Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 47th game of the season at home against the Los Angeles Clippers are TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and guest Fred Katz (@fredkatz), who writes about the Clippers for the ESPN TrueHoop blog Clipperblog.
Wizards Starters (11-35):
John Wall, Garrett Temple, Martell Webster, Nene, Emeka Okafor (still no Bradley Beal, but Trevor Booker slated to play)
If it weren’t for the NBA lockout, I probably would’ve watched last night’s exhibition basketball game online just the same. It was either on a very small frame with fair resolution or via more disturbed pixels on a full computer screen blow up, but it was basketball. Basketball involving very good players. Namely, John Wall. It didn’t poetically go down-to-the-wire, but for brief spells, it was enjoyable to watch, even on that small screen streaming from the website of www.wkyt.com television station.
The Dominican Republic national team, coached by University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari, beat a team assembled of former UK disciples who are now locked-out NBAers 106-88 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Confusing connections? Certainly.
The Pros, a team name eligible to be sponsored by Bud Light in a college atmosphere, featured Wall, his former UK teammates Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins, along with Rajon Rondo, Tayshaun Prince, Keith Bogans, and Nazr Mohammed. They started off with a burst of over-excelled activity, perhaps due to lockout inactivity. They’ve all played in other summertime Pro-AMs, but none of them like this, on a stage against legit, more consistent competition and in front of 24,000. Their desire to give the Rupp crowd a show was clear, but still with knowledge that it wasn’t going to be like their other individual forays into summer hoops, highlights of which courtesy of YouTube mix-videos.
The Dominican Republic team featured some pros themselves — Francisco Garcia, Al Horford, along with another guard familiar with Kentucky, Edgar Sosa, courtesy of time spent playing at the University of Louisville, with Garcia — and they didn’t come to tool around. The D.R. team had been working hard under Calipari’s tutelage for the last two weeks in Lexington. They preparing for international competition at the FIBA Americas tournament set to start in Argentina at the end of August.
The ESPN TrueHoop Network NBA Mock Draft 2011 is going down today. The first five picks are listed below and then it’s the Wizards’ turn, the decision made by a consensual agreement amongst the contributors to Truth About It.net. Keep checking back below the text of this post for updates on the entire first round.
The birth of the John Wall Dance phenomenon was fueled solely by Kentucky Wildcats’ fans, before the craze went nationwide and ultimately became Wall’s pop culture trademark. The initial act at Kentucky’s Midnight Madness before Wall’s freshman year was the first glimpse of the special relationship between Big Blue Nation and Wall.
Their admiration has carried over to his professional career with UK fans coming in droves to see Wall play throughout his rookie NBA season. It is almost a guarantee that you will see several Kentucky jerseys and UK related signs at every Wizards home games. The Washington organization wisely welcomed the D.C.-area Kentucky alumni group to a home contest versus the Sacramento Kings earlier this season featuring Wall against his former UK teammate Demarcus Cousins.
Cats fans have even supported Wall all over the country through the Wizards’ 0-25 road record. A large contingent almost equal to those rooting for the Pacers supported Wall when Washington visited Indiana for an afternoon game on New Year’s Eve 2010.
The love is a two-way street and reciprocated heavily by the 2010 SEC Player of the Year. Anyone who follows Wall’s Twitter account (@jimmywa11) knows he is always tweeting about #BBN (Big Blue Nation) and wishing this year’s Wildcat team luck.
Sometime during the second half of the Wizards’ 98-91 victory over the Houston Rockets last night, Ishmael Smith drove hard to the basket and scored on a layup. Shortly thereafter, one of the Wizards fans I follow on Twitter, tweeted the following:
The reality is that before starting point guard Aaron Brooks went down with a sprained ankle earlier in the week, not many Wizards fan had any reason to know about rookie Ishmael Smith. In fact, before I started doing research for last night’s game, I had no idea who he was either. But I should have.
Okay, let’s get this straight first … the 30 points weren’t ‘on‘ John Wall. Wall didn’t guard Devan Downey the whole time, Eric Bledsoe and Deandre Liggins had their tries too. But the game sure was hyped as Downey v. Wall.
All kidding aside, Wall has been the pick for a long time now. The hype surrounding the assumption he would be taken by the Wizards became so pressurized that even small considerations of taking Turner became unreasonable — potentially creating another situation akin to when the Timberwolves traded Brandon Roy for Randy Foye.
Not saying that the schism between Foye and Roy as players would be emulated by Turner and Wall, Turner could very well be better. But a selection of Turner over Wall would create a situation where you’d have one player being measured in comparison to the other before they ever step on the court (I know, with Roy and Foye it was a little bit different).
Sounds unfair, and perhaps an irrational buy into the hype. So, I guess it’s silly to play this ‘what-if’ game and Wizards fans should just continue with the assumption they’ve been making all along, that John Wall is coming to D.C., and not look back … even though Ted Leonsis says he’s not allowed to talk about Wall. Curious, since barely after the Los Angeles Clippers won the 2009 NBA Draft Lottery, Mike Dunleavy, who severed ties with the franchise in March 2010, said, “Clearly, we’re taking Blake Griffin.” The day after winning the lottery, the Clippers began a marketing campaign featuring Griffin.
See that fella above? That’s “Dinner Bell” Mel Turpin, a member of the cursed Washington Bullets/Wizards draft history … sorta.
Turpin was taken by the Bullets with the 6th overall pick in the famed 1984 NBA Draft … the Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and of course, Sam Bowie draft. Bowie was a teammate of Turpin’s at Kentucky, and while both are known as busts, it’s Bowie’s name that most often gets mentioned amongst NBA basketball infamy.
With Rick Mahorn and Jeff Ruland already holding down the paint, Turpin was immediately traded by then GM Bob Ferry to a team currently generally managed by his son Danny, the Cleveland Cavaliers. In exchange, the Bullets received Cliff Robinson and Tim McCormick, who was promptly sent to the Seattle Sonics, along with Ricky Sobers, for Gus Williams.
Williams lead the ’84-85 Bullets in scoring (20.0) and assists (7.7), while Robinson was fourth on the team in scoring (16.7) and second in rebounding (9.1). That Bullets team improved by five wins over the previous season’s mark to finish 40-42, but still lost to Barkley, Julius Erving, and Moses Malone in the first round of the playoffs.