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Washington Wizards

Instant Trade Analysis: NBA trade deadline deals

The 76ers trade everyone, control the second round of the draft
Indiana Pacers get: G/F Evan Turner, PF Lavoy Allen
Philadelphia 76ers get: SF Danny Granger, second round pick
Cleveland Cavaliers get: F/C Spencer Hawes
Philadelphia 76ers get: F Earl Clark, C Henry Sims, two second round picks
Washington Wizards get: PG Andre Miller
Denver Nuggets get: PF Jan Vesely
Philadelphia 76ers get: Eric Maynor, two second round picks
In what turned out to be the biggest deal of the day, Larry Bird resuscitated an otherwise tame trade deadline like a last second three-pointer from the corner.
The Pacers finally cut bait with their longest tenured player, sending the ineffective and still recovering Granger (and his expiring $14 million dollar deal) to the tank-happy Sixers, who traded two of their best four players today in separate deals. To “get” Granger, Philly dealt back-up big Lavoy Allen and former second overall pick Evan Turner, the Ohio State star who was selected in the 2010 Draft over the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Greg Monroe and Paul George, amongst others.
The goal for Indiana was quite simple–to get the versatile Turner who can play both guard and forward positions, handle the ball and get to the rim with some ease. While Turner isn’t a great shooter (just .288 from beyond the arc), nor is he the type of offensive spark plug off the bench, in the mold of Jamal Crawford or Manu Ginobili, he’s a solid passer and a professional hand to have on the floor. He’s an upgrade over the immobile Granger, who’s been pretty awful this year after sitting out nearly all of last season with knee troubles. Again, Turner isn’t exactly going to light the world on fire, but at this point, he’s like a very poor man’s Lance Stephenson….who was picked 38 spots later in the same draft. Four years ago, I could have never envisioned typing that last sentence while clear and sober. I like this move for Indiana, as Turner is an expiring contract that they could very well re-up in the case that “Born Ready” leaves. … Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Marcin Gortat to the Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards get: C Marcin Gortat, PG Kendall Marshall, SG Shannon Brown, G/F Malcolm Lee
Phoenix Suns get: C Emeka Okafor, 2014 conditional first round pick
You know how you know the NBA season is back in full swing? When two teams likely to finish in the league’s bottom half are in the top of the news cycle for a trade in which just one of the five players will suit up come opening night.
The Washington Wizards continued to build towards their first playoff berth in over a half decade, while the Phoenix Suns continued to tear their team down in the hopes that a playoff berth is less than a half decade away. … Read more...

Simmer Up Now?: Washington Wizards Season Preview

(Check out our season preview from the District by our resident Zardos fan, AO.)
Starting Five: PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Martell Webster, PF Nene, C Emeka Okafor
Key Bench Players: PF Trevor Ariza, PG Eric Maynor, F Jan Vesely, F Otto Porter, F Al Harrington
Notable Offseason Additions: Harrington, Maynor, Porter (#3 pick in 2013 Draft)
Notable Offseason Subtractions: None
FACT OR FICTION: There’s stability in Washington.  Does it matter?
FACT. Ernie Grunfeld is betting his last chips on YES.  Take a look again at the notable offseason subtractions:  No one.  Everyone who mattered, from a statistical or locker room standpoint, is coming back.  Any NBA fan worth his salt knows that the Wizards aren’t betting on theIR year end record of 29-53.  What they’re letting simmer is the .500+ ball they played with John Wall in the lineup, and the hope is that the simmer carries over to this season and begins to boil.
What’s that you say?  A watched pot never boils.  Well actually, it does.  Try it some time.  It will eventually boil, I swear.  The key ingredient is patience.  And four things that Grunfeld did this offseason exercised that virtue to the fullest:… Read more...

Bad NBA Contract of the Week: Kwame Brown

(In the vein of the highly esteemed David Shoemaker, AKA The Masked Man’s Deadspin column entitled “Dead Wrestler of the Week”, we here at MAMBINO are going to parse our way through the worst contracts the NBA has to offer. Part dedication to the great men who have swindled their way to big checks, part commemoration to GMs that should have been fired and part commentary on the ills of a capitalist society gone wrong, we’ll be here every week with a look at the L’s worst deals)
Contract: 2 years, $6 million
Signed by:
Philadelphia 76ers
Salary this season: $3 million
2013 Slash Line: 1.9/3.4/0.4 in 22 games
Expires: 2014
If you’ve ever seen Kwame Brown in person, you’ll know this same, overwhelming feeling I’m about to describe. As your eyes wander through the pregame lay-up lines trying to find the former number one overall pick, you’ll easily spot this gargantuan human being. All of 7 feet, 270 pounds, Kwame is built like a Greek statue. Though he’s become less of a specimen into his early thirties, Brown is still chiseled from head to toe. Most 7 footers are these gangly human train wrecks that look more like a random consortium of misappropriated body parts than anything a x and y chromosome could make. However, Brown resembles more of an over-sized professional wrestler than a willow tree—a fully filled out 7 feet tall. His arms are like the longest, most intricately detailed black marble you’ve seen in your life, which seem to be at odds with the design of his lower body. His legs are like two distinguished tree trunks, perfect for boxing out and destroying any opposing rebounder or defender that dare come at him in the paint. The only knock on Kwame’s anatomy are his curiously small hands that would look more suitable on a man one or two feet his subordinate. Overall, I always leave an in-person Kwame Brown experience thinking “if I had seen this guy when he was 18 years old, there’d be no doubt in my mind he’d be a star.” In this case, The 20/20 Experience is more than just an album full of jams.
There’s no doubt that Kwame Brown deserves a spot in this illustrious post series. In fact, he might be the charter member of the Bad NBA Contract of the Week Hall of Fame. But what I’m trying to say is that as much as I’m about to eviscerate Brown and any foolish manager that would sign him…I probably would have made the same mistake. But maybe not four times over.… Read more...

How Much Worse Could the Wizards Get? Finding Hope in the District

Yesterday, I started an e-mail chain with my man AO, the greatest (and only) Washington Wizards fan I know. At the time, the Wiz were mired in a 0-12 start, by far the worst in franchise history. Without young point guard John Wall and mostly without productive center Nene, the former Bullets stood amongst the league’s most disappointing teams with even the most modest of expectations. 

In a seemingly everlasting attempt to make a die-hard hoop head feel better about his seemingly perpetually terrible team, I e-mail AO with vibes of positivity. What I got was clairvoyance from a NBA sage. Check out our first exchange:

KOBEsh: The Washington Wizards are 0-12, and looking like far and away the worst team in the NBA. Without former number 1 overall pick John Wall and new center Nene for most of the season, the Zardos have struggled in nearly every conceivable way. They’re not atrocious defensively, thanks to the efforts of offseason imports Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor, but offensively, this team looks absolutely lost. They’re last in total points, points per game, points per 100 possessions, field goal percentage and those are just the categories they’re dead last in
Though Wall is scheduled to come back any time within the next month or so, but at this point, there’s really no rush to get him on the floor. Thus…there are so many negative things to say about the Wizards–you don’t have to google far to find them–but we’re going to do something a bit differently on MAMBINO. Let’s keep up the positive vibes the District has been nuturing lately, from the loins of RGIII to the bat of 12 year-old superstar Bryce Harper.

AO–looking ahead towards the end of the year, which of these are you thinking is the next (and first) Wizards win? And why?
AO: I think we win tonight, at home versus Portland.  The main reason being the guys in the locker room are absolutely fed up, enough to even call one of the vaunted “players only meetings”.  I guess 0-10 wasn’t enough for that meeting, but 0-12that calls for emergency measures.  

We’ve been right in all but 2 games, with most of them coming down to the final few minutes with the score near equal.  We’ve even had multiple shots to win games at the buzzer (Bradley Beal, Jordan Crawford, AJ Price). I think tonight, we look across the court and see a Portland team limping into DC with a 2-5 away record. We see a rookie poing guard, albeit a good one, who has been prone to inconsistency early in his career. Aldridge is knicked up. Most importantly, they are a pretty benign offensive team. That means we can keep the game ugly and close. And this time I think we finally make a couple of timely shots down the stretch, grab a W, and get the 500 lb. gorilla off our backs.  

Mere hours later, AO the Great Sage was correct, and the Wizards came out as a pathetic 1-12 team, rather than an outright disgrace at 1-12 after a victory at home against the Blazers. Not bad. Still, the following questions pertain. 

KOBEsh: You might have just answered the question, but do you feel like this team is actually “0-12” bad? (Editor’s note: “1-12” bad). What do you feel should be their actual record?  

AO: I don’t think they’re 0-12 bad, but they’re pretty damn close. Something like 2-10 makes a little more sense. They easily could have won one of the two Boston games or the road games at Atlanta or Indiana. Whatever though: coulda, shoulda, woulda. They’re 0-Read more...

Steam Clean Your Rugs: Washington Wizards Season Preview

(This Washington Wizards preview is from frequent MAMBINO advisor, but lamentably infrequent contributor AO. This manliest of men grew up a true hoophead, unfortunately stricken with a love for his local District basketball organization. I always pull for the Wiz, just so this long-suffered, but extremely dedicated fan can hold his curled head up high)

Starting Five: PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Nene, C Emeka Okafor

Key Bench Players: SG/6th man Jordan Crawford, PG AJ Price, F Jan Vesely, F Trevor Booker, F Chris Singleton, C Kevin Seraphin,

Notable offseason additions: Beal (3rd overall pick), Ariza, Okafor, Price, G/F Martell Webster

Notable offseason subtractions: F Andray Blatche

You know when you move into a new place and the landlord tells you the rugs have just been steam cleaned?  Yeah, you know that smell.  Well, that same, crisp, brand new smell is emanating from the Verizon Center in the nation’s capital, the home of YOUR…Washington Wizards. 

This season is all about new beginnings, which is kinda funny because this is the t-shirt I was handed at last year’s home opener.  New traditions, eh?  Not so much.  Last year was thoroughly influenced by some of the hold overs from the Agent Zero era – the very same that left a despicable mark of pranks, immaturity and a “I’m young, rich and creative, so let’s get online and show the world how creative I am!!” attitude.  Three characters from the aforementioned Gilbert era were still around midway through last year.  Now, going into a brand new 2012-13 NBA season, they’re all gone.  In a last minute deadline deal, GM Ernie Grunfeld stealthily got rid of Javale McGee and Nick Young, and in return got a solid veteran in Nene, his arthritic knees be damned.  Then, this off-season the last domino fell: Andray Blatche was amnestied. With him gone, the page could finally be turned. I could not be happier to say: that attitude has officially left the building. The incomprehensible stupidity finally can be put behind us, and the team can focus on an important question: how to win basketball games. 

It’s really nice to be able to talk about the Wizards in an on the court context.  Going into the 2012-13 campaign, while minimal, there are some expectations around the league for the Wizards to make a jump.  When you’re an annual bottom dweller, this may not be hard, but some are even talking playoffs. The main reason is the aforementioned purging coupled with the veterans Grunfeld brought in not only to teach the youngsters but push them to compete. While writers around the NBA blogosphere mostly criticized the Ariza/Okafor additions for clogging cap space over the next two years, I saw it as a bold move that said “we are ready to start winning ball games”.  We’re no longer throwing out a team that has built-in excuses.  Youth is not an excuse when you start 3 veterans in your front court.  Okafor, Ariza and Nene should anchor a front court to go along with what many perceive to be the teams future–its young but potentially dynamic backcourt.

You all know about John Wall.  And yes, he deserves his own paragraph, so I’ll oblige.  The Pope is entering his third year in the league and coming off a decent year but one where he didn’t make any progress from his rookie year:

2010-2011: 16 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 8 apg, 4 TO
2011-2012: 16 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 8 apg, 4 TO

You read that right: his numbers were exactly the same.  I don’t blame him much, mostly becRead more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Lewis for Okafor and Ariza

Washington Wizards get:
Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza

New Orleans Hornets get:
The document that legalizes the robbery by Rashard Lewis of 23.7 million dollars from any NBA franchise, Washington’s 2nd round pick (46th overall)

We’ve got LeBron James’ PR team in the final planning stages of his Finals MVP acceptance speech and the Anthony Davis Experience ready to begin next week. So it’s the perfect time to post about a trade that nobody cares about:

What this means for the Wizards:

Emeka Okafor is an above-average post defender and can protect the rim when fully healthy. The Zardos took an interesting buy-low approach on him, because Okafor’s season ended prematurely due to various injuries. Word around town is that New Orleans didn’t like his attitude and that he took his time getting back on the court. He is owed approximately $28 million over the next two years, but when you trade $23.7 million, you have to take some salary back. Okafor isn’t the ideal asset to acquire via trade, but at least he can give you some good minutes, which is something we can’t say for Rashard Lewis. However, Okafor (and Ariza) will be joining a crowded frontcourt in D.C. It will be interesting to see how the minutes are distributed among the bigs, with Nene, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely, and Andray Blatche’s corpse all vying for minutes.

Trevor Ariza had a short-lived stay on the relevance chart when he started at small forward for YOUR Los Angeles Lakers during the 2009 Finals run. Miffed when the Show didn’t offer a long-term deal worth more than the mid-level exception, Ariza signed the same deal that was on the table with LA, but with the Houston Rockets. And so started his path to nothingness. He will always be a bit of a defensive stopper due to his length and athleticism, but the other areas of his game have not moved. Additionally, Ariza will make a little more than $7M next year, with a player option for 2013. A change of scenery might help, however, as the former UCLA Bruin could start right away. There may be a ton of alley-oops from John Wall in his future.

Washington holds the #3 pick in next week’s Draft, and this trade likely signals the arrival of Florida standout shooting guard Bradley Beal (pictured left) in the nation’s capital. Small forwards like Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes are still in the mix, but with the aforementioned crowded frontcourt, Beal is probably the best fit. I guess MKG can play the 2, but for the sanity of Wall and friend of the blog AO, let’s hope that Barnes has been crossed off the list.

What this means for the Hornets:

New Orleans will have the option of buying out Lewis for $13.7 million. Jesus.

The real value for new owner Tom Benson, is not in the value contained within this deal, but what the franchise can do because of this deal. If Lewis is bought out, coupled with the shedding of the contracts of Okafor and Ariza, the team will have the requisite salary cap space to re-sign Eric Gordon. Gordon would shoulder the scoring load, allowing Anthony Davis to be free from the burden of being a two-way player before he is fully ready.

Who wins?

I like this deal for both teams. The Wizards continue the reshaping of their roster, and can neutralize the added salary by amnesty-ing Blatche. The Hornets, already with Davis and the 10th overall selection, now have the ability to match any offer for Gordon.… Read more...

Winners and Losers of the NBA trade deadline

KOBEsh went to Vegas this past weekend. While there, he decided to spend some time writing about the NBA trade deadline’s winners and losers. His dedication is shameful yet endearing.

This post is probably a touch outdated, but the man wants the post run based on principle alone.


Los Angeles Lakers

As we went over last week, the Lakers definitely scored big at the deadline. They desperately needed a point guard, and Ramon Sessions might have been the best case scenario for them, especially without giving up one of their three All-Stars. While Jordan Hill wasn’t the best solution for their need of a scorer off the bench, hopefully he’ll be able to give LA half of what near-Laker Michael Beasley would have given them. Subtracting Derek Fisher will have an effect on chemistry,  especially with Kobe and the other vets, but he had to be dealt to diffuse an almost certain caustic situation in terms of point guard minutes. A huge win for the Lakers, one that maybe could transform them into a title contender.

Orlando Magic

How could they not be? Let’s not even get into Dwight’s imitation of a drunk 19 year-old who “kinda wants to get down tonight, but I don’t know, my friends are here and I’m sooooooooo drunk” that he’s pulled the last few days. As I said to Mambino correspondent El Miz yesterday, it’s amazing that these players seem to concerned with their brand, and yet, not at all concerned that the circus they creates far more damage than any move could provide improvement.

Regardless, Orlando is a huge winner here. They somehow (I’m still not sure. Did they have naked pictures of him and Jameer together? Did they threaten to kill his dog? What happened?) convinced Dwight to stay for another year and a half, in which GM Otis Smith will have to pull a flock of rabbits out of his butt to make this team a contender. Regardless of whether he does that (amazing) feat or not, he has bought himself another year (until the next trade deadline) to prove to D12 that this team is worthy of him committing for another 5 seasons.

San Antonio Spurs

In a trade with the Warriors, the Spurs flipped SF Richard Jefferson for a new addition SF Stephen Jackson, who had arrived in a deal from the Bucks only days earlier . As I mentioned a few days ago, Jackson is having one of his worst seasons in years, though I would put a lot of the onus on the fact that he was playing in a system his skills weren’t best suited to, for a coach who he didn’t get along with. Jax won a title with the Spurs almost a decade ago in 2003, and famously fell in line with Greg Popovich in, what had been until then, a rocky NBA career full of trouble. Jefferson has become more and more ineffective each year, and 2012 is no different. At his best, Jackson is a gigantic upgrade over the Spurs, and even at his age (33), is still a threat to score, rebound and pass with tremendous efficiency. A great acquisition for the Spurs, who are quietly angling for title number 5.

Washington Wizards

JimmyWa’s reaction to getting Nene.

In a three-way trade with the Clippers and Nuggets, the Washington Wizards acquired Brian Cook and Nene for the price of Nick Young, an injured Ronny Turiaf and the unintentionally hilarious JaVale McGee. I couldn’t sum this up any better than friend of the blog and last Wiz fan standing, AO:

“Holy crap, this is awesome! We’re turning Nick Young and Javale McGee into Nene!! At this point can we keep the momentum going and just ban Andray Blatche from all Wizards facilities?  Honestl… Read more...

Burning Question #9: Can John Wall be the next Derrick Rose?

Why is this even a question?

I’m not much of a college hoops guy; not because I don’t enjoy any game of basketball anyway I can get it (well…maybe not every way), but because I just don’t have enough time in my life to fit in another league of athletics. Especially when that league predicates most of it’s drama from the poor play that disguises itself as “passion”. But that’s a post for another day. This is all to set up that I didn’t really know who John Wall was when he came into the NBA. I definitely knew him for this. But otherwise, I caught a few Kentucky games his freshman season, and certainly saw his play in the NCAA Tournament. Mostly, I just knew how good he was supposed to be. I had digested all of the hype and with the rash of young teenage players that had come into the league READY in recent years, I expected a debut to the same effect.

Wall had great numbers his rookie season, throwing up 16 points a game, along with 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Even against the background of nearly 4 turnovers a game, as well as 41% shooting from the field, Wall had a great statistical freshman campaign by all accounts. He made the All-Rookie 1st team and finished 2nd in ROY voting, next to Blake Griffin. However, something wasn’t quite right. For all of the success he had on paper, Wall missed 13 games due to injury and looked as if an even more explosive performance was impatiently waiting behind a veil of injuries. The Pope supposedly struggled all season with foot and knee problems, limiting the explosiveness he had reportedly had in college. Many people, including those here at MAMBINO, expected Wall to come out as a rookie and more than likely, lead his team to low-playoff seed contention just as Derrick Rose had done his rookie year.

Similar to Wall’s situation last year, Rose came to a young, but talented team filled with players like Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Tyrus Thomas and Ben Gordon, along with vets John Salmons and Brad Miller. Little was expected from a Chicago team accustomed to losing, but Rose changed the culture with his dynamic play and fierce competitiveness. Without warning, the Bulls were playing the 2nd seeded Celtics in round one of the Eastern playoffs, legendarily playing 7 overtime periods total in 4 games.

Wall disappointed last year, but only against the loftiest of expectations.

How will this play out?

The following is a much better informed report from former NYisMecca blogging great, AO. My man is one of the last remaining Wizards fans that was not shot directly in the heart by Gilbert’s very real bullets that nearly shattered the franchise. He proudly carries the flag of the district despite years of disappointment and a rising crime rate that has no connection with basketball, or this post, except for the fact that I’m an asshole for needlessly pointing it out. Here is how he sees the upcoming season playing out:

The tale of the 2012 Washington Wizards will be spun around a narrative of youth, mistakes, and the Rise of the Pope John Wall. Before getting to Wall, there are actually other youngsters on the squad worth getting excited about. In fact, last year’s draft alone produced three (Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack) who should be getting some burn this year. Add those guys to Nick Young, the much maligned (by me) Andray Blatche and Javale McGee and we should see some exciting and head scratching up and down play from Flip Saunder’s squad.

We are currently entering year 2 of owner Ted Leonsis’ three year rebuilding pla… Read more...

WWE for a NBA Fan – Southeast Division (Part 2)

In my despondency regarding the NBA Lockout, I devised a series of posts detailing how a typical NBA fan could survive a basketball-less winter with the help of well-placed WWE Superstar replacement suggestions. While it seemed far-fetched on the surface, I actually came up with some similarities between the two “sports”, and more importantly, it gave me an excuse to write about professional wrestling.

Then Friday happened. To my amazement and surprise, the NBA season seemed as if it would proceed with a 66-game schedule. My abject joy aside, I realized that my massive 6-parter titled “WWE for an NBA Fan – How to Survive the NBA Lockout with the WWE” was now pretty bunk. Easily the worst part of the lockout ending.

However, seeing as half of it is already done and I enjoyed writing it so much, I will soldier on with the WWE for an NBA Fan series. While the NBA might be back, remember that the WWE never turned its back on you. These suggestions still bear weight, and perhaps, just perhaps, it will bring more eyes to the WWE. So I won’t be alone. Sad and alone.

(Check back here for Part 1)

Atlanta Hawks: Kofi Kingston

As far as I can tell, the Hawks, who in their time in Atlanta have only gone so far as the conference finals twice (not since the 1969-70 season) and their fan base are not really concerned with winning and excellence so much as they are with playing hard and entertaining the crowd. Kofi Kingston is a fantastically entertaining wrestler, whose aerial moves and wrestling maneuvers are all highlighted by his extraordinary flexibility and agility. He’s gone so far as to win the Intercontinental title, but truthfully, is no real threat to a world title any time soon. He’s an entertainer, he works hard and he went to the best undergraduate college in the land.

Orlando Magic: Kane

I feel awful for Orlando. I really really do. In their brief 20 year history, they’ve made two finals (two more than Atlanta, Charlotte and Washington combined), had Shaquille O’Neal, Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill and Dwight Howard and reaped no titles. Their consistency towards winning regular season games is to be recognized and respected, and yet, they never have quite enough to get them over the top. In fact, this team is has been cursed nearly as much as the Los Angeles Lakers have been blessed. Tracy McGrady was dropping 30 points a game while his team lost 60+ every year. Grant Hill, on a surefire Hall of Famer course after his brilliant college career at Duke and unbelievable play in Detroit, came to Orlando on a massive 7-year deal and only played in a staggering 34% of their games. Shaquille O’Neal, the best center of his generation, left the Magic and went on to win 4 titles with the Lakers and Heat. Dwight Howard, the best center of his generation, could very well do the same in 10 months time.

My point here is, the Magic’s tortured fan base (one of the most underrated in all of sports) needs a superstar with consistency. They need to know year-in and year-out what they’re getting. They need a wrestler to match the toughness and physicality of player they’re used to seeing, with none of the disappointment.

Kane has been in the WWE in his current incarnation as the hideously burned brother of the Undertaker since 1997. His work in the ring is more than adequate, but less than excellent. He is a compelling character, a physical specimen and yet, not entirely fascinating enough for the company to completely invest itself in. His best description? A steady hand. Kane is good enough to b… Read more...