1. #KD2DC in full effect, just ask his mom
"He hears the talk. And we all hear it. But he doesn’t allow himself to be overly concerned with that, because the time is not now for … him to make that decision."
That's all we really needed to read, wasn't it? When the time comes, he will make his return home. That's obviously what Wanda Pratt, Kevin Durant's mom, was getting at during her interview with NBC 4'S Jason Pugh. Pratt also dropped this gem of a quote later in the interview when talking about how many friends and family will be able to attend each of Durant's games against the Wizards in the DMV:
"In the beginning it was really crazy and a little overwhelming," she said. "But now our family and friends know that he can't take everybody to the game, so we kind of rotate it so that everyone can kind of get a glimpse of him playing here in D.C. So we kind of do a lottery, so to speak."
That was initially a problem for Durant earlier in his career and he definitely seemed overwhelmed about the whole process at that time. They've now got things under wraps and controlled. That can only mean Durant is calmer, more relaxed about the situation, and will be able to focus solely on playing games for the Wizards once he is able to get 41 games per season in D.C. for the final ten years of his career.
2. Paul Pierce and the Wizards need to stop turning the ball over
If there was a problem during Monday's MLK Day game annihilation of the Philadelphia 76ers, it was the team's 22 turnovers that they committed. The Wizards are averaging more turnovers in January than they have in any month this season and Pierce, in particular, is averaging more than double the turnovers per 100 possessions (14.7) than he averaged in the previous month (7.6).
The Oklahoma City Thunder are not a forgiving team. They cause turnovers and pounce on any self-created mistakes. Tonight will be a big test to see if the increase in turnovers are just a hiccup or a serious problem.
3. Midseason report card
They say if you can survive the doldrums of a lifeless Washington franchise, you can survive anything. Well Wizards fans say that, at least. So when a Wizards team hits the midseason point and has more wins than they often secure for an entire season, one must be ecstatic. That's generally how us fans of a 29-13 Wizards team feel, though our passion for a real winner in D.C. and history of struggles knows no success can be taken for granted and one loss amongst a bushel of victories is magnified and worried about, with fears of that loss repeating like Groundhog Day.
But, as I mentioned, a 29-13 record should be appreciated tremendously. The Wizards are playing the best basketball this city has seen in decades. It's time for the midseason grades.
4. David Adkins is more than just a connection to Durant
Newly-hired assistant coach Adkins was immediately thought of among Wizards fans as the coach who has worked with Durant in the past and will be the linchpin to helping the Wizards secure the Maryland native when he becomes a free agent in two years. But there's much more to Adkins than just his connection to the NBA's reigning MVP. He is a tireless worker who will go to any lengths to make his players great. Randy Wittman noticed it immediately upon interviewing Adkins, and Wizards players have grown accustomed to his never-ending desire to get the best from them.
5. Wizards vs. Thunder on ESPN tonight
This is it, folks. Durant will return home for the only time this season tonight, as his Thunder (21-20) face the Wizards (29-13) in a much-anticipated nationally televised event. If you haven't watched the Thunder this season, don't let their record fool you. This team is dangerous now that Durant and Russell Westbrook are back from injury and in full form. As I mentioned before, they take advantage of miscues and cause tons of them as well. Like the Wizards, you don't want this team getting out and running against yours.
Tip off is set for 8 p.m. at the Verizon Center. You can watch on ESPN and/or Comcast SportsNet. You can also listen to the #RadioParty on 99.1 WNEW as always.
Don't forget to get signed up for FanDuel! Follow this link to get in on all the action!