To understand the origin of the American Hustle Squad, one must realize the Wizards have been PLAGUED with injuries this year. It has gotten so bad that the team had to cut ties with Martell Webster to make room to sign an emergency big man, Ryan Hollins. So far this year alone the Wizards have missed:
Marcin Gortat (4 Games)
Gary Neal (8 Games)
Kris Humphries (9 Games)
Bradley Beal (19 Games)
Nene (21 games)
Alan Anderson (36 Games)
This unfortunate occurrence leads to the Wizards bench players (not even role players) to step up. While it hasn't always been pretty, it's hard to say that the team hasn't hustled at a level not commonly seen in DC. Although it is John Wall that sets the bar and leads by example, players have emerged this year that we may not have been counting on (heavily at least) when the season started.
Let's make a proper introduction.
Otto Porter in the role of Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper)
"I'm not supposed to be talking like this, but I don't care, I break the rules."
Although Otto Porter is often caught on the wrong end of a bad play, we have to admire his confidence he has shown in his 3rd year in the NBA. He has had a great string of games and also has battled the injury bug. Otto has the length to disrupt most shots and his hustle is admirable. He can be seen cutting to the basket or spotting up for a 3 pointer.
Kelly Oubre in the role of Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams)
"You're nothing to me until you're everything."
The rookie is sadly (?) sometimes the Wizards best defender on the floor when the Wizards are injured. Against Chicago, he was in a lineup alongside Ramon Sessions, Gary Neal, Drew Gooden and DeJuan Blair. A ROOKIE WAS THE TEAMS BEST DEFENDER. We all know Kelly has the confidence to be the best and let's just hope his hunger and desire to be great leads him to glory (like an Oscar?)
Jared Dudley in the role of Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner)
"No, no, no. I’m sorry. I’m very nervous."
The beginning of the season was a tough one for new Wizard, Jared Dudley. Coming off back surgery, Dudley needed to get on the court to get himself in shape. There was a point in the month of December where Dudley was the top three-point shooter in the league! I'd like to deem him as a stretch four version of our old friend, the PROFESSOR ANDRE MILLER. Dudley attacks the basket in slow motion, but when he dishes the ball for an easy dunk, hustle has no speed limit.
Drew Gooden in the role of Rosalyn Rosenfeld (Jennifer Lawrence)
"Don't make such a big deal! Just get another one."
Although often unhealthy, Drew Gooden can be credited as the savior of this team's first playoff run back in 2014. He stepped in and provided some stretch four punch off the bench, after starting off the season on a 10-day contract. In his 10th game this season, Drew Gooden stepped up when Marcin Gortat was a late scratch due to an infection. 10 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes do not tell the whole story of his performance on Friday. His fight on the boards got the Wizards second chances to score and emphasized the epitome of the American Hustle Squad. Never. Stop. Hustling.
Garrett Temple in the role of Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale)
"Did you ever have to find a way to survive and you knew your choices were bad, but you had to survive?"
The perfect quote to summarize the leader of the American Hustle Squad. Garrett Temple, a journeyman, has earned the keys to the starting shooting guard position (in the absence of Bradley Beal). His tenacious and disruptive play on the defensive end and his aggressiveness attacking the basket has GT earning his minutes this year. Temple has always had to earn his minutes, he wasn't selected as the "face of the franchise", but he is a coaches dream. The American Hustle Squad begins and ends with GT.
The squad might never win DC a championship, but it is keeping the Wizards alive in a rough stretch of the season. With players hopefully set to return soon, it'll be interesting to see what happens to this admirable squad. They may be called upon come playoff time and we can be assured that hustle never dies.
By the way, if you hashtag #AHS in honor of the American Hustle Squad, I am aware that #AHS is also indicative of American Horror Story. This #AHS could turn into that #AHS at any time, and that's the beauty of it.