The Great Wall of Washington

Mike Wilbon recently said it best in an episode of Pardon the Interruption: “I love watching the Wizards and I think they’re a great story, and this is a media story, too.  Don’t tell me that the only thing worth discussing is a 3-11 team.”  Despite pushing Toronto for the top spot in the East with an 18-6 record, the Wizards haven’t received the recognition they deserve.  Yes, it helps that they’ve faced the second easiest schedule in the league thus far.  No, they haven’t overtaken the Cavs or Bulls as the favorites to come out of the East.  But John Wall has evolved into one of the premier point guards in the NBA and should have the Wizards competing for a championship sooner rather than later.  

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Russell Westbrook: the ScapeG.O.A.T.

While the top athletes in their respective sports garner the most fame, popularity, and wealth, they must also deal with the most criticism and scrutiny from the media.  Superstars are held to the highest of expectations, making it essentially impossible to satisfy the masses.  A prime example of this is LeBron James, one of the most consistent and dominant basketball players ever.  In his first stint in Cleveland, James, who was then 25-years old, won back-to-back MVPs and led the Cavaliers to the best record in both seasons.  Yet, he was criticized for failing to overcome the Celtics’ Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen despite carrying a weak supporting cast.  LeBron was quickly labeled as “unclutch” and mocked for failing to deliver on the big stage.

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Predictions: Busts of the 2014-15 NBA Season

The one and only Jake Weiner from (D)Roses & Thorns and I have collaborated to pinpoint this year’s busts in the NBA.  I’m talking about the Larry Sanderses and the Josh Smiths of last year.  Whether it’s injuries, age, or simply not fitting in on a new team, the following six guys don’t have a sunny outlook for the 2014-15 season.  Our six breakout players will be released very soon.  So without further ado:

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Big Buck Ballin'

Some time passes and a lonely Bleu Mont Dairy wrapper floats by aloof. Is there anything in Wisconsin other than cheese I wonder? More importantly, does Jabari Parker like cheese? Would the ever-stingy O.J. Mayo share his provolone sub with Ersan after practice? These questions are profound but only cheese related.  I think something else, a bigger interest, is “brewing” in me (Milwaukee also has good beer…I think). There is something about the Bucks that is tantalizing when one dives into the pool of possibility. Often, I am a blind optimist to my own demise, but sometimes, just sometimes, my feral instincts direct me to the brink of something special. I strongly believe there is more to the Bucks than the eye can see, and I openly declare they will be title contenders in 4-6 years. 

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Tony Allen: the Birth of the GRINDfather

I had a chance to make my first trip to the FedExForum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies.  My beloved Los Angeles Clippers were playing in the playoffs for just the fifth time in my 22 years of life (and three of those appearances occurred before I was 5).  Luckily, I was attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and decided to make the 3-hour drive to Memphis to root my team on in Game 1.

The game was a memorable one.  The Clippers made a historic 27-point comeback.  Reggie Evans transformed into our MVP.  Swaggy P drained three consecutive 3’s in the 4th quarter. And I blacked out when Kenyon Martin locked down Rudy Gay at the buzzer.  But the thing that stuck out most to me that night wasn’t our miraculous win.

On the long drive to the Forum, my friends and I were debating which Grizzly player was likely the most popular.  Was it Zach Randolph?  Rudy Gay?  Marc Gasol?  Mike Conley?

While there was a good mix of Z-Bo and Gay jerseys, there was another jersey that popped up with alarming frequency around the arena: #9, for Tony Allen.

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