[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. 80, Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia 76ers; contributors: Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center, and Conor Dirks from the state of Georgia.]
[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. 44, Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers; contributors: Conor Dirks, Sean Fagan and Rashad Mobley from the comfort of their own homes.]
BRADLEY BEAL IS NOT HAVING A GOOD ROOKIE YEAR, so far.
ESPN.com’s David Thorpe recently listed Beal amongst his rookie disappointments (ESPN Insider), but concluded:
If John Wall, who is out with a knee injury, were playing next to Beal in the backcourt, things would surely get easier for Beal. It’s a great thing to look forward to. Just as the game slows down for Beal, Wall should return, and that combination suggests Beal will have a big second half of the season.
Also, Beal is just 19 years old. Much room for improvement. But how much? Let’s peel back some numbers.
“Right now, I see the draft and trades as the best way to use cap space to rebuild or replenish with certainty. I am hopeful we can use free agency as well—time will tell. But it may be that having cap space is a bit over-valued in free agency.” —Ted Leonsis, on the thing about cap space.
That’s a bit of wisdom shared by the Wizards’ owner at a time when the contracts being thrown at some of the NBA’s available talent pool leave you scratching your head—it’s seems to be more about dollars than sense.
Restricted free agents Roy Hibbert and Eric Gordon are set to make max-contract money (nearly $60 million in Gordon’s case), though the teams they’ll be playing for are still in question. Crash Wallace, 29, will earn about $10 million per year as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. Wallace’s teammate Deron Williams, a stud, inked a five-year $98 million (!) contract.
Before the Wizards dismantled the Sixers 97-76 on Friday night, Doug Collins temporarily took off his head coach hat, replaced it with his analyst hat, and handicapped this current version of the Washington Wizards (Video courtesy of TAI’s Adam McGinnis):
Collins knows these Wizards are different, physical, hard-working, and the coach warned his team to be prepared for such. The Sixers responded by not showing up to play at all. Jrue Holiday took a pass from Andre Iguodala and scored on a layup to give the Sixers at 15-14 lead with 2:56 left in the first quarter, and that was the last lead Philadelphia would see. The Wizards went on a 9-0 run, led 23-15 after one quarter, 35-19 at the 8:10 mark of the second quarter, and 55-36 at halftime.
After the game, John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer asked Collins if he thought his team could turn the game around after intermission. The coach thought about it for half a second and succinctly responded with a one word: ”No.”
[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. Game 17 contributors: Markus Allen, Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie.]
[NOTE:Per news, Flip Saunders has been fired, and Randy Wittman will replace him. The content below doesn't not reflect knowledge of that, and only pertains to last night's game. The TAI crew will be ready with thoughts on this coaching move by the Wizards at some point soon. Also note: Markus Allen is from Severn, Maryland, has been a Wizards fan since the early 2000s, and is currently attenting Mississippi State University. This is his first contribution to Truth About It.net.]
[It's bad enough that the Sixers mopped the floor with the Wizards on Wednesday night... Making matters worse, this fan represented Washington in the city of Philadelphia.]
Tuesday night in Washington against the Indiana Pacers, Andray Blatche helped the Wizards dart out to a quick start and a 30-25 lead after one quarter by contributing 12 points himself. Then Jeff Foster did his best Dennis Rodman impression by grabbing seven rebounds against JaVale McGee in the second quarter, as the Pacers held the Wizards to just 19 points while scoring 33 of their own. Just like that, Washington was down 58-49 at the half and never recovered en route to 113-96 loss.
Last night against the resurgent 76ers in Philadelphia, the Wizards started off with a strong effort once again. In the first quarter, John Wall had nine points and six assists, and Blatche and Young had eight and seven points respectively. The score was 31-24 after one quarter, and it appeared as if the Wizards had quickly learned their lesson after a sluggish performance the night before — a performance that made Flip Saunders question who and was not entitled to playing time.
Then that evil monster called the second quarter showed up and decided to spook the Wizards once again. This time, Josh Howard was the main target. Kirk Hinrich was in street clothes and probably getting text messages about the trade of he and Hilton Armstrong to the Atlanta Hawks, which meant that when Wall came out of the game with 8:52 left in the second quarter with the Wizards up 33-29, Howard had to play backup point guard for the second consecutive night.
[Jrue Holiday attempts to go behind-the-back to Andre Igoudala - photo: K. Weidie]
Doug Collins was originally scheduled to meet with the media at 5:45, so around 5:43, I left the main floor, and headed toward the Sixers locker room. When I arrived, it was clear that his media session had been moved to 6pm, so I hung around and talked to some of the Sixers players while I waited. Each time I walked in and out of the locker room, I saw Doug Collins chilling in the coach’s office, looking totally relaxed.
He had his feet up on the desk, he was watching a little ESPN, he was laughing with some of his assistant coaches; he looked the total opposite of what I imagined. The words and phrases attached to Collins are “intense”, “annoying at times”, “hard on players”, and others I’m sure aren’t quite fit to print in this family(ish) blog. On the flip side, the phrases attached to Collins the NBA analyst are “wise”, a “great talker”, and someone who knows a hell of a lot about the Xs and Os of basketball.
I got a text message from a good friend during Tuesday’s Wizards-Sixers game: “#4 is playing his a** off” — The message really came with the asterisks, he doesn’t like to cuss.
The text made me take pause. I clearly noticed Antawn Jamison’s hustle swag, but it took the words for me to fully digest the amount of playing emotion coming from the team leader. The game meant something to Jamison, and his passion dwarfed that of his teammates by far.
The dedication of The Gentleman Jamison helped overcome the fact that his team almost gave the game away, which fueled by the carelessness of Gilbert Arenas.
With 5:30 left in the game, after a Sam Dalembert bucket, Arenas tried to make a casual pass up the court to Earl Boykins … with Jrue Holiday RIGHT in the passing lane. Holiday got the easy steal, brought the ball up the court and hit a three in Arenas’ face. Five quick Philly points, 98-92 Wizards.
One minute later, Gilbert tried to drive the lane in heavy traffic. Holiday stripped him of the ball; a clean play contrary to Steve Buckhantz’s proclamation that Arenas got “clobbered.” Guess who was allowed to get a rebound tip bucket on the Sixers’ fast break … Jrue Holiday. 98-94 Wizards.