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The RG3 Era is Over in Washington

Washington Redskins first round NFL football draft pick, Robert Griffin III, looks on at a press conference, Saturday, April 28, 2012, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

c/o Nick Wass – AP

 

Today is Monday, August 31, 2015 and the wheels have fallen off. The Robert Griffin III era in Washington is over.

With the Kirk Cousins train officially fueled and ready to embark on 2015, what better way to stay on course with the confusion that is the Washington Redskins football organization than to create a list of random thoughts, theories, and ideas surrounding the latest circus act in Ashburn?

  • There’s plenty of blame to go around in this ordeal. Plenty. From owners, to presidents, to players, to coaches past and present, it’s impossible to place full blame on just one guy. That said, it’d be wrong to ignore Griffin’s ego throughout this entire mess, too. From that playoff game against Seattle in 2012 a, to his belief that he was ready to be a dropback quarterback, to his reported declaration on which he plays he would no longer run, to offseason documentaries, to continuous hashtags, etc. I wouldn’t agree to pile on Griffin, but I also wouldn’t call him the victim.
  • Now that head coach Jay Gruden has declared the Redskins Kirk Cousins’ team, be prepared to see/read/hear people ripping Cousins to shreds for his interceptions and play sample over the course of his nine starts. To me, it’s entirely too early for that. Maybe he’s not the next Tom Brady, but there’s serviceable non-Brady starters in the NFL.
  • And while on the topic, even if Cousins turns out to be a below-average starter, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s this team’s best option to start the 2015 season. At this point, given Cousins’ sample size, the current quarterback situation speaks more to the lack of quality amongst this team’s passer group than anything else. And if Cousins ends up becoming a serviceable starter, well, then hooray. Bottom line: going with Cousins is the best decision for the Redskins moving forward.
  • Looking back on what we’ve seen of Cousins — and from a complete couch quarterback evaluation standpoint — my biggest gripe with him was his lack of confidence following a mistake. That look of a deflated balloon following an interception, or his hung head following a blown play. To me, Cousins struggled between the ears more than anything else. Is that correctable? I would guess that it is, but of course time will tell us for sure. My (optimistic) theory is that, in the past, Cousins would come into games and know that he was only a mistake away from being “welp, there’s Kirk being Kirk — nothing more than a second-string passer” and he’d crumble as a result of a botched opportunity. Does that change with the support of coaches and 16 games? Let’s hope so.
  • The Redskins hierarchy is a mess. We all know that. But a move like this definitely looks good for new general manager Scot McCloughan, as well as the idea that was sold to fans when he was hired over the offseason — Scot’s the boss. And call it crazy, but I think Jay Gruden even garners some credibility as a result of this move. This is McCloughan (the boss) backing his head coach (at least for now).
  • It should be a law that we don’t read the comments section of online articles, but I’m guilty. And recently I saw more than a handful of people screaming about the real problem in Washington, which they claim is not having a “quality” coach who can “get the most out of Griffin” and really “maximize” his potential. There’s actually an answer to that demand, and their names were Mike and Kyle Shanahan.
  • Although there’s a sense of relief that comes with the Redskins’ latest decision, it’s also sad to think of how high we were all riding just three years ago. Superman was our quarterback, gullible fanboys such as myself referred to him as the savior of Washington football, the lack of white-knuckling when your quarterback dropped back to pass was a feeling unlike any I’d felt in years. And now look. That wave crashed to the lowest point of the ocean floor and it’s gone forever.
  1. Don’t forget the audio captured by ‘Sound FX’ in which Griffin admits to Trent Williams on the sideline early on in the game that he tweaked his leg and to not to say anything.  (back)

According to Jason Reid, “Several O-Lineman Don’t Like RGIII”

rg3 concussion

Hey, you know what’s a whole bunch of fun? Not Redskins football.

Just a day after Washington lost newly-signed pass rusher Junior Galette to a season-ending Achilles injury, former Washington Post reporter and ESPN 980 radio host Jason Reid had nice things to report regarding Robert Griffin III following the quarterback’s awkward Thursday afternoon press conference.

These comments came after Griffin directed all questions regarding his latest concussion to the team, saying things like, “Talk to the people who report that stuff,” and “I’m following [the team’s] lead, following their protocol, and hopefully I can get out there and play.”

And perhaps Griffin’s best line of the afternoon — and one we’ve heard from him before — was when he was asked whether or not he thought he should’ve played that fourth (and ultimately final) series. “I just work here, man.”

As if we didn’t know already, the ship has sailed.

All Aboard the #KD2DC Hype Train (Some More)

Looking for some feel-good news in the midst of rumors and nonsense that the head coach of your favorite football team is trying to secretly kill the starting quarterback of your favorite football team?

Look no further, friend! Thanks to @WizardsLegion, this photo of Wizards point guard John Wall and hometown gawd/hero/potential savior Kevin Durant should do the trick.

c/o Wizards Legion

c/o Wizards Legion

Although Wizards Legion clearly states these are pictures from a charity football game in Los Angeles that each of the NBA surperstars attended, we can’t help but notice how close the two are to actually interlocking fingers, holding hands, and frolicking throughout the fields.

#KD2DC

Hard Knocks, Episode 1: Simple Observations from the Couch

TEXANS-REDSKINS

Tuesday night marked the season premiere of HBO’s football documentary series Hard Knocks, as it follows the J.J. Watt Show Houston Texans through training camp and provides us football fanatics with cool behind-the-scenes glimpses of coaches, commentary, workouts, team practices, on-field brawls, etc.

And as a special treat, last night’s episode captured the Texans’ recent visit to Richmond, Virginia to participate in joint practices with the Washington Redskins. Yay!

Here’s five simple observations from Episode 1.

1. I still long for Bill O’Brien. 

Almost two years ago, as the Redskins searched for their next head coach following the disastrous fall and departure of Mike Shanahan, I wrote about possible coaching candidates and mentioned that Bill O’Brien was by far my favorite target.a After using terms like “fire belly” to describe the B’OB and then taking him in during last night’s episode, I continue to wish he was the head man in Washington. That said, however, I understand the difference in hierarchy between both teams. I understand that just because a guy (player or coach) does well in one place, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’d do well in Washington. Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen form to create a different animal, and I get that. But man — Bill O’Brien is awesome.

2. Watching Vince Wilfork do anything is entertaining. 

Like, anything at all. Watching him play football is obviously entertaining, but so is watching him talk with his teammates, or walk at a rapid pace, or better yet, shoot a basketball. He’s a barrel of fun.

3. It’s the JJ Watt Show. 

We knew this going into the season though. JJ Watt is everything you want in a showman athlete and he’s made for the screen. He’s a massive specimen, he’s well-spoken, he’s an All-Pro, a hard worker, a family man, a tough guy, a leader, and the list goes on. It’d be silly for HBO not to hone in on Watt and his awesomeness.

Also, while on the topic of physically imposing athletes, we shouldn’t overlook Duane Brown. Sure the left tackle’s listed specs of 6’4″, 303 pounds tells us he’s a large guy, but the shot of him getting out of his SUV on his way to bring his wife (radio DJ Devon Anjelica) some lunch at her work made him look the size of a dump truck.

4. Redskins field guys ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There’s a clip from the show with the Texans warming up on the field soon after arriving in Richmond to practice with the Redskins. The cameras catch J.J. Watt doing his high kick stretches and he takes special note of how crooked the painted field lines are (which were, notably, very crooked), alluding that the person who painted them must have been drunk.

As any Redskins fan will tell you, there’s some historical irony associated with Watt’s observation.b

5. The Royal Rumble(s)

An obvious selling point of the first episode were the brawls between the Texans and Redskins on the final day of joint practice, and it seemed to be fueled by the usual suspects: DeAngelo Hall, Pierre Garcon, and Niles Paul.

Amongst the mess it was tough to determine who was who and who was swinging what, but Hall’s back-and-forth with Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins (DON’T TOUCH NUKE) was well documented; as was Garcon’s jawing amidst a large scuffle that led to Houston linebacker Brian Cushing saying something along the lines of “I remember him in Indianapolis [Garcon’s former team]…he’s always talking”; and then Paul just being the rough brusier type we’ve all come to know, getting his slow-motion close up as he attempts to mush an opponent.

Entertaining stuff.

  1. Along with Mike Zimmer and David Shaw <3  (back)
  2. Whether it’s a home game at FedEx or a practice in Richmond, the Redskins always seem to find themselves playing on shaking field surfaces. Consistently mind-boggling, really.  (back)

Daily Fantasy Golf Picks: The Open Championship 2015

Mike Weir

It’s finally here. The British Open…er, the Open Championship…just, The Open. Maybe you just refer to it as St. Andrews. Whatever. The Old Course is here and this weekend is going to be awesome. Helping to make it even more incredible would be bringing home some bacon, so here’t goes.

For this week’s tournament, instead of crafting a DraftKings lineup, we’re instead separating players into categories (mainly of who to love, who to like, and who not to) and providing info on each. Whether you’re building a daily lineup, taking your odds on a winner, or participating in another pool-like format, there’s some info here for you.

 

* * * Spieth and the Sit Back Studs * * * 

These are the guys who provide you the biggest sense of comfort when betting or building your lineup. They’re dependable, reliable, and not likely to screw you over barring some epic meltdown. Also, in most cases, these guys are favorites to win the whole thing.

Dustin Johnson ($11,400) — We heard from Dustin Johnson recently for the first time since he pushed a putt at Chambers Bay that would’ve made him the US Open champion, and he mentioned the word “bounce” a lot, meaning: Johnson doesn’t believe so much that he missed that putt at Chambers Bay, but instead that he can’t do much to control bounces on the green. It shouldn’t bother us either way. But for the sake of one man’s psyche, if Johnson convinces himself it wasn’t a bad putt and instead a bad green, I think that’s the best possible mindset for him entering this weekend. He obviously has all the tools required for St. Andrews, including premium power off the tee and the cojones needed to get it done on the greens. Johnson also has a nice track record at the Open, including a T14 at the Old Course in 2010, followed by a T2 in 2011, T9 in 2012, T32 in 2013, and T12 at Royal Liverpool last year. It’s not much, but I’ll take DJ over Spieth in daily lineups and put the extra $600 in salary to good use elsewhere.

Jordan Spieth ($12,000) — No one needs to talk you into how good Jordan Spieth is. If you want to have him lead your team, recent form says you’d be in pretty good shape. That said, St. Andrews is a different animal and there’s some stat somewhere that talks about the last time a player won the Open after playing the previous weekend in America (and I don’t think it’s happened in 10-12 years…maybe?). I’ve seen some pools take Spieth out of the equation all together in order to spice things up and keep participants from picking, say, Sir Spieth and six other cronies; so if you find yourself in that situation then you won’t have to trouble yourself with the whole “to be or not to be” when it comes to Jordan. For me, he won’t be in my daily lineups (based on value) and his odds to win (7/1) aren’t juicy enough. I’m also not chomping at the bit given Spieth is a rookie at this course.

Adam Scott ($10,700) — It may have been nearly a month ago since we last saw Adam Scott at Chambers Bay fire a three-under to finish tied for fourth, but don’t let his brief layoff keep him out of your betting vision. Scott has impressive history when it comes to the Open, including three top-five finishes in his last three outings. He has the power off the tee, the precision from the fairway, and Steve Williams on the bag, all of which combine to make him a solid choice for this weekend. In his last outing at the Old Lady in 2010, Scott finished tied for 26th with a 72/70/72/72.

Rickie Fowler ($9,700) — What’s not to like about Rickie Fowler right now? Coming off a win at Gullane for the Scottish Open championship last weekend, Fowler is firing on all cylinders and really seems to strive in situations like these. He’s quickly quieting the critics since his win at THE PLAYERS and he has everything going for him this weekend, from form, to swagger, to pedigree.  Fowler also has two top-five finishes at the Open, including last year’s T2 finish at Royal Liverpool (273). At just under $10k, Fowler is incredibly close to being a must-play this weekend, and a favorite of mine to keep it close on Sunday.

Henrik Stenson ($10,200) — Coming into this weekend following a second-place finish at the BMW International Open in Germany late last month, Henrik Stenson is one of the more quiet favorites this week. He’ll net you odds at 22/1 and cost you over $10k in daily formats, but I’d guess a majority of people would side with Johnson, Fowler, Spieth, Scott, and maybe even Watson (again, that’s just a guess). Stenson has three top-three finishes in his last six Open appearances, including a T3 finish at St. Andrews in 2010, and his mastery on the greens could go a long way this weekend. And while I’ve said before I don’t generally like to bank on such emotion, Stenson is SO DUE for a big one.

 

* * * Fleetwood and the (Personal) Favorites * * * 

These are the guys that tickle the betting fancy of yours truly. They’re safe to be sprinkled throughout daily lineups, easy to take odds on, and fun (I think, anyway) to root for.

Shane Lowry ($8,100) — If there’s one guy’s mindset and attitude I want heading into this weekend, it’s that of Irishman Shane Lowry. His T9 finish at Chambers Bay and T31 at the Scottish Open last week make for good confidence boosters heading into this tournament and Lowry adapts to the tough stuff. He also has a T9 finish at last year’s Open, as well as a T37 at St. Andrews in 2010. His salary for daily lineups is fair and his odds (45/1) are doable.

Tommy Fleetwood ($7,300) — We can start with Tommy Fleetwood’s recent form, including a T10 finish at the Scottish Open last week, a T27 at Chambers Bay, and a T21 at the Irish Open at the end of May, and speak to why he’s a strong play for this week. But even more impressive is that he’s an insane 26-under (!!) in his last four rounds at St. Andrews a. And no, that’s not a typo. Fleetwood is long off the tee, is currently hitting nearly 74 percent of GIR, and has arguably the highest level of confidence when it comes to game and course. Despite this being just Fleetwood’s second Open appearance, gimme his stock all day in daily lineups, as well as his 80/1 odds.

Hideki Matsuyama ($8,500) — It’s no secret the remarkable year Hideki Matsuyama is having, and he has some Open experience to boot, including a T39 finish at Royal Liverpool last year, and a T6 at Muirfield in 2013. With one of the sweetest strokes on tour, Matsuyama ranks second in SG: tee-to-green and 12th in scrambling. Hideki has it all right now.

Bernd Wiesberger ($7,300) — Although he doesn’t have the solid reputation as an Open Championship player, Bernd Wiesberger has an outside shot this weekend. He’s coming off a win at the Alstom Open in France earlier this month, proceeded by a T2 finish at the Irish Open and a third-place finish at the Qatar Mastersb earlier this year. Wiesberger has the stats and form to back it up, but not the track record. His salary in daily formats is priced accordingly and his 80/1 odds are solid.

Branden Grace ($8,100) — His win at the Qatar Masters earlier this year helps Branden Grace a lot heading into this weekend, as does his T4 finish at Chambers Bay and his T17 at the Scottish Open last week. His stats alone won’t make a strong enough case, but Grace’s game matches up well with the course and he has some Open Championship play under his belt (albeit his best finish being a T36 at Royal Liverpool last year / out of four tries). His odds (50/1) aren’t enough for me, but I think his daily salary is fine.

PGA Championship - Final Round

 

* * * Kaymer and the Karefuls * * * 

Some people love these guys, while others tread with caution. They’re not bad picks, per se, but you’ll need a decent dose of luck on your side to get the best return.

Martin Kaymer ($8,800) — He’s expressed before how much he loves St. Andrews, which bodes well for Martin Kaymer. We all know how hot the German can get, yet we’ve also seen him run cold. He tied for seventh at the Open in 2010 and his fourth-place finish in France earlier this month does something for confidence. There’s no doubt Kaymer has the skill to close it out on Sunday — just keep your fingers crossed for consistency.

Kevin Kisner ($7,000) — His recent form alone makes Kevin Kisner a nice value play in daily formats, but this will be his first taste of the Open, and for that reason — and that reason alone — tread cautiously.

Matt Kuchar ($7,900) — He has three top-30 finishes in his last five Open appearances, including a T27 at St. Andrews in 2010, and Matt Kuchar has the tools to contend this weekend. His T12 at Chambers Bay is still fresh in our minds, but there’s an uneasy (and inexplicable) feeling for me.

Louis Oosthuizen ($9,900) — Past winner. I get it. But the inconsistency with Louis Oosthuizen’s game is enough to move me off his high-priced salary in daily formats, as well as his 22/1 odds to win. There’s some that love Louis this weekend and some that don’t. I’m one of the latter.

Justin Rose ($10,900) — He has the skill set to get it done, but very little else makes Justin Rose a strong play this week at a salary just shy of $11k. He’s missed the cut at three of his last five Open appearances, including at St. Andrews in 2010. His 280 at last week’s Scottish Open also doesn’t do him any favors. What there is to like is his T27 finish at Chambers Bay and his T13 at the Qatar Masters earlier this year, but it’s still too all-over-the-place for my liking.

Brooks Koepka

 

* * * The Other Guys * * * 

Like ’em, but not sure I love ’em. And a couple are bargain salaries, too.

Patrick Reed ($8,400) — We’ve seen what Patrick Reed can do when he gets hot, but his lack of experience weighs too much for me at that price.

Zach Johnson ($7,400) — A little surprised not to see more love for Zach Johnson. His performances at the Open are here and there — including a T76 at St. Andrews in 2010 — but his recent form has him on fire back in the states. Johnson also falls into the trap of playing in an American tournament the weekend before this tournament, which historically doesn’t bode well for the player. At the end of the day, his salary in daily formats is attractive, and his 100/1 odds to win feels more like a sucker bet.

Brooks Koepka ($8,200) — Limited experience at the Open (T67 and M/C the last two years in only appearances), but Brooks Koepka has intriguing finishes elsewhere, such as his T18 at Chambers Bay and the T22 he posted last weekend at the Scottish Open. A little too rich for my blood in daily lineups.

Francesco Molinari ($7,500) — He has two top-15 finishes in his last two Open appearances, as well as a missed cut here at St. Andrews in 2010. Francesco Molinari’s form has been solid as of late, including a T27 finish at Chambers Bay and a T6 in Paris earlier this month. Don’t go too far with this one, but Molinari is playing well and has a pretty friendly salary.

 

  1. Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.  (back)
  2. There’s a correlation of some sort here. Good form there can lead to good form here.  (back)

Daily Fantasy Golf Lineup: The John Deere Classic 2015

Jason-Bohn

Date: July 9-12, 2015
Location: Silvis, Illinois
Course: TPC Deere Run
Purse: $4,700,000

Tony Finau ($8,500) — It’s been an awesome ride for the rookie as of late and that should carry into this weekend. Tony Finau is extremely powerful off the tee and has been hitting an insane 69 percent of greens in regulation over his past seven tournaments, helping lead him to six top-20 finishes within that same span. Finau’s salary this week is more than fair and he’s due something special here real soon. If he can improve his driving accuracy just a tad this week and stay up on his putting, Finau has a solid chance to close it out on Sunday.

Zach Johnson ($11,400) — He’s going to be a popular pick this week, and for good reason. Zach Johnson has four top-5 finishes in his last five tournaments, he’s precise off the tee (which should be a key attribute this week), and he’s a past winner at Deere Run. Sure he’ll cost you, but he’s $2,300 less than top-priced Jordan Spieth with just as a good of a shot, if not better at winning the whole thing.

Jason Bohn ($8,400) — Again, with lots of value (personally) placed on accuracy and precision this week, Jason Bohn is a solid play. Not only is his first shot and 68-percent GIR attractive, but he’s also getting it done on the greens, ranking 52nd in strokes gained putting and 31st overall. More notably, Bohn has putted well over his last five tournaments, averaging .700 SG:P over that same span.

Chez Reavie ($7,100) — Entering this weekend’s tournament at Deere Run with three consecutive top-25 finishes — most recently being a 9-under at Greebrier with a final round of 66 — Chez Reavie ranks fourth in driving accuracy and 37th in GIR percentage. His salary is a sweet bargain as is, but his warm putter as of late makes for a nice touch as well.

Jonathan Byrd ($7,500) — Following a 22nd-place finish at the Greenbrier last week, Jonathan Byrd enters this weekend in good form with a reputable track record at Deere Run. His price point is attractive enough, and his 10-of-11 cuts made at this course makes for a reliable play.

Chad Campbell ($6,800) — Like Byrd, Chad Campbell’s track record at Deere Run adds to him being a dependable start this week. He’s also been extremely accurate as of late from both the tee box and with the putter. A sub-$7,000 salary is worth it with a guy like Campbell, and for the $400 more in salary he’ll provide a higher floor than a guy like Will Wilcox who sounds like a steal at $6,400 despite two missed cuts in as many weeks.

Side Notes:

  • For me, accuracy and precision reigns supreme this weekend, whereas putting you can afford to cut some players a break in that department. That said, building your roster around accuracy and warm putting is your (obvious and) best bet.
  • Statistically, Will Wilcox is a really attractive play at just $6,400, but his recent form has been extremely disappointing. If you wanted to squeeze three $8k-$9k guys in with your one five-figure salary player, Wilcox is okay. But for better heart health through Sunday, siding with reliable players (at least at this course) a la Byrd and Campbell is best.
  • I really, really, really like Patrick Rodgers, but his tendency to beat himself up in the final round of his past two tournaments (73 and 74) doesn’t feel worth it at his $8,000 price tag. I don’t mind playing him this week, but you’ll have to keep your fingers crossed come Sunday.
  • Kevin Kisner is an attractive five-figure salary player this week and $700 less than Zach Johnson, but there’s a different sense of reliability with Johnson and that makes up the difference in cost.
  • He’s a little too rich for my blood this week, but Scott Brown ($8,600) has some quiet potential.

Daily Fantasy Golf Lineup: The Greenbrier Classic 2015

Tony Finau

Date: July 2-5, 2015
Location: White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Course: The Old White TPC
Purse: $6,700,000

Tony Finau ($9,800) — With six consecutive top-25 finishes (five top-20’s and two top-10’s), Tony Finau continues to put together an awesome rookie campaign. He’s seventh in driving distance (307.7) and hitting 67.66 percent of greens in regulation, both of which bode well for Old White. Given his recent form (and salary), Finau was my first guy on the roster this week.

Morgan Hoffmann ($6,400) — Although his salary this week seems most attractive, don’t overlook Morgan Hoffmann’s efficiency on the greens. He ranks first in scrambling between 20 and 30 yards, and 91st in overall scrambling, all of which is backed by his ability to knock down long putts (29th in strokes gained putting; 10th in overall putting).

Kevin Kisner ($10,200) — Kevin Kisner is my big spend of the weekend. Bubba Watson is obviously a popular choice, but he’ll also cost you more than a quarter of your salary cap. Paul Casey is a hot name given his recent form, but $12,300 seems too rich (although I do like him a lot this week). Webb Simpson should also be a popular play, but he nor the rest of the top-tier players will offer you the same roster flexibility as Kisner, who’s the lowest salary of any five-figure guy in this tournament. Kisner has three top-ten finishes in his last five tournaments and he’s executing with precision from all over the place. He should be in the running to win the whole thing.

Carl Pettersson ($7,500) — I teetered between Chris Stroud and Carl Pettersson, ultimately siding with Pettersson after last week’s fifth-place performance (acknowledging Stroud’s strong play as well). Pettersson is long off the tee and coming off a solid putting outing last week at the Travelers. He also ranks 16th with 273 birdies this season. For this price, Pettersson comes with good upside.

Patrick Rodgers ($8,000) — Probably seen as more of a wildcard this week, but I think Old White sets up well for a player like Patrick Rodgers. He ranks first in driving distance, 81st in scrambling, and 74th in strokes gained putting.

Will Wilcox ($8,100) — After a disappointing cut last weekend at the Travelers, here’s to hoping Will Wilcox gets back on track this week in West Virginia. He’s 32nd in strokes gained putting, 12th in scrambling, and 17th in GIR percentage. Wilcox is another guy who matches up well with the course.

Side Notes:

  • You could entertain the idea of rostering Tiger Woods for $8,600 this weekend, but why would you? Just say no.
  • I picked Carl Pettersson over him, but Chris Stroud feels like a decent play.
  • Sometimes we talk about players and mention something along the lines of, “he’s just due something here soon.” While I don’t generally play that way, Justin Thomas kind of fits the mold this week.
  • Least expensive guy I’d roster this week: Chez Reavie ($5,800).
  • Another guy to like (I think): David Lingmerth.
  • Clearly there are favorites in this tournament, but Greenbrier still feels mostly wide-open.

 

Don’t Live in Fear: Kelly Oubre is a Good Thing for the Wizards

kelly oubre

When it was all said and done, the Wizards would’ve likely had their pick of the prospects most rumored and mocked to be heading their way at No. 19 — Bobby Portis, Jerian Grant, Delon Wright, Justin Anderson, Kevon Looney. But with a slight slip for one guy, and a surprising trade (kind of) by Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld, Washington ended up landing a potential lottery talent in Kansas freshman Kelly Oubre.

As the Atlanta Hawks took the clock and made the 15th-overall pick, Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped one his ten million #WojBombs for the night, stating Washington had traded for the 15th-overall pick and would select Oubre. But on the television broadcast (who was slowly drudging through Woj’s dust all night), the Hawks were making their pick and there was no mention of a trade.

Ultimately it was a deal in which the Hawks selected for the Wiz and vice versa. In exchange for Oubre, Washington swapped first-round picks with thema and sent two future second-round picksb.

A few things as part of the initial reaction, at least on my end:

  • “Whoa. Cool. The Wizards just scored some serious talent.”
  • “Given how Ernie uses his second-round picksc, this is actually a solid haul for the front office.”
  • “Wait, this guy’s gonna need to develop. Can Washington do that?”

But I’ve had time now. I’ve slept on it. I’ve thought about it (some more), and here’t goes.

  • Kelly Oubre isn’t ready to contribute right now, and while the selfish fan in me wants to be frustrated, I’m very much okay with tapping into some patience and waiting this one out…mainly because I believe Oubre can be really, really good.
  • It’s not a straight comparison, but watching Oubre reminds me a little bit of Trevor Ariza, mainly based on two attributes: his ability to disrupt passing lanes with his length and quickness, and his ability to knock down both spot-up threes and trailing threes.
  • When people refer to a prospect as being “raw”, a guy like Oubre is who they’re talking about. You can see the potential when you watch him play — the size, the slashing ability, the splashy long-range shots, the above-the-rim throwdowns — but none of that translates right away. There’s required time for development in which he works on what he knows and learns what he doesn’t.
  • That said, working and practicing alongside young stars like John Wall and Bradley Beal should be good for Oubre’s development. Not only from an on-court perspective in which playing with a guy like Wall helps your own game, but also from an off-the-court standpoint in which Oubre can see how the young stars operate (working out, responsibilities, life off the court, etc.).
  • And while on the topic of teammates who can assist in grooming a young wing, who better than Paul Pierce? The veteran was a massive plus in the leadership department last season, helping the likes of Wall and Beal, and here’s to hoping the Wiz can lure him back, if not for the sole purpose of beating up on Oubre and shooting UNBELIEVABLE SHOTS come playoff time. Wine and dine that man, Ernie. WINE AND DINE HIM!
  • Ultimately, Kelly Oubre can be a stud. As fans, we have to put all faith in the coaching staff and the players currently on the roster, as well as pray that Randy Wittman doesn’t destroy the young man in a fun-loving bare-knuckles boxing match after a random Wednesday practice.
  • I can’t remember where I heard it (somewhere on draft night), but they described Oubre’s potential as, “a guy who could win both the dunk contest and the three-point contest.” That’s pretty solid.
  • There are odd (and totally frickin’ rad) connections popping up all over the interwebs about the friendship (or maybe even mentorship-ish) between Oubre and the gawd Kevin Durant. Read into that if you want. Or don’t. I KNOW I AM. #KD2DC, ya’ll.
  • Read things, watch things, listen to things, the consensus on Oubre seems to echo three main notes: good character, lots of potential, final product will require some patience. I’m not calling him bust-proof, but none of those are bad things.

Moving on to what I don’t like about Oubre when I watch him, ALL OF WHICH ARE CORRECTABLE, GUYS, so no worries.

  • Inconsistent effort on defense — and it’s probably atop the list. Because we’ve seen Oubre be a lockdown defender, because there’s no doubting his length, and because we know he has the quickness to stay in front of (arguably) three positions, we know this whole effort thing is curable. But geez, when you see it, it’s the most frustrating thing.
  • Oubre isn’t a great ball handler at this stage in his career, so there’s plenty left to be desired in that department. However, playground-legend handles aren’t exactly required (see: Arizaisms) for what I think I imagine him being as a player.d
  • Everything about him matches the description of a guy who can brush off a screen and knockdown a jumper, but that’s not necessarily the case. He can spot, he can trail, but bring him off a screen and Oubre isn’t nearly as efficient. Need those, bro.
  • What I’m about to say is so, so wrong, but it’s honest. As the story goes (according to Ernie and Randy), the Wizards didn’t bring in Oubre for a workout simply because they didn’t think he’d be available. They thought he was a possible lottery pick. But then, once Oubre became attainable, it was a “no-brainer” pick. This very much scares me a whole bunch, and it’s not because of Kelly Oubre the player. It’s because of Ernie Grunfeld.

Grunfeld’s track record when it comes to the draft is far from solid, and therefore we all have a right to be at least a little scared. But overall, this feels good. This feels like the Wizards worked efficiently, landed some really good potential, and they have trust in their team and staff to groom Kelly Oubre into something great. And until that plan fails miserably, I refuse to live in fear. I liked Oubre before the draft and I like him even more now that he’s in Washington.

Happy Draft Season!

#OuBRO

  1. The Wizards selected Jerian Grant at No. 19 for the Hawks  (back)
  2. The Hawks then turned around and traded Jerian Grant to the Knicks in exchange for Tim Hardaway Jr., which leaves Atlanta fans like, “Wait, wait, wait…where is Danny Ferry?”  (back)
  3. Very limited value placed on those bad boys. Like, either sell ’em for cash or draft’n stash. That’s it.  (back)
  4. That was a confusing sentence.  (back)

NBA 2015 Draft Class Superlatives, from a Washington Wizards Fan

The NBA draft takes place Thursday night and it’s an exciting time (most of the time) for most teams looking to add fresh blood to their roster. If you’re a Wizards fan, the draft is both exciting and terrifying, but probably more so terrifying given the nightmares of Kwame Brown, Jan Vesely, Oleksiy Pecherov, and the overall draft strategy (?) of general manager Ernie Grunfeld.

There’s no rhyme or reason to what you’re about to read, other than it consists of tidbits and opinions from a Wizards fan. Potential here, bust there, and weird stuff in between — we’ll refer to it as a superlative list of sorts for the 2015 NBA draft class.

 

Getting to Know the Euros

There’s two guys getting most of the attention and they’re near locks to be top-10 picks.

kris porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis — a 7’1″ lights-out shooter from Latvia who enters the draft at just 19 years old. Plenty of teams will fall in love with Porzingis’ combination of length and shooting range, with concerns about his strength and ability on defense. He has the potential to be something special and everything rests on his development.

Mario Hezonja — a prototypical wing player (6’8″) with the ability to do a little bit of everything. Hezonja can shoot it from anywhere, he can guard other wings, and the Croatian has some swagger to him too. Of the two most-talked about Euros, Porzingis may have the highest ceiling, but Hezonja probably has the higher floor.

 

Most Likely to be a Stud

I’m good with putting a few guys in this category, including the obvious.

stanley johnson

Karl-Anthony Towns — my No. 1 guy in this draft if someone were crazy enough to put me in charge of an NBA franchise, Karl-Anthony Towns has the size, the defense, and the passing ability to be a stud big man; and he comes with (what’s likely to be) very marketable initials that could easily transform into the nickname Big KAT. Hello, intangibles.

Jahlil Okafor — some people like to get on Jahlil Okafor because of his defense (me, kind of), and others like to get on Jahlil Okafor because he hails from Duke (definitely me), but he’s still a 20/10 guy at the next level. There’s a little concern regarding the rumors about his commitment and passion for the game, but that sort of thing isn’t necessarily fact. He’s a powerful body with all the tools to consistently score in the low post and he has prototypical size for the center position.

D’Angelo Russell — I heard Jay Bilas call D’Angelo Russell the best pure basketball talent in this draft, and I don’t think that’s so much of a bold statement as it is a true one. Point guards are so damn valuable in this league and Russell offers (a lot of) something in every category. He can score, he has size (6’4″), he has handles, he’s a brilliant passer, he has ice water running through his veins, and — oh yeah — he’s only 19 years young. It may take him a little while to adjust to the lead guard role at the next level, but Russell’s a stud.

Stanley Johnson — us East-coasters really didn’t get to see enough of Stanley Johnson last season, but his versatility is a lot of fun to watch. At 6’6″, 242 pounds, Johnson has great size for the wing and can defend everything from two-guards to small bigs, not to mention a jumpshot on the opposite end that demands respect. Johnson is the complete package, from athleticism, to size, to offense, to defense, and he’s still only 19 years old with plenty of room to grow. He’ll be around a while.

Myles Turner — maybe I’m in the minority with this one, maybe not, but with all the NBA discussion about stretching the floor and the value placed on bigs who can stray away from the paint and demand respect for their outside shot, Myles Turner is a name we should all talk about more. He’s every bit of 6’11” with room to build, his offensive game is some of the best in this year’s center class, he has an outside shot with tons of promise/potential, and he’s strong on defense, averaging nearly three blocks per game as a freshman last season.

 

Personal Favorites

No real direction with this segment, but here’s a few dudes I think I like.

myles turner

Myles Turner — for reasons that were explained earlier. There’s a ton of intrigue here and his potential is a great match for the way in which the game is trending.

Terry Rozier — a tough point guard with some do-it-all characteristics, Terry Rozier is a really good athlete with some length and the ability to hurt a defense by way of scoring or passing. There are other names talked about before his in the point guard discussion, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Rozier is eventually one of the better floor generals to come out of this class.

Willie Cauley-Stein — it’s no secret that Willie Cauley-Stein is a one-way player at this point, but his high energy and reliable rim protection warrants a high pick. Not to mention, with his ability to consistently get up and down the floor, WCS makes for an awesome running mate in transition. And one more thing, he legally made his nickname “Trill”…

Sam Dekker — tons and tons of Gordon Hayward comparisons, and I guess that’s accurate. Sam Dekker has good size heading into the NBA, he’s a knockdown shooter, and does a lot of good things on defense. Like Hayward, I wouldn’t expect anything spectacular or demonstrating elite athleticism, but I think Dekker is a solid NBA wing.

Motrezl Harrell — Hustle, board-crashing, muscle, passion, attitude, grit — there’s lots to love about Motrezl Harrell. Although he’s slightly undersized (6’8″) for his power forward position, Harrell has crazy length and more than enough effort. With a re/defined offensive game, we’re talking about Harrell as a lottery guy. Either way, I think he makes lots of money and a long career as a valuable role player in the NBA.

 

Biggest Upside

Even if it feels like a huge gamble, it’s the potential reward that moves us to put our doubts aside and turn in the ticket. These are the guys who could push me into ignoring any sort of weakness and instead focus solely on what they could be.

kelly oubre

Kristaps Porzingis — is he wowing us with pre-draft workouts a la Yi Jianlian, or could he turn out to be something like a Gasol-witzki? Kind of a big difference.

Trey Lyles — although nothing stands out as an elite skill, Trey Lyles is a 19-year-old with a solid overall foundation and the potential to become a consistent double-double machine. His defense is pretty meh at the time and he’s not a crazy athlete, but there’s lots of skill to work with on offense.

Kelly Oubre — he’s a guy with the potential to be an awesome 3-and-D wing in the NBA and I’d say that warrants lottery consideration.

 

Most Likely to be a Late-Round Gem

The criteria here includes fringe first-rounders and guys who are more likely to be chosen in the second round. As a result, that means names that aren’t as familiar.

justin anderson

Luis Montero — he’s 6’7″ with good length, he’s a good passer, and he’s got really good handles. Luis Montero doesn’t have valuable experience at this stage in his career, but his core talent at this point provides the potential. At his peak, he could be a skilled and versatile player.

Justin Anderson — there’s a good chance he goes late-first, but if not, Justin Anderson will be a nice piece to someone’s team. He’s smart, possesses really good athleticism, he’s a worker on defense, and he has the size/build to hang at the next level. Solid do-it-all player, but without the splash and flash.

Olivier Hanlan — he may not offer a whole lot outside of scoring the basketball, but Olivier Hanlan is really really good at scoring the basketball. He enters the league as a effective and legitimate scoring threat.

 

(Should Be/Hopefully) Wizards Radar

There’s a ton of names I’d like to include here, but No. 19 is a tough spot for the Wizards. It’s too far away from the lottery to capitalize on any fallers, and the team’s not in a great position to trade this and that in order to move here and there (#KD2DC), so it makes for lots of possibilities, and then again lots of non-possibilities.

But for the sake of rooting for certain prospects, here’s a few names (in no particular order) with a chance to land at No. 19 and the potential for them to contribute to Washington’s efforts.

bobby portis

Bobby Portis — has good size for the power forward spot and he has some shooting range to go with it, which would help fill a role for the Wizards. His effort shows up on the glass and he’s got some hustle to his game. If Bobby Portis happens to be there, the pick makes a lot of sense.

Frank Kaminsky — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Frank Kaminsky go in the top-10, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if he fell a bit. At 7’1″ and the range to get it done, Frank the Tank is a stretch-big well worth consideration.

Kelly Oubre — I’ve seen him as high as the lottery in some places, and in the 20’s in others, so Kelly Oubre is on this list. Although he may not be the specific position the Wizards are looking for, Oubre has too much potential (perhaps even star potential) to pass up.

Terry Rozier — the Wizards are in need of a backup point guard and Terry Rozier can do just about everything you ask of him. He’d also give the team some offensive spark off the bench with his ability to not only drive the paint, but also knock down the three.

Jerian Grant — sticking with backup point guard prospects, Jerian Grant is a local kid that can step in right away and provide the team valuable minutes. He has the size, he has the athleticism, he can score, and he has the length to defend. It feels safe.

Montrezl Harrell — whenever I watched Motrezl Harrell last season, I thought about him running alongside John Wall on a fastbreak and throwing down insane dunks. And while that would certainly work for the Wizards, Harrell doesn’t really provide the ideal offensive game for this team. That said, there’s always room for a passionate player with non-stop hustle, rebounding talent, athleticism, length, and the ability to defend.

Happy Draft Night!

 

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