The Washington Wizards are just one of four NBA franchises which haven’t tasted the playoffs in the last four seasons (since 2009-10). Its contemporaries: the Sacramento Kings, the Toronto Raptors, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Yes, the Charlotte Bobcats made the playoffs in 2010 if you’re wondering).
That doesn’t, however, mean that one can’t play for one of these recently–and some more permanently–forlorn franchises and not make the playoffs. There are plenty of ex-Washington Wizards in this year’s regular season afterlife.
Let’s dive into some names and see how these four teams compare. To be listed, ex-players must be on a current playoff roster, and not simply having played for a current playoff team at some point during the season. (Looking at you, Beno Udrih, ex-King who was traded from the Bucks to the Magic in February.)
[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. 59, Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves; contributors: Adam Rubin and Kyle Weidie from behind the television screen.]
[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: Rashad Mobley and John Converse Townsend from the Verizon Center, with Kyle Weidie from behind the television screen.]
Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 41st game of the season at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves are TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and guest Steve McPherson (@steventurous), who writes about the Timberwolves for two different ESPN TrueHoop blogs: Hardwood Paroxysm and A Wolf Among Wolves.
Wizards Starters (9-31):
AJ Price*, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Nene, Emeka Okafor
*At any moment, Coach Wittman should realize that John Wall has completed his Jedi training and is ready to conquer the NBA in the starting lineup with the rest of his friends. When this happens, AJ Price will prove to be a better-than-average backup point guard, and Wall and Beal will rule the galaxy. If this does not happen tonight and the Wizards lose, Coach Wittman may find himself in a bit of hot water.
If you prowled around this site during the lockout summer (or rather, fall), you may have seen a post about former Baltimore Bullet Stan Love, father of Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves. When he was in town on Sunday, Kevin took some time before the game to chat with me about his dad. Here goes…
What has your father told you about the NBA?
“My dad has dropped a lot of knowledge on me throughout the years. He placed a ball in my hands from an early age, so basketball has always been in my blood — obviously with having the last name ‘Love’ and obviously being named after Wes Unseld, different spelling [Kevin’s middle name is Wesley, Unseld spelled his first name, Westley], but going back to his heyday. It’s pretty special to be trying to follow in his footsteps and kind of do what my dad did, but also a little bit of what [Unseld] did as well.”
Ted Leonsis turned 55 yesterday, January 8, as he had a courtside seat to witness the current inept status of his franchise’s rebuilding process. To add to the mess of Flip Saunders is calling his team ’fragile,’ the coach also saying, ‘We can’t keep on using the excuse that we’re young,’ is the fact that Rashard Lewis, second highest paid player in the NBA, evidently quit on the Wizards. Frank Hanrahan of CSNWashington.com reports that Lewis decided he didn’t want to play after a pre-game argument with assistant coach Sam Cassell. Leonsis today blogs that he didn’t receive a very nice birthday gift from his team, and that now the best thing to do is research and to be analytical, not emotional. Whatever that means, let’s see what Flip Saunders, John Wall and Andray Blatche had to say after Sunday’s 93-72 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves (with cameo appearances from Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely)…
[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 8 contributors: covered on-hand by Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie, with John Converse Townsend from the television feed. Oh, and you can now find our stuff on Google+. Go ahead and circle Truth About It.]
Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves… on a Sunday afternoon when you will likely be watching playoff football, the Wizards will be trying to secure their first win of the season. For today’s 3-on-3, we have Benjamin Polk from the ESPN TrueHoop Network T-Wolves blog, A Wolf Among Wolves, along with TAI’s Sam Permutt and yours truly, Kyle Weidie. Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) That David Kahn fellow… Can the future of the franchise be trusted in his hands? And with Ricky Rubio playing well, how much credit does he get for taking advantage of Ernie Grunfeld by sending him the always underachieving Mike Miller and Randy Foye for the pick that brought Rubio to Minnesota?
PERMUTT: I don’t pretend to know whether Kahn can be trusted… and that’s what makes him such an entertaining GM. He’s like the guy in your fantasy league who you secretly admire because he picks with no regard for predicted rank—except he has a real team! As for Grunfeld flipping the fifth pick into Miller and Foye, I still say that was a solid move for both teams. The fact that it turned into Rubio two years later is good for the T-Wolves (and Kahn), but Grunfeld shouldn’t be blamed.
POLK: You know, I really have no idea. Although Kahn has certainly made more than his share of personnel mistakes, I do feel like his rep as a bumbler has been exaggerated by his abrasive personality and the weird things he says. That said, the Rubio/Miller-Foye trade is, in my opinion, the best thing he’s ever done. Now if he’d just found some way to avoid taking Jonny Flynn at six…
Chatting with Wizards forward Trevor Booker in the locker room before his team takes on Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves…
Talk about the matching up against Kevin Love and his rebounding prowess. What do you need to do to combat him?
“He’s just an overall monster. He can post up, he can shoot the three. He’s relentless on the boards, so we just gotta keep a body on him at all times and keep him away from the glass.”
What about Minnesota, how are they scouting you? [NOTE: On the court for pre-game warm-ups, a Minnesota assistant coach pulled Wolves rookie Derrick Williams aside and told him to watch for Booker's left hand (since he is left handed), and told him to play the left drive hard in hopes of maybe drawing charges against Booker.] Read more »
John Wall has been chosen to be D.C.’s defender — a challenge made that much more difficult since it too often appears that he’s been fated to do so alone. Wall’s teammates have been blessed with the power of flight, but also cursed with invisibility. After being defeated by Warriors from the Golden State this past Wednesday, John Wall put out a quiet plea for help.
On Saturday night, the Wizards were down 68-72 after three tightly contested quarters; Minnesota and Washington were never separated by more than eight points. The coaching staff once again signaled for a gritty, high-energy combination to save the day … while tightening the reins on liabilities. A league of unsung heroes again rose to the occasion to establish order in the most powerful city in the world. Joining John Wall were Cartier Martin, The Enlightened One; Mo Evans, The Old Hand; Trevor Booker, The Beast; and Andray Blatche, The Scapegoat.
“I was extremely happy with the energy our guys played with overall,” said head coach Flip Saunders in his postgame press conference. Saunders also went on to praise the much-maligned Blatche for his sustained effort and fighting spirit and rightfully so. Blatche, of course, has been routinely criticized by fans, the conglomerated media, and even opposing players for ho-hum performances. But last night, he earned his keep and deserved the credit. Blatche and the Wizards scored 35 points to close the game, after scoring just 68 points through the first three quarters. The focus and determination over the last 12 minutes lifted the team to victory, en route to breaking a miserable 7-game losing streak.