Dammit. I did it. I used that LeBron fella’s name in the title of this post. I know, I know … I shouldn’t have.
If it’s any consolation, I refused to watch the “decision” when the option was offered to the awaiting media to do so in the Wizards’ family room (the usual press lounge was unavailable).
Oh, the “awaiting” media part … well, yea, we were all waiting to speak to John Wall after he’d gone through his first day of mini-camp with the Wizards. The team’s opening session went from around 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Thursday; it was well after 10 pm before Wall spoke. Can’t blame him, he had to watch his buddy Bron Bron and then ice down some sore muscles.
Which makes me step back and think … back in February, would you have ever imagined that by July Cavs fans would (likely) want to trade places with Wizards fans?
OVER THE PAST SEVEN YEARS, you’ve accomplished some incredible feats.
You are a two-time league MVP; you won NBA Rookie of the Year; you’re a six-time NBA All-Star; a NBA Scoring Champion; one of five players in NBA history to average over 25 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in a season – which you have done four times; one of just three players in NBA history to average at least 40 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in a postseason series; and you hold the record for the most consecutive points scored for a team in a playoff game with 25 straight hero-points against the Detroit Pistons in 2007, just to name a few.
If you would allow me to speak freely, you should stay far, far away from Miami.
For starters, oil from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe (surely, you’ve heard of this) is likely to keep moving east because of the so-called “loop current,” according to NOAA officials. To make matters worse than they already are, the likelihood of the Gulf oil spill hitting the Keys and the southeastern coast of Florida is greater than the likelihood of you making a free throw (80 percent)! I know.
A lot of people were disappointed when the Wizards traded for Kirk Hinrich. Mike Prada of SB Nation alone gave the move a “Nay”, a “Feh”, and a “D-”.
There is no question that “Kurt” is overpaid, but salary cap space only gets you so far. Even if the Wizards had upwards of $25 million to spend, it wouldn’t get them any closer to signing a “max” contract player. Let’s be serious. None of the league’s top players ever really considered coming to D.C., even with John Wall. The Wizards will be a work in progress for a couple of years, and when we are honestly competitive, Hinrich will no longer be under contract.
[Editor's note: Check out the debut of new TAI author, John Townsend. Read more about that John at the bottom of this post, but first, check out his piece about another John. -Kyle]
America always seems to need an enemy, whether they’re found in politics (terrorists!) or in sports (referee Dan Crawford for Mavericks fans). Sure, there are times when our criticism of these villains is justified (British Petroleum), but just as often it is not (Steve Bartman).
The most celebrated, captivating products and people are the most polarizing as well. We should expect this, especially considering the amount of time, money, and hopes being invested. This all brings me to John Wall – savior or setback? The question was never will the Wizards select John Wall, but instead what will happen when they do.
photo courtesy of thomasbeisner's Flickr
The debate over whether or not John Wall is the answer in Washington, DC is groundless. John Wall isone part of the solution to a greater basketball challenge.
If you eat and breathe the Washington Wizards as much as I do, you’ve considered the slim chance of crazy scenarios like the Wizards getting John Wall (via winning the draft lottery) followed by LeBron coming to play with his boy Wall in front of President Obama in D.C., along with Gil, ‘Dray, ‘Vale, Quinton, Nick and Al, and also joined by some veteran free-agents willing to sign for cheap within the remaining cap space*.
After all, LeBron is boys with Caps/Wizards owner Ted Leonsis (well, at least LBJ offered a testimonial on the back of Leonsis’ book, The Business of Happiness) and he just might realize the potential benefits of playing in an international city and forming a basketball/hockey MVP conglomerate with Alex Ovechkin. It’s not like these three parties have met or anything like that though … oh wait, the picture above.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer is a big Wizards fan — meaning that to celebrate his 20th year with the network, Wolf was given a custom Blitzer #20 Wizards jersey and presented a cake by G-Wiz, team mascot … who (or is G-Wiz a ‘which’ or a ‘that’) goes on to endorse Elena Kagan, Larry King and Nelson Mandela. Random, I know. Watch.
Sure, team captains Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler chimed in about not liking it. But DeShawn Stevenson … Mister 50/50, I Can’t Feel My Face … the Wizards’ protagonist in their rivalry with the Cavaliers (or antagonist depending on what side you’re on) … was the most vocal about Miller’s shoe selection, drawing scorn for his antics.
The Wizards play the Thunder at 8 pm tonight in Oklahoma City. I’ll be Twittering and perhaps chatting a bit on ESPN’s Daily Dime.
We’ll see if the Wiz have the consistency, energy and focus it takes to win. Word out of Oklahoma is that the Thunder practiced their zone offense at shoot-around today.
Watch out for that Thabo Sefolosha cat. His on-ball defense is something to get excited about … when not playing the Wizards, obviously. It won’t be easy for Mike Miller or Caron Butler, whomever Thabo is guarding. That means … no dribbling around and trying to force things, Caron.
Brendan Haywood will also being going against his old buddy, Etan ‘The Poet’ Thomas. Wizards Insider has more on the game’s matchup.
Finally, it’s Zero vs. Zero tonight, as my fellow ESPN TrueHoop Network blog, Daily Thunder, points out. Russell Westbrook vs. Gilbert Arenas … hopefully it will be fun to watch (and Gil’s not throwing up stink bombs from deep).
Don’t want to call it a rivalry? There are too many coincidences in the series surrounding these two teams not too. With a Wizards six game losing streak that began in Cleveland and ended against the same team in D.C., there’s a certain symmetry displayed that you just don’t get in your usual Wednesday night matchup between most other NBA teams.
And how many teams does LeBron get so frustrated against that he decides dunk a ball so meaninglessly hard that he hurts his wrist? I don’t know.
This time, however, the injury shoe was on the other foot. There shouldn’t be a single Cavs fan out there saying, ‘We were without Shaq and Varejao.’ They’ve had no qualms about disassembling the Wizards’ bandwagon when it was down a couple wheels. LeBron likes to whine but he’s not Eva Perón, no one in Wizards Nation is going to cry for him, his team, or his city because of injuries.
LeBron was as much of a proponent for his team as he was a detriment to their efforts last night. This will be explained further below.