Thanksgiving Weekend is over, and we’re quickly heading toward Christmas, Hannukah, and the new year. The Wizards’ season is still relatively young, but we’re getting close to a point whether we should see the Wizards try to stay alive in the playoff race or whether they should look to the 2017 NBA Draft ... and more than that.
Wizards go 1-2, now 6-11 for the season
- Last Saturday, the Spurs methodically beat the Wizards at their eastern home in Washington, 112-100.
- Last Monday, the Wizards beat the Kings in overtime, 101-95.
- And last Wednesday, they lost to the Thunder in overtime, 126-115.
Things just aren’t going well and at some point, maybe that’s just how it is.
Sometimes, the bench doesn’t produce points at all and the starters’ decent performance are put to waste. Other times, a starter gets frustrated and earns a one-way ticket to the locker room.
With DeMarcus Cousins in town, the talk about reuniting with Wall begins
With Kevin Durant out of the free agent picture (for now), Wizards fans have said prayers out loud hoping that the Kings center will demand a trade out of Sacramento and only to Washington. He’s one of the NBA’s best low post scorers, and has a good three point shot to go with it as well. Finally, Cousins won a Gold Medal with Team USA in the Olympics last summer.
Before Monday’s game, Cousins brought up the topic that he and Wall talk about playing on the same team regularly. Okay, “all the time,” according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.
It’s not surprising to see that. Cousins and Wall are friends since their time in college at Kentucky. And they both play for franchises that are in a rut. If they both played together on the same team, perhaps it could change the fortunes for one of their teams. In Sacramento, the Kings haven’t made the playoffs in a decade and almost relocated until new ownership “saved the day.” The Wizards on the other hand are firmly on the Treadmill of Mediocrity and are the only franchise to have never won 50 regular season games since the 1970’s.
Jake noted earlier that the talk about Cousins’ and Wall’s availability isn’t going away for some time. And though the talk around D.C. will be #DC2DC or #DMC2DC, it’s not like Kings fans aren’t thinking that Wall could be the point guard who Boogie needs either. And as Buckner’s piece in The Washington Post article noted, Eric Bledsoe wouldn’t mind being part of the same team as both Wall and Cousins either. What if Wall and Cousins head to the desert at some point in the future?
I don’t like talking about the speculation of a future John Wall-Era of the Wizards when we aren’t even 20 games into the season. But the bottom line is that the Wizards are performing well below expectations this season, including expectations that they would just eke into the playoffs. Until the Wizards manage to win games and look more promising, the speculation about a Cousins reunion isn’t going away, Neither will the speculation of Wall’s free agent destination in 2019.
Bill Simmons says the Wizards should end the John Wall Era now, begin a “Tankapalooza”
The former Grantland Editor in Chief made a case on his podcast that the Wizards need to trade John Wall now and begin a new rebuild with a “tankapalooza.” Scott Allen of The Washington Post appears to disagree with it because the Wizards are losing with Wall on the roster as is, and that he’s arguably the only “untradable” player on the roster.
I’m on the fence on whether it is time to trade Wall for draft picks and start “The Process” over again, since I find that a better term than “tankapalooza.” The Wizards made a considerable number of moves with their coaching staff and their personnel, so it’s fair to say that you can’t blow up the team today. The Wizards owe it to themselves to see how this team will be.
On the other hand, the Wizards come into this season with a playoff berth as a virtual mandate of sorts. This team at the top isn’t that different from the 2014-15 team that made the Eastern Conference Semifinals. However, the Wizards aren’t even close to looking like a playoff team.
They failed to get Kevin Durant last summer, who was the only free agent that most Wizards fans would be satisfied with as the marquee signing. They dug themselves an early hole this season, in large part because of their bench, and don’t appear to be able to close that gap anytime soon. Many NBA pundits believed the Wizards were a borderline playoff team, but few would have predicted seeing the Wizards one of the East’s worst teams nearly 25 percent into the season.
A new coaching staff and players need time to mesh. But I find it hard to believe that their floor should be a 6-11 team at this point into the season. Since that appears to be the case, I lean a bit more toward Simmons than most of the D.C. area media or most Wizards fans, who believe Wall must be kept at all costs. If this happened three years ago, I’d lean the other way, but we’ve seen the Wizards show some success at the playoff level. Since 2014-15, the Wizards have regressed even though Wall is entering into his prime.
In short, if the Wizards will never look like a contender with Wall, I don’t see the point in keeping him when the team could acquire multiple younger players or higher draft picks for him. I don’t believe the Wizards should try to trade him this season because Ernie Grunfeld, Scott Brooks, and the rest of the basketball operations folks deserve a chance to see how everything plays out given the amount of change last summer. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong.
But at the same time, it’s hard to see things change drastically for the better. So if things don’t, the Wizards should start thinking about a future that doesn’t include any major face they have right now from Grunfeld on down.
Team Analysis and Highlights
- The Wizards are losing games, but the Wall-Beal backcourt looks as good as it has ever been. If the Wizards end up winning more games soon, I’ll call this a silver lining.
- And here’s a rundown on the Wizards’ collapse to the Thunder.
- The silver lining to that loss? John Wall made this dunk on Enes Kanter.
- Kyle Weidie of Truth About It visualizes the number of blown leads throughout the cours of this season with a number of graphs.
- Josh Benjamin of Forbes lays down the Wizards’ weaknesses ... and also a silver lining: despite all of the negativity, they Wizards still have a shot to make a big Eastern Conference playoff run.
- Ryan Anderson really thought he’d play for the Wizards after getting a phone call from Ernie Grunfeld last summer. Anderson was so pumped that he texted Wall about it. Grunfeld never called again.
- The Mystics 2017 schedule is out. It’s also their 20th season, so they have release their shootaround playlist below:
Our 20th season is here! We’re feeling nostalgic, so here's a 90's playlist for the home schedule! #tbt— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) December 1, 2016
>> https://t.co/KQGiXNA2Y6 pic.twitter.com/yLqFJcH5ai
- Ben Standig and Michael Lee of The Vertical do a podcast on the Five Stages of Gilbert Arenas. They also talked in-depth about The Ernie Grunfeld Era.
So that’s all for now folks. If you have another piece you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments or in a FanPost. Have a great weekend!