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2014 Washington Wizards Preseason Report posted by Wizards Fan

2013-14 was a good season for the Washington Wizards, even though they were defeated by Indiana pacers in the semifinals of the Eastern Conference. Up to now, the Wizards were considered a mediocre team, as they have never made it to the playoffs since 2008. However, last February, the team had risen above .500 in standings, and managed to defeat the Bulls in the first playoff round. They ended the season with an impressive 44-38 record.

In season 2014-15, Washington Wizards could come in the top three spots in Eastern Conference, provided the team remains healthy. The Wizards are primarily focusing on John Wall and Bradley Beal, who are the young duo in the backcourt. Wall, who was first overall pick in the draft has performed excellently in breakout season, and could be the best point guard of the league. Beal on the other hand is SG and he has averaged over 17 points per game. If the duo is rested adequately and they stay focused, the team could perform much better.

Marcin Gortat has been re-signed for anchoring in C, and Nene in F/C could have a productive year. This duo with their size and toughness can provide excellent inside presence to the team. Last season, Otto Porter displayed mediocre performance at small forward, but he could improve under the mentorship of Paul Pierce, who has been brought in through free agency.

Randy Wittman, the head coach, was able to generate good performance from the team last season, and his contract has been extended. This means the team could improve under his guidance and make more progress in the playoffs. The 2014 draft was loaded, but Washington Wizards did not have a pick in the first round. Hence, whatever improvement is expected has to come from the available talent. Winning the championship might be a stretch, but they can manage second seed position in the East.

Continue reading "2014 Washington Wizards Preseason Report"

Charles Bisbee

Celtics Thoughts posted by Charles Bisbee

Here are some thoughts on the Celtics as training camps open:

·      It’ll be interesting to see how much KG has left in the tank. His numbers have regressed across the board from just a couple seasons ago. Nonetheless, the intangibles and the desire remain intact and it’s impossible to discount the role they’ll play on a young Celtics squad. Rondo may be the C’s best player, but KG remains the team's heart and soul.

·      Here’s hoping Garnett can effectively light a fire under rookie Jared Sullinger, the talented but scatter-brained big man from Ohio State. Sullinger impressed during Orlando Summer League action, scoring 20 points and grabbing 6 rebounds in just 24 minutes of action during his first game. Talent, however, has never been the issue. If KG can continually keep Sullinger focused and dedicated, the Celts may have the answer at power forward over the next 10-15 years.

·      I’m interested to see how Avery Bradley handles an increased workload when he returns in January. With Keyon Dooling retired and Ray Allen in Miami, Bradley will get the bulk of the load backing up Rondo and aging (but still effective) combo-guard Jason Terry. Bradley is a shut-down defender, but I'm not sure he can produce enough offensively to warrant the minutes. Relatedly, the Celtics lack of depth at guard scares me. Outside Rondo, Terry, and (possibly?) Courtney Lee, there are a lot of unproven youngsters.

·      Paul Pierce refuses to show his age. As the years go by, he only gets craftier. His array of start-and-stops, head fakes, and up-and-unders would make Kevin McHale proud. I think Pierce should play until he’s 50.

Continue reading "Celtics Thoughts"

Larry Hinders

Formula for Road Success Eludes the Wiz posted by Larry Hinders

When you are in the midst of a franchise-worst road losing streak, there are a few things a team must do to break out of its funk. The Wizards have one half of the game going in the right direction. Over the past few weeks, they have been holding their opponents under 100 points. It is at the offensive end that they have failed to heed the tried and true rules of NBA road success. Flip, guys, pay attention please. We’ll use today’s loss to the Pacers as a teachable moment.

Rule #1: Take quality shots


On the road you can’t rely on jump shots.  To compete at unfriendly arenas, you must get quality shots, preferably in the paint, and get to the foul line with some frequency. Against the Pacers today, the Wiz shot 39% from the field and 31% from beyond the arc. There were too many possessions during which the ball stopped in a Wizard player’s hands early in the shot clock and a long, often contested, jump shot was taken. The Pacers outscored the Wiz in the paint by 30 points.

The two players who were most at fault for the launching of ill-advised shots were the Wizards’ two most undisciplined players, Nick Young and Andray Blatche.  Young has been making an effort of late to play a complete game and expend energy at both ends. Blatche is playing the worst basketball of his career of late. He refuses to finish tough at the basket and seems to prefer off-balanced shots. These two starters must be brought in line for the road losing streak to come to an end.

Continue reading "Formula for Road Success Eludes the Wiz"

Larry Hinders

Five Reasons We Should Be Glad Gilbert Arenas Played for the Wiz posted by Larry Hinders

I side with those who believe that Gilbert’s move to sunny Orlando was in the best interest of the Wizards. His departure provides fans the opportunity to look back on the full impact of his time spent in the Nation’s Capital. Despite his hand in bringing our franchise to some of its lowest points ever, Gilbert’s overall impact on this team has been positive. Here’s why:

1.      A Lesson Learned

The Wizards invested a tremendous amount of money in Gilbert Arenas, a player they knew to be eccentric at best. When things went sour, the franchise was handcuffed because his contract was next to impossible to unload. Both Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld are bright guys. I have to believe that the Wizards will be reluctant to mortgage the team’s future to sign a player who is anything but a solid and dependable person.

2.      A Clean Slate

When Ted Leonsis took over control of this team last June, some of the house cleaning was already under way. The Wizards needed for Gilbert to move on so that the last chapter of an era that carried so much promise could finally closed. With Gilbert gone, Leonsis and the rest of the ownership team can build around John Wall, provided he can remain healthy, and shape the team that will hopefully return the Wizards to playoff contenders.Gil defined Wizards basketball, good and bad, for an era. His ability to do so made the transition to a new era easier.

3.      Washington as Superstar Pedestal

Continue reading "Five Reasons We Should Be Glad Gilbert ..."

Larry Hinders

Results are in from Wizards' Blatche Experiment posted by Larry Hinders

     The findings from the Washington Institute for Advance Roundball Research’s half-decade long Andray Blatche experiment are in; conclusive evidence indicates he is not worth the continued investment of time or money by the Wizards franchise. Blatche is nearly impossible for an NBA GM to resist. He puts up pretty solid numbers, has length and decent agility, and he is young despite having spent five years as a professional basketball player. Only close observation over a long period of time can reveal that his minuses outweigh his pluses.

     Blatche’s biggest problem is that he seems incapable of growing up. Each of the last two seasons the Wizards have sold Blatche as a young man who is ready to step up and assume a leadership role on the team. Instead the team has been fed a steady diet of immature behavior and selfish antics. Consider his history:

·         Charged with sexual solicitation in August of 2007

·         Arrested and charged with reckless driving and driving on a suspended license for the third time in June of 2008

·         Fined by the Wizards for involvement in the infamous “gun dance” incident in January of 2010

·         Later that same season Blatche refused to reenter a game when asked to do so by Flip Saunders

·         Enters the current season overweight and out of shape (Blatche was apparently unaware that some exercises do not require the use of injured feet)

Continue reading "Results are in from Wizards' Blatche Experiment"

john howard

New faces, early dividends posted by john howard

Dallas Mavericks' new players played well last night, beating the top team in the east in Orlando Magic.

Caron Butler and Brenden Haywood combined for 73 minutes 16 rebounds and 31 points.  A really good bigman and another scorer.  Good Job Dallas.

Another top team fell to newcomers.  Denver fell to Washington and their new lineup.  No Arenas, no Jamison, no Butler, no problem.  Josh Howard had 20 points in 23 minutes. More stunning was the 25 points the Wizards outscored the Nuggets in that 23 minutes.  Also, Al Thornton (just acquired from the Clippers) had 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 block shots in 31 minutes. Oh I can't wait until Ilgauskas joins the group. 

Expect Thornton and Howard to play with a chip on their shoulders, showing the teams that didn't want them that they were wrong. The Wizards have players that are auditioning for the big free agent bucks.  They are going to be competitive for the rest of the season.

Continue reading "New faces, early dividends"

john howard

Cleveland set for title run posted by john howard

Cleveland just got a lot better.   They traded Zydranus Ilgauskas and his 11million dollar expiring contract to Washington for Antwain Jamison who has the same salary.      This adds a power scorer to the lineup while giving up nothing.  Anderson Varejo has been the backup at both power forward and center. This will continue.  Hickson's minutes may decrease, but he is still developing so that is ok.  The first pick won't matter if they win the title.       Also acquired is Sebastian Telfair an up and down career since joining the NBA.  They have point guard injuries so that is an added bonus.

Washington continues to dump salary by trading for Ilgauskas. His 11 mil is the same as Jamison's but expires this year.  They also unloaded Drew Gooden whom they acquired from Dallas last week.  Washington gets Al Thornton who is young and improving. 

The Clippers continue to confuse.  They gave up Telfair for Drew Gooden?  Whatever.

Continue reading "Cleveland set for title run"

john howard

Mavs A Wizards--gambling posted by john howard

Dallas and Washington traded talent this week. 

First Dallas---they get Caron Butler an all star that is almost averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds.  He will replace Josh Powell which is a huge up grade.  Brendon Haywood also joins the Mavs.  This was a good move because Eric Dampier hasn't been effective since hurting his knee.  Haywood is averaging 10 rebounds a game.  The Mavs also get Deshaun Stevenson.  A decent backup.

Washington is clearing house by unloading contracts and gaining potential.  What kind of potential is the question.  Josh Howard averaged 19 points last year.  Injuries and attitudes have landed him on the bench with decreasing minutes.  He has potential to be the team's leading scorer.  Sorry to say that his behavior could land him sitting next to Gilbert Arenas.  I'm not sure this was  a good move.

Continue reading "Mavs A Wizards--gambling"

john howard

McGrady sweetstakes---Knicks? posted by john howard

Houston has been shopping Tracy McGrady all year and something is a about to happen.  The leading candidate is the New York Knicks.  McGrady could be a 20pt scorer again with the up tempo style of play New York has. I think he would be a perfect fit for them. 

A third team may have to be involved and latest rumor has the Wizards.  Houston might get Caron Butler from Washington and the Knicks would send much traveled Al Harrington to DC.  Sounds like a swapping of big salaries and not much improvement.  There will be other players involved and draft picks for sure.  But, the main thing is McGrady in the biggest market.  If he could stay healthy for any length of time, he could really profit well.  He might be enough of a surge to get them into the playoffs this year. 

Continue reading "McGrady sweetstakes---Knicks?"

Andy Charles

No place for guns in Washington posted by Andy Charles

As if things weren’t bad enough for the Washington Wizards, Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton have now apparently decided that the locker room is the right place to show off their guns.

No, I am not talking about the size of their respective biceps, but I am referring to the weapons pulled in the locker room after an argument over a gambling debt got out of hand.

Guns? Gambling? Sounds like Arenas and Crittenton are trying to break all of the NBA’s strict rules in one fell swoop.

Although many of the reports last week made it sound like the new version of Gunfight At The OK Corral, and may well have been over-playing it, the fact that both players seemingly had unloaded firearms in their lockers is bad enough.

Only just over a year after Plaxico Burress managed to shoot himself in the thigh, firearms are back on the sports pages and both players may find themselves having to explain their actions to David Stern, with the chance of heavy fines and suspensions possibly following.

The incident could also be the perfect way for Washington to get out of the $100m+ deal they signed Arenas to before his two injury-plagued seasons.

But at least Agent Zero appears to be contrite, as he said: “Joke or not, I now recognize that what I did was a mistake and was wrong. I should not have brought the guns to DC in the first place, and I now realize that there’s no such thing as joking around when it comes to guns, even if unloaded.”

Is an apology going to work though? Seems strange to think it’s been so long since the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills, but this incident could be just as damaging to the sport – if the players escape lengthy bans they can definitely consider themselves a touch lucky.

Continue reading "No place for guns in Washington"

Washington Wizards News

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BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Phoenix Suns (Ball Don't Lie)

The Arizona desert turned up a UFO crash in 1953, purple alien eggs just last year and Lord knows what else in the 60 years between. It’s only natural the Phoenix Suns add another wrinkle to their own weird science experiment, turning a two-headed snake into a three-headed monster in the backcourt. In a strange summer, general manager Ryan McDonough agreed to  a four-year, $27 million contract with Sacramento Kings dynamo Isaiah Thomas on the day the NBA’s moratorium lifted, seemingly signaling the end of fellow restricted free agent point guard Eric Bledsoe’s fun in the Arizona sun. But the NBA Executive of the Year runner-up doubled down, inking Mini LeBron to a five-year, $70 million deal some two months later. With All-NBA Third Team selection Goran Dragic also in the Phoenix mix, McDonough effectively created the league’s most dangerous polycephalous point guard. So, the Suns will roll the dice with a troika of All-Star-caliber guards, identified flying object Gerald Green and a mysterious frontcourt in an attempt to recreate last year’s bizarre 48-34 record, which tied the 2007-08 Golden State Warriors for the best season by a team that didn't make the playoffs since the NBA switched to the 16-team playoff format in 1984. Under NBA Coach of the Year runner-up (noticing a trend here) Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix played at a top-10 pace in his first season at the helm, and the Suns will run again, even faster if possible. Only, they’ll have to do so without Channing Frye, whose floor-stretching capacity from the power forward position translated into 8.3 additional points per 100 possessions in his 28.2 minutes a night on the floor, according to . Out of the Frye pan and into the fire will be Markieff Morris, whose own breakout 2013-14 season (2,153 minutes, 13.8 points, six rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, 56.4 True Shooting percentage, 18.4 Player Efficiency Rating) earned him a four-year, $52 million deal to split unevenly with his twin brother, Marcus Morris. Sharpshooting veteran free agent forward Anthony Tolliver (41.3 percent on a career-high 247 3-point tries for Charlotte last year) and young center projects Miles Plumlee and Alex Len round out a bigs mess. Add a pair of potential mid-first-round steals in T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis, another Dragic named Zoran and a post- “super extreme” DUI suspension P.J. Tucker, and it should be another supernatural season for the 2013-14 League Pass legends. Last year taught us this much about the Suns: They are here. 2013-14 season in 140 characters or less: What the Ish is this? The weirdest collection of awesome under the Suns. Did the summer help at all? The Suns let their most productive big walk , spent the money Frye got in Orlando on a third point guard , handed one contract to a pair of twins , signed their best player’s brother and drafted one half of Bojan and Bogdan Bogdanovic — all as their starting small forward spent a no expenses paid three-day vacation in county jail . So … just yourtypical NBA offseason? Seriously, that’s freaky, even by their standards. Go-to offseason acquisition: Had Thomas not stood just 69 inches tall, he would have commanded far more than $27 million over four years in free agency. After all, the Sactown sparkplug was one of six players to average 20 points and six assists while posting a PER above 20 this past season. The others: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook. Those dudes aren’t so bad. Thomas comes with another caveat, though, since Sacramento’s fast-paced offense and non-existent defense over the past decade has produced plenty of padded stats that haven’t translated elsewhere. In the past 10 years, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic combined for one 20-point-per-game season upon leaving the Kings. At the very least, Thomas allows Hornacek to keep some combo of Bledsoe, Dragic and Thomas on the floor for the majority of the game, strumming that double-necked point-guard guitar all night long. The fact that Thomas’ per-minute averages have remained steady as both a starter and reserve in his three-year career is an encouraging sign that the Suns will be able to keep making the same sweet music they did last season. Glaring weakness: The Suns don’t quite have a black hole in the middle, but it’s an awful dark mass in the space-time continuum. Plumlee and Len are expected to receive the bulk of those minutes, and that duo (mostly Plumlee, due to the multiple injuries that scuttled Len's rookie season) anchored the NBA’s fourth-worst efficiency differential at the position last season, according to (minus-3.8). Plumlee’s minutes plunged throughout 2013-14 as Hornacek got more comfortable playing Markieff Morris and the since-departed Frye in smaller, more offensively potent lineups. As a result, though, Phoenix allowed 42.2 points in the paint per game , also the league’s fourth-worst group. Not even highly regarded defensive assistant coach Mike Longabardi could help the Suns rise above the middle of the pack in points allowed per possession. Plumlee is still their best bet to clog the middle on defense, even if he does the same on offense. Contributor with something to prove: Following his client’s second knee surgery in three years, Bledsoe's agent spent the offseason demanding a max contract for a player who has started all of 78 NBA games. McDonough, who reportedly offered four years and $48 million, entered a summer-long staring contest with Rich Paul, and the two sides met closer to Bledsoe's demands. To say the 24-year-old has something to prove is an understatement. For chunks of last season, Bledsoe replicated what so many projected for Chris Paul's former backup. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound brick of muscle averaged 17.7 points (57.8 TS%), 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds while generally tormenting opposing backcourts alongside Dragic in 43 games. That's encouraging for a fourth-year point guard on his rookie contract; now it's expected from an eight-figure-salaried franchise player. Potential breakout stud: Double ankle surgeries stunted Year 1 of The Alex Len Project, presenting a built-in excuse for the No. 5 overall pick’s PER (7.3), true shooting percentage (46.9) and statistical averages over 42 games (two points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in 8.6 minutes per game). Now, double finger fractures — on the same right pinkie, mind you — offer another easy excuse for the 7-foot-1 Ukrainian to start slow out of the gate. Yet Len made huge strides from his freshman to sophomore seasons at Maryland, and the 21-year-old has the potential to take a similar step forward after one year under Hornacek and Longabardi. He added the customary 15 pounds of muscle, and then collected six points, six boards and a pair of blocks before breaking his finger 25 minutes into Summer League. The re-broken finger is a setback for a player in desperate need of preseason practice, but he’ll still start the regular season healthy, and the minutes will be there for him to demonstrate his improvement, especially if he develops a mid-range jumper. Best-case scenario: It won’t be easy for Dragic to repeat his breakout All-NBA season, Green to shoot 3’s at a 40 percent clip again and Tolliver to replace Frye’s 2,312 minutes, but some combo of Bledsoe’s health, the addition of Thomas and the improvements of the Morris twins, Plumlee and/or Len should help the Suns recreate the magic that made them the NBA darlings of 2013-14. Even then, they’ll still be navigating a crowded Western Conference playoff picture that may also include Anthony Davis’ New Orleans Pelicans — all for the right to face the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers or San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Them’s the breaks for a franchise on the rise. If everything falls apart: Even if the science experiment takes a turn for the worse and the Suns just miss the postseason for a second straight year, McDonough will still have a pair of lottery picks at his disposal. Phoenix still owns a top-five protected pick from the Steve Nash trade, so barring a bit of Los Angeles Lakers luck, the worst-case scenario — a couple of mid-round picks — isn’t the worst consolation prize. Unless, of course, the team’s talented young core undergoes an abduction of sorts. Stranger things have happened in the Arizona desert. The Suns are on standing on the edge of an event horizon. Strap in for another weird, wild ride. Kelly Dwyer’s Best Guess at a Record: Phoenix will finish 47-35, eighth in the Western Conference. Read all of Ball Don't Lie's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews (links added as they're published): EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlanta Hawks • Boston Celtics • Brooklyn Nets • Charlotte Hornets • Chicago Bulls • Cleveland Cavaliers • Detroit Pistons • Indiana Pacers • Miami Heat • Milwaukee Bucks • New York Knicks • Orlando Magic • Philadelphia 76ers • Toronto Raptors • Washington Wizards WESTERN CONFERENCE Dallas Mavericks • Denver Nuggets • Golden State Warriors • Houston Rockets • Los Angeles Clippers • Los Angeles Lakers • Memphis Grizzlies • Minnesota Timberwolves • New Orleans Pelicans • Oklahoma City Thunder • Phoenix Suns • Portland Trail Blazers • Sacramento Kings • San Antonio Spurs • Utah Jazz - - - - - - - Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Anthony scores 30 as Knicks beat Wizards (Yahoo Sports)

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From Yahoo Sports

Wizards sign guard John Lucas (Yahoo Sports)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Wizards have signed guard John Lucas. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Davis scores 14 in Pelicans'win over Wizards

BALTIMORE (AP) Anthony Davis scored 14 points and Ryan Anderson had 11 as the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Washington Wizards 88-84 on Monday night in the next-to-last preseason game for both teams. [read full article]

From FOX Sports Digital

Davis scores 14 in Pelicans' win over Wizards (Yahoo Sports)

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From Yahoo Sports

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