Leonsis: No excuses

"We have 13 healthy players and the one thing I'm not allowing anybody to do is use injuries as an excuse," Leonsis said at a news conference. "We have 15 players under contract. Two can't start the season. That means we have 13. That's all you can dress anyway.

CSN Washington.

Jason Collins back in D.C.?

Collins was a member of the Wizards for only the final two months of last season, but he quickly became a revered figure in a locker room filled with young players. The assumption, then, is that Collins would thus be welcomed back instantly in that locker room if the Wiz -- who have already lost starting center Emeka Okafor indefinitely to a neck injury -- ring him up and ask him to return. The greater obstacle is the fact that Washington has 15 guaranteed contracts and would have to scrap one to make room for him. Would the Wiz really do that for a spot-minute center? You'll recall that Detroit, in August, ultimately opted to sign Josh Harrellson after opening talks with Collins about a mentor role to young bigs Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

Marc Stein.

Ted Leonsis on why Ernie Grunfeld is still the GM

"Well, it’s a plan that we articulated together," Leonsis answered. "This is my fourth season owning the team. Whatever circumstances there were beforehand, they didn’t deal with me. And Ernie is very well respected around the league. We’ve blown the team up, John Wall is our most tenured player, and I worked with Ernie and we articulated a plan and we’ve been executing the plan together. This is an important year for the franchise. We want to take a step forward and we want the team to play better and qualify for the playoffs. And I have a lot of confidence in the front office and the coaching staff and the players that we’re taking the right steps and measures, that we can be a playoff team."

That's what he told WUSA9's Dave Owens (transcript via The Bog). Later, Leonsis evaded questions about whether Grunfeld is on the hot seat.


For now, this is the Jan Vesely of franchises. Hapless, hopeless, and lovable in the sort of way you love a three-legged puppy. That's the Wizards the past five years. But maybe this is the season when John Wall becomes the player everyone's always hoped for, splits the earth in half, and gives them a new identity. If it seems like we're bouncing between entrenched, passionate cynicism and blind optimism, well, that's what being a fan of a horrible team is all about.

Grantlander, Wizards fan and former SBN (and BF) contributor Andrew Sharp with a perfect line that encapsulates rooting for this franchise.

Wizards front office changes

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has promoted Tommy Sheppard to senior vice president of basketball operations. In addition, the team has named Marc Eversley as vice president of scouting, Frank Ross as director of player personnel, Greg Ballard as advance pro scout and Thomas Knox as director of player performance and rehabilitation while promoting Ed Tapscott to vice president of player programs, Pat Sullivan to assistant coach, Brett Greenberg to director of basketball analytics/salary cap management, Bryan Oringher to video coordinator and Ryan Richman to assistant video coordinator.

Press release.

SI: Nene will be 58th-best player next season

With Nene on the floor last season, Washington defended at a top-three level (98.3 points allowed per 100 possessions) — a remarkable accomplishment even within the context of the team’s already surprising defensive success. His lateral speed and ability to challenge quicker players provided one of the pillars of the Wizards’ coverage. That he brings that caliber of defense along with a bevy of offensive skills makes him quite valuable — noticeably more so than his basic counting stats suggest. Last year was a down season for Nene due to his gradual recovery from a previous foot injury, but when healthy his touch and quickness allow him to thrive in a variety of functions. The lack of a singular strength sometimes leads him to float around the court rather than attack, but his skills can be channeled in so many different ways as to stem some of the impact of that drifting. Nene can play high and low, as scorer or facilitator. That’s enough to make him one of the more complete big men in the league, and worthy choice at this stage in our ranking.

Sports Illustrated is counting down their Top 100 players of 2014. Nene comes in at No. 58, with the blurb written by Rob Mahoney. Bradley Beal was one of the toughest omissions, while John Wall is somewhere in the top 100, which will be released later in the week.

Zach Lowe on Jan Vesely

Vesely made 12 free throws all season. He's a clever passer out of the pick-and-roll when he catches the ball rolling into traffic, but that cleverness stems in part from his urgent desire TO GET THE FUCKING BALL OUT OF MY HANDS BEFORE SOMEONE FOULS ME AND THE CROWD STARTS BEING MEAN AGAIN. When Vesely catches and shoots in traffic, the attempts aren't shots as much as "flings" — one-handed layups, ball extended far from body, launched while Vesely is almost half-blind from the basket and before anyone can converge on him. Needless to say, this is not a good way to score baskets or get to the line. The one exception: When he catches the ball in space on the right side of the floor, he's shown a nifty one-dribble move into a softy lefty runner. But even that is a tough, tough shot.


Jan on his position change

RealGM: What are those details that make this transition so difficult?

Vesely: The main thing is that in Europe I was playing as a small forward, and in the NBA I was moved to four position. In summer league, I even played as a center sometimes. So I had to fight with big guys. Coach puts me on the floor, so I have to adjust my game and play for a position.

RealGM: Do you feel comfortable with the decision to put you under the basket?

Vesely: It's very hard as I'm used to running on the wing all the time. It's different, but that's how basketball works.

Via Real GM. Nothing new, but figured I'd point out the interview.

Ziller: Wittman has second-toughest job in NBA

If Washington struggles out of the gate, I think the team has to consider shaking up the leadership. Washington has been awful for longer than Detroit, and popping up into playoff contention could be more difficult than it looks, especially given the injury propensity of the main players involved.

SB Nation.

Cartier back to China?

Cartier Martin wasn't re-signed by the Wizards this off-season, so the small forward is considering going to play in China, his agent Andy Miller told CSN Washington earlier this week.

J Michael, CSN Washington. Cartier played in China during the lockout before coming back to the Wizards.

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