[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 50, Washington Wizards at Milwaukee Bucks; contributors: Sean Fagan, Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie from behind the television screen.]
Real Deal Beal
[Bradley Beal shot chart vs Bucks, via NBA.com/stats]
It’s a label that no NBA player wants to see next to his name: DNP – Coach’s Decision. Washington Wizards forward Chris Singleton has found himself with that designation 15 times already this season. The second-year player appeared in each of Washington’s first 24 games—even starting eight times—until a home loss against Detroit Pistons on December 22, 2012. Over the Wizards’ next 21 games, he saw action in six of them for 30 total minutes.
In the six weeks since his bench status began, many Wizards observers have wondered what Singleton did to earn a stay in Randy Wittman’s dog house. I joked during the Wizards’ blowout win over Minnesota on January 25 that if it were a high school game, Singleton’s friends would start chants to put him in—he played three minutes of garbage time that evening. With Jan Vesely struggling to make an impact and Shelvin Mack being waived twice, Singleton’s demotion has highlighted the struggles of Ernie Grunfeld’s 2011 draft class. It’s an indictment of management when major pieces of the team’s youth movement might need to be scrapped in such a brief time. John Wall’s January 12 return has coincided with the Wizards finding success. The rotation became set and Singleton was still the odd man out. So we thought.
Washington was riding a three-game losing streak and taking a pummeling by the Spurs in San Antonio on February 2. Singleton entered the contest with 1:17 left in second quarter, with Wizards being doubled up 48-24, and immediately missed a 20-foot shot. He began the second half on the bench. Normally, that might have been it for him.
DeAndre Jordan is a high flyer and an integral member of the Clippers’ “Lob City.”
The seven-foot center’s offensive game is mostly limited to impressive dunks—he’s racked up up 104 of them on the season. His total ranks him fourth in the NBA.
During L.A.’s loss to Wizards on Monday night, Jordan gobbled up a career-high 22 rebounds, but only scored seven points on three made field goals. Of course, all three were slams—some more violent than others.
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 47, Washington Wizards vs Los Angeles Clippers; contributors: Kyle Weidie and Adam McGinnis from the Verizon Center, Conor Dirks from the road.]
Why not start with…
Chris Paul vs. the Wizards Girls?
[UPDATE: Hold on to 'Booing Blake' on this particular night; Griffin is out against the Wizards with a left hamstring strain.]
The Washington Wizards’ futility over the past four and a half seasons has had several consequences. Their games are no longer broadcast on TNT, ESPN or ABC; NBATV, sometimes. National pundits rarely discuss the team, unless they’re mocking them. NBA bloggers, many of whom became relevant around the time Gilbert Arenas was penning weekly posts for NBA.com, now associate Wizards history with the antics of JaVale McGee, Nick Young, and Andray Blatche. (The days of Gilbertology—and the playoffs—seem all but forgotten.) The Phone Booth now only sells out when fans of opposing teams buy tickets.
Another important fallout has been the loss of a true rival. Wizards fans of this generation always point to the postseason battles against the Cavs as a treasured memory. They were heated and controversial affairs—who can forget the origin of the Crab Dribble? Followers of each team genuinely disliked the other. DeShawn Stevenson and LeBron James definitely didn’t fake their disdain for one another. Even Soulja Boy, reliably relevant during the aughts, was somehow involved.
The Wizards eventually came out on the short end in their series against Cleveland, but they still had an everlasting emotional impact on the fan base. D.C. was united in its hatred of LeBron James and the Cavaliers. (For me, the name Damon Jones will forever trigger an immediate gag reflex; I imagine Boston Red Sox fans feel the same way about Aaron F’ng Boone.) But after Gil’s painful locker room flame out, the contemptuous relationship abruptly ended. With the Wizards now wallowing in NBA’s cellar, nothing has since replaced it.
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 41, Washington Wizards vs Minnesota Timberwolves; contributors: Adam McGinnis and John Converse Townsend from the Verizon Center.]
No place like home? If you say so, lady.
The Kings have more wins at home (12) than the Wiz have on the season (11). The Wizards haven’t beat the Kings in D.C. since their 136-133 OT win in 2010.
Rapid reactions from TAI’s Adam McGinnis and John Converse Townsend, who saw the Washington Wizards fall to 11-32 after Kings PG Isaiah Thomas swished a last-second floater to win, 96-94.
Do you wanna know who Emeka Okafor is playing better than right now? The Lakers’ Dwight Howard. Ironic, huh? No way that anyone ever imagined reigniting the “No. 1″ debate from 2004, but Okafor’s outstanding play and Howard’s struggles in Los Angeles, but here we are. Okafor dominated Sacramento in the first quarter with 14 points and four rebounds. His midrange jumper was flowing and he was getting to the free throw line (six attempts, a team-high). He finished with a game- and season-high 23 points, plus 15 rebounds. Okafor’s presence was felt on the defensive end, and he helped limit the Kings to just seven offensive boards. Okafor probably deserved more touches in crunch time. I cannot believe that I just typed that. Read more »
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 42, Washington Wizards vs Chicago Bulls in D.C.; contributors: Rashad Mobley and Adam McGinnis from behind the television screen.]
When Washington began the 2012-13 season by cratering to a franchise record in futility, the main focus of fan fury was thrust upon Team President Ernie Grunfeld and Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s CEO Ted Leonsis. Grunfeld’s litany of basketball management mistakes are well documented (see the 2009 and 2011 Wiz drafts for further reference), and his continued presence in the organization has left some analysts scratching their heads—and calling for change. Only Andray Blatche is slightly more unpopular than Grunfeld amongst Wizards faithful.
The goodwill and patience Leonsis earned when he took control of team in spring of 2010 has gradually subsided. His shifting plans to rebuild the Wizards appear to be marketing speak that are void of concrete results. Questions continue to swirl around his ability to build a winning basketball foundation.
Blunders of his stewardship include unnecessarily extending Blatche’s contract, believing that a core of JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Blatche would produce wins, taking on Nene’s hefty contract despite an injury-prone past, allowing Nene to play in the Olympics with a bum foot, and squandering salary cap flexibility by acquiring the large deals of two declining players—Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor—instead of just buying-out Rashard Lewis. In the eyes of the Wizards fan base, the most egregious decisions were renewing the contract of the maligned Grunfeld and his alleged passing up on trading for James Harden.
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 40, Washington Wizards at Utah Jazz; contributors: Rashad Mobley , Adam McGinnis and Adam Rubin from behind the television screen. The title of this post references a Band of Horses song, "The Great Salt Lake."]