The Curse of the Kardashians
I started working on this post on Wednesday evening. I figured I’d finish it on Thursday morning with some thoughts from the Kings game the night before. My theme would be the Wizards' moral victory against the Lakers, and a real victory against the Kings -- not a bad way to end a young team’s first West Coast trip. Good thing I didn’t take the William Rhoden approach to writing. In six halves of basketball the Wizards put forth exactly one good half of effort and execution. A rout in Phoenix, a tough loss to the Lakers, and the Wizards deciding that if John Wall couldn't play, neither would the rest of the team in Sacramento, sent the team home with plenty of questions.
Taken together, the games were really disappointing. The lack of effort, preparation, fundamentals and decision-making were not acceptable to me as a fan, and I would hope that they wouldn’t be to the Wizards, either. The inexperience of many of their rotation players, as well as injuries to two of their best players contributed to their performance on the trip, but some of the responsibility needs to be laid at the feet of Flip Saunders and the veterans.
In Phoenix, the Suns repeatedly ran the high pick-and-roll. This is not some new-fangled offense the Suns ran, they have been running this for years. To a certain extent, I hold the coaching staff responsible. It’s their job to make sure the team is prepared for a game. McGee and Yi looked as unsure of what to do guarding the Suns' pick-and-roll just as Steve Buchantz and Phil Chenier did when a picture of Mrs. Lamar Odom, aka Khloe Kardashian, was put on the screen during the Lakers game. Steve and Phil managed to push through the awkwardness, not so for Yi and McGee.
Speaking of the Lakers game, ironically the Wizards played the best stretch of basketball of the road trip against one of the best teams in the league. In the second half the Wizards played with intensity we haven’t seen since the Magic game. Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin played great in the post and Nick Young had a career game. If they had rebounded harder during the entire game, they might have pulled it out, but the Lakers had almost as many offensive rebounds (22) as the Wizards did defensive (25).
And then there was the Kings game. Playing against one of the worst teams in the league, the Wizards didn’t show up. Young players are going to have their struggles with focus, but for the two Wizards “veterans,” Arenas and Hinrich, to combine for 10 turnovers is not going to cut it. When your primary ball-handlers can’t do exactly that, you will not win many games, no matter the opponent. For the game they had just 11 assists, but even more disappointing, they shot two-point field goals at a lower rate than three-point field goals. That’s indicative of bad shot selection. And their defense was almost worse. They were taken apart by Beno Udrih and Eugene Jeter….
The upshot (and as a Wizards fan, you have to find the silver lining, even if you realize after a few years that it's fake silver) to the Wizards recent play is that hopefully the younger players take the right lessons away from this. Coming into this year we knew there would be painful stretches like this. Hopefully the highlight for the next Wizards West Coast swing in March won’t be an appearance by a Kardashian.
| December 10, 2010; 8:12 AM ET
Categories: Lee Friedman, Wizards | Tags: Lee Friedman, Wizards
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Posted by: Goose5 | December 11, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse