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Ruben Patterson can't be stopped

I mentioned earlier that this was looking like a tough one for the Wizards. The Bucks have been hot lately, had won 6 straight at home and have two players in Michael Redd and Mo Williams who have hurt the WIz in the past.

But who would have guessed that Ruben Patterson of all people would make the difference tonight?The nanny stopper? The Bucks ran their offense through him the entire fourth quarter and because the Wiz didn't have a big man on the floor to protect the rim and didn't double team him, he hit 4 of 5 shots and scored 10 of his 21 points. He also found Charlie Bell for a big three-pointer. That's the NBA. Sometimes, it's your night.

After the game, Eddie Jordan said he wished he'd gone to a zone or done something to take Patterson off his game but it was too late by then. Here's the deal: the Wiz were playing their fourth game in five nights and Gilbert has been on a historical tear so this one was coming. I see a different outcome when the Bucks come to town Wednesday night.

Caught Brendan in the hallway after the game. He said the right ankle was just too sore to go tonight but should be fine by Wednesday. The good news was that Andray Blatche played well again. In an eight-minute span of the first half he scored 7 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. His confidence is growing by the day. That dunk he threw down in the garbage time was a sign of it. Calvin Booth also played some nice minutes.

The Wiz wasted a nice showing by Caron Butler, whose mom was sitting courtside. Caron is from nearby Racine and had a house full of folks tonight so you knew he wanted it. He all but promised a Wiz Wednesday night.

Gilbert had an ice pack on his right shoulder after the game, the product of a bruised shoulder courtesy of Patterson. He'll be fine.

It's early but how good would a Wizards/Bucks playoff series be? Every game would be well in the 100's and you know Gilbert, Caron, Antawn, Redd and Mo Williams would put on a show.

By Ivan Carter  |  December 31, 2006; 12:21 AM ET
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Next: Haywood playing, Gilbert up in the air


I thought it was interesting to see Milwaukee play a zone for the majority of the game. The Wizards didn't seem to know how to attack the Bucks' zone, and the long jumpers led to fast breaks and easy scores. I'm curious to see whether more teams employ a zone on the Wizards, and I'd love to hear what Eddie thinks of that possibility.

Bullets Forever

Posted by: Pradamaster | December 31, 2006 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Good effort by the boys last night.
Tough to play back 2 backs & 4 in 5 nights.

EJ HAS/NEEDS to play the guys on the bench. No1 is coming off the street to relieve the starters.

Blatche is coming by the minute. but Jarvis just looks rusty. I still say Boothe is more than a serviceable Haywood replacement (@@!!) but EJ has to play him.
& let Roger Mason shoot some spot up 3's geesh. The team is obviously talented enough with the starting 5 in a weak East. So EJ, how about giving the bench some minutes to get their game & confidence up!

ps: Small balls suxs (again)...

Posted by: Victor | December 31, 2006 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Time to focus on a good team! Go Wiz!

WARNING - new (old) ball Wednesday night. Long rebounds and fast breaks. Get ready to run.

Posted by: Shotgun | December 31, 2006 1:05 AM | Report abuse

. . . when I say run, I mean after long rebounds (in addition to the 'Break). I think some ugly ball is coming up around the League.

Liked Blatche's effort last night (his first few boards were on the O-side and he put them back in for points!). Hope he keeps his head up when trying to understand why EJ doesn't use him soon. He should come to realize Eddie also doesn't know why he substitutes who or when.

Jarvis played well last night (I don't like his game, but I'm all about giving props when deserved), and with AD and AB also chipping in, they got some nice bench production. That 4th quarter sure did like a 4-in-5 night though. Otherwise, I thought they played well (Gil just wasn't his recent great self, which is bound to happen).

I am happy with this team, but another bench scorer would be nice.

Happy New Year Bullets/Wiz (and Skins and Caps and Red Sox) fans!

Posted by: Shotgun | December 31, 2006 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see I am not the only who thinks that EJ has not idea who to sub, when and for how long. We got shooters on the bench, but they don't get playing time b/c EJ dont trust them. Can someone fill me in on what happens in practice.

Posted by: WizKid | December 31, 2006 3:19 AM | Report abuse

B-Hay gets injured, Wizards get crushed. When will others (besides the few pro-Haywood posters like myself) acknowledge his importance to the team? Gilbert has started every game with mixed results. Haywood has started 9 games with 8 wins, he hasn't started 21 games where they lost 12 times. Was Eddie Jordan joking when he said he hadn't decided if B-Hay will continue to start when Etan returns? Does he not care if the team wins?

Posted by: Mike | December 31, 2006 4:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and Ivan, thanks for asking Eddie about what would happen when Etan comes back. I much appreciate the good journalism! It was great to see the you report the team's 8-1 record with Brendan starting! My apologies for any overly harsh writing.

Posted by: Mike | December 31, 2006 4:24 AM | Report abuse

The "nanny stopper" line reveals you to be a Links reader.
Here's what concerns me about Jordan and smallball. The Wizards get through the first quarter tied with the small lineup, but the Wizards are making jumpshots and the Bucks layups and dunks. No one is there to protect the rim, supposedly a focus of Jordan. In the second quarter, Booth and Blatche are inserted and the Wizards charge to a 10 point lead. Doesn't that suggest that going bigger will be more effective? How can you watch that from the sideline and not think, "Hmm, a bigger lineup seems to be the answer tonight"? But of course Jordan reverts to the small lineup and then in the postgame press conference says, "I thought the size factor took its toll as the night went along." Duh.
What you want from a coach is someone who is open-minded and has no agendas, who will see what is happening on the court and adjust to those realities. It has become pretty clear that Jordan is not that type of coach. Some coaches (Don Nelson being perhaps the best example) like to be considered innovators, to be different for the sake of being different. Jordan consciously or unconsciously has some sort of mental commitment to smallball as a point of pride or ego. His starting lineup has no justification -- if he had a good 6th man, o.k., then it might work to replace Haywood with that smaller player. But he started Hayes, who has been stinking up the court most of the season. Has Jarvis Hayes played better than Calvin Booth this season? And then Blatche comes in and plays his best stretch of basketball ever. The reward? Being benched until garbage time so that dwarfball could continue.

One more point -- remind me why Grunfeld didn't want to keep Blake.

Posted by: Henry | December 31, 2006 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Your blog is going to fill up more now Ivan with the Skins being done. Some of those dudes are crazy so we'll see. ;)

I'm feeling a little under the weather so I'm just gonna post what I had last night since I can't think of anything else I want to say right now.

Nice to see you back Henry, and as always nice post. My feelings EXACTLY! Injuries or not, this why I didn't think Jordan was done with "smallball."

My post from last night after the loss:

"Check that: Eddie went small with Jarvis at SF and Antawn at C."

And Ivan wins a cookie! ;)

Someone please tell Jordan JAMISON CANNOT PLAY DEFENSE LET ALONE THE 5 SPOT! Good grief, how many times did they go right at him at the end there?

Look I know Haywood is hurt, but for crying out loud he hyped up Lang all preseason and he never plays Booth. Yes, Booth played tonight but there's no reason Lang should be inactive.

It's hard in the NBA on all teams to play back to back nights but it's REALLY hard on the road. The Bucks played last night also mind you.

This goes back to earlier in the season when they were losing, Jordan loves "smallball" and every time they Wiz play with a small line up they lose. This is why I don't like Jordan.

It's rediculous to have Jamison play center when he can't even guard at PF.

Also, Buck said at the beginning of the game Hayes has tendinitis in his knee that he had surgery on. But yet he keeps getting minutes.....big minutes. I honestly don't undertand.

Now you all know why Haywood is so valuable to the Wizards. It's not that he's "all world" but they need him playing if they are going to win anything.

Gilbert with the cold "hibachi" didn't help either, but he get's some slack. :)

Please go vote for all the Wizards for the 2007 NBA All Star game NOW at:

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | December 31, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"One more point -- remind me why Grunfeld didn't want to keep Blake."

Or Dixon for that matter. - Ray

Posted by: Ray | December 31, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I agree with many of Henry's comments regarding Jordan's inexplicable commitment to "smallball". I fail to see how Jarvis Hayes has earned more playing time than Booth or Blatche.

However, in EJ's defense, EJ did start Booth in the 2nd half and the Wizards gave up the lead.

Posted by: nate33 | December 31, 2006 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I didn't get to see the game but from everything I have read/heard it seems Brendan Haywood is a nice fit with the wizards (when properly motivated). I don'why Eddie Jordan didn't play his bigs in the second half. Mostly agree with others and I'm wondering if something happnes in practice, or what is Eddie thinking sometimes.

Posted by: Brandon | December 31, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I made a misktake....

Lang played all of three minutes. Wow, must have missed that. :P

"However, in EJ's defense, EJ did start Booth in the 2nd half and the Wizards gave up the lead."

True, but when the Bucks put the game away Jamison was at center. I don't understand that one at all.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | December 31, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I am sorry to say this but, I I don't like Hayes game. He throws up more bricks than points. I too wonder what was it about Juan that made him so expendable to the Wizards. He had a heart and courage the size of a lion and he could score and incite some positive energy when the starting five were a little lackluster. EJ is going to have to do something to prepare that bench because at this rate, our starters are going to be worn out. Still wondering what is the prognosis on this Sonagalia dude? I mean, is he going to play at all this season?!?

Posted by: WizFanatic | December 31, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Like I mentioned yesterday, EJ needs to play his reserves more particularly in the 2nd game of a back-to-back. If you want to train your reserves, do it early in the season, not late. EJ should play Hayes, Daniels, Taylor, and Blatche heavy minutes in the 2nd game of a back-to-back and insert the starters when needed. Championship teams in the past had played at least 9 to 10 players on a regular basis, but the Wizards and EJ did not seem to think that way (not sure why).

Posted by: TheBigE | December 31, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

LMAO, man, Mike, I was scanning last night's entry waiting for the inevitable "we lost because we didn't have HAYPOWER!!!" post, and it didn't come!

I thought something happened to you for a while there..

Posted by: Gack | December 31, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Letting Juan Dixon go was really heart-breaking for me, I don't think he would have cost us that much and he could definitely contribute more than Jarvis does. Blake fills the same role as AD, and though I love me my Terps, has historically been a little more sloppy with the ball.

Anyway, I'm not THAT concerned about last night's "letdown" game, if you consider what this team has accomplished in the last month, it seems only fair for Gil to be allowed to have an "off" game.

Maybe it's a blessing in disguise since EJ is being forced to see what's on the bench, and it turns out what we have is better than we thought?

Gotta question the person who said Jarvis's game was on last night -- I didn't see the game, only the gamecast and final box, but Jarv's numbers looked BAD and he seemed to be a mad gunner last night. He did get a steal or two IIRC, but otherwise, he really ought to have his green light revoked.

He can't shoot his way out of this funk. He needs to just play D and be a stopper and penetrate, get his looks that way. If anyone actually respected his dribble, he might get a little more spacing and better looks at outside shots anyway.

Posted by: Gack | December 31, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't help but think last night about Jordan's comment that with Thomas, Haywood, Ruffin, Booth and Songalia ahead of him, Ramos was the sixth string center and thus was expendable. He would have been second string last night. I'm not saying that Ramos shouldn't have been cut, but it's pretty amazing that 4 of the top 5 "centers" in Jordan's mind (neither Ruffin or Songalia is a center) were injured last night.

Posted by: Sean | December 31, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

We let Dixon go under the assumption that we were going to keep Hughes. That made some sense in that we already had two ball-dominating shot-happy guards in Arenas and Hughes and didn't really need yet another.

I saw the logic in the Dixon decision, but I never understood why Blake wasn't retained. Word was that he wanted an opportunity to start somewhere, but he ended up in Portland where Telfair and Jack were already ahead of him in the depth chart. Go figure.

Posted by: nate33 | December 31, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The only reason I haven't liked Haywood in the past is because he has acted like Biznitch and didn't play hard. I have no problem with Haywood this year, in fact I find his effort rather endearing.

If you can't see how punking out on an important west coast swing last season was bad, then you can continue on calling out the "Haywood Bashers" like we have some kind of agenda against the wood-man.

Eddie is a good coach, but why Blatche didn't start/play-more last night was mindboggling.

I don't think Dray has just earned the right to jump at tip off, but has earned the right to get burn every night, regardless of who gets healthy in the upcoming weeks.

Jarvis needs to watch how Blatche played on offense the last few games, and do the same thing. He shoots way too quick. He is not Gilbert, and until he finds his Jay, he is now Arvis.

Arvis, pass the ball. Arvis, post up. Arvis, drive to the lane. Arvis you must adhere to the Melo/Karl rule of 10 layups and postups per every 10 jumpshots.

Posted by: Jumpy | December 31, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

As Per Ramos, last I checked we have a pretty good GM, and he makes the personnell decisions.

Ramos is tearing it up again in the D-League, but he has some kind of problem - and that problem is not natural talent. He is very athletic for a big man, let alone a 7 foot 3 big man.

Forget Ramos, he obviously was a bad seed...

Posted by: Jumpy | December 31, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Zonker | December 31, 2006 7:35 PM | Report abuse

That Arvis comment was priceless.

Posted by: JS | January 1, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Ivan gives more love to Haywood in today's paper, propping out the 8-1 record with B-Hay as the starter. Ivan, you da man. Major props for following the comments on the blog!

Posted by: Mike | January 1, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you Zonker-Free Blanche!

His length bothers the inside players and he seems to have a nose for the ball (at least lately). Thank dunk was sweet!

I hope Eddie doesn't do a Jermaine Oneal and have him sit for 2 years. He needs to play to learn. He instantly makes us a taller team. Power Forward seems a better position for him even tough he currently doesn't have the weight needed. Imagine if this guys gets good-he's a match-up nightmare. No one in the East want to see him get any confidence because there's not a player that could match up with him.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 1, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey, just got back in town. Saw the end of the Bucks game and I was excited to see the lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but then they imploded. I figured they would lose anyway. The smallball experiment is horrible. I have really lost respect for a coach (EJ) that tries something and watches it absolutely fail yet keeps deploying that strategy. Blatche sucks on defense, but he too is better than Jamison. Again, Jamison is the WORST defender in the league for someone averaging 35+ minutes a night. Hayes just sucks. He looks like a pro and he looks like he knows the system, but he produces zero results. Why he garners so much PT as mentioned in other blogs makes no sense? Glad to see everyone is on the bench bandwagon!!! I've been on this topic since the season began.

PS I understand why Dixon was let go at the time, but it sure would be nice to have him now. Blake is another story altogether. He simply is not that good. What has he done elsewhere? And his defense makes Arenas look 1st team NBA on D. Ramos was a head case from what I gathered and not a good influence on people like Blatche. In fact, I believe it was Ramos with whom Blatche was out late with the night he got car jacked if I'm not mistaken.

Go Wiz!

Posted by: Rob P | January 2, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

PTP23 said "Power Forward seems a better position for him even though he currently doesn't have the weight needed."

I absolutely agree the 4 is his best spot. And on the weight/strength needed issue, he certainly is an improvement over Jamison at the 4 on the defensive end (footwork, length, and strength). EJ needs to play him more and build up even more confidence so he can contribute like EG views him as part of the new core of our Wizards team. He still needs to concentrate on the big pluses that he brings which is the length, rebounding, jump shot, and basketball IQ instead of trying too hard to emphasize his handles and point forward type skills (there'll be more time for that, once he gets more comfortable playing major minutes ala Diaw last year).

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 2, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I thought Booth played pretty good, he had some nice blocks. Why he didn't start I just don't understand. Jamison and Jarvis at C and PF?? EJ complains about lack of D when the lineups he floors are obviously geared for running and gunning, and not for defense. Smallball seems to be his secret strategy to throw off other teams and confuse them, but he needs to wakeup and stop dreaming! He thinks the Wizards are the Wizards of Oz and he's in munchkin land! He needs to drink some coffee and get off that fantasy!

I really like the way Andray has played, and that's real encouraging. Eddie seems to actually notice, and rewarding his effort and hustle with increasingly more pt, amazing... utterly stunning! The one thing I notice though, was the longer he was out there and his comfort level increased, he began to hang on the perimeter more with his hand in the air, and when he'd get it start with the fancy handling and TOs follow. He has been getting more time because he has been comming in and rebounding hard and playing aggressive inside, and I hope he realizes that and remembers it.

Posted by: Darnell | January 2, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"He needs to drink some coffee and get off that fantasy!"

Lol, Darnell!

You crack me up. :)

Like I said it's time to trade Hayes. But see he has tendinitis now so every game he plays his value goes down. Jordan needs to play other people, but he won't. He plays favorites. I guess he thinks that extension means he has security.

I think EG being in the locker room hyping up Blatche isn't a coinsidence that he's now seeing more playing time.

Please go vote for all the Wizards for the 2007 NBA All Star game NOW at:

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 2, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'd be surprised if any team would be interested in trading for Jarvis, for now he's just player for Eddie to give a few minutes a game, crossing his fingers that maybe he can do a few positive things while he's in there.

Ivan, thanks so much for the article pointing out the Wizards issues with defense. This needs to get more visibility and I think eventually Eddie Jordan needs to be accountable for it.

If a team wants to be a high scoring, potent offense, can't they also be a somewhat respectable defensive team? I'm not expecting league leading defense, but how about just middle of the pack?

Posted by: Wei | January 2, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

As with stocks, you try to buy low and sell high, not the opposite, so trading Hayes now would not be wise. I don't think there is anything wrong with Hayes that a little coaching won't cure. His shot selection this year has been atrocious at times. And it appears that he has not been penalized for it by the coaches -- he takes a horrible shot and in the game he stays.
I think a big part of the problem is that Hayes considers himself a shooter, and thus when he gets in the game he figures that the way he can contribute is to shoot. Long term, I think Hayes will succeed as an all-around player rather than a marksman. He defends well, rebounds really well for someone his size, can obviously shoot, seems to be pretty smart, etc. I think he is really talented and eventually will blossom. I wonder, however, whether he is in the team's long range plans. I also wonder whether part of Hayes's shot selection issues are because he is in a contract year.

Posted by: Henry | January 2, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

the issue with defense is based on our offense. our offense is run and gun. we get down court fast and shoot fast. this allows the opponent to also get the ball back faster and throughout the course of the game take more shots. teams known as defensive teams are those that grind it out, hold the ball and move it around on offense and work the shot clock down. it is very similar to football, teams that are "ball control" offenses keep the ball longer. it keeps their defense off the field, and hence gives the opponents less time and less opportunities to score. who dominates the clock in football often wins. the wizards do not have this outlook. if they didn't shoot so fast, if they moved the ball around and worked the clock, they would get higher percentage shots and be more effecient, and keep the ball out of the opponents hands and lower their attempts. it is a continuous cycle. the wizards are among lowest teams in league in TOs, not because they are great ball handlers etc, but because they shoot so fast and do not move the ball around it limits opportunities for TOs... they just come down and shoot. hence they score more, but also provide the opponent more opportunity to score throughout a game. the offensive style effects the defense.

the other area to observe is the wizards are a poor rebounding team. so the opponents again get more shot attempts and more opportunities to score. where the wizards need to focus their attention as far as their defense is control of the clock (time of possessions) and number of possesions.

the other area is the pf position. because they don't have anyone defending the traditional pf position, they surrender high percentage shots to the opposition (open shots from 5-10 feet out). they have improved defending the paint and not surrendering the layups so easily, but they still get killed from close range and opponents pf (ex. gerald wallace).

eddie jordan thought process: "hmm haywood can't go tonight. let's see, who should i replace him with... how about jarvis hayes, he's been playing well. that will be a good lineup, jarvis hayes. antawn can play center."

we should trade etan and hayes for troy murphy. btw does anyone know why mason doesn't play more?

Posted by: poptart | January 2, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards run and there are more possessions, resulting in higher scoring for both teams, HOWEVER the Wizards also rank near the bottom in opponent FG%. This is the true measure of how good a team is at playing defense.

Opponent FG% is the one stat you need to follow to see if Eddie Jordan will be in the long term plans for the Wizards, his most recent contract extension not withstanding.

It is the one stat to follow if you want to know if the Wizards will make any noise in the playoffs, let alone make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.

And pardon me, but who said Jarvis was a good defender? I like his size and agree he can rebound, but I've noticed he has a difficult time keeping his man in front of him and preventing drives to the basket, resulting in big defensive breakdowns, and he also struck me as being a slow close out defender when rotatating on defense, giving up alot of uncontested jump shots when rotating. For a swingman, he's got poor lateral speed (you won't ever see him draw a charge) and "get up and go" speed.

Posted by: Wei | January 2, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

i agree with you about jarvis hayes, he does not have quickness.

i agree also about the opponents fg%. as i explained the main reason for surrendering a high fg% to opponents is jamison. basically we play with no pf, we play with 2 sf, hence we give up high percentage open shots from close range.

Posted by: poptart | January 2, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

the washington times reports agent zero injured his shoulder in the first quarter of the milwaukee game...GA say its 75% he will play

Posted by: Anonymous | January 2, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Eddie Jordan was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month. I guess not too many posters here get a vote.
I've heard of Coach of the Year, but never coach of the month. Is this a new thing, or have I just been tuning this out whenever it is announced? And how does a coach have a good month? Ties match his suits? No technicals? Doesn't go smallball -- oops, apparently that is not a factor.

Posted by: Sean | January 2, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"I also wonder whether part of Hayes's shot selection issues are because he is in a contract year."

His mechanics are way off Henry, I'm sure part of it is his tendinitis. Maybe he wants to play elsewhere, who knows. But to me Jordan isn't much of a "coach" in the traditional sense. To me a coach is a "teacher" and that's not Jordan.

What kills me is Caron makes a couple mistakes and gets benched. Hayes throws up bricks and airballs and gets more playing time. Crazy.

"I guess not too many posters here get a vote."

You could be coach of the month if you had Gilbert as your player Sean. ;) ;)

I agree with poptart on the Jamison defense thing, but again it's hard to take 20/10 out of your lineup. It kills me he played center against the Bucks, utterly kills me.

Sorry to be so negative everyone, I'm just not a Eddie Jordan fan.

Please go vote for all the Wizards for the 2007 NBA All Star game NOW at:

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 2, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Sorry again everyone. I just turned 37 yesterday so I'm a little more cranky then usual. ;)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 2, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Poptart, you lost me there with some of your analysis. This team would be absolutely horrible it did not play the way it does on offense. Actually, as opposed to "ball control" in football where you can wear down your opponent, playing slower in basketball lets your opponent rest to play better defense against us. The teams that have less scoring talent always want to slow the game down and make the game "ugly". Also, we have less turnovers bc we have good ballhandlers. The only starting player that can't handle the ball is Haywood and he obviously is the center. On some teams the point guard can't even handle the ball efficiently. As somebody pointed out, we just need to be average on defense to make real noise in the playoffs. Nothing spectacular! Stay in front of your man Arenas, Hayes, Jamison or at least try!!! Butler and Stevenson are the only players that seem to try this concept. The other three players I mentioned won't even force a player in one direction. It's the offensive players choice every time, which will always break down a defense.

Hayes, I feel sorry for him. He seems like a good guy. His shot is beautiful looking. His athleticism is still enticing. Yet, no results. Zero. Bad shooting, defense, decent rebounding I guess for his position, but nothing else.
In four years he has not improved at all and his shot has digressed. Not sure how hard he really works on his game. Why is his ballhandling still below average? He is only 6'7". He should be able to do something with the ball in his hands by now.

Go EJ! Not sure you really deserve it, but you got it anyway. Coincidence Arenas gets player of the month at the same time?
NOT!!!! Stop playing small ball, develop/work the bench, and stop acting like there is a decision to be made when Haywood and Etan are healthy, and then you'll be my coach of the year.

Posted by: Rob P | January 2, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Just in a gripe mode I guess. Another reason EJ is not a great coach besides the fact he gets out coached by every above average coach in the league, he won't double team or hold someone accountable for a hot player on the other team. How many times has an average NBA player gotten hot from three point range this year and that player still gets all the wide open threes he wants? EJ, stick someone on him and tell him if he gets a wide open three your coming out of the game, period. It never happens!!!!! If your there and the guy still makes a three then oh well we/I can live with that. Good offense will always beat good defense ala Arenas. Also, I am pretty sure I heard we are the worst three point defending team in the league during a recent game and that combined with the overall worst FG% leaves me to wonder what do we take away as a team on defense. Answer - absolutely nothing! Biggest reason - coaching! Hell, play a compact zone and let the opponent get all the outside shots it can make (they do anyway), but keep them out of the paint. If they miss, you should get the rebound and you can "breakout" of the pack full speed ahead on the fast break. At least that takes/should take the dribble penetration away and covers up for Jamison's lack of post defense.

Posted by: Rob P | January 2, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Man plenty of haters here.
I think where they are is a stage of their development. I definitely agree that they should not play 'ball control' UNLESS, they are out to a 20 point lead.

This team is about speed and scoring, amen.
I'm glad for it too, cause poke dokey defensive rileyesque teams are often crappy especially when the personel doen't fit into that scheme. I mean there is nothing worse than watching a poorly implemented offense struggle to score 80 points. yaaaay!

You all can coach your teams how you want, but I think that the way this team plays puts a lot of pressure on the opponents. The offense seems to have clicked this year. In the next couple years I think the big picture is going to shake out as we see blatche and the europeans develop. You can't go from one of the suckiest teams of the century to dynasty overnight, and I for one am happy with how this team is making strides.

Some people like to worrrrrry about haywoods but I just don't think he has proven he is worth this much consideration yet. He is still a blip.

BTW, if you want to read really funny posts, check out sportsline, and there are some lakers fans trying to make the case that caron for kwame worked out best for them... doesnt smell like chicken salad to me.

Posted by: greg | January 2, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

"Man plenty of haters here."

Lol, it's not that at all greg. :)

We talk more about their weaknesses then anything else, we just want them to win consistently.

They've been bad for so long, you know? ;) ;)

December was a darn good month for a Wizards fan, hopefully January will be also. :)

And they'll get some healthy bodies back.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 2, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

anybody has a pass for Gil birthday bash this Friday at Love/Dream please help a brotha...

Posted by: Fred | January 2, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me...did I wander onto the Redskins blog by mistake? The negativity indicates as much.

My take: We have one winning franchise in this city and right now we are WINNING. Please save the negativity for when we start losing again. As for Eddie Jordan, he has taken a once lifeless franchise to the playoffs for 2 years straight....nuff said.

Posted by: Lisa | January 2, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I love the Wizards/Bullets and have been a fan all of my life. I've seen and rooted for some really bad teams here in DC.

This team has things it's needs to improve on. Take the title of this blog(and Ivan's column today)for example, it pretty much says it all. If the Wiz are going to go anywhere they are going to have to play good defense.

If nothing else this team has a lot of heart, but saying that Gilbert is going to have to average well over 40 points a game to go anywhere and that isn't going to happen.

I'm glad they are winning now, and yes this season is a stepping stone to where they need to be, but they aren't going to win a championship with an "all offense" mentality.

I've seen some really great "offensive only" teams in my life time and none of them have won a title. Not one.

The 90's Bulls had arguably the best player in the history of sports, but they played great defense also.

(Kind of ironic they had to fire Doug Collins before that happend)

The Lakers, Celtics, and Pistons of the 80's all played great defense.

San Antonio....great defense. They were talking "dynasty" just two years ago with the team they have.

It's great the Wiz are playing well right now and they definately have "good guys" to root on. I enjoy watching them. But this team isn't going to win a championship until they start playing defense.

Gilbert is amazing, my favorite player. But he needs to set the tone defensively. He's going to get his points, he's too good not too.

Look at the Dallas Mavericks. They practically changed their entire team minus Dirk. Why? Because they realized they couldn't win anything with just offense. They might actually win it all this year.

I'm hard on them as a fan because I want them to win a championship, not just make the playoffs. They need to play better defense.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 2, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

All great team sport champions usually have a great or a least good defense to make a run with.

Posted by: Victor | January 2, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Ray, nice points. I am by no means a hater of this team. I love this team! They are great to watch. I have been watching basketball for over 30 years and this team has always sucked. I've seen the Beef Brothers, John "Hot Plate" Williams, Bernard King, Jeff (the nice shooting guard we had, can't think of his last name), anyway it was all mediocre or worse. Then you had Webber, Howard, and Strickland who were a flash in the pan and really not great guys to root for. Again, I really like this team and the players as people. But, I don't want another flash in the pan and making the playoffs and getting kicked out of the first round is not the goal in any sport. I live in Minneapolis now and I think the people here will attest to that as will Kevin Garnett. I want a championship team and there are constuctively critical points made here that are intended for that purpose. By comparison, I stopped being critical of the Skins bc I don't care anymore. Snyder has ruined my favorite sports franchise with the Wiz being a very close second.

Btw, unfortunately Milwaukee will win tonight if Arena's shoulder affects his game. Otherwise, they don't stand a chance!!!

Posted by: Rob P | January 3, 2007 1:37 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to be a hater or anything, but I really don't think EJ deserves this honour. He plays the starters for most of the game and they deserve all the credit. He subs and benches with no rhyme or reason. And Ivan, I think Mason asked you not too long ago why he don't get any PT...well we also want to know...can u investigate?

Congrats to Gilbert, he deserves this honour.

Posted by: WizKid | January 3, 2007 1:51 AM | Report abuse

"By comparison, I stopped being critical of the Skins bc I don't care anymore. Snyder has ruined my favorite sports franchise with the Wiz being a very close second."

Yeah, me too Rob. And I know a lot of people who feel exactly the same way.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | January 3, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

in the princeton offense you are supposed to move the ball. i'm not talking about grind it out rileyball. i'm just saying work the offense, move the ball, get everyone involved. when you do that, you get better shots, higher percentage shots, and you make the defense work harder. you can still score just as much. higher percentage means you make more shots with fewer attempts. you give away less rebounds to the opponent, because you don't miss as many shots. when you just come down and shoot quickly, the defense doesn't have to work, you miss more shots, and give their team more opportunities to score, you give up more points. it's common sense.

when you take a low% shot and miss, it has the same effect as a turn over. if you work the offense, and move the ball, you end up with higher% shots, like layups and dunks. why come down and take a 3 pointer 5 feet behind the line immediately? that shot is always there, it is always available. you move the ball and try to get an "easy" shot, like a layup or dunk. if you can't get that and the shot clock is getting down to 8 seconds, then you kick it out and take the long range shot. even then, at least you make the defense work. the more you move the ball, the more the defense has to move. the more the defense has to move, the more likely it is they won't be able to move to where they need to in time, and you get a wide open shot as a result. the result of that is fewer "missed" shots. which means the other team get the ball less, which means they get fewer shots, which means they score less, which means your defense is better.

the other thing is when you come down and just immediately shoot, your rebounders don't have the opportunity to box out for position to get the rebound. it is one reason why we bad at offensive rebounds. if you work the offense, your rebounders get position and get more offensive boards. again this leads to more possessions for you, and fewer possessions for the opponents. fewer possessions for the opponent means fewer scoring opportunities, means fewer points allowed, means better defense.

take higher % shots = miss fewer shots
miss fewer shots = fewer possessions for opponent
higher % shots = more offensive boards
more offensive boards = fewer possessions for opponent
fewer possessions for opponent = fewer scoring opportunities for opponent
fewer scoring opportunities for opponent = lower score for opponent
lower score for opponent = improved defense
take higher % shots = more time of possession
more time of possession = less time of possession for opponent
less time of possession for opponent = fewer scoring opportunities for opponent
fewer scoring opportunities for opponent = lower score for opponent
lower score for opponent = improved defense

Posted by: poptart | January 3, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Rob P, the guy you're thinking of is Jeff Malone. I used to love watching Lez Bullez back in those days, because those guys were the epitome of blue collar heroes -- those guys would kill themselves every night and usually just fall short.

Malone was master of off-balance runners while falling out of bounds, tripping over cameramen and the like.

Good times...

Posted by: Gack | January 3, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Rob P, the guy you're thinking of is Jeff Malone. I used to love watching Lez Bullez back in those days, because those guys were the epitome of blue collar heroes -- those guys would kill themselves every night and usually just fall short.

Malone was master of off-balance runners while falling out of bounds, tripping over cameramen and the like.

Good times...

Posted by: Gack | January 3, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Rob P, the guy you're thinking of is Jeff Malone. I used to love watching Lez Bullez back in those days, because those guys were the epitome of blue collar heroes -- those guys would kill themselves every night and usually just fall short.

Malone was master of off-balance runners while falling out of bounds, tripping over cameramen and the like.

Good times...

Posted by: Gack | January 3, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, network problems, apologies for the triple post...

Posted by: Gack | January 3, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

poptart, great analysis. Unfortunately, the Wiz players sometimes forget to do those things & rely much more on their 1 on 1 abilities leading to messy scoring by the other team.

btw, but does any1 else think Donell taylor is a senseless gunner (on a team of gunners) & should be waived?

Posted by: victor | January 3, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

victor, thanks. and yes i agree about taylor. he has no pg skills, and is one of the worst players in the league imo. i'm still mad we kept him over gerald fitch, and this year kept him over hall. he is terrible. good athlete, not a good basketball player.

Posted by: poptart | January 3, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Gack, at the hoop on my neighbor's driveway I used to do 2 things:

1) Sprint down to the '3 point line' jump as high as I could and bend my knees in the air and shoot 3s like Michael Adams.

2) I would run around imaginary screens and shoot fadeaway jumpers like Jeff Malone.

Posted by: Bernard King | January 3, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Have any of you been reading Etan's columns at Slam?

Posted by: Henry | January 3, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse


Most everything you said on your analysis is true except this team is led by Gil. And if you've watched him very carefully through the years, Gil tends to be a better player running and gunning as opposed to slowing it down and moving the ball around a lot. He's very much a rhythm player. He's at his best finding his rhythm running and gunning on the fastbreaks and pulling up early on the shot clock. It's certainly not the conventional way to play, but it works really well for him now...

As he gets better, matures even further, he'll learn the subleties on how to play under control more and run only when he sees the opportunity. He'll soon develop a better halfcourt game where he can get his rhythm relatively quickly as opposed to now. The problem w/ most players like that is, by the time they realize and mature - they've lost that athletic edge that's made them so dangerous in the first place.

So the point is to reach that level of understanding and maturity early on so that you can take advantage of both facilities. I think Gil is on that accelerated pace, it should be fun to watch as he grows more and more right in front of our very eyes.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | January 3, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

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