Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s sixth game of the season against the Bobcats in Charlotte are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and guest Spencer Percy (@QCsportscrave), who writes about the Bobcats for the TrueHoop blog Queen City Hoops. John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend) also drops in with a game prediction.
You don’t want to infer too much from a single preseason game that you’re not able to watch live and can only follow via box score and play-by-play action. Training camp just started less than a week ago (even if a bunch of guys were training in D.C. up to a week before then). Still, the Wizards faced the Bobcats in Charlotte on Sunday afternoon without John Wall (knee), Nene (feet), Emeka Okafor (rest), Trevor Booker (hamstring), and Jannero Pargo (ribs). Okafor’s last game action was in February with New Orleans, and aside from a dislocated finger about 10 days ago, was presumed to be fully ready. Instead, the Wizards started A.J. Price, Jordan Crawford, Trevor Ariza, Jan Vesely, and Kevin Seraphin, and although I’ll once again give anotherreminder that it was just one preseason game, some of the numbers in a 100-86 loss to the Bobcats reflect some of the exact preexisting concerns going into this season.
Positives and Negatives.
Kevin Seraphin’s scoring touch continues. He was 5-for-11 with 11 points at halftime, but didn’t score again after that, missing three shots in the second half (from 10 and 11 feet and one attempt at the rim). He’ll also need more than four rebounds in 28 minutes.
Chris Jackson, later Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, was the third overall pick in 1990. Where will the Washington Wizards go with the No. 3 overall pick in 2012?
Over the weekend reports surfaced from news outlets in both North Carolina (The Charlotte Observer) and Ohio (The News-Herald) that the Cleveland Cavaliers, who hold the fourth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, will trade up with the Charlotte Bobcats, who own the second overall pick. Charlotte would reportedly get the 24th pick from the Cleveland as part of the deal. Such a move by Michael Jordan’s Bobcats could screw the draft hopes of the Washington Wizards.
Coming off last week’s trade for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, Washington’s camp may have revealed a preference for Bradley Beal out of the University of Florida, leading their old nemesis, the Cavs (who are targeting Beal themselves), to believe that they’ll have to sacrifice an asset to get their man. And there’s nothing the Wizards can really do about it other than settle for what’s left.
People, myself included, might make something out of Washington’s draft preference — a pick that, if chosen wrongly, could significantly setback rebuilding — resting in the hands of former Wizard Jordan, but it would be a smart move by the Bobcats. Charlotte GM Rich Cho, as well as the team’s vice chairman, Curtis Polk — who used to be an agent for David Falk, a former rival of the Washington franchise and Abe Pollin — are smart people. They know that Charlotte needs just about everything, and if this means trading down to settle for two out of three prospects being available between North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Kansas’ Thomas Robinson (along with getting the 24th pick, which comes with more value to a team like Charlotte), then the move is a no-brainer. If Wizards fans want to be irked at someone screwing them, it should be directed toward Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert and not necessarily Jordan. Both are easy targets in any case.
ShareBullets: A Q&A with Kemba Walker and some links…
Before Monday’s Wizards-Bobcats game, I headed to the Charlotte locker room while it was open to the media. Tumbleweeds. The Cats’ beat reporter from the Charlotte Observer wasn’t even sent to cover the game. Go figure. In any case, upon my entry into the threshold, some eyes turned toward me, and then quickly looked away. I could’ve sworn that Kemba Walker immediately looked at me, deadpanned, and said, “No.” Can’t blame the Bobcats players. Not. At. All. But, Kemba did end up speaking with me — perfectly willing and perfectly nice about it, he was. So here that goes…
KYLE WEIDIE: Going from winning a championship at UConn to being on the worst team in the NBA, who is giving the best advice on how to deal with the drastic environment change and what are they saying?
KEMBA WALKER: “Nobody really, just the people that’s around me on an everyday basis, like my coaching staff, Rod Higgins, just everyone who’s just been around … my teammates, just doing a great job of keeping me positive and making sure that, regardless of the losses, that I’m still getting better.”
Do you tell yourself anything… anything extra to get motivated to play? Read more »
[The DC Council -- After each Wizards game: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the bench, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is over the table. Game 64 contributors: Ryan Gracia(@rgracia2378)and Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20) from behind the television screen, and Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis) and Kyle Weidie(@truth_about_it) from the Verizon Center.]
No, it wasn’t a violent, or even wholly, apparently intentional blow. If you were following Twitter at the time, you might have even seen comment that Thomas delivered a phantom elbow to the chops of Washington’s James Singleton, that he didn’t really connect. And, perhaps, that the referees had found their first post-Artest victim of hyper-senstitive, swift reaction (although Artest — Metta World Peace – has yet to receive game suspension punishment from the league himself). Let’s watch…
Hard to concretely tell from that video. And personally, I didn’t see the play unfold while attending the game at the Verizon Center. But the refs immediately hit Thomas with a flagrant-2 technical foul and stopped the game for a more in-depth video review. Not long after they were done watching, Thomas was ejected from the game. A muted elbow swing or not, the referees obviously saw enough to make an educated decision. What they heard, however, likely played an even larger role in the punishment than the visuals.
Is change in the air? Certainly not if you ask Washington Wizards fans this morning, a majority of whom are entrenched in disenchantment with the reported return of team president Ernie Grunfeld. The only true change fans might be used to at this point is a high-rate of roster turnover — after this season, the longest tenured Wizard, John Wall, will have been with the team for only the last 148 games– as well as the inescapable, save for one time, disappointment in NBA Draft Lottery position.
But we’re talking about change on the court, specifically the emergence of a basketball product that’s at least competitive — with a 101-73 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night, the Wizards have now won four in a row for the first time since December 2007. Of course, we should also be mindful of the fact that the Wizards will, at best, finish with one of the nine worst season winning percentages in 51 seasons of franchise history. Also, 22.2-percent of Washington’s 18 victories this season have come against a Bobcats franchise that has now lost 21 games in a row and is flirting with the worst winning percentage in NBA history if they don’t win one of their final two contests.
Ask some of the Wizards players about the reason for basketball product differences between early in the season and now, and you’ll get veiled explanations about new personnel and guys coming together as a team. Does it boil down to the fact that I like, and strive, to beat like a dead horse: that Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche (hopefully) are gone? It feels all too easy, almost disingenuous, to use the mentally inept as scapegoats. Yet, here we are, with a different basketball team, one that actually might find success given the right additions this offseason.
Maybe veteran Mo Evans said it best when asked about how late season success this year, as opposed to similar circumstances over the past several seasons of futility, should be evaluated with any grain of credibility.
Break out the Yakety-Sax, the slide-whistle and whatever other devices you need to comically convey a professional(ish) basketball match-up between the 12-44 Washington Wizards and the 7-47 Charlotte Bobcats … it’s time for the Lottery Toilet Bowl! Before you potentially watch basketball action that will likely later lead you to using an abrasive scrub on your retinas, John Pettice (@BobcatsPlanet) of BobcatsPlanet.com, along with TAI’s Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) and Ryan Gracia (@rgracia2378) are here to provide three answers to three questions. Let it begin, I think…
#1) How are the Wizards/ Bobcats actively trying to tank?
DIAMOND: Whether by intention or injuries, the Wiz are ramping up PT for the lackluster Jan Vesely (averaging 32 mpg in April) and the bench mob, while cutting back on John Wall’s minutes. Wall played less then 30 minutes in two of the past three games — that hasn’t happened since January. I had to recheck Charlotte’s depth chart — I love the Association but couldn’t come closing to naming the ‘Cats starting lineup off the top of my head. Apparently a guy named “Cory Higgins” is getting major minutes and just led them in scoring. That is all.
GRACIA: The season is effectively over for both teams. There’s a better chance that the players have already begun planning for their summer vacations (because, ya know, it’s either that or blow it in the club), than begun planning for an undefeated end to the season. These are two very young teams with little playoff experience between them. So with the playoffs already out of the picture, they may question the importance of continuing to play hard and therefore may not give their utmost effort for every play … to put it nicely.
[The DC Council -- After each Wizards game: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the bench, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is over the table. Game 20 contributors: Adam McGinnis, Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie.]