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Friday update

Caron Butler attended shootaround this morning but only did light shooting and his status for tonight's game is undecided. I spoke with him last night and he said the hip was felling a little better but it was still tight and I could tell that he was concerned that it could be a lingering issue if he pushes it. Also, the guy had a nasty stomach virus for a few days and had to get an IV because he couldn't keep any food or water down. He's still feeling pretty wobbly.

Antonio Daniels, who did something to his left ankle in the third quarter of the loss at Toronto and did not practice yesterday, went through shootaround and will start. It will be important for him to be sharp defensively because few point guards in the league run that pick-and-roll as well as Deron Williams and the Jazz. Williams didn't make the West All Star squad because of the glut of excellent point guards out there but the dude can really play and I would imagine that he'll have a chip on his shoulder over not getting selected.

Butler and Antawn Jamison made the East squad as reserves as expected and I think they earned it. Hedo Turkoglu and Ray Allen had arguments but I like the team as it is. It was obvious to me that the coaches in the East highly respect how the Wizards have played after that 0-5 start and without Gilbert Arenas.

Great quote from former Wiz Jerry Stackhouse in today's Dallas Morning News. Stack was asked about the trade rumors floating around about Jason Kidd coming to Dallas. Stack: "The checks cash in 50 states. That's all you need to worry about. If you get somewhere where the checks don't cash, then you have something to worry about." He nailed that one. Then again, something tells me that Antoine Walker didn't feel that way after going from Miami to Minnesota late in training camp.


By Ivan Carter  |  February 1, 2008; 2:33 PM ET
 
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Next: Wow! Kwame for Pau!

Comments

Ivan, I hate to be a broken record, but here's how I see the Wiz situation:

95% chance of making the playoffs

95% chance of being the visiting team in the 1st or 2nd round

Keys to success for winning on the road in the playoffs are:
1) Momentum at the end of the season
2) Big 3 healthy for the playoffs
3) Team play, including defense
4) Good role-player and bench play

If one believed the above, you would conclude that the Wiz need to:
1) play the Big 3 less in the season to ensure that they are strong for the playoffs and
2) improve the play of 2-3 bench players in time for the playoffs (and for next year)

Looking at the play so far (with D. Song being gimpy), I would recommend playing NY and AB for 30 minutes a game for the next 25-30 games (and then revert to playoff rotations for the last 10-15 games of the regular season).

Said another way, why does management seem intent to burn out the best players during the regular season for the short-term gratification of a few extra wins?

Posted by: Izman | February 1, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey Stack, what about Canada?

BTW, who the heck is going to guard Boozer tonight? Imagine if he didn't leave the Cavs...they'd have a dynasty in the east.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 1, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"Said another way, why does management seem intent to burn out the best players during the regular season for the short-term gratification of a few extra wins?"

Because in a conference where only 7 games separate the team in 4th place from the team in 10th place, whether they get those "few extra wins" could easily determine whether the Wizards end up in the playoffs or the lottery.

Posted by: kalorama | February 1, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Izman - a few extra wins? The Wizards have already proven that they can win without Arenas - but they struggle mightily against EVERYONE with a second of the big-3 out. WITH Caron and Jamison, they're only a 45 win team. Take one out, or play them fewer minutes, you may be looking at a 5-game losing streak - then, what?

Instead of striving for 6th seed (with a shot at 4th seed), you may be looking at a team OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS.

There are 6 teams in the Eastern Conference, behind the Wizards by 7 games or less. Even Miami is only 9 games out of the 8th playoff spot. With the exception of the first 5 games, the Wiz have not had an extended losing streak. If that changes, the chances of them making the playoffs go down drastically.

The bench has 3 rookies, a 3rd year (really 2nd year-Blatche) player, and a gimpy vet (Songaila). Not exactly awe inspiring.

To win NOW, I think the Wiz need Caron and Jamison on the court for most of the game; at least until Arenas returns and can take some of the load off Tough Juice and AJ.

Posted by: Rook | February 1, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Kal - you said the same thing, except in a lot fewer words..

Posted by: Rook | February 1, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

If we win tonight without Caron...man that would be something else!

Posted by: Burg w/ a U | February 1, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse


When are media types going to start throwing out the term M*A*S*H Unit in the same sentence as Washington Wizards?

Isn't that usually the standard? Or has that term, hopefully, jumped the shark?

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | February 1, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I said it all along that this team is going to be hurting because they are undermanned b/c ownership is too cheap to even consider working out some people to see if they can help.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 1, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Megadeal:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3226203

Poor JCN, now he's without his home boy.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 1, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that's a potentially very nice deal for the Lakers. I know lots of people were high on Crittendon, but it didn't look like he was going to see the floor much behind Farmar and Fisher.

Now that he's actually landing on a good team with a shot at doing something, we should finally get to see if Gasol has really been worth all of the hype he's been generating in trade rumors. The big question is what will they do when Bynum comes back? Move Gasol to the bench? Can't imagine he'll like that much. Bring Bynum off the bench? Can't see that; it sends a bad message and would likely screw up the young guy's confidence. Still, better to have too much talent than not enough.

BTW, if the Grizzlies are having a fire sale, Grunfeld needs to figure out a way to get Mike Miller in a Wiz uniform.

Posted by: kalorama | February 1, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Izman - 95% making the playoffs. I think that you are too confident with the team. There are alot of factors that will be involve 1. Arenas comes back and be the same Arenas as last year, 2. "healthy" big three the rest of the season, 3. continue to be an above average defensive team and 4. the bench contributing. That's a lot to ask for plus I still believe that maybe 2 or 3 teams will make the final push to the playoffs and that will be a danger sign for the Wiz.

Posted by: Dave, | February 1, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I believe the Lakers will be coming to town next week, right? Sorry guys, that will be a L for our Wiz.

Posted by: Dave, | February 1, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Dave! Hey any chance you could tell us what the Mega Millions will be tonight...that is since you can predict the future??

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Kal, the Lakers could play Bynum at C, Gasol at PF, and Odom at SF. They wouldn't have to, of course. Could be pretty scary.

Posted by: Smith | February 1, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Michael, can you check on the K.Brown for Gasol deal?

Posted by: fire starter | February 1, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

This just in,Kwame's career is over he is now in the "black hole" of NBA franchises if he thinks he was booed in LA wait until he gets a load of the fans in Memphis oops do they really have fans in Memphis? LA just leap frogged the Suns with the addition of Gasol when Bynum gets back look out,now back to the Wizards no Caron tonight so the bench had better show up or it could get ugly early, congrats to Caron and Antwan for a much deserved all star selection.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | February 1, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, DCMan.

There goes Kwame. Again!

Posted by: 2cents | February 1, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I thought of that, Smith. It's possible, but I'm not sure how well Gasol and Bynum would work together on the floor for long stretches. But there are certainly worse dilemmas for a coach to have.

Posted by: kalorama | February 1, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Kal - I think Bynum is officially listed as Center. Gasol is listed as a Foreward.

A front line of Bynum (C), Gasol (F), and Odom (F) is pretty scary. I only have two questions: Can Gasol quickly blend in with the rest of the team? (Even if he does not completely 'blend' right away, he's a major upgrade over Kwame Brown, regardless). Will this make Kobe happy?

Huge trade for the Lakers - and in my opinion it puts them right up there equal with SA, Dallas and Phoenix with a chance at the Championship.

Posted by: Rook | February 1, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"...we should finally get to see if Gasol has really been worth all of the hype he's been generating in trade rumors."

Wow, what a great trade for the Lakers. I've always thought Gasol could play, he just needs to stay healthy.

3 questions:

1) What the heck are they going to do with Bynum?

2) Will Kobe now please shut up?

3) Will Mike Lee start writing about his Kobe loving again? ;)

The Lakers could make some real noise this year now. Kobe should be happy.

Hey Ivan,

How come people still refer to the Wiz as "surprising?" Case in point, ESPN was advertising tonights game and it was the "surprising Wizards take on the Jazz."

WTF is up with that? Yes, thier defense is surprising this year but they have three all-stars on the squad. Totally rediculous, it's SO annoying. They are a playoff team after all.

This is what I meant about the Wizards still needing to step it up. No one gives them any respect. They have to play with fire every night.

"Butler and Antawn Jamison made the East squad as reserves as expected and I think they earned it."

Jamison 100% did and I am glad the coaches didn't do a "Detroit" and put all of the Celtics on the squad. I honestly thought Jamison was going to be left off in the same fashion but Doc did the right thing and didn't hold a grudge.

Saying everything I just said I think it's going to be tough for the Wiz tonight with no Caron, although it should be close. Expect Stevenson to have a big game tonight.

"The checks cash in 50 states."

Yup, good ole Stack. Always playing for the right reasons. ;)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | February 1, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I think the Lakers will put Gasol at PF, and Odom at SF when Bynum comes back. Kobe should be dancing in the streets.

Hey, the #1 draft pick was just traded for the #2 draft pick from the 2001 draft. It's just that the team giving up the #1 pick had to sweeten the pot. Poor Kwame.

Posted by: 2cents | February 1, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

One more aspect to the Gasol trade that had me laughing.

Navarro did all that crap this off season to ensure the Wizards traded his rights to Memphis so he could be with his buddy Gasol. (which I've already documented in earlier posts)... He even took a $500K minimum salary (after telling the Wizards he need $3M per year) because Memphis could not afford anything else...... AND now, Gasol gets traded.

There is justice in this world.

Posted by: Rook | February 1, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Rook,

Much like stats, official position listing don't always say everything they mean. Gasol has played both C and PF for the Grizzlies. In fact he played mostly C prior to the acquisition of Darko.

Posted by: kalorama | February 1, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

In fact he played mostly C prior to the acquisition of Darko.

Posted by: kalorama | February 1, 2008 04:19 PM

Yeah - but he'll fit in fine as a F with the Lakers. Bynum doesn't have a lot of refined offensive moves, and mostly scores on putbacks, mini-hooks and dunks. Gasol, on the other hand, has the size to guard most of the PF's in the league - and has a pretty nice mid-range game as well as a polished post-up repitoire. They should compliment each other pretty well, actually.

The other trade being discussed is the one I really don't understand. Memphis just dumped $10 Million from their roster by trading Gasol (for Kwame Brown's expiring contract). Memphis is UNDER the salary cap right now. Why would they consider trading Stromile Swift to the New Jersey Nets for center Jason Collins. Swift is in the last year of his contract, and would take another $6M off the books for Memphis at the end of the year. If they kept Swift, they could be a MAJOR player in the FA market this off season... Makes no sense to trade Gasol for an expiring contract but then trade Swift's expiring contract.

Someone enlighten me.... Am I missing something?

Posted by: Rook | February 1, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"Bynum doesn't have a lot of refined offensive moves, and mostly scores on putbacks, mini-hooks and dunks."

You must not have seen him play much just before he went out. He's got a number of nice post moves. He's hardly a finished product, but he's not just getting by on athleticism and size.


"Gasol, on the other hand, has the size to guard most of the PF's in the league"

It takes more than size to play defense. Gasol's a decent enough shot blocker, but he's not a good one-on-one defender.

"They should compliment each other pretty well, actually."

They could. But they might not. Like I said, it'll be interesting to see how Jackson handles it. But until I do see it, I won't be convinced it'll be a smooth transition once Bynum returns. There are some definite question marks about how this deal will work out (not the least of which is how Gasol will adjust from having spent his entire career as his team's only real go-to guy to having to queue up behind Kobe for shots).

Posted by: kalorama | February 1, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"Navarro did all that crap this off season to ensure the Wizards traded his rights to Memphis so he could be with his buddy Gasol."

Actually I think Gasol had a hand in that and the Griz were trying to make him happy so he'd shut up with the trade talk. The Wiz gave him up for essentially nothing so it wasn't much of a risk for them.

I think JCN just wanted to play in the NBA, his agent was just trying to make a mess of things. If I were him I would be a little upset at Gasol for stranding him since they are supposedly BFF's.

"I think the Lakers will put Gasol at PF, and Odom at SF when Bynum comes back. Kobe should be dancing in the streets."

The Lakers just got a ton better with Gasol and Kwame can kiss my butt. Gasol can rebound, shoot, and run the floor. He's perfect for what the Lakers wanna do.

I guess I should but I don't feel bad for Kwame at all. I wanna see how Kobe REALLY feels now after trying to defend Kwame getting booed, and now getting a real PF/C.

Kwame is right where he is supposed to be.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | February 1, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Memphis has a ton of expiring contracts (including Navarro, by the way) - taking on Brown's $9M expiring contract, and assuming they DON'T trade Stromile Swift - they could be looking at being more than $35 Million under the Salary Cap this off season.

Perfect position to quickly rebuild using the FA market.

Posted by: Rook | February 1, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

How many young point guards does Memphis need? How bout they send the Wiz Kyle Lowry and we can forget this conditional draft pick nonsense we got in the JCN deal.

Posted by: Dude | February 1, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Kyle Lowry doesn't blend in with Les BouleS. He may be a decent player, but he's always yelling at his teammates. Les BouleS players are a bunch of loose knit, guys who like playing with each other.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 1, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

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