[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. Preseason Game No. 4, Washington Wizards at Brooklyn Nets; contributors: Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20), John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend), and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It), all via television.]
Look, it’s ‘what’s his name’ … You know, that guy…
Washington Wizards 88 at Brooklyn Nets 98 [box score]
Dealing with the enigma known as Andray Blatche has been ingrained into the psyche of Wizards fans for the better part of decade. It’s an odd feeling to begin this new season without having to hope it’s the one where Blatche finally reaches his potential. Breaking free from the emotional shackles of Blatche was the main reason why Washington’s decision use the amnesty clause on him was such a popular move throughout the fan base. The toll had become too much for all parties involved and a clean break was needed.
Exercising a low-risk financial move, the Brooklyn Nets began their attempt to rescue Blatche’s basketball career by signing him to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract in September. His rehabilitation has been dubbed “Project Zero.” Blatche has also chosen to wear the number zero on his uniform, in part to honor Gilbert Arenas, but mostly because it represents the amount of support Blatche thought he had after parting ways with the Wizards.
(Yes, it’s true. Andray is reportedly in great shape and impressing people with his positive attitude. Nets teammates and coaches have heaped praise on Blatche for his work ethic. Sound familiar?)
In twisted sports fate, Brooklyn will host their first basketball game in their new arena, the Barclays Center, versus the Wizards tonight. Arenas, “Agent Zero,” played his last game with Wizards against the Nets in New Jersey – Gilbert Areans screwed up at the end, of course, and the Wizards lost. Now, “Project Zero” officially begins in Brooklyn against team that will continue to pay him not to play for them. Ain’t that something?
“It doesn’t really matter where you start it’s where you finish,”tweeted former Washington Wizard Andray Blatche just before 1 p.m. last Saturday. After workout with the Brooklyn Nets soon thereafter, Blatche has a new team, his second NBA team, via a minimum, one-year non-guaranteed contract.
An employment change can do wonders for some people. New, crisp shirts are purchased. A fresh haircut. Definitely a shave. Whatever else a transitional cleansing involves. When on new ground, the goal is to be extra visible to co-workers. Quickly respond to emails with a “thank you.” Buy people some coffee on a morning mission to the local shop. Don’t mind staying late.
No one necessarily knows if you were just as good at your old job, if you’re a climber, and have aspirations. Or if you hated your last boss—he was a dick. Or if you were severance packaged due to a numbers game or dwindling value. Or if you just felt it was time to move on. Or if you just plain sucked.
Except when your job is in the public eye. Even so, with the dissemination of man and woman unto social media, the lines between public figures and Joe Citizen are fading. Andray Blatche has represented the transition. He is that fading line.
When the final obituary of the 2011-12 Washington Wizards season is written, the opening night collapse vs the New Jersey Nets must be highlighted for its symbolic importance. On the surface, it seems silly that first contest of a 66 game schedule would have such significance, but after the Wizards blew a 21 point lead to the Nets that evening, the self-proclaimed “Captain,” Andray Blatche, complained about his role in the offense. The blowout losses immediately piled up, the head coach was soon fired, two starters were shipped away, another (Blatche himself) was shut down for being out of shape, and now here we sit in early April and the Wizards have only 12 wins with 11 games remaining. Washington handled the Nets 108-89 easily in Nene’s debut, and Deron Williams was tossed for arguing with the refs. I doubt tonight’s match up will produce any of those interesting storylines from the previous two match ups, but it will be Washington’s last game in New Jersey ever with the Nets moving to Brooklyn next season. For tonight’s Wizards-Nets 3-on-3, we have Justin DeFeo (@justindefeo) and Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) from the ESPN TrueHoop blog, Nets Are Scorching and Truth About It’s Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis). Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Washington and New Jersey have cap room to make free agent splashes along with a potential high pick in a loaded NBA draft. What team would you rather be and why?
DEFEO: I’d rather be the Wizards for the sole reason that their “cornerstone” franchise pieces are not going to be unrestricted free agents, as that’s the situation the Nets are facing. The Wiz also don’t have the pressure of moving to a brand new major media market, like the Nets have which I fear is making the Nets front office look for grand slams at every turn, instead of singles.
HOOKER: As bleak as the future is for my team, I’d still rather be the Nets. We may have struck out on some big name superstars, proven we don’t have capable Plan B’s and been a headache to watch over the years, but there is still some hope. Brooklyn is coming for real this time, we have a top-tier point guard and, whether or not they fall flat on their face, ownership is definitely committed to winning. The possibilities are endless, regardless how likely I think they are.
The unknown Nene era kicks off in the swamplands of New Jersey tonight, where the unknown is even less known. And the basketball part of this draft lottery matchup between the 10-34 Washington Wizards and the 15-32 New Jersey Nets could also go in any number of unknown directions. Isn’t NBA basketball exciting? Tonight’s 3-on-3 takes a different direction in that it features all New Jersey Nets bloggers from the ESPN TrueHoop blog, Nets Are Scorching. Three questions, three answers with Justin DeFeo (@JustinDeFeo), Chris Hooker (@chrishooker9) and Devin Kharpertain (@uuords) starts now…Read more »
[Editor's Note: What was formerly the "Rundown" in the preseason is now 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. For the season opener, in addition to my first-hand game coverage, we have two guest contributors, Gregg Cobert and Sam Permutt. More on both of them at the bottom of this post. -Kyle W.]
The Washington Wizards open the season at home versus the New Jersey Nets this evening. Seems weird that it’s already here. Even after all that lockout deliberation, it kind of crept up on me. It’s a quiet December 26 Monday in D.C., and that has something to do with it. But I’m now more realizing that tonight is like a starting gun, once this game is played there will be no looking back. Three questions from Adam McGinnis, new dad Rashad Mobley, and myself, Kyle Weidie… and three answers from those same people. This is 3-on-3… Leggo.
Adam McGinnis: Kris Humphries was noted as the most disliked player in the NBA by Forbes.com, and was booed relentlessly in his preseason debut at Madison Square Garden. How do you think Wizards fans will treat him in the season opener?
McGINNIS: Kim Kardashian’s well documented record of public manipulation should bring the brunt of public contempt on her, not a random NBA forward like Kris Humphries. However, Team Kardashian’s campaign to make Kim the victim and Humprhies the evil one is showing prosperous signs. J.J. Reddick, Lebron James and Kwame Brown are all opposing players that the Wizards home crowd loves to boo (sans Blatche of course); Humphries’s situation lacks the circumstance of those three, so I seeing Wiz fans ignoring his existence.
MOBLEY: Humphries will certainly be booed, but only because D.C. fans saw New York Knicks fans do it first. This, of course, is assuming tonight’s Verizon Center crowd will be large enough to summon that type of emotion.
It seems that the Wizards lost a tough 127-119 double-overtime game to the Los Angeles Clippers last night. Unfortunately, I was unable to watch live, and unfortunately, the DVR was not set to record that much extra basketball. Still, that won’t preclude me from studying the portions of the game I was able to record tonight.
“They’re hurt in there,” Flip Saunders told the media after the game. It can’t hurt for too long, however, because not one of the remaining 12 games on the season will be easy. And the 17-51 Wizards need three more wins so as not to tie franchise records for losing futility in an 82-game slate. Getting to 20 wins is, however, unlikely.
It’s conceivable that Washington’s 98-92 win over the New Jersey Nets at home last Sunday will be their last of the season. Sure, they’ll have good chances to score Verizon Center wins over Cleveland (April 1) and Detroit (April 5), or even their second road win in the last game of the season versus the Cavaliers (April 13), but why not throw a bit of pessimism in the bag with optimism and realism?
Because as much positivity that was pumped after that good win over the Nets — as it should be — there were also some glaring issues, ones that have been seen many times before, which really must come to a halt before the team can proceed with winning in the future. The same issues likely kept the Wizards from winning against the Clippers, even though they hung tough til the end. So let’s start with JaVale McGee versus the Nets…