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. 75, Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors; contributors: Kyle Weidie and John Converse Townsend via televised broadcast.]
[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. 73, Washington Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors; contributors: Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center, and Adam McGinnis from the heart of Mount Pleasant.]
The Wizards have shown the ability to bounce-back this season, at least on their home court. And that’s exactly what they did on Easter Sunday, providing a solid showing against a decent Raptors team in a 109-92 win. Washington tied the all-time series with Toronto at 33 games apiece and moved to 22-18 with a healthy John Wall. Below, Randy Wittman talks about what he called one of Wall’s “better all-around games,” and then I provide the game reaction (also submitted to ESPN’s Daily Dime).
Wall finished with 18 points, 10 assists and merely a single turnover. He set the tone from the tap and played the measured point guard people want to see more consistently. Acknowledging that Wall did score a career-high 47 points a week ago, Wittman called the effort against Toronto one of Wall’s “better all-around games.”
[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. 55, Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors; contributors: Adam Rubin and Conor Dirks from the United States of America.]
Below are my reactions to Sunday evening’s Wizards-Raptors game, as also pub’d on ESPN’s Daily Dime with a variety of other NBA-related recaps. I’ve also added the two additional sections and lineup stats for good measure.
But First, To Note…
Wizards top 5-man lineup (plus/minus of plus-5): John Wall, Roger Mason, Jordan Crawford, Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely – 6 minutes, 16 points, 5-for-8 FGs, 2-for-4 3PM, 4-for-4 FTs, 4 rebounds, 5 assists.
A close second (plus-3): John Wall, Roger Mason, Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin – 4 minutes, 9 points, 4-for-6 FGs, 1-for-1 3PM, 0 FTs, 2 rebounds, 2 assists.
Don’t let the Washington Wizards fool you on occasion, they are still a highly dysfunctional team. But they are our Wizards, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, right? There are signs of improvement… kind of like running Anacostia River water through a colander. You’re definitely going to filter out a boot, perhaps a used condom or two. No, the water isn’t now drinkable, still very tainted – Washington needs several Brita filters on their roster — but hey, progress.
In Washington’s 111-108 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday, the starting backcourt of John Wall and Nick Young set the tone — Wall with aggressive drives to the basket, and Young with his excellent ability to make rhythm shots that the offensive system provides for him. The duo combined for 60 points (31 from Wall, 29 from Young). Of course, as he’s apt to do, Young regressed over the course of the game. His points and field goals per quarter: 1st (11 pts, 4-7 FGs); 2nd (7 pts, 3-5 FGs); 3rd (5 pts, 2-6 FGs); 4th (4 pts, 0-1 FGs); OT (3 pts, 0-1 FGs). Toronto adjusted their defense to what Young was doing earlier in the game and he succumbed to it.
Afterward, Randy Wittman didn’t name names (he could’ve been talking about several of his players), but it was clear Young was the main target of his words.
“Do we have things to clean up? Absolutely,” said Wittman. “We still have to realize, when you’re a scorer in this league, and you are scoring, that the other team scouts just like we do. They’re going to get the ball out of your hands, and we have to be willing passers when that happens. That’s a compliment… that’s a compliment. They are doubling you for a reason, and now all we gotta do it make the simple plays,” continued the coach, speaking of how he decided to keep the ball in Wall’s hands toward the end of the game, heaping praise on his point guard for making a simple pass to Trevor Booker out of pick and roll action.
Here we go again… Tonight’s Wizards-Raptors game is the third of four meetings between the two clubs. Washington and Toronto have split the 2011-12 series thus far, each team celebrating a decisive victory over the other — the average winning margin is 16 points. Although the Torontonians have been more successful on the road (5 wins) than the D.C. locals have been at home (3 wins) this season, the Raptors haven’t won a game at the Verizon Center since 2009. Consider heading to the game if you have a couple of hours to kill tonight: tickets can be scored for a buck! Raptorholic Sam Holako (@RapsFan) of ESPN TrueHoop/Raptors Republic joins TAI’s John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) for tonight’s 3-on-3 roundball roundtable. Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Fact or Fiction: Rashard Lewis will score four or more points tonight, joining Jason Kidd and Paul Pierce as the only players in NBA history to have scored at least 15,000 points, grabbed 5,000 rebounds and hit 1,500 three-pointers in their careers. [UPDATE: Lewis is out versus the Raptors due to what is being called a sore right knee; Chris Singleton replaced him in the Wizards starting lineup.]