Wizards: Us vs. The World, plus Ivan Carter
The negativity, as noted, is everywhere. The pessimists are, as noted, out in force.
Wilbon: "It wasn't yet two hours after Gilbert Arenas had limped off the court, taking with him as it turned out any legitimate hopes of the Washington Wizards being competitive in the NBA playoffs."
Tom Knott: "The prospect of next season has come before the Wizards. They are finished, and the rest of their basketball obligation is mere bookkeeping."
SLAMOnline: "It's not completely outrageous to say that Washington might drop all the way down to the 8th seed. Not that it matters who they play in the first round. I don't think anyone is giving them a chance."
Bullets Forever: "So much for this season."
Larry Brown Sports: "It's time to bury the 2006-2007 Wizards."
Free Darko: "I was already intensely worried about the Wizards' prospects sans Caron, since he's that assertive middle ground between Arenas's whimsy and Jamison's supplementary steady. Take Arenas out of the equation, though, and nothing pretty will happen. One, the Wizards will be unrecognizable to me as a team I support. And secondly, they will be drawn, quartered, and slaughtered by just about anyone they encounter in the first round. Actually, scratch that--they will be lucky to steal two games in the first round."
That's bad. Here, though, are a few glass-half-full-with-hallucinogens bloggers to cheer you up. Starting with the inimitable DC Optimist, who notes in his latest: Gilbert to Return in Time for Championship Parade.
To help the Wizards retain their focus for the playoffs, the DCO has put together a list of to-dos for the Wiz to finish up their 9-game win streak, motor into the playoffs and crush any team they face, whether the other team wants to face them, or really wants to face them.
For example: "Have Daniels average more than 17 assists per game."
Or dwell momentarily with the Wizznutzz, who are already handing out championship trophies. I'd like to quote from that entry, but I couldn't find a single thought that didn't fail our taste standards, so just go read it yourself.
Or go to J.E. Skeets's spot-on imitation of a Gilbert blog. The highlight:
I've started talking a little trash to my knee already.
I told 'Doug' -- note: the entire left side of my body is male -- that he should really try and learn from this experience. He needs to see this as an opportunity to get stronger, gain flexibility. Then I told him about adversity and overcoming it. Then I said something about climbing mountains. Tall ones, like they have in India.
Hey, are you getting all of this down?
Then 'Doug' and I shared a Coke.
It goes on like that. Please read all three of those items.
But the point is, the rest of the known world, minus a few brave bloggers, is giving up on the Wizards. Antonio Daniels, in fact, spotted Ivan Carter and me, apparently giving up on the Wizards during Washington Post Live on Comcast SportsyNet last night. A.D. wasn't too amused by our performance, which I've already blocked out of my consciousness. But that's partly why this morning's post-shootaround interview sessions wound up evolving into Wizards vs. World.
Which, if you're a Wiz fan, is the best possible thing that could happen, right? You can thank us later, Ernie.
A.D.: "Understand that we will compete. We will play extremely hard. And just bring that to the locker room and let guys know that we can still win games. We're professional athletes for a reason. You know, everybody's in this league for a reason. We're called the Washington Wizards for a reason. And now it's time for guys to step up and play good basketball and hopefully get some victories."
Is there added pressure, he was asked.
"It would be added pressure if everybody was saying, 'You know what, this team still has an opportunity to go far in the playoffs' and whatnot," he said. "But when you're being written off by everybody everywhere, even your own beat writers, it kind of relinquishes the pressure a little bit."
Teammates picked up on the vibe o' the day.
"We don't care about what people are going to write and talk," Etan Thomas said. "We have guys that can play, so we just have to be playing together. We can't worry about what other people say."
Then he hinted that the media was actually more concerned about these injuries than the team was. I asked if that's really what he meant.
"I mean, yeah, basically, y'alll are really just kind of writing us off, and we're not thinking like this," he said. "You're kind of saying that it's pretty much over for the Wizards now, and that's not our mindset. It never would be...because we know what we have. We know that we feel capable, that we can go out there and just put everything together, and we'll be ok."
Lindsay Czarniak asked Eddie Jordan if he was bothered that people were writing the Wizards off.
"You're the first person that told me that," he said, laughing. "Look, we don't have the star power of Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler, obviously, but we've got capable NBA players....We've seen a lot of things happen in the NBA, where teams are pretty much decimated with injuries and win some games. "
"Folks are gonna think what they want to think," Donell Taylor added.
I asked Daniels if he'd heard the disgruntled fans the other day, the ones that made loyal Bog reader Nancy so angry.
"Of course," he said. "I mean, it is what it is. You know what I mean? It is what it is. You go out there and you compete and you play as hard as you can for the time that you're on the floor, and you're positive with your teammates, and you're positive with your coaching staff, and what comes of that is what comes of it. You know, you can't tell anybody in the stands how to feel or how to cheer or when not to cheer. It is what it is."
And that, folks, is the state of the Wizards, circa April 6. It is what it is. Today's brave talk has me thinking about raising the over/under for Wizards playoff games from 4.01 to 4.99. Actually, I just don't want to be on the wrong side of history if they do go on a miraculous run, so for the record, I'm expecting nothing less than the second round.
Posted by: bryc3 | April 6, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Mike in SD | April 6, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse
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