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Wizards owner Ted Leonsis apologizes to fans for horrible start to season

Ted-Leonsis-WizardsThe Washington Wizards are once again horrible, but this time it is not entirely their fault. The team has battled injuries all season long, the most significant of which caused John Wall to miss the first 33 games of the season. During that stretch, the Wizards compiled a record of 5-28. They started out the year by losing their first 12 games.

Since Wall’s return on Jan. 12, the team has gone 6-5. Washington has managed no more than 26 wins in a season over the last four years, so a 6-5 stretch is somewhat of a rarity. However, the Wizards’ abysmal start has essentially eliminated them from playoff contention. And for that, team owner Leonsis would like to apologize.

“You can communicate to the fans and say nobody can plan for the loss of five of eight players, especially when you’re in the midst of a rebuild,” Leonsis told WTOP on Wednesday, via D.C. Sports Bog. “We weren’t a veteran team to begin with, that had a strong foundation. But no one wants to hear that. And so, as you communicate that, really it sounds like spin and hype and justification for starting 0-12. We didn’t win a game in our first dozen games. And the fans, they’re bottom-line oriented. They want you to win. And again, I apologize. There’s nothing we can do about that one.”

In other words, I’m sorry but I’m not really sorry. Numbers don’t lie. The Wizards are a better team with Wall. His injury crippled the team through the first two months-plus of the season. That being said, Washington is not a playoff contender, which falls on the owner’s shoulders. If you ask Stan Van Gundy, he’d tell you Wall isn’t even a good enough player to build a team around. With the way things have gone over the past couple seasons, it’s tough to argue against that.

Stan Van Gundy: John Wall isn’t good enough for Wizards to build around

One of the reasons the Washington Wizards are off to such a poor start again this season has been the absence of John Wall. A team isn’t going to win many games without its best player, and Washington has won only four of its 29 with Wall having been sidelined with a knee injury for the entire season. To say that the Wizards are missing the former Kentucky star would be an epic understatement.

However, Stan Van Gundy does not feel that Wall is the answer to the Wizards’s problems — this season or in the future.

“You know, I don’t see it, to be honest,” Van Gundy told ESPN 980’s The Sports Reporters last week, via D.C. Sports Bog. “I’d love to tell you you’re two years away; I really don’t [see it]. That roster doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I know they’ll be better when John Wall comes back. He’s certainly got talent, but I don’t know that even John Wall is a great player to build your franchise around. I don’t know who you’re building around, so it’s tough to even think about what the construction of your team is. That’s just a bad basketball team.”

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Randy Wittman apologizes after Wizards’ embarrassing loss

randy-wittmanThe Washington Wizards (3-21) and Detroit Pistons (8-21) are two of the worst teams in the NBA, so fans could at least expect them to play a close game when they met on Friday. That didn’t even come close to happening as Detroit blasted Washington 100-68 at the Palace.

Wizards coach Randy Wittman was so embarrassed by his squad’s performance on Friday night, he literally apologized to just about everyone who watched the awful game.

“That was an embarrassment, and I apologize to our ownership and to our fans,” Wittman said after the game, per the AP. “I especially apologize to anyone who watched that entire game. I would have turned it off after the first five minutes.”

The Wizards did have a minor excuse. Nene was out with a foot injury, first-round pick Bradley Beal is out with a back injury, and Trevor Ariza has a calf injury. Essentially you had the B-team for a team full of B-players seeing most of the minutes during the game.

It’s not as if Detroit played particularly well, either. The Pistons only shot .422 percent from the field, though they did make .417 of their three-point attempts. Washington was truly awful. The Wizards went 28-85 from the field for a .329 percent field goal rate.

I don’t care how many injuries the Wizards have, or how long John Wall has been out. Once you start losing games this badly and the coach makes comments like that, it usually signifies time to make a coaching change.

Andray Blatche blasts the Wizards, says it’s good to be with a winning organization

The seven seasons Andray Blatche spent with the Washington Wizards were erratic, to say the least. The power forward was always seen as having a ton of potential, but he never fulfilled it for various reasons that included being out of shape and getting into trouble off the court. Now with the Brooklyn Nets, Blatche seems overjoyed to be out of the nation’s capital.

According to NBA.com’s John Schuhmann, Andray rhetorically asked reporters if anyone has seen how the Wizards are doing before the Nets game against the Knicks on Monday night. The Wizards were 0-11 at the time and are 0-12 after a loss on Monday. 

Blatche also joined 106.7 The Fan’s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier on Tuesday morning to discuss the recent shots he took at his former team

“I’m not going to blame it all on injuries, I could have done more,” Blatche told Kushner and Rouhier. “I’m talking more about the booing and the ignorance of the fans and media who didn’t have my back.”

Blatche, who once said he would die for his Wizards teammates, blamed the Wizards front office for ruining his reputation and planting information about him in the media.

“For them to say, ‘He’s a bad teammate. He’s a cancer in the locker room.’ All that was a bunch of lies,” he said. “That’s what really made me mad. When they said all those rumors and put them in the media, that’s what angered me. Who else would say that? None of my teammates would say that. (The media) can ask every last one of my teammates here, and I guarantee you what they say is completely different than what everyone else says.”

The Nets are off to a hot start at 9-4, and Blatche took to Twitter on Monday night to talk about how it “feels good to be part of a winning organization.” Brooklyn may be doing a lot of winning thus far in 2012, but I don’t think I would call them a winning organization. Blatche also told 106.7 The Fan that he is trying to move on from Washington but reporters always ask him about it. Based on some of the comments he made and the tweets he sent, it doesn’t seem like the big man is in any rush to stop dogging on his former team.

H/T Bullets Forever and Ball Don’t Lie

Wizards beer ad briefly features 19-year-old Bradley Beal (Picture)

Those of you in the D.C. area who enjoy having a few beers before watching your favorite team play were treated to a great special from the Washington Wizards on Saturday night. As you can see from the advertisement above, the Wizards were running a promotion where $25 got you a ticket and access to $2 Budweisers for several hours before Washington’s game against the Boston Celtics.

Sarah Kogod of D.C. Sports Bog pointed out that there was one small issue with the original advertisement. The player who was used to promote the “Bar Tour” was 19-year-old Bradley Beal. If he’s not old enough to drink himself, he probably shouldn’t be used to help the team sell $2 beers. The Wizards quickly realized this and had him removed from the ad, which they said was created by partner company TiqIQ.

Fortunately for the Wizards, $2 beers at a sporting event sell themselves. I highly doubt the 19-year-old persuaded anyone.

John Wall: Wizards have ‘great chance’ to make the playoffs

The Washington Wizards went 20-46 and had the second-worst record in the NBA last season, but that’s not stopping former No. 1 overall draft pick John Wall from expressing confidence in his team.

Wall has spent the past week in Las Vegas playing for the USA Select Team, and he spoke to The Washington Post about the Wizards’ future.

“We finished the season very strong and then you make those trades in the offseason and drafting the right people, we’re going the right way,” Wall told the Post after practice on Tuesday. “We have a great chance now to make the playoffs, but it’s up to us.”

Keep in mind this is the same Wizards team that was so bad fans were doing homework and sleeping at games last season. The Wizards acquired Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza in a trade and drafted Bradley Beal, so they should be improved. But do they have a “great chance” at making the playoffs? I wouldn’t go that far. Not unless the selfishness on the team that Wall complained about last season is now gone, and not unless their players are as committed to improving as Wall seems to be.

Oddsmaker would favor Wizards over Kentucky by 30 points

How Kentucky would fare against an NBA team has been a popular topic of debate this week. The Wildcats are in the Final Four and favored to win the national championship in the coming days. They have at least four players expected to make it in the NBA, including forward Anthony Davis, who is expected to be the top overall pick.

Charles Barkley, seeming to exaggerate how good Kentucky is, said they could beat some of the worst teams in the NBA. Former Maryland coach Gary Williams, who won a national championship in 2002, said Kentucky could beat the Wizards if they were playing at Rupp Arena. John Calipari tried to quash all that talk, saying his team could not beat any NBA team. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy agreed.

Just to get a little closure on the matter since, you know, everyone loves to debate this sort of thing, Nevada bookmaker Chris Andrews says the Wizards would be favored by 30 points against Kentucky if they played by NBA rules on a neutral court. The Wizards are 11-38 and have the second-worst record in the NBA. Kentucky is 32-2 and the No. 1 team in college basketball.

I’m not really sure why this is a debate given that only a few Kentucky players at present would see playing time on an NBA roster. However, just like any other basketball game where a team is favored by 30 points, anything could happen. And that’s about the chance Kentucky would have at a win.

Photo Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE, Jamie Rhodes-US PRESSWIRE