Key Legislature: Wizards 111 at Kings 120 — Season All But Put to Bed at Sleep Train Arena | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 111 at Kings 120 — Season All But Put to Bed at Sleep Train Arena

Updated: March 31, 2016

TAI’s Key Legislature… The game’s defining moment, its critical event, the wildest basketball thing you ever saw, or just stuff that happened. Wizards at Kings, Regular Season Game 75, March 30, 2016, from Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, CA, by Kyle Weidie (@truth_about_it).

Calling Wednesday night’s contest in Sacramento ‘The Season,’ factoring in Tuesday’s loss in Golden State and particularly last Friday’s double OT loss to Minnesota, is and was an utterly useless exercise. And yet, it was totally true, if only a fraction of the picture.

There have been plenty of ‘Season’ games for the hapless Wizards during this 2015-16 campaign. When they were desperate (like now), pre-desperate (mid-March losses in Utah and in Denver), knew the games would count (losses to the depleted Bulls and Heat in February; home losses to Portland and Denver in January), or trying to show they, as a team, mattered early (losing to the piss-poor Lakers at home with a chance to get to .500, 8-8, after a big road win in Cleveland). Those games mattered. They were all the season. Even the November that John Wall essentially punted.

Technically, though, in immeasurable and subjective ways, the Wizards should have brought more focus to a mere 48 minutes in Sacramento; even 38 minutes would have probably done the trick. But the Wizards did not—in damn near comical manners. Just look at this moment:

Randy Wittman spoke of a lack of discipline—his keyword of the night—after the game via CSN’s postgame show. Plugging that keyword in the translator: his players just didn’t care. He could see it, they could see it, I could see it from the other side of the country. And the culmination of season-long events continues to indicate that the head coach simply can’t get his players to care consistently enough. The substitute teacher has been good, but the classroom is way overdue for some true leadership. Because the end results are inarguable. The Wizards are underachievers.

People—in bite-sized sound bites, thought bubbles and micro-blogs—will try to point to that one thing which made this season so disappointing for the Wizards. In reality, there’s a growing laundry list. And so similar is the challenge of finding that one, ‘Key Legislature’ play in a contest that was just ridiculously sloppy. The Wizards committed 20 team turnovers, giving up 18 points, and the Kings coughed up the ball up 17 times for 20 points.

So, after glossing over the ineffective play above that so epitomized the quit in the Wizards’ dog, let us discuss the most skeleton of key turnovers among the 20 handed out like hard candy in a bowl at the nursing home by the Wizards.

Somehow, someway, the Wizards would just not go away—#WizardsTwitter could not fire their depression- or vitriol-filled tweets into the coping mechanism’s abyss fast enough. And Comcast’s Steve Buckhantz always seemed to be there to announce: “The Wizards have cut the Kings’ lead to five (or six, or a billion).”

It must have happened eight or nine times between the third and fourth quarters. So with around eight minutes left in the game, the Wizards secured three offensive rebounds on one, single possession (Gortat, Dudley, and Temple) and missed three 3-point shots (Dudley, Beal, and Wall). And after that third offensive board after the third missed 3, Dudley could not totally corral the possession and he turned the ball over. Sacramento (Ben McLemore) went the other way and hit a 3 to make the score 106-95. Instead of chopping their deficit to six points (once again), give or take, the Wizards never again got within single digits.

It probably would not have mattered, sadly. Because there were plenty of head-shaking turnovers—four in the first quarter, six in each the second and third quarters, and four in the fourth. A high-usage player like Wall predictably led the way with five turnovers, but his colleagues (Morris, Gortat, Beal, Nene, and Sessions) all did their part—13 total amongst those five. Otto Porter was the one exception with zero turnovers (and a confident 20 points—the ninth 20-point game of Otto’s season and tenth of his career; he’s yet to crack 30).

There was the time Beal appeared frozen and gazing into a lost season only to have McLemore cleanly pick his pocket (but Garrett Temple got it back).

There were terrible passes to inactionable teammates without thinking from Gortat, Nene, and Wall. In nearly a third-quarter minute, Wall got his lunch stolen by Boogie Cousins and the ball poked from behind by Rajon Rondo. We’re barely going to mention that Boogie thrashed the Wizards and any defender Washington threw at him. Cousins scored 21 first-half points (29 total on the night) on a variety of shot-jacks (including an over-the-backboard shot) and past poorly planned fronting post defense. He was held to four points in each the third and fourth quarters, but it barely seemed like the Wizards made an adjustment and/nor cared to execute any planned adjustments.

No, we’re just going to slowly back away from this post, this ‘Key Legislature,’ just like the Wizards have slowly backed away from their season with players who no longer care, a coach no longer capable, a front office that’s sewn seeds of losing for too long and only ever wanted to win just enough, and an owner who is blinded by a flux in selfies, his hockey team, and the misconception of injuries to his 15-man basketball roster.

Analytics This: The Wizards are, indeed, first in “man games lost” at 268, but the cost has been greatly overstated (1). In terms of significance of the injuries suffered by Wizards players (VORP—value over replacement player), Washington ranks 22nd in the NBA (2).

Prepare the bait and the fishing polls, it’s going to be an interesting offseason.

Sloppy Slippage.

  1. Per, heading into Wednesday night’s game, the also disappointing New Orleans Pelicans were close to the Wizards in games lost (262 games), as were the Western Conference playoff-bound Memphis Grizzlies (260 games).
  2. Also per, the Clippers, Grizzlies, Suns, Bulls, Heat, and Pelicans comprise the league’s top six in significance of players lost to injury.
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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.