Chat today at 2 p.m.

I just arrived in Charlotte for tonight's game between the Wizards and Bobcats and wanted to remind everyone that we will be conducting an on-line chat at 2 p.m. Don't come here for the chat. Look for the link on the front of the sports web page and rap out your questions.

If you read my story in today's paper you know that Gilbert Arenas did not make the trip last night and his status for this weekend's games (home against Golden State Friday night and at Memphis on Saturday night) remains up in the air.

Basically, Gilbert didn't feel right on that left knee after Friday's game in Minneapolis (when he helped put the Wolves way with three straight jumpers during a big fourth quarter run) and feels that he needs to take some time to get it right. I asked him last night whether he was thinking about taking several games off and he said he was thinking about it, especially because the team has won five straight to dig itself out of that 0-5 hole.

"I hope so," he said. "As long as we can win, I'll rest."

That was a good win last night against a dreadful 76ers team that laid down as soon as things got tough in the second quarter. Andray Blatche had his best game as a pro, Antonio Daniels did another good job of running the team and several players chipped in. Not sure on the status of Brendan Haywood. He turned that left ankle in the second half and did not return. When I talked to him after the game he said that his status for tonight would depend on how badly it swelled up overnight and how it felt today. He's a gametime decision. As soon as I know his status, I'll update the blog from the arena.

By Ivan Carter |  November 21, 2007; 12:59 PM ET
Previous: Oden Is Doing It Big | Next: Arenas: "I'm out three months"

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bet

Posted by: i | November 21, 2007 1:21 PM

The last thing we need is injuries hurting our season again better early than later in the season tho, but they should be fine.

Posted by: From The Wii | November 21, 2007 1:49 PM

I believe Blatche is at a difficult point in terms of the team managing his development. On the one hand, he's starting to gain experience and confidence -- and last night helped in that regard.

On the other hand, he still needs schooling by some of the top players - which will knock him down a notch. How the coaching staff reacts after the knock-downs will affect whether he takes his game to the next level.

One encouraging sign last night was that Ed Trescott (sp?) was in his face (and Young's) on the bench after some of the impressive numbers were put on the board.

It would be sweet to see continued development of Blatche (and Young) this year. (Maybe D-League for McGuire?)

Posted by: Izman | November 21, 2007 1:52 PM

All McGuire needs is playing time at SF. At this time, I don't think anyone will be sent to the D-League. we're now down to 8-9 players (8 if Haywood is out tonight).

Posted by: rgz | November 21, 2007 1:59 PM

I can't count! I mean 9 if Haywood is out tonight.

Posted by: rgz | November 21, 2007 2:01 PM

I was very impressed with how Coach let the boys play last night. Blatche was "feelin' it", Young was "in a zone" and Deshawn was "seeing his hands" I guess.
It was good to see the team knock down some shots and play some good defense. Seems to me that when they pass the ball more and run the offense, good things happen.

Good job Coach!

Posted by: Sean | November 21, 2007 2:38 PM

McGuire is fine where he is right now. His game is very similar to Caron's and he gets to go against him in practice and learn. He'll get on and off play time based on opponents and injuries.

Right now is the time to put those young guys in. If EJ can't find minutes for DMac, Young and Andray right now he's doing the team a disservice.

Posted by: JQuest | November 21, 2007 2:43 PM

I think Ivan Carter is a good writer. But the contortions this guy goes through to avoid criticizing Eddie Jordan are just funny some times.

From today's chat:

"Lanham, MD: Why has Eddie abandoned smallball this year? It's something we blog fans were calling for all last year; if us non-coaches can see it, why couldn't Eddie? Why did it take so long for him to see the light?

Related: have we seen the end, or near end, of smallball, barring injury? Does Eddie finally realize that it's a losing strategy, and tallball wins?

Ivan Carter: The development of Andray Blatche and the lack of Etan Thomas has led Eddie to go with bigger lineups this season. Those are the biggest factors. Also, you have to remember that Songaila missed the first 45 games last season."

First, how does the ABSENCE of Etan Thomas explain a shift from small ball to tall ball? Second, this season, for the first time, Eddie has used a front court of Haywood, Songalia, and Jamison. That has absolutely nothing to do with Blatche or Etan. Third, none of Carter's answer references the fact that Eddie went small the first five games of the season, and has gone tall the next five games. Fourth, when Eddie went small last season (e.g., Jamison at center, Hayes at PF), that would mean Haywood, Thomas, Booth, Ruffin, and towards the end of the season, Songalia were on the bench. Three of those guys are now gone, so wouldn't that make tall ball LESS likely, rather than MORE likely?

Why can't Ivan bring himself to say the obvious?: "Jordan apparently has determined that going tall is more effective than going small."

Weird.

Posted by: Sean | November 21, 2007 2:53 PM

Not nearly as weird as the contortions people around here will go through in order to take a shot at Jordan. Even if Carter had said:

"Jordan apparently has determined that going tall is more effective than going small."

How does that qualify as the criticism of Jordan you seem to crave so? Because he's admitting Jordan altered his strategy? That's not a criticism, simply a statement of fact.

Carter wasn't going through any "contortions" to "avoid criticizing Eddie Jordan," because even if he said what you wanted him to say, that still wouldn't qualify as a criticism.

Posted by: kalorama | November 21, 2007 3:23 PM

The real wizards will not be seen until Arenas is entirely healthy and Pecherov is back and in the rotation. Then you will start to see the real potential of this team. Washington has some young talented players who Jordan does not want to bury on the end of the bench. And Stevenson had better continue to shoot the ball good like last night or Butler will be taking his spot and Nick Young will be moving up the pecking order very quickly. This kid needs to play. We are going to find out how good of a coach Jordan is at putting together the pieces to make it all work. He now has the pieces, when healthy, to advance pass the first round of the playoffs.

Posted by: Donald | November 21, 2007 3:24 PM

Right, even that statement I offered wasn't a criticism.

I don't crave criticism of Jordan. I crave news about the Wizards, warts and all. And when my primary source for Wizards' news goes out of his way to avoid criticizing the coach or offering anything, facts or opinion, that could be interpreted as negative concerning the coach, I start to question everything I read from that source.

But maybe I'm wrong -- can anyone point to any criticism Carter has directed towards Eddie Jordan or any negative comments at all?

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Posted by: Sean | November 21, 2007 3:42 PM

[i]First, how does the ABSENCE of Etan Thomas explain a shift from small ball to tall ball?[/i]

My guess is that the real answer would be that Etan was never a scoring option, and BTH would turn it over every time he went to make a low post move, and AB wasn't ready last year. Therefore, to get a good combo of scoring potential and veteran experience on the floor, EJ had to go small. Further, D wasn't even a consideration last year, so the defensive advantages of having BTH or ET in the game weren't even a consideration (which is unjustifiable IMO but I'm thinking that's the onlyest thing it could be). With ET out and AB as the backup 5 means you now have a big who can defend AND put the ball in the bucket. In other words, due to ET's absence, our backup center is a scoring threat. And DSong at the 4 (to rest AJ) still leaves us big, regardless of whether BTH or AB is playing 5.

[i]Second, this season, for the first time, Eddie has used a front court of Haywood, Songalia, and Jamison. That has absolutely nothing to do with Blatche or Etan.[/i]

But it has everything to do with BTH stinking it up last year. Ivan should have said: [i]"The development of Andray Blatche, the lack of Etan Thomas, and the emergence of Brendan Haywood as a double-double machine has led Eddie to go with bigger lineups this season."[/i]

[i]Third, none of Carter's answer references the fact that Eddie went small the first five games of the season, and has gone tall the next five games.[/i]

I could be wrong, but didn't BTH average 30 minutes and AB another 15 for the first five games? That's not much time left for smallball, although I do recall a few stretches of it in those first five games. But also remember that AB wasn't battle tested yet (he impressed un in PREseason), and BTH had only just begun beastin. So I think another factor was that EJ finally realized, on or around game 5, that he could get solid production out of the two of them.

JM2C...

No mind you I hated small-ball just as much as everyone else around here last year, but I think EJ's mentality was to outscore the competition (hence scorers at the 4 and 5 instead of defenders). And let's all remember that he was as right as three lefts up to the all star break.

Posted by: jones-y | November 21, 2007 4:01 PM

hmm, after reading the chat, I'm wondering if LA would have bit this summer on a Kobe for Gil/Etan trade. :)

Posted by: sp | November 21, 2007 4:05 PM

how do you do italics on this board? sorry if my post confuses anyone, I tried to use italicized quotes.

Posted by: jones-y | November 21, 2007 4:05 PM

EJ may be a wiz at x's and o's but his player development skills are open to question. The recent spate of misfortune involving Thomas and Arenas reveal an interesting mix of talent as the injuries start to create some playing time for them, something that hasn't happened the last few years.
His tendency has been to pull young players when they make mistakes instead of letting them play through and then pull them; there is a constructive way to handle those moments without undermining confidence and creating a climate of fear.
Last year he played Arenas, Butler and Jamison in blow out wins and losses, where substitutions would have made more sense and he started this year the same way.
There are of course reasons for this, last year EJ was looking for players to gel and when they did he went with the winning combination but he went with them full tilt until they threw some wheels.
The season ended with Jamison, Daniels and a bench that had sat too much unable to pull out a win in some close playoff games.
Now he's been forced to go to Haywood, Blatche and Young with Thomas out and Arenas sidelined, this most likely would not have happened otherwise.
There is always hope that a coach can learn a little something too. It looks like the talent may be there and we'll see if he can put it all together, but given the problems with Haywood and Thomas and his long standing reluctance to integrate the younger players into the mix there are reasons to be concerned.

Posted by: l'idiot | November 21, 2007 4:18 PM

Recently we've seen a change in the team:
Tall ball
Better rotations
Late game offense/defense substitutions
Overall improved defense
Haywood getting 30-minutes a game
Blatche getting significant minutes

This stuff didn't happen last year..... or earlier this year for that matter.

Like GM hinted at in an earlier post, I'm just wondering if these changes in coaching are because Eddie Jordan is evolving, or because Randy Ayers was hired.

Posted by: Rook | November 21, 2007 5:01 PM

how do you do italics on this board? sorry if my post confuses anyone, I tried to use italicized quotes.

Posted by: jones-y | November 21, 2007 04:05 PM

Jones-y

To make italics, place a "less than" sign (above the , on your keyboard), followed by the letter i, followed by a "greater than" sign (above the . on your keyboard).
To un-italics (is that a word?), simply place a "less than" sign with /i followed by a "greater than" sign.

So, italics would be: less than i greater than
Un-italic: less than /i greater than

this is italic

You can also do bold: less than b greater than
and Unbold: less than /b greater than

this is bold

Other HTML commands may work, but I tried colors and it didn't work....

Posted by: Rook | November 21, 2007 5:13 PM

Look at me now!

Posted by: Rook | November 21, 2007 5:18 PM

Recently we've seen a change in way Jordan is coaching:

  • Tall ball
  • Better rotations
  • Late game offense/defense substitutions
  • Overall improved defense
  • Haywood getting 30-minutes a game
  • Blatche getting significant minutes
  • This stuff didn't happen last year..... or earlier this year for that matter.

    Like GM hinted at in an earlier post, I'm just wondering if these changes in coaching are because Eddie Jordan is evolving, or because Randy Ayers was hired.


    Rook

    Posted by: Rook | November 21, 2007 5:29 PM

    Crap, Arenas is out for 3 months after another surgery, ESPN reports:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3122656

    Dammit EJ you should have restricted his minutes, that's what a good coach does!

    Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2007 6:21 PM

    It seems to me the only reason the Wiz lost to NJ and Golden State was because their opponents had some of the best three point shooting shows of the season. Do think the Wiz have an inability to cover the outside shot or do you think these were freak occurrences? Is this something we should worry about the rest of the season?

    Posted by: Brian | November 26, 2007 2:55 PM

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