After an 0-5 start, the Wizards have four straight wins versus the dregs of the league, none more satisfying than last night’s Gilbert-less victory over Portland. Like those before it, the game was won by a double-digit margin. Unlike the others, Nick Young got some run and took advantage, scoring 17 in 15 minutes, two of which came on his first dunk in the NBA.
Bullets Forever has more perspective (Brendan Haywood is playing well, isn’t he?), but NY’s aerial had to be shared, especially since we trumpeted his dunk campaign a few weeks back.
ESPN.com has not one, not two, but 10 NBA experts, and six of them don’t know what they’re talking about as only four have the Wizards finishing fourth or better in the East.
Considering they had the conference’s best record as late as February last season before having the rug pulled out from under their magic carpet ride (Antawn, Gilbert and Caron all got hurt), picking them to finish 13th with essentially the same roster — I’m looking at your bald stathead, John Hollinger — is a bit rash.
Thank goodness for Chris Sheridan, who acknowledges value in continuity by naming the Wiz the East’s second-best team. And continuous is what they are, boasting the same five this season as last and having bolstered their bench with an improved Blatche, a healthy Songalia and a microwavable Young. Plus, they (or at least those not named Brenda) are inspired by Etan as he recovers from heart surgery. Win one for the Tan-Tan!
So I’m with Shanoff. This team’s as good as any in the conference, or at least any not named da Bulls, even if they still don’t have a decent center.
* The ’78-79 season is the last time the Wiz/Bullets won 50 games. Fifty-four to be exact, and they lost in the NBA Finals, as hard as that is to imagine.
He’s not the decent big man the Wizards so desperately needed, but fans got excited when Washington selected USC’s Nick Young 16th overall. Part of it is that he has “a smidgen of personality” and the other part is that he’s a high-flying shooting guard who makes one of the NBA’s most exciting teams even moreso. Given last year’s performance, that’s no small feat.
The new season gets underway Wednesday at Indiana (yes, already) and, Ivan Carter’s preseason reports are making me thirsty. From four days ago vs. Toronto:
Young finished with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds and turned in one of the most spectacular plays of the preseason when he floated under the basket and banked in a reverse layup while drawing a foul.
If that’s not enough to send you to NBA.com for highlights — don’t bother, I already searched to no avail — here’s another report from the Carter; this one from Friday morning’s shoot-around (emphasis mine):
Young wowed teammates with a dazzling dunking display … and appears to be an ideal candidate for the slam dunk contest … The 6-foot-6 Young is an explosive leaper with long arms and big hands so he’s able to do some special things in the air. He also has some creativity as evidenced by his most impressive dunk during Friday’s impromptu show.
Young tossed the ball in the air, ran and caught it off the bounce as he was completing a 360-degree turn and then flipped the ball between his legs before throwing it down with one hand. He was serenaded with cheers from stunned teammates.
Once again, strange things are afoot at a Wizards practice (see: Gil’s one-handed shooting contest with DeShawn), and I couldn’t be more delighted. Even if Young is nothing more than a backup for Stevenson, he could be a bona fide slam dunk champion, which is something the Wizards have never had. Plus, if NY’s in it to win it, you know Arenas will get involved, and that’s to the betterment of us all.
Bonus: Bullets Forever shares old video of Young doing a behind-the-back 360. Good to know he has that in the arsenal.
The poet/center is undergoing heart surgery today that will end his season and possibly his career. Our thoughts are with the guy who’s always been a preferred Wizard and More Than an Athlete.
As Calvin Booth takes his swag to Philly, let’s not forget the good times.
Leaping hip bumps to DC Sports Bog, Bullets Forever and DC Pro Sports Report for spreading the sad news. Ours is a shared, deeply felt pain.
Bonus: Watch the Dumb & Dumber scene referenced in the headline above.
Two videos have been played ad nauseum on my computer this summer: Guidos going to the club in a Hyundai and Chocolate Rain. So, you can imagine how excited I was to read Gilbertology interpreting Chocolate Rain’s otherwise gibberish lyrics into a song about Agent Zero. A prime example:
“Build a tent and say the world is dry”
The action of Gilbert Arenas haters when confronted with the overwhelming evidence supporting his on-court excellence. Sometimes it’s just easier for some people to live in their own little bubble (or tent in this case) of denial.
Actually, that lyric still makes no sense to me. But I love the effort. And so does Gilbert Arenas himself, who said as much on his blog:
Somebody made a mix of my highlights to Chocolate Rain. You have to see it. I love that song. I want Tay to make me a theme song.
Tay might be able to pull off a tight Gil theme, but I if I was gonna urge someone to do my theme, I’d holler at The Crank Squad.
“Andray Square Head,” as Gilbert Arenas affectionately calls him, apparently loves him some prostitutes:
“Blatche and a man identified in court documents as Gregory Palmer tried to solicit sex from an undercover police officer, according to charging documents.”
Unless Andray is just extremely unlucky, one would have to assume that this isn’t the first time he’s hollered at hookers. The guy doesn’t appear to have any extreme facial deformities and he’s a professional baller who makes upwards of half-a-million a year. I’m not quite sure why he’d need to pay for sex. Maybe it’s just good (un)clean fun, but obviously I wouldn’t know.
Update: Deadspin has a transcript of the police report, and Ivan Carter has insight into Blatche’s personal shortcomings.