Media Day has been over for several hours and the Washington Wizards have been officially media’d. Quotes, images and pixels of various natures have been broadcast. Hope has been expressed. Do we have the talent to make the playoffs? Yes. How will we come together as a team? We will see, that’s what training camp is for. Will it be tough without John Wall (and Nene to some extent)? Yes, but we’re going to try anyway.
Could one simply tell, from an affair such as media day, that the Wizards are a more mature, professional team? That’s the gut feeling. Have a conversation with Nene, Emeka Okafor, Martell Webster or Trevor Ariza — there’s a difference compared to other teams in recent memory. Now young Wizards have guys they can look toward, knowing their experience, knowlege, and professionalism will provide answers they can trust. There is still as much uncertainty as towhat these 2012-13 Wizards will do on the court as the last couple of seasons, but there’s much more of an underlying sense of confidence that they can stay together and tackle any adversity, that they can deflect any punches instead of simply rolling with them.
Make no mistake, until they prove themselves otherwise in the win-loss column, these are still the same Wizards. But it’s a changing franchise. And this year is a new team – the freshest start Les Boulez have had in about a decade.
This may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back which then caused that camel to fall on the puppy holding a bouquet of flowers for his puppy girlfriend while they nuzzled wet puppy noses in a field of porcelain angels surrounded by butterflies and rainbows, and ice cream.
Did you hear what JaVale McGee did?
Maybe you read about it. Maybe somebody told you. Or, you can listen to JaVale McGee himself over a tape recorder, via the L.A. Times website, saying, “There’s definitely some guys in there saying that they’re ready to fold, but there are some guys, a majority of us, are ready to stand strong,” when asked by a reporter outside of a National Basketball Players Association meeting if players are standing strong against the NBA lockout, or if some are saying that they’re ready to go back to work.
Maybe McGee was earnest and right, but a negotiator with media concerns in mind he is not.
You’ve likely heard about ESPN.com’s #NBArank project of ranking all NBA players. Yes, this isn’t the first of it’s kind — the idea of assigning numerical order in a rather arbitraty way even though it involes input from wide-ranging subjects — and it won’t be the last.
Ranked at No. 99 JaVale McGee was the first Washington Wizard to be ranked in the top 100; John Wall is the only unranked Wizard left as they continue to be unveiled. And while we would certainly hope to mention/cover the rankings of other Wizards, McGee’s gets its own post. Clearly he is of utmost importance to the team’s future, as a participant or an assest. McGee is also, clearly, at a stage of player development where he more interested in his own good, rather than the good of the team. Either way, he deserves the attention he craves and more. Thus, I’ve asked four contributors to the TrueHoop Network/Truth About It.net three questions about McGee and his #NBArank…
1) JaVale McGee’s #NBArank came in at #99, nestled between Wesley Matthews (#100) and Shane Battier (#99), among others — Was this about right, too high, or low, and why? If the entire league were re-drafted, about where would McGee fall?
A D.C. pic, commentary, links, video, pictures, etc…
[Mt. Pleasant Day 2011 - Washington, D.C. - photo: K. Weidie]
Do we even know this John Wall kid?
Watching him play at exhibition games this summer, he doesn’t seem like the guy I saw make his pro debut at the 2010 Las Vegas Summer League, much less the player who dazzled us all during an injury-affected, frustration-filled rookie season.
[Fort Stevens Rec Center - NW Washington, DC - photo: K. Weidie]
As I get ready to take an extended summer vacation off to a location across the ocean, I can’t help how different this NBA summer feels. Yes, the lockout… But I’m also thinking about NBA players — who they are, how they are, where they are. Oh yea, and they’re also jumping across the pond lately.
NBA players are… themselves, for better or worse. Real people. I’ve known this. Covering the Wizards closely over the past couple of seasons has enforced this. It’s not breaking news.
It’s the coverage and opt-in exposure surrounding professional athletes as a whole, much less NBA players, that is vastly different now. Although, delving through the late David Halberstam’s brilliant book The Breaks Of The Game — about the world of pro basketball and the 1979-80 Portland Trailblazers — has helped me realize that while the times change fast, many principles simply get updated and don’t change much.
Future basketball historians may heavily sway their chronicles toward the 2009-10 Washington Wizards season. The infamy surrounding the heavily dramatized whirlwind that was Gilbert Arenas, locker room guns and court cases, and the losing that magnified it (or that it magnified) will go down in D.C. lore just as much as team media guides will gloss over the affair.
Meanwhile, Arenas continues to be in the contradictory mode of ‘they wanted me out, but I gave them plenty of reasons’ on Twitter. He is very ‘woe is me’, while claiming a lesson has been learned. If only Arenas knew how to not keep himself from proving maturity when it counts.
The abrupt end of one long-running and significant ownership era resulting from the passing of Abe Pollin will only add to the natural sensationalizing of ’09-10. But old flames — the one time poster boy and the patriarch of D.C. pro basketball — passed by new sprouts on their way out.
The 2010-11 season, on one hand, as another lottery year for the franchise, might be as forgettable as the rest. But a change in ownership is a very important event. Just think about how crucial ownership is to your opinion of the Washington Redskins.
The Washington Wizards unveiled their new look and feel on Tuesday during an event held on the team’s practice court. The feedback on the fresh gear has been universally positive and hardly anyone is showing remorse for the Wizard man logo dying a slow death. While I am more concerned about the team avoiding another bottom five NBA finish for a fourth straight season, I understand the significance of the franchise moving the brand into a modern direction with the Monumental ownership group. The red, white and blue colors will hopefully provide the tormented fan-base a much needed boost.
The following video contains footage of the debut, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis’ comments on the change, Jordan Crawford’s feelings about the uniforms, and an assessment from fans buying new merchandise at the team store on the day of the unveiling. Enjoy.
[Apologies to the fan whose name and info I was unable to gather.]
He breezes past defenders with more than quickness, aided by long strides and big steps. Still, he often waits.
In attacking the rim with an offensive mind, Wall plays the waiting game. Waiting for the defending arms to clear out of the way. Waiting, and bracing, for a potential hit… a foul call if he’s lucky. Waiting for the last possible second to release his shot, a layup attempt at his final destination. Waiting until the coast is clear. Waiting to finish with points.
Some haven’t considered the exciting, scary thought — those two emotions coming from two different angles. You didn’t see an NBA-ready John Wall this season. His rookie eating habits were horrible, but expected for a teenager. His mentality fought to adjust to League-caliber athletes, and in many instances made them adjust to him. His body was not always fully healthy, and he admittedly rushed back before fully healed (yet one day he’ll have to play hurt like Kobe Bryant). His semi-suspect Reebok shoes went through some “adjustments” to make them “firmer” after Wizards officials and training staff met with the shoe company, according to the Washington Post’s Michael Lee. If these things were holding Wall back to even the slightest degree, Wizards fans should be the excited ones, and the rest of the League should be scared.