Monthly Archives: April 2012
It’s a bittersweet feeling. This season may have left much to be desired record-wise, but it is hard not to go into the offseason with at least some hope about the state of our franchise. Sure, we finished with the second-worst record in the NBA and will be a fixture at next month’s lottery for what feels like the better part of the last decade, but it is hard to ignore the results on the floor. While a 6-game winning streak to close out a season where you finish 26 games under .500 is far from anything to be excited about, I saw competitiveness out of this ball club the last couple weeks that was not there at the beginning of the year (or for the larger part of two years, for that matter).
There was a culture change that occurred inside this franchise this past spring. Getting rid of players who placed their own self-interests before the team and banishing The Captain for the last two months allowed for the core we are going to build around to gel and see what being successful felt like. While the games they won may have been meaningless, this feeling is not. Winning six games in a row in the NBA is not an easy thing to do, especially for a roster made up of mostly first and second year players, and as fans we have to hope the Wizards want to keep that feeling of success going next fall.
Our front office has been rather transparent with regards to the fact that this was year two of a three-year rebuild. “There’s no turning back,” as we found out from a direct quote when Ernie Grunfeld joined the Mike Wise radio program last week and the Washington Post writer, along with co-host Christopher Johnson, for lack of a better term grilled EG for an answer to this bloggers question regarding that quote and what it meant for this team going forward (Got to love how easy it is to communicate in the Twitter age). In pure GM speak Ernie went on to speak about how we have accumulated young talent through the draft and will continue to build upon those pieces already in place. It seems we have established building blocks in Wall, Nene, Seraphin and to a much lesser, more developmental, extent Jan Vesely. It is imperative that every one of those players continues to develop their games over the offseason as I can imagine this time next spring they want to be playing meaningful games at the Phone Booth.
Contrast that with the blog post by Ted Leonsis today clarifying parts of “The Plan” for the rest of us; Leonsis wrote that the plan all along was to be bad for two years and then become good. It is so simple I can’t believe I did not think of that earlier on! It looks like we will be left hoping that the ping pong balls bounce our way once again this summer, if that happens maybe year three of the rebuild on F Street will be more entertaining than the two years that preceded it.
The impending offseason is an important one for the Wizards. If we are supposed to be taking the next step going into year three of “The Plan” we must continue to rid ourselves of dead weight (Andray Blatche pun!) as well as continue the youth movement that has started in D.C. There is promise that in this summer’s draft we will be able to land an impact player that we can pair with John Wall in order to take that next step from laughable losers to “Hey, these guys really don’t suck that bad after all”. Couple that with the addition of some assets via free agency (Something we will lay our plan out for in the coming weeks) and this team could, and should, be much more competitive in 2012-2013.
As our first (half) season covering the Washington Wizards comes to an end, I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to check out TheDCDime and hope that you stick with us over the coming months as we keep a close eye on the draft, free agency and, of course, my favorite way to waste time in July…The Vegas Summer League!!!!
*Editors note: We’re going to Vegas.
University of Maryland leading scorer Terrell Stoglin is leaving College Park. The Terrapins guard has filed his paperwork for the NBA Draft in a move that is puzzling as Stoglin had already announced he was coming back for his Junior year. We will have more on this story today.
UPDATE: 11:00 A.M. – It has been reported by many outlets that both Terrell Stoglin and Mychal Parker were handed down one-year suspensions for an unspecified rules violation. This explains Parker’s decision to transfer out of UMD more clearly and essentially eliminates any hope that Stoglin was simply testing the waters of the NBA Draft and would ultimately return to the Terps. This is a tough break for head coach Mark Turgeon heading into his second season at the helm in College Park, MD. As more details emerge in this huge story for the Terrapins we will continue to bring you updates.
UPDATE: 12:00 P.M. – According to a report from Patrick Stevens, one of the areas most reliable sources for Maryland athletics news, Terrell Stoglin received a one-year suspension following his third failed drug test with the University. While this is only a report from a source of Stevens, it is likely this is in fact the transgression that caused the suspension to take place as no other causes for this suspension have been brought to the fore front at this time. As more news breaks regarding this story TheDCDime will continue to bring you all the coverage.
Miami Heat @ Washington Wizards
PG: John Wall vs Bad Backup
SG: Jordan Crawford vs Bad Backup
SF: Chris Singleton vs Dexter Pittman
PF: Jan Vesely vs Bad Backup
C: Kevin Seraphin vs Bad Backup
Why to watch: The Washington Wizards are the hottest team in the NBA
Alright, so that may be a bit of an overstatement, but Washington is cleaning up late in the game and building some serious momentum heading into the offseason. Yes, this five game win streak has come at the end of a miserable season and against teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Cavaliers and the Miami Heat (with Dexter Pittman starting), but who cares? Wins are wins and when things haven’t been so great all season, or when something like a 4 game win streak hasn’t happened in 4 1/2 years, this is exciting.
Segue into the Miami Heat, who we’ll be facing for the second time in three games. They’re going to be without the Big Three of LeBum, Wade, and Bosh, so it means another dose of Pittman and Co. Basketball wise, Miami’s backups are an awful rebounding team who are also completely inept on the offensive end. The Wizards should have no problem holding this team to under 100 points, and when that happens Washington has a chance to continue a win streak to 6 games! Eric Spoelstra can still coax his team into a very stingy defensive effort, so the Wizards are still going to need to get to the line or shoot well; that being said, this is a game that John Wall should win.
Underlying storyline: Kevin Seraphin’s got a streak of his own.
As the Notorious B.I.G. once said, “If ya don’t know, now ya know, ninja.” That’s the case with Seraphin, because if you haven’t heard of him by now, you’re not watching basketball. He’s the guy who stepped up once JaVale left and has recorded 10 or more points in 15 straight games. It’s been over 20 years since a Wizards center has done anything close to that, and its a welcoming experience. There is one glaring issue with his game, though, and it’s the rebounding aspect. During that same 15 games stretch of great offensive play, Seraphin has only managed to grab 10 boards in 3 games. He’s not huge, so it’s not entirely unexpected that he can’t grab them as well, but it needs to be something he should start improving on now. We know he can score, now Wizards fans need to be sure he’s a competent rebounding player.
Prediction: 99-95 Wizards
Miami is loaded with scrubs from the top to bottom without the Big Three, and I’m not sure many of their players tonight would even start for Washington. Wall should get to the line a lot, Seraphin and Nene should have dominant performances against a weak front line, and Vesely might chip in a little as well. The end of the year is where the bad teams excel, baby! Wizards win, but they don’t win you guys a Papa John’s Pizza.
Edited by: Bohlin
As the NBA regular season winds down, it’s time for the Dime to take a nostalgic look back on the lockout-shortened year. This season has been filled with intriguing story lines, drama (Cough, Dwight Howard, cough), lingering injuries, but there’s one thing that stands out above the rest: the schedule. With owners looking to minimize the hit to their bottom lines from locking out the players, the league embarked on the most compact season in its history. Teams were forced to play 66 games in a total of 124 days, including at least one stretch for each team of games three straight nights for the first time since the 1998-99 lockout-shortened season. In one word, the schedule was stupid. It was more physically grueling than it needed to be and as a result the product suffered. Stars such as reigning-MVP D.Rose, Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, and the lovable Z.Bo (Zach Randolph, if you don’t know now you know) missed significant time due to injuries. With all that said, the year wasn’t a total failure; we got to see why the league hasn’t had more talent since the days of His Airness. We witnessed the emergence of young stars in Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio (Before a Kobe knee ended his season), an underdog making the world Linsane in the membrane, an unappreciated star taking their game to the “next-level” in Kevin Love, and continued excellence from all the usual suspects (CP3, Kobe, Lebron, KD, Steve Nash etc.). The league is currently in great hands; we have veteran stars continuing to play at a high level, and young stars scrapping to become household names. Here at the DC Dime we wanted to show some love to the year’s top performers, and express our disdain for those who fell short of expectations. Without further ado, here are your 2011-2012 DC Dime Award Winners:
1) Defensive Player of the Year- Over the last few seasons, this award has belonged to Dwight Howard. No one can affect the game on the defensive end like Superman. Unfortunately, this year Dwight was more worried about where he would be playing next season than he was in leaving it all on the floor for his current team. Not that he mailed it in, which he didn’t, but he never fully invested himself in the success of his team. For this, he is not eligible to defend his title for the fourth year in a row.
This year, the award deserves to go to Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks. Even in the midst of his best ever offensive season (He’s shooting 68% from the field), Chandler continued to be dominant on the defensive end. Take a look at the Knicks roster. Outside rookie Iman Shumpert, not a single player on that team has any interest in defending. The Knicks are a middle of the pack defensive team this year thanks to the work of Mr. Chandler.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Garnett, Lebron James
2) Coach of the Year- Did you know that the Coach of the Year award has never gone to the same coach in back-to-back years? Unfortunately for Tom Thibodeau, this year will not be the year that breaks that streak. Thibs has done an absolutely amazing job with the Bulls this year, currently leading the Eastern Conference despite the fact they played without MVP Derrick Rose for 26 games this season. However, he has been outdone this year by a veteran who definitely deserves to win this award for a second time: Gregg Popovich.
Popovich has shocked the system and guided the ageless Spurs to the West’s top record. He has dealt with the injuries of Manu Ginobili, introduced more youth than normally accustomed to with the emergence of Tiago Splitter, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard, managed Timmy Duncan’s decline ( DNP-Old, remember that?), and changed styles of play to better suit Tony Parker’s skills. He’s got the Spurs looking like a legitimate contender for a title. The man’s a four time NBA champ, and its time he’s recognized by the media for his coaching excellence.
Honorable Mention: Thibodeau, Doc Rivers, Vinny Del Negro (Just Kidding)
3) The Donald Sterling Memorial Award- If it’s a reward in honor of Donald Sterling, you already know we won’t be lauding an executive for excellence. In fact, we will be rewarding the exact opposite. Mr. Sterling has been the golden standard for ineptitude in sports ownership/management for the last three decades. Due to his insistence on cutting corners and costs, and his ability to alienate a fan-base and be loathed far and wide, Donald Sterling is the epitome of bad. Why give a reward in Donald’s honor you ask? It’s simple. At the DC Dime, we’re not interested in patting these millionaire and billionaire businessmen on their collective backs for doing their jobs as decision makers well; we’d much rather ridicule and criticize the judgment of the ones who suck at their jobs. There were many deserving performances submitted by executives throughout the league for the inaugural Sterling Memorial Award. A runner-up who really stood out is none other than league commissioner David Stern. Serving as owner/decision maker of the New Orleans Hornets, Stern introduced sports fans to a never before seen conflict of interest in his handling of the Chris Paul situation. As he unloaded one of the best players in the league for a poo-poo platter of players/picks highlighted by a talented, but oft-injured Eric Gordon, Stern tarnished his legacy as one of the sport’s great commissioners. BUT, he did grace us with what became our favorite hashtag of the month of December when he nixed said deal for simply “Basketball Reasons”, and for that we thank him.
The only person more deserving of this award is the most fiercely competitive man in NBA history, that’s right Michael Jordan. MJ raised the stakes on David Stern’s candidacy by not only trotting out the worst team in NBA history, but also showing himself to be an extreme hypocrite throughout the lockout. One of the “hard-line” owners throughout this year’s lockout, MJ had once famously told our own Abe Pollin (RIP) “If you can’t make it work economically, you should sell the team”. Mike, take your own advice in the offseason and jump ship, it’s a lost cause in Charlotte. But, do take this inaugural Donald Sterling Memorial Award with you as you ride off into the sunset.
Honorable Mention: Ernie Grunfeld (Consolation prize is a two-year extension!!!!)
4) Sixth Man of the Year- This is the only award that deserves a unanimous vote. Going into the year, we knew this was James Harden’s award to lose and the Beard did not disappoint. Being more like a 6th starter than a 6th man in terms on minutes played (32 MPG); Harden was at many times the Thunder’s most dangerous offensive weapon. Possessing a throwback game, Harden is as comfortable distributing the ball off a pick-and-roll as he is knocking down an open jumper. He is the perfect complement to the skills/personalities of stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook all the while rounding out the league’s newest (and potentially most dangerous) “Big Three”.
5) Most Improved Player- This award is one our favorite to present. This award goes to a player who took the long off-season to improve many areas of his game and came into the season prepared for a breakout year. The countless hours in the gym go entirely unnoticed until the games start; and if you can’t translate the skills from the practice floor to the games, all your hard work means little. These players really seized their opportunities this year, expanded their roles and made a huge impact for their teams. These guys aren’t super stars, but true professionals and deserve some praise for their terrific years.
Greg Monroe- The sophomore really took his game to another level this year. Although much of his work went unnoticed as his Pistons struggled through the season, Monroe quietly emerged as one of the league’s top young big men due to his sophisticated skill set and efficiency.
Ersan Ilyasova- Ersan (Or Ghostface Ilya as my colleague Michael Bohlin calls him) came out of nowhere this year to help many a fantasy basketball team to their respective championships (including this Dimer). The young Turk put up some gaudy numbers throughout the year, including multiple 20-20 efforts.
Ryan Anderson- A sharp shooting big-man, Anderson provides Orlands with a perfect front court complement to Dwight Howard. Deadly from three-point range, this former first rounder out of California has found himself a nice home this year in Stan Van’s three point happy attack.
Kevin Seraphin- Our beloved Washington Wizards may have found a gem, ladies and gentlemen. Seraphin blossomed after the trade to ship JaVale out of town and showed that he may be the big man of the future in DC and not just some French guy with 6 fouls to use up. After an off-season to continue to improve and work with veteran Nene, we should all be excited about the future for this young big.
These players are all deserving of recognition for their improvement, but there can be only one winner. The award goes a big man who hails from the DMV, stayed at home to go to school, and was rewarded for his stellar play with his first All-Star appearance this year. That’s right; this year’s Most Improved Player award goes to…
Roy Hibbert- Hibbert, much like throughout his college career, continued to get better as the season went on and helped anchor the middle for an upstart Pacers team. Posting career highs in Rebounds, Points, and Blocks, all while leading Indiana to the postseason. For these reasons, Roy is our winner for most improved player.
6) Least Valuable Player- Annually, the league recognizes the player that had the greatest impact on his team during the given year with an MVP trophy, ensuring his place in NBA lore. But why not allow the least valuable player get his due place in NBA infamy? A few players need to be mentioned in the consideration for least valuable player. Chris Bosh came into the year “stronger” and “bigger”, boasting he would average double digit rebounds. Bosh is currently averaging fewer than 8 rebounds a game and posted a less than impressive amount of double digit efforts. He is the Heat’s highest paid player, but has done little to warrant the fat checks and the “Big Three” moniker.
As mentioned above, Dwight Howard spent much of this year going back and forth on whether he wanted to remain in Orlando. Ultimately, Dwight choose to stay but has since shut it down due to back surgery and is reportedly going to be asking to be shipped out of town in the offseason. His constant waffling and his alleged desire to see his head coach canned dominated the league’s headlines this year. Dwight did have his normally dominant year, but we were just too distracted by his antics to notice.
The players above certainly have had forgettable years. But they do not come close to the season had by the run-away winner of the LVP so let us congratulate….
Lamar Odom- Mr. Kardashian had his feelings hurt so badly that the Lakers wanted to trade him for Chris Paul (A better player) that he shut it down for the entire season. The reigning sixth-man of the year was never able to muster up enough pride to compete for the defending champion Mavs, leading to Mark Cuban sending him home for the remainder of the season. All the while, we were able to watch his life unfold on reality-TV as he became the newest member of the Kardashian clan. Lamar is going to find employment next year, he is too talented not to. But buyers beware, we saw this year just how big a head-case the LVP truly is.
7) First Team All-NBA- A traditional First Team All-NBA will include one player from each of the five positions. At the DC Dime, we don’t want to be forced to pigeon-hole players into strict positional categories; it’s much more important to us to reward the 5 players who had the best seasons, regardless of position. After much debate and consideration, here is our First Team All-NBA:
Chris Paul- The maestro in Lob City, Paul helped make the Clippers relevant for the first time ever, for that alone, he deserves the nod.
Kobe Bryant- After a visit to his favorite doctor in Germany, Kobe came back this year gunning for Kareem’s scoring mark. No matter the miles he racks up on his body, he continues to play at an elite level and put the ball in the basket.
Kevin Durant- KD holds a narrow lead for the scoring title, but he expanded his game in other areas this year. Durant helped lead the Thunder to one of the league’s best records and has emerged as one of the league’s truly elite superstars.
Lebron James- Despite extended absences from D.Wade and a bench that may be worse than last years; Lebron kept the Heat in the race for the East all year. The league’s most complete player, James is capable of dominating the game on both ends of the floor like so few can.
Kevin Love- Love made the jump this year into the elite. Playing alongside Ricky Rubio, he had the Wolves looking like a legitimate basketball team again and has made David Kahn seem like a respectable decision maker again after his years of ineptitude.
8) Most Valuable Player- The Most Valuable Player award this year is widely regarded as a two horse race, with Durant and Lebron as the two most likely candidates. Many players had terrific years, but these two stood out above the rest. However, just yesterday the always humble KD came out and gave his endorsement for his rival to receive the award. If there was any doubt in your mind before who should win the award, that simple statement should wipe it away. Even the fiercely competitive Durant is able to acknowledge the truth; that everyone’s favorite player to hate came back this year with a more complete offensive game (a scary thought), and has played this season at a historically high level. We have seen few players do what Lebron James has done this year statistically. His dominance on the offensive and defensive side of the ball (he’s a lock for First Team All-Defense) make him the most complete player in the game. He’s put up career high in rebounds, and increased his scoring efficiency with highs in field goal percentage, and three point percentage. He’s added a low post game after years of refusing to go down to the block. Regardless of what you think of him as a person, or businessman, you have to respect him as a player. James will be entering a special class of players by winning his third MVP trophy, but he needs to add some jewelry to his finger before truly being on that level. The MVP is just a regular season award after all, now it’s time to see how the MVP will fare when it really matters: in the playoffs.
Editor’s Note: Echoing Jason’s last statement should LeBron (Or LeBum as I like to call him) win his third regular season MVP trophy this year he will be the only three-time league MVP to have not won a Championship. Better get working on all those titles he predicted at whatever that gathering was in South Beach last summer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT-I8jQDQ7c).
9) Rookie of the Year: Last, but certainly not least we have to recognize the young guys. The future of the association is certainly bright as we had numerous rookies leave their mark on the NBA landscape. One young star shined brighter than the rest however, not surprisingly, I am refering to Kyrie Irving. The first pick in last summers draft proved to the doubters that despite playing in only a handful of college games at Duke he was more than ready to lead a team against the big boys. Averaging 18.8 ppg and 5.5 apg while shooting an impressive 47% from the field Irving ignited life into a stagnant Cleveland Cavaliers franchise that was thought to be left for dead after Lebron took his talents to South Beach. In my opinion, Irving is the run away winner of this award. While Ricky Rubio did have a nice season before it was unfortunately cut short by an ACL tear it would be hard for me to look at him as a rookie as he has been playing professionally in Spain for years now. Kyrie took a hapless Cavaliers franchise and made them somewhat competitive winning 20+ games this season after being the whipping boy of the NBA in 2010-2011.
As we wind down from what has been an extremely entertaining NBA regular season and look to the playoffs we at The DC Dime, once again, would like to congratulate all of the players named, for good and bad reasons, in our Inaugural Awards article. Were we to actually have any of your addresses you would receive your award and I can assure you it would be glorious. Thanks again for reading and we look forward to unveiling the next phase of The DC Dime to you all shortly!
Good news, Terrapin fans.
The former son of NBA All-Star Sam Cassell, Sam Cassell Jr., has signed with the Maryland Terrapins. The three-star, 6’4 shooting guard from Baltimore, Maryland opted for College Park after reasoning that he would be closer to home and family. I found that odd only because it’s well documented that his father is from the planet Zordog. One would have thought he’d choose NASA, or perhaps MIT in hopes of creating a craft large enough to reach his father’s home planet (located just on the outskirts of the Crab Nebula, which contrary to popular belief is not the Eastern Shore).
Either way, hopefully he’ll be out of this world good for Maryland and help the team out at the 2-guard position right away. He could cut down on all those minutes Stoglin is likely to see, and by all accounts he’s a solid shooter. Playing for Notre Dame Prep this season, he averaged about 16 points per game, so here’s to hoping his scoring transfers over to UMD. Phone home!
By: Bohlin & Willis
What are your thoughts on the move?
MB: While I don’t believe it was the right move, I can understand why it was made. Ted Leonsis wanted Grunfeld to overhaul the roster and build through the draft, in effect hit the reset button on the Washington Wizards franchise. Grunfeld has done exactly what his boss wanted him to do and that in it of itself would explain why Leonsis felt comfortable extending his contract. While that is all well and good, it doesn’t take into account the lack of major success in building a winner in D.C. in the seven years prior to Leonsis taking over the team. As fans we better hope our front office is making the right decision in retaining Grunfeld as our General Manager as his track record is far from earth shattering (Grunfeld History).
MW: I feel like I just got Grunfelted, again. It’s a rarity that this sort of thing happens twice in one season, but alas here it is again. I’m a big fan of Ted Leonsis and “The Plan,” as I’ve seen the success proper rebuilds have had with the Capitals, but this was his first slip up. I just don’t understand what constitutes a fireable offense at this point during Ernie’s tenure. Was it the league’s worst record last year? Nope. Was it the league’s second worst record this year? Nope. Was it putting together some “youth (Nick Young, JaVale McGee),” and then summarily trading all of those pieces because they were “toxic” and shutting down the last one (Andray Blatche) because he was unplayably bad? Nope: This is the problem with Washington, D.C.; when will we learn from our mistakes and move in another direction? As it stands, we’re treading water.
What are your thoughts on Ernie?
MB: The numbers speak for themselves. Since taking over in June of 2003, Grunfeld is 155 games under .500 as General Manager. One second round playoff run, and three other first round exits courtesy of LeBron are his postseason accomplishments. He also gave Gilbert Arenas just short of a max contract coming off of major knee surgery. His draft record is questionable and we all are aware of his affinity for the European player. For the last nine years we have seen the same thing from Grunfeld and I have no reason to believe that will change with the youth movement in the Nations Capital.
MW: Ibid. He might be a nice guy off the court, but Ernie Grunfeld is a bad GM. How many of his drat choices have been hits? That Mike Miller and Randy Foye trade for Ricky Rubio (the draft pick we traded for those two players) turned out awesome. In fact, of all the players that Ernie has drafted, only five of them are even on the roster at this point. That’s 5 out of 16 players drafted that remain on the roster, and three of those five are from one draft class (Vesely, Mack, and Singleton). Neither one of those players are starters in the NBA at this point, and only John Wall can be even remotely in consideration for a franchise player (or a non-tradeable asset). That’s not a rebuild, that’s a joke. Grunfeld has fumbled through countless picks, and it doesn’t seem like he has the ability to lead the Wizards to the promised land. Even if, at some point, these lottery picks in Vesely, Wall, and whoever we get this year turn the Wizards into a good team, that’s not a testament to Ernie Grunfeld’s ability to form a unit; it’s a testament to what happens when tons and tons of talent plays on the same team. We may not even get that talent if Ernie decides to trade it away anyhow, since he’s already gotten rid of two Top 5 picks during his tenure.
Was this the best Washington could do?
MB: If we have plans on becoming a contender for the playoffs in the next two years then no, we did not. If “The Plan” entails another couple of seasons similar to what we’ve been watching in order to get high lottery picks to continue to build around, then we could have done worse. Let’s face it, D.C. loves a winner and while the Skins may be the biggest draw, the district is a basketball city. When this team was competitive, the Verizon Center was a great place to watch a game. This move to keep Grunfeld is going to leave a sour taste in the mouths of many Wizards fans. Personally, I believe this summers NBA Draft is the most important pick the Wizards will make in quite some time and I cannot say I have confidence that Ernie won’t screw it up if we don’t land the #1 pick.
MW: Stability is an important thing for every franchise, and in a weird way, I get the message that Ted Leonsis is trying to send with this one. Ernie doesn’t have to make any desperate moves in trying to save his hide, which could potentially have cripple the franchise in the long term. And since every single one of the players on the roster are Ernie’s, if he does have some type of plan for the Wizards to be successful, it’s best he holds the reigns. Another GM might want to take over, clean house (again), and install some of his players. I’m not sure how much more power and control we want to give to Overlord Grunfeld, though, since we’re the laughingstock of the NBA. There were much better GM options out there, however, in Billy Knight (former GM of the Atlanta Hawks), Donnie Walsh, and Mark Warkentien.
It’s only 2 years, what’s the worst that could that happen?
MB: Remaining stagnant and losing more of a fan base that has already lost interest in the product on the floor. That’s exactly what will happen if the backlash from this wildly unpopular decision is as bad as it could potentially be. People were outraged when it came out that Grunfeld allegedly turned down an extension offer we made to him a month ago. The fact that he is officially signed up for the next couple of seasons is not going to sit well with many fans, including this one.
MW: Again, ibid. There’s a good chance that next season, the Wizards could find themselves treading water at the bottom cellar of the NBA again. Look no further than the Sacramento Kings if you want an example of how stockpiling youth with a bad GM doesn’t work at all. Because for all the young players we have, not one of them has been capable of changing the game up for us. In two years, Ernie could easily trade away talented players, draft bad ones, and saddle the Wizards with another big contract to a so-so player. Believe me, in two years Ernie Grunfeld could leave this franchise in a world of hurt and a prime candidate for contraction.
Tags: atlanta hawks, basketball, chicago bulls, dc, ernie, GM, grunfeld, jan vesely, John Wall, knicks, kwame brown, leonsis, nba, new york, sports, ted leonsis, washington, Washington Wizards, Wizards
The Washington Wizards won their fourth game in a row for the first time since 2007 in tonight’s 101-73 walloping of the Charlotte Bobcats. After a slow start out of the gates the Wizards turned the defensive intensity up in the second quarter and never looked back. Washington forced the Bobcats into 22 turnovers and held them to paltry 35% from the field.
John Wall put it best during his halftime interview, the last three wins over Milwaukee, Chicago and Miami would mean nothing if they lost tonight. While being quick to mention he has plenty of respect for the Bobcats he made an extremely valid point, this would’ve been a crushing loss for the Wizards. Luckily we did not have a situation where the home team played down to the level of their competition, as it looked could be the case early on. At the end of the night the confetti rained down and the fans went home praising Chris Singleton and his garbage bucket for their 50% off Papa Johns tomorrow.
Charlotte had no answer for the Wizards. As a team they shot 55% tonight (while only going 2-11 from beyond the arc). Jan Vesely went 8-8 and had a highlight reel alley-oop from Wall right before the half. Speaking of John Wall he was pulling his best Usain Bolt and flying by Bobcats defenders all night long to the tune of 16 points and 14 assists on 7/13 from the field. Kevin Seraphin kept his streak of games scoring in double digits alive with a 12 point and 8 rebound performance. Nene even managed to go off for 18 and 6 in only 21 minutes off the bench tonight. If there was ever a night where everything seemed to be clicking for the Wiz Kids this was it.
With this win tonight the Wizards helped Charlotte inch closer to an infamous spot in NBA history. The Charlotte Bobcats, if the lose against Orlando and New York in their final two games, will finish with the worst winning percentage ever. If you watched the game tonight it was plain to see why this astounding record has come to fruition. This marked the 21st straight loss for Michael Jordan’s Bobcats and dropped their record to 7-57. With their final two games coming against the current playoff teams it is not likely that MJ will be lighting any victory cigars until sometime in the fall. As a Wizards fan it always feels a little sweeter to beat Jordan, at least now he’s running a team into the ground that no one cares about (I went to college less than two hours from the Queen City and only encountered a handful of Bobcats fans over those years).
Washington heads into a Wednesday night contest in Cleveland against the Cavaliers. While this is a team that was down by 50 points to Detroit last week Kyrie Irving has returned and now they are playing more competitive basketball. A few weeks ago Jordan Crawford was quoted as saying they wanted to reach the 20 win plateau. Well, I didn’t think I would say it, but that goal is still within reach with two games to go. This presents a great opportunity for a young team to reach a goal that many gave them no shot of attaining only a couple weeks ago. Continuing this strong finish to the regular season will only help spring board this team into next season. Next chance comes at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night, I’m sure Ted Leonsis would love for both his franchises to get a win that night.
During the second half of tonight’s Wizards vs Bobcats game the Washington Post’s Michael Lee broke the news that Ernie Grunfeld has been retained as the GM of the Washington Wizards. While the terms of Grunfeld’s new contract have yet to be disclosed it is widely believed that he has received a multi-year contract meaning he will continue to lead the Wizards through at least the 2013-2014 season. Grunfeld took over as the Wizards GM in 2003 and since then has led the franchise to a record of 282-438. Expect much more from us tomorrow on this unexpected news as the Wizards have made a move that undoubtedly will leave a sour taste in many fans mouths.
Washington Wizards vs Miami Heat
Miami, Florida – 7:30 PM
PG: John Wall vs. Mario Chalmers
SG: Jordan Crawford vs. Dwyane Wade/Mike Miller
SF: Chris Singleton vs. LeBron James
PF: Jan Vesely vs. Chris Bosh
C: Kevin Seraphin vs. Joel Anthony
Why you should watch: LeBron James vs. the field
Gone are the days when LeBron against the Wizards was a bitterly contested matchup, dare I say an intense rivalry. LeBron was the young buck coming onto the scene attempting to overtake the Wizards led by Gilbert Arenas and Co. Who can forget the 2006 playoffs, where Gilbert went for 36 points, and LeBron almost equaled it with 32 of his own. Now, all those players are gone from their respective teams and any lingering resentment is felt only by the fans who can remember such a time. I am one of those fans, and when LeBron plays the Wizards, I hope him the absolute worst. I hope he lays a dud during this game and makes voters reconsider his almost assured MVP trophy.
For his career, LeBron beats up on everyone, and the Wizards are no different (26.3 PPG, 7 rebounds, 6.3 assists). He’s going to go off on us, and especially Chris Singleton who has the unenviable task of guarding him. Singleton has been sub par as a defender this year, and he’s going against someone who could become the best small forward ever someday (kiss the rings). LeBron has become much less of a jump shooter this year and has begun playing down low like a traditional power forward, while Bosh moves over to the stretch center position. It’s a technique that the Heat have used with a ton of success this year, and they’re likely to try it tonight. Bosh is going to make Seraphin/Vesely work on the defensive end, as he’s pretty nimble himself. But the key here will be containing LeBron; if your team can’t do that, they’re not going to win.
Underlying Story Line: The Wizards have the chance to go on a 3 game winning streak!
…but wait, there’s more! The Wizards have the chance to go on a 3-game winning streak AND become winners in five of their last seven games. I know, I know. I must be fudging the numbers, right? Wrong! Washington has been on a winning train lately, and has managed to derail Milwaukee’s playoff hopes, hurt Chicago’s chances of locking up the top seed, and now? Well, they face a Miami Heat team who’s 1 1/2 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference. With a Wizards win, Miami would need Chicago to lose twice in their final four games (with Miami winning out). Who says that games aren’t meaningful for teams like the Wizards in April. You’d better believe that Miami is going to get up for this game, because they want home court advantage. And with Dwyane Wade likely to sit out (he’s too good to play against bad teams this year), anything is possiiiiiibbbbbbbllllllleeeeeeee.
LeBron James isn’t going to lose against the Wizards, who have lost 6 straight against the Miami Heat. I just can’t see the Wizards putting together what’s required to beat Miami this time around. Next year? Maybe. But this year it’s going to be a close game through three quarters, until Miami pulls away big time.
Miami – 100
Washington – 85
Initially reported by WBOC 16:
It looks more and more like Jake Layman is going to be quite the player for the Maryland Terrapins in the foreseeable future. That’s made evident by the fact that he received an invitation to attend the USA U-18 National Team Training camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Layman, who went to high school at King Phillip Regional in Wrentham, Mass., will be joined by two other major targets sought after by the University of Maryland in the Harrison twins (Andrew and Aaron). Here’s hoping that Layman will put forth substantial effort not only on the court, but off the court in making an unofficial recruiting pitch to the twins. Either way, it’s quite the honor to be representing your home country on the basketball court, so Layman deserves a round of applause for the invite. The extra coaching from guys like Shaka Smart and Billy Donovan (the two head coaches) means the kid is going to get one-on-one time with some of the great minds in basketball today. As Terrapin fans, we couldn’t be happier.
Just to whet your appetite, some not-so-Layman highlights: