From entertainment to education, there are a lot of benefits to having Sam Cassell on an NBA coaching staff, not to mention that he has relevancy to today’s youthful players — as in, they’ve probably seen some of his games on television, in color. Hence, Cassell can still conduct live demonstrations of his knowledge.
We’ve seen ‘Sam I Am’ go against the likes of Nick Young and JaVale McGee in post-practice battles. On Monday, Cassell and John Wall took to each other in the low post. The Washington Post’s Michael Lee has the words describing the scene on the Wizards Insider. You’ll find video below …
The position of team captain was an unstable one last year, especially after the trade winds when Earl Boykins and Mike Miller were pegged as the team leaders/representatives with the referees.
Slightly different story for 2010-11 …
On Monday afternoon, when I asked Flip Saunders who had arisen to fill the team captain position(s) this year, he sounded pretty confident that 20-year old John Wall and soon-to-be 30-year old Kirk Hinrich would be his men.
“Right now we’ve gone with Hinich and Wall. Those are the two guys, at this point, that have shown leadership through camp. So that’s where we’re at right now,” said the coach.
And about Arenas? …
“We just haven’t really talked,” said Saunders. “Those two guys have been our two most vocal guys and our two guys that have shown leadership.” Read more »
[Frazier's Funeral Home - Florida Ave. & Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. - K. Weidie]
Josh Howard recently said ‘all the right things’ in an interview with HoopsHype … ‘all the right things’ that are almost hard to believe. Perhaps it was a proclamation, of sorts — a personal challenge from Josh to Josh. Howard saying that the Wizards “see a natural-born leader” in him certainly drew faint scoffs from several prominent websites: ESPN Dallas, SLAM, Yahoo!.
Which makes me wonder … is skepticism wrong? Why are we skeptics? I’m sure there’s been a ton of psychoanalysis about it, but does it accomplish much aside from a potential future “I told you so”? That being said, I’ve been guilty of skepticism before … from being leery of Ernie Grunfeld’s romanticism of old school team management tactics to past battles with assessments of Andray Blatche (after being around him as a person this past season, I’ve grown to like him … it’s just that his previous bonehead decisions and court attitude have been teeth-grinders).
My latest piece for SB Nation DC is called, “Steve Francis Doesn’t Even Own The D.C. Courts. Just Ask Curt Smith.” I probably was a little harsh on Francis, could be dubbed a hater. I’ll be that. His career fizzled because he couldn’t adapt his immense talent to play a winning brand of basketball as a point guard leader. Then, he comes out of the woodwork claiming he’s the best D.C. has had to offer since Len Bias. People are going to take issue with that, and one of them happened to be me. Oh well … it is what it is. Go read.
I’ve taken a bunch of pictures while at summer league. The more the merrier is what I say. And I’ll have more to come soon, but the one below is my favorite so far. It was taken just after the Wizards played their second game against the Clippers. The photo is a little blurry because it was taken with more motion (from me and the subjects) than I’d planned for, but I think it turned out just fine. Notice the serious looks on the faces of Flip Saunders on the left and Sam Cassell to the barely right, as if “it’s just summer league.” And then notice how John Wall is just enjoying life.
What most impressed me about John Wall in his debut? His leadership. In fact, I wrote a whole piece about it for ESPN’s Daily Dime … and I’ll link that at some point soon. I’ll also have a bunch of pictures as I sat on the baseline to catch the experience of the game. There will be a bunch more to come on Wall and the Wizards, but until then, there’s a video below of post-game interviews featuring Flip Saunders, Sam Cassell, and of course, Wall (who was rather hard to get to … there was a TON of media in a small, concentrated area trying to interview him. To call it a circus wouldn’t exactly do it justice.) As usual, enjoy.
After the Wizards’ second day of mini-camp, young JaVale McGee messed around a bit with old Sam Cassell for a couple rounds of one-on-one. Let’s check that real quick.
Otherwise, Epic Vale is working hard. And on Friday he was all tuckered out, needing to bend over when initially speaking with the media after the session. He even later Tweeted: “Man … tired ain’t the word … I’m tired as a house.”
Not sure what ‘tired as a house’ means. I imagine that the partied out house of a Miami Heat fan on a celebratory bender is pretty tired right now. Maybe McGee is that tired, except the basketball equivalent.
When speaking about JaVale this afternoon, Flip Saunders twice mentioned that he needs to work on his defensive rebounding. Seems like a pretty big emphasis. Last season, according to 82games.com, the Wizards team defensive rebound percentage was 65% when McGee was on the court. That shot up to 71.6% when he was off the court. So that can’t be good.
Saunders went on to say, “As much from a strength standpoint, going against main type centers, he’s not as strong as some of those guys so he gets pushed around. What happens is he gets in foul trouble so quick and that takes him out of his game. He’s going to have to learn to play at our level and be able to play as far as from the beginning.”
Or maybe you can just ask John Wall if he wants to go to Ben’s Chili Bowl. There’s a sign in the famed D.C. haunt that says the only people who eat free are Bill Cosby and the Obama family. Surely an exception can be made should Wall ever bring an NBA title to Washington.
Oh, the Wizards haven’t even drafted the kid yet? Okay, I’ll hold my horses.
The quintessential Ben’s dish:
a chili half-smoke with mustard and onions, and chili-cheese fries.
By the time John Wall actually wears a Wizards uniform we will have heard just about everyone give their opinion about him being in D.C. — we’re talking some Ouija board channeling Abe Lincoln type stuff. Or at least getting DeShawn Stevenson’s neck tattoo to speak on it.
On a holiday weekend, where you will no doubt be eating in some sort of gluttonous manner, let’s take a quick look at just one of the rotund members of the Wizards/Bullets franchise’s past … Ledell Eackles.
I won’t be getting into too much of my own historical research and perspective on the player in this post … mostly because several great pieces on Eackles have already been written. Let’s take a look …