cancer last year. Grab a box of tissues before watching. [ESPN]

Bill Simmons’ buddy, Joe House, got a write up about his Wiz fandom. [Washington City Paper]

After the victory over the Pistons, Wall made the astute (or painfully obvious) observation that fans get the loudest for free chicken. [Uproxx]

J.J. Hickson is, officially, the newest member of the team. [Washington Post]

An update on the Wizards practice facility. [Washington Post]

There continues to be misleading information out there that D.C. tax payers are getting screwed in this deal. Multiple media outlets refer to the city picking up more than 90 percent of the costs of the arena, with the team barely contributing any, and thus, everyone understandably gets worked up. First, half of the money from the city was years ago allocated for development at St. Elizabeths, and the remaining portion comes from taxes on tourists. TAI bossman Kyle Weidie’s feature is still the go-to resource on the deal. [TAI]

During an off day in Houston last month, Wall and Oubre checked out a high school game that featured De’Aaron Fox. He is the top-ranked point guard in the country, headed to Kentucky. One of Wall’s redeemable characteristics is that he’s always been a mentor to young hoopers. [Houston Chronicle]

Wall, like everyone else in the gym, was there to see Cypress Lakes point guard and Kentucky-bound De’Aaron Fox.  “It’s real cool,” Fox said. “We’re going to the same school. We have a lot of connections. We talk to each other a lot. I knew they were playing Houston tomorrow. I just let him know, and he said he’d come out and he came.”
Oubre was asked why his Twitter name is “Wave Papi.” [CSN]

According to Oubre, though, it’s his way of paying tribute to the other version of who he is. And, by the sound of it, Wave Papi is just one chill, mellow dude.

“That’s my alter ego,” Oubre said before Washington’s matchup with New Orleans on Tuesday, in which he scored eight points in nine minutes in the Wizards’ 109-89 victory. “Wave Papi is all about good vibes. He’s about staying cool, calm and collected.”

The 20-year-old Oubre, who we have nicknamed Pony Bro or Spider Kelly, is figuring out this adult life:

With that in mind, #12 did admit that there are some parts about school that he does miss now that he’s a pro.

“I miss the people,” Oubre said. “I miss the vibe … When you’re on the road all the time, you’re a lot busier.” Among the things he mentioned that have taken some getting used to, paying bills was at the top of the list, although he did say “setting them for autopay” is a potential solution.


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Adam McGinnis
Reporter / Writer / Media at TAI
Adam is a bro from the Midwest who's been bopping around the District of Columbia for years. He's down with a range of sports, etc. and has covered the Washington Wizards for TAI since 2010.