Links: With the Washington Wizards' season over, the 2012 NBA Playoffs begin

Now the real fun begins.

The Wizards season is over, so you know what that means: It must be playoff time!! Links:

  • First off, thank you for contributing to the success of Bullets Forever.
  • Here's a quick preview of the NBA playoffs from SB Nation's Andrew Sharp, a playoff-prediction bracket from SI's writers, series picks from Yahoo! Sports, John Hollinger's predictions (ESPN Insider required), some insight from Bucks forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and a couple previews of the Eastern Conference (Mike, ESPN) and Western Conference (Mike, ESPN) playoffs, including breakdowns of each first-round matchup.
  • More first-round previews: [Bulls-Sixers (SI, Ball Don't Lie), Heat-Knicks (SI, Ball Don't Lie), Pacers-Magic (SI, Ball Don't Lie), Celtics-Hawks (SI, Ball Don't Lie), Spurs-Jazz (SI, Ball Don't Lie), Thunder-Mavs (SI, Ball Don't Lie), Lakers-Nuggets (SI, Ball Don't Lie), Grizzlies-Clippers (SI, Ball Don't Lie)]
  • Britt Robson has released his first playoff power rankings. [SI.com]
  • These are a few days old, but here's Robson's final regular season grades. The Wiz didn't flunk out, but they may need to retake remedial math.
  • Here's a quick breakdown from Mike on the Wizards' draft-lottery odds and this weekend's playoff schedule. Am I the only one that thinks it's a bit dumb the second-worst team has nearly a 50-50 shot of falling out of the top three picks?
  • Mike on how the Wizards' season-ending six-game winning streak has only raised expectations for next year.
  • Ted's a bit steamy about the D.C.-sports landscape right about now, what with the Caps knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Nats playing (alright, pitching) great out of the gate, the Skins drafting RG3 and the Wiz playing watchable basketball down the season's stretch. Gotta come up with a better rallying cry than, "Way to go Wizards," though. [Ted's Take]
  • Speaking of brackets, here's the next big thing coming from Bullets Forever. I'm gonna predict "Can't Say I Do" wins the McGee Regional, "American Jan Vesely" takes the HumbleBrag, "Valentine's Shorties" squeaks by "Blow it in the Club" to claim the Cash, Cars, Women and Food region, and hard-nosed "Sense of Entitlement" makes it through Life in the Cellar. I'm pulling for "American Jan Vesely," but I think "Can't Say I Do" will end up defeating "Valentine's Shorties" to claim the first-annual #QuoteSanity tournament.
  • For those of you lucky enough to have an ESPN Insider account, Chris Palmer has handed out four "unconventional" year-end awards, and his "Budding Defensive Stopper Award" went to John Wall. Thanks to the ESPN paywall, that's all I can tell you.
  • It's pretty common for players to publicly endorse the retention of an interim head coach once the season is over (wouldn't want to burn the guy before you know whether he'll be back or not), so it's not surprising to see Wizards players doing so with Randy Wittman. Given how the season started, it's pretty hard to argue that Wittman didn't make the best of a terrible situation or leave the team in better shape than it in was when he took over. [Washington Post]
  • Chris Miller caught up with Wall for an on-camera exit interview, during which Wall notes that he will take one month off before beginning training June 1 in L.A. and D.C. that will include "no charity games." He also once again identified the Nene trade as the point in the season when "everything changed." As Mike indicated yesterday, this can be loosely translated to, "everything changed [once JaVale and Nick were off the team]."
  • The Wizards have hope for the future, mostly due to the acquisition of Nene and Wall's continued improvement, according to this AP report. In it, Wall calls out McGee and Young even more directly.
  • Andrew Sharp for one is pretty stoked to see Wall calling out the Knucklehead Duo. [SB Nation]
  • Again, for those of you with ESPN Insider, Chad Ford has broken down each's lottery team's chances of getting the No. 1 pick and who they could be targeting should they fail to land Anthony Davis.
  • At least one person thinks the 20-win season was "not too shabby" given "a coaching change, a blockbuster trade, four players with 10-day contracts and never ending injuries." I dunno, it was still pretty bad, but the Wizards did give fans reason for optimism at the end. [Wizards Extreme]
  • Anyone who has ever vended at a sporting event has a few stories of weird things they've done to sell those final, stubborn beers or score a few extra bucks in tips. Here's a cute story about one Verizon Center vendor whom plenty of you have probably noticed getting his groove on during Wizards home games.
  • In case you're interested, here's some video of Wittman's final postgame presser of the season. [Wizards Extreme]
  • It's now a three-way between NBPA president Derek Fisher, executive director Billy Hunter and the U.S. Attorney's Office. Kinky! [ESPN]
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