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Home opener, Wall-Turner matchup near

Morning brew

A special night was dragging on and losing its buzz, but a few hours after the Wizards took him No. 1 overall, John Wall still had some responsibilities to take care of at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Draft picks had to pose for their last set of pictures and were standing near a stairway waiting to get summoned so that they could finish, leave and possibly celebrate elsewhere.

Surrounded by his family and friends, Wall was staring at his cell phone when he looked up and noticed that Evan Turner had slid in front of him and headed up the stairs. "Hey, why he going first?" Wall said, sounding a tad agitated and annoyed.

Wall didn't understand why he had to wait, especially when he had just gone ahead of Turner in the only competition that really mattered on that night. Wall probably hasn't forgotten that incident, which could make for an interesting subplot for the Wizards' home opener at Verizon Center on Tuesday. The top two picks from the NBA draft will face each other for the first time as the Wizards host the Philadelphia 76ers.

It might come as a surprise, considering how everything has played out since draft night -- Wall has been electrifying while Turner has already heard talk that he could be a "bust" -- but there really was some debate over which player should go first last June. Kobe Bryant said in March that he'd take Turner, who won every national player of the year award as a junior last year at Ohio State. I even asked last May if picking Wall was as clear-cut as ESPN had made it seem. Turner never worked out for the Wizards and Coach Flip Saunders recently said that it was "pretty much a consensus" to take Wall the moment the team won the lottery.

During the NBA combine, Turner warned, "You don't want to pass on me." But the Wizards don't appear to be second-guessing their selection just yet. Wall is leading all rookies in scoring (21.0 points) and assists (9.0) through his first two games, while Turner is seventh in scoring (8.3 points) and fifth in rebounds (5.3) in three games as a reserve for the 76ers.

Turner said that when the two players made the rounds at college player of the year awards dinners, they joked with each other that they wished that Ohio State had played Kentucky last season. Wall said on Monday that he has been keeping tabs of all the players in his draft class and is looking forward to finally facing Turner.

"It'll be exciting to be on the court with him at the same time," Wall said. "When we play against each other, we're competing to make each other better."

FROM THE POST
Wizards guards Wall and Gilbert Arenas are both hobbling with right ankle injuries, but Arenas is the only one expected to sit out tonight against Philadelphia. The team is hoping for some carryover of the positives in Atlanta.

AROUND THE WEB
In a surprising interview with Sister 2 Sister magazine, Laura Govan, Gilbert Arenas's fiancée, opens up about her relationship with the three-time all-star and also denies rumors that she had an affair with Shaquille O'Neal.

Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about the first Wall-Turner meeting and former Wizards coach Doug Collins, back in the NBA to guide the 76ers, told her, "Evan is giving us a lot of good stuff and John Wall is doing great stuff for Washington."

Bob Cooney wrote a feature about Wall in the Philadelphia Daily News. It's a nice article, but the lede is slightly off-base. Cooney says that the Washington Redskins' benching of former Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb "is not even close to being the hot topic of sports discussion in the nation's capital." Really? Never that.

This is not Wizards-related but it is entertaining. Matt Moore at CBSSports.com's NBA Facts and Rumors unleashed a rant about the team in Memphis early this morning, first on Twitter and then in blog form: "Grizzlies commit franchise suicide, extend Conley."

By Michael Lee  | November 2, 2010; 8:02 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: John Wall expected to play, Gilbert Arenas likely to sit against 76ers as both deal with ankle injuries
Next: Saunders: Arenas ruled out of home opener, Wall will play

Comments

I'm surprised no one here has pointed out perhaps the biggest irony of them all. Last year, there was a Wizards player who suffered a strained ankle tendon in training camp that he thought would only keep him out a couple games. But it didn't heal, even after surgery, and the player had to keep going back for more opinions. He ended up missing the season. The player's name was Javaris Crittenton, aka, the guy who Arenas asked to "pick 1".

I hope that Arenas' injury isn't another season-ender.

Posted by: NWDC3 | November 1, 2010 9:12 PM

Well be surprised no more. See my post below from the 27th expressing those exact sentiments.

It seems that no one is remembering last year when Javaris Crittendon had a hurt ankle that would keep him out for a bit, but it suddenly changed to a major ankle injury that had him sidelined even up to the gunfight at the VC.

I am more concerned here with whether or not Gilbert has an injury that the medical staff isn't on top of and consequently hasn't diagnosed properly.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 27, 2010 8:45 PM

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 2, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm excited about the game tonight. So far, Evan Turner seems to be all talk and no substance. I believe he will be a decent NBA player, but he will not succeed in that system. Players like him come a dime a dozen, so I don't think getting Wall was a bad move at all. It will be proven tonight

Posted by: meatkins | November 2, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The outtake on Gilbert's fiancee and her interview debunking the Shaq rumor's is very surprising.

With what was reported before, I am sure that if she is covering up to repair her image that this interview will be roundly scoffed over once the magazine comes out.

However, on the other hand if the outlandish rumors about her and Shaq and even the slanderous attacks on her personality are untrue, then all this paparazzi-like reporting is truly amazing.

Apparently, from the interview you get a picture of a woman, whom is educated, whom respects herself and Gilbert and is nothing like what has been reported about her.

Amazing, truly amazing. If how she gives her side of the story is really true, Gilbert probably has a slant on things that most cannot even imagine, especially his critics that are quick to pepper him at every turn.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 2, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse


Gil's fiancee should have kept her hypocritical piehole shut. A self-respecting woman doesn't chase an athlete across the country, live with him at his whim and and have multiple babies out of wedlock. What a self-serving windbag.

Posted by: ahwyatt | November 2, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

You know there is saying that goes something like it is funny how things work out sometime. I'll just stay with that saying rather than invoking religion.

However, it is also ironic to me that Gilbert's saying he had an injury and he actually did, but made up a lie about injury so that a teammate could get some burn, also now is affecting another dynamic on the team.

What might that be??? Voila, the 3-guard offense.

Yes, and lets hope that Gilbert isn't out much longer, but the fact that he is injured has forestalled the 3-guard plan that Flip had for the team and Thornton has had to play the three. The injury has also brought to light that Hinrich having have to play the two, isn't up to the task and we certainly know he cannot handle the three either.

Hopefully Gilbert is back this game or the next and all facts point to that Hinrich should come off the bench and the 3-guard offense is history. Halleluyeh! Oh! Sorry. Said I wouldn't do religion.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 2, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Gil's fiancee should have kept her hypocritical piehole shut. A self-respecting woman doesn't chase an athlete across the country, live with him at his whim and and have multiple babies out of wedlock. What a self-serving windbag.

Posted by: ahwyatt | November 2, 2010 9:23 AM

Wow, I guess that is one way of putting it. Respect for oneself should be a consideration for having children without being married.

Babies without marriage = disrespect.
Shacking with an athelete = disrespect.
Having multiple babies without marriage = disrespect.
Following the love of your life = disrespect.
Slaveowners/Presidents having multiple babies outside the marriage = disrespect.

Get the point you nimcompoop.

This country of ours has disrespect sewn into the fabric throughout our history, all of our people and all of our lives.

So why is it important to you to call Gilberts fiancee a hypocritical piehole, a self serving windbag, and a disrespectful person.

You really should think twice about calling folks out for something that is so common in this society and if you looked hard enough in your own family I am sure you will find someone guilty of the same things you are disrespecting Gilbert's fiancee for.

Boy, you are really bright.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 2, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"Yes, and lets hope that Gilbert isn't out much longer, but the fact that he is injured has forestalled the 3-guard plan that Flip had for the team and Thornton has had to play the three. The injury has also brought to light that Hinrich having have to play the two, isn't up to the task and we certainly know he cannot handle the three either."LarryInClintonMD.

I think you're misreading the situation. We didn't find out that Hinrich can't play the 2 position; in fact, Wall played very well in Atlanta with Hinrich handling the opponent's SG. What we have yet to discover is how well Wall plays with Gilbert.

Your second assertion is also a misreading, I think. Saunders liked what he saw of the 3 guard in preseason, so I'm pretty sure we'll see it in the regular season, as well. Once Gilbert returns, that is.

The one thing we've learned in this tiny two game sample is that Cartier Martin can play SF in the NBA.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Wall played very well in Atlanta with Hinrich handling the opponent's SG.

Wall playing well had nothing to do with any other Wizard's player or Flip. As lilhollywood mentioned, that looked like him doing his own thing with little to no plan in place.

Very encouraging he's just that good! For now, he needs to flat out scorch the league to find his own game and get the refs on board. But the one man show is a double-edged sword

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Naww Samson151, I think I got you on this one. It is now evident that this crap about Kirk Hinrich helping John Wall, and being a vet/mentor to Wall is just, well crap.

If Gilbert is back already, it is going to be hard for Hinrich to then start seeing major minutes as the 3rd guard while Thornton and Martin sit and watch.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 2, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse


Hard to figure this team out. They put Thornton in the lineup at small forward. He averages 7 rebs/game, which is pretty good for a 3, and yet they are getting clobbered on the boards. Our bigs still haven't learned that their primary job is to get the ball off the miss first. Why is it so hard for our bigs to look for a body when the ball goes up and box out?

Posted by: and_1 | November 2, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Hard to figure this team out. They put Thornton in the lineup at small forward. He averages 7 rebs/game, which is pretty good for a 3, and yet they are getting clobbered on the boards. Our bigs still haven't learned that their primary job is to get the ball off the miss first. Why is it so hard for our bigs to look for a body when the ball goes up and box out?

We were outrebounded 43-34 against the Hawks, our bench was surpassed 13-4 in rebounds...in this one game, Yi's lack of rebounding was culprit. He was on the floor 24mins and only grabbed 1 board

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I think it is ridiculous to play a 3-guard lineup for extended minutes. Thornton is proving to be the toughest wizard and an asset at the small forward.

Posted by: G-Man11 | November 2, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I think it is ridiculous to play a 3-guard lineup for extended minutes. Thornton is proving to be the toughest wizard and an asset at the small forward.

Posted by: G-Man11 | November 2, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Yeash, what he said.

Posted by: glawrence007 | November 2, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Dray said this yesterday which made me so glad to hear:

Andray Blatche talked yesterday of providing a presence inside and getting some rebounds and drawing fouls. As Blatche noted, he has only attempted two free throws in two games.

----------------------------

I thought he found his rythm in the 2nd half last game so hopefully he plays smarter now

Posted by: dlts2041 | November 2, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"If Gilbert is back already, it is going to be hard for Hinrich to then start seeing major minutes as the 3rd guard while Thornton and Martin sit and watch.LarryInClintonMD."

Like I said, you're misreading the situation. Flip thought the 3 guard worked fairly well in preseason; chances are he'll go to it again on some occasions during the regular season.

The one thing we haven't seen so far is how well Arenas meshes with the others. 32 games last season, a couple appearances in preseason -- that's all Flip has to go on. The rest is memory.

For Gilbert to be effective alongside Wall over the course of a season(assuming he's not going to be a defensive asset), I think he needs to hover around 40% from the arc, 85% from the line, and create his own shot when needed. We'll wait and see how that materializes.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"If Gilbert is back already, it is going to be hard for Hinrich to then start seeing major minutes as the 3rd guard while Thornton and Martin sit and watch.LarryInClintonMD."

Like I said, you're misreading the situation. Flip thought the 3 guard worked fairly well in preseason; chances are he'll go to it again on some occasions during the regular season.

The one thing we haven't seen so far is how well Arenas meshes with the others. 32 games last season, a couple appearances in preseason -- that's all Flip has to go on. The rest is memory.

For Gilbert to be effective alongside Wall over the course of a season(assuming he's not going to be a defensive asset), I think he needs to hover around 40% from the arc, 85% from the line, and create his own shot when needed. We'll wait and see how that materializes.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Dray said this yesterday which made me so glad to hear:

Andray Blatche talked yesterday of providing a presence inside and getting some rebounds and drawing fouls. As Blatche noted, he has only attempted two free throws in two games.

----------------------------

I thought he found his rythm in the 2nd half last game so hopefully he plays smarter now

Posted by: dlts2041 | November 2, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"Wall playing well had nothing to do with any other Wizard's player or Flip.Posted by: divi3"

Sure it did. Always does.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I thought he found his rythm in the 2nd half last game so hopefully he plays smarter now

I thought so too, but he's never gotten to the line much so I wont hold my breath on that part.

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Sure it did. Always does.

What did any Wiz player do other than stay out of his way during that superhero stretch? What play did Flip call other than "give the ball to John"?

To me it looked like a classic "takeover" run that involves one player's transcendence and little else.

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Thornton seems to be ready to show his value to all NBA teams.I think he did a lot in summer to improve his conditioning,I will like to see consistancy on his energy to give him value,i will not grade him for his scoring,he can still be a starter even after JH is back.
KH is a little above average on defense on ball but his size and speed keep him way down to be an all rounded defender,his offense is so bad.He is a type of player who should lead secondaries in a good team,i can not see how he could help JW.He is not a vocal leder on court.EG was supposed to pick possey's contract with the 11th pick, but Hornets did not have 3 million to give.
NO team in NBA would pass JW, he is a real future star,we should not question about that move.
AB should get a strong order from his coach not to take outside shoots, his minutes has to drop until he is conditioned enough to go inside.
leave JM alone,i do not expect him to do good on defense as a starting center but he can block shoots and could be a strong contributer on the offense in an up tempo game.
with out Arenas and JH coming 80% in january, this team will win 32 games.
If Arenas is focused play 65 games ,we will be in playoff.

Posted by: gtefferra | November 2, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Sure it did. Always does.

What did any Wiz player do other than stay out of his way during that superhero stretch? What play did Flip call other than "give the ball to John"?

To me it looked like a classic "takeover" run that involves one player's transcendence and little else.

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

divi3 you are absolutely correct. Don't get it twisted, Hinrich is an asset to you team and a guy that can play 25 minutes in a reserve role. His defense in the first two games has been average, getting consistently beat off the dribble in Flip's cross match with Jameer Nelson and unable to guard Joe Johnson. If he is not a sutdown defender he simply too much of a liabilty on the offensive end. 12 points and 8 points respectively is not good enough for a guy playing 42 minutes a game.

Hinrich is a great option off the bench in the three guard rotation playing backup 2 guard and occassional (emergency) duty at the point. The Atlanta game proved that he is limited at the point guard because he is simply not athletic enough to create dribble penetration much less finish at the rim. If Flip does it smartly, he will always have ither Wall or Arenas at point.

Posted by: NewManagement | November 2, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"Don't get it twisted, Hinrich is an asset to you team and a guy that can play 25 minutes in a reserve role. His defense in the first two games has been average, getting consistently beat off the dribble in Flip's cross match with Jameer Nelson and unable to guard Joe Johnson. If he is not a sutdown defender he simply too much of a liabilty on the offensive end. 12 points and 8 points respectively is not good enough for a guy playing 42 minutes a game. posted by NewManagement"

When Wall scores the way he did in Atlanta, you don't need a Gilbert Arenas in the game. In fact, he can be a liability. Al Thornton hit 10-of 15 shots (vs 10 of 23 for Joe Johnson). Along with Blatche's 9 for 19, that should have been enough to win the game. It didn't because the Hawks kept tramping to the FT line and sinking them (26 of 30).

Other than FTs, Atlanta shot 42% as a team (vs. 50% for Washington) and a miserable 26.7% from the arc.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

When Wall scores the way he did in Atlanta, you don't need a Gilbert Arenas in the game. In fact, he can be a liability.

I don't accept that unless the Arenas-Wall backcourt experiment proves to be a failure. In theory Arenas' presence prevents defenses from loading up on Wall, particularly when he has a hot hand and teams start doubling up on him. It may very well turn out that Arenas cannot function in a complementary role to Wall but that would be unfortunate and has not been proven.

Posted by: midlevex_ | November 2, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

When Wall scores the way he did in Atlanta, you don't need a Gilbert Arenas in the game. In fact, he can be a liability.

Crazy talk, most especially in a game where Joe Johnson drills us for 14pts in the 4th quarter.

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"When Wall scores the way he did in Atlanta, you don't need a Gilbert Arenas in the game. In fact, he can be a liability."


So are you saying that for the rest of Wall's career he will not be able to play with a scoring 2 guard. Can you have a scoring back-court at both positions?

Is Wall a point guard who is more a scorer or was Atl just what was needed.

Posted by: zxhoya | November 2, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"Crazy talk, most especially in a game where Joe Johnson drills us for 14pts in the 4th quarter.Posted by: divi3"

How would Gilbert have prevented that? Maybe you think he would have scored 15?

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"So are you saying that for the rest of Wall's career he will not be able to play with a scoring 2 guard."Posted by: zxhoya

Not at all -- just that somebody has to play defense, and if Wall is expending all his energy on scoring, he's probably not the guy. So if you have Arenas beside him, who plays defense on the opponent's SG?

There was a time when, with a few notable exceptions, Gilbert would just outscore whoever the opponent put across from him. Not sure that's the case nowadays.

With Arenas in the game, Wall has to play differently. Be interesting to see how that works out.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

How would Gilbert have prevented that? Maybe you think he would have scored 15?

Maybe he would have scored 10. Or just taken a few shots so Atlanta had to actually guard him and thus open up scoring for others. Basically he'd have done something that resulted in more points on the board, and given we werent slowing Johnson anyway, that would have been a net plus towards a W.

Posted by: divi3 | November 2, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"It may very well turn out that Arenas cannot function in a complementary role to Wall but that would be unfortunate and has not been proven.Posted by: midlevex"

Good thing that wasn't my point. Just that having Gilbert in the game substantially changes the way Wall plays. Or should. As to how well the duo works, no point in discussing it now -- why not wait until we see it? And not just for one game, either.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"Basically [Gilbert would] have done something that resulted in more points on the board, and given we werent slowing Johnson anyway, that would have been a net plus towards a W.Posted by: divi3"

That's what's called an assumption. Easy to make those when the guy didn't play. We'll get to see how well they work together presently.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 2, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Good thing that wasn't my point.

What was the point? That Arenas would be a liability to Wall's scoring? That would suggest that the Arenas-Wall back court was unworkable. Arenas should open things up for Wall not shut them down.

Just that having Gilbert in the game substantially changes the way Wall plays. Or should.

I think at this point the expectation is that Arenas is going to have to adjust his game to accommodate Wall. Until Wall showed up it was assumed that for Arenas to be effective he had to dominate the ball, that job belongs to Wall now. Wall has to adjust to who he's playing with but the more significant adjustment will be required of Arenas.

As to how well the duo works, no point in discussing it now -- why not wait until we see it?

Agreed, would very much like to see it, just getting tired of waiting.

Posted by: midlevex_ | November 2, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"Wall probably hasn't forgotten that incident..."

Wow, it's really good to know what motivates narcisstic NBA'ers instead of outmoded values like wins & losses or the standings. And one wonders why so many fans are turned off by the NBA regular season.

Posted by: renostaging2005 | November 2, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

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