Opening Statements 11: Wizards vs Knicks — Zingis Khan Comes A-Knockin' | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Opening Statements 11: Wizards vs Knicks — Zingis Khan Comes A-Knockin’

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Updated: November 17, 2016

Washington Wizards vs New York Knicks - Nov. 30, 2012“The Wizards are crumbling.”

“Bench is a disaster.”

“Marcus Thornton stinks.”

“Something smells rotten to me.”

All of these things have been said about this year’s Washington Wizards. They were said yesterday, actually, before the 76ers game. Not by me, however, so save your hate-tweets as drafts and redirect them to either Zach Lowe or David Thorpe.

Or don’t, because the Wizards not only lost that game to the 76ers, but were also outplayed from the tip. The Wizards, now 2-8, are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA with fellow bottom-feeders New Orleans, Dallas, Miami, and those same Philadelphia Sixers. The Vertical’s Bobby Marks mustered up some optimism for the Heat, a team rebuilding, but when asked found none for fans in D.C.

And no, stop it—don’t even begin to cite “injuries” as an excuse. Because it’s not an excuse, and if we were to entertain it as such, it’d be a bad one anyway. The 76ers last night were without Joel “The Process” Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Jerryd Bayless, and scintillating rookie sensation Ben Simmons. That’s a bigger blow to personnel than the Wizards being without Bradley Beal, who is set to return to action against New York tonight, and backup center Ian Mahinmi.

Seriously. So, stop.

Here, now, are half a dozen reasons to get uppity for tonight’s contest, even on the second night of a back-to-back:

  1. The Wizards rank ahead of the Knicks (5-6) by Simple Rating System (SRS), a team rating metric that takes into account average point differential and strength of schedule.
  2. Derrick Rose is sporting one of the NBA’s worst eFG% from outside the paint (min. 50 attempts). New York Bricks.
  3. The Wiz are fifth in the NBA with 12 offensive rebounds per game, and fourth in the very much related second-chance points. Big.
  4. The Knicks are 1-4 away from Madison Square Garden this season. Homesick.
  5. Washington, per TAI’s very own Kyle Weidie, has won nine of the last 10 games versus the Knicks. No sleep till Brooklyn.
  6. Per ESPN’s John Schumann, the Wiz Kids have been league’s best in the first six minutes of first quarters, with a NetRtg of plus-24.7. Sparks.

The No. 1 problem with reason for optimism No. 5, of course, is that it’s all downhill from there.

But if John Wall, who’s currently expected to play, and the rest of the gang can approach the second six minutes of the first quarter like they do the first, then keep up whatever’s working for the second and third and fourth quarters, they have a VERY GOOD chance to be 3-8 before 10 p.m. tonight.

The final word in this post comes from playwright and Knicks know-it-all Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta). Take it away, Bob.


#1) Kurt Rambis back! And this time he’s Secretary of Defense. Have there been any noticeable changes in the ways the Knicks play D?

Yes! Everyone’s favorite goofily awkward, twice-married and twice-divorced, high-pantsed dad who hasn’t really figured out how the internets work was reupped after flopping in his brief stint as head coach. No one seems to know 1) why it took six games for Hornacek or Jackson (or both!) to realize that it’d be a nifty idea to have one assistant focus on defense; 2) whether this was Hornacek’s decision or Jackson’s (or both!); and 3) what would lead a sentient human to believe that Kurt Rambis was the dude for that gig.

It’s weird. It’s very Knicks. They have been working harder to fight through screens over the last five games, and we’ve even seen the occasional hard trapping of the ball-handler in pick-and-rolls, but they’re still the worst defensive team in the NBA. Long-term, it’s kind of bleak. Joakim Noah, ostensibly signed for his defensive acumen hasn’t been that Joakim Noah at all, and there’s maybe half of what you’d consider a lockdown wing on the roster. Even Kristaps Porzingis, my most beloved and Largest Adult Sun, has fallen off from his rookie season. He should return to the mean. Or not. Probably not.

#2) Kristaps, on his career scoring night, got M-V-P chants from the home crowd. Objectively speaking, is he in your top 10 list for candidates? Where would you rank him overall right now?

There are soooooo many MVP candidates this year—Harden, Curry, Durant, Westbrook, Davis, Leonard, Lillard, LeBron, DeRozan, just for starters—that you’d have to be even more of a crazed Kristaps stan than I am to make that argument. I think you can, however, say top 25 without a few raised eyebrows and concerned looks. Whaddaya you think, KP? A human on the internet just said you’re not in the top 10. Your response?

#3) Share with us, please, your non-Wizards insider perspective on what the hell is happening in D.C.

For a second there I thought you were asking me to weigh in on the election and I started projectile vomiting again.

[Ed. note: Oh, god, no, please no more of that.]

Your team is making small children cry, so that seems pretty bad. Maybe you can get rid of the tone-deaf yutz that owns the team. That might help. We Knicks fans haven’t been able to accomplish that feat, but if we can all come together and ban all sports owners, I’d be thrilled.

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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.