For each of the last two years, I was used to taking my mom out to a Wizards game in early May to celebrate Mother's Day. Unfortunately, that won't be happening this year because we missed the postseason for the first time since 2014.
With the Wizards' season now over, the Mystics' season is also about to begin with the WNBA Draft yesterday.
Now, let's get through the Top Stories of the Week.
Wizards finish the season 41-41
The Wizards were officially eliminated from playoff contention last Friday with a 112-99 loss to the Detroit Pistons. They would go on to win their next three games with a 113-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets last Sunday, and a 120-111 winon the road against the Brooklyn Nets. Finally, the Wizards finished the season with a 109-98 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
After everything's said and done, the Wizards finished their third straight season with a .500 or better record.
Wizards fire Randy Wittman, Scott Brooks among the frontrunners to be head coach
After he gave his postgame presser for the Hawks game, Wittman was informed by Team President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld that he will no longer be with the team. Grunfeld spoke to the media the very next day. Whenever he speaks, no one gives him a break.
Former Thunder head coach Scott Brooks is one of the frontrunners to replace Wittman, but you never know what will ultimately happen. To that end, we updated our post on possible head coach candidates. Whether you're a Thibs fan -- who could be Thibodeau or THIBAULT -- a Mark Jackson fan, a Calipari fan or someone who Bleeds Blue,
we managed to write about why Washington should consider most of these names this summer in a preliminary discussion.
Finally, Jake and Quentin rolled out the mic's for a podcast today.
Mystics draft Kahleah Cooper 7th in the 2016 WNBA Draft, also draft Lia Galdeira and Danaejah Grant
On Thursday morning and afternoon, many of you were venting on why Ernie Grunfeld still had a job. On Thursday evening, we wonder why you'd say #Thibs2DC when #ThibsIsInDCAlready. He's just on the other side of the hall.
The WNBA Draft was on Thursday, and the Mystics made sound moves, as you should expect. They drafted Rutgers swingman Kahleah Cooper in the first round, who will help shore up the small forward position while Galdeira and Grant will make backcourt battles VERY competitive during training camp.
I was a little surprised that Cooper was drafted at number 7 -- and L.W. didn't mention her in our Draft Preview -- but the Mystics don't have any sore positional needs like they did a couple years ago. Given that the top two small forwards -- Breanna Stewart and Aerial Powers -- were drafted already, Cooper is a good consolation prize.
A video draft party
I was part of a LiveStream on the WNBA 365 Network that hosted a Live Viewing Party, and I embedded the two-hour discussion below.
I was there to represent BF, but here's a lineup of the other writers in the LiveStream who included:
- Callan McClurg, WNBA 365 host
- Aneela Khan, StarsHoops.net
- James Bowman, writer for the Atlanta Dream WNBA team
- Caleb Currier, womenshoopsworld.com
- T.J. Centinaro, freelance writer
- Steve Rice, WBBDaily
- Eric Nemchock, Today's Fastbreak
We also had several notable guests during the LiveStream, who included:
- San Antonio Stars forward Dearica Hamby
- Oregon State -- and now Dallas Wings center -- Ruth Hamblin, the 18th pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft. Hamblin led the Beavers to the 2016 Final Four, their first in school. She also won the NCAA Division I women's basketball's Elite 90 Award which is handed to the best player in the country who also has the best academic record.
- Former WNBA player Chasity Melvin. Melvin played for the Mystics from 2004-2007 and from 2009-2010.
I had some technical difficulties on my end at times and wasn't able to speak as much as I would have liked. However, here are a couple takeaways I liked from being on the LiveStream:
- At the WNBA Draft, only 12 players are invited to attend the event at the Mohegan Sun Casino. Most of them are expected to be drafted in the lottery or soon after. However, we don't get to see how life is for the players who are not invited there. On Thursday, we got a glimpse of that as Hamblin was interviewed by all of us in the moments after she was drafted. Her phone went off like crazy with text messages, likely from friends and family who were elated to see her get drafted.
- I asked Melvin one question about her time with the Mystics, specifically in 2010 when they won the first seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Washington had a 22-12 record that season won the number-one seed on a six-game winning streak, but lost to the Atlanta Dream in the first round of the playoffs. Melvin replied that that was one of the most disappointing moments during her playing career. She also believed that if they defeated the Dream in the first round, the Mystics could have been Finals-bound that season. I will take it one step further and say the Washington could have won the whole thing in 2010 as well, even if they faced the Seattle Storm in the Finals. They split the regular season series against them that year, winning at home. And they were the only team to give the Storm a fight for their lives on the road.
Again, I had a great time being on the LiveStream. A big thanks to Aneela for inviting me and Callan for letting us all on his platform.
Best BF Features
I had a chance to chat with Ken Rabin (a/k/a WarsawKen) recently about his Wizards and Bullets fandom. I got to learn about how a long-time Washington resident moved to Poland and still find a way to follow the Wizards. A great read indeed.
John Wall and Gilbert Arenas share a lot of common traits as the Wizards' franchise players during different times. But trust me on this one when I say it. This post isn't really about Wall's and Arenas' similarities.
Best features outside of Bullets Forever
Ben Mehic of Wiz of Awes wrote a column on the Wizards' head coaching vacancy. He stresses that the Wizards should look outside the box with their next hire, and he may very well concur with me that at least some of the "unconventional" hires like the real Thibs should get a look.
Jerry Brewer of The Washington Post also wrote about the vacancy. He stresses that Washington must nail the search and find a truly charismatic leader. From the piece, it seems that Brewer would not want the Wizards to go outside the box as much.
Albert Burneko of Deadspin writes that this season sucked for Washington (lots of NSFW language)
So that's all I have for this week's news. Thank god this week is over because we had more news that normal with the Wizards, the Mystics, and my workload at the day job was also higher than normal too. Phew!
These aren't the only links out there of course. If you have another link you'd like to share, do so in the comments here or preferably, in a FanPost.