It is now officially autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere. The temperatures are still warm right now. But before you know it, NBA basketball will be back, and we’ll be freaking out over bread and milk because of the possibility of one inch of snow.
The Wizards are finally about to begin their journey for the 2016-17 season, and this offseason has been way too long. Also, the Mystics have finished their season and we’ll know a bit more about what’s headed their way with the 2017 WNBA Draft before too long.
Let’s get to the Top Stories of the Week!
Wizards Training Camp starts on September 30
The Wizards will start their preseason campaign next week at VCU in Richmond, Virginia. And within a week, the Wizards will host the Heat in their first game.
One player who may not do much is John Wall. He is probably not playing much in the preseason since head coach Scott Brooks is not in a rush to get him back. At the end of the day, health matters. It’s better to see Wall miss a few games and play the rest of the season fully healthy than see him play when he’s not ready and see him miss more time down the road.
Even though Wall’s status is unknown in the coming weeks, Brooks did let the media know that he wants Wall to increase his trips at the free throw line this season. We’ll see if Wall can get there.
Otto Porter is getting a lot of attention as well, now that his role as a starter is as secure as it ever was. That said, people have a “love him or hate him” relationship around here. Some think he’s really really good. Others however viewed him as trade bait if they were able to find another swingman in free agency, like some dude who plays for the Warriors.
Though we had a lot of stories on curre One player who will be hard to replace is Jared Dudley. He wasn’t in exactly the most ideal situation last season. But the Wizards were clearly better with him than without him on and off the court.
Redskins fans don’t like John Wall
Wall noted that he was a Dallas Cowboys fan since he was a young child. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to see him own and wear Dallas gear. He wore a retro Emmitt Smith jersey at FedEx Field last Sunday when the Redskins hosted the Cowboys. He got a significant amount of backlash for that from many media sources.
Jake wrote a reaction on many of the suppositions that came about from that. The Washington market is known as a transient area so it’s not uncommon to see fans wear uniforms of other teams. So I don’t get why Wall is getting a lot of the same reactions.
After all, the Redskins shared social media posts of their starting quarterback holding a Spurs jersey recently. And many of their players sit in the VIP areas ONLY when the Wizards are playing the sexy teams in town like the teams LeBron James and Stephen Curry play on. Don’t tell me that these players are here just to root for the Wizards.
Wall continues to be a community man
Before Redskins fans in the D.C. area throw out their pitchforks to drive Wall out of town, here’s something for them to hold their horses, just a bit.
Wall received the Stewart B. McKinney Award from the National Law Center on Homeless and Poverty on Thursday. It’s a well deserved honor considering the high amount of work he has done over the years in the D.C. community. Jake wrote about the announcement here and here’s a photo roundup of him receiving the award:
plus a bonus selfie that Ted Leonsis took with Wall when they read Jake’s article:
Ian Mahinmi is feeling right at home
Mahinmi just bought a $2.65 million home in Washington, according to Daniel J. Sernovitz of the Washington Business Journal. The home is located in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Northwest, one of the nicest parts in the District.
If you aren’t from the Washington area, Cleveland Park is located just north of the National Zoo, which is about four miles northwest of the Verizon Center.
Mystics finish season in 10th place, but are last place in the Lottery Standings
The Mystics finished 13-21 in 2016, which was 10th in the WNBA standings. Though they have the third worst record in the league, they will enter the 2017 WNBA Draft Lottery with the lowest odds.
It sounds like another case of “insult to injury,” and in a way, it kind of is. The WNBA Draft Lottery involves the four teams that missed the playoffs, but with their combined regular season record from the last two years.
The Mystics were the worst Eastern Conference team this season. But they also have the best regular season record of the four lottery teams which include the Connecticut Sun, Dallas Wings, and San Antonio Stars since they won 18 games in 2015, so that was enough make them last place.
The Draft Lottery will be held next Wednesday on September 28, so we’ll see if the Mystics can defy the odds and move up a spot or two (OR THREE!!!!) in the 2017 Draft. It probably won’t have a “Breanna Stewart” or an “Elena Delle Donne” but the Mystics will have their first higher draft pick in awhile. And let’s be honest. No team needs — or deserves — a high draft pick more than the Mystics.
Let’s say the Styx do get the number one pick. Is it likely that she’s going to enter the Mystics as the “Big Woman on Campus?” Since Emma Meesseman has become more assertive this season, probably not. It’s a fact that Meesseman doesn’t have the personality or the narrative that is American women’s basketball friendly. But she has the skills and moves that show she is at least capable of playing at that level. Therefore, don’t expect anyone to be replacing her.
Tayler Hill is the 2016 WNBA Most Improved Player Runner Up
The 2016 season was Hill’s “coming out” party, and she delivered by showing a lot of promise. Hill averaged career highs in points and assists, and was one of the best players at getting to the free throw line. I also wrote up some more things on why Hill was in the conversation Thursday. It isn’t simply because of her playing more minutes.
I wish she could have won it, and yes, she can improve more. but the bottom line is that Hill has answered any questions about whether she is capable of being a player worthy of being the fourth pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft. She is now back on track toward becoming a core piece of this team for years to come.
Emma Meesseman led the WNBA in three point percentage in 2016 ... but let’s pump the brakes on calling her the WNBA’s Stephen Curry
It’s not often when a post player leads the NBA in three point percentage, even in this era of stretch-fours and stretch-fives. Meesseman edged out Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird to win the efficiency race from deep this season. Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal mentioned her in the same breath as Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, which is a compliment to her abilities. Elle wrote the positive take on it.
I’m going to be the party crasher here. Meesseman is improving everywhere, but she’s not worthy of being praised as a deep range shooter. Cohen’s piece exploited her efficiency without taking into account her quantity of shots attempted (and made).
Let’s just compare her to Bird.
Bird was second place in the efficiency race, but she made 72 threes out of 162 attempts for the season. The 72 threes were fourth highest in the league. Bird is also fifth in WNBA history for three-point field goals made over a career.
Meesseman on the other hand made 30 out of 67 attempts. The 30 attempts she made were 24th most in the league. Let’s also add that Meesseman wasn’t even the most prolific three point shooter on the Mystics. Tayler Hill made 60 threes (7th) and Ivory Latta made 32 (21st) this past season.
The reality is that Meesseman made just enough threes to qualify in this category and Cohen’s article ran with that stat. Though I take issue with the title of the piece, the thing I liked about that article was that it noted Meesseman’s improvement over the years.
Meesseman’s improvement from three is remarkable, but let’s not put her on a pedestal as a three point marksman right now. She can get there — but she’s not there yet. If Meesseman really is a shooter like a Sue Bird or a Diana Taurasi — let alone Stephen Curry — she would and should be attempting twice as many three pointers than she did this past summer.
Meesseman is the Mystics’ best player and the franchise keys are hers if she wants them. And I’m convinced she can be a franchise player with the American narrative if she wants it. But I’m not convinced that she wants to be a franchise player with that narrative. If she doesn’t want that, unfortunately, that’s what will hold her back when it comes to getting the Mystics more fans, and the like.
Until then, people will still question whether Meesseman is an assertive player. And we will be hearing rumblings that someone else on this team is — even if she isn’t as good overall on the court.
That’s a long post from me. If you have more links you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments or a FanPost. Have a great weekend.