Truth About It.net will turn a whole five years old at the end of this October.
Hard to believe/interesting. Nonetheless, over the life of the site from the 2007-08 season to 2011-12, we’ve seen/lived/suffered through 131 wins, 263 losses, four coaches, two owners, one GM/team president, one Phil Chenier mustache removal, and 56 total players (amazingly, 48 players over the last three seasons).
You may have heard of ESPN’s #NBArank project, now in year two. Now hear of #WizardsRank, where we rank each of those 56 players during Truth About It.net’s five-year run.
TAI anonymously polled 27 members of the Wizards pixel establishment — from mainstream media to new media, TAI staffers included, to a few pixel consumers (readers of the site) — and got 17 responses.
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>> USA Today is reporting that the Wizards want to bring back Maurice “Mo” Evans for a front office gig (even though Mo wants to play one more year). But also, there’s this:
But it’s his locker room presence that made an impact in Washington. Last season, Evans filled that leadership role as a mentor to guards John Wall and Jordan Crawford. One person with knowledge of the Wizards’ season said Crawford would have been late to the airport for a handful of road trips had Evans not picked him up. The person, who requested anonymity because Evans is still trying to reach a deal, also said almost every player credited Evans for his leadership and advice during their exit interviews.
Tell us, now who will now get Jordan Crawford to the airport on time?!?!?
[NOTE: Truth About It.net 2011-12 Player Reviews continue (yes, there are more), where we take a look at the past, present and future of those players who have touched the Wizards franchise during the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season. Now, we take a look at Mr. 'Down With Derek Fisher' himself. That's right... Maurice "Mo" Evans. TAI's Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie take a look at the grizzled vet's lockout-shortened season. —Kyle W.]
Pessimism: it’s often all you got when optimism is all you need. With a season-ending six-game winning streak, things are looking on the up-and-up for the Washington Wizards, or are they? We’ve been down this road before, the path of hope, to the point where actual ‘hope’ has been greatly diluted by dusty roads, cloudy visions, and weary travelers. Still, if Wizards fans can’t find reasons to be hopeful, optimistic, then why are they fans? To gauge the overall optimism of the tired, huddled masses, Truth About It.net asked six different contributors to explain (and rate) their optimism in five key areas which are weighted differently, but come together to total 100 for an Optimism Index on the Washington Wizards franchise. The areas of evaluation are:
Current Players (out of 40); Future Players via draft picks and free agents/cap space (out of 25); Coaching/Player Development (out of 20); Ownership/Team Management (out of 10); and Arena/Atmosphere/Fan Support/Etc. (a catch-all area rated out of 5).
Read through what the collective minds of TAI — Dan Diamond (@ddiamond), Ryan Gracia (@rgracia2378), Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20), Sam Permutt (@SammyVert), John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend), and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) – have to say about the state of the Wizards and optimism, and then give us your own rating by voting in the polls below.
Is change in the air? Certainly not if you ask Washington Wizards fans this morning, a majority of whom are entrenched in disenchantment with the reported return of team president Ernie Grunfeld. The only true change fans might be used to at this point is a high-rate of roster turnover — after this season, the longest tenured Wizard, John Wall, will have been with the team for only the last 148 games– as well as the inescapable, save for one time, disappointment in NBA Draft Lottery position.
But we’re talking about change on the court, specifically the emergence of a basketball product that’s at least competitive — with a 101-73 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night, the Wizards have now won four in a row for the first time since December 2007. Of course, we should also be mindful of the fact that the Wizards will, at best, finish with one of the nine worst season winning percentages in 51 seasons of franchise history. Also, 22.2-percent of Washington’s 18 victories this season have come against a Bobcats franchise that has now lost 21 games in a row and is flirting with the worst winning percentage in NBA history if they don’t win one of their final two contests.
Ask some of the Wizards players about the reason for basketball product differences between early in the season and now, and you’ll get veiled explanations about new personnel and guys coming together as a team. Does it boil down to the fact that I like, and strive, to beat like a dead horse: that Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche (hopefully) are gone? It feels all too easy, almost disingenuous, to use the mentally inept as scapegoats. Yet, here we are, with a different basketball team, one that actually might find success given the right additions this offseason.
Maybe veteran Mo Evans said it best when asked about how late season success this year, as opposed to similar circumstances over the past several seasons of futility, should be evaluated with any grain of credibility.
Long after last Wednesday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks, Jordan Crawford remained in the training room. He likely knew the microphones waited for him to speak, but couldn’t do anything about it. A throbbing ankle spoke louder. Meanwhile, assorted media members squatted around his locker, eager to record the shooting guard’s comments after his big 32-point, 11-for-17 shooting performance in Washington’s 121-112 victory over the Bucks. When he finally emerged, Crawford gingerly limped over to his stall; he could barely put any pressure on his right ankle. He looked more like a man who would struggle moving to the right on a Metro escalator without falling down than one who just significantly diminished the hopes of a playoff contending team, including burying Milwaukee with a Agent Zero-esque 30-foot dagger to put the Wizards up six points with 50 seconds left.
Mo Evans argued that the sprained ankle, which afflicted Crawford from the opening tip, was actually beneficial:
“I think the ankle injury helped him because he slowed down, took his time and utilized all the many skills that he has; he has a ton of them. He was extremely effective tonight.”
Coach Randy Wittman expressed sentiments on Jordan’s decisive 3-point make: Read more »
[Cartier Martin gets a shove from Kevin Garnett - photo: K. Weidie, via this post]
Cartier Martin just signed a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards, and he is already their best 3-point shooter (with apologies to Trevor Booker).
You see, Cook Book is shooting 50-percent from deep this year, but he’s only taken two 3-pointers, and neither were of the traditional variety, rather very long distance attempts in late clock situations. (Booker hit a 35-footer right before halftime against the Los Angeles Lakers at home.)
Otherwise, Roger Mason leads the Wizards, shooting 36.9-percent from deep on 103 attempts. (The departed Nick Young would technically lead Washington with 37.1-percent from deep on 197 attempts.) Mo Evans, who has seen just 200 minutes in 17 games, is currently second on the team with 34.5-percent on 29 attempts, rookie Shelvin Mack is shooting 33.3-percent on 36 attempts, and rookie Chris Singleton is shooting 32.6-percent on 92 attempts. Jordan Crawford leads the Wizards in 3-point attempts with 205, but is shooting just 28.6-percent on those.