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Top Stories of the Week: The Wizards get national TV love and the Capital One Arena’s open for business

Capital One Acquires North Fork Bank For $14.6 Billion Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

We’re in the dog days of summer, and we still managed to find some Wizards links along with Mystics news as their season continues. Let’s get to the main stories of the week:

The Wizards will start the season at home AND play on Christmas Day!

The full 2017-18 schedule isn’t out yet. But they will start the season at home against the Philadelphia 76ers in a nationally televised contest on ESPN. They’ll also play on Christmas Day against the Celtics. I hope the Wizards wear red, and the Celtics green ... just because.

We also know that the Wizards will host a preseason game against the Cavaliers, who have some point guard drama to say the least.

Welcome to the Capital One Arena

We kinda figured this was happening last week. But the news was official on Wednesday when Monumental Sports announced that the Verizon Center will be officially renamed as the Capital One Arena. You can also read the official press release here, where Ted Leonsis announced that he was proud to see Monumental partner with another D.C. area business. Capital One’s headquarters is located in McLean, Virginia, close to Tyson’s Corner Center, one of the largest shopping malls in the United States.

According to Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg, the deal is worth $100 million over 10 years. Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post added some more insight on how lucrative the deal is. Apparently, it’s one of the more lucrative ones in sports.

Though Verizon had the naming rights until next calendar year, the agreement with Capital One accelerated the name change just in time for the next NBA and NHL seasons. The first event the Capital One Arena hosted was a Earth, Wind & Fire concert. It will also host a graduation ceremony for the University of Phoenix this Saturday at 11 a.m. The Mystics will hold the first sporting event at Capital One Arena on Saturday night when they host the Fever at 7:30 p.m.

The Mystics are in position for a bye in the WNBA Playoffs

The Mystics are currently 15-10 this season where they have command of the #4 seed in the WNBA Playoffs. What’s more notable is that they’ve managed to stay in solid position despite injuries to multiple guards like Tayler Hill and Natasha Cloud. Even in the frontcourt, Elena Delle Donne is out until the playoffs are about to start. That said:

  • Tierra Ruffin-Pratt has stepped up big time in the Mystics’ last two games where she scored 17 points each and shot above 50 percent from the field. That earned her one of several Keys to the Palace for last week.
  • The Mystics signed Haley Peters to a 7-day contract last Sunday, just hours before their game against the Phoenix Mercury. The Mystics used a medical hardship to sign her because they were missing three players. Arielle Chambers of Summitt Hoops has more on what she brings to the table, but I’m not sure if she’s on the Mystics’ roster past this Saturday against the Fever when Cloud should be in better shape to play.
  • On Friday, Aaron Torres of The Washington Post wrote about Meesseman taking a leadership role. Meesseman said that she had to be a vocal leader on Belgium (and UMMC Ekaterinburg) during the offseason and last June when she said, “That’s where I cannot do that. I can’t pass up open shots.” I assume “that” means passiveness. That’s a good thing.

And let’s stay on the topic of Meesseman because there’s more:

Is Lauri Markkanen the NBA’s Emma Meesseman?

2017 NBA Draft Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Howard Megdal, the site manager of Summitt Hoops also runs the Locked on Women’s Basketball Podcast. He spoke with rookie guard Kelsey Plum of the San Antonio Stars in his latest podcast here.

At the 14:40 mark of the podcast, Megdal mentions that Chicago Bulls rookie and former Arizona center Lauri Markkanen plays quite similarly to Emma Meesseman. Plum agreed with him where she mentioned that it was quite hard for her to find a male player who she could compare Markkanen with. Their conversation then went to the topic of comparing men’s and women’s basketball players’ games against each other.

If there’s something about Markkanen’s game that’s analogous to Meesseman’s, they are both very efficient shooters, know when to find the open man, and are mature for their ages. Take a look at his highlights from DraftExpress, below.

At the 7 minute mark, you can take a look at Markkanen’s passing skills. He’s not John Wall Sue Bird, but he’ll find the open man for a corner three or someone for an open layup or dunk. Posts who can make sound passes are often very scary indeed.

And here’s Meesseman’s 30 point game against the Dream where you can see her work her magic:

To me, I think Markannen is a more three-point shooting happy player than Meesseman, who tends to work more in the post based on her shot distribution. But they both play well on and off the ball, so I can see the similarity between their games.

Wizards links

There isn’t that much on the Wizards, but here are the links:

These are just some of the many stories around the Wizards and Mystics this past week, but they’re far from the only ones. If there’s another link you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments or as a FanPost. Enjoy your weekend!