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On to Atlanta

The mood was actually upbeat when the Wizards held a short shootaround/walk through this morning at Verizon Center. Gilbert Arenas participated and said he will start tomorrow against the Hawks, who got thumped at Boston last night (Wiz fans know how that goes) but does own win home wins over the Mavs and Suns. Josh Smith is a monster in that fill-a-stat-sheet-in-several categories kind of way.

He had 22 points, 10 rebounds, four dimes, four steals and five blocks in the win over Phoenix and was clearly the best athlete on the floor in a game that featured Shawn Marion, Steve Nash and Joe Johnson (No Amare that night).

There are a lot of opinions about what is going on with Agent Zero. Some think that he's hurt far worse than anyone knows but is playing his tail off because that's what he does and he can't do it any other way but they also feel that he should not be carrying huge minutes.

Others think his knee is structurally fine but also feel that he's going through the normal process of getting his strength, feel and confidence back, the kind that really allows you to cut it loose and be your old self. That only comes with playing for extended periods.

My view exists somewhere in between. And that makes it complicated. Gilbert has a lot of pride in his skills on the basketball court. It's his source of self esteem, indeed, his sense of worth as a human being. More than any athlete I've ever covered Gilbert "needs" basketball. So injured or not, he's going to ball.

Folks near the bench (where beat writers used to sit before the Wiz and other teams started selling our "press" table seats for huge money to fat cats with deep pockets and a nominal idea of what is going on during an NBA game) said Gilbert was all but demanding to go back into the game after things got out of control in the third quarter. And they did get out of control.

Thus is Eddie's conundrum: On the one hand, he knows it's going to be a long season and needs Gilbert to eventually be 100 percent when it counts ie. the playoffs. On the other, he is 0-5, his shooting guard can't knock down a shot, his power forward has been up and down and his bench is not coming up big (though Blatche looked pretty good last night and will be huge against the Hawks because he and Brendan are the only guys on this team with the length to match Williams, Horford and Smith.

He also knows that Gilbert is one of those rare guys who can win a game in the clutch and this team has a thin margin of error so just getting to the crucial stages of the fourth quarter gives him a chance (like the football coach who plays field position, takes field goals, throws his challenge flags when risk/reward says to do so and uses his timeouts wisely) and to do that, he needs Gilbert on the floor for huge chunks of the first and third quarters.

So what does Eddie do?

By Ivan Carter  |  November 10, 2007; 3:41 PM ET
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We need to sign a 3 point shooter FAST - luxury tax or no luxury tax! It is PANIC time and if we have to bring in 2 other players to help out, we should do so.

That's my 2 cents....

Posted by: Lisa | November 10, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Hell, what's a Wizards fan to do...much less Eddie Jordan? Just kidding.

We do what we can do, stick with the team.

Great column by Mike Wise today. A lot of those who comment on this blog need to check it out.

Posted by: | November 10, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter what we think Eddie Jordan will do. His coaching is a one note song: overplay the starters, even with an injured superstar; play no defense; use the bench as little as possible; never change anything, even trapping at any time is forbidden; and run the predictable shot clock wasting Princeton weave out top. Oh, and make all match-ups so predictable at all times that a junior high school kid could predict them.

I enjoyed lighting $300 bucks on fire last night to watch one of the worst home Wiz losses in years. But Eddie says its okay, it's early and they will come around.

Pollin will keep Mr. One Note for the whole year no matter what. Who is available for the first round pick next year? That kid from KSU?

Posted by: Greg | November 10, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what he should do. I do think Arenas should be playing less. It's rediculous that he in among tops in the league in minutes when his knee is recovering. I'm not a doctor though.

Gil being off though highlights how bad the rest of our backcourt is. We have no one else that can help pick up the slack. Back when we had Hughes, he could score when Gil had an off night, he could drive and attack the basket, make some nice passes. DeShawn cannot. He can contribute when Gil is on, but cannot pick up the slack when he's not. He is not a good shooter, cannot run the offense or handle, cannot drive and dish. His offensive game is just terrible. Cannot finish at the basket, cannot shoot, no handle or passing. He is like the micheal ruffin of guards. Tries hard and plays D, strong and athletic, but not naturally gifted in physical talent and not coordinated. Kind of stiff and jerky in movement, no smoothness. AD is good running the team, handle/passing, getting to the line. But this team has no scoring or shooting threat in the backcourt except Arenas who is off. Young is just too young. He's just not at the point where he is a guy who can pick up the slack

Caron is not really a guy who I classify as a scorer, although he can score. I just wish we still had Dixon. Someone who just has that mentality to come in when we need some buckets, and the starters aren't doing it.

At this point, I think we'd be better off with a starting 5 of Haywood, Blatche, Jamison, Butler and Arenas. It would get Stevenson off the floor, and get Jamison out of the 4 spot. I think we'd be bigger and tougher defensively, on the boards, and better offensively too with that lineup. Bench is still a problem though.

Posted by: Darnell | November 10, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Well it looks like while the Wizards are still trying to regain their form from last year (even to the level of the playoffs with no Gil and no Caron would be good), most of the other teams got better and tougher. Shaking up the whole organization by firing Eddie Jordan next month will be the best thing to happen to the whole team, specially the players.

Posted by: rgz | November 10, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Too early to start talking about OJ Mayo?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 10, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I just want to say that te wizards have at least one fan from Slovenia and I think that the wizards will finally get the first win tomorrow.

sorry for my bad english

Posted by: Janez | November 10, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz are structurally flawed. They will require a lineup change perhaps at PF, bring Jamison off the bench and play Songaila at backup center until Pecherov gets back. Perhaps a change in the 2 guard position. I coaching may change may also be helpful, but that is a real ify thing. The Wiz did not improve themselves even when players fell into their laps. From the GM on down, if we stop focusing on the Big Three, and realize that "teams" win games that will be a step forward. Keeping Stevenson was in part a nod towards trying to retain GA--this approach cannot work in the longrun.

Posted by: Skeef | November 10, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

It's not the knee, it's the mouth...!!!

Posted by: Fenty | November 10, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

did anybody heard from Dwayne Wade after he underwent surgery last year? I don't think so...
I can guarantee that he is coming back ready and will have an immediate impact for the Heat within days.

He is not only a better player but also much more mature and smarter than the kid named Gil!!!!!!

Posted by: JmWeston | November 10, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Fluid buildup is normal after operations like the one Arenas has had. What isn't normal is needing it to get drained as often as he is. I read somewhere that the average B-baller runs something like 19 miles during the course of a game--and Arenas typically plays half again as many minutes as that. It's no surprise he's getting worn out--for one thing he's having compensatory muscle stress just from adjusting to his new limitations. As matters now stand he's running a huge risk of blowing his knee out again or tearing the other one and ending his career prematurely. Whatever you may feel about him as a player or a person, the guy is just a kid of 25. Nobody wants to see a really promising career like his cut short. He shouldn't run his coach, his coach should be standing up to him for his own good. Just like a father has to. The league is full of coaches who protect their stars--they have the sense to know their jobs depend on it. It was obvious last night that Arenas was tentative and tired, if not actually in pain.

I notice that Kenyon Martin, who is further removed from his last knee surgery than Arenas is, doesn't play in back to back games so far this season. Obviously Karl would prefer him to be in the line-up--but do you think he'd back down if K-Mart 'demanded' to play?

I also just read an interview that Jamison gave to the AP. "Seems like guys really like Eddie," he said in reply to whether Jordan was about to be fired. The correct construction of this sentence (as an endorsement for keeping Eddie) would be something like "We really like Eddie" or "Everybody in the Wizards family really likes Eddie". Not "seems like guys". He also predicted Jordan's job was safe till the All-Star break. In politics an endorsement like that would mean Eddie's already gone. He sure is coaching like he knows it.

Posted by: KTV | November 10, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Or is he 26? Whatever.

Posted by: KTV | November 10, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I think a lot of people are disappointed in the results, or lack there of, to date because of the overhype before the season started.

* You had coverage about CBut with his newly trimmed physique and working on his 3 point shot.

* You had DS finally getting some financial security and EG picking him over JCN.

* You had news about Opech and how he spent so much time in the gym.

* You had AB tearing up preseason.

* You had Abe jazz up the luxury boxes and add a high def jumbotron.

* You had the redo with the hiring of the defensive coach and how they EMPHASIZED DEFENSE DURING THE PRESEASON, AS THEY WERE OVERLY CONFIDENT ABOUT THEIR OFFENSE.

* And last but not least, you had Gilby biking around town without a helmet; you had Gilby playing at Barry Farms on 9 ft. rims and beating teams comprised of neighborhood kids; you had Gilby running around and doing sprints with his parachute; etc.

What does all that add up to? 0-5.

As a "smart" nba player once said, namely Derrick Coleman.

"Whooop dee d@mn doooo...."

At least it follows a pattern of regression since Larry Hughes left the team. This team, Les BouleS, gets cursed even worse each time someone leaves after they get lowballed or don't get a matching contract.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 10, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Bench Stevenson, start Blatch at the 4, move Butler to the 2. Songaila backs up at center. Give McGuire more minutes and use Young as the back-up shooting guard. Wiz need better match-ups on D and the starters minutes (esp Gil) need to be reduced. If that does not work, fire Jordan, hire Van Gundy and trade Jamison.

Posted by: wizfanatic | November 10, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

What does the coach do? He demands in the set offense, that there be at least 4 passes unless it's a layup-dunk, before anyone takes a shot. They looked so disjointed and inefficient in there offensive sets; like a Juco team vs Nuggets.

The hybrid version of Princeton only works when you have players who can improvise and make shots or passes on a dime (kinda like Gilbert before the knee). They gotta make it easier on themselves. Too much wasted dribble w/no penetration to break down the defense. Not enough quick passes to open up the perimeter or create back door opps and layups.

The whole is better than the sum of the parts. They just aren't playing to that strength.

Posted by: The Janitor | November 10, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't think you're serious about that question, but here's a serious one for you.

What's with the ice pack on AJ's knee during the 4th quarter of the NJ blow-out? Could this issue be behind his sub-par start?

Posted by: Izman | November 10, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse


3 - AJ


5 - AB
3 - DMAC
2 - NY
1 - AD


Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | November 10, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Eddie should start Nick Young. Like I said, Quitter ain't giving us nothing on O, so might as well play the dude Ernie got to fill in when Gil bolts next year.

Posted by: C.Bell | November 10, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Izman, Gilbert has had "water on the knee" drained twice so far this season. Each drain means another chance of infection, and another big needle in the knee. The first time, he also had a cortisone shot. I have read that the knee meniscus does not have a great blood supply, so it is a slow healing spot.

He's pushing to come back too soon. Count me in the Gilbert take a few games off camp. The rookies couldn't have done any worse, and they would be better for the experience.

Eddie Jordan needs to hire Jason Kid as an assistant coach, since he doesn't have any sway over the young star himself, but Gilbert looks up to Kid.

Antawn Jamison and Darius Songaila should not be on the floor together much. Jamison needs to put a little more on his lazy, cross court passes to the other team.

Posted by: Brandon in PA | November 10, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Larry Hughes made Brendan Haywood better on offense, when Hughes wasn't hurt.

Posted by: Brandon in PA | November 10, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

So, what's Eddie to do?

He could sit his star or at least heavily cut back his minutes while he heals, and if that star complains, he could tell him to stick it.

Or, he could focus on saving his job by running his gimpy star out there until his leg falls off.

Posted by: Sean | November 10, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Earl Boykins?

Starting Caron at the 2?

If you guys ran the team we'd be winless right now.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 10, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Early Boykins. Yeah, he's the answer to Les BouleS. A 5-5 dude who has some ability, but not the strengths Les BouleS need.

If EJ inserts any of the rookies into the starting lineup before the midway point, we can pretty much chalk the season up as a done deal.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 10, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

19 miles in 48 minutes? Impressive... maybe 1.9 miles, that's about 100 times full court.

I don't care about the losses so much at this point, they're not going to shoot this bad all year, but this is the 2nd time in 5 games you're down 20+ in the 3rd quarter and d-mac didn't get any minutes. Put that kid in there and get him some experience, he might actually be useful down the road. Defense, rebounding and shot blocking are all in short supply, and he could bring it off the bench by the end of the year if you get him time now. Especially when you're getting blown out in the 3rd...

Posted by: JIM | November 10, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

You guys are funnier and funnier.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 11, 2007 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Just to clarify to Wise, Carter and Lee, we aren't calling for a new coach because of 0-5. That's just the latest demonstration of mediocre coaching.

Jordan has been an ok coach at best. He has not gotten consisent defensive effort from his team. When the shots aren't falling, the Wizards lose, and lose bad.

Sometime this season would be an ideal time from a 3 to 5 year planning perspective to get a new coach in here who the young team and core - Pech, Blatche, Young, Mcguire, Arenas, and Butler - can grow with and get to the next level.

With Eddie only gettng a two year contract (the third year of the the three year contract is a team option) and the assistants getting just one year extensions, Ernie Gruenfeld has been keeping this option open for some time.

Ask yourself this - would any other team in the NBA, aside from one with a cheap owner looking for a temporary fill in coach for a young bottom tier team, hire Eddie Jordan as coach? That was the Wizards situation, but no playoff team would hire this guy. Ask any of your league sources.

Posted by: Wei | November 11, 2007 1:08 AM | Report abuse

A few observations

1. Gil needs his minutes reduced (obvious, I know)

2. Eddie has got to hold players accountable for their actions (you
don't play Defense, you sit) -- see Avery Johnson and his

3. AJ is a sixth man, he was a sixth man in Dallas for a reason

4. Etan means a lot more to this team than anyone realized

5. Stick with the matchups (If Caron is getting burned by Anthony dont panic and put AB on him, he's an all star let him prove his mettle

6 This team is in desperate need of a facilitator -- AD looks about as bad as I've seen him (NO confidence)

7 Blatche should start at PF -- gives the team much needed length on defense

8 At this point Mason may give them the best chance at the 2 position--- he defends and has enough confidence to hit the open shot

9 If only seven guys want to give the effort than those are the only that should be playing

10 Let us not forget, that EG is the one who assembles the talent on this team, let's not leave him out of the equation

Posted by: Mike in the Springs | November 11, 2007 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Brandon in PA,
lateral meniscus actually has a decent blood supply. The ones that give people trouble are medial meniscal tears. The medial meniscus has a poor blood supply and heals much much slower. just fyi.

Posted by: DMal | November 11, 2007 1:31 AM | Report abuse

So what does Eddie do?

I say resign. I think it's for the better.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 11, 2007 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Eddie Jordan is not the problem. I have no idea anymore. I have been a Bullets fan for many many years and it is the same old thing. Now I am starting to believe that the Wiz won't win anything substantial until old Abe decides to retire/sell the team. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Also, Ernie is over rated as a GM. Should have been atleast civil with MJ, look at what he his helping to build in Charlotte. After 20+ years of being a diehard fan I am about to give up on this team. A sad day for me :(

Posted by: Dmal | November 11, 2007 1:54 AM | Report abuse

I second the blank dude. Eddie's next move should be resignation. Teams that play with zero effort need a new coach, end of story.

Posted by: MikeBHay | November 11, 2007 3:10 AM | Report abuse

Anyone see Devin Brown put up 20 and 11 the other night? We were kicking the tires on him until we re-signed DS. Ooops. He's nothing special, but would be a big upgrade at SG right now for 1/2 the price.

Posted by: akmed0 | November 11, 2007 3:16 AM | Report abuse

I think this team is really showing its true colors...
They don't play defense, don't pass, don't play smart etc.
Arenas can score but in every other catergory he sucks.
I say rebuild!!

Posted by: e.gould | November 11, 2007 3:29 AM | Report abuse

E.gould is right to a certain degree, especially with regard to Gilby. I think he's average in ever other category.

If this team employed the Princeton Offense like they should, just b/c one dude is injured shouldn't result in the entire offense unraveling and the team getting blown out. Also, Gilby never played any defense anyway, so just b/c he's gimpy, doesn't mean the team should look so inadequate on the defensive end.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 11, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

O. Mayo, G 40 12-27 4-5 4 7 4 4 32

Posted by: Anonymous | November 11, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Our point differential is worst in the league, over -12 despite 2 close losses. Our shooting percentage differential is worst in the league.

The guys have to start moving the ball around. As BH said, too much one on one. They're almost never sending the ball inside. While Gilbert's shooting is probably related to the knee, AJ's and even DS's poor shooting relate to the lack of coordination and execution on offense. Like most guys who are primarily outside shooters, to be productive they need to be in a rhythm. There's no rhythm right now.

And they need to try to go inside to Brendan at times, you can't win just moving the ball around the perimeter with an occasional helter-skelter drive to the basket.

Posted by: Mitch | November 11, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse


You need to ask Jamison why he has totally abandoned his play in the post. He became famous for his unorthodox release, runners, and flip shots near the hoop. This part of his game has been non existent this year and last. I'd like to hear why he has assume the role of Jarvis Hayes this season and is allergic to the post.

Posted by: Berg | November 11, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

If we moved Blatche to the starting lineup at PF, I think he would matchup better against the big athletic 4s of the league. Him and Haywood together defending the interior would be tough. Jamison at SF and Caron at the 2 would be able to post up and rebound, and take advantage of their strong inside/out games against smaller players. They'd be tougher and stronger defensively at those spots. Bring Songaila and AD off the bench.

Posted by: Darnell | November 11, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

It works with those two off the bench, because one is frontcourt and one backcourt, they allow you to rest anyone. Want to rest Haywood you bring in Songaila at center with Blatche and Jamison at forwards. Want to rest Blatche bring is Sonaila at PF with Haywood at center. Bring in AD when you want to rest Gil, or bring in AD and slide Gil to SG when you want to rest Caron. Slide Caron to SF when you want to rest Jamison. That should be the main rotation. Work in the others (Pesh, Mcguire, Stevenson, Young, Mason) when needed.

Posted by: Darnell | November 11, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

well folks, you got your wish: lots of "tall ball" this afternoon with Butler at the 2 with Haywood, Jamison, Arenas, and Blatche or Songaila alternating in. Great game for Haywood!

Posted by: rgz | November 11, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

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