Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Recap: One Final Trip To The Wiz of Awes Before Chicago!

Now that the season is over after being unceremoniously dumped by the Washington Wizards 75-69. We here at Pippen Ain’t Easy decided to make one last field trip to chew the fat (or crow I picked the Bulls in seven…sort of) about what happened in this series and put a bow on this collaboration of team coverage of this first round matchup. I talked with Ben Mehic, the Editor of the FanSided’s Washington Wizards website, Wiz of Awes to get his perspective on what happened from the other side of the fence.

Pippen Ain’t Easy:

There were two major factors that had a huge impact on the Wizards winning this series. The first one was the absolute domination of Nene over the new Defensive Player of the Year, Joakim Noah. Tell the Pippen Peoples your thoughts on this matchup.

Ben Mehic- Wiz of Awes

Prior to the beginning of this  series, I don’t think any of us expected Nene to play at the high level that he did, especially since he was coming off a two month layoff following a MCL sprain. Nene had played well in the past against Joakim Noah and that continued throughout the series. Both  players are similar, since they are able to facilitate as well as anchor their team defense, so the matchup was certainly intriguing. Nene gave Noah fits with his size, ability to drive and shoot from the perimeter, which is something I’m sure Noah doesn’t have to deal with when matched up against other bigs. Noah was  well deserving of the Defensive Player of the Year award, but Nene was simply a bad matchup for him.

Pippen Ain’t Easy:

The second factor was the coaching impact. Coach Tom Thibodeau finished third in the Coach of the Year balloting this past season. But it was Randy Wittman who coached this series like he was Coach of the Year and not San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich. What happened in your opinion?

Ben Mehic- Wiz of Awes:

Well both coaches are similar in what they expect their respective teams to play great defense each and every game. Like Thiibodeau,, Wittman has been a bit stubborn with his rotations throughout the year, but that changed during the playoffs. When Marcin Gortat was struggling, Wittman made adjustments and played Trevor Booker in crunch time instead. When John Wall struggled in Game one, Wittman has the courage to play Andre Miller, despite the possibility of that backfiring. On the flipside, Thibodeau has a very short rotation and likes to play guys like Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah a ridiculous amount of minutes. Chicago was fighting to stay in the game virtually every contest in the series and that takes  a toll on the players. Of course, Wittman has a lot more weapons to work with than Thibodeau, and that played a part in the outcome of the series, but honestly thought Wittman got the edge, which was surprising to say the least.

Pippen Ain’t Easy:

The Washington backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal pretty much did what they were supposed to do and destroyed the trio of Jimmy Butler, Kirk Hinrich and DJ Augustin. Now that they have had their coming out party, can they keep this up for the next five years?

Ben Mehic- Wiz of Awes:

I believe that John Wall and Bradley Beal have the potential to become one of the best backcourts in NBA history. That’s right, I said it. With zero nationally televised games in four years, the public hasn’t been able  to see the progression of John Wall and obviously Bradley Beal, but that changed in the playoffs. National media is finally beginning to hop on the “Dash and Splash, House of Guards” bandwagon and people are realizing how good those two could become. Wall is  23 years old and Beal just turned 20. There’s no reason to believe they won’t keep getting better.

Pippen Ain’t Easy:

Are the Wizards a perennial playoff team going forward or a flash in the pan like the 1997-98 squad with the likes of Juwan Howard, Chris Webber and Rod Strickland?

Ben Mehic- Wiz of Awes:

With Wall and Beal leading the team, I can’t see how the Wizards won’t continue to make the postseason. Like I said, they’re in their early 20’s and they are only going to get better. Advancing to the second round, and possibly even to the Eastern Conference Finals, will be huge for their growth, and not only that, they’re going to be able to attract some high-profile free agents in the near future. Washington is legit.

I would like to thank Ben Mehic for his insight throughout this series albeit a short one for collaborating and providing team coverage for this first round matchup. I would say that the Wizards were lucky just to talk trash but, we all saw Game five.

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Tags: Bradley Beal Chicago Bulls Joakim Noah John Wall NBA Playoffs Nene Tom Thibodeau

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