April 24, 2017

Mystics Acquire Second Round Pick in 2015 WNBA Draft

Mystics Press Release Logo

MYSTICS ACQUIRE SECOND ROUND PICK IN 2015 WNBA DRAFT
Team Trades Quanitra Hollingsworth to Seattle

Washington, D.C. – The Washington Mystics have acquired the Seattle Storm’s second round pick (15th overall) in the 2015 WNBA draft in exchange for center Quanitra Hollingsworth and Washington’s second round pick (20th overall).

“This trade gives Quanitra the opportunity to be part of a team where she will have more playing time,” stated head coach Mike Thibault. “It also gives us another draft pick that will allow us to take a player that we can possibly develop for the future.”

Hollingsworth was acquired in a trade with the New York Liberty in 2013. She missed the 2014 season due to an overseas commitment. She appeared in seven games with the Mystics, averaging 1.7 points per game and 1.4 rebounds per game.

Washington currently holds the 8th, 15th and 32nd picks in the upcoming WNBA draft.

The Washington Mystics will tip off the 2015 season on the road against conference rival Connecticut Sun on Friday, June 5, at 7 p.m. Following their season opener, the Mystics will return to Verizon Center for their home opener to face the New York Liberty on Saturday, June 6 at 7 p.m. Season tickets for the 2015 season are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling the Mystics Sales Office at 1-877-DC-HOOP1 or by visiting the Mystics web site at www.washingtonmystics.com.

What the 2014 NFL Draft Teaches us About the RG3 Deal

On Thursday, while the NFL world collectively held their breath, the Washington Redskins were merely spectators. Barring some eleventh hour trade possibilities, on that first night nothing was on the line.

The Redskins ‘earned’ the second overall pick due to their dismal 2013 season, but sat out of the first round as their pick went to St. Louis, the final piece of the package that ultimately brought in Robert Griffin III.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville hung their hopes of resurrecting their franchise on a quarterback most people had never heard of until a stellar performance in the Fiesta Bowl, Cleveland picked a dynamic playmaker that half of the experts believe will be a complete bust, Minnesota traded up for a quarterback who can’t throw the ball without a glove on and Houston is betting the season on Ryan Fitzpatrick after choosing not to draft a quarterback until the fourth round.

For Redskins fans, it stings to watch the first round of this draft and last year’s go by with no picks, but this draft also show exactly why the Redskins were willing to pay such a steep price.

Quarterback is the most important position in football and is debatably the most important position in sports. It is almost impossible for an NFL team to see sustained success without a dependable quarterback under center.

Things went downhill for the Redskins after Joe Gibbs retired (the first time) following the 1992 season. In the 21 seasons since that time, the Redskins have had 23 different quarterbacks start at least one game. To compare, the New England Patriots have had five quarterbacks start at least one game in that same stretch.

In those 21 seasons the Redskins won two playoff games, the Patriots won three Super Bowls.

Clearly, quarterbacks matter.

Franchise quarterbacks, however, are hard to find. There is a big difference between a quarterback who starts and a starting caliber quarterback. There are 32 teams in the NFL, but fewer than 32 franchise quarterbacks. Those teams fortunate enough to have one are loath to give them up. Barring the rare Peyton Manning situation that Denver benefitted from, the draft is the only avenue to acquire one.

But what do you do when there are no franchise quarterbacks available in the draft?

The players considered to be the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft were Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. Opinions on all three players varied, but the consensus seemed to be that none of them were in that Troy Aikman/Peyton Manning/Andrew Luck, can’t miss, surefire overall-number-one-pick category. In fact, there are major questions about each player’s potential and players at other positions were regarded as better NFL prospects.

Teams with higher draft picks frequently are in need of a franchise quarterback. Drafts like this one, however, leave these teams with a dilemma: do you reach for a quarterback and hope he will exceed expectations or take a player you are more confident is worthy of such a high pick?

Jacksonville reached for a quarterback in 2011, selecting Blain Gabbert with the tenth overall pick. Just three years later, the Jaguars selected Bortles, another quarterback, with the third overall pick. With Gabbert not playing as well as the Jaguars hoped he would, they still remain a basement-dwelling team in need of a quarterback three years later.

The draft is set up to help those teams that need it the most, but there’s no guarantee the player you need will be available the year you have a high pick. That is especially true with the quarterback position as it is so critical to success. When a draft comes along loaded with quarterback talent, therefore, teams must take the opportunity to acquire one just the Redskins did with Griffin.

That does not mean that there are not franchise quarterbacks available in the later rounds; Tom Brady was taken in the sixth round in 2000 and Russell Wilson was selected in the third round in 2012. These cases, however, are not the norm. Had teams known how good these players would be, they would have been taken considerably higher in the draft.

The point is that when your team needs a quarterback and is as sure as one can be about a certain players, that team must break the bank to acquire him. Three first round draft picks and a second round pick is a high price to pay for one player, but how much would Jacksonville give up to erase the last three years of poor play?

From their perspective, you could argue the Redskins got off easy.

Sure, you can take other players high and hope for a sleeper quarterback in the later rounds, but chances are you are not going to find that ‘diamond in the rough.’

You can reach for a quarterback and hope he pans out, but if you’re wrong you’ve set the franchise back several years. Instead, the Redskins paid what they had to for a quarterback they were confident could lead the team to the postseason.

Fans can be unhappy the team was without its first round pick, or they can just be glad they’re not rooting for teams like Houston and Oakland who skipped out on the top quarterbacks or teams like Jacksonville, Cleveland and Minnesota who decided to roll the dice.

To those teams, Griffin is worth what the Redskins had to pay for him and a whole lot more.

Washington Wizards get third pick in NBA Draft–Who should they take?

The Washington Wizards did not move up in the upcoming NBA draft to No. 1, that honor went to the New Orleans Hornets, whether you believe the conspiracy theorists or not. With that No. 1 pick, the Hornets will assuredly select Kentucky forward Anthony Davis, the consensus top pick in this year’s class. After that, well, it’s kind of a crapshoot.

What should the Wizards be looking for? Well, they don’t really need a point guard. They seem fairly set at center, with veteran Nene and the emerging Kevin Seraphin. After that though, the roster could use some upgrading. After the coaching change last season they emphasized defense much more and were actually one of the better teams in the league at preventing scoring. It’s at the other end they still had trouble.

Trevor Booker and Chris Singleton are both forwards that play aggressively on defense but are limited up front, so a scorer on the front line would be nice. A banger like Thomas Robinson (Kansas) at 6’9″, 237 would be an interesting addition. If they wanted to add another defensive presence, it would be hard to argue against Davis’ Kentucky teammate, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. MKG is an elite defender and solid (6’7″, 210) at small forward, but isn’t a great shooter or scorer.

The trendy pick for the Wizards right now is bypassing whoever is left between Kidd-Gilchrist and Robinson and selecting shooting guard Bradley Beal from Florida. A terrific shooter who is selective with his shot, he could immediately add a threat to the offense and team with point guard John Wall to form an explosive duo in the back court. With Wall’s driving ability, having a running mate to kick out to — with confidence — could go along way in finally getting the best out Wall’s explosiveness.

The biggest wildcard in the process is the Charlotte Bobcats, who own the No. 2 pick. The Wiz will just have to wait until Michael Jordan decides who he wants to add to his flailing franchise on draft night, then Ernie Grunfeld will get to choose between the remaining two.

There are three other names Wizards fans should keep an outside eye on though. Harrison Barnes is a 19-year old small forward out of North Carolina, Andre Drummond is a 6’11”, 275 center from UConn and Jared Sullinger is a 6’9″, 280 power forward from Ohio State. Sullinger is the most established of the three, Drummond is huge and Barnes silky smooth.

And one final scenario to throw out there. Portland owns the sixth and 11th picks in the draft, and several reports have them interested in trading up into the top three or four picks. Should Grunfeld be tempted by adding two players in the top 11 in the draft, and the player he wanted was selected by Charlotte, we could see pieces moved on draft day.

Is Peyton Manning the answer at quarterback for the Washington Redskins?

According to multiple reports (and how could you miss them if you follow the team), the Washington Redskins will make an “aggressive effort” to sign quarterback Peyton Manning now that he and the Indianapolis Colts have formally parted ways.

Is this a good idea? [Read more…]

Time to find out if RGIII can be the Washington Redskins’ Superman

by Jack Anderson, Special to District Sports Page

It’s time.

Given his overwhelming potential and seemingly limitless ceiling, the moment is right for the Washington Redskins to take the plunge and bet the house on the man known as RGIII.

That’s only Robert Griffin’s weekday moniker though. On weekends, he’s Superman. Clark Kent jumped buildings in a single bound, but Griffin made the college gridiron his playground. Now he’s going pro and several teams are lined up ready and willing to pay a king’s ransom for the new Man of Steel in this year’s NFL draft.

There isn’t much Griffin can’t do. He is working on a Masters degree in communications, was a world-class track athlete in high school and is one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects. Yet his quiet pride and selfless nature overshadow all his accomplishments, resulting in one of the more balanced, grounded individuals you’ll ever encounter.

It just so happens that there’s more to this humble college kid than he’ll let on to.

Fittingly, Griffin wore a pair of Superman socks to the Heisman Trophy presentation. But instead of strutting onto the national stage in the presence of his fellow candidates, Griffin presented the outrageous footwear with a lightheartedness that only made him more likeable.

Of course he finished the night hardware in hand. “Unbelievably, believable,” he said of the honor.

Unbelievable – according to Griffin – because of the emotion that came with such a moment. Believable to the rest of us because he’s just that good.

It’s not easy to find such a combination of talent and squeaky-clean character, but Griffin has it all. In 2011, he completed over 72 percent of his passes and had a touchdown-interception ratio better than 6-to-1. He recently ran one of the fastest 40-times of any quarterback in history and appears poised to take the NFL by storm.

With the recognition also comes the scrutiny of endless meetings with NFL teams, media obligations, a strict workout routine and a continued sense of purpose. Many potential draftees undergo the firestorm of responsibility and how they handle it will help shape what they become.

There is little doubt Griffin will pass the gauntlet with flying colors. This is the same guy who could choose between heading to law school or quarterbacking a professional football team. Winners have that ability to turn any situation into a positive one. Griffin fits that mold and that’s why he’s already blowing the skeptics away with his top-notch attitude and off-the-chart talents.

Naturally the hype has several of the NFL’s bottom-feeders clamoring for his services. The Redskins, Browns, Dolphins and others would love to reverse the fortunes of their respective franchises with such a high-caliber player and it’s likely one of them will.

It all hinges around the St Louis Rams and the No. 2 overall selection in the NFL draft. The Rams are set at quarterback with former No. 1 selection Sam Bradford and are expected to trade their pick to the highest bidder. That team will surrender a treasure trove of assets, but in today’s NFL a franchise quarterback trumps most everything else.

Especially in Washington.

The “Redskin way” hasn’t been conducive to success in a long time. Then again it’s never really had an individual capable of putting the entire team on his back like Griffin is expected to do.

The Colts, Saints, Patriots and Packers can all attest to the importance of the quarterback position. Players have come and gone in each organization, but the same guys were under center when those teams combined for six of the last 11 Super Bowl trophies. Possessing that constant an entire locker room can depend on – you can’t put a price tag on it.

The Redskins don’t have that and haven’t for years. They’ve tried to be home run hitters and have only recently attempted to build a team piece by piece. But there isn’t always a gameplan for every scenario. Sometimes a player like Griffin comes along and forces you to call an audible.

Mike Shanahan has done a good job putting certain elements of into place, but the prevailing opinion is that he’ll never turn the Redskins around without acquiring a dynamic quarterback. Griffin is that guy, but the cost is likely to make Shanahan a little skittish.

And with good reason because Griffin can’t do it by himself. The Redskins will have to build around him, which could be difficult if they part ways with numerous draft picks to get him.

However, drafting Griffin presents one of those rare shortcuts the Redskins aren’t usually afforded. He’s pretty close to the can’t-miss label and there is nothing on his resume that would leave a team holding their breath.

Shanahan need only listen to Griffin’s Heisman speech for inspiration when it comes to rolling the dice. If there’s “no pressure,” there’s “no diamonds.” It’s a gamble, but one that could turn the tide for a team stuck in neutral.

The cost is high, the risk even higher, but the payoff promises to be worth it. It’s time to find out if Superman can withstand the Burgundy and Gold kryptonite.

Jack Anderson is a special contributor to District Sports Page. He has been covering Washington, DC sports as a credentialed reporter since 2009. He covers the Capitals for NHL Home Ice and TSN Radio and is a freelance writer having contributed to the Washington Times, Associated Press and NBC Washington. You can follow him on twitter @jackandersonIII.
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