Just in case you are one of the many ready to jump ship on the 0-11 Wizards, take a moment to watch and listen to Martell Webster. Unlike years past, this is a team that cares about winning. They aren’t giving up. They don’t think they are bad team. But they are at a total loss for where success is going to come from at this moment. This is a brutal, raw and honest moment. And thank goodness Martell Webster was there to give it the words it needed.
“Just gotta win… Just gotta win.” —Martell Webster
Prior to tonight’s epic Wizards-Bobcats tilt, Randy Wittman had his usual presser with the loyal cadre of Wizards beat reporters and staffers. Most of the presser can be considered business as usual, but Wittman was downright Belichickian when it came to discussing Wizards injuries. Nene’s minutes will “continue” to be monitored, despite the fact that he was basically encased in ice after the Hawks game. Trevor Booker’s knee “gets better” every day, but there is no timetable for his return. Most encouragingly, Wittman has “no idea” when John Wall will be back.
[Jordan Crawford... Friday practice before game day, and the night after the Saturday contest.]
By some metrics, Jordan Crawford has been the very best Washington Wizard this season. His 12.4 points per game leads the team; only one other player averages double figures for Washington: Bradley Beal and his 10.9 points per game. Crawford also essentially leads the Wiz in PER (player efficiency rating) with a 16.8 in 187 minutes of action; worth noting, however, that Earl Barron has a 30.5 PER in 24 minutes and Cartier Martin has a 20.5 PER in 41 total minutes. But of those NBAers who have tallied at least 150 minutes on the court this season, Crawford’s 16.8 PER is tied for 83rd best in the league with Indiana’s David West. Your best Wizard, everyone.
Crawford had a 14.5 PER last season, so the improvement is numerically clear. But Crawford also passes the eye test, too, thus far. Especially as of late, he’s been a more patient, a more calculated player, while still showing hints of him being him — “Steez,” if you will. The .488 eFG% (effective field goal percentage) that Crawford is shooting this year is undoubtedly an improvement over last season’s .446. An assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.35 last season has also improved to 1.68 this season. Better shooting, better passing via Crawford.
Now, Crawford’s plus/minus numbers don’t signify that he’s the best Wizard. Crawford has a plus/minus of minus-4.9 per 48 minutes, the sixth “best,” if you will, on the Wizards — after Jan Vesely (plus-7.7 per 48), Cartier Martin (plus-5.9), Earl Barron (plus-4.0), Jannero Pargo (minus-2.8), and Martell Webster (minus-4.8). But who’s going to shoot? Those guys? Pffft! Otherwise, things are looking up for ol’ J.C. — the “Crawfish” — it’s just that his team is losing. Losing to the tune of 0-8.
“It’s tough, but I think everybody’s man enough to accept the challenge ahead, and I think we will,” said Crawford after the Wizards dropped their eighth game in as many on the season against the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. And on fans booing? Read more »
You know the scene in heist movies where the culprit-to-be is waiting for just the right moment to sneak past the rotating video surveillance cameras, or for the right time to dart past high-powered lasers as they focus their energies to burn/singe/kill intruders in another area of the fortress? Well, all that was kind of like what Jordan Crawford had to deal with as he attempted to go to the free throw line for Jan Vesely last night. Except instead of cameras or lasers, it was three NBA referees.
Let’s first take a look at the action in GIF form… Notice Crawford’s calculated, measured steps, which operate contrary to Crawford’s normal basketball modus operandi. Vesely doesn’t know exactly what to do, he just knows to accept as doctrine whatever the kid from Detroit says in this strange land called America.
The maneuver was actually successful, initially. Crawford even went so far as to make an actual free throw before parties responsible for keeping track of such thingsnoticed. If it weren’t for the sideline referee and/or scorekeeper and/or those darn meddlin’ kids, Crawford might have gotten away with it, too. Instead, the violation was caught and corrected. Vesely, who had been fouled by Tyrus Thomas, went to the line and missed both. Actually, Vesely went on to miss four straight free throws. Actually, Vesely is 1-for-9 from the charity stripe on the season. Let’s check the extended video…
The Bucks led the Wizards, 99-90, with 29.5 seconds left. From their vantage point, the game was over, especially since the Wizards had not gotten within five points the entire fourth quarter. But what this current Wizards team lacks in talent, they make up for in effort and hustle, so they were certainly going to continue playing hard until the final buzzer.
As the Wizards looked to complete an amazing comeback, A.J. Price threw a bounce pass behind Bradley Beal and Monta Ellis stepped in, stole the ball like Havlicek, and proceeded to race down the court for breakaway points, a k a “The Dagger.” Beal was intent on not letting that transaction happen so easily. He pursued Ellis down the court and fouled him hard while he was in the air. Ellis went crashing to the floor, touching off a mini fracas. As both Beal and Trevor Booker went to help Ellis up, Brandon Jennings rudely interrupted by pushing Beal to the floor, which caused various players, referees, and Coach Randy Wittman, to huddle around Beal and Jennings (but not really Ellis, who did not seemed to be phased by any of this and eventually just walked away). Beal was assessed with a flagrant type “2″ foul and was ejected; Jennings was given a technical and was also ejected. The Bucks won, 101-91, shortly thereafter
Coach Wittman mentioned after the game that he liked Beal’s aggressive effort, but he didn’t want him “going over the line.” Beal said he went for the ball, and Jordan Crawford had this to say of the scuffle: ”There was a lot of pretending going on, a lot of pretending, that’s it.” Per the Washington Post’s Michael Lee, Beal will not be suspended for the foul, and Jennings will not be suspended, either.
Here’s what Scott Skiles, Mike Dunleavy, Brandon Jennings, and Monta Ellis had to say about the brouhaha:
Look, guys, the steez never stops. It simply can’t stop. Not when you lose, not when you have a 10:45 flight to catch to Indiana. Steez all day.
Steez don’t like to lose, though. Steez don’t like pretending, either. When asked what happened toward the end of the Wizards-Bucks game on Friday night (a 101-91 loss for the Wiz Kids) when Bradley Beal committed a flagrant-2 foul on Monta Ellis (for which Beal got ejected), and the subsequent push of Beal by Brandon Jennings (who was also ejected), Crawford simply said:
“Just a lot of pretending going on. A lot of pretending, that’s it.”
And about the 0-4 Wizards getting a win, which they’ll have a chance to do on the Pacers’ home court tomorrow? Read more »
Kevin Seraphin has only played one game, but if Wizards fans are looking for something positive, it’s him. And pretty much only him. (Although we won’t discount the stylings of Martell Webster.)
Kevin has confidence right now, and that makes all the difference in the world. As Randy Wittman tells it:
“Kevin, his first year, played with zero confidence — couldn’t catch the ball, couldn’t dribble the ball, couldn’t shoot the ball — because he didn’t have any confidence. And now look at him. That’s strictly a lot just to do with confidence. He would do those things in practice, he did those same kind of things — jump hook, a little 10-12 foot jump shot, nice touch — but in the game he had no friggin’ confidence, and he looked like he was lost. That’s the perfect example. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a rookie or you’re a 12-year man, if you’re out there with no confidence, you’re not going to do very many good things.”
Seems like a lot of Wizards can take cues from Seraphin — Wittman would love that. But if finding confidence were easy, everyone would have it. Regardless, I’m not advocating for any other Wizard to go out and get a big angel with six wings tattooed on their backs.
Who knew that “Bieber Fever” was going infiltrate Washington Wizards practice Monday? I sure didn’t, initially. The throngs of teenage girls and reluctant dads outside of the Verizon Center parking garage/bus ramp quickly informed me. And now — look at me — I’m mentioning Bieber’s name in a blog post. Swell.
“pre concert warmup. ballin with the wizards. #DC”
That was Justin Beiber’s tweet this afternoon. No, I do not follow him. Otherwise, “ballin’ ” is a term used loosely here. Bieber, who is performing at the Verizon Center this evening, evidently ducked his head into the Wizards practice court and took a gander while Randy Wittman instructed his team, but he didn’t get on the court and start shooting baskets with the Wiz Kids. Do you think Wittman would’ve stopped practice for Bieber anyway? Naw.
That apartment building that burned down in Mt. Pleasant, D.C. forever ago. Photo: K. Weidie
Being gloom-and-doom about the Washington Wizards is a thankless job. It also doesn’t accomplish much, which is likely why no one is thanking you, with the exception of gloom-and-doom Wizards fans for which that has become the standard. They feed off it. They know no other way. And when you waste seasons on terrible basketball and unintelligible basketball players (“bad by design,” supposedly, via Ted Leonsis), it’s to be expected.
But PLAYOFFS? Good luck. You might as well be Andray Blatche claiming that you’re working hard in the offseason while making your own T-shirt that says, “Play Off Starts Here.”
ESPN’s John Hollinger, notorious and perpetual Wizards skeptic, pegs this year’s team to finish 38-44 and tied for ninth in the East. Writes Hollinger in his season preview (Insider): “So enjoy the sugar high of playoff contention this year, Washington. Chances are it will wear off quickly.”
[Video scenes from Wizards practice on Monday, October 22. Randy Wittman, before training camp, said that his team needed to make some highlights... Well, here some are, kinda.]
Cook Book Strong.
Most Wizards fans have yet to be visually treated to Trevor Booker’s two stellar preseason performances because the powers-that-be felt showing Wizards preseason contests in Toronto and Milwaukee weren’t worth the money. It’s kind of a shame in a ‘games don’t count’ sense.
Averaging 19 minutes over two contests, Booker is putting up 17 points (.640 FG%), 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals a night. On Monday after practice, he credited pick-and-roll action for his 22-point performance against the Bucks on Saturday. Just imagine if “Cook Book” had John Wall to trade recipes with. In the video below, Booker powers down Martell Webster with a strong paint move and a lefty baby hook before getting crunk over himself. Enjoy.