Washington Wizards Mailbag Monday: Preferred Match Up In The NBA Playoffs?

Jan 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) dribbles the ball against Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) during the second half at the United Center. The Wizards defeat the Bulls 114-100. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) dribbles the ball against Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) during the second half at the United Center. The Wizards defeat the Bulls 114-100. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Wizards Mailbag Monday: January 25th, 2016

Congratulations for surviving the blizzard!

Life for the Washington Wizards will continue on Monday against the Boston Celtics. Their weekend game against the Utah Jazz was postponed, so they’ve had the chance to recover.

The Wizards are looking to avoid a season sweep against Boston. They’re at home — and while I wouldn’t anticipate a full crowd — there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have a solid chance to get to .500.

Before the game, though, John Cannady (@John_Cannady) took the time to answer some of your questions.

Thanks for participating!

Currently, the top four teams in the East are: Cleveland, Toronto, Chicago and Atlanta with the Washington Wizards holding down the 9th spot.

During the playoffs in the past two seasons, the Wizards have went from a team that barely is an afterthought around the league (back in the beginning of 2014 playoffs, none of the “experts” had them beating Chicago) to a complete team that no one wanted to play.

Last year, the Wizards were (probably) only a John Wall injury away from the Eastern Conference Finals to face a Kevin Love-less and a hobbled Kyrie Irving Cavaliers team. While this season hasn’t exactly gone the way many thought it would go, the Wizards are still a dangerous basketball team when it has all of its essential players.

The Wizards have already beat many of the top teams around the league, including a very impressive win against the San Antonio Spurs. The Wizards have also had some recent playoff success playing the Toronto Raptors (see the 2015 Playoffs sweep), the Chicago Bulls (see the 2014 Playoffs almost sweep, plus regular season success) and the Atlanta Hawks (would have defeated the Hawks in the playoffs if not for the Wall injury or a freak offensive put back by Al Horford).

So with all of that said, the only team I feel can absolutely win in a tough playoff match up against the Wizards are the LeBron James-led Cavaliers. While the Wizards used a monster John Wall game to pull off a stunning victory over the Cavs this season in Cleveland (where they have only lost two games), the Wizards just wouldn’t have an answer for James in a seven game series.

While not the same rivalry as the past Cleveland/Washington teams with Gilbert Arenas leading the Wizards and James leading the Cavs, the Cleveland players seem to play their best games going up against the Wizards so there is definitely something still there.

Stranger things have happened in the NBA with injuries or players going on hot streaks, but nothing that I have seen this season has led me to believe that the Cavs will lose to any team in the East. Not even with an….ahem….”questionable”….coaching change made by the Cleveland management.

Definitely the intensity and focus the Washington Wizards display on the road as opposed to the the “blahzay blah” attitude they display at home. Bizarrely, the Wizards seem to prefer enjoy playing on the road and silencing the home teams crowd.

They usually have an extra bounce in their step and you can tell that the defense is usually ramped up a few notches. While it’s no secret that the Wizards sometimes face an uphill battle for local fan support at the Verizon Center night in and night out, they have also mailed in a few stinkers at home that haven’t really earned any new fans.

Losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the now infamous “Kobe game” and recently getting blown out by the Portland Trail Blazers at home after the Blazers were trounced the night before in Philly were two of the more embarrassing losses of the year for the Wizards.

In the Wizards’ defense, teams have come into the Verizon and shot at an historically good rate. However, this season has also been a bit of an anomaly due to all of the injuries to key players.

I feel that we will finally get to see the real Wizards squad after the All-Star break where hopefully the team can put the puzzle together and protect the home floor a little better heading into the playoffs.

Wow…so this is a good question.

If you take a look around the league, most superstars other than Lebron ‘King’ James,  Chris ‘CP3’ Paul and/or maybe Stephen ‘Chef’ Curry, don’t have universally accepted nickname so coming up with a legit one for J-Wall is a tough job….but I totally agree.

I believe that other than WallStar, the only other nickname that has been mentioned was ‘Optimus Dime’. I kinda dig it, but that’s too hard to remember and I feel that most people wouldn’t use it. Some suggestions I have:

John ‘2Fast/2Furious’ Wall

John ‘The Operator’ Wall

‘Johnny 5’ – due to his crew affiliation


‘Wall-E’ – can survive by basically playing and starring by himself while waiting for some extra All-Star help to arrive for the Washington Wizards.

Please feel free to comment below on any nicknames you may have!

During Marcin Gortat‘s time in Washington, he has been one of the Wizards’ most polarizing players. He is either: a lovable character that (mostly) comes to play, puts up above average numbers for a starting NBA center and works well with John Wall on the offensive side with pick and rolls or a very sensitive, soft big man that is serviceable but isn’t a player that you have to worry is going to beat you by himself.

I am in the latter group.

Gortat will get you exactly what you ask all your bigs to do, score and rebound. He is a better defender than giving credit for and is more athletic than people think. Gortat usually gets 6 – 8 points a game just outrunning the opposing center down the floor.

Gortat may also be the best center in the NBA at playing the pick and roll set with John Wall. In addition, after backing up Dwight Howard for years playing for the Orlando Magic, Gortat doesn’t have the same type of mileage a big man his age usually has after being in the league and starting for nine seasons.

Plus, he since he signed his extension in the off season of 2014, his contract is now a steal. Another added bonus to try and keep Gortat is that he keeps himself in excellent shape and rarely misses games. He also has the type of game that even if he slows down, can still be effective going into his mid to late 30’s (unlike someone such as Dwight Howard who relies strictly on his athleticism).

I wouldn’t trade the Polish Hammer away unless I knew what I was getting a younger building block for the future.

No. We here at the Wiz of Awes seem to get coaching questions every week (including from yours truly) so the Washington Wizards fans and watchers are definitely ready for a coaching change.

Coach Wittman always seems a step slow on trends that work for the Wizards (during the regular season) and tends to ride and depend on players that aren’t contributing too long and costing the Wizards winnable games (ahem Gary Neal) rather than looking in a another direction for production (ahem Kelly Oubre Jr).

So if the Wizards brass finally pull the trigger and fire Wittman, I don’t think Blatt is a good candidate for a few reasons. Look, do I think David Blatt got a kinda a raw deal in Cleveland? Yes. Blatt was brought in to groom and lead a young team featuring Kyrie Irving and (then) new number one draft pick Andrew Wiggins.

LeBron James shocked the basketball world later that summer by leaving the Miami Heat and returning to the Cavaliers and “suggesting” that the Cavaliers go after Kevin Love. So instead of a young team that may have been expected to win down the road, Blatt was faced with a win now type older team.

Incidentally, the same scenario could potentially happen with the Wizards if superstar Kevin Durant decides to come and play for the Wizards. While Blatt was/is a very decorated coach that has over 700 wins overseas, he hasn’t exactly earned his stripes in the NBA and this latest episode certainly didn’t help.

We don’t really know if he can coach in the NBA and with Durant (potentially) coming aboard, the Wizards would be in the same ‘win now’ position as the Cavs were a couple of seasons ago. Can he handle having the pressures of having two very headstrong all stars in Durant and John Wall?

Plus, now that John Wall is signed with LeBron’s Klutch Sports management firm, there is virtually zero chance that Wall and Blatt would be able to put that aside for the key head coach/point guard relationship that is key for a successful franchise.

I feel that the Wizards would be taking a step back in hiring Blatt after firing Coach Wittman.

Again, thanks for the questions! If you want to be featured in next week’s edition, feel free to hit us up: @WizofAwes. Click here to check out the past mailbags.