Washington Wizards Thanksgiving 2016-17: 5 Things Wizards Fans Should Be Thankful For
Washington Wizards don’t have a lot of things to be thankful for, but we found five underappreciated aspects about the team this Thanksgiving.
The Washington Wizards are 4-9 and they’re currently second to last in the Eastern Conference standings.
Things haven’t gone according to plan for Scott Brooks‘ team. The bench has failed to produce, the team is capped out and the schedule isn’t getting any easier going forward.
Realistically, the Wizards are going to have a difficult time climbing out of the early season hole.
But there’s still a lot of season left to be played. So despite the troubles, we do have things to be thankful for.
Before we get into the top-five things, I want to thank you guys for continuing to read our work and supporting us. We know that the Wizards fanbase isn’t very large, yet it’s the most passionate group of fans in the league.
5) Sato’s Airness
Ernie Grunfeld tried to revamp the bench after missing out on all the top free agents this past summer, but didn’t do enough, it seems.
One of the lone bright spots has been Tomas Satoransky – the 2012 second round pick who most, including myself, thought would never come to the states.
Washington misses Ramon Sessions‘ scoring, but they added youth, length and versatility with Satoransky. In an off-season where we saw a ton of free agents get overpaid, Satoransky became an absolute steal at three-years, $9 million.
He’s given the Wizards some spirit off the bench. He’s shown an ability to create off the dribble, distribute the ball and finish in traffic.
— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) November 17, 2016
It’s not great analysis, but Satoransky just knows how to play the game, which cannot be said for most on the bench.
He’s been thrust into a solid role in his rookie year and he’s responded well.
We can’t take him for granted. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that Eric Maynor was running the second unit.
4) Otto breaking through the ceiling
When Otto Porter was drafted out of Georgetown in the 2013 NBA Draft, a lot of pundits considered him the “safe pick.” The 6-foot-9 Porter wasn’t projected to become an elite player at the next level, as most believed he lacked the necessary physical tools to truly excel.
He probably won’t be an All-Star this year nor will he get recognition from the national media, but Porter is coming into his own.
Now that he’s in his fourth season, Porter has finally become comfortable with himself. The hesitancy we saw early in his career is gone, at least for the most part. He’s embraced his talent and the boxscore is starting to show it.
Porter is averaging 15 points and 8 rebounds while sporting an above average player efficiency rating. He’s also making a career-high 50 percent of his shots from the field.
Washington didn’t sign Porter to an early contract extension, but the wingman will get a huge payday when the time comes.
So far, 13 games into the season, Porter has been the Washington Wizards’ second best player. That says something about a player who was supposedly competing for a starting spot with Kelly Oubre, who played less than 700 minutes last year.
Porter is here to stay. Washington doesn’t have much to be excited for, but at least their small-forward is developing.
3) Keef’s toughness
The Washington Wizards have a lot of problems, one of them being that their roster is comprised of too many nice guys.
I’m a firm believer that a locker room needs at least one a**hole.
Paul Pierce, I’m sure, is a great dude. But he knows how to be an a**hole on the court. That toughness Pierce played with carried over to the rest of the team. We saw Bradley Beal get evil in the NBA Playoffs. Opposing players hate playing against tough dudes.
Washington lacks an edge. John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter? They’re too nice. They don’t have that edge that throws people out of their element.
Markieff Morris is one of the toughest dudes the Wizards have had in years, though.
He’s an absolute beast on the court. Is he a bit of a black hole offensively? Sure. He often takes bad shots, but I dare you to tell him to stop shooting. Defensively, he’s the best on the roster.
Keef shut down Kristaps Porzingis and Paul Millsap just by being physical. Historically, the Wizards have lacked physical players. Morris broke out of that mold. He enjoys the contact and thrives off playing bully ball.
Be thankful for his toughness.
2) Brad’s shooting
Nowadays, if your team can’t shoot nor defend the 3-point line, you’re not going to win many games.
The Washington Wizards are the fourth worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA, hitting 7.4 shots from deep per game.
For some reason, the front office completely disregarded shooting in the off-season. Marcus Thornton isn’t (and never will be) the answer.
Bradley Beal is the team’s best 3-point shooter and we often take his shooting for granted.
Instead of trying to prove to everyone that he can create off the dribble, Beal is starting to take shots that he can actually make. He scored 34 points against the Miami Heat and followed that up with a 42-point performance against the Phoenix Suns.
He took 11 threes against the Heat and 10 against the Suns. He made a combined 9 shots from three in both games.
Beal is a frustrating player, but the Wizards are obviously a much better team when he’s on the court. They don’t have anyone on the roster that can replicate his production. The team’s lack of 3-point shooting has really highlighted what Beal means to the club.
He cannot be undervalued. Whenever you get angry at Beal, just watch Thornton do what Thornton does.
1) John Wall
John Wall is the most underappreciated player the Washington Wizards have ever had.
That’s a bold statement, I know, but just look at all the garbage he’s dealt with.
He’s never played with another All-Star. He spent multiple years of his career playing alongside JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and Nick Young. The team passed on Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard to pick Jan Vesely.
It’s been seven years and the Wizards have yet to take advantage of Wall’s talent. He’s putting up a career-high 24 points and 9 assists. He had double-knee surgery in the off-season and bounced back to have the best season of his career.
And through all the b.s., Wall has never complained.
He continues to show up to the Verizon Center every day with a smile on his face. He does a ton of work behind the scenes for the community and doesn’t even have a billboard.
One day, Wall won’t put on a red-white-blue uniform and we’ll all sit back and think about how the organization failed to market their franchise player. He’s been perfect for the organization and they haven’t repaid him.
Let’s show gratitude and thanks to John Wall, because he won’t be with the team forever.
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