Skip to content

thedcdime

Terps, Hoyas, and Wizards

Tag Archives: Jordan Crawford

The Teams: Washington Wizards (2-13) vs. Atlanta Hawks (10-5)

The Time: 7:30 PM

The Place: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet, 106.7 The Fan DC

Tonight the Wizards make a return trip to the arena known as the “Highlight factory” to take on their divisional foe the Atlanta Hawks. This marks the second trip by the Wizards to Atlanta on the year as their first visit ended with a crushing last tenth of a second defeat. Thankfully, the Wizards have been playing pretty decent basketball as of late winning two of their last three games. Hopefully this road trip goes a bit better than the last trip the Wizards took away from home when they were blown out by the New York Knicks.

If you read the preview for the game against the Heat on Tuesday night you noticed that I stressed the effort level that the Wizards needed to exude to have a chance to win. The Wizards outworked the Heat on Tuesday night and that is why they were as successful as they were against the defending champions. Any loose ball or rebound was aggressively gone after by Washington and it helped propel them to victory. Randy Wittman stressed that the Wizards needed a “Statement game” against Miami and that is exactly what he got out of his team.

The Hawks come into tonight’s matchup having won seven of their last eight games with a two point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers being their only blemish on the current run they are on. Al Horford, who had 25 and 12 in a win over the Nuggets on Wednesday night, will be the Hawk to keep an eye on as he has posted a double-double in three straight games. Emeka Okafor, Kevin Seraphin and Nene will have their hands full with the Dominican center by way of the University of Florida this evening. If Horford is allowed to go off and have a big game a la the likes of David West, Roy Hibbert and every other opposing big man that has given it to Washington this season the Wiz Kids will have a steep hill to climb to win their second game in a row.

As has been the theme of the season so far, the Wizards will need a big game out of Jordan Crawford in order to remain competitive. With John Wall still out of the lineup without any indication of when he may return from his knee issues Crawford’s importance to this team has increased significantly. Despite coming off the bench and averaging only 30 minutes per game Crawford has proven to be the Wizards most reliable scoring option. Tuesday, Crawford led the team in points and assists coming off the bench. If he were to have a similar performance tonight in Atlanta I like the Wizards chances at winning back to back games for the first time this season.

Prediction:

Washington Wizards: 94

Atlanta Hawks: 90

Tags: , , , ,

The Wizards have won three games in a row versus the Miami Heat stretching back to last season, let that sink in for a second.

This is the third longest winning streak against the Heatles for this franchise since Miami’s inception in 1989. For some perspective, the last time the Wizards/Bullets won at least three games in a row against Miami was the 2007/2008 season. The time before that? How about the first four meetings between the two teams all the way back in 1989/1990.

Going into last nights contest I said that for the Wizards to be successful in their quest for a second victory on the season they would have to out work Miami in every facet of the game. To be honest, that is exactly what happened at the Verizon Center Tuesday night. Washington came out with a lot of energy, as I thought they would, in response to the beating the Knicks handed them last Friday at the Mecca of basketball in New York City and took it to the South Beach trio all night long.

Washington was able to put up 60 points in the first half, a season high, on 58% shooting (21/36) from the floor. This was the first of many impressive stat lines for this team on the evening. Washington outrebounded Miami 44 to 43 on the evening led by Kevin Seraphin who pulled down 10 rebounds off of the bench. The Wizards were uncharacteristically unselfish last night as well setting a season high for assists in a single game with 31. When you can have assists on 31 of the 38 total baskets you score in a game more times than not you are setting yourself up for success.

It was going to take an inspired effort by multiple Wizards players to take down the defending champions last night, thankfully there were plenty of Wizards who stepped up to the plate…mainly Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin. Crawford was feeling his jump shot early on and, in typical JC fashion, Crawford filled it up leading the Wizards with 22 points and 6 assists. Kevin Seraphin provided another massive boost off the bench for the Wizards as well. The French big man finished the evening with 16 points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes. What was so special about Seraphin’s performance last night was how lights out he was from the floor. Seraphin took 12 shots and converted on 8 of them, shooting 75% from the field against the defending champions is one solid night at the office.

It needs to be noted that the Miami Heat did not just roll over and give this game away to Washington as some would assume. There was not a comfortable Wizards fan in the arena last night until the clock showed 0.0 and the Wiz Kids had officially doubled their win total on the 2012/2013 season. LeBron had a triple double, Chris Bosh went 8/11 from the field and Dwayne Wade finished with 24 points so the big three certainly showed up. The entire Heat roster probably didn’t play their best game by any stretch of the imagination, as most NBA teams couldn’t hang with them were they clicking on all cylinders, and that was good enough for Washington to creep up and earn the upset victory. Wizards players. coaches and fans alike had to withstand a furious comeback by the Heat as Miami closed what was a 10 point cushion down to a one possession game with less than 10 seconds remaining before they were finally able to do some celebrating.

A win is a win and for Wizards fans they have been few and far between so far this season. Washington has won two out of its last three including its last two games at the friendly confinds of the Verizon Center. Washington has a chance to stretch their win total to three as they travel to Atlanta this Friday to avenge a one point loss at the buzzer to the Hawks. Check back later in the week as we will have a full preview of Friday’s contest.

Tags: , , , ,

By: Willis

0 Bradley Beal, the Wizards #3 overall draft pick, finally signed his contract! Not that I was starting to worry or anything. Apparently, though, Beal may not be the starter right off the bat, with Washington choosing Crawford over the field. (WaPo)

0 Truthaboutit.net has a good piece on the changing of the Washington Wizards in hopes of the team eventually coming into their own (in an entirely different way than the Arenas Era).

0 Mike Prada of BulletsForever applies the Chad Ford (ESPN) NBA Draft Tier list, which is what I’m going to be calling it from now on, to the Wizards. He attempts to rank the young Wizards based on necessity to the team. My list? 1.) John Wall. Bradley Beal. Kevin Seraphin. Then everyone else.

0 This is older news but always nice to get a refresher about. InsideMDSports compiled a little segment after Andrew Harrison, the highly touted 2013 basketball recruit, went on an official visit to UMD-CP. He sounds lukewarm about the university, so I’ll say this to Mark Turgeon: The twins might end up being the most important signing in Maryland history. Yep, I said it.

0 In related news, the Baltimore Sun does their weekly recruiting roundup of Maryland Basketball, and in it this time they make Terps fans salivate. Why? The Harrison Twins have moved forward their decision day to a less narcissistic September, rather than in October on their birthdays.

0 The Annual Nike Pro-City Basketball Summer League tips off, and in it are lots and lots of Georgetown players. It used to be called the Kenner League, but they went and messed that all up. Nonetheless, if you’re in the area it’s worth attending to watch some seriously talented players ball for cheap. (Afro.com)

0 The 2014 recruiting class seems far away now, but it will be upon us in no time, and ClonesConfidential brings some news about 5-Star forward Chris McCullough’s intentions so far. Not a lot has changed, but on his list is definitely Georgetown

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By: Willis

(Trevor Booker’s go-to jam? Right here)

2011-2012 Season Statistics

50 Games Played

PPG: 8.4

RPG: 6.5

Blocks/G: 1

FG%: 53.1%

Omri Cassipi, Tayshaun Prince, Travis Outlaw, Wilson Chandler, DeShawn Stevenson, Trevor Booker. What do all these NBA players have in common? They’re all descendants of the 23rd pick in the NBA draft. For one reason or another, the 23rd pick always seems to give teams players who, while they may never become All-Star caliber players, will always provide necessary services in the NBA. They’re the workmen of the NBA; the guys who will grit their teeth and take the charge, go for the loose ball, demand no touches yet selflessly defend and rebound all over the court. These are the players who don’t get the max contracts, yet still manage to win you games in playoffs. And it appears the Washington Wizards have found an exceptional talent in Trevor Booker at the #23 position during the 2010 draft.

At Booker’s core, he has always been a team player. I watched all four years of his as a Clemson Tiger, and not once could you fault him for his lack of effort. Booker shows up every night, hard hat in hand, and gives your team everything he’s got for however many minutes he’s given. It is that type of attitude that the Wizards should and do welcome with open arms. Booker finished this season on IR, plagued by the same plantar fasciitis that Nene suffered from during the season as well. That was a disappointing fact when you consider how much improvement ‘ol Trevor was showing on the court. He only played in 50 games, but those 50 games showed why he belongs in the NBA in at least some form.

Let’s start with the positives. Trevor Booker is Mighty Mouse on the court; in spite of the fact that he stands 6’8 at a position largely dominated by players several inches taller than he, Booker is absolutely capable of getting the job done. His 8 PPG and 6 RPG aren’t going to jump off the page at you, and really, they’re not intended to. It’s also not supposed to impress you that, as a starter (32 games), Booker averaged almost 10 points and 8 rebound a contest in 29 minutes of play. When his statistics are adjusted on a per 36 minute basis? Those stats translate to a double-double guy who gives you 12 and 10 every night. That’s where you realize the value the Wizards received when they took a senior hard worker two years ago. And it’s not just your average, wide-open rebound when everyone else is running up the court, boards. Booker does his work making extra possessions for everyone else by cleaning up the offensive glass.

Over 50 games this season, Trevor Booker grabbed 10.8% of all total available offensive rebounds. That number may not mean anything right now, but let’s compare it to guys who are notorious for hitting the offensive glass very well:

Kevin Love: 11.6%

Tyson Chandler: 11.8%

Blake Griffin: 10.7%

Get the picture? Booker is just a notch below those players in his ability to grab offensive boards. His smaller stature actually works to his advantage against lumbering big men who aren’t nearly as athletic as he is. Trevor isn’t getting his own boards, either. That fact is because he never really misses, hitting over 50% of his shots in over 330 attempts. No, Trevor Booker takes no prisoners when it comes to collecting other people’s misses. He extends the shot clock for a team with this play, and while that may or may not earn someone a starting job, it’s irreplaceable on a basketball court.

Another thing, as previously mentioned, that Booker excels at is his shooting. Admittedly, plenty of his shots come from second chance opportunities off people’s misses and those few that he can’t make as well, but Booker is a highly efficient scorer. His 53.1% was tied with LeBron James, and only a few percentage points behind Steve Nash, Carlos Boozer, and DeJuan Blair. Not too shabby of company (though it’s interesting to note that Blair and Boozer are both somewhat undersized as well). Booker only attempted 6.8 shots per game (up there with Jan in terms of not looking for your shot), so it’s a smaller sample size than most players. But after having watched him go at it for 2 years now, you get the feeling that regardless of minutes and attempts that number will remain stagnant. There were numerous times last season where Booker even started taking shots from mid range with some actual success (a facet of his game previously unseen). He doesn’t have the dribbling ability to get to the rack and beat bigger men to the basket, but he can stretch the defense and keep them “honest” if he continues to develop that jumper.

Now for the bad. This is the second time in two tries that Booker has been incapable of playing a complete season. Yes, it’s nitpicking to suggest that any NBA player go the entire 82 game stretch. Especially on a losing team where there is no added benefit to getting injured again rushing back and trying to play meaningless games. Still, being injured stigmatizes players and, rightful or not, certainly lends some credence to the suggestion that certain players are injury prone. None of these are really bad injuries, mind you. A sore foot doesn’t mean anything, but still. His game won’t even really be affected by a loss of athleticism, but it doesn’t change the fact that Booker might not be able to be relied on as a permanent fixture in the future.

Another issue I had with Booker’s season was his inability to create ball movement. What’s the point of all those extra possessions if one player hoards the rock. Trevor doesn’t have court vision, and his assist rate actually finished on par with Nick Young’s (ouch). He is going to need to learn how to move that ball a bit better; small/power forwards aren’t really notorious for their ability to dish, but two dimes a game wouldn’t hurt. There is hope that he can improve this ability, and that is because guys like Zach Randolph were the same type of player (except way better on offense) yet managed to become a much better passer late in his career.

All in all, a very encouraging season for Booker. He knows what he needs to work on, and hopefully he won’t do it strictly at charity games. Get healthy, Book, and come back even more improved.

Final Grade: B+

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By: Willis

(Jordan Crawford Anthem? Here)

2011-2012 Season Statistics

64 Games Played

PPG: 14.7

RPG: 2.6

APG: 3.0

FG%: 40.0%

I suppose we all should have seen this type of season coming from Jordan Crawford. I mean, this is the same guy who gave Michael Lee of the Washington Post, before the start of this season, this gem of a quote:

“I don’t tell nobody, but I feel like I can be better than Michael Jordan,” Crawford said, without the slightest hint of sarcasm. “When I’m done playing, I don’t want people to say, Michael Jordan is the best player. I want that to be me. That’s how I am. That’s how I was built.”

Well Mr. Crawford, you may have been genetically built that way mentally, but you’d have to be mental to disagree with what you are as a  ball player physically and realistically. What is Jordan Crawford? He is, simply put, an urban Bruce Willis in Die Hard (no relation). Crawford went into almost every game this season as if it were a last second shootout between the Wizards and the Yakuza in Chinatown. He is an unabashed gunner who will take any and every shot that happens to fall into his lap. It doesn’t matter if he is shooting blanks, and it makes no difference if there are no opponents on the court; Crawford is going to sling that rock like David against Goliath. That’s his basketball mentality; that’s what he is and will likely always be. That same mental makeup is the downfall of many a potentially solid professional player, as well. Guys can’t give up that macho attitude and sacrifice their scoring prowess for the betterment of the team. It’s why guys like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are so valued as teammates; their willingness to be unselfish is what makes teams better. That transition from college stud into NBA role player is a tough one, and lots of players just aren’t able to accomplish it (See: Miner, Harold/Dixon, Juan). Crawford might be in that boat.

Coming into the season, I had mildly higher hopes for Jordan. Despite being an awful NBA shooter, Crawford managed to finish out his 2010 campaign averaging 17 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.3 rebounds over his last 8 games to close out the season. It seemed like he genuinely had the drive to get better at shooting, and his all-around game made him a candidate for near triple-doubles and big assist totals night in and night out. Paired with John Wall in the backcourt? It’d be one of the fastest and most dynamic units in the league. Count me in!

Boy, was I wrong.

This season Mr. Crawford took less shots on the year than his previous campaign with the Wizards, but that number is deceiving for two reasons. The first is that he played a “full” season this year, so the statistics are skewed given that he only played 26 games in 2011. The second is that he only started half of the games (32) he played this year for the Wizards. But when he started, boy did that shot attempt total shoot up. From 11.8 to 15.4 to be exact. Crawford could not exercise any restraint when he got handed the keys to the starter’s position, and it was certainly his major flaw. Shooting one of the worst percentages in basketball as a starting two guard at 40%, Crawford was a one-dimensional black hole. He couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn, but that didn’t stop him from hurling and not getting his teammates involved. He finished with six assists or more 5 times throughout the entire season, and never really developed into the play-making guard that people believed he could be. His skill set turned out to be much less of the entire Home Depot tools department and more of an all-in-one screwdriver. Yeah, it might get the job done, but it won’t be easy.

The other thing that obliterated Crawford on the offensive end was his three point shot. What is the definition of insanity? Repeatedly doing the same thing and hoping for a different result? Something like that. Well, Crawford loves to play out of his mind, so I guess shooting 5 three pointers a game despite making 1 is sensible. 26.9% from long range means that you should not become a three point specialist. It always makes you wonder why someone who just wasn’t making a shot would purposefully put his teammates through the torture of watching him take that same shot again. And again. And then again. Only 16 of the 64 games on the season did Crawford make more than 35% (nothing to write home about) of his deep balls. His shooting percentage isn’t even that bad if he cuts all the pull up three’s that he took last season. I wish there were an official stat for pull up jumpers, because Crawford would lead the league in that category. Hopefully they keep those statistics in the Chinese Basketball Association, Jordan.

On the defensive end, he got eaten up on a nightly basis because he showed no interest on the defensive end. Despite having the length and athleticism to cover three positions, Crawford barely covered one. There aren’t even that many good shooting guards in the NBA, and yet against most of them Crawford struggled to contain them. Monta Ellis, Ray Allen, DeMar DeRozan, whoever. Crawford’s strong suit just wasn’t guarding this year. The competition wasn’t even that good good, but he still showed no interested in getting better on defense. What Crawford does have going for him is the thing they call in hockey “back checking.” He gets back into proper defensive positioning once the ball gets turned over (which he and the Wizards did a lot) because his speed permits him to do so. After that, however, he loses interest and assumes that’s enough because Crawford is constantly looking for the fast break look up the court.

It just wasn’t a good year for Mr. Crawford, and there really wasn’t much to like about his overall play. He didn’t do well this season, and I do not think he is going to get another chance to prove himself again. His contract dictates that the Wizards have a team option on him this off season, and my recommendation would be to change course. Drafting another guard might be a good idea. If the Wizards can’t do that, then perhaps they should keep him on in a sixth man role, where the damage he causes to the offensive cohesiveness of a unit is marginalized.

Season Grade: D+

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Willis

1.) As has been widely reported, Nene is targeting the Wednesday night game against the New Jersey Nets for his Wizards debut. While that’s disappointing, it’s not necessarily the worst news ever. The added rest certainly isn’t going to hurt the 29 year old Brazilian, who has been dinged up all year with calf and foot injuries. It will give him a chance to get assimilated to the Wizards offense, and develop a bit of rapport with John Wall. Both equally important, no doubt, but not as important as being able to witness the continuing development of incumbent starting center…

2.) Kevin Seraphin, another foreign-born, romance language speaker who has been a bonafied stud as of late (by our standards). Starting with that performance off the bench against the Lakers in which he posted a career high 14 points, Seraphin has scored in double-figures three-of-five games. He’s also been cleaning up the boards and blocking shots quite admirably in the absence of JaVale McGee, highlighted by his 12-point, 12-rebound, 2-block stat line against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. Don’t be confused if that sounds like JaVale’s line every night, because Seraphin plays very differently. While he is certainly an imposing athlete, he plays much more sound man-to-man defense than JaVale; not to mention that his blocks come without sacrificing the help side defense. Since the center position has suddenly become a welcome home for solid play, it allows us to forget about the gaping hole at the shooting guard position, thanks to…

3.) Jordan Crawford, who by nearly every metric stat is one of the least effective players on the floor. The Wizards, without a doubt, have the worst 2-guard situation in the NBA. Regardless of his 22-point outburst against the Grizzlies, Crawford is managing to shoot 37% from the field (good for last at his position in the league among starters) in the month of March. Despite missing a lot, he’s averaging two more attempts per contest than last month (which wasn’t good either). Part of the reason behind such a poor shooting involves the ridiculous three pointers Crawford hoists ad-nausea with no success (5.6 attempts, 26% 3-pt FG). If he keeps this trend up, he’s going to find himself not only off of the Wizards but also out of the league. But hey, at least he decides to shoot, which is more than we can say for…

4.) Jan Vesely! The #6 pick in the draft has a painfully obvious issue with his offensive game, and it’s that he doesn’t have one at all. Vesely has made exactly 50% of his shots, but the problem is that he’s only taken 86 all season. By contrast, the New Jersey Nets Gerald Green (a former first rounder turned D-League specialist), has played in 11 games at half the amount of minutes (241 to 518) and taken 98 shots already. The point is that Jan is going to see less and less minutes (and rightfully so) because he is bereft of any shot aside from the dunk. At some point, hustling just doesn’t get it done, and as a result his PER (Player-Efficiency-Rating, with the league average of 15) is embarrassing at 8.3. Perhaps with more minutes he could thrive, but that’s highly unlikely at the power forward position because…

5.) Trevor Booker is light-years ahead of him in basketball ability and is sewing up the PF spot, thus guaranteeing that every night is Boogie Night. Booker is the antithesis of Jordan Crawford in that he’s never taking bad shots. He currently sits at 6th in the league, ahead of guys like LeBron James, Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash. It’s not a tell-all indication of how good Booker has been for the Wizards, but it certainly helps as a barometer. He accomplishes this in spite of being severely undersized at his position (Booker is 6’7, most guys are 6’9 to 6’11). In terms of PER, he’s slightly above the league average at 16.4, but that number is likely to increase as his playing time continues to. Better still, Trevor has managed double figures in either rebounds or assists in 9 of his last 11 games. All these numbers mean is that it’s very clear the Wizards may have found a power forward for next season, which alleviates the pressure on…

6.) John Wall, who leads the league in turnovers (179). Part of that is probably from fatigue, since he carries the team on his back most nights. Though the Wizards may not have much talent, the great Wall is still third in assists behind Rajon Rondo and Steve Nash (not bad company in the least). Rondo and Nash get to play with more talent, and aren’t required to try and put forth herculean efforts night after night. That being said, the past few games Wall has really dropped the ball (no pun intended). He’s averaging seven turnovers over the last three games, and it’s definitely hurt the Wizards. The Atlanta Hawks game comes to mind, where Wall aided in the Hawks ridiculous 24-8 run to put the game out of reach with  9 total turnovers. Maybe the player turnover will ease the burden of John Wall and allow him to play naturally; not turning him into a player with bad habits. So here’s hoping that

1) Nene comes through big on Wednesday, and gives Wizards fans a bright outlook for the future.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Willis

The trading of JaVale McGee and Nick Young may have already started doing the Washington Wizards some good.

The Wizards were down a starting center in McGee and their sixth man in Young, yet still put the wood on the New Orleans Hornets in a 99-89 victory. Thanks largely in part to a spectacular performance by John Wall, Washington (10-32) did what they do best: Run. The Hornets simply couldn’t keep up.

The Wizards had the transition game going, as they managed 20 fast break points. Wall led the charge by posting his 9th double-double of the season, finishing with 26 points and 12 assists. Last year’s #1 draft pick showed off why he was untouchable at the trade deadline; his combined speed mixed with his court vision can be practically unstoppable. At one point during the fourth quarter, Wall stole the ball and blew past the defense in transition to find a wide open Roger Mason for 3.

Mason, a sharpshooting D.C. native, had the stroke going tonight. He finished the game with 19 points, hitting 4-of-6 three point field goals and playing the role normally attributed to Nick Young very well.

Wall and Mason weren’t the only ones who had hot hands; four of the five Wizards starters scored in double figures. Kevin Seraphin, starting in place of the traded McGee, managed a near double-double with 12 points and 9 boards despite early foul trouble.  Trevor Booker and Jordan Crawford had 17 and 14 points, respectively.

The New Orleans Hornets weren’t necessarily playing badly, they simply couldn’t keep up.

They also had four of five starters in double figures, headed by center Chris Kaman with 20 points. Kaman, coming to New Orleans via the Clippers deal of Chris Paul, and fellow big man rookie Gustavo Ayon had their way with Seraphin and Booker. Ayon chipped in 16 points and 9 boards. The Hornets moved the ball very well despite the staunch Wizards defense, putting up more assists (22) than the Wizards (20) as well as turning it over fewer times (12 to 14).

Former Maryland star Greivis Vasquez also had a solid game off the bench, posting 10 points and six assists. It was the second time playing Washington, except this time it was in a different jersey. Vasquez previously played the Wizards last year with the Memphis Grizzlies, but was sparingly used.

With the win, the Charlotte Bobcats are the only team in the NBA without 10 wins.

The Wizards continue their road trip Friday, heading back to the east coast to take on the Atlanta Hawks.

Tags: , , , , , ,

**Pick-and-Pop is a segment in which Bohlin and Willis will both tackle a set of questions, often with naturally differing opinions.

1.) Should the Wizards try to trade JaVale McGee?

Bohlin: Javale- You have to try and gauge the trade market for him. The fact of the matter is he possesses a unique athletic ability that not many other centers have. However, when do you need to see that transition from potential to results? I’m not a Javale McGee guy, I have no problem admitting that. He is also heading into free agency this summer (restricted) and it is quite likely he will command a major pay raise from his rookie contract. Can the Wizards really afford to lock up a player long term that hasn’t shown he can display consistent performance when we’re in the middle of a rebuild? I don’t think we can; just look at how that is currently working out with Andray Blatche. His athletic ability may be off the charts but his basketball IQ is severely lacking (http://deadspin.com/5887925/the-best-and-very-very-worst-of-javale-mcgee-a-video-tribute).

Willis: That video, while hilariously embarrassing, is exactly why I want to keep JaVale. Sure, he’s got the basketball IQ of a space chimp, but he also still has tons of upside. McGee can wow you every play down the court, for good and bad reasons. He has improved every single year he’s been in the league (statistically, and in his understanding of the game), and there’s no reason why he isn’t going to keep up that improvement. After all, he’s still only 24 years old. Centers take awhile, and when we drafted him we knew he would be a project. Well, we’ve already gone to Lowe’s, let’s just finish the job. The reality is that a competent center is very, very hard to come by and we would lament losing him with absolutely 0 backups on the roster. And while JaVale might not be competent, he does average about 3 blocks a game, and, contrary to popular belief, can rebound relatively well. I cite the example of Tyson Chandler, who plays almost exactly like JaVale. For 8 years, he couldn’t find the right fit and was considered “dumb”. Then last year he landed in Dallas and, through shot blocking, rebounding, and finally understanding basketball, became the anchor for a championship defense. JaVale is already better than Tyson, and it’s why we need to keep him.

2.) Should we trade Andray Blatche or Amnesty Clause him at the end of the year?

Bohlin: Personally, I think there is absolutely no trade market for All-Day ‘Dray. His calf injury that kept him out of the lineup for the better part of a month and a half really diminished whatever value he may have had. No one is going to trade for a player that hasn’t been on the court, not to mention his underwhelming performances when he has played. Andray needs to play out this season for the Wizards, and try to have something positive going for him. Blatche clearly needs a change of scenery, as he has fallen so far out of favor in the District that he hears boo birds when he signs autographs. If he doesn’t turn it around in the second half and make himself even somewhat desirable to other franchises so that he can be moved in a deal, the Wizards need to amnesty him. This rebuild cannot move forward and this franchise cannot be built around John Wall if Blatche continues to be a part of this organization.

Willis: Andray is like a vestigial organ, left over from the Arenas era of Wizards history and now functionally useless. Unlike JaVale, he is a failed home project. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! The same guy who managed to trick Orlando into taking Gilbert Arenas off of our hands, Ernie Grunfeld, can still make a shady move at the deadline to dump him off. GM’s are constantly making stupid moves, and last I checked the New Orleans Hornets were starting Gustavo Ayon (WHO?!) at the 4. You don’t think Andray would be an upgrade over that? Heck, if we could pry Antawn back from Cleveland in a package deal for Nick Young and ‘Dray I’d be happy. The Wizards could use a veteran presence, and Antawn is a leader of men.

Worst-case scenario, we keep Andray until the off-season and Amnesty Clause him. But the problem in that is the same problem, albeit on a laughably smaller scale, that Orlando will have with Dwight Howard if they don’t trade him at the deadline. Anything, one could argue, is better than nothing. That’s what we’d get if we kept Andray; recognition of failure.

3.) Is Jan Vesely on the table for a trade?

Bohlin: Jan Vesely has little to no trade value; he is clearly a project on the offensive end of the floor. He has displayed improvement as the season has progressed, but Jan still has a long way to go before he is even deemed as someone worth guarding. The fact of the matter is Vesely is still a rookie. A rookie we thought highly enough to take with the 6th overall pick. If he continues to develop his offensive game, Jan will be a difference maker on this team going forward. He already plays more inspired defense than 95% of our roster and frankly that makes him a piece that is quite valuable to this team.

Willis: We agree here. It would be stupid to get rid of Jan, given that we haven’t even given him a chance to shine. But stupid is the Wizards’ M.O. ! As far as I’m concerned, Jan is the only player on this roster (aside from John Wall) who hasn’t done something in this league to diminish his trade value. Most NBA GM’s probably haven’t been keeping tabs on his play, thus might be convinced to believe he could still be a lottery pick with tons of promise. I was in the Vesely camp when he smooched with his girlfriend on draft night, but once I saw him on the court I realized that he is nowhere near what the Wizards need at this point in time. What good is a role player on a team with no stars?

4.) What should the Wizards do/who are some prospects to go after?

Bohlin: If I may put on my GM hat for a moment, I would try and do anything and everything I could to move Javale McGee and Nick Young. The duo that also goes by the aliases of “Pierre” and “Swaggy P,” contribute to the knucklehead mentality that needs to be eliminated from this locker room. Unfortunately, I am not convinced Ernie’s job is safe enough where he would attempt to make some sort of deal centered around those two. Nick is a UFA in the off-season and will almost certainly leave DC, why not try and move him now for assets that will help in the future? I really believe that McGee and Young present the only players on this roster not named John Wall that have any trade value whatsoever. Ernie Grunfeld needs to be working the phones nonstop until the deadline, talking to any GM that will field his calls trying to unload these two.
Personally, I’d like to see him put the “full court press” on attempting to acquire DeMarcus Cousins from the Kings. Reuniting him with John Wall would put the Wizards in a position to compete sooner rather than later. Cousins would present the Wiz Kids with a true post presence that could throw his weight around on both ends of the floor. His arsenal of post moves in just his second season already surpasses what McGee has proven he is capable of. Wall and Cousins have a distinct connection that goes beyond the court and more times than not, when that’s the case the relationship translates to success on the hardwood.

Willis: Agreement on Nick Young, not so much JaVale. I think Nick Young is probably the reason that JaVale is a knucklehead. I think he’s a good kid who can be rehabbed, like children who grew up in gangs. As for DeMarcus Cousins, I don’t buy into the Wall-Cousins combination. You want to get rid of a knucklehead in exchange for perhaps the biggest culprit of ridiculousness since Derrick Coleman? DeMarcus would absolutely trash this team, and I think he’s overrated as a big man. How does a 6’11 big man shoot worse than Chris Paul, Monta Elllis, and Lou Williams?

If I had to try and pick up a big man, I’d look to the dearth of talent sitting in Minnesota. Why not try to nab Anthony Randolph from the Wolves? Last year when he filled in for Kevin Love (who went down with an injury), he absolutely lit it up. He’s one of the best kept secrets in the NBA, and one in which the Wizards might be able to get for cheap. It’d make our team a ton better.

We could even try to snag Mike Beasley from them, as the Timberwolves could use an actual two-guard instead of the dual PG role of Rubio and Ridnour. And given that Rubio just went down with a big time knee injury that could keep him out for awhile, the Wolves and GM David Khan might just make a desperate move for talent (Jordan Crawford, Nick Young).

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

By Willis

Nick Young, Roger Mason and Wizards bench lead them to an improbable victory against the Los Angeles Lakers

Nights like these are huge boons for the growth of a youthful team. Nights like these, when the stars are struggling to shine, give the role players a chance to take over and gain some much needed confidence. In a Verizon Center that was more purple and gold than red, white and blue, the Washington Wizards managed to steal a game from the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time since 2005 in a 106-101 victory.

Led by the tenacious rebounding efforts of second year forwards Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin, the Wizards came back from a 64-49 deficit at halftime to cut the Laker lead to two by the start of the fourth quarter. This was due largely in part to a 32 point third quarter for the Wiz Kids. With John Wall and the starters struggling to score and turning the ball over, the bench came alive to combine for 55 total points.

Booker, whose previous career high in rebounding was 15 against Miami earlier this year, grabbed 17 caroms tonight including eight on the offensive end. He also finished two points shy of his season high with 18 points on a very effective 7-9 shooting. The combination of Seraphin and Booker became too much to handle for the Lakers front-court of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the fourth quarter, exemplified by a ferocious Wall-to-Seraphin jam late in the fourth.

Seraphin, a second year forward from France, scored a career high 14 points and added 9 boards. The Frenchman extended possessions in the final quarter by contributing four offensive rebounds himself, allowing the shots to keep flying.

Of course, the lights out shooting of Nick Young and Roger Mason off the bench certainly helped. Young came alive in the second half, helping distribute the ball with what turned out to be a career high six assists. He also added 19 points. Meanwhile, Roger Mason came along with the deep ball to add 14 points, going 4-7 from long distance.

For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant started off incredibly strong, as he had 20 points at the half. Unfortunately, things started to unravel for the 34-year old superstar in the second portion of the game as he finished making only 4 of his final 24 shots. Bryant finished with 31 points, but on 31 shots.

Gasol and Bynum both contributed 19 points apiece, yet struggled to compete with the athleticism of Washington’s bench, with Bynum turning it over 7 times total.

Kobe’s counterpart in stardom, John Wall, struggled throughout the game. Playing on the bench for a large part of the fourth, Wall finished the game with 4 points on 1-8 shooting from the field. Despite his 5 turnovers, he did contribute 9 assists.

The Wizards next face the Portland Trail Blazers at home on Saturday, March 10th.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Any takers?

By: Bohlin

Verizon Center Faithful ask Andray Blatche “Can you hear me now?”

It was really over after the first 12 minutes of hoops. The Wizards let the Warriors, who came into last night’s match-up playing their fifth-straight road game in seven days, walk into their backyard and push them around for 48 minutes Monday evening.  If anything was proven by last night’s game it’s that the antidote for poor play is simply getting the Wizards on your schedule.  Well, that and Wizards fans voiced their opinion of Andray Blatche’s play this season quite clearly to a resounding chorus of “Boo’s”.

The Wizards, 8-29, ran into a buzz saw in the first quarter last night. Golden State came out firing to the tune of a 41 point opening frame. The 17-point deficit that the Wizards faced after that first quarter proved to be too much to overcome as they never were able to make it a competitive game the rest of the way.

The Warriors, who had been having trouble making a basketball into the ocean on their previous stops during this road trip, shot a stifling 15-23 from three-point range (65.2%) against the Wizards porous defense. I had to pinch myself during the second half to remind me that I was watching a Wizards game and not the Three-Point Shootout during All-Star Weekend.  No player on Golden State that attempted a shot from beyond the arc had a shooting percentage less than 50% from deep; they, in effect, put on a shooting clinic.

Unfortunately what will be forgotten in last night’s loss is John Wall’s spectacular performance. As this season has progressed he has raised the level of his game night in and night out. The jump shot, which looked as if it was a completely foreign idea to him back in December, has slowly but surely began to fall, and as a result teams are starting to push up on him and not give the free jumper as they had been all year long. This opens up the floor completely for John to make plays; he obviously has the athleticism to get around any defender in the NBA when he puts the ball on the deck, we have all seen this. When he is able to get into the lane it allows him to truly make plays as a point guard by kicking to open teammates after defenders converge on him or simply taking it strong to the bucket and being able to finish with an array of moves. Last night’s 20 point and 14 assist outing showed all of those abilities and reminded people that we do have a player on our roster that can, and will, be a franchise changer.

Outside of Wall continuing his torrid pace on the floor there really wasn’t much that can be looked at as a positive from the Wizards prospective. As a team, the Wizards shot 42% from the field, 36% from deep and an abysmal 55% from the foul line. Jordan Crawford came back down to earth from the high he had been on lately. Nick Young did finish with 25 points on the evening. Unfortunately the majority of those, 15 to be exact, came in the fourth quarter; long after this game had been decided.  Javale McGee had 10 points and 10 rebounds but was abused on the defensive end of the floor all night long by Epke Udoh (Who? Exactly). Jan Vesely had a decent night with 7 points and 9 rebounds but he did only go 5-11 from the foul line and quite honestly his new haircut stuck out to me more than anything he did on the court.

That brings us to the ongoing soap opera surrounding Andray Blatche, or All-Day Dray as his friends call him. Andray might as well be public enemy number in the District of Columbia right now, the man can do no good in the eyes of the people and it is obviously affecting his play and his psyche. Blatche was booed relentlessly from the moment he checked into the game and it continued on for the rest of the night.

“You’re home and people that’s supposed to have your back don’t have your back. Instead of encouraging you to get better, they push you down and hope you get worse,” Blatche said. “Every time I touch the ball, I’m second guessing. I’m trying to avoid the boos. Trying to play a perfect game so I don’t have to hear it so I can help my team win.”

This is not what you ever want to hear out of a player on your team. It is plain to see that his confidence is completely broken, anytime you are more focused on “trying to avoid the boos” rather than playing the game that got you to this point in your professional career, something is amiss. I am a well-noted Andray Blatche apologist; however this season even I have been pushed to my breaking point with his play. However, I don’t think the answer is booing everything the man does on the floor.

Like it or not, All-Day Dray is currently under contract longer than any other player on the team.  Unless we amnesty him in the offseason, which is another article for another day, we as fans should not continue to bury him in boos. Whether the self-proclaimed Captain’s play has left much to be desired for or not, the fact remains that he possesses a very unique skill set for a big man and could be, and should be, an asset for this team.

Who knows if Andray will get his act together and turn it around before the season is over, I am just a writer not a mind reader. What I do know is that the Wizards, as a team, need to “Break the cigarette habit” as Randy Wittman loves to say, because the Lakers are coming to town on Wednesday night and I can guarantee the Masked Mamba will not take it easy on the Wiz Kids.

Tags: , , , , ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,023 other followers