Thursday, July 19, 2012

A 3x3 Lesson for the Mystics?

There's a great article in today's Washington Post about Maryland's own Alyssa Thomas being named to the USA Basketball 3x3 Team that will represent our country in next month's inaugural FIBA 3x3 World Championships in Athens. Congratulations to AT on this well-deserved honor and her first international competition!!  Alyssa's teammates in Athens will be Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), and Bria Hartley (UConn).  That's a pretty stellar group of players, and the BCs think they have a great chance to bring home the gold.

We confess, however, that until the recent naming of the USA Team, we weren't all that familiar with how 3x3 ball is played according to FIBA's international rules.  It turns out that, just like in the schoolyard version, there's no coach.  No coach!  That means AT and her teammates will just have to decide amongst themselves who goes in, who guards whom, what plays to run, and when.

This got us to thinking -- what a great idea for the Mystics!   Why not, for the remainder of this 2012 WNBA season, let Lang, Mo, Matee and their teammates decide who plays and when?  Could they possibly do any worse than the team has done under the current coach? At the very least, you can be certain Matee won't be calling a time out when she, or one of her teammates, is driving to the basket for a layup! 

A coachless Mystics team would have the added advantage of saving even more money for Sheila Johnson, Ted Leonsis, and their partners.  After all, it was ostensibly to save the Mystics money that got the team to where it is today.  And now, with the owners deciding to pay Andray Blatche 23 million dollars -- let's say that again, 23 million dollars -- to WALK AWAY from the Wizards, Sheila and Ted will need all the pennies they can save on the Mystics to pay Andray . . . for not playing.

Isn't it amazing . .. in 2010, they allegedly couldn't find the money to retain the most successful GM and HC in Mystics history, but now they can spend more than twice the salaries of all 12 WNBA teams combined just to rid themselves of one NBA player. Go figure.

It's still hot out; one of us is a little under the weather today; our storm-damaged car remains in the repair shop; so, yes . . .the BCs confess, we are still cranky.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The BCs admit it.  We're cranky.  On top of relentless triple-digit heat,  a massive oak tree on our neighbor's lawn was snapped off at its base by the winds of The Derecho on June 29th, falling onto our property, taking out our power line, our phone line, our internet access, our cable TV . . . and the rear end of our car.

After nearly a week without utilities, we got our internet access back just in time to watch the Mystics take on the Shock in Tulsa this afternoon.   And if we hadn't been cranky before then, we sure would have been after watching that debacle.  What an embarrassing, pathetic game.  It was absolutely, hands down, some of the worst basketball we've ever seen.  But even in this battle of the WNBA bottom feeders, one team had to win, and today it was Tulsa, 78-62.

With today's loss, the Mystics are now 3-12.  And, nearly halfway through the season, they remain winless on the road, at 0-6.  (The only other team in the WNBA to hold that distinction this far into the season is -- you guessed it -- Tulsa.)  And, 49 games into Trudi Lacey's tenure as the Mystics' Head Coach, the Mystics have never even put together consecutive victories.  That's right, not once has Trudi's team won back-to-back games.  Not a single 2-game winning "streak," extending all the way back to the start of the 2011 season.  Did we mention "embarrassing" and "pathetic"?

We learned on Friday during the Mystics' loss to San Antonio that Trudi had recently brought the team together for a class in yoga.  Yoga!  Undoubtedly, that was Trudi's followup to the team's pre-season Navy Seal Training, another of Trudi's inspirational ideas.  Call us crazy, but we suspect that practicing basketball might make more sense in terms of improving a basketball team's performance than having players fold themselves into a downward facing dog.  

And how about those line changes that Trudi employed in the SASS game?  Five-player substitutions, as though it were a hockey game. (It worked for the Caps!)  We've never seen that in basketball before . . . except on rare occasions when a coach is so disgusted with the performance of the starters that she/he yanks them all out to send a message.  But as a pre-planned substitution strategy, as Trudi did? No, that's a new one on us.  In any event, that novel approach didn't help.  The Mystics, playing at home (in a nearly empty arena), couldn't beat the Silver Stars (who were on the second half of a back-to-back, on the road), losing to San Antonio, 78-73. 

Watching today's game against Tulsa, it struck us how frustrated the Mystics players seemed to be. Flagant fouls, technicals, fatigue. Why wouldn't they be?  We feel sorry for all of them, stuck in this mismanaged mess. And we feel sorry for the fans who still care about this mismanaged mess.

What can be done now? Well, the BCs have made no secret of our opinion that Trudi did not have the qualifications for her current jobs and should never have been hired in the first place. And any Facebook follower of the team knows that the fans who post there are virtually unanimous in wanting to see a coaching change . . . the sooner the better.  But that isn't enough.  This disaster was set in motion by the Mystics' management.  The buck doesn't stop with Trudi.  The buck stops with Monumental Sports.  Monumental -- not Sheila Johnson--owns the Mystics.  If true change -- for the better -- has any chance, then Monumental needs to move the Mystics' top management -- Sheila Johnson and Greg Bibb -- to different responsibilities, and put a new management team in charge of the front office.

The tree that stood so majestically just over our property line for perhaps a hundred years looked all lush and green . . . until The Derecho revealed that it was hollow at its base.  It fell.  In this case, replacing a losing coach would merely be cutting off a dead limb.  It would not address the root of the problem.

The Mystics' franchise is "celebrating" its 15th Anniversary this season.   How very, very sad, 15 years into the franchise, that this is what has become of women's professional basketball in our nation's capital.  Isn't it time for a change?