[An old Wizard and the newest Wizard unite in Portland circa 2010,
picture via the Internets.]
“This is the best my body’s felt in the last five years,” said Martell Webster in a conference call with D.C. media on Wednesday afternoon, fresh off officially signing a contract with the Washington Wizards.
He’d been training in Tampa, FL when his agent told him that Washington might be interested. Up to that point, the Wizards weren’t even on Webster’s radar.
People like to rank things and then argue about them.
In a world defined by — and dependent on — math and structure, maybe debating numerical assignments given to people, things, movies, etc. in nonsensical manners makes us feel human.
It’s a tame way of bucking the system (except when said debates lead to fights). Rankings and such especially hold immeasurable value in the sports and entertainment world, as they’re often cycled and recycled in a regurgitation of pixels. But also, comparisons are, well, sort of fun.
[Editor's Note: TAI Czech correspondent Lukas Kuba recently updated us on Wizards 2012 draft pick Tomas Satoransky and the Czech National team's road to EuroBasket 2013. Through three games, the Czechs were 2-1 in Group F qualifying play -- a win against Belarus, a loss to Italy, and a win against Portugal. On Monday, Satoransky and his teammates matched up against traditional power Turkey (also with a record of 2-1), featuring Semih Erden of the Cleveland Cavaliers and another Washington Wizards Euro-stash, Emir Preldzic.
Saty and the Czechs destroyed the Turks, 82-64. Tomas led all scorers with 16 points and added six rebounds, five assists (two turnovers), and five fouls-drawn to his stat line, and he only played 24 minutes. Preldzic chipped in 10 points, six assists, two turnovers, three rebounds, and three steals for Turkey in the loss. The Czech Republic will next face Belarus at home in Chomutov, CZE, and then will head to Trieste, Italy for a rematch with Italians on September 2. They will close out group play against Portugal on Sept. 5 and Turkey on Sept. 11.
Below, Lukas Kuba translates a July 2012 (before NBA summer league) Tomas Satoransky interview with Czech Basketmag titled, "Miracle No. 32." -Kyle W.]
Who says child prodigies have no time to grow up, to be young?
… John Wall seems to be doing just fine.
Just like during last year’s NBA lockout summer, Wall this summer has made his way around the land like a Tribe Called Quest song. Instead of a mic, it’s a basketball… but he’s still having all the fun that a world tour can provide.
From NOC, there’s John Wall’s breakout story, set at a 2007 camp sponsored by Reebok where college coaches try to find breakout stories; Wall’s breakout happened in Philadelphia. One thing that’s clear about Wall, which is reflected in his passion for basketball, is how the tough times he faced as a kid are clearly reflected in his professional maturity.
Maybe you’ve already seen the 15-minute NOC feature that shows some old footage of Wall with coverage of today’s prospects at this year’s Reebok camp. Featured is Baltimore’s Aquille Carr, who is facing some tough times himself this summer (the prodigy nicknamed the “Crimestopper” was recently arrested for allegedly assaulting the mother of his child).
The key (to the summer) is exposure, as North Carolina coach Larry Brown says in the video; Oh, it’s also about the hair.
The Wizards have signed a shooter, potentially. We don’t know how much said shooter will contribute next season, if at all. We don’t even know if he was the “best” option on the market. We just know that at some point or another, he has shot the ball through the net at varying degrees of success. So let’s start with a song, Heath Brothers – Smiling Billy Suite Pt. 2… (recognize this?)
When reports surfaced that the Wizards might be set at 13 players, and that they weren’t willing to pay anyone more than the veteran minimum salary anyway, this was the gist of the message: “We like Roger Mason and James Singleton, but they didn’t want to play for the one-year vet’s minimum; they are now gone. Agents, if you have a worthy client who wants a job and will play for the minimum, holler at us.”
Names still surfaced, names of those hungry to stay in the league: Anthony Tolliver, Michael Redd, Terrence Williams, Shawne Williams, and Martell Webster.
[Ed. Note: Czech correspondent Lukas Kuba (@Luke_Mellow) brings an update on 2012 Wizards second round draft pick Tomas Satoransky.]
“Wizard teammates remembered my windmill because, as they say, white men can’t jump.”
Guess who made that quote? The guy who listens to Lil’ Wayne before games… you guessed right, it was Saty—Tomas Satoransky’s nickname back home in the Czech Republic. That quote’s from one the interviews he gave to Czech press after he returned from the United States and Summer League play in Las Vegas.
Satoransky was honest about the area he needs to improve most to take the next step: ”With regard to my strength, I’m not ready for the NBA, I gotta get stronger. Overall, summer league was a good experience and coach [Randy] Wittman could get to know me, which is important to the future.”
“He don’t have no pressure, he’s not the savior. He’s a beast under pressure. But he don’t have no pressure. We want Bradley Beal to come in and be Bradley Beal. We’re not telling him to come on and lead us into the playoffs. We want him to come in and make some jump shots, play some solid defense… go from there.”
—Sam Cassell, July 2012 Summer League
Cassell’s statement diffuses expectations, but it’s true. Bradley Beal is just a piece. The Washington Wizards now have several nice pieces, but none of them are saviors. Not even John Wall.
Wall is the face of the franchise — every team needs a face — and maybe Beal’s face will shine next to Wall’s on the top billing one day. But the Wizards don’t have a star. Not a single All-Star on the roster. Not yet.
ShareBullets… links, commentary, irreverence… and the team used to be call the Bullets.
>> Chris Webber played a single season in a Wizards jersey (1997-98, the rest were a Bullets jersey), and I documented this fact by recently purchasing a replica from Joint Custody, a vintage store in D.C.’s Adams Morgan. Somebody on the Twittermachine tweeted at me that Webber was “one of the worst Bullets ever.” Not quite.
Turning to Basketball-Reference.com, narrowing down a list those who have played at least 2,500 minutes in a Bullets/Wizards uniform and then ranking them by the worst Win Shares Per 48 Minutes, these would be your 10 worst of all-time:
>> So Nene and Kevin Seraphin are done in the Olympics and are going home without hardware, as Brazil and France got taken down by Argentina and Spain respectively in their opening medal round games on Wednesday. From the Wizards perspective, both players had positive Olympic experiences, plus the team doesn’t have to worry about either getting injured now. Seraphin’s minutes were limited against Spain (6:31), perhaps to France’s detriment, but some in the Wizards organization were overall impressed with his back-to-the-basket scoring throughout the tournament. Nene didn’t play heavy minutes over the course of the Olympics (27 against Argentina after not suiting up in the previous game) and was sometimes bothered by soreness in his left foot. Were the Wizards worried? Not according to a report fromt the Washington Post’s Michael Lee:
“…the Wizards have been monitoring the injury and remain optimistic that it will not be a problem when training camp begins on Oct. 2.”
[Yi Jianlian vs. Nene at the London Olympics, original image via AP]
D.I.Y. stands for “Do-It-Yourself,” and it’s all the rage amongst the hipster kids aiming to minimize reliance on others to get things done (trust funds be damned). D.I.Y. can involve noble satisfaction. Have a leaky sink? Fix it yourself. There, satisfied. In a sense, this entire self-published blog website started as a D.I.Y. But D.I.Y. doesn’t work so well on the basketball court, as Wizards fans are all too aware.
Nene is not a D.I.Y.-er, and for this, John Wall’s point guard ability will blossom. For that matter, the entire Wizards team could flourish when they relent to the reliance on others. Might you be listening, Jordan Crawford?
Nene and the Brazilian team moved to 3-1 in Group B play after deconstructing China on Saturday and will finish the preliminary round with a game against Spain today. With the 98-59 victory (Brazil doubled China’s score by halftime, 42-21), Nene didn’t even have to play in the final two quarters, resting whatever might ail him (such as his ongoing plantar fasciitis). A highly effective 11 minutes off the bench in the first half was all Brazil needed; Nene contributed six points, five rebounds, two assists, and a steal in this time span. Brazil’s entire team put on an impressive display of unselfish basketball, even with the knowledge that China, now 0-4 in group play, has little in terms of talent. Nene’s contributions to the Brazilian team could have implications on how the Wizards will run their offense next season, as they would like to incorporate the same unselfishness cultivated by Nene on the international stage.