[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. 40, Washington Wizards at Utah Jazz; contributors: Rashad Mobley , Adam McGinnis and Adam Rubin from behind the television screen. The title of this post references a Band of Horses song, "The Great Salt Lake."]
Another day, another loss for the Washington Wizards, this time 99-94 to the Detroit Pistons… no biggie. At least they keep trying, I think. Here’s the reaction…
Greg Monroe had the MVP numbers (18 points and seven rebounds), and Tayshaun Prince (14 points) made pump fakes look like a Picasso against Wizards rookie Chris Singleton. But why not give the MVP to Ben Wallace? Washington coach Randy Wittman tried to play Hack-a-Wallace late in the fourth quarter when the game was close, but Gentle Ben went 5-for-6 from the line (5-for-10 on the night). All Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell could do was chuckle from the bench.
Oh, Jordan. “If you in da D… Slide by the Palace of Auburn Hills tonight!,” Tweeted Jordan Crawford (@Jcraw55) at about 10:30 AM on the morning of Thursday night’s game. Hopefully his friends and family don’t start asking for refunds. A 2-for-13 effort from the field on this night makes him 4-for-25 in his hometown of Detroit on the season. Add Crawford’s 3-for-10 effort last season in Detroit, as a Wizard, and he’s 7-for-35 for his career in Motor City. The ‘check engine’ light is on…
When the Wizards last faced the Pistons in D.C., via TAI’s Adam McGinnis:
This has been quite a week for Coach John Calipari. On Monday night, his Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Kansas Jayhawks to win the NCAA championship. Yesterday, he emphatically declared that Kentucky was the best job in basketball coaching, and he has no intentions of leaving. Today, it was announced that his former All-American point guard (at Memphis), Derrick Rose, may finally play for the Chicago Bulls after nearly a month hiatus. Best of all, tonight Coach Cal can watch two more of his former point guards, John Wall and Brandon Knight, go head-to-head in the Palace of Auburn Hills. Per NBA.com’s David Aldridge, Coach Calipari could be watching his next team play in the Washington Wizards, but now we’re just getting ahead of ourselves. For tonight’s Wizards-Pistons 3-on-3, we have Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) from the Detroit News, Patrick Hayes (@patrick_hayes) from the ESPN True Hoop blog, Piston Powered and Truth About It’s RashadMobley (@rashad20). Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Kentucky Coach John Calipari has given no public indication that he’s interested in leaving Kentucky for the NBA, but it would be shocking if he didn’t at least privately consider it. On a related note, it seems as if Anthony Davis will leave and be the consensus No. 1 pick, and barring something historic, the Pistons and the Wizards seem bound for the NBA lottery. Which situation would tempt Coach Calipari more? John Wall, Anthony Davis and the Wizards, or Brandon Knight, Anthony Davis, and the Pistons?
GOODWILL: I would think the Pistons because they seem closer to contention than the Wizards, along with Anthony Davis being the closest thing to a perfect complement to Greg Monroe that the Pistons could ever find. Knight, Monroe, Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko looks to be a solid foundation compared to Wall, Nene and…exactly. Also, Calipariwasn’t a complete disaster at New Jersey, taking them to the playoffs in 1998 but with full organizational control it was too much to handle. That’s not the case in Detroit, where although Joe Dumars has had some blemishes, he knows how to put together a championship core. Can the same be said for Ernie Grunfeld in D.C.? If he wants personnel control, I’d assume the Wizards would be the better choice. But if it comes down to roster and how close each team is to contending if you add Davis, it’s the Pistons and it’s not close.
HAYES: If we’re just limiting to those two players from each team, it’s definitely Wall-Davis. Knight has shown some flashes of good play, but nothing to suggest he has the franchise player ceiling Wall does. However, the fact that the Pistons have a potential All-Star big in Greg Monroe in the mix too and Cal’s guy, Worldwide Wes, has Detroit ties too, could maybe swing things in the Pistons’ favor. Fortunately, the Pistons seem pretty happy with Lawrence Frank, and they’ve become too cheap to pay coaches who would come with Calipari‘s asking price, so I don’t think they’ll have to worry about this scenario.
“Nene is a versatile player who will bring experience and a physical presence to our frontcourt. He is a strong rebounder, tough defender and a fierce competitor. His veteran leadership and postseason experience will be a positive influence in our locker room.”
“Nene is coming to us from a winning program. He has played in a system that we admire. It is up tempo and high scoring and he has good hands; runs the floor well; and is very strong. He is a team first kind of player. He is about winning and is a respected teammate. He is a family man; a player who is secure in who he is; and a player who has battled through adversity and is dependable and strong in spirit.”
That same March 15 NBA trade deadline day, Derek Fisher was unceremoniously traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Houston Rockets, had his contract bought out, and then signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder that next week. Thunder general manager Sam Presti spoke of Fisher providing intangibles and veteran leadership to Kevin Durant, rookie Reggie Jackson and Russell Westbrook. Fisher did not shy away from the role: Read more »
Before Wizards-Rockets match-up last Wednesday, I informally polled a couple of the more veteran Wizards on A) who has been the toughest guy for them to defend during their time in the league, and B) who in the league sets some of the hardest, toughest screens. Here are their answers:
“Definitely Kobe, Tracy [McGrady] … a couple years ago, Vince [Carter], there are a lot of guys. Rip [Hamilton], Tayshaun [Prince] …”
The atmosphere around the Verizon Center practice court was light and playful for once, and the Wizards players and coaching staff looked completely at ease. John Wall and Gilbert Arenas shared jokes while shooting free throws. Kevin Seraphin worked on his post moves with Gene Banks, trading jokes at the same time. Even the normally stoic Yi Jianlian could be seen cracking a smile while shooting free throws with JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche.
There was no talk about Arenas, his beard, his smile or his behavior, no visible residual sadness regarding the departures of Sean Marks and Adam Morrison, and no lingering effects from the loss in Detroit two nights earlier.
Earlier in the day, John Wall, Andray Blatche, Josh Howard, Nick Young, Hamady Ndiaye, Trevor Booker, members of the Wizards coaching staff as well as front office personnel, hosted a “Salute to the Stars” in honor of NBA Cares Week of Service. The Wizards staff served 200 combat veterans as well as wounded men and woman from various branches of the military. Josh Howard commented on how the event went:
“Soldiers give back to us all the time, so its nice to see the Wizards along with Morton’s [Steakhouse] come together and NBA Cares as well. It’s a great organization…”
While Andray Blatche will be celebrating his 24th birthday a bit early this evening, there are a couple former Bullets/Wizards who are actually turning an additional year in their lives on today’s date, August 18. Now, these aren’t franchise greats by any means — in fact, one didn’t make it to 60 games in Washington and the other came just short of 100 games — but both hold places near and dear to the fun-loving hearts of those who have suffered with this futile team.
Isaac Austin turns 41 today. Yes, the same Ike Austin who the Wizards traded for in August 1999 in exchange for Terry Davis, Jeff McInnis, Tim Legler and Ben Wallace. Austin was fresh off a 49-game 1998-99 campaign with the Orlando Magic where the center shot 40.8-percent and averaged 9.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.7 blocks and 2.3 turnovers during 25.7 minutes per game … I guess those numbers were impressive to someone at the time. His 6.7 points and 4.8 rebounds he averaged in 19.9 minutes over 59 games with Washington in 1999-2000 (hey! his REB% improved! — 10.9 to 13.8) earned him the famed Ike Austin Cheese Boot and being made fun of years later for loving donuts. Austin was traded to the Vancouver Grizzlies for Obinna Ekezie, Felipe Lopez, Cherokee Parks and Dennis Scott in August 1999.
After a recent Detroit Pistons practice, Ben Wallace said,“They say losing builds character, I say losing sucks. That’s what I think.”
The Wizards are just as bad as the Pistons … same 24-53 record that’s currently tied for fifth worst in the NBA. Actually, one could say the Wizards are worse because their expectations going into the season were much higher, according to most experts.
But regardless of Washington’s downtrodden ways, the question of losing, ‘Does it build character or does it suck?’, was worth posing to several Wizards before Tuesday’s game against the Golden State.
Al Thornton, Quinton Ross, Randy Foye, Cartier Martin, Mike Miller, Cedric Jackson, Shaun Livingston and Earl Boykins answered … well, not really Boykins. Video below the jump …
The Washington Wizards’ entire front court scored 16 fewer points than Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal, and as a result, Washington fell, 91-80, tonight before 15,571 at Staples Center.
O’Neal scored a game-high 30 points and grabbed 16 of his team’s 44 rebounds as the Lakers won their seventh straight game. The Wizards lost their fifth straight, an unflattering mark seeing as they have a seven-game losing streak already to their credit this season.
Washington forward Juwan Howard scored just six points on 3-of-17 shooting. Forward Michael Smith added two points and center Ike Austin had six. Combined they were 7 of 30 from the field, and none of the three attempted a free throw.