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Top Stories of the Week: The Wizards have a strong January, Bradley Beal’s All-Star returns, and an update on that Dutch language Wikipedia page

Also, thank god the government shutdown’s over. Maybe it’s a chance for all of us to be more tolerant in our lives.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Orlando Magic
Bradley Beal is leading the Wizards to a strong start in January.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s go through the top stories of the week around the Wizards here in D.C.!

The Wizards are 7-4 in January

The Wizards are 21-27 in the Eastern Conference, just 2.5 games behind the Miami Heat for the 8th seed in the playoffs. Though there are a fair number of people, myself included, who want to see the Wizards prepare for next year more than go for short term wins now. You can see highlights of Bradley Beal’s performance against the Orlando Magic on Friday above!

Well, on the surface, the Wizards are winning more games. They are 7-4 this month, and here are some stats — JUST FOR JANUARY — to make my point.

  • The Wizards make 12.7 threes a game (5th in the NBA) and shoot them at a 39.2 percent rate (7th).
  • The Wizards’ net rating is 4.1 points per 100 possessions, 10th in the NBA. Their defense has noticeably improved where they have the fourth best defensive rating (105.6 points per 100 possessions). The offensive rating is 109.7, good for 16th. But still, the defense has been on point this month. This is especially the case with turnovers where Washington has forced a league high 17.5 of them this month.
  • They’re in the Top 10 for AST%, AST/TO, and AST ratio. They dish an average of 26.9 assists per game which is 6th in the NBA.

If the Wizards played like this more often than not throughout the year, then I certainly can see the point why this team, even with its injuries, can win 50 games in a regular season. However, it’s just as disappointing that it took half the season for Washington to start getting things together. We’ll see how things go.

And of course, I didn’t forget. Let’s talk about the Wizards vs. Warriors game that they lost for a quick second. DeMarcus Cousins came to town along with Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. As many of you know, Cousins is one player many Wizards fans want to bring here. But Candace Buckner of The Washington Post wrote that even though Cousins contemplated about playing for the Wizards, there wasn’t a realistic chance.

The Wizards play the Spurs tomorrow at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

Bradley Beal is on track to be an All-Star reserve

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Washington Wizards Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Bradley Beal got a lot of love by the players (3rd) and media (5th) in All-Star Voting, but the fans aren’t giving so much love though. He ranked just 10th in fan voting.

At least he is playing at a super high level. The coaches will vote the reserves in next week so I’d be shocked to see Beal left out of the conversation. Here’s why:

  • Beal is averaging a career high in scoring, assisting, and rebounding (24.7 ppg, 5 apg, 5.1 rpg)
  • He is tying a career high in scoring per 36 minutes (23.9 ppg)
  • Check out Bryan Oringher’s video which explains the ins and outs in much better detail than I could.

Beal may have taken a little longer than desired to turn into an All-Star player. But he isn’t just asserting himself into a perennial All-Star. We should seriously start to wonder whether Beal is “franchise player 1A” if he stays in Washington long-term.

The Wizards’ throwback Dutch language Wikipedia page is still there, but I got an email on it

Sometimes, you catch something on the internet that is too good to be true. Or too bad. Last week, I wrote about the Wizards’ Dutch language Wikipedia page being behind the times. It isn’t too often when you read that Andray Blatche, Jordan Crawford, and MIKE BIBBY are still on the Wizards. Obviously, neither of the three are on the current team or in the NBA as of the date of this post.

I got an update earlier this week from a contributor to Dutch language Wikipedia that a request can be made to update the page in due time. The page still isn’t updated yet, but I’d imagine it will be relatively soon. We will celebrate when that happens.

In the meantime, if you wish to Dutch language music, I embedded the most popular song in the Netherlands right now. It is “Hij Is Van Mij (He’s Mine)” by EDM group Kris Kross Amsterdam. It features Dutch pop singers Maan de Steenwinkel, Tabitha, and rapper Bizzey, who used to be in EDM group Yellow Claw. I would have put the music video, but I’d rather not since there are some risqué scenes for American audiences.

Thank God the government shutdown’s over — and maybe it’s a good time for us to be more tolerant

Over the past 35 days, the Washington area was hit hard by a government shutdown, harder than most of the country. It caused $1.6 billion of damage to the local economy and showed the reasons why Washington is viewed in a negative light by Americans outside of our area. And it hurts the city’s image to the world as well. Unfortunately, these things are not a surprise because Washington is the capital of the United States and how politics have become.

Along the way, 800,000 people missed two paychecks, had to go to breadlines in downtown, and air traffic controllers who weren’t getting paid called out sick which caused flight delays at LaGuardia Airport in New York City among other things. And on Friday, the shutdown ended with no money over a wall.

I don’t work for the federal government. But I certainly know people who do and had to borrow money or do side jobs to make ends meet over the last month. So now that the shutdown is over, I’m happy that the government is about to function normally once again, hopefully for good.

Sports is one way for us to temporarily not think about unpleasant matters in the real world. Watching the Wizards over the last month was one way for us not to think too much about that. And the wins certainly help as well.

The shutdown was over political gridlock. That gridlock is sort of why I played down Washington’s “glamour factor” in a post last November. But this shutdown was also over some people’s intolerance of other racial groups and their desire to keep them out of the United States.

If there’s one thing everyone can make a better effort toward doing, it’s to be more tolerant of others. This isn’t just about people’s race or religious beliefs. It even goes to what direction you think the Wizards should move toward given where they are at right now.

While I was “evaluating” music to put in the section above on the Wizards’ Dutch language Wikipedia page, Belgian girl group K3 (pronounced Kah-Dree NOT Kay-Three)’s “Alle Kleuren (All Colors)” played on my YouTube. It is certainly an appropriate song for us, even if this is a kids’ song in Dutch instead of English.

If nothing else, maybe Bradley “Deuce” Beal, II can learn the lyrics and lessons from the song. Remember, he has Belgian roots through his mom, Kamiah Adams! But I digress.

The United States is a country that was diverse from the start. Our ethnic, religious, and ideological diversity make this country as great as it is — so long as everyone is able to work together. I just don’t see why we should move away from that.

I know I sounded very altruistic in that last paragraph. But that also applies with the discourse on the Wizards on this site and the endless debates about what the team should do with John Wall’s pending supermax contract, and whether the Wizards should keep trying to win games in a season that looks lost to many. People are going to have strong opinions, but we shouldn’t call each other names or just think less of another person for having such a view on the Wizards and what they should do. It is important that we be tolerant of fact-based opinions on the Wizards from fellow fans, even if we don’t agree with them.

Alright, that’s all I have this week. Thank God the government shutdown is over! And enjoy the rest of your weekends everyone.