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The Curious Case of Casual Rasual [Butler]

Rasual Butler Edited

Here’s a piece from numberFire about Wizards small forward Rasual Butler and how his scoring efficiency is a big part of Washington’s success this season.

* * *

Following a trip to the conference semifinals last year, there were plenty of people on board believing the Wizards were a strong threat in the East this season. John Wallanother year older, the addition of Paul Pierce, bringing back Marcin Gortat, cushioning the front court — all strong moves pushing this Washington team in the right direction within an otherwise unguarded conference.

But whether irregular hoops fan or die hard Wizards supporter, those same people couldn’t have predicted the impressive/influential/[insert positive adjective here] production from 35-year-old journeyman Rasual Butler – the last guy added to Randy Wittman’s roster in late October. No one saw it coming, and even Butler’s own calmness on the court would insinuate he didn’t either.

Despite John Wall’s name being a common piece of discussion these days, Butler’s 6.4 nERD is second on the team behind only Gortat (7.1), and the 13-year vet who was out of basketball just two years ago is leading the team in multiple categories, including offensive rating (126), three-point field goal percentage (.534), and win shares per 48 minutes (.194) while averaging just over 21 minutes in 20 games.

The floor general doesn’t go unnoticed, though. As he’s done in the past, Wall has been a master at finding his shooters, and he’s a key factor in the equation that results in Butler seeing more than four feet between he and his defender this season, with an average shot distance of nearly 17.5 feet.

And Butler isn’t just standing out amongst his teammates. Stack him up against other guys (at all positions) this season and you may be surprised. Of players with at least 400 minutes this season, Butler ranks top-10 in offensive rating and true shooting percentage (.682), while posting an 18.9 PER that puts him right in line with guys like Monta Ellis and Kevin Love.

Player Ortg (Rank) 3P% (Rank) TS% (Rank) WS/48 (Rank) OBPM (Rank)
Rasual Butler, 2014-15 126 (7) .534 (6) .682 (6) .194 (12) 3.2 (17)

When the Wizards lost Trevor Ariza to free agency last summer, there was concern regarding who would fill the void on both ends of the floor – an efficient long-range scorer, as well as an effective defender. The Wizards got some of both by signing veteran Paul Pierce, and then received a heaping bonus on offense by making the last-minute decision to add Butler to the squad. He comes in, plays smart, knocks down shots, and stays cool. It’s almost a case of blink and you might miss him.

It’s still early in the curious case of casual Rasuala, but having a savvy and efficient scorer like him coming off the bench is a solid element as to why the Wizards currently sit at second place in the Eastern Conference.

  1. I’m still not entirely sure why I prefer this title or reference when it comes to Butler’s play this season. It’s mostly to do with how no one saw this coming, combined with the fact that he does big things on the court and rarely ever gets emotional — making everything appear, just, casual.  (back)

Iggy Iguodala > Iggy Azalea?

Andre Iguodala was slapped with a technical foul last night after reenacting what he thought the referees (blatantly) missed.

Little did he know he was creating a social media storm a surrounding who’s the better dancer: Iggy Iguodala, or pop star Iggy Azalea?

  1. Totally just made this part up. To my knowledge, there’s no social media storm.  (back)

Love Marcin Gortat Because He Loves Chick-fil-A

I want to get chicken, too, of course. I mean, just because I play, I can’t get chicken? Whoever is listening, I want 12 nuggets, double Chick-fil-A sauce, and the sandwich No. 4 with pepper jack cheese. … I think it’s totally fine. I hope there’s gonna be other companies that’s gonna give out different things in the third quarter, the second and the first, so then we’re gonna have even more crowd, and the crowd’s gonna be even louder. I love that. I’m with them. I’m on the wagon. I wanna get free chicken.

How can you not love Marcin Gortat?

It’s also reassuring to know that one of the most beloved athletes in town recognizes quality condiments. Chick-fil-A sauce is boss.

For the entire story behind this quote, as well as the Wizards’ fourth-quarter Chick-fil-A promotion at Verizon Center, check out this awesome article by Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post.

h/t @HoopDistrictDC for the Vine of Gortat demanding Chick-fil-A from the sidelines.

 

Players Exchange Punches at Redskins Practice

Wide receiver Andre Roberts and rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland exchanged a quick series of punches in practice on Wednesday, probably because they play for a dreadful, hardly professional football team.

For the uneventful video clip (in its entirety), you can click here or here.

This organization continues to be the laughing stock of the league.

Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk: Redskins v. Colts

Money to Burn

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 49-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

* * *

— This team becomes harder and harder to watch each and every week. Sure, the record sucks and the losing is terrible, but even more frustrating is the time you waste as a fan. The umpteen Sunday afternoons that you won’t ever get back because you sat down and prepared yourself for a three-hour game you thought would be different. I blame myself.

— Despite his attractive stat line, Colt McCoy wasn’t perfect. However, generally when you throw for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns, that’s good enough to win the game. The returned fumble for a score was ugly, but I probably didn’t hate McCoy as much as others.

— This may sound weird, but I was a little surprised at how bad the offensive line looked. Not because I think they’re particularly good, but because I believe effective quarterback play can improve the line’s play. Again, McCoy wasn’t perfect, but the offensive line (before watching the tape) was probably responsible for a majority of Indy’s six sacks.

— The Redskins had five fumbles in this game. FIVE. Only one was lost (for a score), thank goodness. But FIVE FUMBLES?!

— Glad to see that third-down conversion rate is picking up — 5-for-15 on Sunday.

— The Redskins committed 10 penalties in this game, which is kind of equivalent to macing yourself four times. Even better, the Colts committed 10 penalties as well (for 94 yards!) and the Redskins still couldn’t keep it close.

— Early in the game, the defense was able to force some turnovers (fumble, then interception), but unfortunately Washington couldn’t capitalize on offense. My guess: the offense was so shocked that the defense was actually capable of doing anything worth a shit, that when they did finally see something good come from the unit, they got excited, peed on themselves, and figured three points was just dandy.

— IN FACT, the Redskins have generated SIX turnovers the last two weeks, yet somehow have only been able to make six points out of it. Without doing math stuff, that’s hardly understandable based solely on the logic of probability. Or something like that.

— How ’bout a bright spot? Tight end Jordan Reed finished the game with nine catches for 123 yards. He’s so, so good when he’s healthy.

— But those bright spots don’t last long. Let’s take a look at defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and the Redskins defense in all their utter disappointment and filth. What a miserable unit. On a football field, this Washington defense is a disaster with legs. Jim Haslett MUST GO after this year. Seriously — all that talk about entering 2014 as an unshackled coordinator was bogus and Jay Gruden needs to be just as assertive with his coaches as he is with his players.

— And I don’t put everything on Jim Haslett. Most of it, but not all of it. Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather are the Redskins starting safeties and their talents COMBINED don’t equal an average starter in the deep half. They’re awful.

— Additionally, why is David Amerson always lost? If there’s more than one guy running in his general vicinity, his head begins to rotate on its axis and his legs just frantically carry him to the closest guy wearing opposing colors. It’s absurd.

— You know what’s fun? Getting TORCHED by Coby Fleener for 127 yards and two scores (should’ve been three if not for a blatant drop), as well as a rookie wideout Donte Moncrief a who went for 134 yards and two touchdowns. They were wide open all day.

— With a decent defense, 27 points is enough to win football games in the NFL. But the Redskins defense barely scratches the surface as a good minor league unit, and that’s why those 27 points are nothing more than stuffing and fluff.

— Here’s a tweet from Washington Post beat reporter Mike Jones. It’s sad and pitiful and brutal and hilarious, all at the same time.

— It’d feel good to orchestrate some type of holdout among fans that gives team owner Dan Snyder about 50,000 empty seats in each of the Redskins’ final three homes games.

— If I were you — and I am in fact me — I wouldn’t give this team anymore money. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a fan and root for them and tune in on gamedays. But in terms of jerseys, apparel, and my gracious, fucking season tickets (!), don’t do it. If you want to light money on fire like that, email me and I’d be more than happy to take it off your hands.

 

  1. who I loved coming out, by the way  (back)

Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk: Redskins v. 49ers

Jim Carrey Horking

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 17-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

* * *

– The best part about this game was that I talked to people after the Redskins had already lost and delusional fans actually told me, “We played pretty well, but just couldn’t get it done.”

LOL

– The 49ers didn’t play well. I know their offense struggles; and sure, give the Washington defense some credit, commend the special teams unit, whatever. San Francisco wasn’t playing their best ball.

Robert Griffin III finished the game 11-of-19 for 106 yards and it’s scary to think he might just be another version of Blaine Gabbert.

– The Redskins offense was so watered down it was comical. And I mean that literally, as in I laughed while watching the offense.

– Hats off to Alfred Morris. Thanks for your effort, friend.

– The Redskins finished 2-for-13 on third down.

DeSean Jackson finished the game with two catches for 39 yards.

– I’m still in love with him, but Tress Way punting the ball EIGHT times should be all the stat you need to know the Redskins didn’t have a good game (/pointing to you delusional Washington fans).

– Sometimes I like to think about how bushy and cheerful this whole RG3 campaign started, and then compare it to how much of a train wreck it’s become — while crying in the shower.

– This Redskins team is vomit mixed with cactus juice.

 

Dear Robert Griffin III: Just Throw It, Dude

Robert Griffin III 3

As if Sunday’s 20-point blowout wasn’t depressing enough in real time, I rewatched the festivities and focused on bad dropback plays from Robert Griffin III.

Bad dropback plays don’t necessarily mean incompletions or misses, but instead failing to see open guys, holding the ball too long, committing turnovers, and taking unnecessary sacks.

Just a few notes before diving in:

— It’s always easier to go back and watch the film and scream for what a guy should’ve done. But this isn’t me ignorantly saying I could’ve done it better myself. Instead, just couch quarterbacking at its finest.

— I read a few takes regarding Griffin and his struggles being a result of less play action. While I don’t necessarily disagree with that (play action opens up passing lanes and Griffin thrived with that as a rookie in 2012), it’s not like guys aren’t open without play action. Quite the opposite, actually. Griffin just isn’t hitting them.

— A constant theme throughout the following screen shots consists of Griffin eyeing down one receiver, not throwing his guys open, and not trusting what he sees when he actually does see it. Often times I’d catch myself saying, “Just throw it, dude.”

— For the record, I won’t forecast Griffin’s future in Washington — at least not yet — because it’s depressing and makes my brain hurt. However, I do think it’s too soon to write him off with no chance of becoming an effective NFL quarterback.  Call me naive, I guess.

 

 

Throw 1

Throw No. 1 — Not a whole lot going on for Griffin down field and the rush is clearly pressing, but Jordan Reed appears like a decent option and there’s a wide receiver clearly open on the screen.

 

 

Throw 2

Throw No. 2 — The more I see this failed third down attempt, the more I feel like it was miscommunication. Jordan Reed is running a slant and that’s what Griffin is throwing to, but it appears Reed feels the oncoming defender and slows up a bit (maybe to sit in a spot). Hard to put this on Griffin or Reed because we don’t know the communication, but it’s a failed play nonetheless.

 

 

Throw 3

Throw No. 3 — Despite being backed up in his own end zone, Griffin has time. He needs to anticipate these kinds of throws and give his guys a shot with plenty of space in front of the safeties.

 

 

Throw 4

Throw No. 4 — Again, tough spot to throw from, but Griffin has the time. Every receiver has decent position on their man and the safety can’t afford to break this early. Throw your guy open.

Instead, Griffin waits, holds the ball, and the middle linebacker gets a hand on a poor pass that deflects and eventually lands in Jonathan Banks’ hands, who returns it for a touchdown.

 

 

Throw 5

Throw No. 5 — Not an easy toss for Griffin, but he has a pocket and at least one good option on this route. The safety crashing down on the crossing receiver is a little intimidating, but still doesn’t appear to be a huge risk if the ball is thrown well.

 

 

Throw 6

Throw No. 6 — Probably a tight squeeze for Griffin, but not an impossible completion. He has the pocket to throw and this is one of the spots where you’d like to see Griffin survey the defense pre-snap and give his receiver a heads up on what to be ready for.

 

 

Throw 7

Throw No. 7 — Another chance to throw to open space and trust your receivers. Everyone knows Griffin can make these throws because we’ve seen him throw them before. Some sort of mental block feels like the only rational excuse.

 

 

Throw 8

Throw No. 8 — Time, open guys, space. Not sure what happens here.

 

 

Throw 9

Throw No. 9 — Arguably the most frustrating miss of the game. Sure Griffin overthrew a couple deep balls to DeSean Jackson throughout the game, but he didn’t even appear to notice him streaking free on this play.

A decent throw and it’s a first down. A good throw and it’s probably six points.

There’s also the receiver in the middle, which is a likely completion and — assuming Griffin hits him in stride — a potential one-on-one with the safety following the catch.

 

 

Throw 10

Throw No. 10 — This play may not look like much, but a completion to Pierre Garcon (coming from the bottom of the screen) gives you positive yards rather than a sack. Griffin shouldn’t second guess himself on these kinds of plays — he has the arm strength to fire ‘em in there and give his receivers a stab at the catch.

 

 

Throw 11

Throw No. 11 — No idea. Griffin has his feet set like he wants to throw, he has guys open with plenty of space. Just throw it, man.

 

What’s Wrong with Redskins’ Jay Gruden Setting the Tone?

Jay Gruden Podium

While it’s a bit surprising to see people question Jay Gruden’s comments from his press conference Monday afternoon, I can somewhat understand the assessment. It wasn’t but 24 hours prior — following a brutal 20-point loss to the Buccaneers — that his quarterback made post game comments that were quickly interpreted as Robert Griffin III throwing his teammates under the bus. Then a day later, the coach takes to the podium to throw his own quarterback under the bus for…throwing his teammates under the bus.

But I’m sure there are others who view it more like myself, who describe the comments not so much as Griffin throwing his teammates under the bus, but instead telling of how incapable the 24-year-old is of shouldering the entire load. Of his inability to take blame for his poor play and failure to recognize where to end the statement. I played poorly and it’s on me to get this offense turned around. 

As for Gruden, I’m the guy in favor of his press conference flamethrower. He was asked questions, specifically about his quarterback’s latest comments, and Gruden answered with honesty. No deceit, no dodging, no one-line bullshit used as a blockade. Just the same true words he had already expressed to his team and locker room.

I don’t have a problem with the head coach setting the tone.

Let’s stop assuming Gruden stepped into Redskins Park with his blinders on, as if he had no idea the reputation of team owner Dan Snyder and the horror stories that plagued the Redskins organizational structure. Coaches talk, players talk, players talk to coaches, and so on. Hell, nearly half the coaching staff from the previous regime is still in house. Are we not to think conversations have taken place amongst those guys, talking about the owner, the previous staff, etc.?

I’m under the impression that Gruden is a smart guy. He’s seen and heard the drama that destroys coaches and he reminded himself of those things coming into the gig. As a first-time head coach, he’s in position to do this right the first time. To not get caught up in the noise, to not become the puppet, and to not succumb to the pressure of showering a marketable athlete with praise and kind words when he doesn’t necessarily deserve it. And right now, I’d say Gruden has the upper hand.a

For a franchise in such dire need of new attitude and style, I can’t seem to find anything wrong with Gruden setting the tone for his tenure in Washington.

 

  1. Which I think stems from a combination of 1) the owner’s reputation and therefore organizational structure, and 2) Griffin’s effective marketing campaigns paired with ineffective on-field performance.  (back)
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