Category Archives: Wizards

Mr. Irrelevant’s Annual D.C. Pro Sports Team Power Rankings

I’m not sure if this is actually an *annual* ranking of the five major D.C. pro sports teams, but it is a nice time of year to do such a thing.

5. Washington Redskins

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As Tom Boswell so kindly points out, the past two Redskins seasons were the franchise’s worst since 1961. Incredible.

But! Short of Dan Snyder selling the team, the best possible thing that could happen just happened: They finally hired a real GM. And a highly regarded one to boot!

Of course, he has a drinking problem, and this is the Redskins. Our enthusiasm is curbed by hopelessness. Continue reading

The Wizards Have Four Healthy Small Forwards

Here with your weekly look at the Wiz is Mr. Irrelevant contributing writer Bryan Frantz.

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For your first Wizards update of 2015, we’re going to focus on the rotation at small forward now that Martell Webster has rejoined the team. With four players that all primarily play the position and are deserving of significant minutes, Washington has to sort it out.

Paul Pierce (The Starter)

Paul Pierce has been solid in his first season as a Wizard and is likely entrenched as the starter, though if one of the others dramatically steps up his game, he could be moved to the bench. The future Hall of Famer may not take nice to being replaced by one of the ragtag bunch that currently backs him up.

After all, the man won an NBA Championship and the Finals MVP in ’08. Do you think he’d be particularly enthused to be benched in favor of Martell Webster?

Martell Webster (The Newcomer)

Webster offers three-point shooting and athleticism, not to mention a great rapport with Marcin Gortat. He came to Washington with fellow small forward Trevor Ariza before the 2012-13 season and has started 75 games in a Wizards uniform, but he was eventually moved to the sixth man role in favor of Ariza. Ariza of course plays in Houston now, and after a hot start to the season is now struggling mightily. Before Thursday’s game, Ariza shot below 50 percent in 27 consecutive games, so that’s something to feel good about if you’re a Wizards fan.

Otto Porter Jr. (The Youngster)

Otto Porter Jr. was the third overall pick in the 2013 draft and had an incredibly disappointing rookie season, which was immediately derailed by a hip injury that forced him to miss the first 18 games. He never got back on track and his season, along with those of most of the 2013 draft class, was forgettable.

This season, Porter has shown flashes of the star he became at Georgetown, where he led the Hoyas in points, rebounds and steals in 2012-13. He had a career-high 21 points in the Wizards’ home opener back in November, when Pierce got ejected right before halftime. All but two of Porter’s points came in the second half.

He has scored in double-digits seven times this season, and at just 21 years old, his potential is enormous. Also, he makes a badass Ninja Turtle.

Rasual Butler (The Sharpshooter)

Last, but most assuredly not least, is “Casual” Rasual Butler. Butler, the last Wizard to make the roster, bounces around the top of the league in three-point shooting percentage, and he currently sits around 50 percent from deep. His shot selection is often questionable and sometimes preposterous, but for a 35-year-old making less than what Garrett Temple makes, he’s doing alright.

So, What Now?

Pierce isn’t likely to go anywhere, and I’d be surprised if Butler got traded too. Both players are savvy veterans who would likely only be targeted by teams who think they’re one savvy veteran away from a championship. Like the Wizards.

Webster and Porter are the most likely trade candidates, though it’s not as if Washington is dying to get rid of either one. Webster makes the most sense, as he doesn’t really offer anything that the Wizards can’t get from the other three and his contract is excessive at more than $5 million annually.

If Porter has a few more solid games in the coming weeks, he could be shipped out before the Feb. 19 trade deadline. The Wizards might want to capitalize on his value, and if they’re serious about making a run for Kevin Durant in 2016, there won’t be much room (or money) to keep Porter around past his rookie contract.

What Washington could use in return is backcourt help or a rim protector off the bench, but the likeliest scenario is all four remain on the team through the end of the season. It’s a good problem to have.

The Wizards Are Really Good At Shooting Threes And Should Probably Shoot More Of Them

Here with your weekly look at the Wiz is Mr. Irrelevant contributing writer Bryan Frantz.

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Trevor Ariza led the Wizards in three-point attempts and makes last season by knocking down 180 of 442. Second in both categories was Martell Webster (146 of 372), followed by Bradley Beal (138 of 343) and John Wall (108 of 308).

Wall’s jumper improved dramatically last year, so Wizards fans were hopeful about his shooting heading into this season. But Ariza went to the Rockets, Beal broke his wrist in early October and Webster had his third back surgery in late June.
No other player got close to making 100 threes in a Wizards uniform last year. Al Harrington was the closest with just 34, and he most recently played in China.

For these reasons, Washington wasn’t expected to be a real threat from downtown this year, especially early on with all the injuries. Yet more than a quarter of the way through the season, the Wizards lead the entire NBA in three-point percentage with a blistering 39.7 percent. The entire NBA.

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John Wall vs. Rajon Rondo: Who Ya Got?

Here with your weekly look at the Wiz is Mr. Irrelevant contributing writer Bryan Frantz.

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There aren’t many doubleheaders in the NBA regular season, so basketball fans are in for a treat when the Wizards and Celtics face off on consecutive nights this Sunday and Monday. Washington is riding a four-game win streak and, at 13-5, will be a heavy favorite over the 6-11 Celtics, though Boston is on a two-game win streak of its own.

Regardless, this doubleheader is worthy of its own post simply because of the showdown between former Kentucky stars John Wall and Rajon Rondo.

The No. 1 overall pick in 2010 has been putting on a show all season in D.C., and Bradley Beal’s return has made his life that much easier. Wall, third in the league in assists, has at least 12 in each of the last three games and is averaging a career-high 9.8 dimes per game.

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4 Wizards Things to Watch This Week

Welcome back to a new weekly series by Mr. Irrelevant contributing writer Bryan Frantz.

The Wizards have lost two of three games for the first time this season, and, though they still have the second-best record in the East at 10-5, they’re now 2.5 games behind Toronto for the top spot, and only a half-game above Chicago.

Luckily, the next two weeks or so should be one of the easier stretches of their schedule. The Wiz started a four-game homestand on Saturday with a win over half-man, half-machine, half-unibrow Anthony Davis (if you’ve seen him play, you understand why he’s at 150 percent). Now the Heat bring their talent to the District.

But after Miami, Washington starts a stretch where it plays the Lakers, Nuggets, Celtics (twice) and Magic, who have a combined record of 20-39 heading into this weekend. This is the Wizards’ chance to make a run and open a nice lead on the rest of the division.

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5 Wizards Things To Watch This Week

Welcome to the first in a weekly series of looks at the Wizards by Mr. Irrelevant contributing writer Bryan Frantz.

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The NBA season is long and, if you aren’t hardcore, excessive. The average fan probably watches less than 20 full regular season games, so don’t feel bad; we’re here for you. Here are five Wizards things to watch this week.

1. Bradley Beal Is Back!

This is great news for all basketball fans, Wizards fans and Washingtonians. Beal is John Wall’s right-hand man, and now that he’s fully healed from a broken wrist, House of Guards is in business.

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10 Reasons To Celebrate This Year’s Wizards

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1. They’re kinda good!

The Wiz won 44 games and made it to the second round of the playoffs last season, making them only the second Washington team do so since 1979. That is so sad, but still: Rejoice!

2. They’re off to a hot start!

It’s kind of hard to believe the Wizards are 6-2. They just don’t do that. Last year they started 2-6. The year before that 0-8. Same with the year before that. You have to go back to 2006 for a season in which they got off to a winning start. And they’re doing this without budding star Bradley Beal.

3. Budding star Bradley Beal!

Remember him? The kid who went for 19.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.5 APG and .415 3P% in the playoffs? At age 20? Yeah, he should be back within a month. (And they’re not trading him for Kobe.) Continue reading

How Realistic Is KD-to-D.C.?

Here with a look at one of our favorite fantasies is Mr. Irrelevant contributing writer Bryan Frantz.

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Those of you watching the Redskins’ glorious 41-10 beatdown of the Jacksonville Jaguars last week may have seen Wizards point guard John Wall taking in the game at the same time as a very special guest.

Naturally, seeing reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant at a Redskins game with the face of D.C. basketball, both decked out in Redskins gear, had some fans rather giddy. Perhaps excited enough to forget about the face of D.C. football getting hurt again? Continue reading

The Summer of Grunfeld

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After a surprising Elite Eight appearance last season, the Wiz are on a bit of a roll. First they re-signed Marcin Gortat, then they landed Paul Pierce, and now they’ve made a series of sensible moves:

*Kris Humphries, PF — 3 years, $13 million (third-year team option)
*DeJuan Blair, PF — 3 years, $6 million (third-year team option)
*Drew Gooden, C — 1 year, $1.5 million (veteran minimum)
*Garrett Temple, G — 2 years, $2 million
*Kevin Seraphin, C — 1 year, $3.8 million

Well, maybe the Seraphin move wasn’t sensible, but the other four shore up the bench nicely, especially in the frontcourt behind Nene and Gortat. Trevor Booker left for $10 million over two years with Utah, but that’s all right. The Wizards got better this week, and they figure to be better next season.

In concert with adding/re-signing the aforementioned and along with expected improvement from Wall and Beal, Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr. are looking good in Vegas. It’s just Summer League, but they’re averaging 40 per, and Porter’s development is sorely needed.

The East is also more wide open now. Miami lost LeBron and Indy lost Lance Stephenson, so the top two teams come back to the pack.

Cleveland will emerge with LeBron, and Chicago could be very good with a healthy Derrick Rose. Toronto, Brooklyn, Charlotte and Atlanta figure to return to the playoff mix, but the Wiz have better NBA championship odds than all of them.

So 2014-15 is looking good, and it’s not at the expense of pursuing Kevin Durant in 2016 either. But that’s a long way off. For now, let’s celebrate this summer, and a job well done by Ernie Grunfeld.