The Wizards are still on track to win 50 games!
After starting 2-8 this season, it’s amazing to see that the Wizards may somehow still win 50 games this season. Here’s how it went down in the last seven days:
Last Saturday, the Wizards lost 95-88 to the Jazz in a game where Washington struggled to find a way to score. John Wall criticized the officiating afterwards and was handed a $15,000 fine. On the following day, the Wizards lost to the Warriors, 139-115. At this point, Washington was out of gas, so it wasn’t a surprise.
The Wizards traveled back home and hosted the Hornets on Tuesday, where they eked out a 118-111 win. It wasn’t easy because they actually were losing early on. Then on Thursday, they traveled to New York City where they beat the Knicks 106-103. Currently, Washington is 48-31 and it’s likely that they’ll be the third or fourth seed. If you think they’re simply going to let the chips fall where they may, here’s what Bradley Beal had to say about that:
Phil Chenier will no longer be the Wizards’ TV color analyst after this season
On Thursday, we learned that Phil Chenier will leave his role from CSN Mid Atlantic as the Wizards’ TV color analyst. Chenier has been the team’s color analyst for the last 33 seasons, and it will be hard to see him go from his current position to a different analyst role on CSN and Monumental Sports Network next season. Wizards fans, especially those in the D.C. area certainly appreciate the hard work he put into his craft over the years, many of which have been quite lean.
Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post talked to Steve Buckhantz, the Wizards’ local play by play announcer and Chenier’s partner in crime. Here’s what he had to say about the departure:
“I’m sad I’m going to lose my partner of 20 years, and I’m sad for him, because he’s an icon and has 33 years of doing these games,” Buckhantz said in a phone conversation. “But I’m glad he’ll continue to be a part of the broadcast and a part of Wizards basketball, because he not only deserves to be, but we count on him for his knowledge of this team.”
Before he started his broadcasting career, Chenier played 10 seasons in the NBA for 10 seasons from 1971-1981, and his first eight seasons with the Wizards back when they were the Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets. Chenier made three All-Star teams including his rookie season and was part of the 1978 NBA championship team, though a back injury kept him from playing in the Finals and hampered the rest of his playing career. Andy Pollin of The Washington Post has an extended history on Chenier’s playing days here.
With Chenier moving on next season to a different role, I put out a list of seven people who could take his place. Though nobody will fill Chenier’s shoes completely, I think most of them will do the job well in their own right.
For now, Chenier will still be behind the booth for his last regular season home game tonight against the Miami Heat. He will also continue to be the color analyst until the first round of the playoffs are over, when games are still available on local broadcasting networks.
JaVale McGee got into a spat with Brandon Jennings
At the end of the Warriors’ game against the Wizards, reserve center JaVale McGee shot a three. It didn’t go in, but Brandon Jennings decided to push him because he thought it was disrespectful:
After the game, McGee said that he didn’t want to commit a turnover and didn’t meant to disrespect the Wizards:
McGee also talked in depth to Yaron Weitzman of Slam Online earlier this week where he opened up about his transition to Golden State and his mentality while he played with the Wizards from 2008-2012.
“You can’t stand up for yourself when you’re on a bad team,” he says. “How does that work? I was on the Wizards one year and we won 19 games. If you’re on a losing team you can’t say shit. What are you going to do? Be like, Oh, I missed this layup because you all suck? If you’re on a losing team and say something, the media is like, He’s not focused on the team, he only cares about himself, so I tried to stay silent. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.”
When McGee played for Washington, he was often known for his lowlights on the court and was a regular on TNT’s “Shaqtin a Fool.” He apparently has put aside a feud with Shaquille O’Neal — and the Warriors even reached out to TNT about this — but now we know why he never pushed back on those perceptions. McGee was essentially in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t speak up” position. Fortunately, he was damned less for saying nothing much about his occasional mishaps.
And more links
Here are some more links from around the web:
- The Wizards aren’t the only team with a division title. The Capitals did the same last Wednesday. It’s also the first time both teams won a division title in the same year.
- Former Wizards Assistant Coach Patrick Ewing was named the Georgetown men’s basketball coach earlier this week. In an interview with the Sports Junkies, he mentioned that he was happy to be back in Washington, but originally thought he would be in D.C. as the Wizards head coach — if he ever came back to Washington that is.
- Adam Rubin of Truth About It elaborated on an important moment from Tuesday’s win over the Hornets: halftime. Scott Brooks let the team have it when Washington was down 63-51 and looked destined for a fourth straight loss.
- Mike Sykes had a chance to speak with Megan Walker, the girls basketball Gatorade National Player of the Year. She elaborated on her Team USA experience and how that helped prepare her for the 2016-17 season, where her high school Monacan (Chesterfield County, VA) won their third straight state championship. It will also help her in college, where she’ll play for Geno Auriemma at UConn, where they are coming off their 11th consecutive Final Four appearance.
- Jake Whitacre and Dan Nolan of Monumental Sports Network were featured on On Tap magazine as they previewed the Wizards before the postseason.
- Quinten chronicled DeShawn Stevenson’s journey as a cult hero for the Wizards.
- Scott Allen of The Washington Post transcribed part of Bill Simmons’ recent podcast, where he elaborated why his favorite non-Celtics bench player is Kelly Oubre Jr.
- Carly Thibault is Mystics GM/Head Coach Mike Thibault’s daughter. She’s an assistant coach for Mississippi State’s women’s basketball team, who made the NCAA championship game this season. Lori Riley of The Hartford Courant has a column on her journey as a coach for the Bulldogs, though it was right before Morgan William ended UConn’s 111 game winning streak in the Final Four.
Alright, that’s the list of links for this week. If there’s another link you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments or as a FanPost.
Enjoy the weekend, and let’s get to 50 wins everyone!