At the 8:30 mark of the first quarter, Bulls center Kurt Thomas attempted a cross-court pass to his teammate Carlos Boozer, but before it could reach its destination, Wizards forward Andray Blatche stepped in the passing lane, stole the ball and headed down the court. He took four confident dribbles, jumped towards the basket and then … well, I’ll let you see for yourself:
From that ill-advised moment until the final buzzer of the Wizards’ 87-80 loss to the Bulls Wednesday night, Blatche played like a man completely out of sync. He shot just 3-for-14 from the floor, grabbed just six rebounds, and even picked up a technical foul out of utter frustration at the start of the fourth quarter, in a close game no less. Despite his abysmal performance, Flip Saunders still played Blatche for nearly 37 minutes–presumably because JaVale McGee and Hilton Armstrong combined for zero points and 13 rebounds in 40 minutes of action.
Saunders had different reasons for keeping Blatche in the game despite his struggles:Read more »
This Player Lock investigates the battle between two starting NBA centers with similar skill sets and celebrity parents.
With just over four minutes left in the second quarter, Derrick Rose worked a pick and roll with Taj Gibson about 25-feet from the hoop. John Wall zipped around Gibson’s 6’9″ frame like a slalom skier around a flag. Easy. But Andray Blatche did little to contain Rose — in fact, did little more than shuffle his feet — in what played out to be a trademark foray to the basket. However, fortune was on the Wizards’ side when Speed (Rose) and Greed (McGee) reintroduced themselves above the rim; JaVale recorded his third block of the night.
And then, it was showtime.
John Wall scooped up the loose ball and took off on the break, with McGee matching him stride for stride. With a skip just outside the three-point line, Wall floated a pass in the direction of the rim. Kyle Korver, one of those walking-paradox types (you know, the unathletic professional athlete), made a concerted effort to prevent the inevitable. McGee flashed his otherworldly athleticism by snatching the ball away from Korver mid-flight and finishing the alley-oop.
[Yi Jianlian procures an easy defensive rebound against the Charlotte Bobcats - K. Weidie]
It’s simplistic to look at average team rebounds per game and say the Washington Wizards are the worst in the NBA, but it wouldn’t represent the full story.
The Wizards average a league-low 38 rebounds per game. On the defensive boards they average 27.25, which ranks 28 out of 30; and on the offensive boards they average 10.75, which is tied with the San Antonio Spurs to rank 20 out of 30 NBA teams.
Ira Winderman of the Miami Sun-Sentinel is reporting that Juwan Howard is close to signing with the Miami Heat (H/T to Slam). Finally, after all these years, Juwan will be playing for Pat Riley and the Heat. When the agreement goes through, as pointed out by Winderman, it will mark almost 14 years to the day when Howard signed a $100-plus million contract with Miami, which was later voided by the NBA, granting Howard a return to the Washington Bullets.
Soon it will be official. The Wizards will have used up a decent chunk of their cap space by acquiring Yi Jianlian, 17th pick Kevin Seraphin, Kirk Hinrich and $6 million cash in exchange for Quinton Ross and a future second round pick.
If you’re looking at talent alone, Ernie Grunfeld got one over. But that’s not enough for some people. Those future-thinking couch GMs are concerned about the Summer of 2011, as Hinrich is owed $9 million in 2010-11 and $8 million in 2011-12.
Others feel the Wizards did okay, but failed because they didn’t do ‘enough’ — Daequan Cook had a 39.9% effective field-goal percentage last season for crying out loud, but he would’ve been damn special on the Wizards, right? … at a much cheaper price, I get it. I’m sure Mo Peterson would have been splendid as well.
And some are frustrated that cap space has been spent on basketball ne’er do wells instead of trying to get Boozer or Amar’e or Bosh or Johnson or any other unrealistic free-agent. None of those big names are worth paying before the foundation gets stronger (and the Wizards aren’t desperate or lacking players like the Knicks).
A lot of people were disappointed when the Wizards traded for Kirk Hinrich. Mike Prada of SB Nation alone gave the move a “Nay”, a “Feh”, and a “D-”.
There is no question that “Kurt” is overpaid, but salary cap space only gets you so far. Even if the Wizards had upwards of $25 million to spend, it wouldn’t get them any closer to signing a “max” contract player. Let’s be serious. None of the league’s top players ever really considered coming to D.C., even with John Wall. The Wizards will be a work in progress for a couple of years, and when we are honestly competitive, Hinrich will no longer be under contract.
I’m not particularly fond of the Bulls trade that has the Wizards getting Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick in last night’s draft (Kevin Seraphin) for a future 2nd rounder, but I’ll withhold complete judgment until things settle a bit more.
It’s just that paying a guard who everyone says is a great perimeter defender (more so because of smarts and moxie than athletic ability), but who can’t seem to consistently shoot $17 million over the next two years (minus the $3 million the Bulls are evidently sending to D.C., which doesn’t affect Hinrich’s cap hit), along with sending Chicago a future second round pick, for a 6’9″ French big man with a knee injury who barely speaks English sounds fishy. But that’s just me.
Yes, I realize that Hinrich will actually be a player for the Wizards, and not just a dollar sign. But his two year contract is essentially like paying someone else’s player, i.e., the free-agent thing that Ted Leonsis mostly doesn’t want to do. I mean, the OKC Thunder were able to get the 18th pick for the 32nd pick and taking only the 2-years, around $5.3 million left on Daequan Cook’s contract. Seems like Thunder GM Sam Presti made the better move.
Initially, it appears that the Hinrich move somewhat limits flexibility and makes me wonder if Gilbert Arenas’ days in D.C. are numbered … and realize that Shaun Livingston’s days are likely over.
This Sunday April 25th will mark the 13th anniversary of the Washington Bullets’ 1997 opening first round playoff game against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. That game represented the franchise’s first playoff game since May 8, 1988 … or, the first in eight years, 11 months and 17 days to be exact.
[Editor's Note: For all of you sneaker heads out there, Adam Douglas, Truth About It.net photographer, got some shots of what the Wizards and Bulls were sporting last Friday night. Also check out Adam's pictures from the game in his latest edition of "Under The Hoop."]
[Editor's Note: Truth About It.net photographer Adam Douglas brings another edition of "Under The Hoop" -- because Wizards games aren't just about basketball, they're about the whole fan experience, and Adam brings you that experience from up close with pictures and commentary. The below post is from last Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls.]