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LAS VEGAS - San Antonio's braintrust of R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich has produced the NBA's model franchise and four championships in the past eight years, so I don't know if it's right for me to doubt it.

The Spurs don't make too many mistakes. The only major blunder I can think of was 2003, when they drafted Leandro Barbosa, the reigning sixth-man of the year, for the Phoenix Suns and passed on Josh Howard, 2007 all-star, in the process (It hasn't hurt too much since they've won two NBA championships since then).

However, after watching Luis Scola playing for Argentina the past week and a half, I am completely stunned that the Spurs traded him - for little more than cap room - and to division rival Houston at that.

Scola is physical, relentless and he can score in a variety of ways, inside and out. He has led Argentina, the 2004 Olympic gold medalists, to a 7-0 record in the FIBA Americas Championship despite the absence of the Spurs' Manu Ginobil, Fabricio Oberto, Charlotte's Walter Hermann, Chicago's Andres Nocioni and former Temple star Pepe Sanchez. He is averaging a team-high 17.8 points and eight rebounds. He had 23 points and 12 rebounds in comeback, overtime win against Brazil on Wednesday.

Too bad the biggest game of this Olympic qualifying tournament between unbeaten Argentina and the United States won't tip off until midnight Eastern time, but it might be worth losing some sleep to check out Scola. "He's a very active player. He does everything and anything," said LeBron James, who has seen Scola up close in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and last summers world championships in Japan. "He continues to get better every summer. He's a very good player and we need to be in tune and keep a bottle on him."

Scola, a 6-foot-9 power forward, won Spanish League MVP last season for Tau Ceramica and has been regarded for some time as the best foreign player to never play in the NBA. That will change when he saddles up to next to Yao Ming this fall. The Spurs may regret that it wasn't Tim Duncan.

The 27-year-old Scola is better and younger than Fabricio Oberto, his countryman and the Spurs' starting power forward on the NBA championship team last June. But the Spurs reportedly had some concerns over how he would mesh with Duncan. Yao will certaining enjoy having Scola watching his back.

San Antonio drafted Scola in the second round in 2002 and they typically draft foreign players and let them play overseas until they need them (i.e. Ginobili and Oberto). They had hoped to sign him two years ago, but he reportedly had a ridiculous $14.5 million buyout, so they chose to sign Oberto instead. Last year, when it became obvious that Scola wouldn't come stateside again, his agent blamed the Spurs and told the San Antonio Express-News that "in the country of liberty, he is being held prisoner."

Much like the situation with Juan Carlos Navarro, Scola's team reduced the buyout to a more amenable $3 million, but the Spurs had already decided to go in a different direction. They selected one of his teammates on Tau Ceramica, Brazilian forward Tiago Splitter, in the first round of the NBA draft (Splitter, by the way, has looked pretty good here, too).

Believing they had a cheaper and younger version of Scola in Splitter, the Spurs helped Scola pursue his dreams of playing in the NBA this summer. They had hoped to keep him out of the Western Conference and had a deal in place with Cleveland. When it didn't work out with the Cavaliers, San Antonio had to settle for the deal it made with Houston, throwing in Jackie Butler, in exchange for Greece's Vassilis Spanoulis - a guard who has sworn off the NBA - a 2009 second-round pick and cash.

Doesn't sound like much - and it isn't. But the move cleared salary cap space to sign 2005 draft pick Ian Mahinmi and a roster spot to sign Ime Udoka.

Scola said he has no hard feelings against the Spurs. "They have an unbelievable team. They are a dynasty," Scola said. "I would've loved to play there, but it changed. I'm in Houston and I'm happy to be there."

With his mind preoccupied with leading Argentina to an automatic berth in Beijing, Scola added that he hasn't given much thought about playing for the Rockets. "I try not to think too much about it," Scola said. "I like to think that I am [ready for the NBA]. But how would I know if I never play there? When this is over on Sunday I can start thinking about NBA. One thing at a time."

James Is Stepping Up
Watching LeBron James the past few days, I have to think that it is only a matter of time before he claims the title as the NBA's best player. I have given Kobe Bryant the crown the past two seasons, but James has completely taken over Team USA the past four games.

He is proving what he is capable of when he is determined and focused: "There is no stopping him," said Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince, who was among those victimized in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals last May.

I realize there is a huge difference between going bonkers against Uruguay and Chicago Bulls, but James has shown that he is working hard to improve the areas that he has received criticism for.

His defense has been great in this tournament, and he is the most vocal on that side of the ball, constantly screaming instructions. He has also bulked up to 260 pounds, giving him the ability to play both forward positions.

The most surprising part of James's game has been his ability to make three-pointers. After Spurs forward Bruce Bowen basically let James fire away from anywhere outside of 10 feet in the NBA Finals, James has gone 14-for-20 (70 percent) from beyond the three-point line. Of course, most of his looks have been wide open since most teams have been waiting for him to make a pass or take a pass on the jumper.

But the fact remains that he is still hitting them. "LeBron is one of those players, man, when's he's hot, he gets to be on fire," Bryant said.

I realize Bryant said he only wanted to blend in, but there have been times when he gets caught up playing one-on-one, taking difficult shots even when he is surrounded by talent at every position. James and Carmelo Anthony have taken fewer questionable shots and are taking what the defense is giving them. They are scoring in such effortless and fluid manners. Bryant, for some reason, appears to be working too hard to get his.

It's a bit amusing that Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Senior Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo decided not to name team captains with the additions of Bryant, Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups, an intelligent decision considering that it could've hurt the egos of a superstar or three.

But James and Anthony, the two remaining captains from the team that finished third in the world championships, had to swallow their pride a bit this summer. They've been the most consistent and effective players for the U.S. to this point.

By Michael Lee  |  August 30, 2007; 5:30 AM ET
 
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Next: Blatche Saga Near Conclusion

Comments

1st, hehe haha

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I thought this was "wizards insider", good update from vegas but no peep on the wizards..what's up?

Posted by: wizards.fan | August 30, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

People really will complain about anything. Ivan Carter is on vacation.

Posted by: Prophet | August 30, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Weird as it is to say this, James and Anthony are more experienced than Kobe in this particular environment, so it's natural that the rhythm of the game is coming easier to them right now (especially Anthony, whose midrange game makes him arguably the world's most effective scorer under international rules). Kobe's whole basketball life for the past several years has involved killing himself to carry a mediocre team on his back, so this is obviously going to be an adjustment.

Posted by: Jake H. | August 30, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad Les BouleS did not draft Tiago Splitter and got DMac instead.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 30, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Great update from Vegas. Thanks, Mike.

Posted by: drama | August 30, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

re LeBron: Yes, he's been great. It does help a lot that he's surrounded by All-Stars who understand what he's doing, can contribute to it, and give him a safety-valve "out" when there's a problem. Talent surrounded by talent. Lebron, Carmelo, and Dwight respond well, while Kobe often shows the "I'm the Star" mentality. Back in Cleveland, Lebron won't be able to get free enough to show what he's showing in LV. Thank goodness!

Posted by: joe c | August 30, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Michael:
Don't you know that success in the Spanish League and International play has nothing to do with whether someone can play basketball in the NBA? Haven't you been reading the posts on this blog?

Posted by: Sean | August 30, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The combined effect of the Salary Cap and the Luxury Tax is making every team in the league make tough choices. Over the coming years it will be tougher and tougher to put together teams built around two or more big name players.
I'd agree with joe c, Labron and Carmelo are actually a little more game experienced in the International style of play right now. Also when a guy has to carry a team like Kobe has sometimes it's difficult for them to re-adjust their game when surrounded by talent. I think Iverson went through those growing pains in adjusting from being a one man show offensively in Philly to having a team where he wasn't the only scoring option.
Oh, can't we all see another Gilby rant coming out of this subject!
And by the way, Splitter went in the end of the 1st round and MacGuire was drafted Mid second round. The Wizards didn't have a choice between the two. But MacGuire could end up being the steal of the draft in the second round. The other second rounder that looked really good in the summer was Strawberry who ended up in Phoenix, from what I understood the Wizards were very high on Strawberry and had even tried to pick up another pick to get him.
Splitter will be a solid pro and in a few years people will be singing the Spurs praises for getting a 7' at the end of the first round. I'd have liked to see us try and swing some kind of deal to get his rights. Maybe if Navarro wouldn't have waited until after the draft Grunfeld would have had a little more ammo to try and pick up a late first to get him.

Posted by: GM | August 30, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

obviously you failed reading comprehension last year in grade school. I said "I couldn't care less what you have to say..." Idiot!!!

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 28, 2007 07:27 PM

if u want to get nitpicky u numnut i could say none of us are saying anything we are writing/typing it...so maybe u meant ur not interested in what i was writing...but for me to get all nitpicky like that it would suggest i have no life and am a complete loser...i have better things to do with my life than care about nitpicking on others in this blog...u make no sense...u keep saying u dont care this that...cryin like a baby...yet ur always on this blog...quick to respond to anything...and u say u dont care...its obvious u do care...hahahaha...if we're ur only friends out there and thats what keeps u here...well then let us know...then we'll just be nice

Posted by: jason | August 30, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"if u want to get nitpicky u numnut i could say none of us are saying anything we are writing/typing it...so maybe u meant ur not interested in what i was writing...but for me to get all nitpicky like that it would suggest i have no life and am a complete loser...i have better things to do with my life than care about nitpicking on others in this blog...u make no sense...u keep saying u dont care this that...cryin like a baby...yet ur always on this blog...quick to respond to anything...and u say u dont care...its obvious u do care...hahahaha...if we're ur only friends out there and thats what keeps u here...well then let us know...then we'll just be nice

Posted by: jason | August 30, 2007 11:54 AM "

Gayson, I guess "better things to do in your life" included this pointless diatribe.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 30, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

i see u've exhausted all ur arguments...

Posted by: jason aka DCwoMAN88's pimp | August 30, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"Also when a guy has to carry a team like Kobe has sometimes it's difficult for them to re-adjust their game when surrounded by talent. I think Iverson went through those growing pains in adjusting from being a one man show offensively in Philly to having a team where he wasn't the only scoring option.
Oh, can't we all see another Gilby rant coming out of this subject! "

For you to be able to draw that parallel, it is a huge step forward. I have hope for you, my much elder "friend."

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 30, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Great write-up Mike!

Posted by: miestersean | August 30, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"i see u've exhausted all ur arguments...

Posted by: jason aka DCwoMAN88's pimp | August 30, 2007 01:02 PM "

Gayson....for a person who claims that they "have better things to do with their life," I guess you've proven the opposite.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 30, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Mike! Argentina is the first real test for the U.S. team, even if it is their juvie squad, so I may stay up to watch it.

Who are these idiot european agents who keep agreeing to these ridiculous buyout clauses?

Posted by: Zonker | August 30, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I've been watching these late night games and getting in my daily NBA fix. I only get excited when we are leading by less than 30, and I feel better with a 40 point margin. Gotta have standards you know!!

Let's hope that Dwight Howard & Jason Kidd leave it all in the tournament allowing us to have fresher legs in the last minute of our games with them. Orlando looks especially strong with the retooling they have done. I look forward to seeing the Wizards playing them and Boston, as well as seeing the Orlando vs Boston games.

I can hardly wait till preseason to see Nick & our own DMac in action (& Pec). Getting 15~20min quality minutes from those guys should really help our big three stay healthy for the entire regular season.

I'm pulling for our center too, to get 20min ea and give us their standard 6 & 6, though I expect Etan will up that to 9 & 7 as a result of this summer's Big man camp.

Let's see if Andray is going to walk the walk.

Posted by: Derek | August 30, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The U.S. defense steps up considerably when Kobe is on the floor. I think he and Kidd are playing the best defense on the team. His offense has been okay, yeah it could be better but I want him on the floor.

Posted by: Zonker | August 30, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

the wizards win 60 games this year in the regular season.....

Posted by: flinstone | August 30, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I guess GM could be considered an "elder" but only because you DCIdiot are like....10 maybe????

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"I guess GM could be considered an "elder" but only because you DCIdiot are like....10 maybe????

Posted by: | August 30, 2007 03:25 PM "


wow, that was profound. I'm actually 9...same as your IQ.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 30, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

260? Dizzamn.

Bron could back up Kellen Winslow at that size.

Posted by: ScottVanPeltStyle.com | August 30, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

LOL!!!LOL!!! OMG!!! You guys are HILLARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess there's nothing else to talk about so things degenerate to this with everybody being an in house "EXPERT"
"KNOW-IT-ALL" "ANALYST." Fat chance.

We won't know if any of these teams are woth a "breath in a windstorm until "NEXT SPRING" Wiz starts out like gangbusters then fumble & bumble around towards the end of the year. Last yr was the worse let down and primarily because as the blogger "GM" stated: LACK OF TALENT AT THE END OF THE BENCH!!!!"

If the Wiz don't invest in some focused talented back-up(bench) players which might I add along the calibre of the guy "Scola" in Mike's article. Apparently, he's giving LB & USA fits. Thats the kind of guy you want coming off your bench. Hungry, desperate, determined...
The opposing side "dreads" that guy's presence on the floor. Who knows what we got til next spring. DCmann88 has not, will not and isn't thinking of changing - so get the message & move on with your discussions if they have a point.

PS
Who in their right mind is hoping Charles Oakley comes to the Wiz??? An old broken down cow!!! Get championship minded...
get "Stallions!!! not the old grey mare!!

You guys are clueless...

Posted by: Jazz | August 30, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Jazz, is that why you are now an "expert"?

That is part of what this blog is about: to speculate and try to figure out what the Wizards are or will be.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

From summer league play, I think McGuire may have more of a game for the Wizards than Young. This may change in the coming months thru training camp.

I think if he develops a consistent outside shot to go with the rest of his game, he may be a real force for the Wizards in the coming years.

Posted by: Tim | August 30, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Jazz, Grunfeld has already upgraded the talent on the bench this off season. It may take awhile for it to develop and Eddie is going to have to stick with it and give these guys some consistant minutes to jell, but talent wise there's alot more there to work with than last year.
Young, MacGuire, and Pecherov along with a healthy Songalia and an improving Blatche are going to create alot more depth an options behind Daniels and which ever center isn't starting.
Blatche could grow into the role of being a high energy guy like Scola off our bench this year. And I really like the choice of MacGuire to provide a long lean guy off the bench. Last year we got killed when a guy like Diaw was at center, we had no one that was long enough and quick enough to chase those guys around screens and get to the three point line. With Blatche and MacGuire we now have two options to use against those kind of guys.
I know Blatche was here last year, but the history of most High Schoolers that have come striaght to the league is the third season is when the game starts to slow down for them and make sense. That's where those "little summer" workouts help out, Blatche still hadn't got in NBA shape yet last year.
I'm betting that he's game ready and hungery this year from day one which will be a big change from before. Alot of this team's improvement rides on these young guns getting ready to run by playoff time. If the big three stay healthy and aren't worn down going down the stretch this could be a dangerous team we've got.
Might even see us making a few plays above the rim with the hops some of these guys have. It could really be fun to watch, 60's a little high 47 to 49 wins are a reasonable goal.

Posted by: GM | August 30, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Good article indeed. I may stay up tonight and check that hoop action out. So far I have seen very little of those games.

Hey GM, I'm even more optimistic than you about the Zards. I see us getting from 51-54 wins. Weren't we on that kind of pace before injuries set in last year? Gil and Caron have another gear to which to take their game. And I think the bench is really improved. I think that all things being equal McGuire will get more time than Young because of his defensive skills. He could get 20-25 minutes a game to just be a stopper. Young will get less fourth quarter minutes and only play 12-15 per game. I have been impressed by D Mac ever since draft night and so far nothing I have heard, read or seen in summer league games has changed my opinion. I hope Coach figures out a rotation that works and gets them on a roll early.

Hey isn't camp is about 4 weeks away? Hope the players are as eager as we are!

Posted by: BmoreRev | August 30, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

DC woMan88 / Clewiston88/ ClueLessOne, no one cares what you think. Go back to Clewiston, Florida and watch the "beef shows."

Posted by: DC woMan88 | August 30, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually 9...same as your IQ.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 30, 2007 03:28 PM

Are you really 9 years old, or was this someone posting as you? Please verify.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Why do the FIBA tournament standings only count 7 games when 8 have been played? This is really bothering me. Do they drop the least worthy contest from the totals or something? Even the announcers just stated the U.S. record as 6-0. They've played 7 games, and are playing their 8th right now against New Germany -- I mean, Argentina!

Posted by: Perplexicon | August 31, 2007 12:14 AM | Report abuse

When a team is eliminated, a victory over that team does not count. Weird!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm actually 9...same as your IQ.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 30, 2007 03:28 PM

Well, then, we'll have to start calling you DC Boy88 from now on.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2007 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Kobe is still the game's best player despite how unlikeable he may be sometimes. That 81-pointer sealed the deal for me, no matter how bad the defense was. You must have unbelieveable endurance and mental strength to put in a performance like that in a game situation....and remember it was a regulation game (no overtime). LeBron and Carmelo are getting close but I still give Kobe the edge. USA is poised to bring home the gold, this time they will get it done.

Posted by: low | August 31, 2007 1:48 AM | Report abuse

"I'm actually 9...same as your IQ.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 30, 2007 03:28 PM

Well, then, we'll have to start calling you DC Boy88 from now on.

Posted by: | August 31, 2007 12:38 AM "

I guess we'll start calling you retard with your IQ rating of 9.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 31, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

"

Kobe is still the game's best player despite how unlikeable he may be sometimes. That 81-pointer sealed the deal for me, no matter how bad the defense was. You must have unbelieveable endurance and mental strength to put in a performance like that in a game situation....and remember it was a regulation game (no overtime). LeBron and Carmelo are getting close but I still give Kobe the edge. USA is poised to bring home the gold, this time they will get it done.

Posted by: low | August 31, 2007 01:48 AM "


Kobe is a pure scorer with incredible defensive ability. He averages almost 5 assists for his career, but isn't as good a setup man like Lebron.

Lebron is not as good a scorer and is weak defensively, but is the much better setup man/passer.

Kobe still gets the nod as an individual player, and Lebron as a team player.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 31, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Hey,

Did anybody notice that Boston signed Tom Thibodeau as an asst. coach, defensive specialist. I guess they take their defense seriously up there. I still wonder what it was that turned him off about the job here. Maybe he sensed Jordan's talk about D was all lip service. It will be interesting to see which team plays better D this season. They both should have good O already.

Posted by: newguy | August 31, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

BmoreRev, I was afraid to go quite that high cause some on here would accuse me of sipping Koolaide. But when I look at this year's team it's more solid and deeper than any of the last three.
We've also got more continuity than any of those teams because we're not replacing a starter. The downside of that is we've still got Thomas and Haywood at the five. But Ernie's given Jordan more options behind them that could steal even more of their minutes.
The trick at the 5 will be to see if we can get Etan and Haywood to both produce about their career averages of about 6 points and 6 rebounds and keep them both happy and involved with about 18 to 20 minutes apeice. That will give Jordan some time to use Blatche, Pecherov,Songalia and even MacGuire at the 5 depending his needs.
MacGuire at the 5 ??? I know some of you think I'm out of my gourd. When teams like Phoenix or Golden State try and spread us out and put everybody at the three line you'll see Tmac running down their shooters from time to time. Blatche and Pecherov will also be suited for that role as well.
Last year Jordan was using Ruffin and sometimes even Hayes to fill that role and then wondered why we got killed on the boards in the 4th.
Pecherov and Songalia will give Eddie the first pair of guys to put at the 5 that can truely run the Princeton. They'll be able to catch the ball in the high post and are good enough passers and shooters to force teams to play them honest. When teams are forced to play the five defensively then the passing lanes open up
for the cutters.
We saw small glimpses of that last year when Songalia was healthy and all of the big three were on the floor. The ball really moved around much more crisply then it ever has since Jordan has installed the Princeton. Pecherov's skills are similar to Songalia so the kid will have a good mentor to teach him the game.
I didn't go higher on my win total beacause I think our bench is much more talented but still very green. Jordan will have to work his rotations to give the young guys some run with then vets one or maybe two at a time to build their confidence and teach them the NBA game.
That's where Daniels will be invaluable to this team as the solid vet on the second unit. A big key to this season is if Daniels can come in and play in Nov. like he plays in April. The last two years him and Eddie have seemed to take an incredibly long time to get on the same page. His play and his minutes have been terribly inconsistant at the beginning of each year he's been here.
The Wizards need him to start off strong and carve out a role from day one on this team. If he does we could be looking at your 50+ wins.

Posted by: GM | August 31, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if Brian Chase, who played in the Wizards summer league has been invited to camp. A coworker has been going to the Goodman League finals and I hear he has been balling! I know he played well in the summer league and so I have seen what he can do. Shaq was in the house on Wednesday night at Barry Farms and I hear he was equte impressed with this young un and told him that some team should pick him up? Doesn't he play the point and aren't the Wizards in need of a pure point guard?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Let's not get carried away. Summer League and Barry Farms is a great way for the players to get in shape and develop some skills, but it's akin to the And 1 type of game. Curt Smith (brother to Charles Smith) was a great summer league player, but couldn't do anything in the NBA.

Les BouleS need to develop team chemistry both on the defensive and offensive end. Let's hope the players don't resort to their summer league mentality when the season starts.

I predict Les bouleS will probably win about 42 games and probably will be a 5th seed in the east barring a trade for a legit big man or a coaching change early in the season.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 31, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Why do some of you insist upon turning EVERY post into a discussion about the Wizards. There are other threads that deal with the Wiz specifically. Post your analysis there...

With that said, after watching Team USA dismantle Argntina's second team last last night, I've realized a few things:
(1) Jason Kidd is the Best Point Guard in the world right now (emphasis on "right now"). Yes, I would take JKidd over Paul, Nash, and Deron Williams right now. In five years? That's a different question entirely. The way he sees the floor, handles the rock is simply flawless. Just pay attention to the noticeable drop in the quality of Team USA's play when Kidd is out of the game. Jason Kidd has been a joy to watch.
(2) Kobe Bryant will NOT let Team USA lose. This is not a game. This is not some walk in the park. Team USA was SERIOUS last night and Kobe, I think, is the reason why. Kobe Bryant, best basketball player on the planet.
(3) This is the best I've seen Team USA play since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Those of you who aren't wathcing the tournament are missing out on some sublime basketball.
(4) Jason Kidd and LeBron James came thisclose to the best alley-oop EVER. Halfcourt set. JKidd penetrated and threw a no-look pass, from the free throw line, off of the top corner of the backboard. LeBron came from out of nowhere and attempted a two-handed throwdown but he mistimed his jump and missed the dunk by about 2-3 inches. Simply amazing...
(4) Carmelo Anthony. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Essex | August 31, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Jason Kidd is a great point guard, but the skills that Nash brings to the table make him that much better. That's why he's a 2 time, 2 time, NBA MVP. The Suns probably would have won last year's championship if not for the crooked ref.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 31, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I thought I read here a couple of weeks ago that Chase was invited to the Wizards camp after it was posted that Miles had signed to play in Europe.
Hadn't seen anymore about it, as far as I know I haven't seen a list of camp invitees printed anywhere. The other nondrafted guy mentioned here that played with the summer league team was Visser.
And with keeping in not talking about the Wizards here on "Wizards Insider" so not to rile Essex. After seeing Peter John Ramos get dunked upon is there still a question why we let him go?
And as unpatriotic as this might sound, I really do have trouble rooting hard for a team that Coach K's coaching. Been rooting for Maryland way too long to like the guy, I'll respect him, just have a hard time rooting for him.

Posted by: GM | August 31, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

regarding the very high priced buyouts of European players. The basketball clubs in Europe are run very similarly to the football (soccer) clubs. They "own" the player, and treat the player as an asset that is worth a certain value. That is how they cover the enormous salaries these guys make, and profit from player trades. Unlike here in the NBA, where the "profit" in player trades is purely speculative, taking two/three players for one, a future pick for a current player, etc. We also have an NBA players' union that will not allow players to be treated as chattel. In the NBA also, buy-out means paying the player, not the club. I would be in favor of banning the payment of buy-outs to ballclubs. Mike, what's your understanding of the current NBA rules?

Posted by: rgz | August 31, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Les BouleS should look into picking up Pops Mensa Bosu off waivers. He's "only" a little over 600K a season, and I'd take his youth, energy, and hunger over potentially bringing back Calvin Booth.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 31, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Pops is likely to spend whatever NBA days he has left as a practice body and bench warmer.

Posted by: kalorama | August 31, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

My, my, my Essex....how dare we talk about the Wizards on the "Wizards Insider"????

Last I heard it is still the WIZARDS INSIDER.

Posted by: Lisa | August 31, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"Pops is likely to spend whatever NBA days he has left as a practice body and bench warmer.

Posted by: kalorama | August 31, 2007 04:21 PM "

Many thought the same of Ben Wallace when he was here, but I think Pops does have some offensive ability, unlike Ben. I'd give him the benefit of the doubt, especially since he's not some typical NBA wannabe baller who went through all the basketball high schools and jumped to the NBA.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 31, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

GM, good thoughts. I hadn't thought about the idea that Coach may use D Mac at the 5 in certain situations. He has shown his love for small ball. If he can try Ruffin and Hayes there he will certainly try MacGuire.

My 51+ prediction takes into account the fact that I don't think any of the eastern competition has bypassed us. Several have stayed pat (Cleveland, Nets) and some have upgraded (Celts, Knicks, Bulls, Magic) but except for Bulls they are still behind us. And Miami, to me, is sinking. I'm not sure the Pistons haven't hit the wall now either.

On the other hand, we have a returning starting linueup that is just about in their prime years, plus a talented, but certainly young bench. Let's not forget that with a healthy Gil and Caron, in my opinion, we would have easily challenged the Cavs who went all the way to the finals. They just don't scare me.

Issues are how will we handle the reality of our being in the upper echelon of the east? Will we be confident or cocky? Will we work hard to destroy inferior opponants by halftime or coast, getting into those life and death struggles. A lot of it this year will be the team's mental attitude. Leadership on the court (AJ, Daniels, Caron and should I add Gilbert?) will be important. And of course, this leads us to the most important fact of this season: Eddie Jordan.

Coaching is our biggest question mark. Can/will EJ push the right buttons? How will he manage the 5 spot? Will he develop this young bench? Will he keep pushing Gilbert to raise his game another level? Will he develop a clear rotation rather than always trying to match up against the opponant? If so, this season could be very special. I think a championship, not just reaching the finals, is now a realistic goal for the team.

I did catch the first half last night. Not really that competitive, USA clearly in control. (Big surprise, hey?) Fell asleep at half.

Posted by: BmoreRev | August 31, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't the Wizards try to get Scola, if the Spurs were going to trade him for a ham sandwich? You certainly can't say they have a glut of physical 6'9" power forwards.

Posted by: cc | August 31, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Lisa and GM,

This guy right here is the biggest Wiz fan in the world and I could talk Wiz all day. But when the title of the post, and the content within the post have nothing to do with the Wiz, why talk about the Wiz? I'm not "riled up" (at least not right now, check back when the Skins start playing), but it does get annoying when every single post degenerates into a Wiz discussion (I use that term generously, see every post by DC Man88). This iteration of USA basketball has been a pleasure to watch and it would be nice to have a broader discussion about Team USA. Didn't mean to step on any toes though, but there is more going on than Wizards basketball...

Posted by: Essex | September 1, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Essex, I think you need to forward your suggestion to Michael to have his NBA blog isolated from Les BouleS blog. In case you haven't noticed, which obviously you haven't, this blog is called "Wizards Insider." Take your weak argument to Michael and see where he takes it from there. Don't be surprised if you hear a flush.

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 2, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I am stunned that people who get paid to write about the NBA continue to confuse the salary cap with the luxury tax.
The Spurs, like most teams, are over the salary cap, thus they have no cap room.

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