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Top Stories of the Week: All-Star results, John Wall’s knee, and the road trip ends

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

We are heading to the end of January, so it’s time for us to see where the Wizards are now that their long road trip has come to an end!

Wizards finish their road trip 2-3, remain fifth in East

That January 19 win over the Pistons felt like a long time ago. They followed that up with a 98-75 loss to the Mavericks last Monday and lost again, 121-112 to the Thunder last Thursday in a nationally televised matchup.

Fortunately, they finished their road trip with a big 129-104 win over the Hawks on Saturday. Now, they head back home for a Tuesday rematch against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

We have an All-Star backcourt!

They didn’t make the All-Star game as starters, but John Wall and Bradley Beal both made it as reserves. They were both selected to be on LeBron James’ team. Wall has made the All-Star team for five consecutive seasons, while Beal makes the All-Star team for the first time!

John Wall, hasn’t had a great week otherwise

It’s great to see that Wall made his fifth consecutive All-Star game. But it’s unclear whether he’d play in L.A. this year because he has knee soreness and missed the Hawks game last Saturday.

Furthermore, Wall found himself in a verbal spat with J.J Barea of the Mavericks where he called the guard a “little midget.” Barea responded via the media claiming that many of Wall’s teammates don’t like him. Barea’s comments may be coming from a recent report about the Wizards holding a players-only meeting that went wrong.

The Wizards aren’t playing the way they hoped

Last Wednesday, Marcus Atkinson Sr. wrote about the Wizards’ lack of a strong organizational culture. When you think of many perennially strong professional sports organizations: the New England Patriots, the San Antonio Spurs, or the Pittsburgh Penguins, they all have a very strong front office that sets the tone for the coaching and the players who wear their uniforms. Those players also share that collective identity that most teams envy about.

The Wizards however, have tried to set the tone through John Wall’s, and to some extent, Bradley Beal’s personalities before looking at the way the front office sets the tone. The good part about that is that Wall’s and Beal’s positives are magnified, but so do their negatives.

Speaking about Wall’s and Beal’s play specifically, check out Osman Baig’s breakdown of Wall’s recent play and Kevin Parrish’s breakdown of Beal’s. They’re both extensions of the higher level points Marcus pointed out earlier this week.

Though the Wizards won yesterday, it’s important to keep in mind that they’ve failed to show consistency.

And more links

  • Check out this FanPost by Kevin Craft on how John Wall can continue to lead by example, and help set the organizational culture that Washington really needs.
  • Neil Greenberg of The Washington Post wrote about the Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers’ internal dysfunction in recent days. Team meetings may get people on the same page (they didn’t for the Wizards), but these meetings aren’t necessarily a cure-all to get a team to turn around.
  • Candace Buckner of The Washington Post summed up Scott Brooks’ thoughts on the road trip. It sucked.
  • For the Mystics’ players overseas, UMMC Ekaterinburg (Emma Meesseman, Kristi Toliver, LaToya Sanders) is still in striking distance to win Group B of EuroLeague Women and have one more game left in group play.
  • Staying with Mystics’ players overseas, Mersin (Krystal Thomas) won the first leg of their game against French club Carolo Basket in EuroCup Women’s Round of 8. If they win their next game on February 1, Mersin’s going to the EuroCup Women quarterfinals!

And that’s what I have for the week. If you have another link you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments or as a FanPost. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!