Lake Erie, on standby until the next fire
While the association of sports punditry blowhards will bellow, “No, no, no!!! Cleveland and Washington are NOT rivals!!,” those with common sense beg to differ.
As we found out in early April, a game between a hapless Wizards team and the unstoppable force of LeBron & Co. wasn’t exactly meaningless.
The fact that these two teams seem destined to exchange barbs, not only between the members of each organization, but also amongst fans and journalists, screams rivalry on some level — contrary to popular opinion, a ‘rivalry’ is not solely defined by wins and losses.
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Published in 2007-08 Wizards
, Cleveland Cavaliers
, NBA Opponents
, Wizards-Cavaliers Rivalry
Tags: Atlanta Hawks
, Cleveland Cavaliers
, DeShawn Stevenson
, LeBron James
, marion barry
, mark bradley
, NBA Playoffs
, waiting for next year
Part 8 of Washington Wizards Player Evaluations, head over to Bullets Forever to check the thoughts of the Pradamaster and JakeTheSnake on Antonio Daniels.
Etan Thomas | Oleksiy Pecherov | Dominic McGuire | Nick Young |
Andray Blatche | Roger Mason | Darius Songaila|
Antonio Daniels is my Catch-22. I love his steadying veteran presence. He fills in wherever needed and does whatever is asked of him without thinking twice. Daniels has been a model of consistency during his 11 year NBA career. This past season was no exception as Antonio Daniels was asked to sub for an injured Gilbert Arenas. In doing so, AD started 63 out of 71 played games for the Wizards. In his previous 10 seasons, Antonio started a total of 149 out of 722 games.
In Daniels’ 07-08 starts, he contributed about nine points, five assists, and three rebounds in just over 30 minutes a game while only turning the ball over 86 times total (a 1.36 average). So, I’ll throw around terms such as admirable and will give AD a big ‘thank you’ because without him, I highly doubt that the Wizards would have achieved 43 wins.
However, there’s a Sir Mix-a-Lot sized ‘but’……..Antonio Daniels can neither shoot nor defend. As his career 30.9% from 3-point land would indicate, AD is not one for distance buckets. Now, he is no where near Rajon Rondo bad, but throughout the season, opponents proved more times than not that they were willing to risk leaving Daniels open to protect the paint. And AD did not disappoint by hitting only 17 of 74 attempts from beyond the arc. My expectations of Daniels in this area have always been tempered, but I still have wishes that he could keep defenses honest. But alas, it is what it is…..if Antonio hasn’t improved his shot to date, then it’s probably never going to happen. Old dogs don’t learn new tricks.
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Roger Mason Junior, part 6 of Washington Wizards Player Evaluations:
Etan Thomas | Oleksiy Pecherov | Dominic McGuire | Nick Young | Andray Blatche
Head over the Bullets Forever to see what the Pradamaster and JakeTheSnake have to say.
Roger Mason Junior…..DC’s own….the Potomac Rainmaker. Mason Junior was the recipient of this year’s Pleasant Surprise Award. Ok, I made that up…..but the fact is that Roger Mason had a career year, averaging 9.1 ppg and almost 40% (39.8) from 3-point land. Oh yea, his PER and Usage-Rate bested that of both DeShawn Stevenson and Antonio Daniels. Mase-ON was truly an invaluable offensive spark off the bench as the Wizards dealt with an array of injuries in 07-08. Not only that, but in the nine games he was asked to start (five of which came in late December), Mason averaged 17.4 ppg, 3.4 ast, 52.6% fg, and 43.1% 3p.
But alas, it’s the opinion of most that this four-year, three-team NBA journeyman (with stops in Greece and Israel in between NBA stints) will continue his travels elsewhere. Does it have to be this way for a hometown guy who seemingly wants to play in DC and for the Wizards…..especially considering that he turned down a 3-year $3 million contract from the world champion (soon to be former) San Antonio Spurs to sign with the Wizards for one year and $895,341 this past season? Or, did Roger have that much confidence in his game that he figured he would get more run with the Wiz, and thus be able to parlay that into a larger contract?
Whatever the case, people noticed and Roger will get paid. However, Mason’s NBA future (and he does have an NBA future) is in limbo until a couple of questions are answered:
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Round three of the Wizards 07-08 player evaluations is on. Bullets Forever is the head honcho on this whole thing, so be sure and check out the thoughts of the Pradamaster and JakeTheSnake on Dominic McGuire (as well as my thoughts….which are also below).
Previous Entries: Etan Thomas, Oleksiy Pecherov
Up Next: Nick Young
Dominic McGuire….Code Name: The Cleaner. I really liked this kid’s energy coming off the bench. He always seemed ready to contribute with his full effort, while learning on the job. I didn’t watch all of his goof-around videos with Nick Young, but every observation of McGuire on the court led me to believe that he’s a mature, composed guy, ready to be coached.
The Cleaner earned his moniker by doing just that…..cleaning the glass for rebounds. McGuire really amazed me at times with his ability to sky for the ball in traffic….something he’ll be able to do with more authority once he adds some NBA strength. Dominic leaves a ton to be desired on offense, and his turnover rate is horrible (20.3), but his handles are adequate and hopefully hard off-season work with Dave Hopla will lead to an improved jumper….a lot of work (38.3 eFG% and 43.8 FT% in 07-08).
McGuire transferred from Cal to Fresno State after the 04-05 season. Draft Express has relayed that there were some “minor off the court rumblings” in terms of maturity level from his days in Berkley. Other reports say that it was Ben Braun’s “system” which led to D-Mac’s departure. Still, more say that with blue-chip recruit Leon Powe joining the Golden Bears, the writing in regard to McGuire’s dwindling playing time was the wall. Research on further fodder became too meticulous. Regardless, I think Ernie Grunfeld got himself a helluva steal by taking McGuire with the 47th pick.
D-Mac has been compared to several NBA players: Andrei Kirilenko (CBS Sportsline); Trevor Ariza (NBADraft.net); to Danny Granger [best case] and Rolando Balkman [worst case] (Draft Express). I once considered the possibility that D-Mac could be the next Shawn Marion…I’m not so sure now as D-Mac needs to be able to stay with small forwards/big guards on D, along with the ability to knock down the trey, to meet the Marion comparison (along with that of Danny Granger). The defensive part is attainable…..in regards to a jumper, I’d be ecstatic if Dominic McGuire could develop a similar shot to Darius Songaila. Keep an eye on The Cleaner in the summer league.
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Yesterday, Dan Steinberg had a post entitled Gilbert’s Magnets on the DC Sports Bog. Essentially, Steinberg pointed out the fact that our friend Agent Zero is peddling some magnets in his official web store. One has a (perhaps altered) quote from Gilbert’s blog. Another has cut-outs with Arenas sayings such as ‘Hibachi’ (actually a Brendan Haywood saying), and ‘Quality Shot.’
All of this made me ponder…..Gilbert has so many other potential-filled quotes and comments, just from 2008. Perhaps I can offer some additional product design suggestions…..for magnets, t-shirts, plastic cups, collector’s plates from the Franklin Mint…whatever. So here goes:
Item #1 – Saved by Young Jeezy
From Gilbert Arenas’ blog [March 25, 2008]
“It was just me and my car … speeding — something that I shouldn’t be doing. Then I got that thought that I know everybody gets once in a while, I was like, “You know, what if I just ran my car into this pole right here?” I don’t know why I thought that, but I kept going with it. “Then I can jump off the road into this lake and just swim … or drown. Whichever one comes first.” It was really devastating. I was thinking, “Mannn, again?!” But I listened to Young Jeezy’s verse in “They Know” to get me past those bad thoughts … plus, I’m sane. I’m a sane person, I wouldn’t do that to myself.
Wow…..must be a special song, huh? You can check the lyrics to Shawty Lo’s They Know (featuring Young Jeezy) here…..in addition to the YouTube linked in Gilbert’s quote.
What words of salvation….maybe it’s this line that saved Agent Zero from himself: I’m in my cool whip insides jello; Hop up out that pretty muthaf*cka like hello.
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The 2007-2008 Washington Wizards player evaluations have begun on Bullets Forever. Second up to bat, Oleksiy Pecherov. My thoughts are below…..be sure and check out those of Prada and Jake the Snake as well.
Good ol’ Oleksiy Pecherov……the fun-loving Euro cut-up whom many have compared to Stewie from Family Guy. Personally, I like to think of O-Pech as the Ukrainian Balki Bartokomous…..a much more fitting, obliviously foolish, type of character than Stewie (although O-Pech and the youngest Griffin do favor each other in looks).
I think a player with Pecherov’s skills is necessary for the Wizards offensive style. You need a big man who can spread the floor and nail the long jumper off a pick-and-pop. Songaila currently fills this need, but Pecherov has more range.
I know many have clamored for Pecherov to get more time, sacrificing Songaila’s minutes…….let’s just calm down on that thought – or as Balki would say, “Don’t be ridiculous!” I admire Oleksiy’s lack of jump shot conscience, as killer instinct is always wanted. I also have been pleased with his aggression and desire in terms of rebounding.
However, as much as people talk about those who contribute positive intangibles which do not show up in the box score, there are those who bring unseen negative intangibles to the table. Right now, Pecherov lacks the strength to secure defensive rebounds, the lateral quickness to on-ball defend his man, and the basketball IQ to limit turnovers and make intelligent contributions to the system…..among other adverse traits.
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The 2007-2008 season Washington Wizards player evaluations have begun on Bullets Forever. First up to bat, Etan Thomas. My thoughts are below…..be sure and check out those of Prada and Jake the Snake as well.
Etan Thomas’ future is about as unpredictable as tagging along with Pac Man Jones for a night out on the town. The big question mark surrounds The Poet’s heart….and in this case, no news is not necessarily good news. He tried to come back in mid-February, sported a chest protector, got hit in practice……and the next thing we know, the season is over and the word from Grunfeld is that Etan will make a full recovery by training camp. Not so says CBS Sportsline where Etan is listed as “questionable” for the 08-09 training camp (of course, that was last updated on 5/3). Basketball-Reference.com has taken the liberty of un-bolding Etan’s name (even Penny Hardaway’s name is bolded…ok, he played 14 games in Nov. and two in Dec.). What does this all mean? It means that Thomas coming back healthy is one thing, coming back as a contributor is another.
Etan Thomas does not first come to mind when you think of painted area defensive stopper, but maybe he doesn’t have to be. Memory serves me that Etan is more agile than Brendan Haywood. Thus, in the Wizards match-up zone, Thomas has the potential to better play the passing lanes and defend the pick and roll. Etan is not going to match Haywood’s output when the Wizards have the ball, as his Usage% has dropped in recent years…..(while his D-rating has increased ). If all systems are go in Europe in October , the Wizards would most importantly need Etan Thomas to be dominant on the defensive boards (which is easier to do in a match-up zone than a regular zone), contend for offensive boards, and keep track of his assignments on D.
Outlook: I’d rather Etan be the throw-in on an ingenious Ernie Grunfeld trade than depend on him to fill championship needs in 08-09.
Up Next: Oleksiy Pecherov Read more »
Antawn Jamison has gone about his whole career being the consummate pro. He doesn’t say much, but gets the job done. Want him to come off the bench his first year as a Dallas Maverick, just as he was coming off three straight seasons in Golden State where he started all 82 games and averaged 22.3 per? No problem. Antawn Jamison will be the best damn 6th man he can be….in fact, he went on to win the NBA’s 6th man of the year for that 03-04 season, ironically his 6th in the league. Jamison can be described with many distinguishing terms, yet he is the man with no nickname. Who knows if it will stick, but I would like to dub Antawn Jamison, “The Gentleman.”
[Basketball-Reference.com needs to drastically alter their Hall of Fame Probability equation. Currently, among "active" players, Jamison is #29 while falling behind the likes of Vince Carter (#8), Stephon Marbury (#18), Steve Francis (#19), Antoine Walker (#22), Chris Webber (#13), and our Gilbert Arenas (#15). Hmm...guess you can't measure heart with math.]
But why doesn’t Gilbert Arenas get it?
Fans of the Washington Wizards should undoubtedly be proud of the recent leadership doled out by Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler. Sure, we are used to seeing them lead by example, but it’s rare that they speak out, at least to the media.
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Don’t know who Scott Templeton is? Shame on you……as you’ve missed out on one of the greatest television series in history. Templeton was the quintessential douche-bag reporter, a character on HBO’s The Wire. To be clear, I’d like to separate this from associating Templeton with or making any stereotypes or judgments on real journalists…..at least those from DC. [I understand there is some type of blogger-MSM war going on] — in any case, I could estimate that I do not have a problem with 75-85% of journalists out there (I feel terrible as that is such a crude guesstimation……and yes, I used the “word” guesstimation — so what!!). In any case, what made Scott Templeton such a d-bag on The Wire was that he was wrought with lies, plagiarism, and staunch, unsupported defense of his despicable acts.
While I am sure that Cleveland journalists are no where near the reprehensible nature of the character on The Wire, they sure have been adept in displaying skills of hackery as of late.
Tales of Hack Jobs:
First, there was this excerpt for Brian Windhorst’s blog (he’s also the Cavs beat reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal)
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To ironically quote a Jay-Z song title….”What More Can I Say?” — meaning, the way Jake put it on Bullets Forever, “the rivalry just keeps getting weirder and weirder,” would be an understatement.
Taking a rewind, I tried my best to keep away from this internet thing for the past 24ish hours….for no particular reason as I did get a 10 minute check yesterday afternoon. I took in a pitiful Nats loss against the Cubbies, did some drinking, which unfortunately involved tequila shots, and justifiably found myself with a mini-hangover this morning. The usual antidote would be the tragically tasty grease of McDonald’s. Since one is not convenient to my Mt. Pleasant/Columbia Heights location, the next best bet was the Marx Cafe on Mt. Pleasant Street. You usually don’t have to deal with Sunday morning crowds, the food hits the spot and the service has all the international neighborhoody friendliness one could want. [by the way, for you're a Redskins fan, I stumbled across this City Paper article about Vinny Cerrato...interesting suggested reading]
Feeling slightly better, perhaps not 100% as I opted not to chase the hair of the dog (that bit me) I came back to do some reading on what I thought would be the life and times of Gilbert’s knee injury……NoPE!
As I’m sure you are aware, all of this happened instead. What unprecedented craziness…..leading to columns and rhyme droppings from the distinguished Mike Wise and nationwide ABC mentions of nightclub fodder by Stuart Scott and Mike Tirico.
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