When it comes to basketball, everything is going well here in D.C.! The Wizards are continuing to win games. And now that WNBA free agency signings can be announced, the Mystics shook up the hierarchy in the WNBA by acquiring Elena Delle Donne from the Chicago Sky.
Let’s go through the top stories of the week!
The Wizards win six in a row, are third in the Eastern Conference
The Wizards are currently 29-20, and sit third in the Eastern Conference now that the Toronto Raptors have fallen into a rut having lost eight of their last ten games. Their last loss was a 102-94 setback to the Orlando Magic. That is sure to make Jake talk about the Wizards’ 2015 first round sweep of the Raptors in the playoffs.
If you don’t believe me that the Wizards are third in the East and lead the Southeast Conference at this point, check this out for yourself:
So, what did the Wizards do to get here? Let’s get to the recaps:
- Last Sunday, the Wizards beat the Pelicans on the road, 107-94 as John Wall flirted with the 20 assist mark.
- The Wizards came back to Verizon Center last Tuesday to beat the Knicks, 117-101 who were without Kristaps Porzingis.
- Then on Thursday, angry John Wall emerged when he heard “bandwagon fans” get rowdy when the Lakers made things interesting. But don’t worry. The Wizards beat L.A., 116-108. They’ve now won 16 straight at home!
The Wizards face the Pelicans again, this time at home later tonight. It’s Polish Heritage Night.
Elena Delle Donne’s arrival headlines the Mystics’ free agency so far
We knew the move was likely to happen for some time. But it feels great to finally say: Elena Delle Donne, forward for the Washington Mystics!
The Mystics announced her arrival last Thursday where she was in a sign and trade deal that sent Stefanie Dolson, Kahleah Copper, and the #2 pick of the 2017 Draft to the Windy City. Before this trade was announced, the Mystics were in a three-way deal where they acquired the #6 pick of the 2017 Draft from the Seattle Storm, but sent Bria Hartley and Kia Vaughn to the New York Liberty. The Liberty sent Carolyn Swords to Seattle. We have much more analysis on Delle Donne’s arrival in our StoryStream, but here are some other takes on #EDD2DC from around the web:
- Gene Wang of the Washington Post wrote about Delle Donne’s reasons to come to D.C. Delle Donne admitted that Washington’s location is part of the reason why she wanted to play for the Mystics. But basketball also played a major factor. In addition, Wang writes that the Mystics are now in the title race.
- Eric Nemchock of Fanrag Sports has a general analysis on what the trade means for the two teams. For the Mystics, he noted Emma Meesseman’s reluctance to shoot the ball despite being super-efficient. However he notes that “it isn’t exactly in Meesseman’s temperament to hog the ball, and now [with Delle Donne in D.C.], that’s perfectly fine.”
- espnW’s Mechelle Voepel wrote about the significance of Delle Donne coming to Washington. She noted Washington’s past woes, and I don’t think she’s sold on this move cementing Washington’s path toward being a title contender. After all, this franchise has had more than its fair share of bad moments. That said, she also noted that the Mystics fanbase should be excited.
We still have more Delle Donne analysis, and I have some longer takes I want to say on it as well as a sendoff to the players who left. We’ll get to that soon.
More Wizards takes and news
There are a lot more Wizards takes as well with them moving up the NBA standings:
- Not long ago, the Wizards were one of the worst teams in the NBA. Now, Washington’s a Top-5 team to some national analysts! When that happens, Scott Brooks is going to win some Coach of the Month awards!
- Markieff Morris has improved his rebounding lately. We also had a roundtable on how his transaction panned out.
- Wall will be in the Skills Challenge at All-Star Weekend later this month.
- Check out the latest Limited Upside Podcast from SB Nation NBA’s Mike Prada as he breaks down why the Wizards have turned into the NBA’s hottest team.
- Marcin Gortat talked about “his meaning in life,” at least in a basketball sense where centers aren’t as valued as they used to be. He also seems to have a very strong relationship with Scott Brooks, which he didn’t exactly have with former head coach Randy Wittman. Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post has more.
- Michael Lee of The Vertical has more on Brooks and his miraculous turnaround of the Wizards in the last two months.
- Did you know that both the Wizards AND Capitals lead their divisions in the NBA and NHL? This isn’t supposed to happen!
- Ted Leonsis is proud of what the Capitals, Mystics, and Wizards are doing right now after a tweet he made Thursday. But as you might expect, Wizards fans were still quick to demand Ernie Grunfeld’s termination. That said, Grunfeld is also the guy who made the referral to get Thibault’s name in the hat for the Mystics’ GM and head coach search in the first place. So next time you see Ernie around, give him a big thanks for helping Thibault to town. He may have very well saved the franchise with that. I’m serious.
- Speaking about Thibault, he was at the Lakers game with Capitals head coach Barry Trotz. They wore eerily similar outfits and look like distant cousins to say the least:
- The trade deadline is coming up quickly. Bobby Marks of The Vertical has a quick guide on what the Wizards’ assets and challenges as they try to beef up the roster before the Playoffs. Trades aren’t the only thing the Wizards can take advantage of. They can also utilize waivers. Heat forward Derrick Williams is one player who Washington may be interested in.
And that’s all!
These are the main stories, but not the only links out there after another great week in Washington basketball. Have a link you’d like to share? Feel free to do so in the comments or in a FanPost.
Enjoy Polish Heritage Night and the rest of your Super Bowl Weekend everyone!