The Washington Wizards are in the middle of a 15-game home win streak. John Wall was recently rewarded with an all-star appearance and won player of the month (December). The Wizards have the BEST record in the east since December 1st 2016. Scott Brooks was named coach of the Month in January. All this and I say the Wizards have a very important few weeks ahead of them. Why? Well 2 reasons, we will hopefully find out if Ian Mahinmi was worth the 64 million he was paid in the offseason, and the Wizards have some critical east match ups. Where if all goes well the Wizards can put themselves in a good spot in the East.
First, I will briefly touch on Ian Mahinmi. Ian is reportedly close to returning and it has been reported that he will play again before the all-star break. Can Ian be the Wizards bench player that can help the team excel deep into the playoffs? Or will the Wizards be forced into making a trade before the trade deadline on Thursday February 23rd? Personally, I don’t need to see Ian come out and crush it, be the rim protector that the Wizards need, but I need to see potential and hope that he will improve over the last few months. With Jason Smith playing the way he has been we really need Ian to come in and compliment Jason with his defense.
Next the Wizards have the next 5 of 7 games before the all-star break at home. If the Wizards can come out on top for the majority of these games it will put them substantially ahead of teams in places 5-8 and solidify them as a contender in the east. The Wizards are currently sitting in the fourth spot in the east. They are currently 1 game out of third place, 2.5 games out of second place and 5 games out of the top spot. One of these seven games are a nationally televised game against the top seeded Cleveland Cavaliers. Why is it important to make up ground in the east right now? Because it looks like some of the teams are going to get better via trade. Rumors have it that Melo may be joining the Boston Celtics, which will make them significantly better. Rumors also have it that Lebron James isn’t happy with only having 2 other all stars on the team and wants more. Wait what????
(Just a small note on Lebron James, I promise) Lebron pretty much hand-picked his team, brought in the guys he wanted to play with and is now making a case about additional players he wants to bring in. Is he a player or a GM? That’s not leadership! That’s not knowing you are in the conversation of being an all-time great and putting your team on your shoulders and winning a title. That’s the cheap way out! That’s a loser’s mentality! I will equate this to when I was a kid playing Madden. I would be down in the fourth quarter, where I would pause the game, switch teams, and punt the ball.
(Just a small note on how unfair the NBA is structured, I don’t promise this) In my opinion the NBA should do something to increase parity in the league. There are too many superstar teams and with players like Lebron recruiting mid-season and like the Warriors did this offseason in recruiting KD. Teams aren’t rewarded for building through the draft like it is say in the NFL. The NBA should really consider having a hard cap, where teams cannot spend more than the cap, and get rid of this luxury tax garbage. The NFL does many things wrong, but I think they control parity the way it should be. There’s almost at least 1 new team in the Super bowl every year, where in the NBA it’s the same teams over and over again. The Cavs basically went from one of the worst team in the league to playing in the finals by using their $$$ and drafting no players.
Rant(s) finished, now let’s just hope the Wizards prove the NBA wrong and prove that drafting the right players, adding in free agency (responsibly) can work.