Flip Saunders needs your help
What is it with this town? If our head coaches aren't appealing for offensive assistance from retired coaches-slash-bingo callers, they're calling in reinforcements culled from the ranks of ESPN.com readers. The Web site announced a contest this week, in which one lucky reader will be able to design an inbounds play that the Washington Wizards may or may not actually use in a game. It's without a doubt one of the most bizarre contests I've ever encountered, especially when you read about the grand prize:
One eligible Entry will be reviewed and considered for implementation in a professional basketball game by the Washington Wizards' coaching staff.
Considered for implementation, huh? Be still my heart. I mean, JaVale McGee is considered for implementation just about every game, and see what that's gotten him.
ESPN's Ric Bucher explained on Twitter how the Wizards came to be involved in this contest, and it actually had nothing to do with their on-court travails:
I asked Flip cuz he's 1 of the best at 'splaining a new play so a team executes it; 2, he's open to trying new ideas.
Imagine what the team's record would be without a new coach who was comfortable 'splaining new plays. Anyhow, here's the official pitch:
Now's your chance to put that advanced knowledge to good use and coach the Washington Wizards. At least for one play. Really. Send us your best inbounds play by Wed. Dec. 23, via email, fax or snail mail, and our crack panel of experts will choose the best one, which the Wizards will try to use during a game. So now's your chance to prove it when you yell at the TV, "I can do better than that!"
Any chance that fans could have a button to press that would allow them to insert Randy Foye into the game, and/or to prohibit DeShawn Stevenson from shooting, and/or to help Gilbert Arenas make free throws? Because I think that's what they're yelling about more than the inbounds plays.
Contestants are asked to describe, preferably with the use of a diagram, a play "that sponsor/Wizards feel has a likelihood for success." (In other words, no, your plan to have Caron Butler shoot the ball does not count.) It can't be more than 500 words long, and it must be written in English. So no, Oleksiy Pecherov, there's no need for you to send your best Ukrainian ideas. "Get buckets, son!" will suffice.
In other Wizards news, two tremendous stats, courtesy of me.
1) The Wizards have lost five straight games by a combined 11 points. Never in the franchise's history since arriving in D.C. has the team lost five straight by such a narrow margin. I mean, last year they had plenty of chances to lose five straight, and the worst they could do was five straight by a combined 33 points.
In the '90-'91 season, they managed five straight by a combined 26. In '85-'86, it was five straight by a combined 20. And in the previous most heartbreaking string of five straight losses, the Bullets dropped five straight by a combined 14 points in March of 1977. The leading scorers on that team were Elvin Hayes and Phil Chenier. That was a long time ago.
2) The Caps won by five Tuesday night. The Wizards haven't won a game by five in all of December. Since Nov. 19, they have just one win by five or more. Since the start of November, they have just two wins by five or more.
Also, if you're into this kind of thing, the Wizards dancers are being featured on Maxim. You might not want to look at work, though.
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