The weather is getting warmer here in the DMV and it's spring break for many of the school districts in Northern Virginia. Next week, the Maryland school districts around D.C. will go through the same. That also means the regular season is coming to an end, and the Wizards have a lot to play for. Let's go through the top stories of the week.
Wizards are still out of the Top-8 :(
The Wizards clawed their way back to a 35-35 record after winning their fourth and fifth games in a row against the Knicks last Saturday, and the Hawks on Monday. Considering that they lost five games in a row before the five-game winning streak, it's a good thing that the team is playing with a sense of urgency.
That said, they played the Hawks again on Wednesday. A crummy second half and a crummier fourth quarter was all that was needed to suck out all of the positive momentum built thus far. A 122-101 loss was the end result.
Washington's now 35-36, but they are 10th in the Eastern Conference and 2.5 games behind the Detroit Pistons for the eighth seed. As a result, their odds for being postseason bound are a lot worse.
Washington plays again tonight when the host the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7 p.m. EDT.
The terrorist attacks in Brussels hit close to home for Emma Meesseman
On Tuesday morning, there were multiple bombings at Brussels International Airport and at a metro station in Molenbeek, a district within Brussels, Belgium. Brussels is a major European city, where it is the capital of Belgium and the European Union. Our sympathies go out to those affected.
There are no current NBA players from Belgium. But Emma Meesseman is from there. She sent out this tweet during Tuesday morning that her parents were going to fly Wednesday and that her brother also studies there.
Two explosions in Zaventem airport-Brussels with several dead. My parents are supposed to fly tomorrow, my brother studies in Brussels.— Emma Meesseman (@EmmaMeesseman) March 22, 2016
And she also tweeted this out when the Molenbeek explosion happened.
Another explosion in metro Maelbeek-brussels. They are speaking of bombs. Please be careful— Emma Meesseman (@EmmaMeesseman) March 22, 2016
Close calls indeed. We're glad to see that Meesseman's family is safe, even though she herself is in Russia playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg.
Our top Features
Emma's Straight Outta Ieper
Sticking with the topic about Belgium, we'll focus on a more positive aspect. Meesseman practiced with a girl's team in Ieper, her hometown. It's great and adorable at the same time. This coach and his smirk after Meesseman missed one free throw are something I'm just never going to get over.
Coach: You missed the FT, now will you go out with me?— Albert L. (@aleeinthedmv) March 24, 2016
Emma: Only if you'll play me 1 on 1 right now on video pal! pic.twitter.com/6Q3cL0tXKt
Markieff Morris is the man!
Regardless of whether the Wizards make the playoffs, the Markieff Morris trade has worked out as planned. Mike Sykes has more, where he gave a more detailed analysis on how Morris shut down Carmelo Anthony during last Saturday's Knicks game.
Staying on that note, the Wizards' starting lineup of Morris, Marcin Gortat, Otto Porter, Bradley Beal, and John Wall has performed very well since the All-Star Break. At least as of March 22, that lineup had a net rating of +17.9 points per 100 possessions played. Outstanding!
Ramon Sessions: Shot-blocker extraordinaire
This is only something Jake Whitacre can do. Watch the vines for your viewing pleasure.
Best features outside of Bullets Forever
More head coach candidate lists
Fimihan Oshin of Wiz of Awes wrote up a list of five Wizards head coach candidates should Randy Wittman not return next season. Here are the ones on his short list:
- Becky Hammon, San Antonio Spurs Assistant
- Mike D'Antoni, Philadelphia 76ers Assistant
- Scott Brooks, former Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach
- Luke Walton, Golden State Warriors Assistant
- Sam Cassell, Los Angeles Clippers Assistant
D.C. Councilwoman speaks out on the benefits of the Wizards/Mystics practice facility
LaRuby May, Councilwoman of Ward 8 in Washington, wrote a column on The Washington Post stating that the Wizards and Mystics practice facility is about investing in the area, which has not seen the revitalization that other parts of D.C. have over the past several years.
May took issue with At-Large Councilwoman Elissa Silverman, who wanted the financing for the practice facility to be reviewed in more detail if it were to cost more than $50 million. In her response, May stated that Ward 8 needs more investment, not just with a practice facility, but with all major types of development.
But so you know, some Mystics fans aren't happy about the practice facility
With practice facility news back online, I felt this was a good time to write about how some Mystics fans feel about the news and their move to Southeast.
As you are aware, the Mystics will play their home games at the practice facility's 5,000 arena once it is completed. Most of the public believe it is a positive thing, from Wizards fans to the D.C. government.
If you're a Mystics fan who is lukewarm about the Wizards -- or doesn't care about them -- you probably don't feel that way.
This is a column by Think Progress' Lindsay Gibbs on September 22, 2015. It went into more detail on how a couple fans, Neena Chaudhry and Jennifer Mezey felt about the Mystics moving to the new facility. They believe that the St. Elizabeth's location is inconvenient for the bulk of fans. I certainly understand where they are coming from.
This quote however from Southern Utah University economics professor David Berri, puts Mystics' fans fears into words:
The idea that this helps the Mystics or the WNBA in any real way is ridiculous. It sounds to me like they want a practice facility for [the Wizards], they want the public to fund it, and they’re adding the Mystics as PR.
Let me start with this. I agree with the Berri that the Mystics are an "add-on" to the process. This new facility in its current scale would have never been built with some public funds unless the Wizards were involved. I also agree with Chaudhry and Mezey that the St. Elizabeth's location is inconvenient for season ticket holders if they don't live in Southeast Washington or Prince George's County, Maryland which is to the East.
I'm still bitter about old wounds before the Mike Thibault Era, but I feel that the 2013 WNBA Draft's outcome could have changed some things if the lottery balls fell Washington's way after a 5-29 season in 2012.
To me at least, I just don't see the Mystics moving to a 5,000 seat arena if Skylar Diggins, Elena Delle Donne, or Brittney Griner were their franchise player for the last three seasons if the team won a Top-3 draft pick in 2013. As Gibbs' column noted, the Mystics were doing very well with attendance in their early years, even if many of those tickets were complimentary.
Even though the Mystics have played well in each of the last three seasons, the attendance has sucked. Sure, they play good basketball given what they have, but no player is a big enough box-office attraction draw decent crowds.
I do take issue with Berri's statement that the practice facility wouldn't help the Mystics.
Sure, the Mystics are moving into a smaller venue, but they will still be practicing in a state-of-the-art facility from the basketball courts, to sports medicine, and to nutrition. I get that the WNBA season is short, but some players are always in town during the NBA season.
Having a full practice facility to work out in during the winter is a much better situation than the current situation they have now. The major college programs around here have better practice facilities than the Wizards and Mystics do. That doesn't sit well with me.
John Wall believes this season is unacceptable (though it's salvageable)
Earlier this week, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post wrote about how John Wall feels about this season. Wall's answer to that:
I think about [our mediocre record] every day, to be honest with you. I’m thinking, ‘There’s no way in hell we should be in this situation. We should already have a playoff spot. We should be done with that.’ Now we’re fighting for dear life.
I'm not surprised that the Wizards' record is more or less around .500. The Eastern Conference as a whole has improved from last season while Washington hasn't made many moves to bolster their lineup. In addition, injuries -- especially those to Bradley Beal and Alan Anderson -- have complicated things even more.
Given the Morris trade, I'm in favor of the Wizards fighting for a playoff spot. Morris is the Wizards' de-facto 2016 first round pick, and the good news is that he's working out so far. Hopefully, that momentum continues into next season so the Wizards can hopefully make a deep playoff run in 2017.
So, those are the links I have for this week, as well as my random opinions on various topics. These clearly aren't the only links out there, so if you do, feel free to write a FanPost on them!