Wizards

Quick Links

Standig's Mock 2012 NBA Draft

796370.png

Standig's Mock 2012 NBA Draft

1 New Orleans: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky Duh. Next.

2 Charlotte: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas If the Bobcats keep the pick and the rumor mill says dont bet on it - the athletically gifted double-double machine is probably the only option that makes sense for a team lacking, um, a lot.

3 Washington: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida Seemingly every NBA insider has Michael Kidd-Gilchrist atop the Wizards board at this point. If youre talking highest upside, maybe thats the case and the Wizards do need small forward help. However, until Im aware of a pending trade that would clear up what would be a logjam at forward or how you can play MKG and fellow perimeter clanking first rounders John Wall and Jan Vesely together, Ill go with the shooter. Add Beals textbook form and court awareness to an offense that made efficient strides late last season and the success rate goes up, especially from threeeeeeee.

4 Cleveland: Harrison Barnes, SF, Cleveland Like the Wizards and Bobcats, the Cavs need someone who can shoot the ball. Say what you want about Barnes ability to create his own scoring opportunities, but he can knock down perimeter looks and his athleticism is truly off the charts.

5 Sacramento: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky Players can develop their shot in the pro ranks. If MKG does and maintains the rest of his high-energy, intangible-heavy game, the Kings have a nice frontcourt combo with him and DeMarcus Cousins. Regardless, they have a winner in the truest sense of the word.

6 Portland: Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State If the Blazers want the highest upside player remaining, Andre Drummond is the obvious call. However, Portland is lacking at the point guard slot and Lillard is impressing more and more. He might not be available when the Blazers pick again at 11. Other bigs that can help LaMarcus Aldridge will.

7 Golden State: Andre Drummond, PF, Connecticut The Warriors need small forward help and therefore are probably hoping Barnes falls to them. At this point, taking a shot on Drummonds power-packed physique and truly raw skill set is a relative no-brainer.

8 Toronto: Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut Raptors are linked to various shooting guards and the silky smooth Lamb is arguably the best of the rest. If he proves to NBA decision makers there is a competitive rage behind the placid demeanor, the 6-foot-5 wing with great length hears his name called in the top 10.

9 Detroit: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois I try not letting combine buzz impact my thoughts, but that becomes harder when the players receiving the praise is a 7-foot-1 center who averaged 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds as a sophomore. Regardless, expect the Pistons to take another big man for an interior pairing with Greg Monroe.10 New Orleans:Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State Has a pro skill set, amajor leaguecaboose, but amateurish athleticism and perhaps a faulty back. Sullys under-the-rim game and low post moves balances nicely with Davis' shot blocking presence while dramatically upgrading the Hornets frontcourt scoring options.

11- Portland: Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina Though not an elite prospect, the polished 7-foot senior averaged 16.3 points and 9.6 rebounds in his ACC Player of the Year campaign. Taking Zeller is more about adding a piece to the puzzle rather than selecting a future top 3 player.

12 Milwaukee: Perry Jones, PF, Baylor Bucks would love Meyers or Zeller to replace the traded Andrew Bogut. Instead they shoot for the moon with the highly-athletic, but low-motor 6-foot-11 forward. Jones is one of those players whose future position remains in question.

13 Phoenix: Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse Weve heard about the lottery draft promise supposedly made to the legitimate two-way threat. If true, this could be the spot. Waiters dramatically improved his 3-point shooting (36.3 percent) as a sophomore while swiping 1.8 steals per game

14 Houston: John Henson, PF, North Carolina Lack of current bulk and fears his slender frame cannot pack on enough weight to survive the NBA wars drops the 6-foot-10 jumping jack outside the top 10.

Ben Standig blogs about the Redskins, Wizards, Hoyas and the D.C.area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at bstandig@comcast.net, follow him on Twitter @BenStandig and catch his musings at the D.C. Sportalist.

Quick Links

Drew Gooden describes playing with LeBron James: It was 'like a traveling rock band'

Drew Gooden describes playing with LeBron James: It was 'like a traveling rock band'

LeBron James and the media circus that comes along with him is coming to Washington, D.C., as the Lakers will face off with the Wizards at Capital One Arena.

Drew Gooden played with James for the better part of four seasons in Cleveland from 2004-08, and so he knows exactly what it's like when one of the NBA's greatest players comes to town. 

"It's only real until you actually see it," Gooden said during Thursday's edition of the Wizards Talk podcast. "We used to joke and call ourselves not the Beatles, but the 'Cleatles,' because it was almost like a traveling rock band. And everybody played their part."

Gooden recounted one particular incident during a day off in Detroit in 2006, when he, James and a couple of their teammates went to a shopping mall to buy some watches.

"When we walked into the shopping mall in Detroit, it was like Michael Jackson had entered the shopping mall," Gooden explained. "Kids were running up, grownups were running up, everybody ran into the store we were in. They had to shut it down with mall security, and wouldn't let anybody in."

"The only thing I was thinking of is like, 'How are we gonna get out of here?' Because we came on our own with no security, so we were just thinking of how we were gonna get out of the mall now. And when I saw that star power of LeBron James back in 2006, this was before he won a championship, I couldn't imagine how it is now, and what he's become in today's game."

James' star power has only grown since then, and many have already declared him the greatest basketball player of all-time.

This label in reference to James is nothing new to Drew Gooden: he heard it when they were both teenagers playing AAU baskeball. 

"Calvin Andrews, who was a sports agent of Carmelo Anthony, Calvin Andrews told me when LeBron was 15 years of age, he said, 'You see that guy right there?'" Gooden recalled. "I said, 'Yeah, what about him?'"

"'He's gonna be the best basketball player ever.'"

"So it's no surprise to me, and this is not new to me, it's just I'm more amazed that it actually happened," Gooden concluded. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, he's gonna be the best ever or he has an opportunity of being the best ever.' But I literally heard a man tell me that in Calvin Andrews, and that guy actually becoming one of the best ever, or the best ever." 

For more on LeBron James and the Lakers' upcoming visit to D.C. to take on the Wizards, listen to the full Wizards Talk podcast below.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

When it comes to Wall vs. Kyrie debate, Stephen A. Smith believes Irving is 'just on another level'

usa_today_11818175.0.jpg
USA Today

When it comes to Wall vs. Kyrie debate, Stephen A. Smith believes Irving is 'just on another level'

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After the Los Angeles Lakers selected Magic Johnson first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft, only one point guard (Allen Iverson) went No. 1 before the Washington Wizards snagged John Wall in 2010. Kyrie Irving’s selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers the following season turned an anomaly into a trend. A rivalry was born, debates began.

Fan bases and ardent backers made valid points and outlandish claims for their guy and against the other. This continued even after Irving joined the Celtics in 2017 and as physical ailments limited both players.

Entering the latest showdown, the head-to-head count read 8-8. Another thriller ensued. Irving took the win-loss lead from the speedy Wall Wednesday with a magical overtime performance in Boston’s 130-125 win.

For Stephen A. Smith, Irving scoring 38 points including the Celtics’ final 12 didn’t nudge the Boston star ahead of Wall, who wowed with 34 points and 13 assists. It just helped shine a light on a gap that already existed.

“It was a nice matchup. John showed up to play. I thought he played well in the fourth quarter. Over time he got a little bit erratic. That’s to be understood going up against Kyrie. Kyrie is special. Kyrie is something special. He’s just a spectacular player,” the often outspoken ESPN analyst told NBC Sports Washington following the game.

“John Wall reminded you how talented he is,” Smith continued, “but in the process, he also reminded you there are levels to this. Kyrie is just on another level and there is no other way around that.”

That statement joins a list of bold commentary in the long-running Wall-Irving arguments. There are certain dynamics that back up this claim.

Wall racks up assists, but Irving laps him as a shooter. Both players are five-time All-Stars with a single All-NBA selection. Irving’s résumé also includes Olympic Gold for Team USA in 2016 and one of the biggest shots in league history. He sank the series-winning jumper for Cleveland in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. The Wizards, while improved recently compared to franchise norms, have not advanced beyond the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs since Wall's arrival.

“They’re very, very talented. There is no doubt about that,” Smith, who attended Wednesday’s contest, said of the guards.  “But in the same breath, they’re not on the same page. 

"John Wall is a tremendous, tremendous talent. His success is predicated on his ability to get to the basket, his athleticism, his conditioning. He came into this season he was clearly not in ideal shape. He was heavier than he usually is. He’s never really, really truly improved that jump shot.”

Irving’s heroics Wednesday included two 3-pointers in the final minute, one a go-ahead bomb with 17.3 seconds remaining. Wall missed the second of Washington two game-tying attempts from beyond the arc on the next possession.

“When you look at Kyrie Irving, how did he stick the dagger in you? Long 3’s,” Smith said. “Now, John can do that from time to time, but you can’t rely on him to do it. When he makes those shots you say, ‘Thank God.’ When Kyrie makes those shots you say, ‘Yeah, that’s what he’s supposed to do because that’s what he does.’

“A perfect example is that the game is waning, you’re in overtime. (Wizards guard) Bradley Beal misses a 3-pointer. You’re John Wall. You get the ball back. You launch a three when you should have got it back to Bradley Beal because he’s the shooter. That’s not what you do, but that’s what John Wall did. Again, that’s the kind of thing you look at.”

Wall’s primary statistics this season – 21.0 points, 8.5 assists – are worthy of All-Star consideration. His overall game is more under the microscope than usual because of the Wizards’ slow start and his four-year, $170 million contract extension that tips off next season.

“You look at [Wall] as a big-time talent. Somebody who I felt was worthy of his money considering the fact that it’s not like you can go out and get Kevin Durant or somebody like that. In the same breath, you’re looking for him to improve upon the game that he already has, not to bring you back the same old, same old,” Smith said.

“Unfortunately, that’s what you’re seeing right now. You’re seeing a guy who is a big-time talent, who can ball, but who is giving you nothing different or nothing better than what he’s been giving you, and that hasn’t been good enough to get this team to the next level. That’s where you have a problem if you’re the Washington Wizards.”

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: