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Do the newest Wizards make the team better or worse on Twitter?

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Do the newest Wizards make the team better or worse on Twitter?

BY PETER HAILEY

Much has been made about how the Wizards offseason additions will help the team on the floor. But while all that talk about whether the new faces will improve the Wizards on the court is fine and dandy, we're overlooking a crucial aspect of how Kelly Oubre Jr., Gary Neal, Alan Anderson and Jared Dudley will affect Washington: in the arena of social media.

Do these guys help or hurt the team on Twitter? It's time to find out.

To come up with a conclusion of whether the Wizards have gotten better or worse on social media, we'll first look at who they lost. Then, we'll evaluate what the new additions bring to the table. Finally, we'll deliver our verdict.

First up, recapping the players who departed from D.C., and how much they'll be missed on social media's favorite platform.

(Note: Free agency is still going on, so the team's roster can still change. But this post is based on who's projected to be on the team's 2015 roster as of now).

  • 1) Paul Pierce

This one hurts. Oh man, this one really hurts.

Paul Pierce will definitely be missed in the Wizards starting lineup, but he may be missed more in the world of Twitter; he didn't use it often, but when he did, it was truly magical.

He would do ridiculous things like create Throwback Thursdays out of Google Image searches:

Or make hilarious references to Drake after his team swept the Raptors in the playoffs:

And even inform the world of his spectacular Halloween costumes:

Since leaving the Wizards for the Clippers, Pierce has already dropped a couple of classic tweets, quickly reminding Wiz fans what they'll miss: during the great Emoji War of 2015, he chose to use ClipArt, and then, he taunted the Mavericks once DeAndre Jordan decided to stay in L.A.

The Truth is a Hall-of-Famer on the court, but on Twitter, he's one of the best to ever do it. Replacing his talents is going to be nearly impossible.

  • 2) Rasual Butler

Rasual Butler's social media game is a lot like his real game: On the court, he was mostly used in one way (as a three-point specialist), and on Twitter, he mostly used the site in one way (to send out positive, happy tweets like this one):

Butler's followers were treated to inspirational messages like that one quite often, but the 36-year-old only has about one percent of the followers that Pierce has (75,000 compared to 3.1 million), meaning he won't be missed much. 

  • 3) Kevin Seraphin

Randy Wittman and Wizards fans alike are probably frustrated that Kevin Seraphin didn't pan out more during his time with Washington, but as a Twitter user, he was incredibly underrated.

He was arguably the team's most versatile tweeter: he would tweet in English and in French, retweet absurd Vines, ask his followers to play him in various PlayStation 4 games, and provide humorous commentary about everyday struggles. Here are two particularly memorable Seraphin tweets:

It's a shame that more people weren't aware of the 25-year-old's talents on Twitter (he only has 92,000 followers) because he was a really entertaining guy. His new fan base would be wise to hit the 'Follow' button as soon as he arrives in town.

  • 4) Will Bynum

The energetic point guard who had a brief stint with the Wizards during the end of last year is a lot like Butler but with way less followers (3,671 as of this post): It's all positive messages and #MakeADifference hashtags. His absence won't be felt much.

MORE WIZARDS: Who makes 'Franchise Four' for the Wizards?

Next, it's time to break down what the newest Wizards are like on Twitter.

  • 1) Kelly Oubre Jr.

Many people are curious to see how Oubre Jr. will fit in with his new NBA team; his game is still very much a question mark. So too, is his Twitter game.

The former Kansas forward is a bit all over the place when it comes to his 140 character messages. The only thing that's clear after doing a brief review of his page is that he has a particular affinity for a certain hashtag:

It remains to be seen why Oubre Jr. wants everyone to be so quiet. Right now, he's a wild card both on and off the court.

  • 2) Jared Dudley

The NBA veteran who is now with his sixth different organization seems like a pretty cool tweeter. He's very generous with his retweets, and likes to get his followers involved by asking questions about all sorts of things:

This is a good way for him to endear himself to his new fans, and he's off to a strong start. 

  • 3) Gary Neal

It appears that Neal doesn't have a Twitter account, which will damage the team's overall social media rating. There is an account named "Did Gary Neal Pass?" however, which is a bit funny. 

  • 4) Alan Anderson

Anderson is better than Neal because he at least has an account, but it's not the most interesting. If you're a Michigan State fan, you'll find it enjoyable...

…But for people who went to any other college in the entire world that's not Michigan State, Anderson's addition isn't going to get you very excited.

Now, it's time to deliver the final ruling.

There's really no debate here: The 2015 Wizards are significantly worse on Twitter than the 2014 Wizards.

Pierce is to Twitter as Denzel Washington is to acting; losing him is a blow that's going to be too much to handle. Seraphin's subtraction will also hurt Washington on Twitter, as he was very under appreciated while wearing the red, white and blue.

Yes, Oubre Jr. has a chance to become a solid Twitter user, but it's hit or miss right now. And Dudley is fine to follow, but Neal not having one at all, and Anderson choosing to use it simply to talk about his alma mater, are both big negatives.  

It's not a stretch to say that basketball wise, the Wizards are in better shape than they were a year ago. But on Twitter, they just went from playoff-caliber to future lottery team. 

MORE WIZARDS: Then and now: Comparing Wizards' shooting options

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John Wall badly wants to win and is sick of perception he cares more about his own stats

John Wall badly wants to win and is sick of perception he cares more about his own stats

John Wall is ready to put the 2017-18 season behind him, behind him like a hapless defender staring at the back of his No. 2 jersey on a fastbreak. 

After missing 41 games due to injuries and falling in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in his career, the Wizards' All-Star point guard is taking nothing for granted. The 28-year-old believes he's about to lead the most talented team he's ever played on.

Wall has made five All-Star teams and one All-NBA selection. After playing for two seasons without one, he signed a reportedly five-year shoe deal with Adidas in 2018. He has a supermax contract, one that kicks in next season and begins at a projected $37.8 million.

What Wall doesn't have is what he's always wanted most. He wants to win.

The Wizards have made the playoffs four times in his career and reached the second round three times. The Eastern Conference Finals, however, has been elusive.

"I'm the type of guy that wants to have a statue out front. I want to bring a championship here. Those are all the things that I care about," Wall told NBC Sports Washington. "If you're not winning as a group and doing things as a team, then you don't get individual success. That's something that I learned a long time ago."

There was a lot about the 2017-18 season that bothered Wall. In particular, he detested the perception that grew that he was unhappy with the team's success while he was injured. 

During Wall's second injury absence, from late January to late March, the Wizards won five straight games and 10 of 13 with him watching from the sidelines.

Though it ultimately proved to be a mirage, as the Wizards lost 12 of their next 17 that he didn’t play, there were numbers early on that suggested their success was because they passed the ball more frequently without him. Comments from his teammates Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat to reporters and on social media were viewed by some as slights to their point guard.

Wall remained silent at first and a lack of communication between the sides allowed it all to bottle up. He did several interviews, including one with NBC Sports Washington, to give his side of the story and to say it was ridiculous he could be criticized for not being a team player.

That narrative still bothers him.

"Some people mistake me that all I care about is individual stats but that's never been my game," he said. "I don't think a lot of people really get that."

"I love to get assists. I love to get 10 assists before I score 30 points. It's just that I have the ability to do both. A lot of guys never had the ability to be able to do both. It's great to do that, but I feel like if I ain't winning then it don't mean s*** to me."

Wall's numbers are historically good for his age and he is aware of the company he's in. He is one of only four players to average at least 18 points, nine assists and four rebounds per game through their first eight NBA seasons. The other three were Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson and Chris Paul. Johnson and Robertson are Hall of Famers and Paul will be there someday. 

Statistically, Wall is on a Hall of Fame track, but he wants much more than a plaque in Springfield, Massachusetts.

"I think about all of that. Everybody thinks about the Hall of Fame and being the franchise scoring leader and all that," he said. "I have all of those goals, but it don't mean s*** if you don't win at the end of the day. You can be a loser and have all of these records, but what does that stand for?"

Wall has been relatively fortunate throughout his career when it comes to his health, but his worst injuries have come at inopportune times. In 2015, his Wizards were up 1-0 on the Hawks in the second round of the playoffs when he suffered five non-displaced fractures in his left wrist and hand. That may have cost him a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Last year, Wall's months-long injury saga began when he banged his knee with a Mavericks player in just the 10th game of the season. 

It was a down year for him and the Wizards in a season in which the Cavaliers were vulnerable, the Celtics had major injuries and the Sixers were still learning how to win. If Washington was at full-strength, perhaps they could have taken advantage.

Now, after an offseason that brought newcomers Dwight Howard, Austin Rivers and Jeff Green to Washington, and that saw LeBron James leave the Eastern Conference, Wall feels he has a serious opportunity to win.

He just wants to get back to the postseason and take another shot at a deep playoff run he believes he is destined for.

"We had a great chance [in 2017]," he said. "We just s***ed the bed. That's how it goes. I don't think [time is] running out, but teams are getting better."

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Trading Jodie Meeks gives Washington Wizards much-needed salary cap relief

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Trading Jodie Meeks gives Washington Wizards much-needed salary cap relief

With a luxury tax bill of approximately $19 million on the way, the Washington Wizards gave themselves some salary relief on Monday by trading veteran guard Jodie Meeks to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Wizards attached a future second round pick and cash to the deal and in exchange received a future second round pick of their own, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed. ESPN first reported the news.

Though Meeks, 31, was due to make $3.45 million this season, his departure saves the Wizards about $7 million because of projected tax penalties. That's a lot of savings in a deal that got rid of a player who had become expendable.

Meeks had fallen out of favor with the Wizards for a variety of reasons. He was due to serve a 19-game suspension to begin the season due to performance-enhancing drugs. The ban was announced the day before their first round playoff series against the Raptors was set to begin in April.

Meeks also underperformed last season in the first year of his contract with the Wizards and requested a trade in February. This summer, Meeks exercised his player option to remain with the team.

The Wizards were not likely to count on Meeks much at all this season because they traded for Austin Rivers in June to add depth at the shooting guard position. Meeks' role was made clear by the fact he did not appear in any of the Wizards' four preseason games against NBA opponents.

Meeks' tenure in Washington was a significant disappointment. The Wizards signed him last summer in hopes he could shore up the shooting guard spot on their bench. 

Though he stayed healthy for the first time in years, he never earned the trust of his coaching staff. The Wizards opted to rely more heavily on starter Bradley Beal, who logged the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player last season.

Now, they are moving on.

Meeks leaving the organization should have little effect on the Wizards, though it does leave them with a hole on their roster that needs to be filled. They currently have 13 players, one below the league minimum. The Wizards now have 14 days to add a 14th player.

They could sign a free agent, convert one of their players on two-way contracts (Devin Robinson and Jordan McRae) or make a trade. The Meeks deal gives them a $3.45 million trade exception.

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