Tag Archive | "Washington Wizards"

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John Ourand joins Nestor to talk Washington Wizards basketball

Posted on 18 November 2014 by WNST Staff

John Ourand joined Nestor to talk about the NBA and the Washington Wizards. With all of their young talent, they look to build off of an impressive season last year. Like the 2013-2014 season, they hope to make some noise in the Eastern Conference this year. LISTEN HERE.

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wes_unseld

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Watching the Wizards — from a distance

Posted on 08 May 2014 by WNST Staff

It’s hard not to watch the Wizards’ playoff run.

They’re young.  They’re exciting.  They’re from Washington.

This is Baltimore.  Just down Interstate-95, about 35-minutes south, is Washington.  Baltimore isn’t Washington–and the Wizards aren’t the hometown team.

For a decade, the Civic Center–Baltimore Areana/First Mariner Arena–housed the red-white-and-blue uniforms that represented the city’s NBA franchise.  And then, after the 1973 season, they whisked away to the greener pastures of the Washington DC suburbs of Landover.

And, like that, the Bullets were no longer property of Baltimore.

Though the franchise made an effort to travel to Charm City for several home-games each year, it was never quite right; almost like having dinner with an ex-girlfriend who says she’s confused and needs space, but you know she’s been sleeping with some other guy for quite some time.

On a personal level, a kid like me never knew any better.  Born in 1983,  I knew nothing other than vivid memories of Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, told to me by my basketball-crazed father.

Sure, as a kid we watched the Bullets on Home-Team-Sports (big-time throwback), and we went to any games that the team played in Baltimore–even though it was routinely against bottom-feeders like the Barkley-less-Sixers, the Laettner-led Timberwolves, or the JV team that used to be the New Jersey Nets.

Rex Chapman bombing threes over Hersey Hawkins, or Pervis Ellison going body-to-body with Dwayne Schintzius, wasn’t exactly a premier brand of basketball–but it was all Baltimore had.

As a kid, it was perfectly acceptable to run around the Bear Creek and West Inverness playgrounds with a handmade Tom Gugliotta jersey while bellowing out “Guuuuuuuugs.”

Ah, but ignorance is bliss.  As time went on, it became more and more apparent that the Bullets couldn’t really care less about Baltimore.

Even though mainstays like Wes Unseld and Phil Chenier claimed love for Baltimore and its fans who created a college-type of atmosphere, the organization decided that in 1997, it was the end of the yearly trips to Baltimore–officially closing the door on memory lane.

By 1998, the re-branded Wizards took to the court at the newly constructed MCI Center in the heart of one of the worst crime-laden neighborhoods in our Nation’s Capital.  And, even though Baltimore has been the backdrop of drug-infested war-stories like HBO’s The Wire, try and convince a Dundalkian, Overlean, or Parkvillian to venture into DC.

You’d have a better chance of convincing a Fallston girl to leave a Fed Hill bar and go to a keg-party in a Dundalk basement.

And that’s just it.  It’s not that Baltimore and its fans lost interest in the Bullets-turned-Wizards.  It’s that the franchise lost interest in its roots.

The official statements that the organization made and would continue to make if anyone still asked the question, would be that they aren’t going to keep piling into a dilapidated arena when they have a newer facility less-than-an-hour away.

But there’s more to the story than that; perhaps most importantly, it’s not the arena that the Bullets-Wizards franchise shunned, it’s the fans.

The fans of Baltimore who had memories of Gus Johnson and Elvin Hayes.  The fans who clamored to get tickets to watch a couple of games per year from obstructed view seats.  The fans who still think that the Wizards are part of Baltimore.

And that’s what it’s become.  A fallacy of what once was.

These days, as a kids who never really knew the Bullets like my dad did, I watch the Wizards and appreciate their youthful enthusiasm and the growing chemistry of budding superstars like Bradley Beal and John Wall.

But I look at them as I look at Oklahoma City’s franchise; or Indiana’s, or Brooklyn’s.

This is Baltimore.  And while it’s certainly understandable to like the Wizards and enjoy their run in the playoffs, it’s important to remember, they’re Washington’s team–not Baltimore’s.

Baltimore is watching–albeit from a distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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B&B Rapid Fire: Wizards Will Make Conference Finals

Posted on 26 April 2014 by WNST Staff

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Basketball Insiders’ Kyler believes Wizards/Bulls Is Best First Round Playoff Match Up

Posted on 19 April 2014 by WNST Audio

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Basketball Insiders’ Kyler thinks Wizards patience with Wall paying off

Posted on 12 February 2014 by WNST Audio

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Grunfeld

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Grunfeld Taking a Wiz on D.C.

Posted on 19 December 2012 by WNST Staff

Ernie GrunfeldAfter watching and following the Wizards for the past several years, only one thing comes to mind. To quote the great Vince Lombardi, “what the hell is going on out here?” No team can be more infuriating in this massive media market, than the basketball team in D.C. It all starts and finishes with one man, who has torpedoed the franchise from a consistent playoff team to the garbage that witnessed at the Verizon Center in China Town.

Luckily for Ernie Grunfeld, Michael Jordan took over another flailing franchise, or talks across the NBA would consider the Wizards one of the worst teams in the history of the game. Yet, Grunfeld returned to D.C. for another season of empty seats and an even emptier effort on the court. Now may be it is the beloved owner, Ted Leonsis’, fault for trying to instill the same ideals that have made the Capitals so relevant and successful in the NHL for such a long stretch.

This is the NBA, where building through the draft, as noble as it sounds, does not work for 90% of the teams and championships are won through free agency and buying superstars. And in a top 5 market, with a team that has a deep pocketed owner and the luxury of a fan base extending from Virginia to Maryland, spending money shouldn’t be a problem. But even if the youth movement was the goal for this team, Grunfeld completely threw that philosophy out the window with his ineptitude. He has done a halfway decent job selecting role players but it if weren’t for the luxury of picking in the top 3, two out of three seasons, this roster would have no one to build upon. John Wall can become a star but is hindered by the team around him. Bradley Beal was the best pick for this team, but what if the Bobcats took him instead, one pick before? Which role player would be riding the bench for the Wizards right now? The point is, Grunfeld has never had a good draft and only selected Wall and Beal because they were handed to him.

You can’t build through the draft with a GM that cannot draft talent.

Let’s start from the beginning to realize where and why the D.C. demise has come about. Gilbert Arenas really screwed things up, not just for his gun toting locker room antics, but his balky knees and massive contract he stole from Mr. Leonsis’ pockets. Arenas gave little for his contract and was soon on his way out of the Capital, once John Wall was drafted. But that also coincided with Grunfeld convincing everyone in the organization that the young core of Nick Young, Andray Blatche and Javal McGee would develop into a formidable starting roster.

To build a team around the dumbest three players is not only idiotic in itself but egotistical and irresponsible. Basically, Grunfeld fed Wizards fans hot dog water and presenting it as French Wine. Now they have all been moved, and even though the moves removed three cancers from a locker room, the return makes no sense, what so ever.

They received absolutely nothing for Nick Young to the Clippers or Blatche to the Nets; literally. But the big mistake was reprising McGee for Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza’s massive contracts, depleting the most valuable chip the team had; cap room.

James HardenFinally, and the last straw for a General Manager that makes a living of destroying a team and basketball fan base, was the move, or lack thereof, this offseason. Yahoo Sports reported that Grunfeld turned down an offer which included, No. 3 draft pick, Bradley Beal and last year’s top pick, Chris Singleton from the now Rockets star, James Harden. Now Beal could become a star but is more likely to be Alan Houston instead of Ray Allen (which many have compared him to). But we know what Singleton is (a decent defensive player off the bench) and we now know what James Harden is; a legit star that is carrying a Houston Rockets team to the playoffs. Not to mention he, along with his sweet man beard, is marketable and could rebuild an excitement at the Verizon Center. Harden is probably the third best shooting guard in the league (behind Kobe and Dwayne Wade) but was not worth two unproven Grunfeld draft picks.

Here at WNST Nestor started the initiative to “Free the Birds” from the Peter Angelos reigns. Well I’ll be the first here to say it is time to “Free the Wizards” from the ineptitude that is Ernie Grunfeld’s tenure. This story will continue with a look towards the future coming soon.

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