Have you ever seen the second Ninja Turtles movie from 1991, “The Secret of the Ooze”? Do you remember those mutant villians Shreddar created, Tokka the snapping turtle and Rahzar the gray wolf? If so, you’ll recall how initially they were inadequate, brainless young babies with no sense of direction nor any order, just drooling and not much else.
The tie-in with the two mutants and the tandem of Otto Porter and Glen Rice, Jr might not formulate the greatest analogy BUT to a certain degree, it may still apply. Mostly considering that in their rookie seasons, the two shared just the same adolescent traits as Tokka and Rahzar: young and pretty inadequate, but not much drooling. In the movie, however, the two mutant infants would incur a growth spurt and soon Shreddar would smartly utilize their size and apply whatever intelligence they had, setting them free onto the city streets to just rough shit up. Now this is where I may be drifting a bit, but I certainly won’t tell you that Porter and Rice are aimless wrecking balls on the floor. I will, however, describe to you a growth spurt of their own that has turned them into some type of a serious problem for the general basketball public in Vegas, this after being just helpless babies in the league last season. For one, it’s got Otto Porter looking like everything the Wizards scouted for to make him the number 3 pick last year, and the most pleasant surprise of the summer: Glen Rice, Jr. balling out to the point where he’s calling for the reigns of Summer League MVP.
Even better, it’s coined them what I think is the sickest nickname in the league for a duo, “Junior Mafia” and we salute David Dunn (@ImDavidDunn), one of the stronger contingents of #WizardsTwitter, for the creativity.
Just when we imagined that maybe the Junior Mafia couldn’t turn up any more this summer, they destroy the stat sheet in a do or die quarterfinal game against San Antonio last night. Rice, who at the beginning of the game was trailing in total points only to New York’s Tim Hardaway, Jr. (too many sons in this league now meaning I’m getting too old), erupted for 36 points on 21 shots, including six 3’s to go with 11 boards. That sounds much like one of his daddy’s stat lines in a classic 90s Heat game. It actually wouldn’t be a surprise if we learned that pops has been working out with Jr. this summer. I remember last season observing Rice’s game and searching for elements in his game similar to his father’s didn’t have a lot of success. This summer we’ve noticed a lot more strength, allowing him to muscle away from defenders and create jump shots. We’ve seen a world of difference in his long range shot as well, especially the stop-and-pop 3’s. Otto, by the way, finished with 27. Of course as second year players in the league, Otto and Rice will feel and look like men among boys but if anything, we can take it as confidence boosters for their game. The Wizards are banking on these two fitting in the rotation this season – especially Rice in a thin back court – so they’ll need any amount of confidence they can get. Thus far, everything’s been just flowery.
Here are some Junior Mafia Vinelights from last night and GOD I’m going to love using that term this season.