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Update from practice II

Just got back from the small but beautiful campus of Suffolk University where the Wiz held practice this afternoon. The campus is tucked right into the city George Washington style and the gym is one those cozy little places typical of a small college that plays Div III sports. The gym is actually underground (space is precious in this city) and I almost walked right past the entrance. The best news was that I found a D Donuts right up the street. Best cup of joe in the world in my opinion.

Everyone participated following last night's loss in Indiana, including DeShawn Stevenson, who bruised a knee early in the game and felt stiff as the night wore on. He said he's fine and will good to go for tomorrow night which is a good thing because he gets Ray Allen.

Gilbert Arenas went full speed after playing 43 minutes last night and that's a positive sign as well. The overall mood was good though the fellas obviously feel that they should have won that game last night. Jordan said that because it's so early in the season, he concentrated more on what he wants his team to do rather than locking in on what he expects to see from the revamped Celtics tomorrow night. (I think we have an idea: tons of isos for Paul Pierce. They'll run Allen off of screens. KG will post up and look to knock down face-up jumpers from either elbow. Rajon Rondo won't shoot from anywhere outside of 15 feet. That's my scouting report)

"We really want to focus in our principles and concepts and try to get our guys real strength in what we want to do," Jordan said. "We spent a lot of time on last night's game and this morning's practice."

Jordan said he emphasized transition defense and pick-and-roll defense this morning. Oh, and here's an update to an earlier update and it's something I mentioned in my notebook for tomorrow. Some of you brought up the young guys. As you know, Pecherov didn't make the trip after spraining his ankle. Nick Young and Dom McGuire saw some action last night, Young more than D Mac.

I asked Eddie about his decision to go with Young early over either Antoinio Daniels or Roger Mason Jr., when DeShawn went down and he said the following: "I wanted to get their feet wet. I talked to them today and they said: "Coach, we needed that.' They said they were nervous and I told them, that's okay. They needed to get their feet wet. I thought that was crucial. Now, you may lose a skirmish here or there when they're in the game but they've worked hard in practice I think they're going to be key elements for us as the season goes on. It was good that they got it out of their system."

By Ivan Carter  |  November 1, 2007; 2:12 PM ET
 
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Comments

first ?

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"We really want to focus in our principles and concepts and try to get our guys real strength in what we want to do"

I hope he realizes that the strengths are offense and running.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Game 1 Blog | November 1, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Did he emphasize defending 3's? It seems to me that most of their buckets were NOT in transition or pick and roll. Most seemed to be one guy breaking down the defender, drawing a dbl team and then kicking out to a wing for an open shot. It's not like the picker/roller was rolling to the hoop for easy buckets or popping out for easy shots. Alternately, they got two quick perimeter passes for an open shot. Is he not seeing what everyone else on this blog is seeing? His response also indicates (and I'm reading between lines)that he thinks that the main issue was easily correctable defensive execution had nothing to do with the personnel or rotation. I am getting officially scared.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The question is, what are Les BouleS doing differently (ie. improved) compared to what they did last season at this early stage?

I know it's tough to gauge with just 1 game, but EJ's sub patterns look the same, Gilby is doing his thing, AJ is doing his thing, CBut is a bit wilder trying to drive to the hole when that's not his game, BTH is getting more PT, but there is no solid backup at the 5 (hint: short handed).

It's a scary thing when your starting 2 guard gets hurt and you have to bring in a rookie. Nick looked clueless out there, and is definitely not the answer to playing tougher D even with his long limbs.

I wonder if DMac could have made a difference if he was let off the bench. I bet he could have, at least stopped or slowed down Granger and/or Dunleavy.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Game 1, nice blog. Noticed you posted Gilbert's stats. I just used my Montgomery County Public School math and by your numbers, see that if Gilbert hit all his shots, that would have been an additional 57 points. (misses = 15 FGs, 7 3s and 6 FTs).

Yet another reason not to panic, Gilbert will bring up his %'s hence more points for the team. It's only game one, 81 to go!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Good to see the major impact of Young, McGuire and Oleg Perishikov (I refuse to get his name right until he averages 10 and 5) in last night's game and going forward. Please note the sarcasm. 33 wins and sweeping changes after this year. We missed our window.

Posted by: Bernard King | November 1, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Eddie and EG know they need a quick start. So why can't Eddie just say, we blew a great opportunity to start strong against a young team. It seems our rookies look lost, while throughout the NBA you have young guys that are contributing. Am I missing something, is my perception way off?

Eddie would do a lot for his "detractor PR" by saying, "We blew it, I'm pissed, we better play better against the Pistons or it could be a long first week."

If this team can't focus on what "we do" now considering all the hold overs and continuity, when will they?

This is garbage!

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | November 1, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mark let me get the keys and the title to that house. We sure didn't win by more than 12. I tried to tell all of you and you said none of their players were in our top 10. Thats the typical type of game the wiz lose.....they never get up for the easy one's.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

hey ivan, are you not gonna have any respond to etan's blog???....

Posted by: nv | November 1, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"...It seems our rookies look lost, while throughout the NBA you have young guys that are contributing..."

Rookies are contributing "throughout" the league 2 days into the season? Some teams haven't even played a game.

Posted by: Bart | November 1, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"It's a scary thing when your starting 2 guard gets hurt and you have to bring in a rookie. Nick looked clueless out there, and is definitely not the answer to playing tougher D even with his long limbs."

I thought they should have played Mason or given Daniels an early run. Jordan said he would use Young as the matchup dictated, especially on defense, where he looked most lost in preseason. Who did he play D against once he got in? My mind escaped at the moment.

Posted by: the cheat | November 1, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Mark, that was my first question. What about guarding against the 3-pointer? That would be my biggest concern if I were a coach on the team.

Posted by: CDon | November 1, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

hey ivan, are you not gonna have any respond to etan's blog???....


Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

at the end of the game, they should use haywood or blatche more, songaila didn't do much at the end of the game. we invest alot in blatche and he should be playing a lot more!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I think we should start counting ill-advised 3s that are jacked up before the rest of the team is down court as turnovers. Would be interested in seeing those numbers.

Posted by: gidge | November 1, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the blog but I question the judgement of anyone who believes Duncan D's jo is good. Also question the personel moves of coach EJ, he may be a good x's and O's coach but he has never handled substitutions, development and playing time issues well. When Butler and Jamison went down last season Blatche had not played enough to develop the skills necessary to step in. I'm afraid he will do the same this season with Blatche, Pecherov, McGuire and Young. Also why not Daniels at point with Arenas at shooting guard?

Posted by: pd | November 1, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"Also why not Daniels at point with Arenas at shooting guard?"

Gilbert and AD were on the floor together for long stretches of the game last night, including in the 4th quarter when they were mounting a comeback to tie it.

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"...It seems our rookies look lost, while throughout the NBA you have young guys that are contributing..."

Rookies are contributing "throughout" the league 2 days into the season? Some teams haven't even played a game.

Posted by: Bart | November 1, 2007 04:02 PM

Looking back, my statement was pretty vague thanks for calling me out. I'm just bitter.

But the sentiment is the same. I hope the young guys gut it out, so they can contribute.


Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | November 1, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

My concern is EJ's use of rotations to catch opponents in mismatches rather that just react to players needing a blow, injuries, or the opposition's coach's subs.

We have some huge mismatch opportunities with Blatche and McGuire who are quick, but big enough to just dominate smaller guys. We also have the ability to put 4 solid 3point shooters on the floor and really spread it out. We can stack 3 7 footers on the floor. These types of mismatches need to be put into play to steal some games.

Posted by: JQuest | November 1, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Mismatches work both ways. One team tries to overwhelm the other team with size, the other team exploits counters that size by using quickness.

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

But Mr. Kalorama, you didn't ANSWER pd's question. You made a statement of already known information. Again, the question is for anyone that is knowledgeable, not just typing a comment to comment: Why not use Daniels at the point and Arenas at 2 guard?

Posted by: Casey | November 1, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Bernard King, If you don't mind, I would like to know your first impression or assessment of the Wiz for this year.

Are we picking up where we left off last year or does it appear we'll be incorporating plays and individuals to better strengthen our rotations?

I do understand its only been 1 game and a number of preseason games - just curious.

Posted by: Robin | November 1, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Casey, you're a bit of a jerk, aren't you?

PD asked a question that pretty clearly implied he didn't know that Daniels and Arenas were on the floor together for much of the game, because if he did know, then what's the point of asking the question, "Also why not Daniels at point with Arenas at shooting guard?" at the end of a paragraph spent questioning Jordan's player combos?

Seriously, what's your problem?

Posted by: kalorama | November 1, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

half the reason we gave up all those 3s was because on the double we would follow the double away from the defensive assignment leaving someone wide open at the 3. If the would just double then get back they would've been for the most part fine. And don't give me the crap about are guys arn't that quick because they are. Every time indy went to one side or the other we doubled them. Then as soon as they went back to the top of the key we just kept the double instead of getting back. I've tried to keep faith that these guys can learn to play D but last night was horrible.

Posted by: The truth | November 1, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Another thing. I've tried to keep the faith with Eddie but the more and more we play the more and more I'm starting to think it's time for him to go. At this pace our big 3 will be the winded 3 by mid season. And his offense I don't know, I'm getting tired of Haywood having the ball at the top of the key. Every shot we take all our guys are outside the lane. No wonder we get out rebounded half the time. Also if your name isn't Jamison or Haywood you don't get the ball in the post no matter how hard you work for position. We actually have a couple of fair post guys but they just don't get the chance or the ball when their in the post.

Posted by: the truth | November 1, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Even though last night's loss seemed like a lot of their losses last year, let's let a month or two of playing games go by before we judge them.

It is interesting that Ivan posted that the practive today was focused on transition defense and pick and roll defense. If EJ really does continue to take defense seriously this year, maybe in a little while defense will start winning some games for the Wiz.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Since Stevenson, Young and Mason combined for only 33 minutes Arenas got long stretches at the two guard last night.

I don't know if that was the plan going in but that's the way it worked out. Daniels got alot of minutes at the point last night, but it didn't really seem to improve the on the ball defense of Tinsley in the 4th with Daniels guarding him most of the time.

I'm really not surprised that Jordan shortened the bench last night in a tough physical game on the road. Everybody wanted to get off to a quick start on the road. If Eddie had given heavy minutes to the rookies last night and we'd have still lost he'd have still been critized.

By the way 88'er, I've never predicted 50 wins. Not once. So by my guess you've still got maybe 34 more times to gloat. Enjoy them, I know you will.

The east will be far deeper and more competitive then in recent years. The Central will be a real dog fight this year, O'Brien's coaching history indicates to me Indiana will be much improved and fighting for the playoffs. Milwaukee says they're improved but there's not an easy team for them to leap over with Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit all fighting it out at the top of the division,

In our division, Orlando, Charlotte and Atlanta should all play better Ball so wins aren't going to come easy for anyone.
Will be lots of good basketball to watch almost every night.

All of the talk about a fast start kind of ignored the schedule. Two other teams home openers, and our opener the second night of a back to back, someone in the league office really loves us. But it shouldn't surprise, what was this, our 8th striaght opener on the road?

This team will be ok, but it's going to take awhile for this young bench to really become a factor. I'd agree with Kalorama, i'd give it about 20 games before we really know what we've got.

Posted by: GM | November 1, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

good thing I didn't actually put my house up. I'd be on the outside looking in...which is what the Wiz will be come playoff time if they don't commit to something...anything. I don't think it's realistic to ask the guys to aggressively dbl team and trap and then sprint out to the wing when the ball is reversed all game long. That takes too much energy. It's like doing wind sprints for 40 minutes. We need a better strategy than that. I know, how about putting guys out there that can play weakside and help defense !! What a novel idea. McGuire and Blatche are perfect candidates. Even when they've been beaten they can still recover because of the length and quickness. Witness Blatche's spike of Harrison's dunk attempt from behind. I never thought I'd miss Jeffries but I almost ..ALMOST do. He could blow a layup with the best of them but he was a pretty good help defender.

Posted by: mark | November 1, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the earlier post who said that when the Wiz doubled up on a player, another player was freed up to shoot threes. That is what happened time and time again last year. They either need to guard their assigned man or hustle back to prevent that from occuring. Other than that, for me, I am not going to panic. It was only the first game and there are 81 games to go. I am not ready to throw either Eddie or the players under the bus. Remember, defense did not come easy to them last year and they really focused on it this year in practice. It will take a game or two for them to put into play in an effective manner what they learned defensively.Had it not been for the missed free throws, we could have had a W in the column. As for the rookies, I understand why EJ inserted them into the game. They do indeed need to be able to get a taste of a real game early into the season so that they will be ready, without jitters, as the season progresses when they will most definitely be needed off the bench. I am not a Wiz apologist because they did make me want to pull my hair out to. I just want to give my brothers the benefit of the doubt. Especially since everyone around the league seems to be writing them off. I guess you could call me an optimist and a die hard fan. So shoot me.

Posted by: Lady Wizz | November 1, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Ivan. Did you get a chance to ask EJ about his use of "small-ball" and why he loves it so much?

Posted by: Bullets Fan #1 | November 1, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

"By the way 88'er, I've never predicted 50 wins. Not once. So by my guess you've still got maybe 34 more times to gloat. Enjoy them, I know you will.

This team will be ok, but it's going to take awhile for this young bench to really become a factor. I'd agree with Kalorama, i'd give it about 20 games before we really know what we've got.

Posted by: GM | November 1, 2007 08:40 PM "

Senior apologist, again you miss the point. You said I have 32 (or 34) chances to gloat this year. Your incorrect assumption is that each of the 32 (or 34) losses are created equal. They are not.

A loss to a sorry lottery team like Indiana who fielded a team without their franchise player, without Troy Murphy, and without Jeff Fisher for most of the 4th quarter is worthy of slamming. A loss though, to an elite team like Phoenix or San Antonio is not the same. So, therein lies the error in your presumption.

Losing to this Indiana team last night is laughable and pitiful, while losing to an elite team isn't.

Also, you and everyone else are fools to say this team needs 20 games before anyone knows what the team is about. The last I checked, the starters on this team are the same as last year, and most of the core is similar to the team the year before.

So, this team should be clicking, but they are not. The starters yesterday were trailing or tied for most of the first half! They scored well, but still could not stop the other team from scoring.

Don't make excuses, because your excuses are very weak.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 1, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

DC Man88, are you even a Wizards fan?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who's actually watched this team for any length of time would have been tempted to predict low output in Indiana before a heroic effort in Boston, right? I look for big games from the big 6 Friday night, with the Wiz getting a lift from Daniels, Songaila, and perhaps Blatche. 118-114(OT). I look for "Gilby" and that other loser, Antawn, to be good for about 65, and I expect Caron will be decidedly more comfortable. Bwa. Ha.

Posted by: Bill Carr | November 2, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

DCIdiot is not a Wizards fan....he is simply a childish fool and should be banished by the Post. Maybe one day they will wake up and ban his sorry ass = poor thing will still be alone in his mom's basement blogging to no one.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2007 12:28 AM | Report abuse

"DCIdiot is not a Wizards fan....he is simply a childish fool and should be banished by the Post. Maybe one day they will wake up and ban his sorry ass = poor thing will still be alone in his mom's basement blogging to no one.

Posted by: | November 2, 2007 12:28 AM "

Lisa, you suck and so does your daddy.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 2, 2007 12:38 AM | Report abuse

"

DC Man88, are you even a Wizards fan?

Posted by: | November 1, 2007 11:50 PM "

Actually, I am. But, I don't care for Gilby, nor his hypocritical ways. I wish for Gilby to be gone from here if he does not give up his desire to be a individual player. He should instead be a team player.

Gilby is too self absorbed and selfish. He can get his points, but that sure as heck doesn't guarantee a team win. Notice he didn't do jack during overtime after he got the glory from his game tying 3 pointer (1-8 from 3).

I'm here to point out to 95% of the bloggers here that worship their quirky diva hero that he is not the answer to Les BouleS woes.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 2, 2007 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Dear DCman88,

I like you. I really do.

I like the way you make fun
I like the way you lay in the sun
I like your basketball IQ
I like that you are always true.
I like you. I really do.

I like that you hate G.A.
I like that you drink kool-aid.
I like the way you need a hug
I like that you smell like a pug
I like you. I really do.

I like that you are always online.
I like that your thoughts are fine.
I like the way you say bwahahaha.
I like that you cha cha cha.
I like you. I really do.

I'd like to hold you really tight
Oh so long, in the night.
I'd like to make you see the light,
Where Gilbert makes everything alright.
I'd like you to like the wizards. I really do.

From,

A fan.

Posted by: Washington Ball | November 2, 2007 1:09 AM | Report abuse

KALORAMA - A typical arrogant, critical, horses behind. An old skating rink and or dc "road" - suits your testosteron lacking behind.

"jerk????" Sounds like self description..
Did you mean to expose yourself?? or need a little t h e r a p y?

I'll consider the source and excuse you.

Posted by: Casey | November 2, 2007 2:12 AM | Report abuse

And, again, I ask:

Seriously, what's your problem?

(Rhetorical question, of course, because I don't really care).

Hey, when you develop the ability to intelligently discuss basketball (or anything else), drop by again. Until then, well, don't.

Posted by: kalorama | November 2, 2007 2:26 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Washington Ball | November 2, 2007 01:09 AM

Dude, I think you need to get a life. Go like someone else.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 2, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

You guys are funny, yes all of you--Kolarama, GM, dCnano00, prozak, mark, and all other basketball experts who really are not anything but legends in your own mind. The Wiz are a pretty one-dimensional team with a point guard who, well, is a scorer, but not much of a point guard. Which he chooses to share the ball they are a much better team both on offense and defense (Good defensive teams are play solid offense...one leads to the next and vice versa.). There is a reason the team looked different when AD was running it at the end of the year. Note they played better team D as well as a brand offense that allows you to keep your hair while watching. Wakeup folks if the Wiz make the playoffs it will be barely and only if they shuffle the lineup.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Dude, I think you need to get a life. Go like someone else.

Posted by: DC Man88 | November 2, 2007 09:06 AM

wow...says the guy that doesnt even like the "les boules" yet is on their nuts and their blog 24/7..."bwwaahahahahaha"

Posted by: jjmat84 | November 2, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Anon,

Why the insults? Can't we discuss basketball without being accused of being "legends in []our own mind"? It is a Wizards fansite, after all, and I like talking Wizards basketball with other fans. None of us are giving up our day jobs, presumably.

The Wizards are hardly one-dimensional: they've produced three all-stars the past two years. So by definition they're at least three-dimensional.

Peace, love and understanding,

Prazak (not prozak)

Posted by: Prazak | November 2, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Prazak, It's because he doesn't understand that this is a blog and that this is the forum for opinions. If we all agreed on everything, there'd be no purpose. Based on his comments, he's a basketball novice. The Wiz win when Gil scores points. The commentators showed a grphic to that effect during last game. His scoring average and shooting percentage in wins is much higher than in losses. He is NOT a point guard. He's a guard...a scorer. He will NEVER be a distributor like traditional PG's because that has never been his strength. The sooner people adjust their expectations, the better off they'll be. What we need from him in order to win is points, a decent shooting percentage, low turnovers, and lots of free throws. If he gives us that, he's done his part. Expecting him to distribute is like expecting George Bush to ace an IQ test. IT AINT GONNA HAPPEN !

Posted by: mark | November 2, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

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