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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 embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has already made enough money during his basketball career to last a lifetime and his new supermax contract worth $170 million is just kicking in. When he is done playing in the NBA, he doesn't have to do anything at all if he doesn't want to.

But there is at least a small part of Wall that believes coaching could be in his future. He loves the game enough to not rule out the possibility.

This year will give him a taste of what being a coach is all about. While he rehabs his ruptured left Achilles, he will serve as an unofficial assistant to head coach Scott Brooks. Wall will be asked to break down film with players, advise on plays to run and help the team's young point guards in practice.

Wall isn't sure as of today whether he wants to coach when his playing days are over. But he may have an answer in just a few months.

"I think this year will tell me whether I can be a coach or not," Wall told NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast. 

"I think you have to have a lot of patience and you've gotta know how to interact with every player. Every player's attitudes and character and mood swings are totally different. I learned from when a coach tried to coach me when I was young and I wasn't the guy to coach."

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard envisions Wall as an important part of the locker room, even when he isn't playing. Part of his role may include some tough conversations with players. As Sheppard says, Wall may be able to deliver some messages that resonate more from a peer than if they came from a coach. 

Wall knows he can help in that regard. He has long been a vocal presence for the Wizards and had to assume the role as a team leader at an early age. After coming in as the No. 1 overall pick, he was a franchise player from the time he was 19 years old.

Wall's personality may also lend itself to those duties. He is very honest, whether it be with teammates or the media. 

"I like to speak my mind," he said. "It's like my momma always told me, 'I'd rather you speak your mind and say what you want to say, but say it in a respectful manner and a respectful way.'"

Wall, in fact, has a detailed philosophy on being honest. He doesn't like to lie whether it's in a media setting, to teammates or in everyday life.

It's not quite a Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' deal, but Wall sees no point in beating around the bush. If he has something to say to a teammate or the media, he will say it.

"I don't know how to not give you the truth," he said. "What I've learned is that when you lie, you've gotta remember that lie exactly the way you said it for the next 12 people you tell it to. So, why make it that tough?"

Wall is set to miss at least the first few months of the Wizards' 2019-20 season and he could be sidelined the entire year. He said he hopes to have a similar impact that Kristi Tolliver did with the Mystics this past season where she remained active as a veteran leader in the locker room despite not being able to help the team on the floor for weeks due to a knee injury.

Missing so much time due to injury is not the ideal situation for Wall, but he plans to make the most of it.

"It will make my game a lot smarter and better for when I come back," he said.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

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After setbacks in rehab, John Wall is appreciating the little things in life

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After setbacks in rehab, John Wall is appreciating the little things in life

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has been all smiles in public when discussing his rehab from Achilles surgery. He has even remarked how smoothly this recovery has gone compared to others he's underwent in the past.

But his road back from a ruptured left Achilles has not been entirely free of obstacles. He revealed to NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast recently that he dealt with an infection that delayed him getting out of his walking boot.

That was already weeks after he first had surgery to remove bone spurs from his heel in January. He had a series of infections following that procedure, one of which helped doctors discover his Achilles had torn during a fall in his home.

Wall can admit now after the fact it was a difficult time for him.

"I've just put in a lot of hard work," he said. "For me to be where I'm at right now, with all the setbacks and infections and then finding out my Achilles was ruptured and then going through another infection, it was like 'man, when can I ever get past that point of just getting out of the boot and walking?'"

What made that last part particularly frustrating was where Wall makes his offseason home. He summers in Miami, a place notorious for its humidity.

"I was in Miami during the summertime in a boot. Like, man, I don't want to be in hot Miami in a boot, sweating," he said.

Nowadays, things are much better for Wall. He is doing on-court work at the Wizards' practice facility. He can shoot jumpers and do individual ball-handling and passing drills. He can jog and lift weights.

After months of waiting to just have his walking boot come off, Wall is very appreciative to simply be able to do anything on the basketball court.

"Just to do the ball-handling and be able to shoot and do the weight-lifting, that's a great aspect [of my progress]. It makes it easier for me because I'm in a great space where it's fun," he said. 

"I'm able to do what I'm able to do, even if I'm not playing at a high speed and running up and down, I'm able to shoot and do ball-handling. That's what I love to do."

Wall continues to make progress, now nine months removed from the Achilles surgery he had on Feb. 12. He is likely to be out at least three more months, and he could miss all of the 2019-20 season.

At some point, Wall may get restless, but he continues to preach patience towards his return. When asked by Chris Miller if he will start bothering the coaches soon to play, he said he's just happy to be back on the court in practice.

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