new header

Nene’s Rebound Attempt in the Closing Seconds of Game 5

Nene’s failed rebound attempt at the final horn wasn’t the only reason the Wizards lost Game 5 to the Hawks on Wednesday night. Shooting just 37 percent from the field and failing to capitalize on their opponent’s 23 turnovers; knocking down only four shots from long range; getting minimal production from their bench — those are all contributors too. But for the sake of argument, here’s Nene’s attempted rebound under a microscope.

Setting the Scene

With just eight seconds left in the game and trailing 80-78, the Wizards set up an awesome play to get Paul Pierce open in the corner and the Truth knocks down a three to give Washington the lead. Atlanta calls timeout. During the timeout, Nene comes in for Marcin Gortat.

The Hawks come out of the timeout, and with just under four seconds to go, point guard Dennis Schroder drives the lane to attempt a layup, a shot attempt in which John Wall blocks. The ball goes awry off the backboard and toward the waiting hands of one Nene Hilario.

A charging Al Horford enters the lane and snatches the rebound, Nene falls and clears out two teammates in the process, and Horford converts an easy layup with one second left. The Wizards lose.

Possible Gripe(s)

Being upset with Nene as an initial reaction is understandable. I’m guilty of it too. But the frustration doesn’t begin and end with this specific play. His underwhelming performance throughout these entire playoffs has bugged fans and this final play of a losing effort was enough to make the weak sauce boil over.

Still shots also give you the impression that Nene had the ball in his hands. I’m again willing to put my emotions aside and recognize that 1) because you’re touching the ball doesn’t mean you’re securing possesssion and 2) watching the clip at full/live speed is really the only way to judge how much control Nene had of the ball.

But while on the topic of stills…

Nene Rebound 1

Nene Rebound 2

Nene Rebound 3

Again, the frustration with Nene doesn’t begin and end with this play. It was just the cherry on top. The Wizards dropped a winnable game for lots of reasons and they wasted feel-good moments like Pierce’s dagger three-pointer and John Wall’s heroics in the process. It all just really really stings.

Lionel Messi Broke Jerome Boateng…Quite Literally

Barcelona took control in Champions League play today, defeating Bayern Munich 3-0 in first-leg action. But the more fascinating piece of action was when Lionel Messi did his thing and broke Bayern defender Jerome Boateng at the ankle bone(s).

It’s unclear whether a sniper took out Boateng with a tranquilizer dart or if this was simply a wicked game of FIFA in which one player’s controller was abruptly disconnected, but word has it that Boateng is expected to make a full recovery.

NFL Draft Hangover: Redskins Select Brandon Scherff

Brandon Scherff

Scot McCloughan is so damn good. Even if you didn’t like the Redskins selecting Brandon Scherff with last night’s fifth overall picka, it’s impossible to actually hate it. You may have preferred Leonard Williams after he surprisingly fell past Oaklandb, but Scherff checks every single box for not only McCloughan, but for the Redskins’ improving efforts on all levels.

And assuming reports are true, McCloughan stuck with the draft strategy he said he would. According to NFL.com’s Albert Breer, Scherff was atop the Redskins’ board when their name was called to make a selection.

A few notes and nuggets regarding Brandon Scherff as the Redskins’ top pick in 2015:

* We’re not sure how the rest of the draft unfolds for Washington, but the Redskins improved the surroundings for Robert Griffin III, further establishing the support behind him as he heads into next season. Had Amari Cooper been the Redskins pick, we would’ve been talking about the same thing — providing Griffin with every opportunity to shine in 2015. McCloughan is straight-face serious about seeing what Griffin can do and deciding how to move forward at the quarterback position.

* Judging a draft pick is also easier when your team has multiple areas to improve and just about any position is viable with your top pick. Such is the case in Washington, where upgrading the offensive line was addressing an area of need.

* “When you get done playing [the Redskins], you know you’re playing them. You’re going to feel it. I want those guys,” McCloughan said, according to Tom Schad of the Washington Times.

Quotes like that make me giddy. Not only because that’s the sound of a true football mind leading up your favorite team’s front office, but also because that mission was achieved in the first round with a guy like Scherff who will bring a new attitude to the offensive line and a heavy dose of nasty for new offensive line coach Bill Callahan to coach and groom.

* Would the Redskins have preferred to trade back and still land Scherff? Uhh, yeah I’m sure. But it takes two to make a deal and perhaps it wasn’t worth the risk. If the Redskins trade back and acquire more picks, but as a result land behind, say, the Giants at nine, it’s a safe bet New York takes Scherff instead of Ereck Flowers and suddenly the Redskins are moving down their board. So when we’re discussing value here, I think the Redskins score well. They got a position they wanted, a player they wanted, and a high-floor/safe guy in Scherff. After the dude starts a dozen seasons in the NFL, no one will talk about how No. 5 was “just too high”.

  1. …which you SHOULD like it. Like, a lot.  (back)
  2. I’m a Leonard fan too.  (back)

NFL Draft: Weighing the Redskins’ Options at No. 5

scot mccloughan 2

As time ticks down to the start of the 2015 NFL draft, being a Redskins fan suddenly doesn’t feel the same this year. Not only is having a first-round selection after going two consecutive years without one a nice change of scenery, but competency in the front office by way of new general manager Scot McCloughan also helps to reassure the organization is in good hands (at least from a roster development standpoint).

Given that they hold the fifth-overall pick, as well as a disastrous 4-12 record from a season ago, the Redskins could/should/maybe will have a number of different ways to go by the time their name is called on Thursday night. And while the entire idea of mock drafts is nothing more than a laughable game of darts and guesses (here’s our latest version, by the way), the following is meant to form a list of possibilities for Washington at No. 5 and rank them from least likely (10) to most likely (1).

The Redskins are one team I really don’t know what they’ll do. Scot McCloughan keeps it pretty close to the vest.

— League executive regarding the draft’s top-ten [source]

* * * *

10. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Ever since McCloughan mentioned that he and his staff wouldn’t rule out a quarterback at No. 5, the Mariota-to-Washington thing (if you can even call it a thing) has been somewhat of a hot topic.

Sure, you could argue a need at the quarterback position in Washington, but this feels more like strategic posturing than anything. It’d be silly for McCloughan — who has admitted interest in acquiring more picks in this draft — to completely write off his own team’s interest in a prospect that should/would/will garner a potential trade-up opportunity. He’s keeping things interesting, maintaining a poker face, and making things a little tougher on contending front offices.

9. Bud Dupree, EDGE, Kentucky

With his freakish athleticism and natural twitch, Bud Dupree is one of the more intriguing pass rushers in this draft, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Redskins address the position this early on.

At this point in the draft, however, you’re assuming either Dante Fowler Jr., Vic Beasley, or possibly both are still available, and I think both of those guys rank higher on boards due to them both having a higher floor than Dupree. As mentioned in the scouting report, there’s a ton to like about Dupree, but he’s rawer than others at this stage in his career.

8. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

Although no position would truly be a surprise in this draft, it seems like drafting a wideout would draw the most inadvertent WTFs amongst the Twitterverse. People see Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson and wrongfully assume the position is solidified. Look a bit further down the depth chart and you’ll notice that, after those guys, there isn’t much left to wow you. Not to mention, adding a threatening red zone target wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Kevin White is the complete package in terms of size, strength, speed, and ball skills. At 6’3″, 215 pounds, White would immediately become the team’s most lethal target in a number of areas and he’d fit the criteria of the front office looking to surround Robert Griffin III with as much talent as possible.

7. La’El Collins, OT, LSU

Upgrading the offensive line with power and size is on the menu with McCloughan and new offensive line coach Bill Callahan in the kitchen, and there should be plenty of bulldozer talent to choose from at No. 5.

With Trent Williams at left tackle, La’El Collins would likely slide in as your starter along the right side. He has quick feet to go along with a powerful frame and the ability to swallow oncoming defenders so long as his technique is sound.

And depending on how the Redskins view his athleticism, they may even view Collins as a mauler at the guard position. The only trouble there, however, would be the idea that drafting a guard at No. 5 is too high. Whether McCloughan gives a hoot about such theory is yet to be seen.

6. Leonard Williams, DL, Southern Cal

Regardless of what your team needs, whether you’re picking first or 32nd, Leonard Williams is an upgrade to your team’s roster. At 6’5″, 300 pounds, Williams is an imposing and forceful load along the defensive front, and he very well may have the highest floor of any top-rated prospect in this class. Even with their recent free agent additions up front, the Redskins clearly fall into play here.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine Williams making it past Oakland at 4. His talent is deserving of the first-overall pick and every team picking before the Redskins (TEN, JAX, OAK) could easily benefit from his services.

If he’s there for the Redskins at 5, great — I just wouldn’t count on it.

5. Shane Ray, EDGE, Missouri

There’s a wide range of opinion when it comes to Shane Ray. On the one end, people see Ray as the best pure pass rusher in this class and they use his game tape to prove it. On the other end, many view Ray as limited due to his lack of versatility and size.

Although I tend to lean toward the former (you can check out the scouting report here), I recognize the latter as well. For what it’s worth though, I don’t think it affects Ray’s stock much. Teams who look to add him are going after a guy they can throw on the field to hunt the quarterback and go full speed at all times. Ray gives you that.

What may affect Ray’s stock, however, is his latest citation for marijuana possession just three days before the draft. As it is in most situations like these, it’s not exactly the drug choice that teams are worried about, but rather the judgement. What does it say about the guy if he’s this careless only days before (possibly) earning millions of dollars?

The Redskins could use some beef to rush the passer, but Ray’s recent run-in may not bode well for a perfect fit in Washingtona.

4. Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa

Arguably one of the safest names on this list, Brandon Scherff would immediately bolster the Redskins offensive line. Coaches would have their choice as to whether to play him at right tackle — where he has plenty of strength and athleticism to win — or kick him inside to guard and perhaps get the best return on their investment.

You’ll hear stuff about No. 5 being entirely too early to draft a guard (if you see him as that), but in terms of what McCloughan covets in a lineman, Scherff checks all of the boxes — high floor, solid worker, tough as nails, big and strong.

If the Redskins go offensive line at No. 5, my money’s on them doing so with Scherff.

3. Dante Fowler Jr., EDGE, Florida

When it comes to edge rushers, Dante Fowler Jr’s name probably sits atop a fair share of team’s boards. He has great size, athleticism, versatility, and effort, all of which will translate seamlessly to the NFL, and he may tote the highest ceiling of any pass rusher in the draft. Check out the rest of the scouting report here.

Fowler would be a great fit in Washington, and we know the Second-Team All-American has recently visited Ashburn for a private workout. It’d be hard to see the Redskins passing on Fowler if he’s there, unless of course they liked another edge rusher just a bit more.

2. Vic Beasley, EDGE, Clemson

If the Jaguars go with an edge rusher at No. 3, my gut says they go Dante Fowler, in which case the Redskins should have their stab at Vic Beasley — an explosive athlete with underrated power and good balance. While arguably not as versatile as Fowler, Beasley is very good at what you’re drafting him to do, and that’s getting after the quarterback.

It’d be interesting to see how the Redskins react with both Fowler and Beasley sitting there at No. 5, but that situation doesn’t seem likely. Either guy would fit the bill of improving the pass rush in Washington, but Beasley gets my nod based off (anticipated) availability and overall talent level (although it’s close).

1. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Availability, best player available, improving your roster, improving your current players — throw all those things into an equation machine for the Redskins and you’re likely coming up with a product named Amari Cooper.

Touted as a can’t-miss prospect, Cooper has the full package in terms of speed, hands, and route running. He has great feet combined with a good understanding of coverage and his potential is that of a quarterback’s best friend.

Kevin White may be the flashier name atop the receiver board, but Cooper is the more sure thing. If McCloughan really goes into this thing with BPA mentality, it’d be hard to argue anyone over Cooper if he’s still there at 5.

 

  1. And despite the weed thing, I still don’t see Ray getting past Atlanta.  (back)

NBA Playoffs Numbers and Notes: Wizards Sweep Raptors

Wall and Beal

In light of the Wizards’ unexpected sweep over the surprisingly submissive Toronto Raptors, here’s a few notes and numbers from Washington’s four games in Round 1.

* Remember Otto Porter? After playing just six total minutes in last year’s playoffs, Porter logged 32 minutes per in the four games against the Toronto Drakes, averaging nearly 10 points and better than seven boards per game. He finished the series with a net rating of +29 (128/99), while shooting 55-percent from the floor and 50-percent from long range.

It’s probably a little too early to definitively claim Porter’s professional emergence, but there’s no arguing his immense role in the Wizards’ sweeping effort en route to the second round. It’s the game’s biggest path to the game’s biggest stage and Otto Porter chose just the right time (for both team and fans) to remind us he’s still around and only 21 years old.

Here’s some more about Otto, written by yours truly.

* John Wall was soooo Optimus Dime in this series, averaging better than 17 points and 12.5 assists per game. Yowza!

* Say whatever you want about Paul Pierce during the regular season; the way he played in this series (and hopefully throughout the rest of the playoffs) is the reason he’s here. His 15.5 points per game and 58-percent shooting from deep are awesome numbers, but they still don’t represent the timing in which he twisted the dagger in Toronto’s side. So, so brilliant. And that’s why they refer to these old guys as “savvy vets”, and why they refer to Pierce as The Truth.

* Speaking of The Truth, how about that new stretch-four position, huh? Fortunately for Wizards fans (the same fans who have screamed for more Pierce at power forward for the last few months), head coach Randy Wittman finally decided to take a gander at the comments section and realized, “HEY! That does sound like a great idea!”

No, Randy. Your excuse of well we wanted to save him for the playoffs doesn’t work.

* Playoff Bradley Beal is a bad man. Check out this piece by Brett Oswalt at numberFire.

* Yes, even Razor Ramon Sessions deserve praise. He averaged 14 points, four boards and three assists per 36 minutes throughout the series and hit close to 56 percent from downtown. Similar to the Pierce acquisition (but on a different relative scale, of course), this series alone proved Sessions’ valuea.

Razor Ramon Sessions

* Drew Gooden was called on to help the Wizards’ spacing and add a (possible) threat from the three-point line. It worked. Gooden averaged 3.5 shots from deep per game and connected on half of them. Thanks, Big Drizzle.

* And it’s impossible to forget Marcin Gortat, who went from a Polish Machine to a Double-Double Machine by way of great footwork, awesome PnR, and veteran angles. For the series, Gortat averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks per game. This was the kind of line the Wizards FO envisioned when they forked over all that money last summer.

* Moving forward, all Wizards fans should take a rooting interest in the Brooklyn Nets. Somehow they’ve tied their series with Atlanta at two a piece and one could argue they even have some momentum after coming from behind two down. It’s not that either team is necessarily lethal right now, but it feels like the safer bet to draw the ghost of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez than to pray for Kyle Korver and Hotlanta to remain cold.

Happy Playoff Basketball!

  1. The Wiz traded away Andre Miller to Sacramento just before the trade deadline to acquire Sessions  (back)

Tyronn Lue Going for NBA Vine of the Year?

If we’re judging based off a specific scale, in which both facial expression and dialogue are considered, Cleveland assistant coach (and former Wizard!) Tyronn Lue is in the discussion for the NBA’s Non-Basketball-Move Vine of the Year.

For the record, Tyronn, that bearded guy with the man bun is none other than Luigi “GiGi” Datome, a 27-year-old rookie from Italy.

Be nice. Don't Plagiarize. Bet Big DC © 2014 Frontier Theme