Tag Archives: john wall

A Look at the 2014 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Participants

John Wall gets high.

John Wall gets high. Will he win the 2014 Slam-Dunk Contest?

It was announced today that the 2014 Slam Dunk Contest participants will include Paul George, Damian Lillard, John Wall, and defending champion Terrence Ross, according to ESPN. Ben McLemore and Harrison Barnes are mentioned as the two others who are expected to round out the six-man field.

All are firmly in BMF territory as dunkers. But who’s the best?

The point of this post isn’t to pontificate about who’s the best dunker. That’s a matter of personal aesthetic preference: The dunk, like other special types of basketball shots, is more an art than a science.

That said, it’s fun to see what each participant has in his arsenal – and then to watch the contest to see if they have anything new up their sleeves.

Without further ado, here’s a video compilation of each participant. Enjoy.

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Ricky Rubio and John Wall: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

rickywalldime

The Timberwolves take on the Washington Wizards tonight at 7 P.M. CST at Target Center. The game can be seen on NBATV or heard on WCCO 830.

The marquee matchup tonight is at the point guard position, where Ricky Rubio and John Wall will square off.

Rubio has been predictably enigmatic (OXYMORON!) this season. He does so many things well, but the unanswerable question is whether Ricky’s kryptonite–the jump shot–will forever banish him to second-tier status among NBA point guards and compromise his team’s chances to keep opposing defenses honest in half-court sets. Similar questions have been raised about Wall.

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Guest Post: A View of the NBA Draft from DC (The ‘Zards Edition)

Otto Porter and Anthony Bennett

Will it be Otto Porter Jr. or Anthony Bennett lighting up our nation’s capital next season?

This is a special guest post by my friend and fellow DC resident Jon Wallace. Jon is a Duke grad and a Wizards fan, but we try not to hold that against him. Below, he discusses the Wizards’ situation in the upcoming NBA Draft.* – Patrick J

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A View of the NBA Draft from DC

by Jon Wallace

A Wizards fan finds him or herself in an interesting position this offseason. The team finished another year without reaching 30 wins, yet there is more than just guarded optimism for the future. After John Wall’s return from injury, the ‘Zards played good to excellent basketball to close out the year.

With the full(ish) complement of players, Washington played well enough to have the fan base thinking playoffs next year and potential deep runs in the postseason in following years. In an admittedly small sample size, the Wizards were 17-7 with Wall, Beal, and Nene on the floor at the same time. They were 24-24 with just Wall and Beal. Projected out over a full season, these data points have Wiz fans excited about April and May basketball in 2014.

All this optimism – a distinctly weird emotion for Wizards’ fans to experience – was augmented when Washington jumped five spots in the NBA lottery to obtain the third overall pick.

Our cup runneth over.

But which prospect would most help the Wizards as they look to end an era of lottery teams and move into an era of playoff basketball?

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Flashy Point Guard Show, Tonight at Target Center

John Wall. Ricky Rubio. That’s it.

No Love no Bud no Pek no ‘Drei no Roy.

Ho hum.

You should watch tonight’s game if for no reason other than that no other point guard in the NBA can do what John Wall does in that vid.

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99 Problems (But a Witt Ain’t One)

Randy Wittman: Stil at the helm for the Wizards

Randy Wittman: Stil at the Helm

The Timberwolves are in The District tonight for a 7 PM tilt against the Wizards. Andy G is here. We’ll be courtside.

The Wolves have a bunch of problems right now, which came to a head Wednesday against the Nets. For those joining us in progress, let’s recap:

Unsurprisingly, the Wolves have been losing a lot, going just 2-9 since Kevin Love’s injury forced him out of the lineup.

A silver lining for the Wolves heading into tonight’s game in DC…

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League Pass Alert, Vol. 4: When Bad Teams Happen to Good Players, and the East’s New Stopper

Andy G and I are doing a series on players you’ll be watching for one reason or another this season on League Pass. Check out the first three entries below.

All-League Pass Rookie 1st Team, or “Rookies You Want to Watch”: http://punchdrunkwolves.com/2012/08/23/all-league-pass-team-vol-1-rookies-you-want-to-watch/
All-League Pass Rookie 2nd Team, or “Rookies You (Might) Want to Watch”: http://punchdrunkwolves.com/2012/08/24/league-pass-alert-vol-2-rookies-you-might-want-to-watch/
All-League Pass 1st Team, Eastern Conference: http://punchdrunkwolves.com/2012/08/25/league-pass-alert-vol-3-eastern-conference-league-pass-team/

 

This installment is a REACTION to Andy G’s All-League Pass Eastern Conference 1st team. It was an interesting list that suggested food for thought.

So, two things.

One. What to do about good players on bad teams. I don’t mean teams that are so bad they’re good. I mean the Pistons. Continue reading

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League Pass Alert, Vol. 3: Eastern Conference League Pass Team

Don’t think defense is fun to watch? Maybe you haven’t seen Taj Gibson play it.

Patrick J and I are doing a series on players you’ll be watching for one reason or another this season on League Pass.

Timberwolves fans are naturally less familiar with Eastern Conference teams and players.  This is one reason of many why League Pass is a worthwhile purchase and use of time.  The following is my ALL-LEAGUE PASS TEAM, Eastern Conference style.  Oh, and remember the discussion surrounding Rookie Blake Griffin’s eligibility for both the Rookie Game and the regular All-Star Game?  At Punch-Drunk Wolves, rookies only get one team — so the rookies Pat described here and here are INELIGIBLE.

G – John Wall, Washington Wizards: For the same reason you enjoy 100 meters of Usain Bolt, you should also enjoy 48 minutes of John Wall.  The dude is just stupid fast.  His shooting is a problem — a big one — but that hasn’t prevented Rajon Rondo and other point guards from doing good things.  The ‘Zards have expunged some of the cancer that plagued recent seasons and the development of Wall; they traded Nick Young and let Andray Blatche take his talents elsewhere.  Now that Wall can team with legit NBA talent (Nene, Okafor, Bradley Beal) the hope for League Pass aficionados is that Wall’s game will develop accordingly.  His athleticism is breathtaking and we’d all benefit from getting to watch more of this guy in big games. Continue reading

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Can You Hear Me Now? A Night at the Verizon Center

Nick Young...yeah..

I’m a native Minnesotan turned academic nomad who has spent the last half-decade living in Chicago, the Bay Area, Boston, and now Washington DC. I only get to attend a few games at Target Center each year, usually while visiting family during the holidays.

But as both an NBA and Wolves junkie, a silver lining has been immersion in a variety of NBA cultures–in my case, the Bulls, Warriors, Celtics, and ‘Zards–while keeping a finger on the Wolves’ pulse through NBA League Pass, a running NBA-related email dialogue with Andy G, and religiously following a bunch of great Wolves sites.

I’ve attended games in each city where I’ve lived. Here’s a quick rundown.

My United Center experiences were pre-Rose and so pretty lame. The crowds were quiet, the United Center spacious and cold, and the neighborhood around the arena was somewhere you didn’t want to be.

My Oracle experiences were AWESOME. It was post-We Believe but pre-Implosion. The arena was cramped and stuffy and the fans were passionate and ROWDY. You’d see black, Asian, Latino, and white fans all sitting side-by-side, going all kinds of crazy for the Dubs. Whenever I went to Oracle, there was always a live funk band, cheerleaders wearing old school booty shorts and knee-high tube socks with yellow and blue rings at the top, and fast-break basketball. It was like a cross between a George Clinton concert and what I imagine ABA games were like. Best live basketball experiences I’ve ever had.

Games in Boston are fun because Celtics fans are PASSIONATE and LOYAL to the point of insanity. This was post-Title, but still when the Celtics were the best in the Atlantic. You’d feel like the guy sitting on each side of you might rip open your chest and pull out your heart if he even suspected you weren’t cheering for the Cs. Or that you weren’t a Red Sox fan. Or that you weren’t drinking Sam Adams. You get the idea. Overall, Boston games were fun because (1) the Celtics were really good and savvy, and (2) unlike the Dubs games, where fans were rowdy but just having a good time, Cs fans took the INTENSITY to a different level–so much so that ANGER and VIOLENCE always lurked as real possibilities for any perceived infraction at any possible time. I imagine this is what intense, insular religious experiences are like.

All of this is a roundabout way of setting up my first experience–last night–at a Wizards game here in DC. I knew the ‘Zards had the worst record in the league, but with their new unis and assorted personnel, I thought maybe–just maybe–the potential was there for a Dubs-like experience., with @JimmyWa playing the part of Boom Dizzle, Nick Young doing his best Stephen Jackson impersonation, Jordan Crawford shooting with the conscience of Monta Ellis, and JaVale McGee swatting shots like Andris Biedrins.

Man was I wrong.

Despite a close score, the atmosphere at the Verizon Center was flatter than Nebraska. The crowd only got loud during the 4th quarter when the Nuggs went to the free throw line, and only then because Chick-fil-A does a promotion where fans get a free sandwich when opposing players miss both shots during 4th quarter trips to the stripe. Yeah.

Then there are the players.

The Wiz’s best player, John Wall, was almost completely disengaged. Andray Blatche was a liability in just about every conceivable way. Nick Young did his best Shaddy McCants impersonation, shooting every time he touched the ball and scowling when fellow ball hogs Crawford or Blatche shot before the ball was swung to him. Trevor Booker and Chris Singleton play hard but have no talent. Booker is like Trenton Hassell–without the jump shot.

Then there’s the play itself.

The Wiz have no offense. Remember what the Cippers’ offenses looked like when Mike Dunleavy was the coach? The endless iso “plays” for Corey Maggette, and Cat Mobley, and Ricky Buckets? Fast forward to now, and you’ve got the Wiz. Any reputation Flip Saunders ever developed as a good offensive coach can no longer be credible. He will be fired soon.

The Wiz also do not have any defense. They’re terrible. Sure, Wall took some charges and McGee blocked/goaltended some shots, but their forwards were DESTROYED by the likes of Al Harrington and Danilo Gallinari.

Harrington and Gallo are the kinds of guys who don’t quite have star potential but who can and do relentlessly exploit weak defense until their line is gaudy. And that’s exactly what happened. Harrington had 29 and Gallo had 21. Both looked unstoppable, but in the sort of way that that overweight guy who hangs out at the “Y” can look unstoppable against younger, weaker players. The nail in the coffin was that Ty Lawson toyed with Wall most of the game, who looked lost trying to run whatever offense Saunders was trying to tell him to run. I bet Wiz fans wish they had Ricky.

Wolves fans are lucky. We’ve taken our lumps but things are getting better. And whenever we suffer a disappointing loss, we can always flip our League Pass over to the ‘Zards game for a quick pick-me-up.

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On the Rebound (Wolves 93, WIZARDS 72)

The Wolves came back from a pair of lackluster home losses against Memphis and Cleveland to beat the Washington Wizards 93-72 Sunday afternoon in D.C. in the first tilt of a back-to-back-to-back on the road.

Today’s win felt great, mostly because Friday’s loss felt so bad. But before we get carried away with blowout euphoria, let us remember that the Wiz are truly awful. As a DC area resident, I can assure you that the ‘Zards really are that bad and that it’s no mistake the Wiz are 0-8. The Flip Saunders offenses Wolves fans grew accustomed to are nowhere to be found these days at the Verizon Center. The Wiz stand around a lot and eventually do some kind of iso for one of the Three Stooges–Andray Blatche, Nick Young, and Jordan Crawford. For variety, they’ll sometimes indulge Rashard Lewis’ itchy trigger finger and let him take a heat check from the three, which he’s currently shooting at a smelly 22%.

There are bright spots. John Wall could be Westbrook or Rose on another team – hell, in 2009/10 Wall excelled in Rose’s role for John Calipari’s  Kentucky Wildcats team, the year after Rose was the uber-athletic one-year rental who drove Cal’s Memphis muscle car all the way to the NCAA championship game – and JaVale McGee is leading the L in blocked shots and is DeAndre Jordan East. But the Stooges and Lewis drag down the ‘Zards like a rusty anchor and there’s no hope for the ‘Zards unless Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld overhaul the roster and give Wall a fresh start with a new cast of characters. (Hey! You know what? Wolves POBO David Kahn just did this in Mpls! And we just blew out the Wizards. Leonsis should poach him for a Wiz redemption project!)

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We’ll do a full wrap after the three-game set, but a few Wolves notes on the Wiz game:

  • Rubio outplayed Wall en route to 13pts/14 ast/+29 in 30 minutes. What the 5-14 in the box score fails to reflect is that Ricky knows when to shoot, and that he shoots it in rhythm/with confidence. It took Rondo–whose rep as a weak shooter has led defenses to sag off him like they do on Rubio–2-3 years to get as comfortable calling his own number as Ricky is right now. Can you believe we got this guy for Mike Miller and Randy Foy?
  • Beasley was out and the offense ran better. But again, it was the Wiz. So, correlation or causation?
  • Williams/Tolliver/Love is my favorite front line. They outwork everybody, they’re strong, and they’re physical. They play D. On offense, they all know how to exploit seams in the D and swing the ball to open shooters or make 3s themselves. I hope Adelman gives them more time together, with Rubio and Barea in the backcourt, once J.J. gets healthy.
  • Ellington made shots. With Beasley out at least three games I wanted Adelman to start Rubio or Williams, so I was pretty bummed when I heard Ellington was getting promoted. But he played okay today and we won.

We’ll get to test the experiment again tomorrow night against the Raps. Until then.

Season Record: 3-5

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