In the midst of this lockout frustration that we all have, I’ve got a treat for you all today. Over the past few days I’ve been in contact with Truth About It writer Kyle Weidie. Truth About It is a hoops blog that is a part of ESPN.com’s Truehoop blog network. Its a D.C based Wizards blog and I’m an avid reader. You all should check out truthaboutit.net. I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I do on a daily basis. Shoutout to the Truth About It staff also. They’re all excellent writers.
In the interview I asked Kyle 8 questions. I stayed away from the lockout when asking him questions. We touched on it a little, but not too much. This is just purely hoops and fun. Enjoy.
Me: Kyle, what are your thoughts on the NBA Lockout? You guys at TAI have covered it somewhat; an NBA season seems so close but yet so far away doesn’t it?
Kyle Weidie: Well, as we know now, it’s very far away. As a season is unlikely, I’m struggling with even comprehending how I am going to cope. As far as content for writing at TAI, I’m not worried. There’s historical research to do, game films to break down… a chance to become a more educated fan. And I also know that social media won’t make players disappear off the map. In terms of not being able to watch quality basketball (even though I’ve intensely watched 218 Wizards losses in the last four years of writing about them, countless more as just a fan — I’m talking the general NBA/professional game here), I’m going to become more disgruntled by the day, start watching more college ball, and get increasingly irked every time I see a locked out NBA player in a terrible exhibition/barnstorming game where guys are throwing the ball off the wall of a tiny gym and dunking it, and then planking. But then I’ll inevitably be back when the NBA is. I blame both sides, but I blame the players slightly more.
Me:If there is a shortened season, say 50-70 something games, how do you think the Wizards would fare? Would that benefit or hurt the team?
KW: Less is more here… as in less games, less practice and less training camp means the rebuilding of the Wizards is getting hurt more. All NBA teams are losing out on opportunity to improve together. It might not be pretty whenever they get back.
Me: Share with us your passion for the Wizards if you would. What inspired you to be a fan? There are a lot of people from the D.C area that aren’t Wizard fans, the same goes for other teams around the district, because of their recent struggles.
KW: I moved to DC proper at age 10 in 1990, coming from a place where there were no close pro basketball teams, much less from any sport (Atlanta and Houston were both about eight hours away, which was far enough when the NBA didn’t seem to be widely available on TV in the South). So upon entry into the District, it only seemed natural to adopt all the pro teams — Wizards, Redskins, Capitals, and Nationals (but not local colleges, I’m SEC all the way) — from the city that continues to be my hometown.
Me: I can’t do this interview without asking about John Wall. In three years where do you think he’ll be? Do you think he’ll still be a Wizard? Also what do you think his ceiling is?
KW: I think Ted Leonsis will present himself to Wall and his handlers to be one of the more fair owners in the game (if anyone is capable of mending goodwill between players and owners, it’s Leonsis and his Wizards). Leonsis also knows the value of a superstar — which is Wall’s ceiling, a superstar who can affect a game like a Dwyane Wade — through his cultivation and contract money given to Alex Ovechkin. Washington, D.C. is a top eight media market with growing urban development and an economic environment that’s a bit more immune to the current situation due to the federal government. This lockout increases pressure on Ernie Grunfeld to put parts around Wall. Although, unlike the previous regime, Leonsis has instituted a good plan of building a youthful core and filling with quality free agents when the time is right (see Caps). If Wall leads a winner people will love him. It’s set up for him to stay in D.C. for the long run, lockout be damned.
Me: What do you think about the rookies The Wizards just drafted in Jan Vesley and Chris SIngleton? Do you think they’ll be immediate impact players or do you think that it’ll take time for them to blossom. I’m pretty high on Singleton myself; I think that his defensive prowess will make him an immediate contributor to the team.
KW: I like both, a lot…. theoretically. It’s hard to tell what type of NBA players these guys will be from Euro or college highlights, or even how these guys conduct themselves in interviews, etc. Can you trust the Wizards’ scouting? I suppose/not really/maybe is perhaps the best answer….Aren’t we always told that the draft can be a crapshoot anyway? We won’t know until we can get those guys on the court in a team setting, but nonetheless, I get the feeling that aside from snagging John Wall in 2010, 2011 could be the best Wizards draft in years.
Me: Andray Blatche, what should the Wizards do with him? Keep, trade or cut? How good do you think he is?
KW: The Wizards have spent so much time kicking the Blatche can down the street that they might as well keep doing it. Or, a more optimistic way of putting it… they’ve invested so much in his growth, why give up now (when he’s still cheap, even for his dwindling promise, which certainly could reverse itself)? Here’s the problem, however: will team management have the guts to deal with Blatche differently from how they have in the past if he significantly falters again?
Me: I love the #oldNBAcards feature that you have going on at TAI. Can you let us know what inspired that?
KW: I used to collect cards a lot when I was younger… strictly baseball cards before age 10, and then mostly basketball after moving to D.C. and falling in love with the game. Then, growing up and stuff, I stopped collecting so much. But recently there’s been a renaissance thanks to the “extreme value” boxes of 100 cards and five random unopened packs available from Target. Sure, the cardboard is worth less than the $9.99 I chuck down, but the entertainment I get is worth far more (and why not share on Twitter?). However, it is a problem when storage starts to take up precious apartment space that your girlfriend doesn’t exactly approve of.
Me: Give a shout out to the rest of the guys at TAI for us. You guys are all great writers I really enjoy all of your work. I hope that I can get on your level someday with my writing. I’m working at it. I learn a lot about writing from TAI. Care to give any pointers to any up and coming writers and bloggers out there?
KW: Thanks man. I speak for all the guys when I say that we really appreciate it when people read our stuff. We work hard for this (when we have time). I’m not always good at following my own advice, but here goes…. 1) don’t limit yourself, find alternative ways to be creative; 2) write often, but don’t be in a rush to produce content like some factory; 3) you can never read your own material enough before you publish (although, there is a line to draw) — don’t over-scrutinize yourself, but be more flexible than you think you should be when it comes to restructuring sentences, paragraphs, or even deleting whole paragraphs that you’ve toiled over if they don’t fit.
Big thanks to Kyle once again! I’ve probably thanked him a trillion times by now and I’m sure he’s annoyed, but this was such an honor. Thank you guys for reading.