Wiz Biz-2/8/2019 Deadline Edition
The Big Picture
- The Games-That ladies and gentlemen, is how hope for a season dies. The Wizards played five games since we last met and lost 4 including games to the Cavaliers and the Hawks. In all honesty I think after this week the Front Office should have dealt everything not nailed to the floor after that one.
- John Wall Torn ACL- Wow. Holy Crap. What a disastrous turn of events. John Wall’s contract already looked like a mistake, now it looks like the worst contract in the league. Wall will miss 11-15 months while he recovers, meaning he could miss the entirety of next season. An ACL injury is often devastating for a basketball player, especially one as dependant on athleticism as Wall. Unfortunately the odds are that we have seen the last of all-star point guard John Wall.
- The Trades- Washington made two trades during a hectic deadline week. The first one was the earthshaker, Otto Porter gets traded to the Bulls for Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, and a 2023 second rounder. I feel as though the Wizards could’ve gotten more for Otto, but this works as a salary dump move since both Portis and Parker can be walked away from after this season with zero cap hit, I just wish they could’ve gotten someone on a rookie deal or a better draft pick. The second deal was flipping Markieff Morris and a 2023 second rounder for Pelicans wing Wesley Johnson (an expiring deal). This move was made in order to duck the luxury tax this season, and really nothing else.
So…now what? Well, the Wizards got some players that will help them this season, which, based on the Bulls deal, was clearly part of the plan. Ownership wants the team to be in the playoffs this season, which is still possible, but not likely. Honestly, considering the Wall situation, I would say trade Beal this offseason and start the rebuild. It is tempting to say keep Beal and try to build around him going forward, but with Wall’s monster contract that is going to be near impossible. The other big issue is the Wizards have no strong young talent, with these things in mind the logical thing to do is start the rebuild.
The Last Week
L @ CLE 116-113 (1/29)
What an odd affair this was. The Wizards trailed basically the entire game and got HAMMERED in the 3rd quarter to put them down by 19 points going into the final frame. However, once Washington emptied the bench in the 4th things got interesting. With a group starring some seriously unlikely heroes in Troy Brown, Jordan McRae, Chasson Randle, and Gary Payton II, the Wizards stormed back into the game going on a 33-14 run before falling one bucket short on the final possession.
This was not the game Wizards fan wanted to see obviously, even tanking teams would want to beat a club as hamstrung as the Cavs. Despite this, it was encouraging to see the young players at the end of the bench play well. Jordan McRae, while not very young (27) has shined this season. He may have played his way to an NBA future. Gary Payton II also scored 11 points and registered a +16, I think this performance may give him a 2nd 10-day contract (edit: he was released). Troy Brown didn’t show up on the box score like he played, I just feel like his on the floor presence is really something to watch for.
W vs IND 107-89 (1/30)
This match looked a lot sexier for National TV in October. The Pacers up until a couple weeks ago, looked like Finals contenders. Then, as I’m such many of you know, All-NBA shooting guard Victor Oladipo went down for the season. Meanwhile the Wizards have been a wreck all season and are now missing their 2nd best player (yeah I said it) in John Wall. I doubt this game drew flys.
The Pacers got out to an early lead in this one before the Wizards counter struck with a 15-2 run and never looked back. The lead got particularly stretched in the beginning of the 2nd half quarters with the Wizards going on 8-0 runs at the beginning of the 3rd and 4th. The Pacers had a puncher’s chance down by 13 at the end of the 3rd frame, but after the aforementioned run the Wizards buried them. Otto Porter went down with a sprained big toe that left him with only 16 minutes on the day and 3 points, but Jeff Green and Bradley Beal both made up for it with 23 and 25 points, respectively. Some other guys stepped up such as Chasson Randle and Jordan McRae.
This was a really strong all around effort for Washington on both sides of the ball, and much needed win after losing two straight
L vs MIL 131-115 (2/2)
The first round against the Bucks went about as well as you thought it would. There were stretches in this game where the Bucks looked like they were in a different league than Washington. Two stretches stand out, from the middle of the first to the end of that frame, where Milwaukee took a single digit game to being an 18 point lead going into the second. This forced the Wizards to play from behind for the rest of the game. The 2nd big stretch was from the end of the 2nd quarter to about five minutes into the 3rd to extend the lead to 31 points. After that it was basically history.
Statistically the only real difference was points, in the rebounding and turnover categories, where you expect to find the difference it was about even. The Bucks just shot the ball better. The other big difference is Giannis Antetokounmpo, the MVP candidate posted 37 points and got to the line a shocking 17 times and made all his attempts. The generational talent is just something the Wizards don’t have and probably won’t for a while.
L vs ATL 131-115 (2/2) (2/4)
First you lose to the Cavs, now you lose to the Hawks, I think the direction the team should go in three days (the trade deadline) is obvious. This game looked like it was going to be a massacre early on, Atlanta came out of the gate red hot while Washington came out colder than the midwest this week. A couple minutes into the 2nd quarter the Hawks were winning by 18 points and the Wizards were listless on offense. Bradley Beal picked up his third foul soon after and Jordan McRae was put in to replace him. McRae would go on to spark the offense to life with a career high 20 points and a game high +22. The Wizards would cut the lead all the way down to four points at the half, however Vince Carter would score 16 points as the Hawks stretched the lead out to 17 in the 4th and Wizards come back would fall short.
This was a tough day at the office defensively for the Wizards, they just lacked the punch on the perimeter and got wiped on the glass. Some players really stood out on offense though, Trevor Ariza got after it with 25, Bradley Beal tried to will the team back into the game with 18 4th quarter points, and can’t forget about Jeff Green’s 26 points as he leads the bench mob. However, the star of this awful loss is without the aforementioned Jordan McRae. 20 points is something that Washington doesn’t usually get from a player like McRae, if he can keep it up it could be big news.
L @ MIL 148-129 (2/6)
It’s safe to say the Wizards were distracted in this one as in the day leading into this one featured John Wall tearing his ACL and Otto Porter getting dealt pregame. We already talked about both of those things so we’ll limit this section to the game.
To put it bluntly Washington lacked the talent and effort to stop the Bucks on offense. Milwaukee set a franchise record with 85 points in the first half alone. Giannes went off with 43 points and 81% from the field. Really I didn’t expect anything else from the Wizards, the Otto trade probably was very distracting and Washington didn’t give the needed effort on defense.