Welcome to Part 3, the final part of our Best of Bullets Forever 2016 series. In Part 1, we recapped the calendar year based on major storylines. And in Part 2, we gave our staff’s picks on some of the best Wizards and Mystics stories from the year that was. In this final part, we’ll give our staff’s favorite FanPosts and other miscellaneous topics.
Blogs are two-way conversations between writers and commenters. We aren’t the only ones who create posts. You can too! If something really catches my eye, we’ll put it on the front page and our hub.
I would love to list every fronted FanPost here, but in the interest of time, here were some of the best ones we saw over the course of the year:
- The Argument Against Not Re-Signing Bradley Beal (Marcus Atkinson Sr.) - Before he joined our writing team, Marcus wrote several FanPosts that we enjoyed. This one focuses on Beal and why the Wizards have to re-sign him, though there were some who made the case that his previous leg injuries were too much of a red flag to do so.
- Three reasons why Emma Meesseman's "passiveness" isn't passiveness at all (Elle Ward) - Like Marcus, Elle wrote several FanPosts before she joined our writing staff. One of the biggest Mystics themes we focused on in 2016 was on Meesseman’s quiet demeanor and tentative style of play. Elle explains that that line of thinking is a bit premature.
- Randy Wittman can coach! (Rook6980) - The common narrative around Wittman was that he couldn’t coach, and that the Wizards made the second round of the playoffs in spite of him. That’s not accurate. They were a near-elite team defensively and the truth is that he leaves the Wizards as their best head coach since Dick Motta.
- Three questions on the Wizards' off and preseason (ekalcheff) - I particularly liked this roundtable between two Wizards fans as they turned their conversations into a well-written dialogue for everyone to enjoy.
- Four Observations on the 76ers game from behind the Wizards bench (Dan the Bullets Fan) - One fan had a chance to get some tickets close to the Wizards bench and got to see how the team interacted up close. He wasn’t happy with the start of the season, but was happy to see that the team has a young core to build around nevertheless.
- 3 things we learned when the USA Basketball women’s select team almost beat the national team (Albert Lee) - One of the stories that few knew about the 1992 USA Basketball Dream Team was that the Select Team at the time beat the National Team in a closed-door scrimmage. It proved to be a pivotal moment to draw the “A Team” together and they ultimately won the Gold Medal in the Olympics. The 2016 women’s team is as close to a “Dream Team” as you’ll get, and they played a Select Team (with Mystic Stef Dolson) who gave them a big test on national TV though they lost 88-84 on July 25, 2016. Dolson unfortunately didn’t do much, so it became more of a general recap. Not to brag, but this piece received quite a bit of web traffic over the next few days.
- John Wall and Bradley Beal will have a tough time making the 2020 Team USA Olympic team (Albert Lee) - The 2016 USA Basketball men’s national team was a flawed group, but they managed to bring home a third consecutive gold medal. Both Wall and Beal were finalists for the national team, but face an uphill battle. Some players like Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry left open the possibility of returning for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. And Beal’s chances of making the team may be less than Wall’s because he was offered a chance to be on the team last June — and turned it down.
- Taking a look at Aaron White's performance in Germany [during the 2015-16 season] (Quentin Rosborough) - The Wizards’ 2015 second round pick is currently playing for Zenit in St. Petersburg, Russia. Last season, he played for Telekom Baskets Bonn of the Basketball Bundesliga in Germany, where he has came into his own as a playmaking power forward. It remains to be seen as to when he’ll make the jump to the NBA, but the good news for White is that he’s playing meaningful minutes in competitive European leagues which should help him become more NBA ready before long.
Last but not least, here were our favorite “random” pieces from 2016.
- Things are going fine for the Wizards (Jake Whitacre) - the Wizards said “fine” a lot at the start of training camp. After the Wizards started their season with a 2-8 (and later on, a 9-14) record, they still thought that things were ... going fine. If you don’t know where this “fine” schtick is coming from, here’s a video to help you out:
- What I learned from simulating the Wizards’ 2016-17 season 50 times with NBA 2K17 (Jake Whitacre) - The video game predicted that the Wizards were more most likely going to miss the playoffs this season, though the simulators did at least seem to agree that Wall is a great player.
- Ranking the Wizards based on the best anagram of their name (Jake Whitacre) - Marcin Gortat led the way with “Acting Mortar,” while Otto Porter was second with “Tot Trooper” and Marcus Thornton was third with “Trust Nacho Norm.” Pretty interesting names!
- Seven reasons why Wizards fans still hate the Cleveland Cavaliers (Mike Sykes) - The Cleveland Cavaliers made the NBA Finals for the second consecutive season in 2016, and they ultimately won the city’s first major championship in over 50 years. That doesn’t mean that Wizards fans forgot about what happened in the 2006 NBA Playoffs. So, even though the Cavs may be a much more likable team than ... the Warriors on a national scale, it’s not like Wizards fans feel that way.
Are the Cavs the most likeable team in America— FearTheSword (@FearTheSword) November 26, 2016
No— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) November 26, 2016
- How to talk to your family at Thanksgiving about the Wizards’ early struggles (Nick Bilka) - If you were with extended family on Turkey Day, this guide would have been handy. I still haven’t gotten over Warshington ... and why some pronounce our city that way.
- Emma Meesseman is a rockstar in her hometown of Ieper, West Flanders (Albert Lee) - To most Americans and even Mystics fans, Emma Meesseman is just a quiet Belgian player. But in her hometown of Ieper, West Flanders, she’s a rockstar among the youth. There’s a video interview of her which is about her background. But that interview is in Dutch (one of Belgium’s three official languages) and without subtitles.
- Marcin Gortat reaches out to young Wizards fan with an apology (Albert Lee) - Kevin is a young Wizards fan who lives near Philadelphia. Marcin Gortat is his favorite player on the team. Unfortunately, when he saw the Wizards lose to the 76ers on November 16 (the same game Dan the Bullets Fan attended), he cried. TV cameras caught his emotions while his parents were unable to console him. Consequently, Kevin became an internet meme for Wizards nation. But afterwards, it appeared that he and his mother were feeling a little better. Awwwww!
- Al Horford would be a great fit for the Wizards because he is good at (almost) everything (L.W.) - This post was written a little before the 2016 free agency officially start, and a little before the Wizards were Horford’s first (or maybe second) choice ... at the time. He isn’t a superstar ... like DeMarcus Cousins. But there’s little doubt that he would have found a way to mesh with Wall, Beal, and Gortat.
- Why Amsterdam should be considered if/when the NBA goes to Europe (Albert Lee) - The NBA would like to have teams in Europe sometime in the future. If we create a European division, there are a lot of usual suspects in the west like London, Paris, or Madrid. Some Eastern European cities like Athens, and Istanbul have more established basketball traditions, but they’re in economically or politically unstable areas. That’s when the Netherlands’ capital becomes very attractive, despite the NBA’s lack of investment in the Benelux, which includes Belgium and Luxembourg. A fair number of Dutch basketball fans shared that piece on social media, and many of them are Wizards fans too!
Okay, this piece is already way too long. But I really enjoy reading the content on this site very day. And believe me, this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the great pieces we wrote over the past year.
Are there any other pieces besides these that caught your eye? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks to all of the great writers at BF for making 2016 a success on the pixels front. 2017 will be even better!