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Flip Saunders and Andray Blatche: the video

Flip Saunders benched Andray Blatche on Tuesday night, and then lit into him during his post-game press conference. Which was a pretty neat way for a day featuring steroid investigations in Ballston and government sentencing memos about Gilbert Arenas to end.

I'd like to hand this text to LaVar Arrington and have him knock it off in front of a microphone. Would be magic.

"I took him out of the game because i wanted to talk to him about not getting back on defense," Saunders began. "He didn't want to hear it. I told him if you don't come and talk, you don't want to be coached, you're not gonna play. Coaches went up to him three different times, he just said he didn't want to play. Fifteen years, never seen anything like it. Never....

"He can be pissed at me or whatever, but you never leave your teammates out to dry like that, no matter what. Especially when you've lost 11 games in a row and you've got a chance to win a game. Uncalled for....

"Sixty percent of the offense is run through him. And no matter what, the coaches aren't wrong. No matter what. When a coach wants to teach you something and you think that you're above that because you've played 16 games, good games? I mean, I had Kevin Garnett. That guy, you'd say one thing, and he's up there, what do you want coach, what can I [do]? He wanted to get better any time. He never copped that type of attitude. I mean, that's ridiculous,it really is. I am disappointed. I am the most disappointed I've ever been in 15 years in a player. The most disappointed."

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 23, 2010; 11:57 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Never thought I'd say this, but I got Blatche's back. Maybe one of the reasons they've lost 12 in a row is Saunders' game plan. Or no, that'd be too unfair right?

Posted by: JDP_ | March 24, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Just when u think he's turned the corner & understand what it takes, he pulls this stunt.

There is a reason KG is KG & AB is a chump.
He is closing in on Kwame Brown territory.
It's his last shot. U get a rep as a knucklehead & unwilling, ppl don't want u as part of their org. - Coaches & players alike.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 24, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

U Soft!!!

Posted by: bbachrac | March 24, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

So Blatche will be one of the first to go this summer. I don't know his contract status, but rest assured, Flip will outlast that guy. What's sad is there are guys who work hard (like my personal favorite, Quinton Ross), who would give anything to have a fraction of the chances Blatche has, yet while they wait their turn, they say nothing, they work hard and they do everything the coaches ask.

The truly sad part about this will be if he ends up in another city and decides to listen to that coach. Kid has million-dollar talent and a five-cent head.

Posted by: DC2Dallas | March 24, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

I in no way condone Andray Blatche's behavior if it is as reported (2 sides to every story), but this incident solidifies in my mind that Flip Saunders is a mediocre coach at best. A few areas Flip may consider improving on:

1. Flip rests too much on his laurels of yonder years and often waxes nostalgic on his years coaching KG. Get over it Flip! Live in the present and adapt your coaching style to the temperament and talent of your current crop of talented players. It almost seems as if Flip wants to pad his resume on the back of Andray's accomplishments as he did with KG, and Andray is not cooperating with his agenda.

2. Flip, with little prompting, has a habit of calling out Andray in the media instead of exercising appropriate disclosure and maybe handling certain matters behind closed doors. This does not allow him much wiggle room in communication with his emerging star player. Now that Andray is coming into his own, it may be time for Flip to apply a little more tact and psychology in dealing with him. IMHO, he should seek first and foremost to understand and encourage, not publicly criticize.

3. Flip plays favorites. He favored Caron and Antawn even when they were "stinking up the joint". He favors Mike Miller, who continues to stink up the joint. If you are going to play favorites, why not include your best player in your fave circle.?!

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | March 24, 2010 2:25 AM | Report abuse

Flip may be wrong, but he has a hell of a lot more resume in the leauge as a player and coach than that punk Blatche..

Posted by: kreator6996 | March 24, 2010 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Coaches coach... that's about it. If coach wants to coach up his player, he's got every right to get into him. You can't defend much for the players here, this team is TERRIBLE.

Flip: stay for a while. I'm sure more disappointment is on it's way.

Posted by: law3 | March 24, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

I agree with many of the comments above of bazookajoe. I feel, and usually feel in these situations, that both parties share the blame. Andray definitely should have handled it better, and a better coach could have handled the situation more effectively rather than issuing an ultimatum to a player he knows to be immature at an emotional moment. End result -- another controversy arising on Flip's watch.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | March 24, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

he never saw scottie pippen?? ;-)

Posted by: 3tripleiii | March 24, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

"I agree with many of the comments above of bazookajoe. I feel, and usually feel in these situations, that both parties share the blame. Andray definitely should have handled it better, and a better coach could have handled the situation more effectively rather than issuing an ultimatum to a player he knows to be immature at an emotional moment. End result -- another controversy arising on Flip's watch."


I don't understand what the controversy is? Blatche didn't listen to his coach and got benched. This is what happens in sports at all levels down to pee-wee.

I love the notion that Flip needs to "adjsut his coaching style" to accommodate whiny prima-donna players who have no actual reason to cop that kind of attitude.

What do you guys want Coach Saunders to do, rub Andrae's feet and pretty please beg him to play defense?

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 24, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

i've recalled atleast 4 or 5 times this year where flip has said something to the effect of "i've never seen anything like this in my entire coaching career"...welcome to washington, flip...this team has needed some sort of discipline and attitude adjustment for years now, and flip is doing what he can to get some accountability from his players..why does this team have to be so hard to root for..

Posted by: jdwood84 | March 24, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Get rid of the bum! If he can't see they are building the team around him, he needs to go. Stop pacifying these inmature millions. He cost us a game. I know he would have made a difference in the game. I blame the coach for one thing, not suspending him for the rest of the season. This anarchy must stop with these players. They don't the team, everybody is expendable. Blatche is no different.

He wants to be the man in DC, heavy lies the head that wears the crown. Did Jordan abandon his teammate? But if this his attitude, a who give's a da*@, HE MUST GO. If not, the saga of bad team in Washington will continue. Too bad Parcell's or Jimmy Jonhson don't coach basketball.

Posted by: csherro | March 24, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Meh. I agree with DC2Dallas that Andray has a million-dollar body and a five-cent head.

But IMO Flip has spent a lot of time this season letting everyone know it's not his fault. Remember, this team stunk before Arenas held his gun show. And IIRC then it was the still the players' fault for not getting with Flip's brilliant system.

There may not be an "I" in "team" but there is one in "Flip."

You know, if only Flip had a team with KG in his prime...then he could coach them to seven straight first-round playoff exits! And wouldn't that be grand...

I dunno, I know I'm tuning Flip out. I could see it if his players are doing the same.

And Flip, dealing with the players you have instead of the players you wish you had? It's kind of part of the job.

Posted by: hubcap | March 24, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"And Flip, dealing with the players you have instead of the players you wish you had? It's kind of part of the job."


How do you suggest one "deal" with players who don't listen to their coach? What exactly is the strategy there? I'd love to hear your proposals ...

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 24, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I was with Flip until he started mentioning KG. Does this man start any sentence without dropping KG's name? Get over it, man! KG is long gone. And no good will come out of always comparing AB to KG. Remember, it's far far easier to replace a coach than an entire team. Just ask Eddie Jordan (a finer man than Flip. I don't think Eddie ever threw a player under the bus).

Posted by: tundey | March 24, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman: Find a way to reach them. Or quit if you can't. Each player has to be treated different. You can't always compare AB to KG. How would you feel if your parents always compared you to your much more successful older brother? I bet that'll piss you off. Now, imagine if they did that in public. Would that make you wanna listen and learn from them?

More and more Flip is showing that he's not a very good coach. He may be good with X's and O's but not good with players.

Posted by: tundey | March 24, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Keep in mind this is the same player that said he was glad Eddie Jordan was gone and he would finally flourish. I believe he had one great game and then the mediocrity follow-up the remainder of the season.

This guy has become good and now the true colors are showing? But if we fans want to blame the coaches and not hold these players to a standard, we will continue to live in the 1977-78 glory days with no future glory day ahead. This is why we never amount to nothing more mere than a first round whipping boy, if we make that.

Coaches have for ever talked about players in public. What's the difference with the Wizards. Oh, my fault, we're in Washington DC. A place where you do not hurt the players feeling because you're sure to draw ire from the fans.

Shanahan, watch your back.

Posted by: csherro | March 24, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

What I see is just because Flip said it many of you think it is so. He has fudged the truth in the past (Rasheed Wallace). Say what you want but since they put the ball in Andrey's hand he has performed, we still lost could it be because Flip was outcoached in quite a few games this year.
Before I form an opinion I want to hear the other side of the story, thats if they let him talk to the media about it.

Posted by: wiz313 | March 24, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

How do you suggest one "deal" with players who don't listen to their coach? What exactly is the strategy there? I'd love to hear your proposals ...
You go to each player and say, "this is what I am expecting out of you over the next week: A, B, C" and give them specific examples and specific, measurable goals. You set standard substitution patterns and rotations so guys know that if they do A, B, C they'll get time. If they do better, you reward them with more time and explain why. If they do worse, you cut their minutes and explain why. And if someone looks like he's slacking, you address it immediately and don't wait until everything blows up in public.

Is that babysitting? Maybe. Should you have to do that with professionals? Probably not. I know people like to talk about coaches crackin' skulls and layin' down the law, but that's just not the NBA and hasn't been for decades. If you can't get through to your players, you will fail.

My question is, how does it get to the point where the team's top producer (Andray Blatche? Sad but true) is ignoring the entire coaching staff? How long has this been building? Because I know this isn't about playing defense - neither 'Dray nor Flip really cares about D. It's about communication. How does it get to this point?

I've actually got no problem with the benching itself. They should probably bench 'Dray every 7 games or so just to get his attention. My problem is Flip's season-long willingness to publicly blame his players. If it were just 'Dray (again, 5-cent head), OK. But Flip had issues with Gil. He seemed to have issues communicating with Caron. He had issues getting along with his players in Detroit. Judging from the utterly random minutes of the young guys before everyone got traded or hurt, he seemed to have issues with them.

Go to a game (tickets are readily available!) and watch the Wiz bench - this is not a happy, hard-working crew. Watching this team, I see players who don't understand or trust their coach and a coach who doesn't like or trust his players.

This outburst reminds me of Flip's "these guys couldn't guard ME!" outburst. The team practiced defense for two days and then forgot about it all. It was a funny clip, and it probably felt good to vent, but it didn't help anything.

'Dray is a problem, but the coach's job is to SOLVE PROBLEMS. If his system is too complicated for his players to execute, then he needs to adjust his system. If his players aren't listening, then he needs to change the way he communicates. I get that some problems are too big to fix. And sometimes you try everything and nothing works. Most likely, this was a poorly-built team that no coach could succeed with.

That's where I think Flip is now - frustrated because he was dealt a losing hand and nothing he's trying is working. But in that case IMO you zip it and go down with class instead of lashing out at the very guys you are supposed to be leading.

Posted by: hubcap | March 24, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

@ DC2Dallas Sorry, I stopped reading after "like my personal favorite, Quinton Ross"

Posted by: ts35 | March 24, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

6-day Dray, imo.

Posted by: tha_prophet | March 24, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

This made me so happy when I found it out. We had referred to Blatche as Bloth for two seasons now because he was so lethargic like a sloth when it came to defense and rebounding.

I'm tired of these kids getting paid this much and thinking they're owed something. That they're not getting the minutes they deserve or the touches they deserve, but they come into the game and give zero effort other than where they can get stats.

Good for Flip for finally treating them like the kids they're acting like. Someone needed to discipline them for being such entitled brats.

Posted by: ChinatownExpress | March 24, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz are a joke!

Posted by: Max_in_Missouri | March 24, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

For those of you talking about Flip's resume, here's an interview with Chauncey Billups (

Quoting: ""I don't point fingers," he said. "I just think problems, and maybe disbelief in Flip on a player or two's behalf, cost us in some different series that I thought, had we been locked in, we could have won."..."I think that cost us at least one championship."..

Is it fair to say there was a lack of respect for Saunders?

"That probably is a fair term.""

Posted by: gbooksdc | March 24, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse


And your point is??? Why the hell are people laying this at the feet of FS and not the knucklehead Blatche? I'm sure Blatche blew off some steam last night at the clubs and hit up 14th street afterwards. What a joke?

And, the player Billups is referring to is Wallace. Yeah, he's been a a coaches sweetheart his entire career. Please. He has been a malcontent from day one. Larry Brown was lucky to get one championship season out of him and that's bc he was only there for half that season if I am not mistaken. Before long he would have scoffed at Larry Brown who is known to grind on players more than any other coach, but he gets results - see Bobcats. FS has as well. When is the last time the Wiz have been to the CF's two years in a row???

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 24, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The list of Flip detractors is long and composed of respected players. It's not just Aundray, and they can't ALL be wrong. The job of a coach is to get his players to play for him. You can't do that effectively if you cannot win their respect. In other words, Flip's a bad coach. He totally mishandled this one, and it appears he just made stuff up to make the player -- his best player, right now -- look bad.

Posted by: gbooksdc | March 24, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

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