View Source

It’s Time For The Washington Wizards To Unleash Or Trade Troy Brown Jr.


15.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists. Those are good numbers for anyone, but when they come from a player just days removed from his 21st birthday, eyes begin to pop.

Those were the averages that Troy Brown Jr posted during the NBA bubble in Florida near the end of last season. While some might point to the 37.9% shooting, let me remind you that the Wizards were without Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans. This was also months prior to the trade of Russell Westbrook or the drafting of Deni Avdija.

In short, Brown Jr had very little to work with, meaning his level of responsibility increased. Most 21-year-olds would scale back, but Brown Jr attacked it head-on. His heavy on-ball usage led to just 1.8 turnovers over those eight games, a sign of control and court vision.

Even before the bubble, Brown Jr was beginning to show signs.

He had raised his free throw efficiency by 10 percentage points and had increased his three-point efficiency while also doubling the volume. His ballhandling and rebounding, while already good in college during his lone year at Oregon which led to him getting selected 15th in the 2018 NBA Draft, began translating to the NBA level.

By that logic, surely Brown Jr was meant to play a significant role for this year’s Wizards, right?

His current 13.6 minutes load would insinuate otherwise. Brown has played a total of five minutes and 39 seconds over his past two games.

Whatever the reason might be, head coach Scott Brooks surely isn’t doing his player any favors by not giving him enough burn to find a rhythm and thus recapture the magic he found in Orlando.

It’d be one thing if Brown Jr hadn’t already displayed a proper ability to play in this league and at a fairly advanced level considering his age. But given his production of last year, what are the benefits to sitting him?

MORE FOR YOU

It seems counterproductive to sit a young guy of Brown Jr’s caliber in this manner, however you slice it. And the Wizards tried to slice it in their favor, by arguing their young players were no longer guaranteed minutes due to heightened expectations, according to NBC Sports.

The Wizards are 12th in the Eastern Conference. Thomas Bryant is lost for the season due to an unfortunate ACL tear, and Ish Smith is out injured for the next 4-6 weeks. Yet, Brooks can’t move pieces around to create more minutes for Brown Jr because of.. heightened expectations?

The trade for Westbrook, which was always a bit funky given his personal shortcomings in terms of how to fit a modern-day roster, accelerated Washington’s need to win. They want to satisfy Beal, which makes sense, but you have to wonder how Beal would look at the situation, if the Wizards effectively kill the trade value of Brown Jr, and decide to not keep him around. That would, for them, be a wasted pick and a wasted opportunity, further underlining the type of issues the Wizards have had in building a competitive team around the star.

If Washington doesn’t want Brown Jr on the roster, then it’s in their best interest to play him now and rehab his trade value back to the point where it used to be, so you can get something for him near the March 25th trade deadline.

If they want to keep him around for the long-term, playing him and giving him a chance to get his groove back would be beneficial to both parties.

At 6’7, 220 lbs, Brown Jr is a ballhandling wing, who can play multiple positions. Numerous teams should be interested in acquiring his services.

The Chicago Bulls, who are currently playing without Otto Porter and Lauri Markkanen, both of whom could be on new teams either after the trade deadline or by next season, would make a lot of sense as a landing spot. Not only are they currently playing rookie Patrick Williams alongside Wendell Carter Jr up-front, but they’re starting Coby White at point guard, who is struggling with the position.

Acquiring Brown Jr, who could slide right in at the wing, and who can assist White by being a playmaker, would fill not only an immediate need but a long-term one as well.

The Boston Celtics could use a chunk of their TPE and attach a protected pick to get him onto their team, where he would fit the roster from an age perspective and could play the role of the third wing, previously occupied by Gordon Hayward before he left for Charlotte.

Brown Jr is the type of archetype you make a priority to develop, even if that means reserving minutes in your rotation. In a league where wing versatility and playmaking have become so valuable, wasting a player who has those capabilities by sitting him makes very little sense.

For the Wizards, it’s time to make a decision. Brown Jr is in his third year and is closing in on a new deal. Leaving essential data at the doorway, by not playing him in one of the most crucial developmental years for young players, does not seem thought through.

View Source

Dr. Seuss books shoot to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list

Books by Dr. Seuss have flooded Amazon’s U.S. bestseller list after it was announced that six of the author’s publications were being pulled over racist imagery. 

“The Cat in the Hat” is currently the bestselling book on Amazon’s U.S. store, closely followed by “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” along with several other titles by the late Theodor Seuss Geisel. In total, 15 Dr. Seuss publications were in Amazon’s top 20 list on Friday morning. 

“Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat” also appeared in Amazon Canada’s top 10 bestselling books list. 

This comes after Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business running the late author’s estate, said Tuesday it made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of six of his books: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”  

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in the statement, with some of the author’s books having faced criticism in recent years over racist imagery. 

The announcement came on Read Across America Day on Tuesday, which would have been Geisel’s 117th birthday and has been associated with the author. 

Dr. Seuss’ never-before-published book, “What Pet Should I Get?” is seen on display on the day it is released for sale at the Books and Books store on July 28, 2015 in Coral Gables, United States.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

President Joe Biden left any mention of Dr. Seuss out of his Read Across America Day proclamation on Monday, signaling a further distancing from the author. Former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama mentioned Dr. Seuss in their previous speeches. 

After rumors of a ban on Dr. Seuss books, the school district of Loudoun County, Virginia, issued a statement last weekend to clarify that it hadn’t done so but had provided “guidance to schools during the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day exclusively with Dr. Seuss’ birthday.” 

“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” the statement said.

View Source

CDC study finds easing mask and restaurant rules led to more Covid cases and deaths, as some states move to lift restrictions

Patrons Sari and Peter Melendez enjoy lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen, the famous deli founded in 1888, on the first day of the return to indoor dining for New York City, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in New York, February 12, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Easing mask mandates and reopening restaurants have led to a rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths, according to a new study by the CDC that comes as the agency urges states not to aggressively lift health restrictions.

According to the study, which examined county data between last March and December, mask mandates implemented by local governments were able to slow the spread of the virus starting about 20 days after their implementation.

“Allowing on-premises restaurant dining was associated with an increase in daily COVID-19 case growth rates 41–100 days after implementation and an increase in daily death growth rates 61–100 days after implementation,” wrote the researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Mask mandates and restricting any on-premises dining at restaurants can help limit community transmission of COVID-19 and reduce case and death growth rates.”

The study found that mask requirements were associated with a more than 1 percentage point decrease in the daily growth rate of Covid-19 cases and deaths 20 days after their implementation. Dining at restaurants was associated with a 0.9, 1.2, and 1.1 percentage point increase in the case growth rate 41–60, 61 to 80 and 81 to 100 days, respectively, after restrictions were lifted, according to the study.

The researchers added that these measures will be important to prevent highly transmissible coronavirus variants from spreading unabated, which could cause more cases, hospitalizations and deaths, medical experts have warned.

“This report is a critical reminder that with the current levels of Covid-19 in communities, and the continued spread of more transmissible virus variants, which have now been detected in 48 states, strictly followed prevention measures remain essential for putting an end to this pandemic,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House Covid-19 press briefing on Friday.

“It also serves as a warning about prematurely lifting these prevention measures,” Walensky said.

Top U.S. health officials have repeatedly warned in recent weeks that the emergence of the new variants, especially the strain first identified in the U.K., known as B.1.1.7, stand to reverse the nation’s success tamping down its outbreak.

The U.S. is reporting a daily average of roughly 62,950 new cases over the last week, a significant drop compared with the peak of nearly 250,000 daily cases the U.S. reported in January, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The decrease in cases has since lost steam, however, a concerning trend that has left infections at an alarmingly high level that could rebound if the variants are allowed take hold, top health officials warn.

“There’s a light at the end of this tunnel, but we must be prepared for the fact that the road ahead may not be smooth,” Walensky said.

Some states have forged ahead with reopening their economies anyway, despite pleas from the Biden administration, including White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, for local leaders to wait a few more weeks until cases show signs of dropping again and more vaccines are administered.

“I don’t know why they’re doing it, but it’s certainly, from a public health standpoint, ill-advised,” Fauci told CNN on Wednesday when asked about states lifting their Covid restrictions. The scene is reminiscent of last summer when states began pulling back restrictions too soon, followed by a surge of cases across America’s Sun Belt.

“What we don’t need right now is another surge,” Fauci said.

Texas, Mississippi and Connecticut moved this week to allow businesses to resume operations at full capacity in their states. Both Texas and Mississippi also decided to lift their statewide mask mandates, though the states’ governors said residents should continue covering their face.

On Thursday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that she would lift her state’s mask mandate beginning April 9, saying that while it was the right thing to do, she respects those “who object and believe this was a step too far in government overreach.”

View Source