Hornets at Wizards

Man, it's days like this that make a person so thankful to live in this city. The weather was ideal so I got up early, grabbed a cup of coffee at the Mocha Hut on U street (way better and cheaper than the Starbucks across the street) and took the dog for a long walk around the neighorhood. Glad to be back home off of that road trip and so are the Wizards, who are up early here over the Hornets.

Darius Songaila started again at forward and Coach Eddie Jordan indicated before the game that he'll likely continue going that way. It will be fine as long as Andray Blatche plays the way he did off the bench in Chicago the other night (17 points, 10 rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes). Jordan had a funny line about that before the game when he was asked whether the change "motivated" Blatche.

"Either motivated him or pissed him off," Jordan. "They both work."

Enjoy the game.

By Ivan Carter |  March 2, 2008; 6:25 PM ET
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Great win. Killed in the 4th. Wiz own NOH!

Posted by: Smith | March 2, 2008 8:25 PM

the sweep! GREAT win by the Wiz tonight! They actually controlled the game from beginning to end!

Posted by: babbtong | March 2, 2008 8:27 PM

Another good victory tonight prompts some thoughts:
1) That the Wiz are 29-30 given the injuries to key players (and remember that quite a few of those losses were close) is evidence that EJ is doing some good coaching, despite what some say.
2) Ernie Grunfeld's statements that he likes the team we've got have heartened and relaxed this team (I'm guessing). It is no accident that the Wiz have a positive locker room and are playing better than anyone would expect given the injuries. Kudos to Ernie.
3) EG actually has assembled a good team, a very good team. I'm past worrying about chemistry when Gil and Caron are back. This is a team that should worry opponents.
4 Go Wiz!

Posted by: 7snider7 | March 2, 2008 8:27 PM

"

Another good victory tonight prompts some thoughts:
1) That the Wiz are 29-30 given the injuries to key players (and remember that quite a few of those losses were close) is evidence that EJ is doing some good coaching, despite what some say.
2) Ernie Grunfeld's statements that he likes the team we've got have heartened and relaxed this team (I'm guessing). It is no accident that the Wiz have a positive locker room and are playing better than anyone would expect given the injuries. Kudos to Ernie.
3) EG actually has assembled a good team, a very good team. I'm past worrying about chemistry when Gil and Caron are back. This is a team that should worry opponents.
4 Go Wiz!

Posted by: 7snider7 | March 2, 2008 08:27 PM "

EJ is doing a great job this season (especially compared to previous ones) but he still has some questionable substitution choices. He's done a great job keeping this team above water, though.
The talent of this team isn't really questioned (well, most of them) but rather it's a question of their heart...there have been way too many games where the Wiz as a team just show up with no focus or energy.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 2, 2008 8:32 PM

Another fantastic win. The way this team has been playing short of Caron and Gil is incredible. Can you imagine if those two would of been healthy how good this team would be??

I know many people rip on Eddie, but c'mon, he has been fine. Look at the talent this team has had to work with lately. It is almost resembling a D-League team. This team has a lot of heart and determination. If the team was healthy, they would be right up there with Detroit, Boston, and Cleveland.

Posted by: Roman | March 2, 2008 8:41 PM

Who would have thought that inserting old man Darius Songalia into the starting lineup would have worked out this well

Also to the poster above... I would think that due to the wizards lack of depth with Gil and Caron out that we are more apt to see games where the wiz have no focus or energy. And that it is unavoidable given the circumstances Thoughts?

Posted by: Dante | March 2, 2008 8:46 PM

I cannot think of a more inappropriate time to discuss the Wizard's lack of focus and energy.

Posted by: Smith | March 2, 2008 8:48 PM

Go figure.

Posted by: myshkin | March 2, 2008 8:50 PM

I think Les BouleS just match up well against NO. Same way Les BouleS used to match up well against Detroit.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 2, 2008 9:04 PM

Stellar 4th Quarter defense, starting and ending with Haywood. Eddie has finally figured out that having his best defensive player in the game at the end is the best strategy. Not to mention the fact that he's also hitting his free throws.

Stevenson was pretty good on the offensive end too... 12 of his points in the 4th quarter to close it out.

And another observaton. McGuire does a lot of things that just don't show up on the stat sheet. His line tonight was 4 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast, 1 steal..but he kept several possessions alive by tipping the ball out, and bothered Chris Paul with pretty good on-ball defense. I think Eddie is starting to trust the kid.

Posted by: Rook | March 2, 2008 9:36 PM

Quote: "I think Eddie is starting to trust the kid".

Try repeating that line after a few more games.

Anyway, DM has improved markedly since the first 20 games or so. I've been pleasantly surprised.

The young core of AB, NY and DM have some talent and could be the cornerstone of a good NBA team for many years. However, they'll soon be back to under 10 minutes a game as the injured players return. Maybe EG should trade them for a veteran...

Posted by: Izman | March 2, 2008 9:54 PM

defense, defense, defense. It's the only way we win with this squad and it appears that we finally realized it. Also, it's a good matchup for us, as 88 says. Let's see if we can keep this up.

Posted by: mark | March 2, 2008 10:15 PM

Great effort and intensity tonight. Defensive was wonderful. Songaila really plays solid defensively. He's strong on the block. He's good at extending the double teams off screen and rolls. He recovers well. Maybe AB will pick up on some of that. But most importantly, the Wizards kept the Hornets in front of them on defense. They didn't really let CP get into the middle of the lane. Solid game. And they get a couple of days off before playing Orlando. They can beat the Magic. In fact, a first-round series against Orlando would favor the Wizards, I think.

Posted by: Colin | March 2, 2008 10:19 PM

Try repeating that line after a few more games.

Posted by: Izman | March 2, 2008 09:54 PM


Yeah, I know. That's why I said "thinkstarting".

Posted by: Rook | March 2, 2008 10:23 PM

Try repeating that line after a few more games.

Posted by: Izman | March 2, 2008 09:54 PM

Sorry, should read:

Yeah, I know. That's why I said "think" and starting".


Posted by: Rook | March 2, 2008 10:23 PM

Posted by: Rook | March 2, 2008 10:24 PM

What a job the Wizards have done (Houston aside) in this last week. What is more impressive, sweeping Boston when they were on a 70-win pace sans Arenas or sweeping New Orleans without Arenas and Butler. Outstanding job by all of them. A win over Orlando and dare we think it, the Wizards might start building some momentum?!

Posted by: George Templeton | March 2, 2008 10:43 PM

THE BENCH!THE BENCH! THE BENCH!IS ON FIRE,WE DON'T NEED NO STARTERS LET THE BENCH PLAY ON!!!!!!!!!. Actually I've been very critical of this group but they are really comming around and EJ seems to have new found confidence in them oh yeah just one thing ANDRAY YOU'RE NOT A GUARD SO WHEN YOU STEAL A PASS IN THE LOW POST GIVE UP THE DAMN BALL. PLEASE,THANK YOU.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | March 2, 2008 10:51 PM

it's interesting that macquire is now getting more minutes than young, justifiably so in my opinion. young seems very immature. a bad pick maybe by the GM, although all in all he's done a very good job.

Posted by: barnie | March 2, 2008 11:09 PM

Nick Young is NOT a bad pick...he's just young and has his immature moments. I've heard many NBA analysts say he is going to be great in the future.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 2, 2008 11:42 PM

Young could be instant offense off the bench once he settles down and starts playing more under control. He's a work in progress.

Posted by: kalorama | March 2, 2008 11:49 PM

yea, it's still early, he could still turn into something. he certainly can shoot. but i'm starting to have some real doubts.

Posted by: barnie | March 3, 2008 12:15 AM

gg that's all

Posted by: g | March 3, 2008 12:19 AM

Hey, nice game!

DARGREGMAG, so now your on board with the bench? Thought you wanted to fire a top 5 GM in the NBA couple of days ago? LOL

"I know many people rip on Eddie, but c'mon, he has been fine. Look at the talent this team has had to work with lately. It is almost resembling a D-League team. This team has a lot of heart and determination. If the team was healthy, they would be right up there with Detroit, Boston, and Cleveland." - Roman

I'll just pick this out Roman as an example of an EJ apologist. First, I think you underestimate the talent of this bench. Not D league whatsoever. Somewhat young and inconsistent, but not D league. Hey, I concede EJ has been "fine". And, I've granted that he has coached his best season here. Hopefully this is the last time I say this, but I'm talking about being championship contenders here. IMHO, EJ gets out coached too often, has some perplexing game plans/subs, and being a "nice" player's coach instills no championship toughness in this team whatsoever. Is he terrible? NO Is he average or at his very best a notch above average - yes!

I guess I'm looking at the big picture here. I see a mix of old and young players, but mostly younger players. I see talent everywhere whether it's raw or not. But, what I don't see is a coach that will ever win an NBA championship!

Roman, you are talking about health and being the 3rd or 4th best team in a terrible conference if completely healthy?
Seriously? Assuming complete health, this team has three all-stars. You are ok with being 3rd or 4th best in this conference? Bc that gets us absolutely nowhere!!!!!!!!!!

Just remembered my old EJ comparison that I believe is perfect. EJ is the Norv Turner of the NBA!

Posted by: Rob P | March 3, 2008 2:41 AM

weak comparison, you believe it is perfect...
but that doesn't amount to much does it?

nope. didn't think so.

Your coworkers do consider you the norv turner of your workplace though...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 3, 2008 2:52 AM

"Young could be instant offense off the bench once he settles down and starts playing more under control. He's a work in progress." - Kalorama

Exactly right! Hey, we're all guilty of being instant judges. I saw absolutely nothing from McGuire up until about a month or so ago. Now I see an extremely athletic rebounder who plays mean defense and looks completely comfortable on the court and plays within himself.

NY to me is pretty much the same although being on the offensive end he got more positive attention quicker. He is neither bad or very good, but he has all the tools and potential to be as good as he wants too! Honestly, I see him being a microwave off the bench for years to come or he could blossom into something better. His "lazy" kind of on court demeanor kind of bothers me though. I don't care what anyone says about athletes making it look "easy". NY looks like he is chillin on the court bc he is!!!

Posted by: Rob P | March 3, 2008 3:03 AM

as a side note norv turner took his chargers to the afc championship game...

i guess it is the players though.

Your perfect comparison is looking worse and worse.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 3, 2008 3:52 AM

I need to back off of the 'good matchup' remark that I made earlier. If we were beating them at full strength, it might be considered a good matchup. Beating this team with our present squad was all about good defense, not good matchups. We earned this victory. Again, low turnovers, high FT% and solid defense and we have a chance against anyone. One of the keys is getting to the line, though. We really need to continue to attack the rim and get the foul calls and we've done that.
In regard to EJ's 'funny' comment... Motivation doesn't always follow being pissed off. This is, in fact, one of the things that hindered the development of our Center. It's EJ's style but I certainly didn't find it as amusing as Ivan did.

Posted by: mark | March 3, 2008 7:38 AM

yea, it's still early, he could still turn into something. he certainly can shoot. but i'm starting to have some real doubts.


Posted by: barnie | March 3, 2008 12:15 AM

Hey my man, you have to be kidding me right????????????? Not many NBA players have the ability to create separation and get their shot off against NBA defenders. NY has that and more.

In two years this young dude is going to average 18 points a game with no problem. No need for your doubts my man, because this kid is the real deal

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | March 3, 2008 8:19 AM

It would be nice to get an update on Gilbert Arenas. Is his set back merely due to not being in NBA shape or is the knee still not where it needs to be?

Posted by: Tim | March 3, 2008 8:19 AM

Rob P, Awhile back I said Nick Young reminds me of Iceman Gervin, not so much his moves as his on court demeaner. He's one of those guys that looks like he's moving slow or sleep walking, but he's constantly getting off a clean shot.

Grunfeld assembled a team that has required Eddie Jordan to develop some young players. The injuries have forced his hand even more and required him to use the young talent he has on hand. I think Grunfeld has handled the cap pretty well to get the Wiz from where they were when MJ left to three straight years in the playoffs.

For this team to take the next step and move toward a more elite status the development of this young core on the bench is going to be key. But as young and inexperienced as these guys are right now, this is still a much improved team from last year.

Compare the team's record last year in the second half with this year's version when they're playing without Arenas and Butler. Blatche and Pecherov are a pair of young 7' guys with alot of skills. Blatche needs to learn he's not Magic Johnson and Pecherov has never passed up an open shot from any where.

But there is some real talent there to work with and along with McGuire and Young they're a core to build with around the big three. This team is not an edition that will be ready to challenge deep in the playoffs simply because of it's youth.

I said at the beginning of the season that this team is still a work in progress, when completely healthy it can compete with anyone. But it's still a year or two away from where Ernie will be able to field an elite team.

After next season the Wiz will have a mature young bench that maybe pushing some present starters aside.Etan and Daniels will be entering into their final years of their deals so they will have value to use in a package to acquire a needed peice in the puzzle to build a real winner.

That's the plan, injuries could blow it all to hell, but that doesn't stop a team from trying to plan.

Posted by: GM | March 3, 2008 8:26 AM

GM you are on point. In 2 years if we stay healthy we will have deep team with young experience. Jamison will be a more seasoned grizzly vet to either start or more likely produce off the bench, Daniels will be gone. We will know how good Blatche, Young and MacGuire and Pech are. I feel they all will be rotation players. Center spot...we'll see if the Brenden of this year is just a mirage.

The question is does Ernie believe that Jordan is the one to coach this nucleus. I always go back to the Phil Jackson for Doug Collins scenario in Chicago, Doug only took them so far. the owners pulled trigger and brought in Jackson. The rest is history.

EJ after keeping things afloat this season will all this chaos deserves to stay for sure. But that's what Bulls fans were saying when Jackson was hired. If there is no great coach out there though, you ride with EJ and see how far he can take this group.

Posted by: BmoreRev | March 3, 2008 8:39 AM

"weak comparison, you believe it is perfect...
but that doesn't amount to much does it?

nope. didn't think so.

Your coworkers do consider you the norv turner of your workplace though..." - anon

"as a side note norv turner took his chargers to the afc championship game...

i guess it is the players though.

Your perfect comparison is looking worse and worse." - anon

Hmmm...posting anonymous and taking personal shots right off the bat without debating anything relevant to the Wiz. Bravo! Your a genius I can tell!

Eddie Norv
Great guy Great guy
Offensive guru Offensive guru
Great assistant Great assistant
Not great head coach Not great head coach
Kind of soft Kind of soft
Losing recored Losing record
Never won anything Never won anything

So, Mr. Anon if you want to debate these points go ahead. Refute them if you like. Otherwise, shut you pie hole!

Norv took "his team" to the championship game? Ok. Besides the fact that next year nobody will remember that, the Chargers were considered one of the most talented teams in the NFL and he was not the architect whatsoever! In fact, Marty had a better overall record with that team the year before! Ha! I'm glad for Norv but I don't think he's going to the HOF as a coach, you can give me a "I told you so" if he does! Fat chance in hell! Bring something a little stronger next time!!!!


Posted by: Rob P | March 3, 2008 8:41 AM

But, what I don't see is a coach that will ever win an NBA championship!

Just remembered my old EJ comparison that I believe is perfect. EJ is the Norv Turner of the NBA!

Posted by: Rob P | March 3, 2008 02:41 AM

Rob P. First of all there are 29 coach's in the NBA that fit that "but, what I don't see is a coach that will ever win a NBA championship" statement you just made, not just Eddie. The only one you might could exclude is Pop's with the Spurs.

That includes having your boy Phil Jackson in that 29. You mentioned in your past posts how you like watching the Lakers and a real coach call games.

Now if my memory serves me correctly, did the Lakers make the playoff's last year? Or if they did, wasn't it the 1st round of the playoff's they got knocked out of, I can't remember. Anyway, how did this "great coach" do with a depleted team?
He only had Kobe, because LaMar was hurt most of the season and Bynum was just a 1st year player.

What I am saying is Phil now has Kobe, LaMar, he had Bynum, and now he has Gasol. Nobody is hurt other then Bynum so of course he is able to produce a good record. What happened to his great coaching when he only had ONE player (Kobe)to work with last year? What was his record?

Case in point, a coach is only as good as the horses he has to run with. As I told you before I was ALWAYS on Eddie's case because he failed to use Haywood enough and he liked playing small to much for my taste. That includes playing Etan at the "5" when he should be a "4". I have nothing against Etan, but he is not a "5"!!!! Eddie would then tick me off by not giving AB any playing time and then playing Songailia to much at the "5".

Guess what, Eddie has now changed his ways now. You can see it in his game substitution calls. Starting back a couple of games ago when he started Mason and DMAc to start the second half of a game because they were "hot" in the 2nd quarter.

Now, when have you ever seen Eddie recognize somebody was hot and ride with them (other then the big three)? Second great move was finally letting Songalia play at the 3 or 4 spot where he is better suited to excel. He has been producing since he plays at the 3 or 4. Third great move is using Haywood and removing the personal "junk" he had with him from business and getting the best from a good 7 footer. This game is a business, not a place to have personal "feelings" impede your judgement.

4th thing is keeping one of the three 7 footers at the "5" spot the entire 48 minutes and not going small. 5th thing is "dictating" to the opponent with your lineup and not letting the opponent dictate to you.

To summarize, EJ has done one heck of a job this past month. If your players like you and there is no trouble in the locker room why would you be calling for a new coach????? His system makes it where without "superstars" they are still able to be competitive and also win some games. Could Phil Jackson do the same thing with this team as it is now?? I don't think so.......

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | March 3, 2008 9:04 AM

GM and BMOREREV, couldn't agree more!

You guys are looking at the big picture and not just the last game!

As far as NY is concerned, yeah he's got offensive NBA skills. But what else is he bringing to the table? Nothing on O without the ball, NO D whatsoever, and he can be careless. So, well see how much the rest comes around. Oh, he doesn't finish at the rim worth a damn either! He's got some improving to do for sure!

Posted by: Rob P | March 3, 2008 9:06 AM

Congratulations. EJ has found it at last. Songalia is best suited to be a 3 or 4 but never the 5 as EJ has been doing in the past since last year.

EJ is very fond of removing BTH in the closing 4 minutes of the game with Songalia replacing him. Guess he wants to have speed with being small.

The last games proved to better put on BTH or AB, or Pecherov there at center. These guys are all dently good foul shooters anyway. Trust them at end game.

Posted by: dingelerma | March 3, 2008 9:09 AM

I'd agree with B-Rev, after holding the team together through this year and showing that he's starting to trust and handle the young guys down the stretch, Eddie deserves a vote of confidence.

The question is, is there a Phil Jackson out there to hire? Not sure I'd throw Eddie overboard for some of the same old recycled names that are out there to hire right now.

The Norv vs. Eddie comparison only goes so far. If Eddie was here for 7 years and his teams consistantly under performed it would be right on target. This is his fourth year and this team has played well considering the injuries.

Like Chicago, Eddie's replacement could be sitting right beside him. The improvement in the Wizard's defense and the overall improvement in Brendan Haywood after the poisoned end of last season has to be at least partially credited to Randy Ayers.

A good head coach is not afraid to surround himself with capable assistants and use them to improve, Eddie has shown some ability to adapt and not just give lip service to defense. Hopla has shown measurable results in the shooting department and the assistants have helped smooth over the ruff edges of Eddie's player relation skills.

Eventually this team will have to be judged on how deep it can go in the playoffs. Unless Arenas and Caron return at 100% in the very near future it's going to be unfair to expect a deep run this year.

Posted by: GM | March 3, 2008 9:25 AM

A good head coach is not afraid to surround himself with capable assistants and use them to improve, Eddie has shown some ability to adapt and not just give lip service to defense. Hopla has shown measurable results in the shooting department and the assistants have helped smooth over the ruff edges of Eddie's player relation skills.

Eventually this team will have to be judged on how deep it can go in the playoffs. Unless Arenas and Caron return at 100% in the very near future it's going to be unfair to expect a deep run this year.

Posted by: GM | March 3, 2008 09:25 AM

Good point GM.... Again, how can you expect postitive results if you are showing up to gun fights and all you have is butter knives........

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | March 3, 2008 9:35 AM

Michael Lee wrote another great piece, this time on the Pistons.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/02/AR2008030202121.html

Is there any way that he or better yet Ernie, shoves this mandate down EJ's throat next season, as it looks like the injuries have forced his hand quite a bit but as soon as his horses are back, EJ will ride them until they break again. We need a coach who can really manage this team for the ultimate goal of winning a championship - not trying to peak at the All Star game and then waning as the playoffs start - as has been EJ's history here.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 3, 2008 9:44 AM

Everybody is happy happy joy joy in here. This is exactly the response the last time we beat the Hornets. Then we imploded in Houston.

This team is still capable of losing by 20 to Orlando on Wednesday. They arent as good as their big wins and arent as bad as their bad losses.

Posted by: JSchon | March 3, 2008 9:51 AM

Agreed, Bullets Fever #1, except the silver lining in this season is that the Wiz are developing some young guns.

Posted by: GM | March 3, 2008 9:54 AM

The difference as I see it, JSchon, is that the Wizards aren't playing the Magic tonight. It's not a back-to-back like last weekend. They have two days to rest for the Magic, which should help.

Posted by: Colin | March 3, 2008 9:57 AM

That's why it's best to still take the "long view" with this group. There are going to be nights they stink up the place.

Wed. will be a big test for these guys, but I don't expect them to be as flat as they were on the second night of a back to back on the road that was the 4th game in five nights.

A depleted team can only be expected to do so much.

Posted by: GM | March 3, 2008 9:59 AM

My point, Colin, wasnt negative towards the Wizards, it was calling out some of the knee-jerk posters in here who either get too excited by a big win or want to run the coach and GM out of town and trade all the players for Jarrett Jack after a loss.

Damn that was a run-on sentence.

Posted by: JSchon | March 3, 2008 10:09 AM

I was at the Hornets'game and have to give major props to Brendan Haywood. He didn't make a field goal & missed a few free throws but his defense in the final 5 minutes changed the game. Eddie said after the game that the team defended at the rim late and that was the difference and most of that defense was Haywood. His well earned reputation before this season was that if he didn't get a lot of touches early he would often disappear but alst night was the opposite and showed what a huge turnaround year this has been. Even though he had not been involved in the offense when he was in the game, he knew he could make his impact on the defensive end and he did, while giving Chandler a fierce battle off the glass all night and actually outrebounding him.

Posted by: arnie | March 3, 2008 10:11 AM

If we make the play-offs... BH should be win the MIP award.

Posted by: JSchon | March 3, 2008 10:20 AM

I was at the game last night, less crowd than I'd expected. Wizards played great defense near the end, completely shut the Hornets down. Haywood played particularly well in that stretch. He went out and challenged shots (5 blks last night, altered even more), defended, rebounded, and picked up loose balls. Too bad his free throw was off (6 for 10), otherwise, he could have another double-double!

BTW, on one (short) stretch, EJ had Haywood, AB, and O-Pec, three 7-footers on the court together. Didn't bear much fruit, so the experiment was short-lived, but I thought that was interesting (it probably would have worked if Caron or Gil were in).

Posted by: Sagaliba | March 3, 2008 10:28 AM

Correction, Haywood 5 blks was a typo, should have been 4 blks instead.

Posted by: Sagaliba | March 3, 2008 10:31 AM

The action down low was really something and Brendan didn't backdown a bit. In fact he mixed it up pretty good with those guys.

And there was alot of talking going on. Did you see the big grin that Brendan got when he grabbed the offensive rebound in the 4th and West got called for the foul?

Brendan got the ball and the foul on West and West got the worst of the physical exchange too! Brendan's grin said it all...

Posted by: GM | March 3, 2008 10:34 AM

For four years running this team has been undermined by serious injuries to its key players. For four years running Jordan has been able to keep the ship from running aground and get them into the playoffs. He's got them playing hard in a situation where some teams would have thrown in the towel. Is he a future HoF coach? No. But Pat Riley is. Anybody think he's done a better job motivating an injury-riddled team than Jordan? Anyone? Bueller?

Jordan's done a damn fine job with this team under continually tough circumstances and deserves a helluva a lot of credit.

Posted by: kalorama | March 3, 2008 10:40 AM

I would like to see how some of these other coaches would handle this team with the disadvantages it has.IE...injured players,young inexperienced bench, short bench. No matter what EJ does, there is always some complaints. Is he perftect no,he makes mistakes, but so does other coaches. IE...coach Avery for Dallas the other night when he took Kidd off the floor. Bottom line, I like the other analysts, feel EJ has done a great jobe with this team and thought they played great last night. The players have to play up to their level and play the plays that are drawn up and quit free lancing. GO WIZARDS! I'm still behind you win, lose or draw. Great game last night!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 3, 2008 11:23 AM

JSchon, I didn't think your comment was negative. I was just saying that I think a couple of days of rest should help them. Plus, Houston was (and still is) on a tear. Fifteen in a row!? That's big-time. (Obvious statement of the year.)

Posted by: Colin | March 3, 2008 11:26 AM

By the way, the last post was in agreement with Kaloram. Give dude a break! Some how some way, he has kept this team confident in their abilities despite their circumstances. As he told them earlier, there is no one coming to save them, what they have is what they have, so roll with it. And as each game comes, the young guns are stepping up. I'm damn proud of them! Hopefully they won't tank agains Orlando like they did against Houston but, if they do, I still got their back. You go boys!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 3, 2008 11:36 AM

As far as NY is concerned, yeah he's got offensive NBA skills. But what else is he bringing to the table? Nothing on O without the ball, NO D whatsoever, and he can be careless. So, well see how much the rest comes around. Oh, he doesn't finish at the rim worth a damn either! He's got some improving to do for sure!


Posted by: Rob P | March 3, 2008 09:06 AM

With the exception of the top 5 guys drafted, you could say the same things about most rookies:
1. Too many mistakes (Careless)
2. Can't defend NBA players
3. Does not finish well at the rim
4. Does not understand the offense (Nothing on O without the ball)

Which is why most NBA Coaches (with winning records) don't play rookies that much.

On the other hand, Nick Young has shown at least ONE NBA skill that a lot of rookies don't have, and will never possess. The ability to get a quality shot on his own.
Now, I don't want to compare the kid with anyone, but other NBA rookies that came into the league that could get their own shot any time they wanted, turned out in time to be pretty good NBA players.

Nick, like most rookies, needs to understand what to do in the off-season to improve his game. He has to WORK at his trade. Work on his body. Work on his moves. Work on improving his defense. BUT the one thing he does not have to work on, is getting free for his own shot.

This off-season, and the work he does or does not do, will go a long way to show what kind of player Nick Young will be.

Posted by: Rook | March 3, 2008 11:41 AM

My point, Colin, wasnt negative towards the Wizards, it was calling out some of the knee-jerk posters in here who either get too excited by a big win or want to run the coach and GM out of town and trade all the players for Jarrett Jack after a loss.

Damn that was a run-on sentence.

Posted by: JSchon | March 3, 2008 10:09 AM

Don't worry JSchon, as soon as the Wiz lose another game, those negative posters will be back on here with a vengence.
(ie: The Miami heat fan Clewiston, for one).

Posted by: Rook | March 3, 2008 11:43 AM

I agree with Rook. What the bench has is tons and tons of potentials. Now the question is, can they have the mentality of a CB or a AJ to work on their talent this off season and lift them up to the next level or will they be the next Harold Miner, Tim Thomas or even our beloved C-Webb?

Posted by: Dave | March 3, 2008 11:51 AM

It seems like every game Young tries to attack the basket for a dunk only to get his shot blocked and/or get knocked to the floor on his ass, frequently with no call even though one is deserved. As comical as it can be sometimes, the fact that he keeps attacking and shows no fear going in amongst the trees is a good sign. If he were a 5-year vet instead of a rookie, many of those aborted drives would be earning him trips to the free throw line. Most coaches would rather have a player who's too aggressive than not aggressive enough.

Posted by: kalorama | March 3, 2008 11:53 AM

Eddie gets a lot of heat on this site when the team plays poorly and less credit when they play well. There is no doubt that he has done his best career job this season, which was tailor made for disaster. With devastating injuries, turmoil regarding uncertainty about Grunfeld's summer plans for Gilbert & Antawn, and developing 4 players who are young enough to all need ID's to get served, Eddie has this team playing hard almost every night and maybe most importantly never seeming to come apart at the seams by any internal discord at all.

This team buys into playing for this coach and with each other and you have to credit Eddie and his staff for maintaining that focus through the injuries and some tough close losses and some bad blowouts. Whether some of you like it or not Eddie Jordan will be here for quite a while.

Posted by: arnie | March 3, 2008 11:59 AM


I hope this move will improve Blatche performance. He played well in the last couple of games. With Caron out an undetermined amount of time players like Blatche have to be more aggressive.

Great win for the Wizards, with this time off until Wed, they can rest their players and focus on this playoff push.

Posted by: Robert C. | March 3, 2008 12:01 PM

Rook, you just expanded upon what I said about NY. Agreed! The only thing I would add is his demeanor tends to make me think he won't be super aggressive in improving. I don't see that fire in him. That is what worries me about him, not his talent. Much like Blatche. It's almost like " I want to be good enough to stay in league, but otherwise don't care. I hope I'm wrong!

"Guess what, Eddie has now changed his ways now. You can see it in his game substitution calls. Starting back a couple of games ago when he started Mason and DMAc to start the second half of a game because they were "hot" in the 2nd quarter." - Bullets Fever


Yeah, I noticed that too Fever bc it was such a creative thing for EJ to do. Look...I give EJ credit where it's due. And I'll say this again, THIS YEAR GENERALLY IS BY FAR THE BEST COACHING JOB HE'S DONE SINCE HE'S BEEN HERE. That being said, I wish you guys could get a little perspective of what your defending so adamantly as if I were messing with the Holy Grail. Ok.

Please refute these points.

*The Wiz are not sniffing the playoffs in the West.

*The Wiz have a losing record with at least two all-stars for 80% of the season in a horrible conference.

*Even when this team has been healthy we've not gone past the second round in the playoffs in previously mentioned horrible conference.

*The Wiz have never shown, except this year with the appearance of Randy Ayers (EG's move which I believe EJ was not happy about), even a remote interest in playing any sort of playoff caliber defense.

*EJ has a career losing percentage.

Ok.

Things I've not said.

*EJ is a horrible coach.

*I would fire him damn the consequences or replacement considerations.

My best guess is he gets one more year and will be fired after another mediocre to decent season that ends in a 1/2 round lose in playoffs. Hey, I hope we win it all and I eat crow. Would love nothing more!

Posted by: Rob P | March 3, 2008 12:50 PM

It seems like every game Young tries to attack the basket for a dunk only to get his shot blocked and/or get knocked to the floor on his ass, frequently with no call even though one is deserved. As comical as it can be sometimes, the fact that he keeps attacking and shows no fear going in amongst the trees is a good sign. If he were a 5-year vet instead of a rookie, many of those aborted drives would be earning him trips to the free throw line. Most coaches would rather have a player who's too aggressive than not aggressive enough." - Kal

I mostly agree, but I submit the reason he keeps missing at the rim so much is bc he is a little tentative and scared going there. He still seems like a boy playing with men at times. I am sure that will improve with age.

In contrast, some rebounds I've seen McGuire snatch makes me think he is a beast already! No boy in him!

Posted by: Rob P | March 3, 2008 12:59 PM

Remember that pre-season Chicago game a few years ago when Haywood and Chandler fought?

I think Haywood has a real vindictive streak and plays his nastiest against Chandler.

The smartest move EG could make would be to trade Etan to someone we play a lot - it'd be great to see Haywood fired up like that even more!

Posted by: Cballer | March 3, 2008 1:09 PM

It seems like every game Young tries to attack the basket for a dunk only to get his shot blocked and/or get knocked to the floor on his ass, frequently with no call even though one is deserved.

Posted by: kalorama | March 3, 2008 11:53 AM

You're right Kal, but even so, a more seasoned player will drive INTO the shot blocker.... or double clutch.... or absorb the contact.... In other words, the veteran players learn how to get their shot off at the rim... Young has not learned how to do that yet. In College, he just dunked over guys. He can't do that at this level, but he'll learn other ways to make that shot, or get the foul call.

Posted by: Rook | March 3, 2008 1:10 PM

"a more seasoned player will drive INTO the shot blocker.... or double clutch.... or absorb the contact.... In other words, the veteran players learn how to get their shot off at the rim..."

That was part of my point. He's not seasoned player still needs to learn much. But the things that he does already know (how to get his shot off and how to aggressively attack defenses) make a damn good foundation for all of the things he still needs to learn.

Posted by: kalorama | March 3, 2008 1:17 PM

Wow - we agree!

Posted by: Rook | March 3, 2008 1:20 PM

All the talk about building for the future and having a core around the Big 3 assumes that both GA and AJ will re-sign with the Wiz after they become free agents this summer. That is far from a given. Gilbert is so enigmatic that I could see him saying to himself, "DC has been bad luck for me. Injured two years in a row, I need to get out of here and go to a warm climate or play for a Western contender." And AJ could easily decide to leave for the Bobcats, playing at home hear his family and friends. I know he is saying he wants to stay, but Larry Hughes said the same thing. And if GA and AJ leave, then where are we?

Posted by: Rockville | March 3, 2008 1:26 PM

And if GA and AJ leave, then where are we?

Posted by: Rockville | March 3, 2008 01:26 PM

The difference is that some other team needs to have Cap room to sign either Arenas or Jamison. I don't believe anyone will have Cap space next year - at least not anywhere close to what the Wizards can offer.

If you think Arenas will settle for the Mid-Level Exception (around $5 Million, a $6 Million cut in salary), to play for a Western Conference contender - you're crazy.

Posted by: Rook | March 3, 2008 1:30 PM

"Please refute these points."

Gladly.

"The Wiz are not sniffing the playoffs in the West."

They aren't in the West and aren't going to be in the West, so what would happen if they were in the West is irrelevant.

"The Wiz have a losing record with at least two all-stars for 80% of the season in a horrible conference."

They were about 5 games over .500 before Caron first hurt his hip.

Even when this team has been healthy we've not gone past the second round in the playoffs in previously mentioned horrible conference.

This team hasn't ever been healthy for a full season and the playoffs.

2004-05: Jamison misses 14 games, Hughes misses 21 games, Thomas misses 25 games

2005-06: Butler misses 7 games (and even though he plays in the playoffs, is not at full strength), Thomas misses 11 games (and gets hurt again midway through the playoffs)

2006-07: Arenas misses 8 games (and all of the playoffs), Butler misses 20 games (and all of the playoffs)

Even in the one year where they were healthy going into the playoffs, all of those regular season games missed severely hampered their ability to establish a rhytm going into the playoffs.

"The Wiz have never shown, except this year with the appearance of Randy Ayers (EG's move which I believe EJ was not happy about), even a remote interest in playing any sort of playoff caliber defense.

What evidence do you have to support this belief? Not that it matters. As head coach, Jordan sets the agenda. Even if Ayers is solely responsible for the defensive turnaround, he still has to go through Jordan to implement it. it only happens because Jordan allows it to happen.

"EJ has a career losing percentage."

That's what happens when you spend the first three years of your career coaching bad teams that don't have enough talent to win. He's above 500 for the last three years with the Wizards, and one game below .500 for this season, despite the ridiculous number of injuries.

"I submit the reason he keeps missing at the rim so much is bc he is a little tentative and scared going there."

I submit that's absolutely untrue. He attacks the rim with abandon and repeatedly gets punished for it. If he was scared, he'd stop doing it.

Posted by: kalorama | March 3, 2008 1:33 PM

"And AJ could easily decide to leave for the Bobcats, playing at home hear his family and friends. "

I don't believe (A) the Bobcats will have the kind of cap space they'd need to sign Jamison, after using their exception to acquire Jason Richardson in the offseason and trading expiring contracts to get Nazr Mohammed at midseason, or (B) that Jamison would have any interest playing out the rest of his career on a lottery team.

Posted by: kalorama | March 3, 2008 1:42 PM

For one of the first times in recorded history, I absolutely agree with Kal's refutations. I would add one thing. NY is not that strong (yet). It may take him a while to shed the college body and develop a man body. Until he does that, it'll be difficult to take it into the defender's body and maintain enough control to draw the 'and one'.
I would also add that the Suns generally don't play good defense and even before the Mavs decided to start playing a little, they were still getting pretty far along in the playoffs. Defense in the NBA has won championships but the lack of it doesn't preclude you from doing well in the regular season as long as you can put up a lot of points.
Our number one issue has been health. That's it ! No one knows what we can accomplish if we can manage to stay healthy.

Posted by: mark | March 3, 2008 2:10 PM

Also, certain extremely gifted players, like Vince Carter, will avoid contact when driving. Others, like Baron Davis and Gil will initiate the contact to try to get an and 1 situation or strictly to nullify a shotblocker. Guys like these are extremely hard to defend as they get to the line often (free points baby!) and will put opposing big men in foul trouble. Hopefully NY will become the latter not the former with all his talent...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 3, 2008 2:11 PM

One leg up that this team has in developing these young guys is a really good core of vets that show the way with hard work.

Jamison,Daniels,Caron, and Gil are all hard workers and each leads in his own way. This year even Brendan Haywood has been a model teammate, he's always been a hard worker. But he's seemed to overcome his past ability to get frustrated and sulk.

Look around there's alot of teams that are filled with vets that can barely speak to each other and display some really terrible work ethic. Too many rookies together without the right vets to lead them and a team's just taking a chance the right leader will emerge.

Jamison is the glue that holds this team together, his leadership on and off the court can't be measured. Without him I really wonder how this season would have came out for the Wiz.

It's not like the Wiz have a really talented group of youngsters and they're expecting Rod Strickland them.

Posted by: GM | March 3, 2008 2:28 PM

For Gil to leave and get the kind of money he wants there would almost have to be a sign and trade.

My quess is that Jamison would almost certainly resign with the Wiz for somewhere between 8-12m per year if the Wiz give him a 3-4 year deal. Can't see why the Wizards aren't going to do that.

I don't think there's a team in the league that could swope in and offer Jamison the kind of money he's making now. Again without a sign and trade it doesn't appear Jamison would be leaving either.

So in either case the Wiz aeren't left with nothing. And with this team's chemistry, and Jamison's leadership role, I'd be surprised if they'd go in another direction.

But I'd agree, Arenas's quirkyness could become a factor. But I can't see the guy playing for the MLE to get himself on a contender. And the only contender that may have money to spend is the Spurs, and I don't see him being a fit there.

In the end I think he resigns here, or maybe he decides not to opt out and plays for the full deal after next season.

Posted by: GM | March 3, 2008 2:45 PM

There is a near zero chance Gilbert takes the MLE to play with any team, contender or not.

Posted by: kalorama | March 3, 2008 3:00 PM

I'm hoping the fact that Gilbert seems to enjoy playing here, and gets along with the players, will make him stay this post season. Other facts that make me think he may stay is the fact that we signed Deshawn this past year, to help keep him happy, and he seems to have a close relationship with the 2 rookies, Nick and DMac (renting his home and all). He's also building the swimming pool (that someone speaks of all the time). Bottom line, hope he doesnt leave.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 3, 2008 3:02 PM

Rob P, I've been a huge EJ detractor for the past couple of years. But this year, I've sung his praises because he's done a helluva job. Listen, I've never cared for him as a head coach, but that doesn't mean I'm blind to the results this year. EJ deserves to stick around beyond this season. And, quite frankly, he did a good job for half of last year, when the Wizards climbed to No. 1 in the EC before the wheels fell off (read, Gil and Caron got hurt).

As for your comment about the Wizards not sniffing the playoffs in the WC, who cares? How does that even apply to any debate about the Wizards? They're not in the West, so your point is shallow. The only EC teams that would make the playoffs in the WC are the Pistons and Celtics, anyway, so it's not like the Wizards are the only EC playoff team that wouldn't make the postseason out West.

I will concede your point about the team not playing defense with any intensity until this season. That's certainly true. We've seen a more concerted effort from the team on defense this year than in any of EJ's previous seasons with this club.

Posted by: Colin | March 3, 2008 3:05 PM

GA re-signing is a given. There's no one out there that will pay more than we will. I never felt that way about Larry or Jeffries. I'm 100% sure GA is gonna be a Wizard next year.
I feel like AJ is staying as well but given his production, he'd be a better fit for an up and coming team than Gil. I think AJ is a bigger threat to leave because teams would view him as more of a final piece to a puzzle rather than a franchise piece to build around. All of the scuttlebutt from Joe the Fan (to quote Coach Thompson) about Gilbert being selfish and shooting too much, have hopefully scared teams off. He's a Wiz to stay.

Posted by: mark | March 3, 2008 3:09 PM

Given his age and price tag, the only teams that would likely even consider meeting Jamison's price are teams that think he'd put them over the top for a title. But looking at all of the realistically contending teams, none of them (A) have to money to sign Jamison and/or (B) would be the right fit for him.

"All of the scuttlebutt from Joe the Fan (to quote Coach Thompson) about Gilbert being selfish and shooting too much, have hopefully scared teams off."

I'm fairly sure that most GMs don't rely on talk radio and internet message boards to form their opinions of players they're thinking about spending 1tens of millions of dollars on.

Posted by: kalorama | March 3, 2008 3:17 PM

If GA left, what would DCMan do?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 3, 2008 3:37 PM

Go to the other team's blog and post there.

Posted by: Rook | March 3, 2008 3:38 PM

Arenas isnt going anywhere. Abe knows what player puts fannies in the seats, GA. GA is building a grotto in his backyard rivaling Heff's in LA.

Economically speaking, the whole point in GA opting out is to optimize his earning potential. Taking the mid-level exception anywhere certainly doesnt achieve that goal.

NY in his 3rd year will be 15ppg guy. His offensive skills are unmatched by everybody on this team except GA.

Posted by: JSchon | March 3, 2008 3:44 PM

Mark, Grunfeld can offer Gil the Max and go to nearly 12m in a contract to Jamison without going over the luxury tax level. Just not alot of teams that have that kind of money to offer.

Grunfeld has always said there is not a hard and fast order not to exceed the luxury tax level. If a bidder comes around to drive up Jamison's price my quess is he's one guy that Abe would approve exceeding the luxury tax for.

The point about that luxury threshold is, it's not something a team's going to exceed for a guy that's not in the NBA. Retaining your own Allstar, that could be a different matter.

As far as the Cap is concerned the Wiz would have Bird rights to Jamison and Arenas, if they decide to pay to retain them they can't be outbid if Grunfeld gets the go ahead to go over the luxury tax threshold.

This will probably prompt a rehash of Eddie's team on a budget quote. But like I said, I really do beleive retaining the team's core players is a different matter.
Grunfeld never thought of Hughes and Jeffries in the same light as he does Arenas and Jamison.

In fact the decision to not to retain Hughes and Jeffries was made to preserve as much cap flexibility as possible to resign Jamison and Arenas. Rightly or wrongly Hughes and Jeffries were the moves of MJ and Unseld.

Grunfeld's not the only guy to let players that were on the team prior to his management walk and build around his own guys. This offseason will be a test to see if he retains the core of what he's built so far, or goes in another direction.

Posted by: GM | March 3, 2008 3:57 PM

GM - let's not forget that the Wizards will have at least 2 draft picks they will need to sign. A mid-1st round pick and a 2nd rounder.

I really don't see them overbidding on Mason, and there should be plenty of interest in him - so I don't they'll resign him - so that salary slot of about $750K will be free.

But still, that leaves 2 Rookie salary slots.... one around $1.5M the other about $.5M...

So that would only leave about $11 Million for Jamison.... I still think he'd resign for that to stay here.

Posted by: Rook | March 3, 2008 4:14 PM

Speaking of the 2008 Draft...

I think the Wizards should either:

1. Package some players, and picks (say their 1st rounder, the 1st they got from Memphis, and Nick Young) to Minnesota for their 2008 1st round pick - and select Derrick Rose ....

or

2. Keep the pick and go for Darren Collison. PG from UCLA.

Your thoughts?

Posted by: Rook | March 3, 2008 4:22 PM

I could see Arenas going to Orlando for the Mid-Level.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 3, 2008 4:28 PM

Rook,

Teams aren't required to offer contracts to second round picks. And it wouldn't surprise me to see them trade their 1st rounder for some future consideration, because unless they can luck into an NBA ready contributor that everyone else missed, I don't imagine they'll be looking to add more rookies or raw youngsters to this roster.

Posted by: kalorama | March 3, 2008 4:44 PM

I'm not suggesting that GM's listen to the John Thompson show to make decisions but things that start at grass roots levels tend to work their way into mainstream media. They DO listen to them. The entire decision may not come down to that but I'm sure opinions work their way into decisions.
For example, the Jim Fassel impending hire by the Skins was derailed by the firestorm that was created by the fans on message boards, etc. I think Jason LaCanfora will verify that there was indeed an impact.

Posted by: mark | March 3, 2008 4:46 PM

Rook, That's IF the team is able to stay under the luxury cap. As I said earlier today I think Jamison will get some where between 8-12m. Even 8m puts him well above the MLE which excludes alot of teams.

I just don't think either Arenas or Jamison are guys that Grunfeld and Mr. Pollin will lowball. Jamison has already made alot of money in this league, I think he's looking for a lifetime deal now. A team that will allow him to play, be what he is here, and not worry about being discarded in a few years.

Mr. Pollin has always been really loyal to "his guys". I think Abe is as fond of Jamison as anyone that's ever played in Washington.

And I'm not positive Mason won't be resigned either, I know there are salary constaints, but the Wiz will have a Cap slot for him. Again it comes down to are the Wizards going to exceed the LT to retain core guys? And is Mason part of their plans?

Jarvis Hayes wasn't one of Grunfeld's picks and he never really panned out after two of his four years being lost to injury. Mason stepped up and filled his role and the backup point guard role as well. As a backup he's a two for, an excellent guy to have in the 3rd-5th guard role.

The Wiz aren't going to pay him big money, but I don't think they'll nontender him like Hayes. There might be a way they can sign him if Jamison gives them some wiggle room.

At some point I can see the Wiz packaging picks and players to either move up in the draft or to find a vet that fills a need. They could also go the route of picking a guy and stockpiling him overseas like Pecherov to allow a little more cap/LT flexibility til Daniels and Thomas come off the books.

A young point would seem to be an area of need, Memphis is overloaded with young points. They're not going to move Conley, but either Lowry or Crittendon would seem to be available. Unless they're convinced that Javaris is going to be more of a two. He's certainly big enough to guard two's down the road.

The Wiz could go the route of trading picks for a young vet as well. I do like Collison, I haven't spent much time yet looking at draft lists so I don't have a good quess as to where he'd go.

I'm not sure the Timberwolves would jump at a package deal, they've got alot of pcs. they need core guys. They gave up Garnett to play for this pick, I think they'll keep it.

Posted by: GM | March 3, 2008 5:02 PM

"If GA left, what would DCMan do?

Posted by: | March 3, 2008 03:37 PM

Go to the other team's blog and post there.

Posted by: Rook | March 3, 2008 03:38 PM "

Rook likes to post and answer his own question.

Even if/when Gilby leaves, there would still be Dishonest Abe to blast.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 3, 2008 5:34 PM

I am the character Kyle from the movie Semi-pro if y'all didn't know.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 3, 2008 5:57 PM

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