A Suggestion For How To Watch Your Puke Team Without Puking
4:23 PM EST on December 19, 2022
There is at least one perfectly competent and reliable YouTube account dedicated solely to publishing highlight clips from each game played by third-year Wizards forward Deni Avdija. This is a nice perk for fans of international players, whose diehards abroad may for one reason or another have a hard time catching their native son's games on television (and who may have little or no interest in what certain trumped-up, over-promoted, shamelessly scene-stealing American teammates are up to): There is almost always a clipped highlight reel on YouTube following even their most boring, lackluster performance. Four points, two rebounds, and one assist in 22 minutes against the Brooklyn Nets, in a 44-point home loss, in the first week of November? You're goddamn right there's a video, lovingly edited by person named Dod Vrek into 33 delightful seconds of sweet basketball action. Two layups, one with each hand. Four YouTube users gave this video a thumbs-up.
Why would I, a North American sports fan, have any reason to watch my team's players via sad dedicated YouTube accounts when I can just turn on my television at the appointed hour and watch them live and in high def? Ah ha! Here you have given away that you are not a fan of the Washington Wizards. There comes a point in every NBA regular season—usually before Christmas, very often before Halloween, but in very rare circumstances not until the second or third game of the first round of the playoffs, in April—when it is considered medically advisable to switch from watching whole, live broadcasts of Wizards basketball games to watching absolutely no more than eight minutes of Wizards basketball in any 24-hour period, carefully edited to show only positive outcomes from only the players you most care about. The sudden montaging of each underway Wizards season is best understood as an annual event, like a migration, or dormancy in trees: Certain variables may push the exact date around on the calendar, but eventually it will happen.
This year the date was Dec. 2, in the third quarter of Washington's 23rd game of the season. The Wizards, then clinging to a deeply suspect .500 record, went down 22 points to the Charlotte Hornets, who today have the worst record in basketball. The Wizards missed three shots in one possession; Mason Plumlee finally grabbed the defensive rebound. A signal went off in my brain, not unlike whatever silent internal signal tells a cliff swallow that it is time to round up the folks and make for Mission San Juan Capistrano. I knew that it was time, and I quietly turned off the basketball game. Later, when it was over, and I learned that the Wizards had come within a point of pulling off a massive fourth-quarter comeback, I did not feel bad for having missed it, because I knew that later on my boy Dod Vrek would have me covered on the Avdija highlights. As it happened, Dod Vrek did not have me covered, because Avdija was benched after nine minutes that night, but if anything this confirmed that it would've been a terrible mistake to finish watching that game.
Without further ado, here are the last 10 Wizards games, viewed through the extremely narrow lens of the contributions of well-meaning young Wizards forward Deni Avdija:
Nov. 30, at Brooklyn (L): 26 minutes, 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Did you see that big dunk in the third quarter? Wow!
Dec. 2, at Charlotte (L): 9 minutes, 1 rebound, 2 turnovers
No video exists of this performance. Moving on!
Dec. 4, vs. Lakers (L): 25 minutes, 7 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block
Wow, throwing in a nifty little jump hook over LeBron James as the King shouts, "Hell no!" Hell yes, your highness!
Dec. 7, at Chicago (L): 39 minutes, 10 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals
Such vision. Such instincts. Such creativity. And all in a 6-foot-9 package! I see stardom in this young man's future.
Dec. 9, at Indiana (L): 40 minutes, 14 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Some of those assists were a little suspect. Still: Nine rebounds! Wow!
Dec. 10, vs. Clippers (L): 39 minutes, 11 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block
"Make it two in a row, Deni! Make it two in a row!" Nothing sad about this at all.
Dec. 12, vs. Brooklyn (L): 27 minutes, 8 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist
My friend Dod Vrek evidently had some sort of emergency that prevented him from clipping this game. This is where it is helpful to have a backup YouTube account dedicated to low-wattage highlight reels of the NBA's international stars. I'm not sure we needed to see the opening layup twice, and I'm even less sure we needed to see Avdija commit multiple cheap and-one fouls, and badly brick a three-pointer, but I suppose we must make allowances for a non-Deni-focused YouTube account.
Dec. 14, at Denver (L): 9 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals
Paint points were the story of this game. Check it out:
Dec. 17, at Clippers (L): 37 minutes, 11 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
The Wizards went up five points in the third quarter on Avdija's humongous right-handed slam. What a fine time to stop the video and continue reading the rest of this blog.
Dec. 18, at Lakers (L): 21 minutes, 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
Wow, chasing the mighty Lakers into a timeout with a big three-pointer. Incredible.
Based on these highlights, you can see that the Wizards surely have a part of their future core and possibly even a budding superstar in Deni Avdija, and in fact therefore are doing fine. What more could you possibly learn of real value from watching a full Wizards game? It's all right here. Next season I look forward to watching five-plus months of meager Johnny Davis highlights, assuming he is not absolute crud.