It wasn’t long ago when the Wizards seemed to be destined for a trip to the Draft Lottery. But fortunately, things have turned after a December to Remember. Now that we’re in 2017, the Wizards are still maintaining consistency, and they even surpassed the .500 mark for a day.
Let’s recap the last week and go through the week’s top stories:
Wizards remain .500 and keep their home win streak alive
The Wizards are 8th in the Eastern Conference with a 19-19 record. They squeaked out a three-game win streak which started last Friday against the Timberwolves when they came out with a 112-105 win despite a bad third quarter when they let a double digit lead turn into a solid deficit for much of the fourth quarter.
After that, they traveled to Milwuakee to face the Bucks for the fourth time in a month. Before the game, Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out because he was under the weather. The game was a bit close for comfort, but they got it done on the road, 107-101 to get them back to a .500 record.
The Wizards came back to Washington on Tuesday to face a Bulls team without Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler. You’d think this would be a walk in the park, and it was when John Wall was on the floor where he had a +24 rating. But when he was on the bench for about eight minutes, the Wizards had a -22 rating. The end result was a 101-99 win with Wall scoring the winning basket in the video above.
On the following Tuesday, they went to Boston to play a Celtics team that they don’t have great relations with. They lost, 117-108 after leading at points and running out of gas at the end. But after the game, things got even more interesting.
John Wall and Jae Crowder scuffle after the Celtics game
After the loss, Jae Crowder and John Wall got into some trash talk. Crowder booped Wall in the nose. Then Wall slapped Crowder, and a mosh pit happened. You can see the whole thing unravel in the video below.
It remains to be seen as of the time of this writing as to whether Wall and/or Crowder face additional wrath from the NBA. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see them face additional fines or possibly suspensions.
Wall has a pinky finger injury ... which may or may not be a big deal
Besides the extra curricular activities, Wall also had a hurt left wrist and pinky finger since he had trouble with it during the game. An X-Ray came back negative.
Hopefully this is more of an “ouchie boo boo” as opposed to something more serious. The Wizards can’t afford to lose him for a long period of time.
Wall’s heroics agains the Bulls came after Denzel Valentine started getting hot
Dan Devine of Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie wrote a feature on Wall’s fourth quarter performance against the Bulls last Tuesday. Wall was quite upset with Denzel Valentine, who scored 19 points and emerged as a “Wiz Killer.” After all, the Wizards were losing by 18 points at one point in the game.
That’s when Wall got pissed. From the piece:
John Wall didn’t take too kindly to the freshman dancing at half-court in his gym, and he made sure the Bulls knew it. The All-Star point guard led a late fourth-quarter charge to erase what had been an 18-point lead and knot the game up at 99 with less than one minute remaining. After a missed jumper by Bulls guard Michael Carter-Williams with 30 seconds remaining, the Wizards had the ball and a chance to take the lead in the closing ticks. So, naturally, they turned to their monster …
... and he said goodnight to the Bulls.
Chris Mannix and Bobby Marks of The Vertical were also in a video embedded in Devine’s post where they debated where Wall falls in the crowded NBA point guard hierarchy.
Bradley Beal has also done his part to save the Wizards
John Wall is the franchise player and Otto Porter may have more trade value than he ever will for the rest of his career. However, Bradley Beal has also done his part to play his part keeping the Wizards in the playoff hunt after such a poor start.
Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated wrote about the impact Beal had, in particular since he came back from a sprained ankle in November where he has stayed healthy, and scored at career-high rates. Much of the narrative around the Wizards surrounds Wall and the impact he has when he is on the court (and off). Sharp took a different approach and wrote what Beal specifically brings to the table:
First, Beal takes pressure off Otto Porter and Markieff Morris to be consistent second options. Both of them are good enough to help the offense on some nights, neither is good enough to help every night. But for the past six weeks, it hasn't mattered as much. With Beal attacking, big nights from Otto or Kieff have been a bonus, not a necessity for the Wizards to compete.
The verdict on Beal this season is “so far, so good.” Let’s hope he continues to produce the way he is AND stay healthy.
Why isn’t Tomas Satoransky playing?
The Wizards guard hasn’t seen the court since he played 12 minutes during the Wizards’ big win over the Brooklyn Nets on December 30. It leads to questions as to whether he is fit for NBA play. Or maybe he’s just a fundamentally sound player whose strengths doesn’t mesh with other reserves around him.
Earlier this week, we had a FanPost about Satoransky’s lack of playing time. In November, it seemed that he was going to be a regular reserve in the rotation. But the Wizards are winning more with him somehow playing less and less.
Ben Mehic of Wiz of Awes also added more analysis regarding Satoransky’s recent string of DNP-CD’s. Mehic implied toward the end of his piece that some of this may be because the European style of ball he played at F.C. Barcelona isn’t working as well in the NBA:
While he’s a capable passer, Satoransky has done a solid job of moving without the basketball, giving the team’s main creators an option.
The problem is, Satoransky’s scoring output has been massively underwhelming.
Per-36 minutes, Satoransky has averaged less than 8 points per game. To make matters worse, he’s struggled to knock down shots from the perimeter.
Athleticism and flash, at least in the NBA, aren’t as valuable as versatility and shooting. Satoransky has the former, but he lacks the latter.
It remains to be seen as to whether Satoransky will look to take more shots. But hopefully he gets there sooner rather than later.
The Becker & Broom Podcast is online
Ben Becker and Kevin Broom have a podcast for you to enjoy. In it they discuss what is going to help the Wizards this season. One of the main topics they talked about was team shot distribution, where they believe why Marcin Gortat should get more shots while Markieff Morris should get less.
More stories and Analysis
- John Wall is still 7th in fan voting for the 2017 All-Star Game. He’s unlikely going to start. But that’s not stopping us from giving more #NBAVOTE’s to him. And it shouldn’t stop you either.
- Sheldon McClellan’s, Daniel Ochefu’s, and Danuel House’s contracts are guaranteed.
- Marcus Atkinson Sr. wrote about the Wizards’ assist rate means in terms of their performance. The team’s assist rate is certainly one factor that could determine the outcome of their games. It’s also important to see the impact that John Wall has on and off the court as well with assist rate. No one on the team has an assist rate anywhere close to his.
- Good FanPost here on the Wizards improving in the nick of time.
- Scott Allen of The Washington Post wrote about the Wizards’ trip to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture last Monday. The museum opened on September 24, 2016 and is the most popular one in town. Though admission is free, you will need a pass to enter — and demand’s high for them. Click here to get passes.
- And some good news for the National TV crowd. The Wizards game on February 13 will be on national television after all!
Alright, that’s the gist of the week that was. The Wizards are back in action tomorrow night when they host the Philadelphia 76ers.
Enjoy the long Martin Luther King Day weekend everyone!