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Happy Friday, and I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving dinner and quality time last night. Let's get to the top stories of the week.
Wizards lose to the Pacers and Hornets in back to back days before Thanksgiving
Paul George and C.J. Miles had an excellent night at the office on Tuesday. They made a combined 15 three-pointers to lead the Pacers to a 123-106 blowout win over the Wizards. Considering that they made those threes at a rate above 80 percent, I was willing to give them a pass.
The following day, the Wizards played the Hornets on the road. They were able to have a strong third quarter and hold a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter. But they missed 17 straight shots and allowed Charlotte to go on a 25-0 run to lose 101-87. Of the two losses, the Charlotte one stings the most. No pun intended.
Wizards play the Celtics on the road tonight and host the Raptors on Saturday
If there's a group of folks who you hope didn't eat too well yesterday, it's the Washington Wizards since they have two games to knock out this weekend. First, they play the Boston Celtics tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tomorrow, they will head back home to face the Toronto Raptors. Both games will be difficult affairs, and Boston's already blew out Washington on their home court earlier this month.
I'll be stoked if the Wizards split this series, or keep things respectable...
John Wall's Adidas contract has expired
According to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post, Wall's shoe contract with Adidas expired on September 30. The timing is quite interesting considering that it happened right before the beginning of the NBA season, and the second version of his J Wall 2's were released not long before then.
Even though he is an apparel free agent, Wall will wear his Adidas shoes on games for the season. He also deflected talk about what brand he may or may not wear in future seasons last Saturday before the Wizards played the Pistons on the road.
"My main focus is just play basketball. I let my agents and marketing team and them negotiate and talk," Wall said after shoot-around at the Palace of Auburn Hills before Saturday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons. "I’m just trying to focus on the season and not worry about what’s going on off the court and play basketball."
That said, Castillo noted that Wall has been wearing other shoes in practice, including Nike. We'll see what company Wall signs with after this season, but if I had to guess, he won't be with Adidas.
I've linked to Akbar's piece on Jared Dudley a couple times earlier this week, and I'll do so again. If and when the Wizards make a change to their starting lineup. Dudley is making a positive impact on the court when he's on the floor, moreso than Kris Humphries despite his improved three-point shot.
I fronted two FanPosts on both members of the House of Guards that I'd like for you to check out.
First, ThePGPhenomenon wrote a FanPost revisiting the hypothetical Bradley Beal for James Harden trade in 2012. At the time I heard the news -- along with the Wizards' 0-12 start in the 2012-13 season -- I was livid. I really wanted the Beard in D.C. to form a superstar guard duo with Wall at the time.
In the FanPost, ThePGPhenomenon compared Wall to Rockets point guard Ty Lawson who was recently benched. He made a case that even though Harden may be a better overall player than Beal, the chemistry that he has with Wall is better for the Wizards than what we could have had with a Wall-Harden duo. This long quote summarizes things quite nicely:
We are so easily caught up in the idea of getting big name players that we do not consider that most of the elite teams do not build their franchises in that manner. The reason why Ty Lawson and James Harden have not, and likely will not gel has nothing to do with talent.
They both are very talented and good at what they do, but it's more about building your team around players who skill set gel together and who game works with the philosophy of the team. That is why despite the flaws in his game, Bradley Beal was and will be the better player to be next to John Wall going forward.
That isn't to say that Bradley Beal is a better player than James Harden, but it simply comes down to fit. Maybe over time, they will figure this out and Lawson and Harden will make this experiment work, but there is nothing out there that suggest that Harden is going to handle the ball less or that Ty Lawson is going to become a more effective player off the ball.
I fronted a second FanPost that kyle.russell.1401 wrote on Wall and his lack of driving hard to the basket in recent seasons. When Wall first came into the NBA, he was best known as a player who drove to the basket and made many close shots. However, he has become a more perimeter oriented player in the last two or three seasons. This hasn't gone unnoticed by opposing defenses:
The only thing that everyone in the world knows is that John shouldn't be a spot up shooter. Unfortunately, he has become one more often than not. Wall is simply watching and standing when the ball isn't in his hand, ready to launch a 3 when the shot clock is about to go off.
This offense needs teams to respect John as an attacker. One reason why he had so many turnovers is that teams know he's going to pass. It's the same pass every time. They just don't fear him attacking the rim off a drive anymore.
There is a poll at the end of the FanPost which asks why Wall isn't so aggressive anymore. My initial thinking is that he isn't driving so hard to the rim because he is trying to preserve his body over the long run. Other drive-heavy point guards like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook have suffered knee injuries which have limited them for long durations of time in the past. It's not unreasonble to see Wall be less aggressive because he wants to keep playing, but he does need to play more to his strengths as well.
Michael Jordan was still a very good NBA player when he was a Wizard
In recent weeks, jokes have been mades about the Wizards' version of Michael Jordan being no better than Kobe Bryant of the Lakers or Peyton Manning of the Broncos NFL team this season. Sure, old Jordan, old Bryant, and old Manning were shells of themselves in their prime. But Jordan was still a very productive player who improved the Wizards in the standings during his two-year stint in the nation's capital. Mitch Northam has more on it.
Nick Young pays homage to Gilbert Arenas
Lakers guard (and former Wizard) Nick Young wore Gilbert Arenas' 2007 Adidas shoes last Tuesday when they played against the Warriors.
A photo posted by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on
Unfortunately, they lost 111-77 to Golden State on the road. That win leads me to another story that's related with Washington NBA basketball, but not the Wizards franchise directly.
The Warriors broke the Washington Capitols' record start on Tuesday
The Washington Capitols (NOT the Capitals hockey team) were a Basketball Association of America (BAA) team that played at the site of the Uline Arena from 1946-51, which was later renamed the Washington Coliseum.
If you don't know what the BAA is, it is the predecessor to the NBA. BAA records are considered part of NBA history. Also, if you're wondering what happened to the Capitols, they folded in the middle of the 1950-51 BAA season. There was an attempted comeback the following year with the American Basketball League, but it also failed. Professional basketball would not return to the area until 1973 when Abe Pollin moved the Baltimore Bullets to Prince George's County where they were renamed the Capital and ultimately the Washington Bullets.
In the 1948-49 BAA season, the Capitols -- who were coached by Celtics great Red Auerbach -- raced to a 15-0 start, a record that would stand the test of time for 65 years until this past Tuesday when the Warriors broke the record.
Nate Parham of Golden State of Mind contemplated the challenge that the Warriors face now that they have made history:
Now the question is how long the Warriors can keep this thing going — without getting too cocky, the next target in their sites should probably be the 33 consecutive wins mark that the 1972-73 L.A. Lakers set. Dating back to last season, the Warriors have now won 20 straight regular season games and, given the way this team has already overcome obstacles this season, it's hard to rule out winning 13 more.
And why stop there? Why not aim for 33 straight in a single season, just to remove any controversy or asterisks?
I don't know if the Warriors will win 33 straight or possibly more, but I will say that until they lose their first game, their opponent any single night will want to win the game more. The question is whether the opposition has the chemistry and/or talent to pull off what is now starting to seem like the impossible.
And for more on the Uline Arena/Washington Coliseum, there is a full 22 minute documentary by the D.C. Preservation League on it. Check it out!
That's all I have on this Black Friday. Enjoy shopping and let's hope for a Wizards win tonight!