Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Triumphant Return, and A New Bullet in Washington

I know.  I can hear what you’re thinking.  “It’s about damn time.”

We’re sorry we were away for so long. We didn’t write during the summer because, well, we didn’t think you’d want to hear about how a simulated NBA2K13 season turned out if we each controlled 10 teams.  And also we didn’t want to do that much work.

But why did it take this long for us to come back?  That’s up there with the great mysteries of the universe, right next to: why do athletic shorts' pockets always come out of the wash inside out, why did they only make three Lord of the Rings movies for those three books (but turned the novel The Hobbit into 3 movies), and what does the fox say?

Actually the reason is simple – we wanted to ensure two things (yes...it only took 3 paragraphs before I made my first list of the season): (1) We were committed to continuing to produce worthwhile content, and (2) we had the writers and support to do so.  The truth is, we loved doing this last season, but three people producing 6 items a week was just too much.

Enter: our new cast of writers.  You know Paul, Brian, and me – if you’re new to blog (hooray!) we started this around Christmas last year and largely covered the NBA all the way through the finals in June when the San Antonio Spurs mysteriously lost to some other team.  I can’t remember who it was.

If you’re not new, allow me to introduce Will Roberts, Joel McMurry, Sean Cunningham, and Dane Callstrom.  One sentence each, here goes:

-       Will lives in Charlotte, hails from the Bay area, and likes throwing one hand passes out of bounds.

-       Joel lives in Chicago, generally enjoys watching athletic competitions on the television, and is apparently moving to Hawaii, giving us a correspondent able to cover the nighttime broadcasting on ESPN8 – The Ocho.

-       Sean lives, breathes, and occasionally burps basketball, is living in North Carolina, and plays basketball like a mix of healthy Danilo Gallinari and 45 year old Antoine Walker.

-       Dane lives in Kansas City, shaved his head after losing a bet, only to have his hair not really grow back, and joins our staff as a senior college basketball correspondent.

As per usual, I am now 400 words into a piece and haven’t really said anything of substance.  So here’s what I’ll say:

John Wall.

I’ll grant you that his assertions (“I’m the best point guard in the league.”) may be a little crazy, at least in an era with a healthy Chris Paul, Tony Parker, and Russell Westbrook (although Russell Westbrook prefers to play the “I’m a freak athlete” position instead of point guard).  But I legitimately think the list of point guards ahead of Wall stops there.  Wait, I forgot Steph Curry, and this blog loves him.  But Wall is top 5.

According to John Hollinger’s stats (on Tuesday, December 3, 2013), John Wall is 24th in the league in PER.  He’s 13th in Value Added.

Wall’s overall field goal percentage is just slightly lower than his career averages, but that should improve has he settles for fewer long 2-point jump shots.  Otherwise, compared to career averages, he’s shooting 8% better from beyond the arc, averaging 1 more assist per game (9.2 this season), averaging more steals and fewer turnovers, and shooting 6% better from the stripe.  His supporting cast is decent, but there’s no clear second option while Bradley Beal remains hurt.  And Wall knows this – why else would he grab a board and race down the floor in 2.72 seconds to go one on two (and still manage to score)?

A healthy Wall, with an eventually healthy Beal, will walk the Wizards into the playoffs.  But I’m going to be bolder – if those two are health for 50 games, the Wizards will grab a top 4 seed.  Before you go claw your eyes out, please note two things: First, Beal and Wall are likely both all stars this year if both remain healthy.  More importantly, as of this writing, at 9-9 the Wizards are sitting pretty at .500 on the season and are in third place in the Eastern Conference.  This won’t hold up, but with a healthy roster the Wizards could lay legitimate claim to the third spot in the East.  (Really, teams are battling for the 3 through 6 spots to avoid Indiana and Miami in round 1.)

Come find me in March.  I’ll either be proud and attending as many Wizards games as possible, or hiding inside, pretending the nation’s capitol doesn’t house an NBA team.

Welcome back!

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