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
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?
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!)
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