If you missed it, we gave a belated review of our best team/player analysis, clipboard, and interviews from last year.
Today, we'll finish our staff's favorite stories. We'll go through our best NBA Playoffs, KD2DC, Mystics, and other miscellaneous stories of 2015.
Best 2015 NBA Playoff Stories
Rob Carr, NBA/Getty Images
The Wizards made the second round of the playoffs for the second straight season as a number five seed.
They defeated the fourth-seeded Toronto Raptors in the first round with a 4-0 sweep -- their first four-game playoff sweep in franchise history. In the second round, they lost to the first-seeded Atlanta Hawks 4-2, though they were leading the series 2-1 at one point after Paul Pierce made this play:
In addition to Nick's aforementioned interview with Jules, we had a lot of great stories during this time and would like to share a couple more favorites with you here.
In the Wizards' first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Otto Porter played the role of defensive specialist off the bench where he was assigned to their star small forward DeMar DeRozan.
In the first quarter of Game 3 in that series, DeRozan scored 20 points -- a Toronto franchise record. After that, Porter held him to 3 of 18 shooting and he was rendered ineffective for the rest of the game.
After the game, Nick interviewed several players including Gortat and Pierce who were complimentary of his performance and development over the regular season. Porter's postseason performance along with Pierce's departure later that summer definitely played a major reason as to why he was named a starter for most the Wizards' games this season.
Paul Pierce is the Michael Jordan Washington D.C. deserves, by Bullet Nation in Exile
Pierce established himself as the franchise player for the Boston Celtics for over a decade, where he won an NBA championship and multiple All-Star appearances along the way. When he signed with the Wizards in the summer of 2014, he was well past his prime. But Pierce still had enough left in the tank to contribute to big games.
Sounds a lot like Michael Jordan's situation when he signed with the Wizards in 2001. However, Jordan wasn't able to lead Washington to the postseason in any of his two seasons with the team.
Bullet Nation talked about those circumstances and more in this must-read piece. Wizards fans still miss Pierce's swagger and knack for making the right play, at the right time, right when the team needed him the most.
I used a lot of "right's" in that last sentence. Right?
The Truth gave the Mother's Day Gift of a lifetime, by Albert Lee
Game 3 of the Wizards' second-round playoff series against the Hawks was on May 9, 2015, the day before Mother's Day. I went on a date with Mom, who was cautiously optimistic that they would win. She -- like a lot of people in the D.C. area -- though watching Pierce in a Wizards uniform last season was surreal. The game-winner at the end was icing on the cake.
Paul, thanks again for making Mother's Day 2015 a special one for my mom and my family!
Other notable playoff stories that were Trending/Best of SB Nation NBA
More notable playoff stories
- It's okay to root for Playoff Randy, by Jake Whitacre
- Otto Porter is DeMar DeRozan's kryptonite, by Albert Lee (after Game 3 vs. the Raptors)
- The NBA Finals window has opened for the Wizards, by Bobby Steele (written between the first and second rounds)
- The step back that saved Washington, by Nick Bilka ( after Game 3 vs. the Hawks)
- Wizards dejected in defeat, but still have a bright future, by Nick Bilka (after Game 6 vs. the Hawks)
Best KD2DC Stories
Geoff Burke, USA Today Sports
Our "Durant Watch 2016" section is one of the most creative sections on Bullets Forever. There, we have managed to turn any and every possible thing related to Durant as a reason why he may be coming to Washington in July 2016 when he is expected to be an unrestricted free agent.
I can promise you that there will be a few more pieces up our Creative Liaison's sleeve when Durant says something to the media or tweets something that looks innocuous on the surface. Now, let's take a look at some of our best #KD2DC takes throughout 2015:
How to get your customized Kevin Durant Wizards jersey, by Bobby Steele
I'll start this section off with something Jake didn't write. As you are probably aware, you can't buy a customized Durant #35 Wizards (or any other non-Thunder team) jersey on NBAStore.com. Bobby decided to exploit other ways for you to get something close. This is one interesting jersey we saw in the stands.
Bringing KD2DC to life through NBA 2KD16, by Jake Whitacre
Video games are a form of virtual reality. When the Wizards aren't doing well in real life, it's not hard to turn on your Xbox One or PlayStation 4 for a redo. Maybe, just maybe they'll win NBA championships for each of the next five or six years!
For the purposes of #KD2DC however, is it possible that he could sign as a free agent in an organic fashion? That answer is also a yes!
I won't spoil how everything goes once Durant signed with the Wizards, but I'll just say that you also have to be careful for what you wish for when you want a franchise star to leave his current city.
Other notable playoff stories that were Trending/Best of SB Nation NBA
- Translating Kevin Durant's Instagram message on Scott Brooks' dismissal, by Jake Whitacre
More notable KD2DC stories
- Getting excited about Kevin Durant will not push him away from signing with the Wizards, by Jake Whitacre
- Even if Kevin Durant plays in D.C., John Wall will remain the Wizards' franchise player, by Albert Lee
- Kevin Durant has given the Wizards another piece of the recruiting puzzle, by Bullet Nation in Exile
Best Mystics Stories
Stewart W. Small
The Mystics play in the summertime when things get a bit light for the Wizards. Besides Summer League and FIBA tournaments, a there just isn't much going on in the NBA.
The Mystics were 18-16 in the 2015 WNBA season where they clinched their third consecutive playoff appearance. It was their first winning regular season since 2010, and also the first time they made the playoffs for three seasons in a row.
Now, let's share some of the best stories over the past summer.:
When Mike Thibault took over the Mystics' general manager and head coach position before 2013, he wanted his team to play at a faster pace. However, they've become an even slower team during each of his three years in Washington.
However, this isn't a bad thing, especially in 2015. The Mystics have developed an efficient offense and kept their turnovers in check. In addition, the offense began to be designed more around its All-Star duo of Emma Meesseman and Stefanie Dolson, who thrive more in a slower pace.
In an ideal world, the Mystics would probably be playing a pace and space system, not unlike the Wizards. But for the time being space alone will do given that Meesseman AND Dolson are reliable three-point shooters.
Over the past three seasons, Meesseman has developed from a reserve power forward into a more assertive starter. To her credit, she has become one of the WNBA's best players on a statistical-only level.
Despite the fact that Meesseman is among the WNBA's statistical leaders in many areas on offense and defense, she still appears to lack a superstar mentality. The Mystics lack a franchise player that most other teams in the league have, but at the same time, Meesseman is just 22 years old.
If she can develop a mentality of being the Mystics' leader on and off the court, you never know. Perhaps she can be the franchise's first superstar since Chamique Holdsclaw over a decade ago.
Other notable Mystics stories
- Why aren't Wizards and D.C. sports fans giving the Mystics much love?, by Albert Lee
- Breaking down how the Mystics made the 2015 WNBA Playoffs, by L.W.
- Three questions the Mystics must address in the 2015-16 offseason, by Albert Lee
Best stories on other random, miscellaneous topics
We've written plenty of random Wizards or basketball-related topics throughout 2015. These stories don't exactly fit into the previous categories but are still great in their own way.
Randy Wittman was great at farting, according to his college teammates, by Jake Whitacre
2015's slate of random Wizards stories began ... with a bang. Dan Dakich, one of Randy Wittman's college teammates at Indiana received a call from fellow Hoosier Uwe Blab. They talked about Wittman's farting skills in their college days.
I wonder how the great Bob Knight would have reacted if he saw Wittman fart to musical tunes during practice or games.....
Comparing John Wall's significance to the Wizards vs. Sue Bird's for the Seattle Storm, by Albert Lee
We were a little annoyed that Wall was left out of the State Farm National Bureau of Assists team that was released on Christmas Day 2014. In February, we were given an opportunity to say that any Wizards player was a "Visionary," "Tenacinator," "Professor," "Clutchman," or "Legend."
I decided to say that Wall was a "Tenacinator" and compared him to the player who had that title. Wall and Bird may not play in the same league and have different strengths, but they use them in quite similar ways, as the piece shows.
This post didn't have much traction here in the D.C. area. But in Seattle and for Storm fans it did, and it makes us happy. Bird's arguably the best point guard in WNBA history. Hopefully, Wall can be one of the best point guards in NBA history when it's said and done as well.
The Wizards are the most functional franchise in Washington D.C., by Jon Munshaw
Jon wrote this piece on September 30, well before we knew that the Capitals would start the first half of their 2015-16 NHL season on a tear and the Redskins would win the NFC East Divisional Title.
But at the time, this piece was totally relevant, and many of Jon's points remain so.
Even though the Wizards are 15-16 as of January 2, 2016, they are a far cry from the "clown" team they were back during Wall's first couple NBA seasons when Nick Young, JaVale McGee, and Andray Blatche were veteran leaders by default.
The front office has had continuity for a long time which other teams in the NBA or the Washington area haven't done. Ernie Grunfeld has managed cap space quite well and his trades have been solid. Randy Wittman has also been given an opportunity to see this rebuild through.
Could things have been better than they have been? Sure. But at the same time, continuity has helped the Wizards develop into a good Eastern Conference team over the past several seasons.
Putting Randy Wittman's claim that he could grab a rebound in today's NBA to the test in NBA 2K16, by Jake Whitacre
The Wizards lost 125-101 to the Thunder on November 10. Coach Wittman wasn't pleased with Marcin Gortat's effort, where he only grabbed one offensive rebound that night.
We got guys that play 27 minutes and get one defensive rebound. I can get a rebound. I guarantee you. You give me 27 minutes on Saturday, I’ll get you a rebound.
The Wizards' next game was on Saturday, November 14 against the Orlando Magic at home, and Randy Wittman was available as a player in NBA2K16. So, our resident Creative Liasion put this claim to the test.
Ultimately, Wittman was able to grab five rebounds, but also score nine points in a close loss to the Magic. But the first rebound -- and Wittman's look -- is priceless:
If you're wondering whether Gortat was able to one-up Wittman's real-life claim, look no further than this clip:
Stop comparing Peyton Manning's and Kobe Bryant's twilights to Michael Jordan's on the Wizards, by Mitchell Northam
This post was already touched on in our Best Tweets: Analytics Version post, but I couldn't help but highlight it again.
But to recap this story, both Manning and Bryant are two of the top stars in both the NFL and NBA respectively for nearly the past two decades. However, both have fallen apart this fall and have been compared to Michael Jordan when he was in a Wizards uniform from 2001-2003.
But they shouldn't be.
Jordan averaged over 20 points a game in each of his two Wizards seasons and was playing like a centerpiece for the team. Was he playing at an MVP level? No. But Jordan still was more than holding his own on the court where he played all 82 games in his final NBA season among other things.
If anything, Jordan's Wizards tenure shows future proof why he is considered the Greatest Player of All Time.
No, Wizards fans didn't boo John Wall, by Nick Bilka
The Wizards lost 108-104 to the Lakers on December 2. Kobe Bryant scored 34 rebounds and dished 11 assists in the win in his last game at Verizon Center. There were plenty of cheers for him by the plenty of Lakers fans in the Verizon Center that night.
Meanwhile, John Wall was booed. The Washington media made it seem like Wizards fans were booing him.
I just saw John Wall's mom crying after the game. I can't believe how fans boo him here. #wizards— Erin Hawksworth (@ABC7Erin) December 3, 2015
But that wasn't the case. Nick set the record straight by reiterating that the arena was overrun by Lakers fans, especially since it was Bryant's last game in D.C.
It's still damning that the Verizon Center still gets overrun by fans of the opposing team, even after some playoff success. But it's not Wizards fans who are booing the team's stars.
The former Wizards star was well received during the NBA Playoffs for his Instagram Posts trash talking their opponents. I also felt that his renewed fandom was a sign of good faith that perhaps he wanted to be re-embraced by the Wizards organization after his infamous locker room incident with Javaris Crittenton in 2009. I even called for the Wizards to officially reconcile with him when the playoffs were in full swing.
I didn't expect for it to happen of course. And sure enough, Arenas decided to post some offhand December Instagram posts about women's basketball. They pissed off a lot of WNBA players and show why the Wizards are reluctant to reconcile with him. Those posts ensure that such a thing won't happen anytime soon.
If you're wondering what happened to those Instagram posts, Arenas has deleted them all from the account.
Last week, he posted a video of his 8-year-old son clinging to the hood of his Polaris Slingshot. Consequently, Laura Govan, his ex and mother of his children wasn't amused. She is reportedly threatening to significantly limit Arenas' visitation rights because of the aforementioned video and other things.
Other notable miscellaneous stories that were Trending/Best of SB Nation NBA
- Paul Pierce is the greatest troll in NBA history, by Jake Whitacre
More notable miscellaneous stories:
- Wizards wins, #WIZ50, and why discounted Papa John's Pizza is becoming the norm, by Albert Lee (during the 2014-15 season)
- Which Wizards player likes free hotel slippers?, by Jake Whitacre
- Did off-the court events cause the Wizards to lose many games in February?, by Kelly Cohen
- Wizards host Polish Heritage Night in style, by Albert Lee
- John Wall says he's the fastest player in the NBA, could beat Russell Westbrook in 40 yard dash, by Jake Whitacre
- Almost half of the 2014-15 Wizards were not looking at the camera in this team photo, by Jake Whitacre
- Kevin Seraphin's shadow is holding him hostage in Knicks tweet, by Jake Whitacre
- We almost had a Tay Zonday - Gilbert Arenas collaboration and it would have made the internet collapse into a black hole, by Jake Whitacre
- Lakers fan brings back THE KOBE MASK for Kobe's final game at the Verizon Center, by Michael Katz