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The Wizards have seven players that have been in the NBA for at least six years. They have four -- Nene, Al Harrington, Andre Miller and Drew Gooden -- that have played for double-digit season. Yes, their core two is green, with John Wall in his fourth year and Bradley Beal in his second, but this is not a young team. Consider: the "veteran" San Antonio Spurs have ... seven players that have been in the NBA for at least six years and four -- Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Boris Diaw -- that have played for double-digit seasons.
And yet, we're hearing stuff like this from the Wizards' players. Via J Michael, CSN Washington:
"We have a lack of experience. We just worry about things we're not supposed to worry about as players. Each one of us got to step to the game ready to play. As a pro, you got to take pride and do what you got to do. ... I don't know what other teammates do, how they get ready for the game, basically I'm trying to come every day and play the best the basketball that I can," Gortat said. "I know how it is to be in the NBA Finals. I know how it tastes to be successful and I want to come back to that."
"They have that killer instinct every game," Gortat said. "We only have that every third or fourth game we win in a row. We two games in a row, then that third or fourth game, we get that killer instinct. But we've got to maintain it for 82 games. We got to play better. Bottom line, we got to play better. These guys are playing well. they've got a great coaching staff, a great defensive coordinator, Mike Longabardi, from the Boston Celtics, and they all know how to play basketball."
This is a little absurd. The Wizards aren't young anymore. Wall and Beal? Yes, they're young, and maybe they are the ones being implicated. But they should have plenty of support from players who, as Jason Reid put it, are "savvy players" that "possess the type of know-how needed to help the Wizards get back on track."
Now's the time to show whatever those cliches mean.
If the knee continues to heal and regain strength, a person close to Nene said that the Brazilian big man could actually begin practicing some time next week. "That's the game plan," the person said.
We're still looking at the second week in April.
Other interesting stuff:
- You saw my piece yesterday on areas John Wall needs to improve. For happier thoughts, Bleacher Report's Jared Dubin explains how Wall's shooters fit perfectly with his passing habits. (Yes, it's B-R, but Jared is good people)
- Surprised that Wall would go to a baseball-themed act to hype himself up for player introductions after his dreadful first pitch at Nats Park a couple years ago.
- Poor Jan Vesely.
- If you haven't seen our Retro Week package on SBNation.com, you're missing out. Worked really hard to put that thing together. My contribution looks at whether LeBron and Jordan would have succeeded in each other's eras. Also, check out Wall_Hopeful's FanPost that searches for a retro comparison to Wall.
- Jason Whitlock apparently gave a #HOTSPORTSTAKE yesterday on Wall. Water is wet. The sky is blue.
- One anonymous player and executive are quoted, and suddenly, we have a story about evil statheads ruining NBA front offices.
- FiveThirtyEight, i.e. Nate Silver's new site, has a story arguing that a steal is worth the equivalent of nine points when comparing players. The argument is poorly framed; it's a regression analysis of box score stats, which already have their problems. In layman's terms, it's a stat person writing without any theoretical backing. That said, I am willing to entertain the possibility that defenses should be more aggressive going for steals because they simultaneously end a possession for your opponent and kickstart an extremely efficient one for you, since many steals lead to fast breaks. There has to be some way of measuring when going for the steal is ideal and when it leads to defensive breakdowns when the act fails.