Hope you had a great Thanksgiving Thursday and are enjoying shopping on this Black Fridays. I’m still getting over a big dinner yesterday, so I’ll cut to the chase. Here are the main stories of the week!
Wizards move up to 12th in the Eastern Conference, but they’re still 4-9
4-9 is by no means a good record. But the Wizards have won two of their last three including their close 119-112 win over the Knicks last Thursday before Thanksgiving:
- Last Saturday, the Wizards lost to the Heat, 114-111. Both John Wall and Bradley Beal scored 34 points each in the loss.
- And on Monday, the Wizards beat the Suns 106-101 thanks to Beal, who scored a career-high 42 to close things out.
The Wizards play the Magic on the road tonight and host the Spurs tomorrow night. If they can with both games, they’ll get to 6-9 and toward the pack of the conference.
Scott Brooks called John Wall the Wizards’ “worst defender” in first film session of the season
Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report wrote a column on Wednesday about Wall and Beal. As you probably know, their “on-court tension” was publicized last summer, soon after Beal inked his maximum contract extension. That is something we know already.
Bucher also disclosed something that wasn’t known previously: Head Coach Scott Brooks called Wall out during a film session early this season calling him the worst defender “by far” after pointing out several situations where he did not get into form.
Wall took the high road saying “Damn, I do look like the worst defender. I can’t say nothing back.” But it’s safe to say that he at least isn’t playing where he should be. That, his lack of “turning a corner” with Beal, and the Wizards’ bad start are only raising questions as to whether they are bound to stay together for long. One scout on another Eastern Conference team wonders if they are “made for each other.”
Just a couple years ago, the House of Guards looked like the heir apparent to the Warriors’ “Splash Brothers.” But the more the Wizards lose, the more likely it looks like we’re close to the end of the Wall Era.
The Mystics will not have Emma Meesseman for at least part of 2017 due to EuroBasket
It is good news for Meesseman and Belgian basketball fans. It’s better news than their men’s basketball group placement in EuroBasket. But Belgium’s EuroBasket appearance is not exactly good news for the Mystics because they will miss her for part of next season.
We also had a chance to see how she thinks and approaches the game, which is quite different from the way most American stars view it. And finally, Belgian head coach Philip Mestdagh had some remarks that this was a big moment for women’s basketball in their country.
Tomas Satoransky and the Czech Republic are in for the men’s EuroBasket tournament as well
In 2015, the Czechs made the quarterfinals in EuroBasket with Satoransky leading the way. Today, he’s better than ever and the Czechs will play in Group C, which features 2015 champion Spain, but also unranked Romania and Hungary. The men’s EuroBasket will be in September of next year.
It’s Thanksgiving Weekend, so here were some things that we saw from the players:
- We gave Marcus Thornton a lot of grief for his play over the last few weeks. But he delivered 150 turkeys in the D.C. community earlier this week. So let’s give him kudos for that:
- Wall also hosted a Thanksgiving dinner to over 400 families and gave a turkey to them for Thursday at Malcolm X Elementary School in D.C.
Wizards news and analysis
- Re-live Bradley Beal’s 42 point night against the Suns. According to Scott Allen of The Washington Post, Beal stated that Wall kept calling plays for him.
- John Wall is playing fewer minutes this year than last year. Yet, he’s getting to the line at a higher rate.
- Before the Suns game, Jake gave the House of Guards Keys to the Palace along with Markieff Morris who has been there most of the time this season.
- Ian Mahinmi returned to practice with the Wizards last Saturday. He hopes to make his season debut by the end of the month.
- Danuel House played a couple games in the D-League last week for the Delaware 87ers and returned earlier this week.
- Blaise Malley of Wiz of Awes writes that the Wizards’ offense can’t be too Wall-centric. Malley goes on to add that Washington’s system depends on Wall being a scorer, when he should resort more to his playmaking tendencies. I agree to some extent, but Wall needs to play off the ball more as well. You can make an argument that the Wizards will be too dependent on Wall if he is only a distributor. Ultimately, there needs to be some balance between scoring and distributing.
- Candace Buckner of The Washington Post wrote about the Wizards’ tracking Beal’s physical movements on the court. They’re literally tracking his movements with a GPS monitor! The main reason is to prevent injuries, so it’s not like they make him wear it 24/7. At least that’s how I read it.
- Speaking about injury prevention, Otto Porter missed practice last Tuesday due to hip soreness. But at least he has a break until tonight.
Bria Hartley is still a workout warrior eight months into her pregnancy
The Mystics guard is about eight months pregnant, and she looks great! Here’s a recent photo from her Instagram where she announced that she will have a boy.
There’s a reason behind that, and it’s not solely because of genes. Hartley is working her butt off in the gym doing strength workouts and ... one handed push ups like Rocky Balboa?
Regardless, it takes time to get back on the court after a pregnancy. But the good news is that Hartley is in excellent shape when she’s ready to play games again.
- Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post interviewed a bunch of Wizards fans who feel hopeless once again because of no #KD2DC and the slow start.
- Remember Kevin, the young Wizards fan from Philadelphia who was crying during the 76ers game not long ago? Well, he’s a die-hard Marcin Gortat fan. So much so that he has a shrine of Gortat and Wizards memorabilia in his room, not to mention that his parents occasionally drive to Washington to watch games as well. Scott Allen of The Washington Post interviewed his mom Aga Olechno about it.
- This came out a little over a week ago, but these are fun. Check out the Wizards’ throwback video at Verizon Center as they pay tribute to the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s. Along the way, the Wizards pay tribute to songs, television shows, and Wizards stars of the past. I will say that Jason Smith looks interesting in the Hammer Pants....
- And here’s the Wizards “In The City” opening video when you can check out the team in their street clothes in and around Washington with the #DCFamily.
Our 'In the City' open video featuring our guys in their element! pic.twitter.com/DfDUQouJdm— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) November 23, 2016
- Bradley Beal and former
WizardsBullets star Bob Dandridge went to Ben’s Chili Bowl with NBA TV’s Dennis Scott.
- Daniel Ochefu, Ivory Latta, Phil Chenier, and Etan Thomas went to Johnson Middle School in D.C. to launch the Jr. NBA and Discovery Education’s math initiative. Ochefu did the speaking in this segment:
So, that’s it! These are just some of the many links from the past week. If there are more you’d like to share, feel free to share them in the comments or as a FanPost.
Enjoy your Christmas shopping on this Black Friday, and see you tonight for the GameThread between the Wizards and Magic.