January 1, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC
With every New Year that arrives, humans worldwide reuinte themselves with baseless commitments and empty promises to right their wrongs and become better people. Whether folks follow through with them or they are just fooling themselves matters not. The point is these resolutions for a new year of living are made because they involve things that matter, things people feel are, in fact, wrong and need to be righted. For the Washington Wizards, their New Year’s resolutions haven’t officially been announced, but if they were, here’s a few that most probably would be :
To get the most out of Marcin Gortat, at any cost.
For John Wall to never miss a double-double.
To get at least three solid plays per game out of Kelly Oubre.
Maybe, to continue contesting 3 point shots.
When it comes to New Years resolutions, some are actually manageable and can be followed through consistently. Others are merely setting personal standards. Some are outright unrealistic, like you saying you’re going back to the gym. Or, like Bradley Beal and Nene vowing to stay healthy once (if) they return from their 4 billionth injuries. Yeah, I know. Bullshit.
Nevertheless, the New Year began for the Wizards, and their first event was a visit from the Orlando Magic. The pace for a prosperous new year if we were to judge it on their start to it? Pretty encouraging. Here’s why:
They got the most out of Marcin Gortat.
For Marcin personally, the start of 2016 could not have been more positively eventful. Seemingly the only Wizards player who did not suffer a post NYE hangover, Gortat opened up last night’st game shooting 4-5 from the field to go with six boards. Although Nikola Vucevic scored the first six points of the game unanswered, Gortat’s defense improved after Vucevic’s hot start. Also a major key: he had 10 rebounds before halftime.
They got a double-double from John Wall (and much, much more).
New year, same John effing Wall. He is simply magical and I can’t think of a better word to describe him right now. Every time I’m getting ready to read off John’s stat line from any particular game, I feel like Ace Ventura beginning to describe Ray Finkle’s life story to his father at shotgun point.
*takes an audible deep breath* Speedy-style point guard, had 24 points, 13 assists, 2 rebounds, one of them offensive, made 10 of 19 shots from the field, had 2 steals, blocked one shot, made all 4 of his free throws, was a plus-5 and one goddamn helluvan American.
Also worth reiterating about Wall, he still suffers a TON of missed assists. The number of times that Wall has drawn defenders toward him to allow spot up open 3-point shooters is really becoming uncountable. The number of times that said open 3-point shooters miss those created open shots is also too many. Wall could use another real star on this team.
They got three solid plays out of Kelly Oubre.
Unlike many of the past Wizards’ rookies, Kelly Oubre is an evident work in progress that’s actually enjoyable to watch. Oubre remains raw and is worlds away from coming into his own as a professional basketball player, but the growing pains are pleasantly minimal. The reason for this begins with Kelly himself and his passion on the floor. He shows his willingness to improve and works hard for it. Getting at least three difference-making moments from Oubre per game is essential to both his development, and well, the Wizards as a team because they actually need him. Last night against Orlando, they got him. Here are his three plays:
They contested 3-point shots
The Magic missed 20 of 25 three-point shots last night. Perhaps this is because the NBA is no more than a make or miss league, or perhaps the Wizards made sure the Magic would barely see a clear look. The Magic swung the ball in pursuit of high percentage shots from the perimeter, but the Wizards, particularly Jared Dudley, remained wary of it and successfully closed out on Magic shooters for much of the night.
#WizMagic in a tweet..
John Wall putting out all the feels.
— Danny (@recordsANDradio) January 2, 2016
The Game’s Top Performer:
Wall has literally been like the league’s top performer since the beginning of December. Check it: Wall has had a double-double now in 8 straight games, and 11 of the last 12, and 14 of the last 17.
Here he is taking Evan Fournier on a teacup ride, then throwing him off midway through.
A forgettable night for..
Also, John Wall. For being exposed to Elfrid Payton’s head plant.