There were about 70 seconds left in Tuesday’s game at Dallas, the Mavericks holding a 107-96 lead. McGee blocked a Jason Terry shot and sprinted his hardest in the other direction, leaving his teammates to recover the ball. Jordan Crawford did, and he pushed it, eventually finding himself and McGee with a 2-on-1 advantage… Could the result be anything other than a lob dunk?
Unfortunately the oft-absent concentration was broken, McGee missed the easy dunk. Would it have made a difference in the outcome? You can never be sure (in most situations), but McGee didn’t play like that. He played within himself, as if that next offensive possession or that next block opportunity was his and his alone, and not a collection of game possessions that belonged to the team.
After McGee craned his neck to see the ball bounce behind him, he came down from high after his missed dunk and worked to run back uphill on defense. Meanwhile, former teammate Brendan Haywood, a guy who gave the impression that he wasn’t really a fan of McGee during Haywood’s own last playing days as a Wizard, positioned himself just so… in a manner to provide McGee with one last parting shot, former Wizard to future former Wizard.
The message of patience should not be lost from the big picture of this Washington Wizards rebuild. After all, John Wall is a nice piece the franchise is lucky to have. Still, this does not take away from smaller areas of function, or dysfunction, that create understandable impatience. After Miami’s win over Washington on Friday, both LeBron James and Dwayne Wade spoke with John Wall. In the locker rooms afterward the involved parties touched on what arose from that conversation.
“They take his leadership. Even though he’s a young guy, they take his leadership,” said LeBron James. Hopefully this is a concept Wall works on with leadership through body language, in addition to hustle.
Dwyane Wade encouraged Wall to learn from Sam Cassell. “All it takes is one player, and then another player, and then another player. D.C. is an unbelievable city, and obviously they have a young great player in John Wall,” Wade also said. “There’s some other pieces they can build on. So it’s just about being patient, it’s about getting the right opportunity, the right pieces, and it could change around,” said Wade, highlighting the fact that the Wizards franchise could suddenly have great potential fall in place just like it did recently for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Veteran Shane Battier might’ve put it most succinctly, “Take every advantage now of learning, and keep the young core of this team positive. Nothing wrecks a team quicker than bad attitudes.” And presumably the team is working on that as well.
Look, the Washington Wizards gave Jeremy Lin a wide open lane to dunk. You understand, don’t you? Let’s watch.
Yikes. Not good. I’m not sure if Jordan Crawford or Mo Evans or Jan Vesely froze, but… um… wow. John Wall and Trevor Booker also totally got duped by Lin turning down Tyson Chandler’s screen. So, team effort. Evans was asked about the dunk after the game. Let’s watch his answer.
Yes, it is just Wizards basketball right now. Also, take note of the crowd cheering Lin’s dunk. Very loud.
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.”
Gilbert Arenas turns 30 today, and who knows how scary this is for the artist formerly known as Gazo the Prankster. He now sits at home and waits for a chance to play basketball again, his quietness magnified by its deviation from his known personality. The video below of Washington fans reacting to the Arenas trade from Washington was shot around 50 hours after he was sent to the Orlando Magic in mid-December 2010.
Gilbert Arenas once called himself the Black President, but the way he governed the basketball court and his world around it after injuring his knee in 2007 was far from diplomatic. The former star’s fall from grace in the nation’s capital is, however, fitting of political scandal.
Many have painted Arenas a complicated person, from fans to media to teammates to team personnel. But he’s not as dense as a mortgage-backed security. No, it’s the digestion of Arenas that was always complicated. One story one day, another the next. His antics were often a disruptive force, pardoned by organizational higher-ups and accepted in the best “boys will be boys” way possible. What former coach Eddie Jordan once dubbed as “Gilbertology” often spilled into the headlines. The NBA has had characters galore, but Arenas’ idiosyncrasies and flaky personae, at their height, were unmatched.
It began with Chris Miller of Comcast SportsNet Washington innocuously asking Wizards rookie Shelvin Mack what he likes to do with his teammates to relax. It ended up with team’s young superstar, John Wall, informing the media how Superman cheates at video games.
Mack boasted that he was the best gamer on the team, which Wall was later asked about, and he vehemently disagreed with the accuracy of Mack’s claims.
Wall then revealed that sometime during the lockout, he lost to Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic (for now) in ‘Call of Duty’ because Howard hired professionals. Yes, D12 brought in ringers to teach Wall a lesson, evidently resulting in repeated beat-downs.
[Note to all school kids out there reading this, especially my nephew Jacob McGinnis, becoming a video game pro is not a suggested career path ,and a NBA star employing you for this skill is highly unlikely.]
“My team got whooped in Call of Duty to Dwight’s team, but he cheated. He went and got these two guys that play Call of Duty all day long…like they don’t have a job. They got 30 kills every time. They just sit at home and play all day. They beat us bad…..they ranked in the nation. He (Howard) went and snuck, got those two on his team…Ringers got us. Every time you turned the game back on, we’re getting killed again.”
Most of us saw where Kobe Bryant took time to rip Kwame Brown during a guest lecture to a college class at the University of California-Santa Barbara the other day, video embedded above and linked here if you missed it. In calling out the transgressions of inglorious bastard teammates Brown and Smush Parker, Bryant took pause to mention that he would say the same thing to the faces of both players; this after eliciting chuckles from the class en masse by mere mention of Brown’s name. Surely Kobe realizes that every comment he makes, every action, is susceptible to fast dissemination amongst the Internets. He knew Kwame would hear his dig.
People are always ready to rip Kwame, myself included. Almost as readily, people blame Michael Jordan or Doug Collins for all that went wrong with him at the onset of his career with the Washington Wizards as the NBA’s 2001 No. 1 overall draft pick. Both men have admitted that they would’ve handled the 18-year old differently, Collins at various times even admitting that their scouting was duped by Kwame’s accelerated physique and confident persona in a pre-draft workout where he bested, and beasted, high school contemporary Tyson Chandler. Jordan, now majority owner of the Bobcats, attempted to swallow his mistakes last summer by reuniting with Kwame in Charlotte.
John Wall: Damn good at basketball, which rhymes. So it’s good his name is not John Facade or John Rampart.
Anyway, in the ESPN.com #NBArank project he’s ranked 40th in the league. More interesting to me, than rankings, however, is that he was rated with a 7.07 out of 10 by the collective collectivity of ESPN-related voters. Consider that along with the fact that there’s no where to go but up for Wall. Kind of scary, in a good way, for the Wizards fans who’ve never been apart of any sort of achievement.
OK, so I’m exaggerating about the achievement part. Making the playoffs four seasons in a row (2005-08) is a damn fine achievement for the team that I know, as sad as that may seem. But now achievement means making it past the second round. And that former achievement? Well, it doesn’t count so much anymore because no one cares (but not in a ‘no one cares about the NBA’ selective sample size of opinion that spawned a Mike Wise column kind of way).
Otherwise, four of us Truth About It.net writers — Rashed Mobley, Adam McGinnis, John Converse Townsend and myself — asked each other questions about Mr. Wall. And as he would say, Leggggo!