NBA history is littered with some of the most unserious plays in the history of professional sports. Ricky Davis once infamously missed a shot on his own basket so he could rebound it himself and try to get a triple-double. Michael Beasley tried to check into a 2019 game wearing the wrong shorts. Basketball is a sport that lends itself to hijinks. That's where the Washington Wizards come in.
After trading away veterans Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, the Wizards entered this season at the clear beginning of a rebuild. As such, they're giving their players the freedom to do things that teams determined to win might be stricter about. Jordan Poole, for instance, has the green light to take whatever shots he wants, and he has used that freedom to produce .
But that isn't the play we're here to talk about. No, dear reader, we'd like to direct your attention to a play from tonight's game between the Wizards and the Atlanta Hawks. Believe it or not, this is a game the Wizards led for a meaningful stretch of the first half. Early in the second quarter, the Wizards held a 37-27 advantage over the Hawks. Of course, they turned into a pumpkin from there and proceeded to allow a 52-19 Atlanta run to fall behind 79-58.
But, not to be deterred, Kyle Kuzma earned a steal and a bit of momentum back for the Wizards. He quickly passed the ball ahead to Poole, who had no Hawks defenders in front of him. But did Poole lay it up or dunk it? No, he opted for a bit more razzle-dazzle. Trailing by 21, Poole tossed an alley-oop to Kuzma off of the backboard.
Backboard alley-oops are a rarity in games that count. Occasionally doing so makes sense to avoid a defender, but generally speaking, teams avoid them in wide-open situations to avoid showing up the opponent. Apparently, such considerations fly out the window when you're trailing by 21.
Give Poole a shred of credit here. He passed up two free points to set up a teammate. That's selfless basketball, most of the time. Here, it's just an example of a lottery team passing the time in a long season. The Wizards aren't playing for much this season, but at least they're managing to find ways to stay entertaining.