All's quiet as the trade deadline nears


Everything I'm hearing - both on and off the record - leads me to believe that the Wizards will look exactly the same when the trade deadline comes and goes tomorrow at 3 p.m. Ernie Grunfeld likes his team, Eddie Jordan said today: "Let's give it shot" and the players all seem to be hyped about this team's chances of making a serious run at the 50-win mark.

Ernie has spoken with several GMs and there's not doubt that teams asked about Brendan and Etan given their ongoing problems but trading either player makes little sense. Brendan is a 26-year old 7-footer who makes a reasonable salary, cares about his performance and doesn't get arrested in his free time. Read that sentence again. How rare is that combination? Etan is all but immovable. His contract is huge, he has a nasty trade kicker that makes it even more tough to move him and he's missed a ton of games the last three seasons with injuries. I've written this before but here it is again: unless Kevin McHale loses his mind (and that's totally possible) and offers KG to the Wiz for just about anything that doesn't include Gilbert, Caron or Blatche, then you may have something. But that ain't happening so these are your Wizards.

Here's the key: for the first time since camp opened in October, Jordan and Grunfeld are getting a chance to look at the team the way it was intended to be. Darius Songaila is slowly getting his legs back, Michael Ruffin is available again, Brendan and Etan can trade minutes at center, Andray Blatche is figuring out how to play NBA ball and once Antawn gets back, Eddie will have all of his pieces for the first time all season. It will be very interesting to see what kind of rotation Eddie goes with over the course of the next 31 games. Think about his options: he can play the 6-11 Blatche at either the 3 or 4, Songaila can play the 4 or 5 and getting everyone back puts Jarvis where he should be: at the 2.

By the way, how good was Blatche against Kevin Garnett last night? I've seen the future and he wears a headband and No. 32 for the Wizards. His post defense is better than expected and so far, he's been a rebounding machine. The kid has three games with at least 10 boards this season and he's pulling down 15.7 boards per 48 minutes. Also, with the natural ballhandling and passing skills he's shown, Blatche has the potential to be an old-school, coast-to-coast guy. Remember those? The type of player who could snatch a defensive board, wave the fellas forward and lead the attack himself. There aren't many of those around anymore. And the kid is only 20.

Not sure whether you picked up on the trash KG was throwing the kid's way but the old man was trying to put the kid in his place. It was only a few possessions in when KG scored before turning and yelled "Now I'm going to bust your (butt)" Blatche, who grew up idolizing Garnett, admitted that he was a little intimidated but it didn't show and that's yet another sign that the Wiz may have something special.

Again, remember Ernie's future vision: The 6-11 Blatche swinging between two or three spots and the 7-foot Oleksiy Pecherov (he's also 20 years old) playing just about anywhere. By the time Blatche and Pesh (as Blatche calls Pecherov after summe league) get rolling, Gilbert and Caron will be well established in their primes and Ernie can then go fill out the rest of the roster with pieces that fit around that core group. As a Wiz fan, you have to like where this franchise is headed.


By Ivan Carter |  February 21, 2007; 5:55 PM ET
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Comments

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No matter how reasonable your comments are, somebody is going to post a comment about a great trade idea.

Posted by: juandixonformvp | February 21, 2007 6:26 PM

"Blatche Is Getting Better by the Minute."'

I think I should write for the Post. ;)

"His contract is huge, he has a nasty trade kicker that makes it even more tough to move him and he's missed a ton of games the last three seasons with injuries."

The Wiz should have never matched that offer. Never. I'm SOOO glad they didn't with Jeffries either. Hopefully Etan will do something in the offseason so the Wiz can move him, albeit if he wants to go.

"By the way, how good was Blatche against Kevin Garnett last night?"

VERY good Ivan! But again, is KG playing as hard as he can right now? Also, what happens to Blatche when Jamison comes back?

"As a Wiz fan, you have to like where this franchise is headed."

Like I said in the last blog, I want them to win this year but NEXT year is going to be VERY exciting!

I think Jamison's player option is going to play a part in everything however. We'll see, maybe he'll sign a long term deal friendly to the cap to stay longer.

I'm going on record now, either Etan or Haywood will not be here next year. I fear it will be Haywood.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | February 21, 2007 6:42 PM

Ivan, can you talk about Stevenson's chance of re-signing with Wiz next season (with a much more reasonable contract, of course). I honestly wonder what will Wiz do with Hayes. He is my man in 2k7 and live, but video games only.

Posted by: JB | February 21, 2007 7:14 PM

"I'm going on record now, either Etan or Haywood will not be here next year. I fear it will be Haywood."

Brendan is more versatile and taller than Etan, but he may also be much more prone to be very unhappy as his minutes, and starting role, slip to Blatche/Pech. Etan seems more likely to accept his role. So, moving Brendan may be the better move in the long term.

Ivan or Michael, why don't you schedule a junket to Barcelona and write us a report on JC? Could he fill the role the Wiz desperately need - a consistent long-range shooter? When does his contract with FCB expire? How long do the Wiz have rights to him? Is the $10M buyout a poison pill even if he's the last piece in the puzzle, like Bobby D was back in the day?

Posted by: reispace | February 21, 2007 7:31 PM

I don't know how many times I've written this here before, (or maybe I wrote it on the DC Sports bog), but EJ is going to discover that this kid Blatche is going to be a monster. It's a shame that it took AJ's getting hurt for EJ to give Blatche some significant playing time. And now that the kid is playing on a regular basis, he's producing. Again, as I've said before, let the kid play through his mistakes; the Wizards will benefit as a result. Now, just imagine how good the Wiz will be when AJ comes back and is relieved by a confident Blatche. To the extent that AJ's getting hurt forced EJ's hand with regard to playing Blatche, the injury was a good thing. I see a bright future for our Wiz, so long as we don't sustain any more significant injuries.

Posted by: melwdc | February 21, 2007 7:51 PM

Yes, let's trade the better player, because keeping everyone with smiles on their faces is what's important.
Look, whether Haywood starts years from now or not is not important. What is important is that if the team is serious about contending, it is always going to need a big guy like Haywood to go against the big guys in the league like Yao, Oden, Shaq, Bynum, Howard, etc. If you don't have a top of the line center, then it's great to have a Haywood, perhaps on the bench in a few years, ready to be dusted off and sent onto the court to battle the giants. Haywood's got a manageable contract, so he can fill that role long term if he's not the #1 guy. I'm sure Grunfeld knows this and that 7 foot, 260 lb. guys who can defend don't grow on trees. I would be shocked if Grunfeld traded one of his centers (and especially Haywood) just because they didn't get along.

Posted by: Joe | February 21, 2007 8:10 PM

I've said it before: Ernie Grunfeld IS the MVP of this team. I see this same future, Ivan. Just wish EJ would've given Blatche more minutes earlier in the season. Said it back then as well. Looks like the injury is going to help this team!

One quick note: If I were the coach, Mason would be the two guard ahead of Hayes in the rotation when AJ returns. He plays better defense and shoots better particularly at the 2 position. Don't know what Hayes has done to deserve such loyalty. The eyes don't lie!!!!

Posted by: Rob P | February 21, 2007 9:06 PM

If Blatche was in this year's NBA draft where would he be picked? Top 10? Top 20? I have a hard time seeing him falling to the second round again.

Defensively, Blatche outperformed Songaila last night--especially in defending KG. KG was able to elevate over Songaila, but you could tell that Blatche got into KG's head. The Blatche backboard slam and foul on KG was a great "statement" move: "I'm here and you're gonna have to earn those shots". KG made those shots--that's why he's an All Star. Still I like Blatche's aggressiveness and smart play. You get the sense that he's really picking up the pro game.

Offensively Blatche gives you the put backs. He's got some range too. Songaila is still working on his jumpers, but he was making some great reads on his passes. Hopefully, EJ continues to give Blatche 15+ minutes even when Jamison gets back, because AB can contribute now.

Rob P, agreed on the 2. Hayes put in some good minutes last night, but, especially from long range I like Mason more. He's got ice-water in his veins; no fear as a shooter.

As far as Haywood goes, unless he does something real boneheaded, he isn't going anywhere this year or next.

Posted by: JP2 | February 21, 2007 9:46 PM

Haywood is 7ft, big deal. He is a big baby who's only post up move is a two handed dunk when he's open. George Muresan had better hands. I've seen guys wearing boxing gloves that can catch the ball better than Haywood.

Etan is a bull with strong hands and has some dribble post up moves.

Get rid of Haywood.

Blatche is going to be special. Very poised for a 20 yr old. If Kwame Brown looked like him at 20 we would have been happy for taking him #1 overall.

Songolia is solid, great passer and is scrappy.

Hayes is going to be the odd man out when Jamison comes back, so get rid of him too.

Package Hayes and Haywood for Juan Dixon, Steve Blake, and Chris Wilcox.

Go Terps!

Posted by: Justin D | February 21, 2007 9:55 PM

Hey Ivan, I have a question for you. Do you think Dray would be getting this chance if Jordan's hand wasn't forced? You mentioned that the future includes Blatche and Pesh, but what about players like James Lang? Or better yet, what about P.J. Ramos? That guy was 7'3 and was about 300 lbs. He was here for 3 years and never saw the light of day. You cover the team, so you tell me. Why didn't Eddie give Ramos a chance? And why doesn't he give Lang and Mason a chance? I know its too late in th season to be experimenting, but there are times (few and far between with this squad) when the game is long decided and Lang, Taylor, and Mason didn't even take their warm ups off? If Ernie saw potential in these guys to sign them, how does he feel when Eddie won't give them a chance?

Posted by: C.Bell | February 21, 2007 9:59 PM

As much as I like the complimentary centers, it's no good if we get smaller & get less playing time from Etan by trading BHay.

There is a certain @#$^ who has bagged on AB. Every game AB gets better, that @(&# doesn't come here to defend statement.

If AB is going to be @ worse a Robert Horry type player for us, then I would take it.

Posted by: Victor | February 21, 2007 11:10 PM

As much as I like the complimentary centers, it's no good if we get smaller & get less playing time from Etan by trading BHay.

There is a certain @#$^ who has bagged on AB. Every game AB gets better, that @(&# doesn't come here to defend his statement.

If AB is going to be @ worse a Robert Horry type player for us, then I would take it.

Posted by: Victor | February 21, 2007 11:11 PM

With all due respect, Ivan, Jarvis's natural position is on the bench.

Posted by: Colin | February 21, 2007 11:25 PM

"With all due respect, Ivan, Jarvis's natural position is on the bench."

Lol, or not on the team at all. You know Jarvis is going to be a Wizard next year because of one man: Eddie Jordan.

Lots of expiring contracts on the bench right now. The only hope is that someone takes a chance on Jarvis and gives him a good deal so the Wiz won't be able to resign him.

Oh by the way, D-Wade just went down with a bad left shoulder and they took him to a hospital. Looked pretty serious, we'll see. Makes me wonder if Pat Riley will jump ship...errr...take another leave of absense. ;)

Great for the Wiz on the 28th!

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | February 21, 2007 11:43 PM

Ray, I was just wondering the same thing about Riley :-)

Posted by: Lisa | February 22, 2007 12:26 AM

Somehow I am not surprised that the Blatche haters didn't show after his performance against the player to whom Blatche compares with. How about a little credit from all of you out there. The Wizards can be a legit 9-deep team when Jamison comes back. Hayes should only play in garbage time at this point.

Posted by: George Templeton | February 22, 2007 1:23 AM

Do you think EJ will go back to small ball once we get AJ back?

I mean he's got a 11 man rotation if he includes Booth & Ruffin consistently.

6'9" 6'10" 6'11" guys thumping & bumping @ the East's big guys like Bosh, Gooden, Webber, the O'Neals.

C'mon EJ: 11 men!!

Posted by: Victor | February 22, 2007 1:58 AM

What do we do with Jarvis?

I know his knees are an issue...but I don't know if he has the necessary stroke to be our designated bomber.

We already shoot the 3 fairly well as a team, especially with Antawn spreading the floor.

I'd like to get a bona-fide 6'8 shooter, and spend some of that money on Deshawn. I like our guard rotation with Gil, Deshawn, and Antonio for 4 more years though:(

Antawn expires after next year, and we can't keep him on at 12MM, especially when we need to extend Gil at max...and probably Caron too.

I'd love to see deals made now involving Etan and Jarvis. I have coveted Jamal Magloire to play some playoff PF for us for two years now...I wanted to deal for him when he was on the outs in Milwaulkee

Hopefully, Ernie can go get us that ace shooter or banger PF-C to help us in the playoffs...

Posted by: CHuCK | February 22, 2007 2:52 AM

Jarvis could provide a much needed spark off the Dakota Wizards bench... if they would give him the chance. I wouldnt.

Posted by: ¡Reggie Evans! | February 22, 2007 6:47 AM

If I were EJ, I'd consider bringing AJ off the bench and keep Blatche in the starting rotation.

* If AB is part of the future, he's going to need this experience, and it will come handy if AJ is not re-signed.

* AJ can provide 2nd team scoring punch, where it's lacking now. I think when AJ started with Les Boules, he came off the bench also. Didn't like it, but did it b/c he's a professional. Ginobli does the same thing, as Dupree mentioned in last week's FCP.

* If AB starts, there's less pressure for him to score b/c you have Gilby and Caron as your primary weapons. If AB comes off the bench, there's more pressure.

* The only tough thing is AB is very wiry, and although AJ was no defense ace, AB is going to be playing against the top 4's in the league, but again, he can focus on D first, as he wouldn't be their primary scorer.

* Funny idea, but if we need some consistent 3 point scoring, maybe we should have cut Roger Mason Jr. (career 31%) and signed the old guy Chris Whitney instead. CWhit was the top Les Boules 3 point shooter until Gilby broke his record.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 22, 2007 6:51 AM

Andray has what you can't teach, which is basketball instincts. Compare him to Kwame, a decent kid with physical ability without any basketball instincts. Amazing how current management picked up Andray in the late second round while prior management took Kwame first overall.

DSong is great to watch, fits in very well with the Wizards' system, unlike with Chicago where everything was based on Hinrich driving and kicking out for jumpers.

Regarding Brendan and Etan, I was impressed with Yao's words a while back about how tough they both are to play against. You don't get rid of a tough, experienced big if you can help it.

Those who say Mike Ruffin shouldn't be in the rotation don't understand how important the intangibles can be at key points in a game.

Jarvis looks to me like he's off-balance when he's taking his jumper. He catches, takes a big bounce and shoots. Obviously I'm no expert, but I think he needs to get set a little more before he puts up the shot. If he doesn't get his shot straightened out, he risks becoming another Courtney Alexander, a "shooter" who can't make many shots.

Posted by: Mitch | February 22, 2007 7:43 AM

If Blatch and Songalia continue to earn more minutes at the 4 it gives EJ the flexibilty to begin to give AJ minutes at the 3 when he gets back. That could help spell Caron a little, I think he may be getting a little gassed at times. And it would give the Wiz the flexibility to play Butler at the two against certain teams.
That would give the Wiz 3 big strong bodies to use at the 2 to body up on Wade. A rotation of Haywood, Etan, Booth at 5.
AJ, Blatch and Songalia at the 4. Butler, Jarvis and AJ at the 3. Stevenson, Butler and Jarvis at the 2. And Gilbert and Daniels at point. Against Miami dress Ruffin for 6 extra fouls on the big guy. Against other playoff teams who you dress as the 12th man would vary. But at least the Wiz are looking like this team could go deep into the bench. Of course EJ will still pair Gil and Daniels and go to all of his small ball lineups that make all games tight.
Jamison at the 3 with Blatch and Haywood could make the Wiz very long up front and could create some advantage on the boards as well. Eddie will have some interesting tinkering to do as we go down the stretch.
D Wade really looked to be in pain last night. Heard this morning it's a dislocated shoulder. Remembering what we went through here with C. Webb that could be a big blow to the Heat. I bet Riley's hip just started to really hurt again!
All the discussion on this site about Gil and how good or bad he is and the trade deadline today leads me to this thought. Who in the league would you trade one on one for Gil to IMPROVE the Wizards? Remember salaries have to match. For help on that one go to espn.com NBA Basketball page look for the Trade Machine.
Check it out just for fun, I'd be interested in what trades guys(and girls, Lisa) can come up with.

Posted by: GM | February 22, 2007 8:01 AM

I think people should ease up on Jarvis a bit. He was a productive player until his injury spell. From what I could recall, he probably had the best hops on this team and used to finish strong until his injuries. This season is probably a wash for him...just trying to get some minutes and build his confidence for next season.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 22, 2007 8:20 AM

Two guys that I would take for Arenas would be Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Don't know if the #'s would work, but I'd imagine they make less than Gilby, so Les Boules would get another body out of the trade. These guys are pure point guards, and can score and run a team. Jarrett Jack is a nice player also, but is moreso like Arenas.

Also, I probably wouldn't make this trade b/c of his age, but I like Sam Cassell. That guy is a winner, and has won everywhere he's been, while making his teammates better. He's probably better suited for a contender rather than just a playoff team.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 22, 2007 8:46 AM

Two trades that work for Gilby numbers wise (via ESPN Trade Machine):

* Chris Paul & Tyson Chandler (NO/OK)

* Deron Williams & Mehmet Okur (Utah)

With both trades, we can not only get rid of Arenas, but also the two babies (Etan & Brendan). Giving up small for both big and small in return. Of course, both NO and Utah would be insane to go for it.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 22, 2007 8:56 AM

Two trades that work for Gilby numbers wise (via ESPN Trade Machine):

* Chris Paul & Tyson Chandler (NO/OK)

* Deron Williams & Mehmet Okur (Utah)

With both trades, we can not only get rid of Arenas, but also the two babies (Etan & Brendan) since we won't need them anymore by getting a big man. Giving up small for both big and small in return. Of course, both NO and Utah would be insane to go for it.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 22, 2007 8:57 AM

This is absurd! STOP TALKING ABOUT TRADING GILBERT.
Thank you - carry on.

Posted by: disco steve colter | February 22, 2007 9:32 AM

This is absurd! STOP TALKING ABOUT TRADING GILBERT.
Thank you - carry on.

Posted by: disco steve colter | February 22, 2007 9:33 AM

This is absurd! STOP TALKING ABOUT TRADING GILBERT.
It will not happen, and will not improve the team. This issue is a waste of space.
Thank you - carry on.

Posted by: disco steve colter | February 22, 2007 9:35 AM

Mitch, I couldn't agree more on your post above.

GM, I like your thinking on how to play w/ the Wiz's personnel. Too bad EJ probably doesn't, at least he has shown it YET. Many of us would be so much happier if he did.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 22, 2007 9:37 AM

Some thoughts:

Hard to believe I am saying this, but we will have a crunch at the 4 & 5 spots, made particularly problematic by the fact that none of our bigs can really play at the 3 spot, as they are too slow: Songalia, Jamison, Haywood, Etan, Ruffin, Blatche. You could get by with Jamison since his D is problematic whereever he plays and he will keep up with the opposing 3 on points, and Blatche may soon be quick enough, but probably isn't at this point. Our only real 3 is Caron - fortunately he is our second best player (first, if you consider consistency), so don't need a lot of minutes there to cover him, but still. . .especially odd since the 2 and 3 spots are the easiest to come by in terms of acceptable quality players in the NBA. Again, perhaps a trade for a 3 on someone's bench who can slash. . .

Ernie is smart - he has lined up a future team that is set everywhere but at the 2. Of all the positions that are easiest to fill in a given year it is the 2 spot - kind of like running back in the NFL

I was at the Minnesota game. The Blatche/KG thing was fascinating. Blatche forced KG into a number of turnovers (refs were calling traveling like crazy in the first half). Of more interest to me was the fact that they weren't calling that many fouls on Blatche. Usually, a second year play v a Hall of Famer results in 5 fouls on the second year in 7 minutes due to the combination of the refs' "superstar preference" AND "rookie/2nd year never let the whistle leave your mouth" rules. If Blatche is getting the treatment that a six year vet gets from the refs, this makes a HUGE difference - confidence, effectiveness leading to PT, PT leading to development. . .let's hope it continues. Blatche is also husting hard - on one play he grabbed the D rebound, outletted, and was first guy down the court and under the basket. That will weat the opposing team out.

Some folks seem to be a little down on Songalia. I think folks' expectations were a bit high on this blog for his play coming in. One of the things that I like about going to a game rather than watching it on TV is that you can watch a player as opposed to watching the ball much more easily. I did this with Songalia a few times. Here is what I saw - his jumper is off, but he is getting into open positions; he isn't quick to rebounds and looks awkward bending to get them sometimes (I can see why he hurt his back given the gymnastics), but again his position is good; he passes very very well (there was a beautiful backdoor to Stevenson at one point); and most importantly, he hustles - he runs back on D, he switches well, and he ALWAYS has his hands up in the air. He isn't great one on one (and not fair to think he can cover KG), but team defense wise he ups the energy a lot. I think his 15 min a game is a big part of the better defense we are seeing right now, and it is mostly because of effort, not skill. Hopefully some other players will pick up on that mojo.

As Ivan points out in the article today, Gil's shot is off. This was bound to happen. I for one know that this is inevitable for a set of games at least twice in the season. Let Gil work it off; let the timing happen so that he is hot as we close the season and go into the playoffs.

Wade is one of the classiest guys in the league, and so fierce. Sorry to see him get hurt, but as a Wiz fan, not too unhappy as long as it doesn't effect his career. 10% of our last 31 games are against the Heat which was annoying me since they were hurt the first half of the season, but now that doesn't look so bad.

Speaking of the last 31 games, we don't have to play Detroit again, and have only one trip out west. The western trip is about as civilized as those trips get, with Utah the only one where the Wiz will be more than a 5 point underdog.

Things are lining up. 50 is aggressive and things will have to break right, but it is possible. We need to to get the first seed. I'm calling 47 on the season. Second seed. First round, Queen LaTravel (great name!), Sideshow Bob, and the man who wishes he was still a Wizard will be coming to the phone booth in the first round.

Posted by: charles jones | February 22, 2007 9:41 AM

~hasn't shown it YET ~ is what I meant, sorry.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 22, 2007 9:46 AM

Charles Jones, Good points about Songalia, I agree the two of the biggest things are that he is smart and he hustles. I know these guys are pros and they are in shape that we can't begin to imagine, but to be out there this soon after back surgery there's no way he can be anything but a little alkward and stiff. As long as he doesn't suffer a setback time and conditioning will make that better.
He's smart enough to position himself to get the pass and be where he can swing the ball quickly to the open man. I've also noticed that on D he gets himself in passing lanes to deny the ball but doesn't come off his man gambling for the steal. A very smart veteran ballplayer. There will be guys like KG that he can't physically match up with, but overall he's a very useful player at the 4 and sometimes in EJ small ball even at the 5.
DCman88, keep trying. First of all no one will trade a salary protected player under his rookie deal, most of all not a cheap operation like the Hornets. So you're not going to get Howard or Bosh or the young points that you're bringing up because of their contract situation. My parameters also were one for one. I'm not advocating trading Gil for a minute. Just trying to make you stop and think, who in the league could you or would you swap him straight up for. The list is amazingly small if you look at it objectively.
As I said before you don't have to like him, just respect him for what his game is. When you come up with that group, you'll realize that for the money we have one of the top players there is, period.

Posted by: GM | February 22, 2007 10:10 AM

CJ, great post, enjoyed it. Thanks.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 22, 2007 10:10 AM

Ivan, what is Pesh's status? Definite next year? How is he playing in euro leagues? Do management tell you these things? I'm sure they keep track of them.

Posted by: CreditZard | February 22, 2007 10:12 AM

repost from previous blog:

I readily admit I'm a BIG fan of Gil b/c I've been a fan of the franchise since the early 80's and he's been our best player by far.

Is he the best NBA player currently? No, he is NOT. I'm not deluded to think that he is b/c he needs to refine his game further to get to that pinnacle. That's OK though, he's still very young and always trying to improve.

Some of his methods (midnight practices, over the top attitude, etc...) may drive teammates and fans batty at times but he's probably a little misunderstood at times too. That's his quirkiness and character showing and many times I find that to be refreshing. Other times, I'd really wish he'd just shutup and just play and make people take notice instead.

He needs to improve on his passing, not necessarily technique or visionwise per se, but more trusting in his teammates. Look how he always passes to Jamison and to a slightly lesser extent, Butler and Stevenson. That shows trust in them b/c he's more or less comfortable w/ them. If he reaches that level w/ all players on the floor, then he'll be that much more of a threat as a passer on the floor as a scorer.

He definitely needs to drive more to the hole since he's such a great talent w/ that AND he initiates contact so well while finishing. This puts tremendous pressure on the opposing team and creates more shots for his teammates. Another thing about his drives to the hole: Gil needs to shift speeds more AND on some drives, it would help if he'd drive in a less linear path to the bucket. He tends to go STRAIGHT to the hole whereas you'll see Wade and Nash weave/curl around defensive players to make it that much harder for the defense to know where they're going lessening the charge calls. It's subtle but very effective, coupled w/ Gil's unparalleled quickness and speed, it should make him that much tougher for all 5 defensive players to play against.

Gil has unbelievable range on his jumper, but he needs to use it judiciously. He can get that shot off anytime he wants to, why not take the higher percentage drive and shoot the outside jumper when you're feeling it more? This is where Gil's ultra confidence or "swag" gets in the way of his thinking clearly. As a player, you KNOW when you're hot from the outside or not - don't push it when you're not!

Sorry for the extra long post, there are so many aspects this game that can be broken down to improve, it'll take forever. These are just a few things I've noticed and of course this is ONLY my opinion of Gil and game. He is just showing a good portion of his potential now, he still has so much left to improve to be that much better. It'll be a joy to watch him while he does in WASHINGTON!

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 22, 2007 10:16 AM

Brendon is 27 years old. Born 11/27/79. I thought he was older then that given he played with Stackhouse at NC.

Posted by: dc | February 22, 2007 10:18 AM

Brendon is 27 years old. Born 11/27/79. I thought he was older then that given he played with Stackhouse at NC.

Posted by: dc | February 22, 2007 10:21 AM

"I would love to be here long-term," Stevenson said. "I jell with these guys. Me and Gilbert, we're like longtime friends. I feel like this is my team, and it can't get any better than this."

They need to resign Mr Fifty the 25 year old to a new long term deal.

Posted by: dc | February 22, 2007 10:25 AM

dc, actually I don't think he played w/ Stack. He played 1 or 2 years w/ Jamison and Vince Carter at UNC.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 22, 2007 10:44 AM

Of our remaining 31 games, only 8 are against teams that are currently over .500. We'd have to get really hot to get 55 wins, but 50 seems pretty reasonable. 53-29 is my prediction.

Posted by: aspats | February 22, 2007 11:01 AM

BTW fans, has anyone noticed another GS 2nd round gem emerging a la Gil? Ellis is really showing his stuff now, GS won't make the same mistake twice I don't think. Great talent and demeanor.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 22, 2007 11:08 AM

Great points, Mr. Jones, GM, and G.A.G.A. Who do I think would be worth trading for Gil, 1-for-1? That'd be a real short list - maybe Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, or Dwyane Wade? But I'd just as soon keep Agent Zero, personally.

C. Bell, I think "Party John" Ramos did get his chance here. From everything I saw and read, the guy just couldn't really play ball. Yeah, he was big and impressive-looking, but such a stiff. And he never seemed to get any better, or, from what I heard, care much about getting better - he didn't seem all that interested in being an NBA player.

I think James Lang and Roger Mason probably are getting their chances too - in practice at least. My guess is that they're not showing enough game in practice to risk putting them on the court during actual games. Except, as you say, maybe during blowouts, which are pretty few and far between at the moment.

The coaches seem to think Lang has a lot more game than PJ Ramos did, though, so I would expect him to stick around a while, and if he improves as expected, we might see him on the court quite a bit next year...

Posted by: Josh | February 22, 2007 11:16 AM

Great info, aspats.
That reminds me. Didn't a poster on this blog indicate at the beginning of the season that he was making a very large bet that the Wizards would win at least __ games (was it 42 or 44) this season? Is that poster still here? Does anyone else remember that?

Posted by: Joe | February 22, 2007 11:21 AM

Maybe Gil's problem is he's trying to work the game from outside in instead of from the inside out. Look at the Minn. game, he began the game taking 3 pointers, and several of them were of the quick-shot variety. Then, after missing 4 or 5 3 pointers, he started looking to drive.

Ok, Gil, you're a great player, no doubt. Why not start the game by getting into an offensive flow, moving the ball and trying to drive? Then when you've worked up a sweat, take a couple 3 pointers in the flow of the offense. If they fall, keep taking them, if they don't, go back to the inside game. Don't be like a prize-fighter trying to knock the other guy out before you've even worked up a sweat!

Posted by: Mitch | February 22, 2007 11:34 AM

Joe - I think I was the one who brought up the over/under on the season. I know someone else has been saying they put 10k on it (they must have been sweating bullets (no pun intended) at the beginning of the season). I put a significant play on it for my budget.

Anyway, it opened at 39.5 (which is what I got) and went up to 41 right before the season started. Looks pretty good right now.

If anyone is interested some others that I know b/c I took them:

Clippers - 47.5
Celtics - 36
Utah - 41
Bucks - 41.5
Griz - 40

Im on the right side of all of these but the Clippers. Stupid Clippers reverting to form.

In any event, I have had a lot of luck with season over under over the last couple of years. For someone who follows the NBA and knows the players, injuries, coaches, and who has moved, these plays are usually winners.

For instance, on coaches - always go against Rivers and Cheeks, always go with McMillian. I'm kicking myself on not taking Portland which is over already.

Utah tends to get no respect b/c post Stockton/Malone no casual fan knows who is on their team. But they don't need anyone great to play .500 ball bc they play with effort every game.

Better to bet unders than overs, as injuries can kill overs, but not unders. Also if you add up all the possible wins on the vegas board, there are more wins than are possible amongst the 30 teams. This is presumably because fans come in and lay money on their teams, so more over bets come in.

Finally, pay attention to divisions in particular. I didn't think Milwaukee would be better than anyone else in their division, and didn't think every team would be over 40 wins since they have to play each other so much, so I took Mil under. Of course the Redd injury has bailed me out, but still. . .

Posted by: charles jones | February 22, 2007 11:52 AM

Screw the stock market, I'm investing in Charles Jones.

Posted by: Joe | February 22, 2007 11:59 AM

I think it pretty much came down to who you want mentoring Blatch, Booth & Ruffin or having Party John show him the all night dance clubs. I think surrounding the kid with great pros has played a hugh role in his development.
I don't think Ramos has shown the ability to be much more than an exceptable D-league Player. The guy looked fluid in pre-game but from what I saw was horrible in a game. I do think he got Very comfortable at the end of the bench. Good living barely broke a sweat.
Lang does actually have some post moves, his future here depends somewhat on what the Wiz decide to do with some of the money they will gain due to expiring contracts. And how much money is needed to resign Stevenson, keep Gil happy and if they try and work out a cap friendly extension with AJ. Not to mention bringing Pechy over and deciding if Jaun Carlos is part of our future. All and stay under the luxury tax. That's why Ernie earns the big bucks!

Posted by: GM | February 22, 2007 12:02 PM

Josh, I totally agree about PJ and Lang.

PJ was big but a stiff. If you thought Kwame had no court awareness/IQ, PJ took it to another level. He also didn't take advantage of his size as one would expect, Kwame and Ared didn't either. You would expect 6-10 or taller guys to just dunk the ball w/in 3-4 feet from the basket, but they almost rarely ever did. Instead, they would try to put it up weakly...and miss b/c none had very good hands. Big Gheorge was a stiff but he had great soft hands and would dunk it if he could most times.

Lang needs more conditioning work and is definitely a big project. Some big guys are worthy projects. Lang may be one, but he's borderline.

As far as having too many big men, you can never have enough 4's and 5's on your roster as long as they're quality guys. Look at SA, they had Duncan, Horry, Oberto, Elson, Butler, and lesser big -Bonner AND they still went out and got Melvin Ely for depth in their playoff run. That's a total of 7 big guys that can either play the 4 or 5 position. Same goes for NO/OK, they have
Chandler, West, Jackson, Bass, Armstrong, and Simmons -5 of 6 young big guys that can continue to get better/blossom. The Wiz big man core are: Haywood, Etan, Blatche, Jamison, Songaila, Pesh, and to lesser extents Booth, Lang, Ruffin. Of the last three, one or two are gone next year. Depth at the big positions are coveted throughout the league, that's why I was disappointed to see NO/OK draft both Armstrong and Simmons right before the Wiz's pick. Simmons is a bigger project than Armstrong is at this point though but both have bright futures. I really hope Pesh turns out to be a great pick b/c I do have a lot of trust in EG.

Another project: Donnell Taylor offers very little upside (athletic and plays some decent on the ball D) as a guard and is also a project that we can't afford to use up a roster spot for, IMO.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 22, 2007 12:04 PM

Josh, That's my point it's a REALLY short list! And it gets even shorter when match up salaries one on one.

Posted by: GM | February 22, 2007 12:14 PM

First time post but I've really been enjoying the cogent commentary over the months on this blog. I don't recall whether IC/ML had been doing this in past seasons and obviously, the Wiz' success has generated more fan interest. So, I ask the vets: what was fan blog/comment sites like for the Wiz in years past? When did you all start noticing a big uptick in activity on this comments section? And where else do people go for forum activity.

Keep it up. And here's to the Wiz taking down the Kings....

Posted by: Dukster | February 22, 2007 12:27 PM

Wow, lots of posts!

"Antawn expires after next year, and we can't keep him on at 12MM."

Actually it expires this year with a player option for next year, and Jamison isn't going to come off the bench. Jordan pretty much told everyone that when he referred to him haveing "special" ability to lead. I'm sure at the end of his career that will be the case, but not now.

"GM, I like your thinking on how to play w/ the Wiz's personnel. Too bad EJ probably doesn't, at least he has shown it YET."

Jordan has too much loyalty towards certain players, and the affects his rotations. I'm convinced of this. For example: Jarvis Hayes & Michael Ruffin.

"Hard to believe I am saying this, but we will have a crunch at the 4 & 5 spots..."

I said this in the last blog, crazy isn't it CJ? And EG is VERY smart. Crazy to think the beginning of the season was so rough with bigs, now the future looks insane. Personally, I'd stil like to see the Wiz pick up a real point guard and move Gil to the 2. Think about how good they would really be?

"Some folks seem to be a little down on Songalia."

I am so NOT one of those people. He can pass, throw picks, and I'm sure in time his shot will come, he's already shown flashes. The guy is just getting his wind back so the longer he plays the less effective he is right now. Talk to me in a month or so. I like him a lot.

Gill will be fine, he's a proven All Star.

"I'm calling 47 on the season. Second seed."

You're agreeing with Ivan now. :) I believe I had them 47-48 games and 4th in the East. Maybe Ivan can repost our posts in a future blog. :)

Lots of time left, one more injury to someone like D-Wade and the Heat and that all goes out the window. Injuries change everything, look at the Wiz and Jamison. Actually, the Wiz look A LOT better off then the Heat right now. With exception to Songaila, the Wiz haven't had big injuries this year. They are very blessed. I'm concerned with Jamison's knee's still though. They never did say exactly what was wrong there, and he's had knee problems in the past and tried to play through them. Maybe I'm just being paranoid with it, again we'll see.

"Ivan, what is Pesh's status? Definite next year?"

From what EG said in a recent chat the Wiz expect him ot be here in a uni next year.

Last comment on Gil....

He's awesome, stop trying to start BS here with that stuff. On a more serious note, I don't know a lot of people who are the best player on thier team and only what? 24/25 years old who have lead thier teams to championships. To me Gil is still a "kid," but more from a age standpoint then anything else. He's so young, when he's around Jamison's age then he's really going to be amazing all around. I think that is what Jordan was trying to convey a couple weeks ago.

I know a lot of people didn't like Chris Webber when he was here(I did a lot) but it was the same thing with him, he was a kid and I thought the Wiz gave up too fast on him. He left and blossomed. Figures.

I'll leave you with this: If EG was the GM here when Webber was here do you think he would have traded him? Honestly...

If Gil was caught smoking pot like C-Webb, do you think he would be traded?

Just food for thought. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | February 22, 2007 12:31 PM

Ray, I loved C Webb when he played here BUT he was always coasting when he played and (still when he so called "blossomed" in Sacto) he ALMOST NEVER made plays down the stretch whether it was a shot or making a great read. He had so much more to offer than what he gave - that was my only complaint. Recall when he got hurt badly, that it was Songaila who filled in admirably and the Kings never really missed a beat.

Certainly C Webb was great 2nd scoring option on a championship caliber team, but as the go to man? That would have been a heartache at every game.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 22, 2007 12:50 PM

You did indeed post the comment on a lot of bigs - remembered when I wrote it, but could remember that it was you who posted - sorry about that ray.

On the Webber trade - Wes Unseld was as bad a GM as McHale and Isaih, if not worse. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - he essentially trade Tom Gugliotta and THREE first round picks for a washed up Mitch Richmond (with Webber as the go between). Or, if you like, Webber coming into his prime for Richmond leaving his. Compare that to the recent AI trade. Never saw a guy who liked to trade big for small and old more. After all these years, it still makes me angry.

That being said, if you were a Bullets fan through the Unseld as GM years, you are the epitome of diehard.

Loved the post on the 8 games against above .500 teams. That's a stat that really gives me hope for getting the number one seed.

Posted by: charles jones | February 22, 2007 12:52 PM

"I'll leave you with this: If EG was the GM here when Webber was here do you think he would have traded him? Honestly..."

Maybe, but EG would have gotten something betters than a used up Mitch Richmond for him that's for sure.

And I agree with about 99.9% of your post above. Well said, sir.

Posted by: Tuna | February 22, 2007 12:56 PM

One thing that is never said, but should be: It is very doubtful that Wes Unseld decided to trade Webber. He very likely was told by Pollin to trade Webber, probably within a certain time period (e.g., before the draft), and Wes made the deal he did. Wes should have pushed for more in return (do you remember how it came COMPLETELY out of the blue? No one was even mentioning it as a rumored possibility. Maybe if word got out, he would have got a better offer.), but to blame the whole thing on Wes is unfair.

Posted by: Steve | February 22, 2007 1:27 PM

Fire Eddie Jordan now. How many ENORMOUS leads does this team have to blow before this clown realizes that you don't put total bums in for the entire 4th quarter? Ridiculously lucky to win tonight. How do you almost blow a 4-point lead with 1 second left?

Posted by: Mike | February 22, 2007 9:44 PM

With Juwan Howard and Webber playing the same position (Howard is too slow to play SF, and Webber did not want to play center then), Wizards could not afford to keep both of them with the kind of salaries they were getting.

Unfortunately, Howard had a over-priced contract that nobody wanted, that's why Wizards traded Webber, not because they wanted to.

The mistake really is when they matched Howard's contract, but nobody knew at that time (that Howard was not a franchise player).

Posted by: sagaliba | February 23, 2007 11:57 AM

Is this working yet?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 23, 2007 12:47 PM

As one of those "diehards" mentioned by Charles Jones, it's really painful to think back at how the franchise gave away such impact players as Webber, Sheed, and Big Ben. It's just hard for a franchise to weather those kinds of moves.

Forgive the cliched word, but I really think that EG has a vision of where the franchise is headed. It's based on getting and developing players with a high skill level, great basketball instincts, and, maybe most importantly, versatility. That's what the guys he's brought here (CB, AD, DSong, for example) have in common. So he passes on guys who feature pure athleticism and hops while focusing on guys who know how to play.

And so far it's all working beautifully.

Posted by: Mitch | February 23, 2007 12:56 PM

OMG EJ's Smallball rears its ugly head BIGTIME! Over a whole quarter w/ Ruffin or Songaila playing the 5 and worse, Arvis playing the 4 = double digit lead GONE. Somebody please smack some sense into EJ for his (mis)management of this team. His worst coaching job of the year by far, and there were many nights I thought were almost as bad...

I think I pulled all my hair out watching EJ try to give the game away in that fourth quarter.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 1:04 PM

You can't blame EJ for 24 turnovers. If anything, you look at a team withstanding a huge run by the opposition, making their FT's down the stretch, and at least *trying* to move the ball around, and I think that says good things about the coach, personally.

Some seriously questionable decision making by some members of the team, though. I have a longer post at home I tried to post last night but the blog was busted...

Posted by: Gack | February 23, 2007 1:10 PM

"You can't blame EJ for 24 turnovers."

No, but you can blame him for being up 19 and as soon as Hayes and Ruffin hits the floor Sac is up by 2.

I know they play Chicago tonight but com'on. No Etan, no Haywood, No Booth, no Blatche the entire 4th?

This is what I wanted to post last night but couldn't:

Welcome back to smallball everyone!!!!

Jordan was like .01 seconds from giving that game to Sac tonight. Very lucky indeed.

Blatche, Haywood, and even Etan were all on the bench the entire 4th. I realize there's agame tomorrow night but geeze.

I think I've finally figured out what is wrong with Hayes shot other then he always misses. ;)

He doesn't bend his knees. Seriously, watch him when he shoots. He kept reaching for his leg tonight, I think he still hurts.

Mike said it best, and I agree so I'm going to post what I wanted to earlier but couldn't because the blog was down:

"Certainly C Webb was great 2nd scoring option on a championship caliber team, but as the go to man?"

He was in Sac. Anddddd, if the Shaq wasn't with the Lakers don't you think they would have made the finals? He was an MVP caliber type player for them.

"sorry about that ray."

Out of everyone on here you and Henry have nothing to apologize for. :) I've also been a fan my whole life and to speak for everyone else who I saw drinking tons of beer at those games in the Cap Center, it WAS rough. ;) That's why it was such a big deal whn the Wiz made the playoffs two years ago, kinda like throwing the monkey off the back. :)

I was at that game when Gugs lit up Utah for 49? I think. Wes was a good player, but a horrible GM and coach. Thank Susan O'Mally for that also, she had her hand in that. All those bad years and the thing that bothered me most is that management ALWAYS hyped up the other team and not the Bullets/Wiz. Someone on the Post(Wilbon or Wise?) wrote as much last year how the Wiz don't embrace thier past...and should. There was a lot of bad management in Washington over a long period of time. I'll even include the re-naming of the "Bullets" to "Wizards" in that mix. Always seemed to me they were trying to copy off of Orlando with that and it still bugs me every time I see that blue dude in the Wiz suit.

One knock on Mr. Polin, and this is hearing it from ex-players on TV and such, is that he is too trusting. Wes and Susan O'Mally should never have been left in charge. John Nash was doing a pretty good job and he got fired. Why? Susan O'Mally and Wes.....and Juan Howard. Nash didn't want to resign him for what Miami had in mind but Stern butted in and he remained here. How did that pan out?

"Maybe, but EG would have gotten something betters than a used up Mitch Richmond for him that's for sure."

Lol, agreed. :)

"...but to blame the whole thing on Wes is unfair."

I don't. Susan O'Mally had her hand in it as well. But instead of doing everything so darn fast, they should have waited a bit to calm down some. Again, do you think EG makes that trade? What if Gil gets caught smoking pot? Does he get traded?

My answer is "no way" to both of those questions.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | February 23, 2007 1:27 PM

I don't see how we can recover from this and make the playoffs.

I didn't see the play but apparently with about 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter last night there was some giant collision involving every wizard over 6'8" (imagine the odds of that?). They all were apparently hurt badly enough that they couldn't come back into the game. We can only hope that the injuries are day to day and they aren't all out for the season.

Seriously, tho - I haven't harped on the small ball thing in this forum - plenty of folks do that already and they make the case clear enough so I don't have anything to add - but man oh man that was unbelievable last night. I can see how Eddie sometimes doesn't see it in some games, but last night it was crystal clear. Brad Miller was on the floor the whole time - of all players, he doesnt' create a matchup problem for our bigs. I just don't get it.

Ruffin and Hayes played decently last night, but these guys are 8-10 minutes a game guys, not full fourth quarter players.

We were totally bailed out by the non-trip of Butler at the end (tho he was fouled just after the steal).

Small ball is like a smack addiction for Eddie - he just can't avoid getting on the horse. I hope that having Ruffin and Songalia back doesn't feed the small ball jones even more.

But - a win is a win. Tonight is big.

Posted by: charles jones | February 23, 2007 1:30 PM

Gack, I'm with GAGA on this one. You can't ignore the turnovers as you mentioned, missed free throws, etc., and say THIS is the reason THAT happened TONIGHT. But over time you can look at trends and deduce some causal connections. Over and over and over and over and over this season a lineup with Ruffin or Jamison at center and Hayes at power forward has been burned, almost without exception. But Jordan keeps going to that sort of smallball lineup. Some numbers:
- Mid-third quarter, a lineup with Ruffin and Songalia is +5.
- End of third quarter, part of fourth quarter, a lineup with Ruffin and Hayes as the "bigs" is +0.
- Mid-fourth quarter, a lineup with Songalia and Hayes as the "bigs" is -9.
- Ruffin replaces Songalia and that lineup is +1 the rest of the way.
So, the smallball lineup (Hayes at PF, Songalia or Ruffin at center) was -8 over about 14 minutes.
- In terms of on-court +/- numbers, Haywood and Thomas have the second and third highest numbers on the team. Ruffin and Hayes have the first and third lowest on the team.

What really gets me is reading that Jordan said that they lost the big lead because "We didn't execute," which puts all of the fault on the players.

Posted by: Henry | February 23, 2007 1:31 PM

hey ray - saw your post right after i posted my thoughts - i was apparently channeling your thoughts.

Spot on the too trusting thing. End of day Wes got a championship for Pollin and Pollin will always stick with him for that.

As for Wes being forced to make the trade - first, perhaps to some extent, but the trade happened right after Web got caught smoking a doob on the way to practice by the cops - Wes was livid about it (I remember) and I firmly believe drove the trade himself immediately after that. In fairness to Wes, if he wanted to make the trade, Richmond was probably the only player available in the NBA at the time who hadn't bought a pack of Philly's in the last month, so what choice did he have?

Second point - if the Webber trade was the only bad trade Wes made, maybe it could be excused, but this was chronic. Rasheed for Strickland - puhlease (and I liked Strickland's game). I could go on. The state of the team through the 90's was directly attributable to Wes' incompetence. He was awful. Bad judge of talent. Apparently easily manipulated by other GM's. I suspect to that as a big man when he played, he was enamored of the speed and quickness of guards, but never impressed by what big men do (the "i can do it so it can't be that hard" syndrome) so big for small worked for him. Duckworth anyone?

Where is Pervis when we need him?

Posted by: charles jones | February 23, 2007 1:40 PM

Henry: everytime you quote #'s like that, I think you should be on EJ's staff.

we've GOT TO get your numbers to EG & AP!

OT: my tribute to Dennis Johnson was that he was so solid until the end of the game when he would just kill you with the dagger.

I see DS being that way 1 day.

Posted by: Victor | February 23, 2007 1:48 PM

Yes the smallball was a bad idea but didn't last night's 4th quarter illustrate how much Jamison's leadership was missed. Look at all the turnovers and the lack of control with the basketball the Wizards had last. Smallball or not, if they take better care of the ball in the 4th last night, we all don't need heart medication this afternoon.

Posted by: George Templeton | February 23, 2007 1:57 PM

Henry,

If you think Brendan was playing good ball last night, you must have been watching a different game than me. The Poet seemed like he was set for a good, fired-up performance but got derailed by some early foul trouble.

D-Song had a pretty "meh" game and wasn't that effective (as evidenced by the DQ). Dray looked a little lost as well, I guess the matchups weren't as favorable.

I'm wondering why we didn't see much Cal Booth, but I think a lot of people here bash Ruffin because it's easy. The guy was doing an outstanding job on the boards, but he had sloppy hands and it cost us with at least a couple of turnovers that were converted into points. Against teams less nimble-fingered, he probably would have gotten away with it, but he certainly was not the only big giving away +/- last night.

I'm certainly not going to argue that Arvis being in the game wasn't a mistake, at any position, really. I don't care whether he plays 1, 4, or 5 for that matter, the guy has no confidence anymore and should be sitting the bench.

I think the "EJ sucks, smallball is killing us" battle cry is a convenient way for people to complain that we didn't win by enough points.

It's shorthand for "we're better than this, aren't we?" but I don't really subscribe to the notion that it accurately represents all the shortcomings of this team or the way it's coached.

Last night was simply a very sloppy game, period. You're talking about a game where we held a single-digit lead for most of the game, and only momentarily built it up to a big lead, then to surrender that big lead. So that tells me that you had two teams who for most of the night were playing evenly matched ball, give or take, one made a run, then the other did.

We won by 3, which is exactly one desperation trey less than the lead we held for most of the game. This is not particularly earth-shattering.

Posted by: Gack | February 23, 2007 1:58 PM

And Henry, EJ is right, it should be on all of the players. Nobody played a game last night that was beyond pretty staunch criticism. Maybe DeShawn. Everybody else was shooting off liberal quantities of their own toes while gunning down the Kings.

Posted by: Gack | February 23, 2007 1:59 PM

Definitely EJ's fault. I watched every minute of the game, and NOT ONCE did Eddie leave the comfort of the bench area to go out and get a hand in Bibby's face.

Posted by: burke | February 23, 2007 2:08 PM

Also, let's address the +/- thing right now -- those numbers ONLY MAKE SENSE if you're comparing guys with comparable playing time. Of COURSE Blatche, Ruffin, Songaila et. al, are going to have low +/- numbers, for one thing they've played significantly fewer minutes, and for another, until Jamison went down, the minutes those guys saw were all garbage time, and you've got an NBA Prevent D in there at that point.

Now, it makes sense when you look at a guy like Arvis, who's logged an astounding 35% of minutes played this season and ranks DEAD LAST in +/-, though some will still argue the "out of position" thing.

But you guys complain that EJ isn't playing the bench enough, and when they do and the game gets a little rough, everyone screams "Smallball!!! OMG!", I don't understand that.

It certainly seems like once Etan or BTH go to the bench, they're done for the night, and I'm not sure why that is. But at least Eddie is giving the other guys a chance to get into a rhythm and log some minutes in real game situations.

Finally, it seems strange to me that we praise intangibles and hustle in games we win convincingly, especially when the bench is involved. But we have a squeaker or a loss, and everyone starts throwing out minute-by-minute +/- or other stats and there's this whole, "Eddie's too stupid to realize every game would be a blowout if you just did {insert pet lineup here}!!!!".

It's not always about the numbers on the stat sheet, and guess what, it's not always about what nets us the best +/- out there! Does your company always do everything in a way that maximizes profit to nth percent? Or does it sometimes take the fact that the people in your organization are human beings that need to be dealt with in a certain way, according to a (hopefully) solid long-term plan?

It's fun to back-seat coach. But really, I think sometimes you guys are trying to create a crisis where none exists.

Posted by: Gack | February 23, 2007 2:17 PM

Victor:
Here's the thing about those stats. I'm just a guy who watches games when he can and pulls and posts some internet numbers on his lunch break. The Wizards coaching staff does this for a living and have, I'm sure, a ton of stats available to them that show them everything they need to know. I imagine Jordan's thinking is, "If I put Ruffin and Hayes in as my bigs, they can do X and Y." But they also give up A, B and C, and the stats would reveal that if Jordan was open-minded enough to see it and process it.

I haven't posted this thought before and I can't do a long post right now, but in a nutshell: Smallball is here to stay unless Grunfeld puts a stop to it. Everyone brings their own perspective and identity to his or her job, whatever it is, and coaches are no different. John Thompson was a big man who played with one of the best bigs ever and perhaps the best defender ever. Any surprise that his teams emphasized bigs and defense?

Eddie Jordan made his name in the league with steals -- didn't he lead the league in steals one year? So, is it any surprise that he emphasizes steals in his defensive philosophy? Hughes, Arenas, Butler, etc. were/are encouraged to go after steals. Hughes led the league one year (I'm sure Jordan took great pride in that), and Caron and Gilbert are always near the top. The smallball lineup is a result of that mindset -- if we are quicker, we can turn them over and get out in transition. That is Jordan's mindset, it's who he is.

There's always room for growth and the possibility of change, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Posted by: Henry | February 23, 2007 2:20 PM

24 total turnovers had a hand in making it close, but at the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Wiz had already committed 20 turnovers to 17 by Sacto. Wiz were up by 12 at that point.

Players take some blame for sure, but it's the coach's job to put the players in the best possible situations to succeed w/ substitions and opportunities on the floor.

Neither Etan or 'Wood had a great game but they certainly didn't have a bad game. One thing many of us take for granted is that Etan, Blatche, Haywood, and Jamison have always had some good offensive rebounding games since most of the Wiz shots are from the perimeter. Haywood, of late, has been getting a lot of offensive rebounds than before. They know in this offense that sometimes it's the only way they'll get their hands on the ball to possibly get a bucket. And most times, they do get good putbacks after those offensive rebounds whereas Ruffin struggles to finish. Hayes at the 4 would almost never get an offensive rebound unless it was tipped to him by a big and then scoring on that putback is another matter everyone here knows - fadeaway jumper.

The smallball lineup hasn't worked almost all season, so when the first 4-5 minutes of the 4th quarter is going badly, you would think to go back to your normal lineups to see if that helps it right? Sacto cuts the lead to 5 or 6 and EJ after the timeout, switches Ruffin for Songaila but leaves Jarvis at the 4.

When we're talking of developing the bench, we're talking of giving minutes to the guys in a way that they gain confidence contributing w/ a group that is successful and smallball hasn't been. They need to play the positions and roles they are best at to have a chance to gain that confidence. Ruffin is a great role player to give you tough spot minutes but not for long stretches especially when you're in the bonus too! Every team wouldn't mind fouling him.

I'm sure many are going to say that I think I can coach better than EJ and I assure you I CAN NOT but it doesn't mean that those moves by EJ weren't mistakes that others and myself can see. You can still be a better/smarter worker than your colleague, but sometimes he/she may point out to you that you may have made a legitimate mistake. Does that make your colleague an overall better/smarter worker than you?

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 3:02 PM

As always, great post Henry. I'd like to add too that as much as many say that the Princeton offense is an equal opportunity offense, it really caters best to guard play and perimeter players. Bigs are not expected to bang except for rebounds, defense, shooting jumpers, and passing to cutters.

My question then is, besides MJ, "Which team won anything signicant w/o great contributing big men?"

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 3:09 PM

spot on gaga in terms of putting henry's numbers in perspective. watching the fourth quarter last night was like a bad run at black jack - eddie just kept doubling down on the same losing bet. a coach's job is to adjust. eddie didn't.

but end of day, we won. early in the season we would have lost that game - we are winning the close ones now.

we will have to execute much better tonight to have a chance against the bulls. the good thing is that tho we have played three mediocre teams since the Portland loss, that loss seems to have focused the team and forced them to adjust to playing without Jamison.

Posted by: charles jones | February 23, 2007 3:20 PM

Did anyone see EJ after the game try to say it was "no big deal" that they blew a 19-point lead? His rationale was that some other teams have blown leads before too. Incredible, just incredible. Why even have a coach.

Posted by: Mike | February 23, 2007 3:33 PM

I was going to respond to some of this stuff, but, really, it's just pointless. If you're in a particular Haters club, then no matter what, everything will point to whatever hatin' point of view you have.

I.e., if you're a Gilbert hater, then you'll ignore the 43 points and 16/17 FT, and focus on the turnovers and b1tch about his defense.

If you're an EJ hater, you'll focus on a lost 17 point lead, and ignore the fact that they won the game, and, HELLO, that they built a 17 point lead to begin with.

Whatever.

Posted by: burke | February 23, 2007 3:33 PM

"I don't see how we can recover from this and make the playoffs."

Lol, cj is on the smallball bandwagon. What's this world coming too? ;)

"The state of the team through the 90's was directly attributable to Wes' incompetence."

Add Susan O'Mally as well I think. It's all about knowing who to trust, and after hearing numerous former Bullets say so many good things about Mr.Polin and so many bad things about past management...well you know.

"What really gets me is reading that Jordan said that they lost the big lead because "We didn't execute," which puts all of the fault on the players."

Yeah, and I have some land in Florida I would like to sell to the people who actually believed that.

"Yes the smallball was a bad idea but didn't last night's 4th quarter illustrate how much Jamison's leadership was missed."

NO! They were dominating, and come on this is Sacremento(sp?) were talking about here. Jordan pulls Etan, Haywood, Blatche, and Booth and expects to win? George com'on man, you know Jordan messed up again. Ruffin and Hayes should never, and I mean NEVER be on the floor together late in the game. EVER!

"I think the "EJ sucks, smallball is killing us" battle cry is a convenient way for people to complain that we didn't win by enough points."

Gack they were up by 19 points. How many times has Jordan inserted that small lineup and let the other team back in it? When Etan and Ruffin got hurt, Jordan was forced to play Haywood. Etan was named starter at the beginning of the season. Jordan didn't want to play Haywood, but he had too. It's not a coincidense that they started winning when this happend. I dreaded the day when Ruffin would come back. Not because he's not a "good guy" but because he sucks. Those injuries forced Jordan to play tighter rotations that he would never have played if Etan and Ruffin were healthy. They would NEVER get the minutes anywhere else that they get here. Ruffin and Hayes should not be on the floor in the 4th quarter of any game what so ever. They wouldn't be for any other team now would they?

And as far as Booth goes I've been a big supporter of him all year.

"Smallball is here to stay unless Grunfeld puts a stop to it."

Unfortunately, and the only way to do that is for EG to get rid of certain players which in my mind isn't going to happen. They are going to re-sign Hayes and Ruffin, watch and see. Jordan has this undying loyalty to certain players that's going to cost him his job one day.

There's no way those guys should EVER be on the floor in the 4th quarter no matter what. I realize they play Chicago tonight, but that's no excuse. This team has plenty of big men now.

Stupid smallball. Wait till he uses that crap in the playoffs and see what happens. If they get bounced in the first round do you think everyone in Washington is going to be loving Jordan very much?

Again, watch Hayes shot. He doesn't bend his knees. He's still playing hurt.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | February 23, 2007 3:44 PM

Haywood started the game with three straight turnovers. By the time he left, his statline was better, but he was pretty worthless last night.

As I said, I don't understand why big guys in this offense don't come back once they sit down, but my sense is that EJ was trying to get D-Song and Ruffin work some of the rust off in a situation where we should have had the game under control, but let it get away from us a little.

I expect that he felt that lineup should have been able to go out there and stand their ground, and they just didn't. I don't think it's that everyone watching the game couldn't see it, but clearly Eddie had a reason for wanting those guys to remain in there.

It would be interesting to find out why Ruffin was in the game in an obvious foul situation, for example. Although, I'm not sure that you want Brendan or Etan in there any more than Ruff at that point, maybe Ruffin gives you 10% better FT chance and keeps the rebounding edge close?

Posted by: Gack | February 23, 2007 3:45 PM

By the way, who taught Jordan coaching strategies when you have a lead with one second left, Pitino?
I thought Jordan should have told Gilbert to miss the second FT. The Kings had no timeouts, so the rebounder would have to catch it and throw in it full court. If Gilbert misses and it goes in, you lose, but what are the odds of that? What do you guys think?

Posted by: Sean | February 23, 2007 3:53 PM

"NO! They were dominating, and come on this is Sacremento(sp?) were talking about here. "

Ray, you must not have been watching last night's game, because we "dominated" for all of 2 minutes. We made a quick run for 2 minutes. Outside of that, we averaged a 4-6 point lead for most of the game which is far from dominance. That's like going all in with A-K and thinking it's a sure winner.

"Come on, it's Sacramento"?? Are you kidding? Do you realize we're about 1.0 point +/- better than those guys?

Posted by: Gack | February 23, 2007 3:57 PM

This is a team that's had real trouble winning back-to-backs, especially on the road. Up by 17, EJ decides to rest some players looking ahead a bit to Chicago. He took a risk that the smallball bunch could win the game even if they lost some of the lead. Not a bad decision, on its face. Momentum, helped by poor defense by the Wiz, swung back to Sac quicker than EJ anticipated. Valid criticism: sometimes he reacts too slowly to these swings, and momentum just builds. On the other hand, Gil was yelling at him just before the break for pulling guys too quickly. So, damned if you do, damned if you don't. They won, and the bigs are a bit more rested for tonight. If we win tonight, maybe, just maybe, Eddie was right...

Posted by: reispace | February 23, 2007 3:58 PM

Sean, glad you mentioned that. When Caron was questioned that, did you see how diplomatic his answer was? That was great to see, smart savvy move by a team player. If things needs to be discussed and ironed out, it should be in private not commented to the media first ala Gil and EJ about a week ago.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 4:07 PM

GAGA: thanks for pointing this out: 24 total turnovers had a hand in making it close, but at the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Wiz had already committed 20 turnovers to 17 by Sacto.
So the T/O's wasn't as big factor as it's made out to be in the 4th. The small ball was.

Lets put this perspective also: So some have said we blew that 17 pts lead AND won.
The flip side is how much longer will that bullet stay in the chamber playing small ball?

Posted by: Victor | February 23, 2007 4:08 PM

Burke, I'm not an EJ hater, but there are things I just WISHED he could be better at while coaching the Wiz. EJ is certainly much better than almost if not all the coaches Washington has had for the 20+ years I've been a fan of the franchise. Doesn't mean he's beyond reproach. As paying fans of the team, can we not express our displeasure when some of it is so blatant?

I would rather complain about the strategies of the game to improve it before it breaks (like in the playoffs!) That's just being proactive, not retroactive.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 4:18 PM

GAGA, I certainly don't believe EJ should be beyond reproach. I guess I just saw a lot of really, sloppy execution and mental errors by our team that jumped out to me as much more significant than the traditional whipping-boy, a.k.a. "Smallball".

As I said, I disdain Arvis and don't know why we didn't see more of Etan or Brendan, or why Cal was practically never out there, those are definitely not things I am pleased with EJ for.

But I think it's easy to lay the flaws in last night's game on EJ. As a friend of mine used to say, success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.

Posted by: Gack | February 23, 2007 4:29 PM

Thanks Victor, that was my point. They were beating Sacto even w/ the turnover differential b/c they had outrebounded them especially early on.

Gack, sorry I have to disagree on the bigs performance last night. Haywood did have those early turnovers but they were feeding him in the post - do you think if they fed Ruffin like that he wouldn't have had a similar turnover? I love role players like Ruffin, but only in spot minutes and using them on Shaq. He played 13 mins and got a total of 2 rebounds. Songaila played 17 mins and also got 2 rebounds. Haywood and Etan had 7 and 4 rebounds in 23 and 8 mins, respectively. Also as I said earlier, Etan and Haywood helped out by getting 3 OFFENSIVE rebounds EACH for extra chance points whereas Ruffin, Songaila, and Hayes COMBINED for 2 offensive rebounds. Wouldn't those offensive rebounds help take some some time off the clock and negate the Sacto run? These types of things are w/in the coach's control.

As Songaila fully recovers from his surgery, he'll be more active and agile to be able to play amongst the bigger 4s and 5s better but for now asking him to play the 5 is extremely tough.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 4:37 PM

I don't know if "smallball" is solely to blame. This team is adept at building big leads in a run of 2-4 minutes and then losing those big leads just as quickly. Could it be "smallball"? Maybe. I don't know.

But we do know the Wiz have played games where they've stormed out to a big lead and kept it (like the last game at Orlando), and where they've battled back from deficits to win games they would have lost in years past.

I wonder, though, if EJ's "smallball" is derived from the Laker "Showtime" teams of the 80s. Remember them -- with the exception of Kareem and Mychal Thompson, virtually all of those cats (Magic, Cooper, Rambis, Worthy, Wilkes, Scott, et al.) were between 6'4" and 6'9" and could rebound, shoot and run the floor with ease. Seems like this is the template EJ is shooting for, but hasn't yet accomplished. I may be wrong, but don't remember Showtime teams giving up leads this big or this often.

Posted by: iceberg | February 23, 2007 4:38 PM

Gack, understood. The coaching aspect of the game on the floor IMHO is easier to control than some of the things like the players' execution since that is so dynamic and influenced by what the opposing defensive players do, etc...

Again, there is plenty of blame to go around when a game in control like that goes off track. Reminds me too much of other games - biggest one comes to mind Boston at the VC. I was there and was not all too happy, similar circumstances and all.

BTW, I'll be there for the Atlanta game on March 2nd (Military Appreciation night). Anyone here going to that one? Hopefully there won't be any late drama like last night w/ Atlanta. I probably won't be able to handle it. lol

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 4:47 PM

Gack,

Go check the stat, Haywood ended the game with 2 TOs, so how can he started the game with 3 TOs?

One of the TO was a bad pass throwing toward his direction. If you think that's Haywood's fault, then you WERE wathcing a different game than everybody else.

Posted by: Mike | February 23, 2007 4:49 PM

Ok. The Heat are out.
Wiz win the Southeast handily.

They go into the playoffs. First Seed or Second. OK. Then who do they play?

Thanks

Posted by: Robin | February 23, 2007 4:53 PM

Iceburg, very sorry to beat this dead horse, honestly. I vividly remember that game vs. Orlando b/c the whole time I thought, "Wow EJ isn't going to use his smallball lineup." But then he did, for all of 1 gametime minute. Seriously. Granted, I think in that game they also played their most complete game of the year. I was so happy after that game, very few flaws and the smallball time didn't hurt us.

Then vs. the aforementioned Boston game that I went to the next night, and EJ went to a small lineup for extended minutes and we lost that 20 point lead.

To beat Orlando (at that time, playing very well) handily and then come back and blow a 20 point lead the next night was very frustrating. They certainly weren't worn out from the 2nd back to back in how they built the lead and the energy they showed even in OT vs. Boston.

Man, even I'm getting tired to beating this dead horse. Sorry all. I'm spent.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 4:59 PM

Ray I wasn't trying to minimize the fault of small ball. My point was that without Jamison on the floor the offense got very hurried and rushed in the 4th quarter (manifesting in a lot of bad shots) and it seems that Jamison tends to be a calming influence.
And I agree with another of the recent posters who said that this team needs to do a better job of hanging on to the lead once they get (like the win in Orlando). That is what bothers me is that it seems they let a lot of opportunities slip to get big leads and rest in the last few minutes of the game.

Posted by: George Templeton | February 23, 2007 5:02 PM

Mike, you're on point. That pass you're talking about was a pass from Gil and it was more Gil turning it over but I can see where Gack may have thought it might have been 'Wood instead.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 5:02 PM

Just chill, GAGA, and have a brew or whatever relaxes you before the game tonight. I'd be spent too, running down all those blown leads :)

But it's frustrating for all of us fans, and I hope they reach a point where all spots 1-12 are healthy and EJ doesn't have to do his "MacGuyver" imitation in jerry-rigging a lineup.

Could be worse: we could all be in Cleveland being (suffering) witnesses to their sinking ship. LeBron looks like he's in the middle of some bad sex and can't even maintain interest till it's over.

Posted by: iceberg | February 23, 2007 5:13 PM

In response to Robin, and looking ahead, here are the teams I would most worry about the Wizards playing in the playoffs, in descending order:
1. Toronto -- Wiz are 0-3 against them this year, I believe (including pre-season) and are horrible against good three point shooting teams.
2. Chicago
3. Miami with a healthy Shaq and Wade.
4. Detroit -- Wiz seem to match up well with them.
5. Cleveland -- Ov-er-at-ed, clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!
6. Miami without a healthy Shaq or Wade.

Everyone else, no worries. What do you guys think?

Posted by: Joe | February 23, 2007 5:32 PM

A likely first round opponent (if the Wizards win the division) is probably Orlando, what's left of the Heat or the Nets.

Posted by: George Templeton | February 23, 2007 6:36 PM

Haha, thanks iceberg! So true about Cleveland and Queen LeTravel. I am so glad we didn't sign Larry b/c I think Stevenson actually meshes w/ this team a little better AND plays better on the ball defense than Larry did. All for so cheap, even when we sign him to a new contract.

I'd put Miami at 2 before Chicago if you're talking about Shaq and Wade being healthy. Wiz don't match up well to Miami at all.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 6:49 PM

"Ray, you must not have been watching last night's game, because we "dominated" for all of 2 minutes."

If you're up by 17, then you're dominating. Especially with 20+ turnovers!

"...and it seems that Jamison tends to be a calming influence."

I can agree with you on that George, but I'm a smallball hater and there were times at the begining of the season when Jamison was there on the floor they blew leads and lost games.

Like I said, some of those players Jordan is loyal to is one day going to cost him his job. And as Henry said, it's going to be up to EG to make it stop. To me the only way that is going to happen is those players are going to have to not be here.

We'll see.

"Could be worse: we could all be in Cleveland being (suffering) witnesses to their sinking ship."

You know I was thinking about just that last night. That team is screwed. It's not like they "got worse" they just haven't improved while a lot of teams(including the Wiz) have gotten better.

They have like no one other then Lebron who you can forsee getting better. They can get a new coach but until they improve thier roster they aren't going anywhere. Gooden is going to jump ship after this season because they are only 2.2 under the cap.

Looks like we will all be "witnesses" to seeing Lebron somewhere else in 3 years because they aren't going anywhere.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | February 23, 2007 6:54 PM

"LeBron looks like he's in the middle of some bad sex and can't even maintain interest till it's over."

LOL!!!

Posted by: reispace | February 23, 2007 7:04 PM

Ray, didn't Gooden just re-upped w/ Cleveland this past summer looking for a similar Nene deal? Of course he didn't get it... How's he going to jump ship after the season? I must be missing a few things...

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 7:12 PM

I think the most apt quote to describe Cleveland would be: "The ship be sinking." Too bad because Mike Brown seems like a good guy, but I think he will be back with Rick Carlisle next season.

Posted by: George Templeton | February 23, 2007 7:30 PM

There is NO WAY IN HELL Mason, Hayes, and Ruffin should have played minutes together in the 4th let alone the amount of minutes they played. I was in no way surprised to see the game tighten with that lineup.

I watch the game and go "WHAT THE HELL IS EJ THINKING"?

It is so dumbfounding to me. Zero minutes for Blatche, H'Wood, or Etan in the 4th??????????????? I wish Ernie would cut Ruffin so EJ can't use him to make games closer than they should be. Ruffin can't - pass, shoot, or guard centers in this league. He hustles and grabs rebounds, which is about all you can say about him skills wise. If we cut him, he is such a borderline NBA player I doubt another team would pick him up. I would rather see Booth get those minutes 100% of the time bc he hustles, defends, can guard some centers, can block shots, rebounds, and can hit an occasional shot. Ruffin and this pathetic coaching has got to go.

FINAL NOTE: Who are the best natural passers on this team? I go with Songalia and Blatche. Songalia is going to fit in very well with this team. Can't wait for him to get 100% healthy!!!

For the playoff foes question, I agree Toronto is our number one nemesis except I don't see the Heat even making the playoffs now. I was never afraid of them before Wade got hurt. Too old, too old, too old. And Shaq will only be older, slower, and creaking his knees more next year.

Posted by: Rob P | February 23, 2007 8:05 PM

"Go check the stat, Haywood ended the game with 2 TOs, so how can he started the game with 3 TOs?

One of the TO was a bad pass throwing toward his direction. If you think that's Haywood's fault, then you WERE wathcing a different game than everybody else."

That one absolutely WAS Brendan's bad, and the announce team was with me on that one, brutha. I know you're a BTH man, but the dude got butterfingers. Sorry, it's just true. The rest of his game wasn't much better, though he has gotten a taste for throwing down one or two dunks a game from point blank range which always make me feel like he's playing better than he is...

Posted by: Gack | February 23, 2007 9:10 PM

I also got to give myself props for originating "Queen LeTravel". Because next thing you know, Wizznutzz will have a t-shirt about it and nobody will believe me when I say, "dammit, I came up with that!!!"

GAGA - I think I am going to the Hotlanta game, actually! Is it military appreciation night? That's pretty awesome because I heard it was singles night too! Not that I'm in that group, heh. Buddy of mine works for some bank down in DC and he says he has a pair of tix and they are lower level, so I'm pretty stoked about it...

Posted by: Gack | February 23, 2007 9:16 PM

Like many of you I was dying to post last night because of my frustration with small ball. I see that my thoughts were expressed very well by the posters as read them while catching up during this Bulls game. It is half time and we are down to the Bulls. It will be interesting to see what happens.

To those who think we are haters why else would we devote so much of our time analyzing this team. We critique because we love. Like others we see several important things that would make the team better but the small ball strategy is so obviously the biggest. Everyone who spends energy following this team enough to chime in wants the team to win. I wish the accusations and name-calling would cease.

I was glad to see the Ruffin question asked directly to Jordan and his answer was not surprising. Ruffin does switch and hustle and go out on the perimeter. But with our poor on the ball defense as a team we need bigs that can first and foremost protect the paint. Blatche and Haywood and Thomas in this Bulls game are changing shots and causing havoc in the paint. That is what we need our bigs to do. Ruffin is a 4 not a 5. that ain't hatin'...that's just the facts.

Posted by: BmoreRev | February 23, 2007 9:20 PM

Gack, I got 100 level seats from the Military Night for Atlanta as well. Enjoy!

BmoreRev, could you write by eulogy? :) My writing skills pale in comparison to yours and others here. I definitely agree and COULDN'T have said it any better than you did in your post.

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 9:51 PM

Guys, there's plenty of sucking going on right now that has zippy to do with Smallball. D-Steve with FOUR turnovers!!! ARGH, this is so frustrating, because the Bulls are NOT that good!

Posted by: Gack | February 23, 2007 10:12 PM

Nope Smallball wasn't the reason the Wiz lost tonight. The Bulls shared the ball and got contributions from many while the Wiz only had Gil playing well. Caron didn't do too well, Stevenson also didn't play that great. On top of that, our defense was bad. Overall rebounding wasn't what was needed either. Deng outshined Butler tonight. Many little things done better than the Wiz. Overall, the Wiz just got beat. We'll see how they stack up when Jamison comes back (Nocioni for the Bulls).

Posted by: Going G.A.G.A. over Gilbert | February 23, 2007 10:54 PM

Gack,

I am not a BTH man. I just hope people can do their math before posting.

Check out this:
http://www.nba.com/games/20070222/SACWAS/boxscore.html
and tell us how can Haywood started with 3 TOs but ended up with just 2!

It's obvious that the official statistician is not with you, are you going to call them as BTH man too now?

Posted by: Mike | February 24, 2007 10:21 AM

EJ needs to teach the team how to play defense. the Wiz will not get very far until they play defense. EJ had Mason in the game and he was hot. Please tell me why he took him out.Some times EJ's strategy just does not make sense.Why was Kidd standing all alone just firing away ,no Wizard near him.The defense is probably the worstI've seen in a long time.Ej,teach defense or hire someone who can.

Posted by: ron | February 28, 2007 11:32 AM

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