Sorry I haven't been terribly active in the forefront lately. It's been a couple crazy weeks for me at work so pring is around the corner, which means that the end of the NBA regular season is coming near.
The Wizards are getting back on track
With the roster now as healthy as it's ever been all season, the Wizards have gone 7-2 since the All-Star Break and are now ... 30-30 this season. It wasn't that easy, though.
The Wizards won four straight games over the past seven days by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers on the road last Friday, demolishing the Cavaliers at home on Sunday, followed by another big win against Philly the next day. Then on Wednesday, the Wizards beat a young Minnesota Timberwolves team.
Sure, three of these four wins were against teams that don't figure to be in the playoff picture. In fact, last Friday's win over the 76ers mathematically eliminated them from the playoffs. However, wins are wins. The Wizards can use any and every win they can get at this point in order to be in the postseason picture.
Wizards play the Cavaliers tonight on ESPN
This is the last regular season game against the Wine and Gold. If Washington wins, we will now have a winning record for at least a day. The "bad news" about this game is that it's on the road, but given how fickle home crowds are, the Wizards are kinda used to being a road team every night... :(
Polish Heritage Night is tomorrow against the Pacers
- Wiz Throwback Night
- Kids Night
Therefore, it's going to be an action-packed night at Verizon Center. The Wizards will wear customized Polish Heritage Night Warm Ups:
The shirt says "Wizards Basketball" literally in Polish. Gotta cop one of those this weekend.
ElleLoveTennis wrote about an interesting but concerning trend during the 2015 Mystics season: Despite the fact that Emma Meesseman and Stefanie Dolson were All-Stars, their production dropped when other posts like Kia Vaughn and LaToya Sanders were available. On the surface, this is a good thing. But in actuality, the Mystics were performing considerably worse once they were playing and taking away playing time from The Washington Posts.
Hands11 wrote about an area where John Wall must improve on in order to improve on his position as one of the NBA's best point guards: He must improved his shooting efficiency.
Finally, Brendon Glad wrote about Nene's significane to the Wizards, even though he's not what he once used to be. The Big Brazilian remains one of the NBA's best in player efficiency, +/-, and clutch shooting among other stats this season.
Best BF Features
Jake wrote about several trends about Bradley Beal's 2015-16 season. Overall, it's a promising picture since his shooting percentages have gone up without John Wall's presence. This isn't a statement that he and Wall should part ways, but it really is more of a sign that Beal can carry more of the load on his own.
DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant got into a shoving match last week. Here's what the translator said.
And Floyd Mayweather attended the Wizards' knockout of the Cavaliers.
Best Wizards/Mystics features outside of Bullets Forever
Howard Megdal of Excelle Sports wrote this feature on Stefanie Dolson and her time at USA Basketball's training camp last week at the University of Connecticut. The article hits on two main points.
First, as you may be aware, Dolson has one of the most outgoing personalities in the WNBA. She's known for dancing off against Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and falling off the steps during a visit to the White House. Dolson's even known for going mano y mano against G-Wiz and pushing him in the process. Second, her game isn't bad either since she's a 2015 All-Star where she's proven to be a stretch-five, a good post playmaker, AND defender -- all in the same body.
Megdal implies that the league should market Dolson more and I appreciate his note that "it was a bit surprising" that an injury to Kia Vaughn sparked Dolson's rise in the pro ranks. He also seems to imply that with Emma Meesseman -- who we pretty much have an entire blog for here -- The Washington Posts figure to form one of the best young duos in the league.
Grant Thomas of Wiz of Awes wrote about John Wall's desire for more national attention. Though he certainly is worthy of more attention than he gets, the reality is that he may not get his fair share until ... Kevin Durant shows up in Monumental Red.
Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post wrote about the Wizards' resurgence here. Since they have an "easy" schedule and are as healthy as they have been all season, it's all we can hope for with a playoff push. Hopefully we won't simply be the eighth seed though I wouldn't mind a first round win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post wrote about Monumental Sports' decision to raise most Wizards season ticket prices for the third straight season. Unlike last season when prices went up by a third in many locations, about half of all season ticket prices either stayed the same, or went up by less than five percent. Even though the schedule looks easier for the rest of the season, I still don't like the increase and I'll add another take on it when I have a chance.
Steinberg also wrote about a recent interview Randy Wittman gave on ESPN 980. He wasn't too thrilled about the A word. No, it's not Albert. It's analytics. Here's the money quote that the coach gave in the interview:
"I’ve got to coach the team," Wittman went on. "Analytics haven’t won a ballgame. You’ve got to take what you have and put guys in position that they can best succeed at. And there are some things with numbers that help that, but if you see some of the number sheets that we have, it would drive you crazy. But you know what, that’s the world we live in. You can fight that, but that does you no good. Listen, I’ve been in the business 32 years now. We had analytics back in the ’80s, alright? We had numbers. Plus-minus, and guys playing with certain guys, and that’s never changed. It’s just now, for whatever reason … Hey, it’s good for some people. Because guys have gotten a lot of jobs because that of word."
To be fair, Wittman is spot on in my opinion, and he's probably not as anti-analytics as you think. Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports also wrote about Randy Wittman's interview here.