Wizards need to name names
The past week of Wizards' soap operettas could have perhaps easily been avoided if the players who were throwing bombs at anonymous teammates would have just been more specific. Then we needn't have worried about exactly who was mad at whom, who wasn't talk to which locker mate, who thought which teammate was beefing with which friend of that other guy who's dating the girl from across town's sister's neighbor's plumber's mailman's masseuse's sleigh driver's best friend's mother's daughter's mother. Or whatever. Let's review the messy chain of events that finally led to differences resolved.
(And for the record, it goes without saying that what I really think should happen is players should stop ripping each other in the media. I'm just joking with the rest of this.)
(I also think it's beyond bizarre that DeShawn Stevenson showed up to LeBron James's after-party last Wednesday. But this isn't the time for asking those questions, I guess. Original images via D.C. Fab; editing by Mister Irrelevant.)
Wednesday: Comcast SportsNet airs an explosive interview with Antawn Jamison, in which he calls out his teammates, real bad. Chris Miller asked Jamison if the new offense was part of the problem. Jamison's response:
"Nah, that's excuses. Don't make excuses. There's no excuse. You know, we had a meeting before the season got started, and coach sat everybody down and said this is what your role is and this is what I expect. And I've been seeing a lot of guys not living up to their roles. It's just guys got to check their egos at the door, go out there and the most important thing is to win."
Ok, so we're not sure who's egos have been left unchecked, but since this critique seems sort of general. I can let that slide. Then, however, Miller asked about The Night of Flying Honeydew, when
Jamison someone threw a fruit platter in Indianapolis and Jamison launched a post-game locker-room rant. His answer:
"That particular night I just thought from the get-go we didn't come with the professionalism that we needed to win the game. Whether before the game you're laughing around, joking; during halftime, after you're down you're still not in tune after coach gets on you, and after the game, we had certain guys pretty much just joking. I mean, I'm looking around and I'm looking at Brendan, it's hurting him. I'm looking at Caron, I'm looking at Gil, and they're sick. We just got blown out. And then you look around, you see certain other guys who don't have that desire or that common goal to win games and to do it a certain way. If that doesn't hurt you, then I don't want to be your teammate."
Kaboom! And now we're getting into specifics; the problem children are not Haywood, Arenas, Jamison or Butler. Eleven names to go, at least one of whom Jamison does not want as a teammate and is willing to fling Honeydew at. Name names, and you end the guessing game.
Friday: Arenas and Haywood both join Jamison in lobbing barbs at anonymous teammates. First Haywood:
"It's very frustrating because our talent is not winning out over our egos. If you want to win, you have to check your ego at the door. Bottom line. If you normally score 20 and you don't get your 20 but the team is winning, who cares? We're 3-9, and we're still doing the same things we did the first couple games of the season -- that's ego!" he said, shouting. "And it's not just one person; it's everybody."
Well, I appreciate him saying it's everybody, but let's be honest, everybody on this team doesn't normally score 20. Then Arenas:
"Everybody needs to get on the same level, that's all. Everyone's got their own individual goals, I guess. Hidden agendas. You can't win like that. I've never been on a team where you have eight free agents next year. I've never played on a team like that. I've never seen it turn out well. Sometimes it works out for the best because everybody's hungry and everybody's fighting. Sometimes it works out for the worst when everybody's out for their own."
So do all eight free agents have hidden agendas? And if you know what their agendas are, are they really hidden? And when you previously said you've been thinking "Man, in this system I can average 20 and 10. Let me go average 20 and 10" does that count as an individual goal, or not really?
Monday: Arenas heats things up a few more degrees by narrowing his focus to one. Apparently a different one than the one that Jamison doesn't want to be teammates with. The quote:
"Most of us feel we're confident in each other on the floor and there are a few that don't. I have no idea. But for the most part, we all get along. There are, what, 15 players on the team? Fourteen do."
Though, note that he went from "a few" to "one" within three sentences. Note also: Sam Cassell is apparently placing wagers against the Wizards winning, according to that same Wiz Insider piece.
(Also great: Eddie Jordan's comments in today's Post, when asked if Gilbert can be the leader Flip Saunders needs:
"He's capable of leading them in scoring and he's capable of leading them in having a presence that's very competitive and that's very contagious. I don't know if he can be a leader -- I just don't know that. I'm not saying he can't be, I just don't know if he can be."
Monday night: Haywood comes back on his blog to clarify his previous comments, saying they had been misconstrued and were not directed at Gilbert but at everybody.
My comments about people needing to check their egos at the door was not directed at one person but to my entire team - myself included. Because, at different points in this season, we've all let our egos get in the way of what we've needed to do to be successful.
But he also blames anonymous media members, like so:
"I thought it was a simple comment but some media outlets made it sound like my comments were directed toward Gilbert Arenas. I just wanted to let all Wizards fans know that's the furthest thing from the truth. Please don't believe or buy into that."
Which media outlets, Brendan! Name names!
November 24, 2009; 11:14 AM ET
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