Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wizards Deconstruct, Suck Slightly Less

The Wizards finally began the rebuilding process, 2 years too late. Rebuilding is a stretch, because the term implies we actually 'built' something, so I will say 'deconstruct'.

First, I am happy that the Wizards finally moved Jamison and Butler; I have been in support of moving these guys for over a year. Sure we didn't get a lot in return other than salary cap space, still have the corpse of Gilbert Arenas on the roster, and are unlikely to get Lebron, D-Wade, or Bosh, but we had to move these 2 guys. This team wasn't going very far with Butler and Jamison, so we had to rebuild, and it is better to get the process started sooner rather than later. Another benefit of trading the veterans is that JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, Nick Young and co. can get some serious playing time that will help them develop, and also help the Wizards better evaluate what we have in these young players. The third benefit is that the Wizards need as many ping pong balls in the lottery as possible, and Butler, Jamison, and Haywood were supposedly diminishing that number of ping pong balls, although they could have fooled me this year.

The fourth benefit is that, in addition to clearing cap space, Jamison and Butler could theoretically be traded for young players or draft picks that could jump-start the rebuilding process. We already have a solid core with Ricky Rubio and Dejuan Blair.............well scratch that, but we had to get more than just cap space/relief in return for these guys. The problem with the Wizards deals? We didn't get quite enough for these 2 guys. Tough Juice, in particular, is being paid a very reasonable salary of under $10 million with 2 years left, so should have some legitimate value despite his awful performance this season. It was nice to get rid of Deshawn Stevenson, but that was the price of including Haywood. The problem is that we got back a bunch of guys with expiring contracts, and not one guy who has a lot of upside. Josh Howard is a very good player, and according to Basketball Prospectus's WARP system, similar in value to Caron Butler if you remove Howard's down year last season, but is 29. Couldn't the Wizards have squeezed Rodrigue Beaubois out of the Mavs? If not, then why not find another willing partner - there had to be another interested team that would have at least offered a draft pick. The bright side is that Josh Howard's off-court personality will at least entertain me.

After that moderate fail, the Wiz turned around and made a pretty solid deal for Jamison. Unlike Tough Juice, Cybertawn had an unfriendly contract and seemingly only had 1 team interested in his services; going into the deadline, I was actually more concerned about the Wiz getting value back for Jamison than Butler. Not only did we not take back any long-term salary, but we picked up a late first round pick, and a 26 year old with some upside, Al Thornton. Basketball Prospectus does not see much hope for Thornton becoming a good player, but at least there's a chance.

Overall, I'm extremely happy that the Wiz finally pulled the trigger, but I slam my head into my desk thinking that we should have made these deals a year ago, when Jamison and Butler would have yielded better returns, and we likely would have held our draft picks and could be talking about the Rubio and Blair era. It seems that we got about as much as we could out of Jamison, and it is entirely possible that we also did the best we could for Tough Juice. Both guys gave us some great service, and were, by all accounts, stand up guys, so we should wish them well. As backwards as it sounds, I'll be rooting for the Cavs this Spring, so Cybertawn can win a ring.

(Image courtesy of

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nick Young Interview: "You See What We Did in the Super Bowl?"

Here is the 4th and final installment of my All-Star break interview with DCLS 'Wizards correspondant' Nick Young. Part 1 was posted on Sunday, part 2 on Monday, and part 3 on Tuesday. This installment covers Nick's thoughts on his USC Trojans and my Georgetown Hoyas.

DCLS: So what did you do for New Years?
NY: Javaris had a birthday party in DC. It was his birthday the same day or before I think.

DCLS: Too bad for you he wasn't a USC guy, maybe you would have had an excuse to party it up in LA.
NY: Naw, naw, naw, he went to Georgia Tech. You can't just be throwin' everyone on the Trojans. You see what we did in the Super Bowl right? Reggie Bush!

DCLS: But USC paid him when he went there, so I don't think you should be associating yourself with him. In the NBA, I know you went, Pruitt went, Taj Gibson, but there's not too many of you....
NY: There's not too many, but we got a couple, OJ (Mayo), and we got DeMar Derozan.

DCLS: The one's who've made it have done alright though. There are some overachievers relative to draft position on that list.
NY: Yeah, it's starting to get out. But this year started messing it up, we've been on probation.

DCLS: Because of your boy OJ Mayo!
NY: Man, I can't go against my Trojans. And we got Tim Floyd back into the NBA now as an assistant coach.

DCLS: How is the feeling in the locker room with the trade deadline approaching and rumors running rampant?
NY: I dunno, man, NBA, I seen a lot in my 3 years. That's just part of the business, a real business.

DCLS: Whatever, you're just rooting for some of your USC guys to get traded for.
NY: Yeah, pick Pruitt back up, we'll get a whole USC lineup.

DCLS: So I'm a Georgetown dan, and they just whipped Duke.
NY: Yeah, Georgetown's been doing pretty good I heard. These days, they make the arena look like a really known place when they play there. They got a freshman from LA, don't they?

DCLS: Yeah, Hollis Thompson. He's a really skinny shooting guard.
NY: Yeah, a real skinny shooting guard, I was working out with him this summer. I was supposed to come to a game to see him play.

DCLS: The Hoyas play Syracuse on Thursday, you should go and take some notes from a team that's actually good.
NY: I might come check 'em out. So I'm at home right now, next practice is not 'till Tuesday. I'm on vacation, I have to get away, I have to get rejuvenated.......comeback, I gotta get the mind right and get me in the dunk contest. Get my mind right, come back, and I'll be rejuvenated.

(Image courtesy of

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nick Young Interview: Groupies and Meeting Women

Here is the 3rd helping of Young Sushi in my All-Star break interview with DCLS 'Wizards correspondant' Nick Young. Part 1 was posted on Sunday, and part 2 on Monday. This installment covers Nick's thoughts on meeting women.

DCLS: How often do you go out during the season? Once a week?
NY: It depends, it depends really.

DCLS: How often do you think the biggest partiers in the league go out, like your idol "Get Buckets' Ricky Davis?
NY: Get Buckets! He probably went out a lot, you know. He got buckets though, so he's doin' something right.

DCLS: So what are the groupies like in the NBA? I know a girl who was basically an NBA groupie, she was like 5'8" or 5'9" and dated some guys in the league for a bit.
NY: For real? Man where's she at? 5'9"?!? You gotta hook me up man, what's up baby?

DCLS: That's the type of girl you need Nick, a girl who can settle down.
NY: Get me one man! You supposed to throw me some lines. If I sign-up for the dunk contest, you gotta throw me some lines.

DCLS: Uhuh, so now all you have to do is sign-up for the dunk contest? But seriously, you are a 6'6" professional basketball player, you shouldn't need any help. You should be helping me, I'm 5'9", no tan......
NY: That's cool though, you can still get 'em. What about the the blog? Don't you just gotta say you can be on my blog?

DCLS: I definitely do not tell any girls about the blog, that will kill my chances. A girl could be at my place and would immediately leave if I mentioned the blog. That would be just as bad as saying I live with my parents. That is why if you get into the dunk contest, I could slip into a bar and say 'oh, there's Nick, I know Nick', and then you could shoot me a text message midway through saying something like 'That was really great what you did for the homeless the other day' and I could show it to all the ladies, that would work.
NY: I got you, I got you, aight.

(Image courtesy of

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chris Cooley With Jake & Amir

Hey, I chuckled.

Nick Young Interview: "Sometimes.....Nobody Likes Me"

Everyone needs their full portion of Young Sushi, so here is the 2nd installment of my All-Star break interview with DCLS 'Wizards correspondant' Nick Young. Part 1 was posted on Sunday, with more to come later this week. This installment covers Nick's thoughts on the Wizards season and what it has been like to be benched and then get back into the rotation.

Why do the Wizards stink this year?
NY: I think it's just a chemistry thing, that's about it. We gotta work on chemistry, (and if we do), it'll flow better

DCLS: So what are your goals now that the Wizards season has gone down thie tubes?
NY: One game at a time, that's what we gotta do. Some games hurt, like the Atlanta game we lost, and Charlotte. Man, if we do it one game at a time, and we get on a roll, if we get it going and we can win some games, we can probably make it cuz the East, you know. It ain't like the West, if we're in the West with this record, we'd be packin' up and getting ready for summertime. But if we get a winning streak going, I think we have a chance.

DCLS: What was it like when you were benched at the beginning of the season?
NY: Aw man, it's hard man, It's been back and forth for me, it's hard. It was crazy. I don't even know what to say, it's been up and down really. Sometimes he (Flip Saunders) likes me, sometimes......nobody likes me....

DCLS: I must say though that you were the happiest bench-warmer I have ever seen on the sideline.
NY: Aw yeah, I can't show it. You know, I can't let everyone see it's getting me down. I gotta keep a good attitude and hopefully we win. And if I'm not playing and we're losin', that's just cold. I don't mean to be complainin', I just gotta role with the punches.

DCLS: You're gonna hate this question, but since you weren't playing for a bit, would you ever consider playing in Europe?
NY: Probably, I dunno, maybe if I just wanted to experiment. But some people just forget about them once they're over there. You don't see nothing, no highlights of 'em. I'm a person that at least needs to see myself a little bit.

DCLS: It's good money though, and you'd sneak onto some European highlights, but they also probably play in like high school gyms.
NY: Yeah, people be smokin' cigarettes at the game and stuff, but it is good money though.

DCLS: So how does it feel getting back into the rotation?
NY: It feels better, it gets better with time. The more I play, the better it feels for me.

DCLS: But you're still getting like 15 minutes one game and then 5 minutes the next.....
NY: Yeah, that's crazy. To me, it depends on if I make a shot or two. I gotta come in with the J.R. Smith mentality.

DCLS: Well I have to let you know that I'm a big stats guy and J.R. is not a very good shooter by True Shooting %, so maybe he's not the best model, but do you know what the metrics say about you? They actually have you as an excellent defender.
NY: I mean I'm better, you see the critics don't know what they're sayin'!

DCLS: Got better? Actually, the metrics from last season, on a scale from 1 to 10, ranked you as a 9. Watching you closely, I have to agree that your biggest asset right now is your defense over your offense.
NY: Thank you, yeah see! I been tellin' Coach that!

DCLS: Yeah right, if I hadn't just told you that, you probably would have told me the biggest thing you need to work on in your game is your defense.
NY: Naw, I need to work on getting my handles back. I been getting used to being a coming off screens and shoot type of player, I need to get some of my handlebars back.

(Image courtesy of

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nick Young Interview: Talking to Agent Zero, Andray Blatche's Braces, and Wizards Dunk Contest Competition

In lieu of analysis on yesterday's miserable trade, and with the All-Star break upon us, I thought it was high time to check-in with DCLS 'Wizards Correspondent' Nick Young. As before, this interview has been broken into installments, with the other 3 parts being posted later this week. This first installment covers Nick's thoughts on some of his teammates.

DCLS: So your boy Andray Blatche has braces, please tell me you have some great names or a great story about him.
NY: Aww...yeah, yeah...We don't have no particular names, we just talk about 'em. At the beginning, he was a little sensitive about 'em, then he kinda warmed up as we kept going on him, you know, can't get mad at everybody.

DCLS: I mean he wears them on national TV, what's he gonna do? You can't hide those things. Don't they have invisible ones? He didn't even get the invisible ones.
NY: Haha, they probably couldn't get a fit for his teeth.

DCLS: So you really can't give me any good nicknames to put out there for Andray and his braces?
NY: I can't, that's my dog, that's my dog. Can't get mad at him, I can't go all national on the blog.

DCLS: Do you guys talk about Gil in the locker room? What's the feeling about whether he's coming back? Anyone talk to him?
NY: Yeah, I talk to him all the time. Gil was surprised (by the issues stemming from the gun incident), but didn't want to surprise people when the day comes (about a decision to stay with or leave the team).

DCLS: We need a new nickname for your buddy Javale McGee. The one out there now is Epic Vale, and that sucks. The City is way better than Epic Vale, and I'm not a big fan of The City.
NY: I dunno, what can you call him? Javale is a tough name in itself. You (the DCLS) need to come out with somethin' for him, come up with somethin' for him. It's hard to come up with names for a big man though.

DCLS: We'll work on that, but you don't have any good names for Javale?
NY: His username and stuff on like Twitter is like Big Daddy Wookie, but I can't be callin' nobody Big Daddy.

DCLS: Those are 3 words I don't wanna call him, so he's not getting that. Speaking of Javale, he did that Axe commercial, how come he didn't get in the dunk contest?
NY: Just because of the situation he was in, it didn't take off.

DCLS: You should've made a video like that to get yourself into the dunk contest, maybe dunking over Earl Boykins would do it.
NY: Javale was kinda sneaky and did that video behind my back cuz he didn't want me to know as his competition.

DCLS: So what are you gonna do next year to get into the dunk contest? You gotta do something new, because whatever you are doing now is not working. You didn't even sniff the dunk contest. You didn't even get into the dunk-off for the dunk contest.
NY: Man, I didn't even get a look. I dunno, I gotta do something.

DCLS: That's what I'm saying, you and Javale need to put a video together of you 2 doing some crazy dunks.
NY: Man, I don't wanna hate on him and be in competition. I just want a clear path for me to this dunk contest. Actually, I want us both to get in, cuz I think I can beat Javale, I definitely think I can beat him, I'm positive. He can jump, but I don't think he can do no moves.

DCLS: You were a lot more confident about beating him before the season, but don't tell me the 'double pits to chesty' dunk didn't worry you? Did he just do that on his own? There is no way Axe paid him for that; no one is going out and buying Axe deodorant because Javale McGee used it in a dunk.
NY: He just did that on his own! Maybe they'd pay Lebron, Wade, Kobe or somebody else, even Nate Robinson!

(Image courtesy of