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SB Nation NBA Reacts Week 8, Part 1: Wizards fans’ confidence plummets, and most want a change in the TV broadcast crew

Sixty six percent of fans remain confident in the team, but losing takes its toll.

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Meghan McPeak is the Washington Mystics and Capital City Go-Go’s play by play announcer. Many of you wouldn’t mind seeing her take the reigns.
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Thank you, everyone, for your responses to this week’s SB Nation NBA Reacts survey. If you haven’t signed up for our national surveys, click on the link below!


Wizards results: Fan confidence plummets to 66 percent after losing streak

SB Nation

This week’s national results are focusing on non-Wizards headlines (as usual) and I’ll post on that tomorrow. So let’s focus on our specific results.

First up? Fan confidence. The Wizards are on a three-game losing streak and are 1-4 in December. So it should be no surprise that fan confidence plummeted from 91 percent last week to 66 percent this week out of 365 responses.

In addition, my feeling is that fan confidence may have been a little inflated the last two weeks because our sample size was smaller in each of the last two weeks. Last week, 124 people responded. And two weeks ago (which was Thanksgiving week), 108 people responded. Our responses tripled this week, perhaps because people are in their normal groove. Or because it was on the broadcast crew which we’ll get to in a bit.

Why are fans confident in the Wizards? The general theme why is because of depth and Wes Unseld, Jr. has remained a steady coach despite the struggles. Here are some other responses which also take into account Washington’s continuing slump:

  • “They seem to have a plan. There are always going to be blips in the road, but overall there is great progress.”
  • “The year-over-year improvement in player development and general staff competence is evident. However, it is clear that the Wizards need to take a significant leap forward to become a legitimate playoff team in the Eastern Conference. If Beal and Dinwiddie continue to struggle, it would be incumbent upon the team to trade Beal for the maximum possible return prior to the deadline.”
  • “Unseld is a great analytical coach. The Wizards take virtually only 3’s and shots in the paint, they defend the point line well. The team simply does not have good shooters so they will muddle in mediocrity this year. But Unseld is best Wizards coach in decades.”
  • “Things are trending down, but this team still has potential! This rut might last awhile, but we have plenty of time to figure it out and the strong start to the season provided a nice cushion in the standings.”

But after a rough December start, the non-confident fans are back in force. A big reason why? Bradley Beal and Spencer Dinwiddie’s lack of chemistry and Beal’s sluggish season in general were the prevailing themes here.

  • “They may have paid $45-60 million for an injury-addled, passive point guard and something is very wrong with Beal’s game.”
  • “Offense cannot get going when Dinwiddie/Beal (moreso Dinwiddie) aren’t driving and collapsing the defense. Defense of the team has also regressed in recent weeks and effort has been lacking.”
  • “Seems like the team is simply treading water before the ship fully sinks.”
  • “This team needs to make a trade for a decent veteran starting point guard.”
  • “Beal looking very mortal right now. How do the Wizards handle an extension if he continues performing at average production? Game theory concept of “Winner’s Curse” could be apt if they resign at the max for a player who is no longer producing at that level.”
  • “Not the team, the fans give up too easily. Could possibly get into the players heads.”

The fill-in responses also had a significant number of people writing down why they don’t like the current broadcast crew which was out of scope. Since the survey didn’t have additional fill-ins regarding the crew specifically, I’ll select some of the quotes from here as well as we get to those questions below.

Most Wizards fans give Justin Kutcher and Drew Gooden a poor or satisfactory grade as TV broadcast crew

SB Nation

Since the Wizards aren’t a glamour team, even considering their hot start, if we are in the D.C. area, we have no choice but to listen to the local broadcast crew of Justin Kutcher and Drew Gooden when we watch nearly every games on TV ... or we can listen to The Team 980 AM/106.7-2 FM for Dave Johnson and Glenn Consor’s broadcast with the TV in the background though things aren’t always going to sync up.

Anyway, the grades speak for themselves. Based on the distribution of responses, 30 percent gave them a 1 out of 5 and 27 percent gave them a 2. To round things out, 19 percent gave them a 3, 13 percent gave them a 5, and 12 percent gave them a 4.

In short, the Wizards fanbase is dissatisfied with Kutcher and Gooden being there. When 57 percent of 365 respondents gave them a poor grade of 1 or 2, that’s not a good thing and NBC Sports Washington, the Wizards’ RSN, should consider replacing them next season for the fans. If Wizards were very happy with them, we would likely see the results more heavily skewed toward 5.

Here were some thoughtful fill-in responses to our fan confidence question as to why Wizards fans are dissatisfied with Kutcher and/or Gooden:

  • “Justin is completely clueless about DMV culture. He talks like he likes every player and team in the league more than the one he gets paid to cover.”
  • “All the broadcasters report the game as a team good or bad. When they win they give individual roses. When they lose, no one gets called out for not doing his job, to keep it short. Fans would like to hear the analysis, whether it’s to compliment good play or criticize bad play.”
  • “Ted Leonsis’ decision or nudge on the scale to fire Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier [the Wizards’ previous long-time broadcast crew]”

Though most fans don’t think the Wizards’ current broadcast crew is doing poorly, about 25 percent of fans still think they are doing a good job. Their voices must be heard and respected too.

I got some fill-ins as to why, and more specifically, why they praise Gooden more than Kutcher:

  • “Some Wizards fans need to give Drew Gooden a break. He literately played for the Wizards in the early part of the John Wall Era. He was part of the “AARP Unit” and had a big impact on Beal. He knows what modern-day Eastern Conference basketball is about.”
  • “Justin Kutcher & Drew Gooden complement each other nicely. Drew is very knowledgeable about men’s basketball.”
  • “Drew Gooden is so experienced as a recent NBA player that I learn something every time I listen. He is the best NBA color analyst out there and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets picked up for national broadcasts.”

Most Wizards fans are open to an all-female broadcast crew of Meghan McPeak as the play-by-play announcer and Christy Winters-Scott as the color analyst for at least one game this season

SB Nation

Sixty one percent said they would like to see the Washington Mystics’ broadcast crew of McPeak and Winters-Scott announce at least one Wizards game together this season.

Both McPeak and Winters-Scott have done work in men’s basketball as well, including locally. McPeak is the Capital City Go-Go’s play-by-play announcer and was a color analyst for some of the Wizards’ games on the radio when Consor was brought in as a substitute for Gooden this season for some games. Winters-Scott has been a long-time Wizards analyst, usually off the court but has also been behind the booth as a color analyst for games in recent years, including this season.

The idea of an all-female broadcast wouldn’t be unprecedented. McPeak was the play-by-play announcer for a Mar. 25 Toronto Raptors game on TSN when they played the Denver Nuggets as part of Women’s History Month. And it is something that fans wouldn’t mind seeing here as well.

Three in four Wizards fans believe the team should consider replacing their current TV broadcast crew after this season.

Our last two questions were focused on something I have seen Wizards say often on social media: “Replace the TV broadcast crew!” It may be a question that NBC Sports Washington frowns upon when they read this post, but this question is for you, the fans.

First, we asked a question for your opinion on whether NBC Sports Washington and/or the Wizards should consider changing their in-game TV broadcast crew for next season. This is NOT THE SAME as saying that Kutcher and/or Gooden should be fired.

Out of 374 people (more than the 365 who voted on team confidence!), 284 people or 76 percent said that the Wizards should consider changing the crew next season. The remaining responses said they shouldn’t.

A smaller majority would be on board with McPeak as the Wizards’ TV play-by-play announcer and Winters-Scott as the color analyst next season as a full-time unit.

Troy Haliburton of The Washington City Paper suggested last week that the Wizards should bring McPeak and Winters-Scott as a the Wizards’ next full-time TV play-by-play and color analyst. His tweet came after Winters-Scott was the TV color analyst for a game last Wednesday.

So we asked the question on whether you also agree that McPeak and/or Winters-Scott should take the roles. There were 237 respondents and here are the results:

  • 57 percent said both should be the Wizards’ full-time broadcast crew to replace Kutcher and Gooden.
  • 36 percent said that Winters-Scott should be the only replacement on TV next season.
  • 7 percent said that McPeak should be the only replacement on TV next season.

The takeaway here is that fans are on board with giving McPeak and Winters-Scott a chance as the Wizards’ broadcast crew. That said, Wizards fans are more enthusiastic about Winters-Scott being a full-time in-game TV analyst than they are about McPeak being the full-time TV play-by-play announcer.

Part of it is because of familiarity. Winters-Scott has been on Wizards game broadcasts for over a decade and she has hosted their postgame show in previous seasons. But it’s also possibly because some fans just want Gooden out of the broadcast booth.

McPeak is more of an “unknown” to Wizards fans if they don’t watch Mystics and/or Go-Go games regularly.

Just because Wizards fans WANT a McPeak and Winters-Scott broadcast duo next season doesn’t mean it’s likely to happen. Anecdotally, that’s probably because of Winters-Scott and her already busy schedule during the NBA season. She is a studio and in-game color analyst on the Big Ten Network for women’s college basketball games. And Winters-Scott is also the head coach of the South Lakes High School girls’ varsity basketball team in Reston, Va. That said, Kara Lawson was the Wizards’ TV analyst for two seasons while also doing work for ESPN men’s and women’s college basketball games — so it can be done.

Either way, it’s clear Wizards fans want Winters-Scott in that booth!

Why didn’t you mention Buck and Phil as a replacement for Kutcher and Gooden?

Denver Nuggets v Washington Wizards
Some fans still want this duo back!
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Most of our questions in the survey had 365-380 responses except for whether a fan specifically wanted McPeak and/or Winters-Scott in a full-time Wizards role next season. That is likely because you wanted a Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier reunion. Why weren’t they a choice?

The main reason why was because the survey on the broadcast crew was inspired by Troy’s tweet. Second, I think Buck and Phil’s time has passed and it is time for a new duo now that the break has actually been made.

Perhaps things may have been smoother if Lawson stayed as the color analyst all these years, instead of becoming an assistant with the Boston Celtics for a year. And now, she is the head coach of Duke women’s basketball team.

Also, there have been comments on Buck specifically not being as mentally sharp as they were (remember the retracted “DAGGER?”). He and Phil are even older now, and they may seem more distant today to an average viewer.

Anyway, if you feel that Buck and Phil deserve another shot as the full-time broadcast crew, or anything else on broadcasters, let us know in the comments below. Thank you all once again for taking part in this week’s SB Nation NBA Reacts survey! Tomorrow, we’ll share the national results!


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