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Butler Done For The Season

MILWAUKEE - The Wizards were dealt a major blow on Sunday when Caron Butler fractured his right hand that will force him to miss the rest of the season. Butler sustained the injury while trying to contest a Ruben Patterson dunk with 6 minutes, 28 seconds left the third quarter of the Wizards' 121-107 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Butler jammed his right index finger under the basket. Butler, a native of nearby Racine, was back home in Wisconsin and scored 19 points in just 24 minutes. A first time all-star this season, Butler was averaging 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Wizards.
The Wizards moved back into the first place in the Southwest Division, taking a half-game lead over the Miami Heat, which lost earlier in the day to Detroit. The Wizards are just 2-7 without Butler this season and have 10 games remaining in the regular season. "Caron is probably going to be gone for a long time, maybe the season," Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan said. "We're going to miss his numbers obviously, that's plain and simple. His mindset, his toughness, his aggressive nature, and the blue-collar approach to the game."

By Michael Lee  |  April 1, 2007; 6:58 PM ET
 
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Comments

That's just horrible! There goes our season. Honestly, I could not see us getting beyond the first round with Caron...but certainly not without him. Seeing that we rarely win when Caron is not playing we may not win another game - or even make the playoffs -

Posted by: Lisa | April 1, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Great. Now Eddie has his built-in excuse. Be prepared to see even worse line-ups and in game substitution patterns. The idea of more available playing time for Ruffin and Hayes probably has Eddie licking his chops.

Posted by: AV | April 1, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I thought the days of the curse were gone. Way too bad it happened to Caron. Who else can get hurt now - not that it matters much. Has anyone ever stepped up for more than a game or 2? We shall see . . .

Posted by: Shotgun | April 1, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Wow. What a weekend. While obviously the most important thing is Caron's health and him coming back, whenever, at full strength, from the fan's perspective it's the ultimate stomach-punch. That about does it for the season. Irreplaceable. And I thought the Toronto game on Friday was bad!! Depression-city. Get better Caron! Go Wiz!!!

Posted by: fenderdeluxe | April 1, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

everyone bust out your purp and hit the bong hard

Posted by: Anonymous | April 1, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

First, I feel so bad for Caron...he has been playing so well since his return and is 2nd in the NBA in steals....this has to really suck for him (and us).

Secondly, is there any player out there who we could bring in to replace him?

Posted by: Lisa | April 1, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Tough Luck for Tough Juice. I hope we can still make a decent showing in the playoffs if at all.

Posted by: VROB | April 1, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

You might be really surprised how far these guys can go with Hayes, Songaila, and Blatche steooing up, along with Stephenson, Booth and Daniels. Now maybe some people wilol understand why Coach has been giving Hayes a chance to get his legs back and songaila time to play even thows his legs are far from well.

This team is deeper than a lot of you think. Butler would have been a major major plus, but they're not done without him.

Posted by: joe c | April 1, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Jarvis this is your time. You can prove a lot of people wrong if you go out and play like you did today. It's a HUGE loss for the team, but we have a very favorable schedule down the stretch. Maybe we could get the Heat without D Wade or Toronto.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 1, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse


Here is what I just sent in to the Sports Guy:

I wanted to remind you of the promise you made to me when you signed my book at the ESPN Zone to write more Wizards columns. After this season, I'm convinced that the Wizards are either the Red Sox or the Cubs of the NBA. Let's review the history:

You wrote this in 2002 during your trip to DC: "And the franchise is finally headed in the right direction, with a genuine offensive threat in Rip Hamilton, a tantalizing young big man (Kwame Brown), some capable role players (Chris Whitney, Tyronn Lue, Christian Laettner, Courtney Alexander), tons of cap space after the 2003 season, and the outrageously inept Unseld (for my money, the worst front office exec of the past 20 years) relegated to answering phones for MJ. At least 10 other NBA teams have a murkier future. When's the last time you could say that about Les Boullez? "

All I have to say is none of those guys are left and it makes me laugh to read about that. I was very optimistic earlier this year as the Wizards went from 4-9 to 27-17 and beat the Mavericks by 9 pts, the Suns on the road, and Gilbert dropped 60 against Kobe. They were finally headed in the right direction. At the same time, all the "experts" were saying the Heat would eventually catch the Wizards once Shaq comes back. I found this insulting and ridiculous as they opened a 7 game lead and were on top of the Eastern Conference. Now, the Wizards have had injuries to all 3 of their best players and some overall bad luck and they are only a half game up on the Heat. The last straw occured today when Butler broke his hand and Wade said he is going to start practicing again. This came off a stretch where they lost on a buzzer beater by Udonis Haslem, a wild three pointer by Steve Francis, and the luckiest heave in the history of the NBA by Mo Pete. It is getting absurd and I can't watch the games anymore. Earlier in the year I would watch every game on my new HD Tv and read Ivan Carter's blog religiously. Now, I yell at myself for getting my hopes up for this cursed team, again.

Posted by: Andrew | April 1, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

KHAAAAAAN!

Posted by: Zonker | April 1, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Tantou.

Posted by: Gack | April 1, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

curse of les boulez

Posted by: ct fan | April 1, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

This is the 2nd punch to the balls after the toronto meltdown...curious but is Pippen still tryin to comback? Age aint nutin but a number went we got Hayes as the possible replacement cuz i doubt Ej will turn to Blatche (which he should which means he won't)

Posted by: Ouch | April 1, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

ain't no curse folks. caron's injury is devastating, no doubt, but in this stretch run, gilbert is gonna turn it up. someone's gonna have to make up for caron's shots, and it'll no doubt be Agent Zero. he'll go back to the aggressive self that he used to be in December/January.
let's remember one thing:
it's not caron or antawn that make this team go....it's gilbert. when AZ scores a lot, Wiz win. y'all are acting like losing tough juice will hurt defensively. last time i checked, we still allowed 105 points per game with or without caron.

it's up to Gilbert to make up for Tough Juice's loss and put up those 40-50 point games.

Posted by: k-man | April 1, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I still think that except for Miami and Detroit, they can probably take anyone else in the playoffs. Or at least be really competitive. Yeah, they'll miss Caron, but if Hayes wants a big contract, if Haywood wants to prove that he's a real center, if Blatche is ready to go, they could still do some damage. Provided Gilbert and Jamison step up.

Posted by: TG | April 1, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I am so sorry to hear about Caron ... didn't get to see the game today, but, from what I'm reading, very few have confidence that the TEAM can move forward. I know that it was rough before without Caron, but let's have some faith in the wonderful players that are capable of moving the team forward. A.D. doesn't get the credit he deserves .. he is my favorite (besides Caron, Gilbert and Antwan) ... he just gets in there and fights. Good luck guys ... we're rooting for you.

Posted by: Peg | April 1, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

K-Man, in the Toronto game, CB3 had SIX steals, which led to at least 12 points. We don't play D, but we do rely on pickpocketing and transition buckets. Losing Caron wounds us big-time in that department.

He's also one of only two dudes on this team with a midrange jumper (Songaila being the other), which means we're now looking at dramatically fewer options in EJ's Winceston offense.

Posted by: Gack | April 1, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

"I still think that except for Miami and Detroit, they can probably take anyone else in the playoffs. Or at least be really competitive. Yeah, they'll miss Caron, but if Hayes wants a big contract, if Haywood wants to prove that he's a real center, if Blatche is ready to go, they could still do some damage. Provided Gilbert and Jamison step up."

I think Les BouleS could have some success against Detroit if they can get ahead and the stars step up big time. On the contrary, I don't think they will have much success against Chicago, Miami, or Cleveland for sure, and can be competitive against Toronto, Knicks, Jersey, and Orlando.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 1, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

This team wasn't going to do much in the playoffs anyway, so the Caron injury doesn't hurt the team overall this year, I think. The downside -- aside from losing Caron because he was having a nice year -- is that if the Wizards lose, EJ and the FO can blame it on the Butler injury and still allow EJ to coach this team next year. I hope they still fire Jordan, regardless.

Andrew, I can sympathize with what you're saying, but even when they were winning all those games, you could tell this team was still fatally flawed. They beat Dallas by nine points, but almost gave up a 30-point lead. Gilbert scored 30 points, but the team gave up a late lead that led to overtime. I haven't been too happy with this team as a whole all season, and something has to change in the offseason, which is coming sooner rather than later.

Posted by: Colin | April 1, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert may be the team's biggest star and Antawn its quiet leader, but in a lot of ways Caron is the most important player on the tewam. Their record the past two seasons when he doesn't play is pretty dismal. He does a lot for this team that doesn't show up in the stat sheet, in addition to the multitude of things that do. Stevenson has had a few games in Caron's absence where he came up big. He'd better be ready to dial it up to 10 full time now.

The question now is: Who takes his place. Will Blatche be ready to go for Tuesday's game? If so, he should be th logical choice. The other option might be to start Songaila at PF and move Jamison to SF. Just, please, don't start Jarvis.

Posted by: kalorama | April 1, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

It's now or never for Gilbert to begin his takeover. I betcha if we get to the 2nd round, we'll see Caron back in there.

Don't give up on our guys quite yet...Gilbert's got the heart of a champion.

Posted by: Adam Anderson | April 1, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Don't fool yourselves folks, the Zards are a lottery team without one of the big three. Bank on a 2-8 record for the rest of the season and a 0-4 blowout in the playoffs.

Posted by: Zonker | April 1, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

We'll take whoever we play in the first round to 7 games before we bow out. I don't see us getting swept -- this team knows how to dig down, it's just that they don't ever do it unless their backs are against the wall.

I'm putting us at about 2:1 for a first round exit, though.

Posted by: Gack | April 2, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

LOL The Wiz just beat a bunch of no name, european bench warming rookies. With Caron they were praying to win. Without him? Colin, I agree brother. Eddie Jordan will slip past the radar but they need a new coach and bench. I listened to the game. it was sad. The announcer couldn't pronounce the names and the bucks guys needed a radar to find the basket or rim.

They pay Jordan how much?

Posted by: showup2 | April 2, 2007 1:09 AM | Report abuse

I find it difficult to have a lot of faith in this team even when its fully healthy. I'm not sure what they've done this year to prove that they can "dig deep" and grind out ugly wins. If this team played any kind of defense, then maybe they could survive without Butler. But when a team's second-leading scorer goes down, it's difficult to overcome. Especially when said team can't stop another team from scoring. But, as I've said, even with Butler, the Wizards are the same first-round fodder they were a year ago. It's sad to say, but it won't change until some defensive minded players join this team and the bench depth improves.

Posted by: Colin | April 2, 2007 1:15 AM | Report abuse

This team is the most entertaining team I have followed for a long time in any sport. The ups and downs of this Bullet season would make for a great book. In fact maybe when the dust settles Ivan and or Micheal can cash in on this season and chronicle it. I bet there is lots of behind the scene stuff that we are unaware of still: the conflict between the centers, the coaches love for non-productive players, the fact that by and large the team seems to like one another despite having a quirky star who hogs the ball even though he is supposedly a point guard, beating top level teams while losing to bad teams who are playing without their only good players. What is behind all of this? Needs to be analyzed when the season is over. It is a book that I'd love to read. Unfortunately I think I see what the last chapter will look like. This weekend made that plain.

Well, like everybody else you have to just feel bad for Caron and for the team. Hope he recovers quickly. My thoughts coincide with Colin's above. We seemed to be headed for a quick exit in the playoffs anyway. Unless Gil goes bonkers with Kobe-type numbers that is a certainty now. It is possible, but he just looks tired to me after playing so many minutes.

How long our spring lasts still depends on the seeding and match-up. We have 10 games to get adjusted to the post-Caron era. Teams with strong forwards have killed us anyway and now that will be even more true.
(Boozer, Bosh, Randolph, Wilcox, etc.) My initial fear was that this will hide the fact that we have deficiencies in lots of areas and that the off season will not be full of major adjustments. But then I thought that the next few weeks we will really see what Hayes and Blatche are made of. They can secure their spots now or show that they don't belong. Interesting that Hayes surprisingly seemed to step it up today and has had a couple of good games lately. Most of all with the headaches at center and now this, we will see what Coach Jordan is made of. That is my biggest fear.

Looks like Booth did well today, but is that sustainable? A lot of posters this weekend were hailing Ruffin's job as a great defensive stopper in the second half against the Raptors before his blunder. But what I saw was that Bosh seemed to coast a bit and gathered himself for the stretch. When the game got down to the nitty gritty he took Ruffin to the hole at will just like he had done to AJ. In fact we eventually saw Jamison back on him. But buckle your seat belts. We all know that will see a lot of Ruffin now. Gosh I hope I am wrong. Maybe the injury means we will see him at the 4 instead of at the 5. EJ may even use him at the 3 to stop a hot A. Nocioni or T. Prince.

Well the good thing is that we (the fans) will not go into the playoffs with a hope that we can go deep. Before this we all knew the team had problems but in the back of our minds was this hope (dream?) that we could ride the big 3 and get on a super roll like they did in December by just outscoring people. And we saw Songalia and Stephenson playing better, and Ernie actually using Blache. But now reality kicks in: The second season is still about toughness, heart, coaching, half court execution on both ends of the court, role players stepping up at home, stars shining on the road. Without Tough Juice we don't have a chance if Gilbert averages anything less than 50. Since we now don't expect to go far our disappointment when we make our exit will be much less.

Well I have always had complete confidence in Ernie G to do the right thing and I still think he sees what many of us see and his off season adjustments will be based upon all that has happened so far as well as all that will happen in the next month.
I still believe that the curse of Les Boulez is over. We now have real basketball wise person in the GM chair and he will make wise moves (ex. Kwame for Tough Juice).

But gang as far as this season is concerned... where is old Don Merideth when you need him? "Turn out the lights, the party is over!" Ivan, Mike, get your notes together and get your publisher on speed dial!


Posted by: BmoreRev | April 2, 2007 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Well, sad commentaries to a sad weekend. "Get Well" wishes to Caron Butler. I agree with my fellow bloggers - without a better bench, the ability to play defense and ability to sustain dynamic focus - the Wiz Kids are looking like first round fodder as some previously suggested.

This game was not good. Another team missing its franchise player & main guards. If you thought Zaza was a challenge to say - you should've heard the Sports Talk 980 announcer trying to pronounce the names of the Bucks bench players - all rookies.

BTW - Sad news for KG - 3rd yr out of playoffs. waste of a great/entertaining player. Same for Pierce.

Heh Ivan!
As always, Michael,
thanks for another great job. Keep us typing & thinking.

U guys R the Best

Thanks.Robin

Posted by: Robin | April 2, 2007 2:41 AM | Report abuse

This is just terrible news.

Our best bet at this point is start Blatche at the 4, and move Jamison to the 3. Bring Darius off bench behind Dray and Hayes backup Twan.

Posted by: Darnell | April 2, 2007 3:05 AM | Report abuse

You guys make me sick. If you fire Eddie Jordan who do you think you can get to coach this team? Seriously! Anything less than a Larry Brown type you are spitting in the wind. As for the loss of Butler, it's devastating. However, this is a time for everyone to step up and summon up some extra effort or something. As you can see everyone has already written them off. They can prove everyone wrong and have the last last. That should be their motivation.

Posted by: Joe Jackson Gibbs | April 2, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

"As for the loss of Butler, it's devastating. However, this is a time for everyone to step up and summon up some extra effort or something. As you can see everyone has already written them off. They can prove everyone wrong and have the last last. That should be their motivation. "

Yeah, the heroes on this team should step up again like they stepped up a few weeks ago when Caron was out with his knee injury. I guess you forgot they just got back from a 1-4 west coast road trip without Caron.

I said it before, I'll say it again. Maybe if the NBA had their all star game after the season ended, Gilby would still be performing at his all star level. Or, maybe if Gilby's birthday was during the summer instead of January.

GM: "MVP, MVP, MVP, MVPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!! SWADDDDAGGERRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!"

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

JJ Gibbs...My suggestion that Jordan be evaluated is not a knee jerk reaction.The question you raise is valid. with whom do you replace him?

Larry Brown would be a great hire. Grunfeld should go after him. He could give us a good year or 2 and get us to the next level before the usual mutiny starts. He would address their lack of heart and change the offensive oriented culture of these guys and that is what is most needed. For Brown if you don't play hard on D, you don't play. He has rings and would have Gilbert's respect which is important.

Even Mike Fratello would be an upgrade.

Jordan is not the worst coach in the league to me. But he has taken this group as far as he can.

Posted by: BmoreRev | April 2, 2007 8:17 AM | Report abuse

JJ Gibbs...My suggestion that Jordan be evaluated is not a knee jerk reaction. The question you raise is valid: With whom do you replace him?

Larry Brown would be a great hire. Grunfeld should go after him. He could give us a good year or 2 and get us to the next level before the usual mutiny starts. He would address their lack of heart and change the offensive oriented culture of these guys and that is what is most needed. For Brown if you don't play hard on D, you don't play. He has rings and would have Gilbert's respect which is important.

Even Mike Fratello would be an upgrade.

Jordan is not the worst coach in the league to me. But he has taken this group as far as he can.

Posted by: BmoreRev | April 2, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

BmoreRev,

I said it before, I'll say it again:

Larry, as great of an option that he is and as much of a great tutor he supposedly is with point guards, will never come here b/c Dishonest Abe burned his bridge with MJ when he booted him from mahogany row. MJ and Larry are tight UNC alum, and Larry would never, ever, take this Les BouleS job b/c of what happened to MJ. If anything, MJ would bring Larry to Charlotte after Bernie is relieved after this season, if he can convince that tightwad Bob Johnson to pony up some big bucks.

Also, don't bother considering Fratello. If you think Gilby doesn't like slow ball, and if he considers EJ's Pauperton Offense slow, then there's no way Arenas would gel with Fratello. Fratello ran slow ball at Cleveland, and did it again at Memphis. He's been booted for a reason.

Let's just hope if EJ gets canned, that Dishonest Abe will let EG pick his guy, instead of getting involved last time, which brought us Garfield Heard, whom Abe claimed to have knocked his socks off during the interview. We all know how that went.

Speaking of which, I'm surprised Jim Boeheim has never seriously considered a pro job.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Tough for the team and for Caron. Hopefully he isn't in too much pain and will make a quick recovery.

A couple of thoughts:

1) I know it is easy to get down right now with Caron being out, and with good reason. That being said, as a couple of other posters pointed out, we weren't likely to go that far in the playoffs anyway, and so, as I have stated before, this is an experience gainer for the playoffs more than anything.

2) Our team is hurt and down. This is the time for real fans to step up. Support the team here and in the arena. Get the positive vibes out. That doesn't mean we shouldn't kvetch in this forum, but almost everyone on here is a fan - thus, we want them to win. Let's balance our concerns with support and postive mojo.

3) This team plays better as underdogs IMO. We beat teams we shouldn't and lose to teams we shouldn't. We will almost certainly be the underdog in the first playoff series. Unless we are TOTALLY outmanned, we should have a real chance of winning that first series. Who totally outmans us? In playoffs, only Pistons and maybe Heat (if Wade is up to snuff, which I doubt). Seriously, think about it - doesn't this team play well as a dog?

4) Finally, this run of bad luck in the micro of the last few weeks reminds me of the macro bad luck of the years between the late 80's through MJ. Those are the teams that I watched as I grew to be a die hard fan. This team sans Butler is reminiscent of them. For all you old school Bullets fans, it's just like old times - except we will be in the PLAYOFFS.

Have heart folks. Being a fan when you expect your team to lose and it wins is the top of the emotional arc for die hards.

cj

(p.s. don't be silly - Ernie saw this team all season - he knows what to do - the last 10 games won't be cover for anyone, except for maybe Jarvis if he really steps up. There is no way no matter what that Eddie was or is getting canned this offseason)

Posted by: charles jones | April 2, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

In all seriousness, that "underdog" role is getting old now. What's this, the 3rd year in a row that we're going to the playoffs, and this year, limping in, in a sorry Eastern conference as the 5th seed where only 1 team (Detroit) is above .600? How have we built and improved in comparison to the competition over the past 3 years? This team, if you take away the hibachi hype and factor in the infighting, the MIA defense, the MIA offense at times, and the backbreaking games, has truly regressed.

Can this team really be considered an "underdog (ie. no pressure)" if they have 3 real all stars, all star coach, are the division leader, and the face of the franchise is one of the top scorers in the league and had his coming out party and his big whine that he deserved all the credos that were lacking from major sponsors?

Many other teams, sorry sub.500 lottery teams, who have been hurt and down, and we went ahead and lost to them too (ie. Atlanta, Portland, Knicks, Clips, Warriors, etc.) What's the excuse for that?

You don't have your "coming out party," and then disappear/retire the hibachi after the all star game, and then limp into the playoffs and want to be considered the underdog team. I admire your "keep your head up" pep talk Charles, but this may have been more effective and realistic if this were 2 seasons ago.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse


Just a few random Wizards thoughts:

1) There was an outside outside shot of going all the way before yesterday. Now that Butler is out, we are not making any sort of title run in the postseason.

2) Gilbert only plays up to his potential when he has a healthy Big 3. He also kicks off every playoff series with a dud before getting the nerves out. Someone else is going to have to step up.

3) Our impending free agents are going to be getting more minutes... if they play well, we could be losing the ones we want to keep to bigger deals elsewhere.

4) Songaila is going to make a big impact next year when he's fully healthy and has meshed with the team.

5) Jarvis Hayes, we knew thee well.

Posted by: Tha Jones 115 | April 2, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

DCMAN - it's simple - season is over in two weeks. I'll post the Vegas playoff series lines then. Scenarios as follow:

If we are fifth or sixth seed, we will be underdog to win series.

If we have fourth seed we likely will be playing Chicago. This is only scenario where we could be favored, but I think Chicago would still be favored.

If we have third seed, we will likely be playing Miami. We will not be favored.

Your comment isn't really on point with what I was saying, but in response to what you said, I am not happy to be underdogs at this point. I certainly had much higher hopes for the season. There has been dysfunction on the team at several levels. There is a dismaying lack of defensive intensity, and coach/BTH chemistry.

But you know what? This is my team, THE team I root for. THE team that needs support now. THE team that has made the playoff three years running, for the first time since the '70's. I don't know how long you have followed the Wiz, but for me, being in the playoffs is still an epiphany.

And, what other playoff team is going into the post-season w/o their second best player (who plays a position for which the bench is thin, at best)?

AND - they do play better as dogs.

Posted by: charles jones | April 2, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Its obvious that the problem is Wes Unseld Jr. He doing the same bad voodoo his father did to keep the curse alive. We need to send him to scout talent for us in Iran.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 2, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Mike | April 2, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

There's certainly reason to raise an eyebrow at some of Eddie's rotations and substitutions. But at the same time, looking at things with a clear perspective he is, in many respects, going into a gunfight with a half-empty clip. He has a roster full of bigs who'd be lucky to be first off the bench on most really good teams. He doesn't have a single player off the bench averaging more than 7 pts or 4 rebounds (now that Etan is starting and Brendan is likely out of the rotation). His only reliable backcourt backup is a 32 year old PG. His main backup SG/SF, who came into the league with a rep as a shooter/scorer, is putting up 6 pts and shooting 40% from the field. There's only so much he can do with what he has.

The Wizards are at a crossroads that most teams in the process of building a contender arrive at. They've made the first step from bad/lottery to good/playoffs. In a lot of ways that's the easiest one. The next step, from good/lottery to great/contender is much tougher and often requires the front office to take some risks, gamble, and shake things up. That can come in the form of a controversial trade of a popular player, the signing of a player with a questionable history, a major shakeup of the lineup/rotation, or a coaching change. If any of those things occur over the summer, they won't be a panic reaction to anything that happened this season; it'll just be a natural part of the building/development process.

Posted by: kalorama | April 2, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I like where your head's at, kalorama. Good post.

And Charles is right, of course, just because I'm bitter about losing CB3 doesn't mean I'm not going to be glued to the set during the playoffs.

For the first week, anyway :)

Posted by: Gack | April 2, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

B-Rev, Amen on your post. Ruffin on Bosh, I think EJ had to ride Ruff for to long. He was running on nothing but fumes at the end. Not making excuses for Ruff on that play but that's when big mistakes happen is when you're totally gassed. With all of the time he's missed, and the limited minutes he gets, he was spent at the end and had nothing left for overtime.
Everyone has the right to feel down after this weekend with the loss and Tough Juice's injury. But we got the split, for the month of March and the first day of April we are 8 and 8. During that time Jamison and Butler have both missed time as well as Blatch just when he was starting to really produce. To win playoff series you have to play just one game over .500 ball. We've been in just about every game, and the effort has been there. Defensive intensity, and rebounding effort are still problems and will be harder to fix without Butler, so it's going to have to be a team effort.
At about the time I thought Jarvis was going to shoot(and miss) his way off of the active roster, he has come alive and given us some solid games. Eddie should NEVER use him at the 4, he seems to thrive at the 2 and 3. I know that there are alot of posters that have been really frustrated with Jordan's minutes for Jarvis, but he may have played him into shape in time for the playoffs. Now it looks like we will really need him.
One of the toughest thing to learn in sports is how to play from a lead. How to maintain focus and an edge when you're out in front both in a game and for a season. How many times have you watched a young team race out to an unexpected lead only to have a group of vets catch them at the end?
Dealing with adversity, injuries, players upset about their role or lack of a role, are all things that a group of players and coachs need to go through to form the bond and really make a team. Many times it doesn't happen the chemistry just isn't there. But I just don't sense that with this team, they were more upset than any fan in the stands friday night. I think they really fought hard to even stay in that game on a night that they couldn't shoot. I may be crazy, but I just can't feel that bad about a loss when the effort is there.
I agree with B-Rev the curse is over, we've got a tough, savvy, experienced GM in EG that is watching this group closely and now is the time to see how people respond. We may not go deep in the playoffs but what's important right now is to see "how much fight we have in the dog".
Isn't a whole lot different than in business or life in general. Tough times are when you find out the character of those around you. Something can go wrong and some people are out the door at or before their shift ends. Others, without even being asked will just be there and say how long do you need me and what needs to be done?
Gilbert Arenas has overcome some pretty big hurdles to get to where he is today. I'm kind of thinking, here's a guy that relishes an up hill battle, when people are ready to write the Wiz off he's ready to show them they're wrong.
This has been a fun, wild, exciting, frustrating, up and down year! Stay tuned, it ain't over yet! Wasn't it Dick Motta that said, "The Oprah ain't over til the Fat Lady Sings"!

Posted by: GM | April 2, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Below are some funny quotes from today's Post article about CBut:

------------------------------------------

"Second round [of the playoffs], third round, possibly," Butler said when asked about a possible return. "Right now, I probably won't have a jersey on until next season."

When Butler approached the sideline, he said that no one, not even the team's training staff, had any idea that he was hurt "because I wasn't jumping around and causing a lot of attention to myself."


Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Charles Jones, I've got to agree with your post, it's time for real fans to step up.
Everything I said about the team applies to the fans too. Times like these are when character and class show. You know, some people have character, some are just plain characters!

Posted by: GM | April 2, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Something I heard Eddie say in an interview that will send shudders down most of your spines....

When asked what he plans to do with Caron out....he replied (among other things) "we may go small."

Posted by: Lisa | April 2, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey Lisa,

Yes, I shudder at the thought of the Wiz going small... but what other option is there until Haywood gets his head together and in the game? We know Booth and Ruffin aren't nearly what we need, and Bulletproof is still down, so there ain't too many options left.

As far as replacements for Butler, isn't Latrell Sprewell still available? A couple of 10-day contracts might help him feed his family.

I kid! I kid!

Posted by: iceberg | April 2, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The loss of CBut? DAGGGGGGGER!!!

Posted by: Mitch | April 2, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

And, what other playoff team is going into the post-season w/o their second best player (who plays a position for which the bench is thin, at best)?

AND - they do play better as dogs.

Posted by: charles jones | April 2, 2007 10:42 AM

-------------------------------------------

Suns did so last year w/o Stoudamire, Heat are holding the fort while Dwade is gone, Bosh holding the fort with both Bargnani and Calderon out, Detroit lost Big Ben to the Bulls for this season, Houston was without Yao for most of the season, Denver w/o Kenyon Martin, Clips w/o Sam Cassell, etc. You get the picture. Every team in the NBA has lost players during the season. Les BouleS injury filled season is nothing unique.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

EJ's benching of BTH is temporary. It means almost nothing. EJ will not cut his nose off to spite his face b/c if Les BouleS don't have BTH to do some hack a shaq, or try to contend against Big Z, etc., they will have no chance in the playoffs. If they get swept, EJ's job security will come to question.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Kalorama is right, this is a process and you can't get to step 3 before you go through step two.
I'm just convinced that we have the right front office in place to take the next step. Eddie Jordan will get the chance to see if he can get the most out of this team the rest of this year. Next year he will be under the gun to create a culture of expecting to win and expecting to perform at a high level.
As time goes on these guys will learn to act like they've been there before, because they have. Changing a losing culture takes time, by next year they should be looking for more than a date at the dance. They should expect to win the East.

Posted by: GM | April 2, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Strangely enough, I would be fine if we brought Sprewell in.....

Posted by: Lisa | April 2, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Ask yourself this GM, how are Gilby and AJ going to get better? Is Gilby going to take more shots? Is AJ going to suddenly become Bill Russell? Both are absurb questions, but clearly, AJ has peaked and most likely on a downward trend in his career.

I think with Gilby, what you see is what you'll get. Dude needs the ball in his hands and will shoot. That is his strength. You can't pound a square peg in a round hole. CBut is a tough, hardnose player, but not that athletic. Is he maxed out too? Who, besides AB, is hope off the bench? No one. What is Songaila going to do but continue to play savvy b-ball on a team that prefers helter skelter?

Who's coming here as a a free agent if they won't get the ball much? Who can we rely on at the 4 to get at least a double double? No one. I think Grunfeld needs to do some serious tinkering this offseason, and hopefully package a current player with our draft pick to trade up.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

JJ Gibbs, seriously, c'mon. What has EJ done in his tenure in Washington to prove that he's anything but a mediocre coach at best? His first was terrible (understandably so because Arenas and Hughes were never healthy at the same time). His second year was a vast improvement. His third year, the team regressed and exited in the first round. And this year, the team just isn't very good, and they'd do well just to match last year's win total. He's gone as far as he can go. He's a good assistant, but I don't like him as a head coach. He's the Norv Turner of the NBA, and it's time the Wizards get someone else to coach this team.

Posted by: Colin | April 2, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

There is almost no chance Jordan gets fired this summer, esp. after he just signed an extension. Grunfeld isn't blind. He knows this team has significant holes to fill. So far he's proven his ability to make good deals, both qualitatively and financially. He'll just have to step it up this summer.

Caron is quite athletic. He's just not the most explosive leaper on the block, which hasn't stopped him from becoming a big-time player who's improved each year.

Gilbert isn't going to get much better talent wise, but that's not a problem because his talent is top flight. Where he can/will/should improve is his mental/emotional approach to the game, which is something that should come as a function of more maturity and experience.

Posted by: kalorama | April 2, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

This isn't an April Fool's joke, right??

Posted by: Patty | April 2, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Colin, I hear what you are saying. I would give Eddie another year though. Everyone here is talking about getting a coach to take this team to the next level. I don't agree with replacing Jordan with someone like Mike Fratelo. I think Larry Brown would come here because the team has some potential. I don't think LB is concerned about what happened here with MJ. I believe he wants back in period. He doesn't want a rebuilding project like Charlotte.

Posted by: JJ Gibbs | April 2, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Kalorama,

I agree with most of your points, but with regard to Gilby's talent being top flight, I'd have to say yes and no. Dude is hot and cold, and since the all star break, he's been mostly cold. I thought hibachi was back after he got his shoulder fixed. Now, who knows? He was "0-for" in OT against the Raptors.

If EJ wants to run the Princeton offense on this team, he'll need to convince EG to bring in the personnel to do that. Right now, Les Boules strength is helter skelter. As I said before, you can't pound a square peg into a round hole. Making Gilby run a princeton offense is like making Lavar Arrington into a drop back, TE covering linebacker. It's just stooooopid.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

This is a rebuilding project, but one with a lot more upside and potential than Les BouleS. Having 3 UNC alum doesn't hurt either, nevermind with MJ as your back.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/roster?team=cha

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

dishes are done. looks like gilbert has to jack up 30 3's during a game. Gilby is very shrewd with his shot selection so if he goes 0 for his first 15, he will be wise enough to look for an alternative shot......................NOT!

Posted by: justin | April 2, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

You can't pound a square peg into a round hole, but you can shave the edges down so it will fit. Gilbert is still making a transition from being a shoot first and only PG to being comfortable with creating for others. It's probably one of the toughest transitions to make in the NBA, but he's shown signs over the course of this season at getting better at it. Is he all the way there yet? No. But that doesn't mean he can't get there.

And the biggest problem with the Wizards running the Princeton offense isn't Gilbert. The problem is that they don't have a post player who regularly commands enough defensive attention to help create those cutting lanes around the basket. The Princeton offense needs guys who can shoot (See J. Wallace, Georgetown University). But without any post presence offensively, the opposing bigs are free to clog the lane and impede most attempts at cuts or backdoors.

Posted by: kalorama | April 2, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I think Les BouleS are better served bringing in, or drafting someone like Steve Blake who will defer to Gilby, but still manage to run the offense. Gilby being a pass first guy takes away from his natural ability.

"And the biggest problem with the Wizards running the Princeton offense isn't Gilbert."

I'd have to disagree. If Gilby continues to jack up the # of shots that he jacks up, and prefers to run a "helter skelter" type of offense, then you can't tell me that he's not the biggest impediment to EJ wanting to run the Pauperton Offense.

AJ has some inside ability, but for whatever reasons, this "veteran" and leader prefers to drop bombs from the outside. Don't everyone cry at once, but be reminded that we could have traded the #1 pick (Kwame) for Elton Brand. Ouch.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

DC88,

Your thoughts about Brown and the MJ Carolina connection were a reminder of something I had forgotten about. Yet I am not sure that Larry Brown would want to rebuild from scratch in a place like Charlotte. Yes he may have some kind of principles that make him hesitate, but bottom line is he seems to like challenges that could show his greatness (ex. Clippers to playoffs years ago), he may be getting bored, and this is a great opportunity for him. He would see that we are not too far away from really contending and so I think at the right price he'd take it. Just my opinion.

Posted by: BmoreRev | April 2, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't rule him out 100%, but I seriously doubt it, nevermind the fact that the tightwad Dishonest Abe would never pay the amount of money it took for Detroit and the Knicks to get him.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Kalorama, You're right about Arenas. Look at Chancy Billups career, there was a time when nobody thought he could run a team. Now he's regarded as one of the best. Or Nash, he left the Suns because they thought he was never going to develop an overall game to take a team to the next level. Dallas let him walk because the thought he played offense only. Gee, the guy is in the running for his third striaght MVP. I think he might have improved a smidge over the years. Nobody lets an MVP walk!
Two cases of guys that work at their game continuing to improve as they age. Gilbert's only 25, he will continue to improve and grow for years.
One overlooked point about Arenas that I've heard some basketball people comment on. Larry Hughes signed here and played two years with MJ. Had some injury issues, but had never sniffed Allstar caliber in his career including a stint with AI in Philly. Arenas comes in and he makes the Allstar team, but hasn't returned to that status in Cleveland with "The King" who is supposed to be a Magic like player.
Not taking anything away from Caron or Jamison, neither has had an Allstar like year when they weren't playing with Arenas. For a guy that is supposed to be a selfish egotistical ballhog, it sure doesn't ring true that three different players have had career years running with him.
Gilbert is smart enough and savvy enough to realize that he has to work on different areas of his game to grow and improve. He'll be the lynchpin of this team for years if we're lucky enough to have him stay around.

Posted by: GM | April 2, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Didn't someone once coin the phrase that "hope is for fools?" This is the 4th season Gilby has been here, and although we've made the playoffs the past two years, we've regressed these past 3 years. Let's not bring up anything about all star games. We all know that these are for PR only and are strictly popularity contests. How did Shaq make the All star game and Yao Ming voted in when they were injured most of the 1st part of the season? Hmmmmm.....

How did Gilby get to start the all star game this year? Well, Iverson got traded and Gilby got all his friends and neighbors to vote for him and went on a PR campaign with his coming out party. All star games means squat with regard to championships.

Larry Hughes ain't in no all star game this year, but his Cavs are ahead of Les BouleS in the standings, and this is given the fact that Mike Brown is a slow ball guy, totally unsuited for either Lebron or Larry's game, Larry had a wrist injury, and the most important thing, Larry's younger brother died last year. How would you be playing if you lost your younger brother?

So, you can continue to hope and pray and try to compare career growth between one player vs. the next, but it at the end, don't be too disappointed if you're strung along and this greatness that you're witness to now doesn't amount to a hill of beans. Hero worshipping is a waste of time. I want to see results, not hedge my bets on hope.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Not taking anything away from Caron or Jamison, neither has had an Allstar like year when they weren't playing with Arenas. For a guy that is supposed to be a selfish egotistical ballhog, it sure doesn't ring true that three different players have had career years running with him."

A point I've made several times when debating Arenas's supposed "selfishness" with others. But it always seems to fall on deaf ears. Somtimes old labels and misconceptions are just hard to shed.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 2, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

JJ, I'm just not sure what another year would do. He's had almost four full years, and in the last two, the teams has regressed or stagnated. They really haven't advanced. The same problems that have plagued Jordan's teams since Day 1 affect the team he has now. EJ himself is making the same mistakes he always has, including a misuse of his big men and his general substitution patterns. I just think he's gone as far as he can go, and they should seriously consider someone else, in particular, Larry Brown.

Posted by: Colin | April 2, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why people keep referring to the All Star game as some milestone in one's life. It's a great honor, but once again, it's a popularity contest. Accumulating all star honors doesn't amount to a single championship. Go ask Karl Malone and John Stockton or Charles Barkley. Last I checked, Agent Gilby wasn't an all star until he started playing with AJ. All star or not, Agent Gilby can't will this team a win without the other two guns playing in top form.

Even at top form, they still lose to mediocre teams. 1-4 on the west coast trip sans Butler, and lost to Toronto just the other day with the team at full strength while Toronto was missing both Bargnani and Calderon, which I've said many many times, but has fallen to deaf ears.

People are dismissing the selfish claim, but last I checked, AJ and Caron have been creating most of their shots since this team has been doing mostly one on one. Don't make Gilby out to be Nash, Stockton, or Magic.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to be a downer but I don't believe we will even make the playoffs now.

Posted by: Lisa | April 2, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

That's a shocker Souf-East Lisa. Even I think Les BouleS will make the playoffs, but if they don't, it'll be a blessing in disguise. Even if Les Boules don't win the lottery, they'll be ample good players up to #12. We can only hope and pray.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

"But you know what? This is my team, THE team I root for. THE team that needs support now. THE team that has made the playoff three years running, for the first time since the '70's. I don't know how long you have followed the Wiz, but for me, being in the playoffs is still an epiphany."

There you go CJ, go down with the ship! ;)

You know, I never expected them to go deep into the playoffs but I'll be there rooting them on and cursing at EJ all the same. They're my team, and after they get eliminated I will probably not watch very much basketball. Why? Because I'm a homer and the Wiz won't be in there. :)

Whatever happens, happens.

Saying that maybe this will force the team to FINALLY be a team.

Just a reminder....Grunfeld wasn't the one to hire Jordan. But I do think he will get one more year as coach.

Again, get Gasol and Navarro and this team is pretty hard to beat next year. They WOULD be the Suns of the East with that line-up.

Are you ready for some smallball!!!!!!

"Even Mike Fratello would be an upgrade."

That's rough dude. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | April 2, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

It'd be difficult for the Wizards NOT to make the playoffs. They'll qualify, but they won't go anywhere. A sweep or a loss in five games is very possible. With Butler, I think they would've just wound up losing in six, so it's not like much will change.

Posted by: Colin | April 2, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

A blessing in disguise? What are you smoking???

So many times...makes me want to pull a Lorena Bobbitt.

Posted by: Lisa | April 2, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Even though we haven't even gotten to the playoffs yet, it does feel that it's almost "we'll get 'em next year time." But, I know we'll all be pulling for them the rest of the way. That being said, this discussion about what to do for next year is an interesting one. Let's play GM ... who should we go after to fill the obvious holes on this team? Gasol sounds good, but I don't think we have the assets to swing a deal. Who else??

Posted by: WestCoastWizard | April 2, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse

They should go after a head coach. Larry Brown first, then look elsewhere. (And I know EJ signed an extension, but I got the feeling Grunfeld didn't want to offer it. I think the organization was strong armed into the move because of Gilbert. And I say this offseason, if Grunfeld doesn't think EJ can get the job done, he needs to let EJ go, regardless of what Gilbert says. Arenas hasn't done anything in this league yet that he can determine the direction of the franchise.) But mostly, the Wizards really do need to find a consistent post presence and a defensive minded player. I would also not be averse to seeing the team sign a true PG. Right now, this team does not have a true PG that it can rely on. Gilbert isn't a PG. He's a combo. AD really isn't a PG, either. He, too, is more of a combo guy. Donnell Taylor is a PG, but he's not that effective.

Posted by: Colin | April 2, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Souf-East Lisa,

Ouch, only if you use your teeth....but then you'd be busy gagging...

Sometimes, I wanna pull an Ike Turner on you babe.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 2, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Well, I think that entire exchange was completely unnecessary. Let's try to stay on point in here. No need for that garbage.

Posted by: Colin | April 2, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey Lisa, I think we'll still make the playoffs -- but won't have homecourt advantage.

They would have to go 0-fer these last 10 games and everyone else below would have to catch fire for that to happen, which I don't think would occur.

Right now the gap between #6 and #8 is about 6 games, so Indiana and New York would be the closest teams there. They're 3-7 and 2-8 their last 10 games, so I don't see them blazing into the playoffs.

Sorry you're so down, but keep ya head up. There will still be playoff games for the Wiz after these next 10.

Posted by: iceberg | April 2, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Iceberg, I hope you are right. Tonight on Comcast Sports Net they mentioned that the playoffs are not a certainty and that there is only a 5 game difference between the Wiz and several other teams.

Posted by: Lisa | April 2, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Well there are 10 games left. With Caron's injury it is very easy to get discouraged about the rest of the spring beyond the season. It is also easy to start thinking about what we can do beyond this year and what changes ought to be made. (Pecherov, Navarro, Gasol, coaching changes, what looks like a deep college draft, etc.) But for now it is time to pull for the guys to go as far as we can. Who knows maybe this adversity will be good for them. But there are 10 games left So just like the team should, I am going to just focus on the rest of the season. No more talk of after April 18 for at least 2 weeks!

It starts with 2 against those pesky Bobcats. I have been wondering, what are the things that I will be watching for in these next 2 weeks? Here is my top 5:

#5 How will Coach Jordan seek to replace Caron's rebounding and toughness? Use Hayes who he sees as a rough defender? Hope Blatche gets tougher? Drop Jamison to the 3 and use Songalia and Ruffin at the 4? I hope he plays Jamison at the 3.

#4 Will Coach Jordan seek to get Antoine and Gilbert more rest in these 10 games or will he be so concerned about winning these games that they play 45-46 minutes each? I hope he gives them rest.

#3 Will Coach Jordan seek to force the team to push the tempo and play 3-ball or seek to get them to play more playoff style ball which includes getting more serious about 48 minutes of defense? (stopping penetration, protecting the rim) I hope he stresses getting better at the half court game on both ends.

#2 Which players will Coach Jordan hang his hat on for big minutes at the 5 will we see Haywood, Thomas, Ruffin, Songalia or Booth? and more importantly why? What will be his thought process? Rewarding defensive skills such as playing screen/roll and rebounding and rotating, match-ups against opposition or simple ability to score? My conviction is that in the playoffs we ought to use all our fouls up and play them all! Let us foul all our centers out but stop the easy buckets! Start Booth and work your way down to Brenden. Haywood, of course, would never go for the strategy even though he would be most effective in the fourth quarters with his long wing span. Again, this is where coaching canmake a big difference.

#1 Which of the players will take it upon themselves, if given a chance, to really make a statement with the new void that exists? Hayes? Stevenson? Blatche? Thomas? Daniels? Songalia? Booth? For us to make any noise at all someone has got to consistently step it up big time. With all our complaining about the coach, this is most important. And the veteran leaders like Jamison and Daniels may need to exert some leadership.

Posted by: BmoreRev | April 2, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

If it was me calling the shots, I'd go with this lineup:

PG: Arenas (90%) / Daniels (10%)
SG: Stevenson (85%) / Hayes (15%)
SF: Jamison (70%) / Songaila (30%)
PF: Blatche (80%) / Haywood (20%)
C: Thomas (60%) / Booth (40%)

I'd keep Roger ready to go in as a gunner if needed, and Ruffin would basically be an enforcer sent in to hack the daylights out of somebody like Shaq, and that's it.

Posted by: Gack | April 2, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

The rest of the team will all be scared now, coz they don't want to break a finger! Oh well, so much for improving the defense.

Posted by: bdunkadunk | April 2, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Give the Hayes' 15% to Mason or Donell Taylor and that is a lineup I can go with. Blatche and Booth can be the guys that can keep this ship afloat without Caron if Eddie plays them.

Posted by: George Templeton | April 2, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Who will show up in the next 10 games is simple. We'll see game time. Arenas - He'll show up - its all publicity for him besides his ego won't allow him to NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. You have to understand a man's persona!!!

If you recall - Arenas voted himself into the All Star games. this opportunity won't pass without him present either. Arenas,the media, PR hound, can't lose the marketing opportunity. Arenas(self)must make the playoffs and will. Hell or hi H2O

Why don't you guys stop worrying - sit back, write down your rotation options then watch. They will be fine. Sadly, the most difficult problem these guys have is their coach. Cuz AJ, Hayes, Stephenson & Arenas will rise!
I saw them eat their Wheaties!
"The breakfast of champions"
I have no doubt. Ej? Uh Oh! Now THATS the prob..Lets have some faith - give them space to advance and succeed to the best of their ability. Inspite of EJ's strange rotations. Lets live in the moment - 1 game at a time.

Posted by: robin | April 3, 2007 1:00 AM | Report abuse

I want us to keep Eddie! I think you all have been sniffin that year old beef jerky again! Eddie is the best young coach in the game. I hope he is here the next 10 years.

As far as next season... I hope to see us bring in Pecherov and Juan Carlos Navarro. We don't need any free agents if we can bring in and keep our own.

1. Bring in Pecherov

2. Bring in Navarro

3. Draft Rush in 1st http://draftexpress.com/viewprofile.php?p=78

4. Draft Shakur in 2nd http://draftexpress.com/viewprofile.php?p=163

5. Keep Stevenson

Posted by: Darnell | April 3, 2007 1:25 AM | Report abuse

But then I think what about the Haywood situation? Obviously he has to go... can we get a 1st round pick for him? Aaron Gray and Marc Gasol are 2 centers with skill who will probably go later part of the 1st round. Gasol is of course Pau's brother and intrigues me the most. http://draftexpress.com/viewprofile.php?p=155


Centers: Etan, Blatche, Gasol
PFs: Jamison, Pecherov, Songaila
SFs: Butler, Hayes, Hall
SGs: Stevenson, Navarro, Rush
PGs: Arenas, Daniels, Shakur

Posted by: Darnell | April 3, 2007 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Ok how about this?

Trade Haywood and our 2nd round pick for a late 1st. Use that pick on Gasol.

Use our 1st round pick on Rush

Sign our own players: Pecherov, Navarro, and Stevenson... and Booth and Hayes

Maybe something like this?
Centers: Etan, Booth, Gasol
PFs: Blatche, Pecherov, Songaila
SFs: Jamison, Hayes, Rush
SGs: Butler, Stevenson, Mason
PGs: Arenas, Navarro, Daniels

Posted by: Darnell | April 3, 2007 1:57 AM | Report abuse

"A blessing in disguise? What are you smoking???"
-Lisa

Ummm...I have to agree with DCMANN on this one. If this had to happen, I wish it was a couple of weeks ago bc then we could quite possibly miss the playoffs, which would mean a better draft pick in the deepest draft in years according to the "experts".

As is they have two games against Charlotte, one vs Atlanta, and one against Indiana. Of course with this team these are all losable as well.

Colin, I like your Norv Turner analogy and since I did not get it copyrighted I can't really complain, but I made that analogy about 2/3 months ago. It's spot on.

I think the problem here is although as I fan I like this team better than most Wiz/Bullets teams of the past, oh, twenty years or more, this team is going nowhere as currently constructed. I don't need another 3 years of first round playoff loses to see this either. Lot's of strange puzzle pieces.

EJ's main problem is he failed to get this team to play even a modicum of defense. Whether that is x's and o's or poor motivation, this team is Swiss cheese and, unfortunately, it involves Arenas and Jamison two of the teams "best" players. Arenas could play defense but doesn't and Antwan just doesn't have the skill set

Posted by: Rob P | April 3, 2007 2:04 AM | Report abuse

FYI, Arenas is missing the synthetic ball!!! -His shooting percentage has to be down 5/7% since the switch (can anyone find out?) That ball provided him a better grip and gave him a more consistent feel for shooting. I GUARANTEE there is something to this. He was simply more confident shooting that ball and dribbling that ball for that matter.

Posted by: Rob P | April 3, 2007 2:12 AM | Report abuse

"FYI, Arenas is missing the synthetic ball!!! -His shooting percentage has to be down 5/7% ........"

He's also missing a few cards short of a full deck.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 3, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

DC you keep us laughin, LOL, LOL, LOL!! But I agree with you. He's pure self and media hound. Thats why I say - that guy won't miss the playoffs.

To add something about the darn synthetic ball. As I recall & not forgotten - per(Magic, Barkley, Smith, King James, R. Wallace & the other prognosticators)said that ball was great for "poor shooters."
Players whose percentage wasn't higher prior to the ball - suddenly had a higher shooting percentage. hmmmmmmm

When they took away synthetic ball - their percentages went down. Not saying anything but Arenas collects the synthetic ball.

Again, I say: THESE 4-6 GUYS WILL RISE TO THE CHALLENGE. Arenas, Stevenson, Jamison,Daniels, Thomas & Ruffin.
Songalia & Blatch will do fine filling in.
Hummm maybe Booth as well. But get him in early enough to get his legs under him.

No sudden strange in-out substitutions like EJ does constantly. That kills em.

Just play them as many minutes as you can.

Run the big horses til you win the race.
They will rise to the occasion.

Posted by: robin | April 3, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the last post. Lets just chill & have faith. these dudes are all professional - seasoned players.

dcman you're a fool man..too funny.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I've said it once, I'll say it again:

"You've got to laugh, because otherwise, you'd cry."

It'd be a tragedy of immense proportions, that Gilby missed those critical free throws at the end of the final playoff game last season where Lebron whispered in his ear, and then IF this year, they don't even make the playoffs. I still think they will, but if they don't, it'll be a monumental collapse and choke job. From 2 all stars, division leading, hibachi, and coach of the all star game, to lottery. You'd have to blow up the team if they don't make the playoffs.

It'd be worse than GM leaving Verizon after the Toronto collapse last week.

If Gilby misses the playoffs, I would expect him to do something like what Dexter Manley did way way back after what I think the Skins had that collapse against the Eagles where they returned a fumble for a TD in a playoff game as we were about to score? Next thing you know, Dexter relapsed back into his coke habit.

You know, that final mansion scene in Scarface where Al Pacino/Tony Montana clears out his desk and drops a few pounds of nose candy on the desk and inhales like a shop vac. Oh boy.... Gilby might have to vacation in the funny farm this summer to recover if Les BouleS are shut out from the playoffs. Oh boy....

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 3, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Robin said:

"Magic, Barkley, Smith, King James, R. Wallace & the other prognosticators)said that ball was great for "poor shooters."
Players whose percentage wasn't higher prior to the ball - suddenly had a higher shooting percentage. hmmmmmmm"

Not true. Hollinger ran numbers before and after the synthetic switch (when everyone was complaining about how awful the new ball was), and there was no statistically significant change in any of the major stats.

The mental difference for someone like Gilbert who is all about mind games, is probably very real. But the physical properties of the ball haven't been shown to be really having any kind of measurable effect.

And besides, when did we start listening to Barkley, Eggy Smith, Sheed, or Queen LeTravel?

Posted by: Gack | April 3, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who think we miss the playoffs, almost no chance! We could go 0-10 and still be the 7th seed.

Posted by: Donkey | April 3, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"Trade Haywood and our 2nd round pick for a late 1st. Use that pick on Gasol."

Unless the Wiz have a time machine, they can't draft Gasol. And even if they could, he'd be gone long before the late 1st round.

The Wizards have nothing the Grizz want (with the slim outside exception of Arenas who isn't going to be dealt).

Posted by: kalorama | April 3, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Much rather see the Wiz draft Byars(Vand), Thornton(FSU), Affalo(UCLA), or Tucker(Wisc) over Brandon Rush.

And in the second hope that Nick Fazekas falls to them or they make a move up.

Posted by: dc | April 3, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I think they are refering to his brother.

http://www.nbadraft.net/admincp/profiles/marcgasol.html

Posted by: dc | April 3, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

As donkey says, the chances of the wiz not making the playoffs is very slim indeed. We would basically have to go 1-9 or 10-0 and every team below us would have to win at least 7 out of the last 10. Could it happen? I guess, but seems very unlikely, particularly since the bobcats and hawks are both in the tank for the durant/oden sweepstakes.

Of more concern to me is the chance that we get swept in the first round of the playoffs. I think that would deal a major blow to the team that would last into next season, Butler or no Butler.

However, I don't see that happening either. None of the eastern teams are that overpowering, and I think Gilbert will get his groove back.

Let's go Wiz.

Posted by: charles jones | April 3, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

In thinking about next year's roster, I think that it is important to note that we never really got to see what EG thought would be this year's roster all on the floor healthy at the same time.
I think that we've seen in the last few weeks, with Songalia maybe at only 75%, that he was a bigger peice to the puzzle than many of us expected. Having a big that can come out high in the Princeton and find the cutters and make the pass really makes this offense click. Songalia has enough range to hit the open shot from the top of the key to make defenses quit sagging into the lane and jamming up our cutters and waiting for Arenas to drive.
And with just an ordinary post game(looks incredibly polished compared to our other bigs)he's able to get teams to play us honestly and opens up the floor for our perimeter game. To me it's interesting to note that since Songalia has been healthy Arenas assist numbers have been inching up.
In the last two years EG has replaced Kwame Brown, Larry Hughes and Jared Jeffries with Caron Butler, Stevenson, and Songalia, and avoided two crippling cap busting long term deals in the process that would have hamstrung his efforts to improve the team further.
Kwame was never going to figure out the Princeton, he's having a hard enough time with the triple post where his role is to be one of the guys that's not part of the triple post. Stevenson is a stronger on the ball defender than either Hughes or Jeffries and is a better Matchup against D Wade. Hughes lost his bid for a big contract here when D Wade torched him in that playoff series.
Songalia vs. Brown in the Princeton offense, and as a intelligent help defender, no contest. And Caron Butler, Caron Butler is an Allstar! I know that some feel that the Allstar game is nothing but a popularity contest, but here's a brain teaser for you, when was the last time that a team won an NBA crown without a current or former Allstar on their roster? How many times has it happened in the last 50 yrs? "Allstars and Championships have no conection," Yeah right!
My point is that each of the moves that EG has made has made this into a tougher, more physical,smarter, team. This year the injury bug struck early and has kept Jordan from having his full rotation available at one time. We're in first place on April 3rd, with a roster that has never been at 100%, I'm not sure I'd call that regression.
It's a part of this game the best laid plans can blow-up in your face because there is only so much money to spend and so many roster spots available. Every year there are teams that are forcast to make the playoffs that don't because of injuries, we may be limping in but we're still getting there. Once in anything can and sometimes will happen. Our only Championship year, we were a team that limped in and were down 3 to 1 to the Spurs and then stormed back and won it all.
Looking at next year, I agree any moves have to start with EG's evaluation of Navarro and Pecherov and where they fit in. If we retain Stevenson, and I think we will, the addition of Navarro would give us a solid three guard rotation and would further diminish Daniels playing time. Taylor hasn't been able to crack the active roster very often so with another guard on board he's probably gone. A quick point gaurd with good defensive skills would be nice off the bench. Teams that have thoose pesky quick little guys do seem to give us some matchup problems.
In the front court, finding a center that has the skills to work in the Princeton has to be a priority. Thomas and Haywood both lack the hands for it and both have pretty ordinary post-up games. Like it was said here before, you can shave the edges off of a sq. peg to make it fit in a round hole. We could get along with these guys if they could except their roles, but I think it's past that with Haywood the edge is never coming off now.
Trade partners will vary quite a bit between now and the draft due to not knowing at this moment who will declare. There are also some situations that will develop with some Allstar front court guys who will be on the move. This offseason Garnett,Gasol, and O'Neal will all be in play. I don't think we'll have enough powder in the Keg to do a deal with Minn. or Indy. Portland and the Kings will also be in the salary dump mode so there will be some other vets floating around. The group of FA's vs. the number of buyers indicate a market where some are going to have to except sign and trade deals to get their money.
Things I've read out of Memphis indicate that they are really looking to get out from under Gasol's deal and retool with younger lower priced guys that they can control for the next two to three years before they can become FA's.
There seems to be a trend that this is a year that teams will value draft picks over Vets more like the NFL. It could be a time that a guy like Gasol could be gotten for less than you might think.
The other name out there that could greatly improve the team's greatest weakness, but could be way too big of a problem off the floor would be Ron Artest. He can really play anything from the 4 to the 2 and defend almost anyone and is a rugged rebounder with an offensive game that would work in this offense. If we end up keeping Haywood or Thomas, I bet neither would pick a fight with that guy. I'm not sure that he'd be worth the gamble of putting up with his off the court issues, but it would toughen us up real quick.

Posted by: GM | April 3, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The Gasol I was talking about is Marc Gasol. He is Pau's brother.

He is a 7-1 Center, and expected to go late in 1st round. Supposedly not very athletic, but good size, plays physical in the post, soft hands and array of post scoring moves, nice touch and passing ability.

Sounds perfect for us.
Check it out: http://draftexpress.com/viewprofile.php?p=155

Posted by: Darnell | April 3, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

GM, would you mind including a table of contents and an index with your posts? :)

AJ is quoted to the effect that a lot of teams wouldn't want to face the Wiz in the playoffs. I think he must have mispoken and that what he really meant is that EVERYONE wants to face the Wiz in the playoffs. Who wouldn't want to shoot 55% plus?

Posted by: Mitch | April 3, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Gosh GM..I'm with Mitch...can we get an index & glossary?

Wiz can be successful inspite of the loss of Butler. If Eddie J will limit his eradic substitutions - keep his players focused: Prepare for battle.

To quote Sir Winston Churchill: "We shall not fail or falter we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job."

" Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense."

This ladies and gents should be Wizards theme for the next 10 games.

(DCMan..don't kill me!!! - but this team weak on defense - must prepare for battle determined to win - not just 1 game but determine to win all 10. EG obviously watching & taking notes...the weak will be discarded at the end. On to Charlotte!!

Posted by: Robin | April 3, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

An interesting post GM, but since the Kings are in salary dump mode, maybe Brad Miller is the sort of center we could be looking for (inspite of his rather large contract). Here is the other question. It seems like Navarro being over here is a fait accompli, but that buyout is still a big obstacle, what should be the alternate plan if Navarro stays in Europe again?

Posted by: George Templeton | April 3, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Guys I know it got long...George, Miller could be the kind of guy to play center for us, he knows the Princeton, can shoot and pass, is a rugged rebounder, and sets a mean pick. Downside is that contract, and he doesn't have a lot of lateral quickness which makes him a less than average defender.
Another guy that they have who has been playing more backup center this year is Shareef Abdur-Rahim. He's always had a good postup game and is a pretty good rebounder. I've actually thought he has looked pretty decent this year as a reserve. Contract isn't that big, but alot of wear and tear on his knees. I think he's 29 or 30 but this is his 11th year.
And they also have Kenny Thomas, a defensive minded, tough rebounding power forward.
So the Kings could be a trade partner. Did they get funding for that new arena? If they didn't, I'd look for them to tear that team apart,lose for awhile, and try to head to sunny LV.
In the draft I've always kind of liked Acie Law as a point gaurd, not sure if he'd be in our reach. A guy who intrigues me as a change of pace gaurd that could match up with thoose pesky little points that always give us fits would be Nate Robinson from the Knicks. I think he's a restricted FA this year, I'd wonder far Thomas can go to retain him. At the very least we should run the price up on Thomas!

Posted by: GM | April 3, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

In November 38.95%
In December 47.62%
In January 41.12%
In February 34.73%
In March 43.51%


Well, I finally stopped being lazy. Here are Arenas' percentages by month. If you discount his slow start he definitely cooled off after the ball change in Jan. I combine that with his own comments and that's why I believe it did have an effect on him. From Dec to Jan he dropped 6%, granted this is not absolute statistical proof.

As far as all the GM's out there, the one person I believe in is EG. I don't think we are going to see any major trades to alter this roster though. I believe we will see our former picks next year and, hopefully, he can find a late round stud/steal. At least someone who provides rebouding, D, and toughness. I dream too of the perfect big man to replace Etan or H'wood, but it just ain't going to happen. The rest of the NBA minus 2/3 clubs are looking for the same. Will this make us appreciably better next year, probably not.
If we remain one player away, perhaps that player will fall in our lap eventually.

Finally, we did lose to Charlotte tonight by 20!!! I like the hardcore fans here, but you can stick a fork in this team.

What does it mean for EJ?

Posted by: Rob P | April 3, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

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