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Preseason schedule released

The Wizards today released their seven game preseason schedule, one that will include one home game and a trip to Europe. The team opens play Oct. 7 at Dallas, visit Memphis Oct. 8, host Detroit at VC on Oct. 10 and face New Orleans on Oct. 14 in Berlin and again Oct. 17 in Barcelona.

The preseason concludes with games Oct. 22 at San Antonio and Oct. 24 in Columbus, Ohio against the Cavaliers. The regular season opens Wednesday, Oct. 29 against New Jersey at VC.

The team is finalizing training camp plans.

By Ivan Carter  |  August 18, 2008; 2:13 PM ET
 
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Comments

1st

Posted by: Snap | August 18, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Burg w/ a U | August 18, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

You mean I can boo Kwame in the preseason too?

YES!!!!!

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | August 18, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

My main Wizards question at this point is who is Caron Butler's backup? Ernie and Bernie...oops, I mean Ernie and Eddie clearly want to watch Butler's minutes this year. Is it McGuire? Or, do they not necessarily have a primary backup and shift roles around while he is out much of the time? I'm inclined to think the latter but I'm still fascinated by Dominic's potential.

Posted by: Patrick | August 18, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I would say McGuire is the principal backup to Butler, but Blatche could see additional minutes there if CB gets hurt.

Posted by: Tim | August 18, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

This will be a put up or shut up season from GM down to the ball boy.

There shall be no BS on or off the court.

There shall be no tolerance of BS on or off the court.

There shall be no excessive one on one ball.

There shall be a commitment to defense from all players.

There shall be no one and done in the playoffs.

There shall be no excuses.

If any of the above is violated, then the team shall be blown up.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 18, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I would say McGuire is the principal backup to Butler, but Blatche could see additional minutes there if CB gets hurt.

Posted by: Tim | August 18, 2008 6:59 PM

-------------------

Thing is McGuire only played an average of 9.9 minutes per game last year. He averaged 1.3 points, 2 rebounds, and .6 assists w/ field goal % of .379.

If he's designated as Butler's backup then we're in trouble. He's got probably another 2 years before he's going to be a legite 2nd string SF.

Posted by: NC | August 18, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't we shift either AJ or songaila to Sf sometimes so mcguire doesn't have to carry to big of a load?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Couldn't we shift AJ,Blatche or even songaila at SF sometimes so McGuire doesn't have to carry too big of a load?

Posted by: RP wiz fan | August 19, 2008 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Yes Jamison is Butler's _primary_ back-up at SF. There are more options to sub for Jamison at the power spot. (DS9 and 'Proof 32).

DMac will improve, I liked the look of his midrange jumper in Summerleague, and he'll earn his minutes. EJ does regularly do that 2nd quarter bench dump, and Daniels on the bench will make this a stronger option.

But the team is stronger leaving some starters on the floor at all times, and Jamison is most critical to the shooting %'s of players on the floor with him. They shoot better when he's out there since he stretches the defense and forces Bigs to chase him into no man's land.

The real question is how many minutes Blatche can borrow, and how effective he can be. And how Etan's return affects the minutes of Blatche (if not Brendan, hopefully). And whether anybody can play the highpost Center or if Songaila is assured minutes at 5 since he will pass and shoot from there. Not ideal, but there you go.

I'd like to see Dray respond to any challenge and earn a solid spot in the rotation on merit and success --in 'Wins' more than raw stats. But the return of Etan could affect team chemistry almost as much as the return of Gil. There will be some adjusting. I expect a mid-season trade.

Posted by: doclinkin | August 19, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

That said, if they develop like we hope, I can see us looking forward to that 3rd quarter bench pit stop, shock troop:

AD
Young gun
Dmac
Dsong
Dray

Interesting mix of raw talent and savvy. A bit foul-happy on defense, but both Dray and McGuire can block shots and rebound. And that's a big team, takes up a lot of room without having to run to cover it all. Nobody undersized (especially if Dray has been lifting heavily).

Offensively Dom and Nick have good chemistry; ditto Daniels and Darius. I can see good princeton spacing and back-door attacks, especially if DMac can hit that jumper at a decent clip and Dray can finish in traffic. All but Nick can make the smart pass and are wiling to give the ball up, and Nick is a bail-out scorer if nobody else has a shot.

No three point gunner out there though. Unless somehow Pech actually manages to justify the draft pick and take the Darius spot. Magic 8-ball suggests 'not yet'.

Either way, I'd love to watch the team scrimmage. The starters win on talent, but the back-ups may be able to occasionally out-execute, running the offense.

Posted by: doclinkin | August 19, 2008 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back Ivan, we missed you. Please keep up the great work!

Posted by: The Other Lisa | August 19, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Doclinkin hits on a good point. Etan's return and it's effect on the rotation and chemistry.

Two years ago the Etan/Haywood competition got a little too personal. I've always thought that Eddie kind of stoked that as a coach, hoping that turning their competition into something intensely personal would somehow spur one of them to jump to the next level as a player. I've seen coaches make that work, I've seen guys blow up a team trying those mind games in a locker room and on a practice court.

I'd think everybody has grown up and matured since then, but Etan's coming back will make us all wonder until we see how it works out. The positive side could be big if he can give the Wizards a capable backup at the 5 and make it possible for Blatche to get his minutes at the 4.

If Haywood and Thomas effectively take most of the minutes at center with Songalia filling in as the high post face the basket guy, then that will free Jamison up to swing to the 3 more often.
With Blatche and Jamison on the floor together it gives the Wiz the option of switching defensive assignments to give Jamison the best matchup.

That combo keeps Jamison on the floor and allows the Wiz to spell Butler without losing scoring punch in the lineup. Doc's right, Jamison is really important to the wizards because of his ability to space the floor.

Don't give up hope on Pecherov, the guy got a late start last year with the foot/ ankle problems. He's not the first guy to struggle with those, Z did for years in Cleveland and looked like a bust for awhile.

But if Pecherov plays his way into some time, or our rookie "human fly swatter" earns some minutes Eddie's got some potential to work with. If Young could battle his way into the starting lineup by mid season the Wiz would have a real nice veteran group to come off the bench by playoff time.

In the playoffs it always seems to be better if your young talent is starting intead of coming off the bench. The pace of playoff basketball always seems hard for a young guy to pickup off the bench.

But I'd agree with Doc, we'll see more combos with Jamison a small forward this year, and Thomas's return could be as challenging and have the potential for as big of an upside as Gil's.

A lot of people are missing the fact that two years ago Thomas was a part time starter and a regular in the rotation. His rebounding, defense, and his ability to be a backup center and free Blatche to concentrate on being a forward could be key to this team.

Just like Gil's ability to be a go to scorer and spread team's defenses will help in two ways. Daniels will be able to return to his role of number one guard off the bench, and Gil's offensive ability will spread the floor and create the spacing that makes the Princeton go.

The ability to intergrate them both back into the rotation seamlessly will be the number one challenge of camp and the preseason. Grunfeld didn't want to be making a lot of other moves this offseason, Eddie's got two major projects to accomplish with Gil and Thomas.

Each one changes the role of several other players as they are intergrated back into the rotation. And their success will ripple through the team with other guy's roles, playing time, and postions, changing as well.

This could be a very interesting year to be a Wizards fan for better or for worse...

Posted by: GM | August 19, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

What I would like to see this season is Blatche being the first player to come of the bench to replace either SF, PF or even C. The Wiz should take advantage of his versatility. With improve play he may even be a 6th man canditate. Unless of course he gets a short leash from the coach.

Posted by: Roy | August 19, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Ilgauskas has never looked like anything close to a bust. He's missed games as a result of injuries, yes. But he's always produced at a high level whenever he's been healthy enough to step onto the floor, averaging double figures every season in the league. He's had seasons where he's played short off the all-star form he's been capable of, but even then he was still ahead of most of the Cs in the league.

We're still waiting for the day when Pecherov does something that makes him look like even a decently competent NBA player.

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Still - Pecherov is not a bad guy to have at the 13th or 14th spot on a roster.

He's 7ft. He's a hard worker. He meshes well with the team, and seems to be a good kid. Obviously EG saw some talent there.

Better to have a young guy with potential on the end of the bench than a James Lang, Calvin Booth, or Peter John Ramos.

Posted by: Rook | August 19, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

It really doesn't matter who the 13th or 14th man on the bench is because the 13th or 14th man almost never plays. The janitor in my office building could fill that role and it wouldn't make a difference. But the fact of the matter is that most teams fill that role with an experienced, older vet. A guy who, if he is called upon to play after sitting for a long period (sometimes months), will be experienced and savvy enough to be a positive on the floor if he is called upon. Putting a raw, undeveloped youngster in that slot is pretty much useless both for the team and the young player.

All of which is irrelevant to Pecherov because he's not the 13th or 14th man on the bench. NBA teams don't (intentionally) use a top 20 pick to get a 13th or 14th man. They use it to get a rotation quality player. And Pecherov, the #18 pick in the draft, has not show himself to be anything close to that.

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

BTH had what was, in my opinion, his best year as a pro last season. Career highs in points and boards (although 7.2 rpg is pretty crappy), and near highs in fg%, games played, and blocks. He also went from 55 to 73.5% from the line. I believe he played well because he was THE center, and it gave him confidence and comfort. The team also made a concerted effort to feed him the ball early in games to keep him involved.

I worry that his game will regress with Etan back. BTH has never played well when his role was in doubt. That's unfortunate, because for as much as Etan gives us as a role model, a voice of our community, and an advocate for the issues we care about, it doesn't change the fact that he's a pretty sucky basketball player.

No offense Etan, cause I love you, man. But I love my girl too, and she can't guard Dwight Howard either.

Posted by: bryc3 | August 19, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Point of fact though-- last time he was healthy Etan's best games of the year came against Dwight Howard. Holy Howard couldn't use pure muscle and athleticism on him, and since he has no face-up game Etan's defensive weaknesses weren't exposed and exploited. That's the exact type of player against whom Etan plays well.

If he can return to form then we have a useful asset off the bench -- or in trade for a team desperate for a bit of muscle. Etan's hustle, effort, offensive rebounding and strength make him an ideal back-up center. Especially for teams that don't play a finesse offense. YOu call his number you know he's going to be active instantly, whatever his shortcomings on defensive positioning.

(I always thought he'd do well with San Antonio).

But Haywood's improvement at the line had more to do with his work with 'Dr Hoops' Dave Hopla, than anything else. That simple fact would have made --uh-- 73% of the difference in his playing time whether or not Etan was healthy. If he's not an offensive liability he will see time, especially in late game situations.

I expect Wood plays well and maintains his confidence. He took a strong leadership role this past year, teaching the young'ns etc. I suspect he appreciated the feedback and acclaim he got enough to keep it up and not sulk whatever the circumstances.

Posted by: doclinkin | August 19, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

(But the fact of the matter is that most teams fill that role with an experienced, older vet. A guy who, if he is called upon to play after sitting for a long period (sometimes months), will be experienced and savvy enough to be a positive on the floor if he is called upon.)

So who is this mystery guy? Name names.

Posted by: JJ | August 19, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

If Haywood goes back to his pouting sulking ways when Etan returns, then it pretty much puts the stake to any positive advancements that came out of last year. If he backslides because his tender feelings are hurt by Etan's presence, then it would just underscores what a front-running softy he can be.

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"U.S. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said that the 6-foot-8, 260-pound James is the strongest, and perhaps biggest player on the team after Howard. Yet he is versatile enough to guard quick perimeter players and big men. James saw action against Germany's 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki on Monday.

"LeBron, if he's not the best, he's in the top two or three best players in the world," said Krzyzewski, who has spent the past three summers coaching James. "Over the last three years, he's really just developed in all aspects -- his leadership, his defense and obviously, his offense. He's really embraced the entire game. He's going to be one of the great leaders in his particular sport. He just has a presence, keeping guys loose, knowing when to get on them, making sure we have good practices. He's been really a great ally for the coaching staff, as far as getting our message across." "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/18/AR2008081802132.html

-----------------------------------------

Lebron has really stepped up his game and his profile with these olympics. He's going to be a force to reckon with come the regular season.

The only person on the Wiz who comes close to having this type of fire is Caron. I'm expecting Caron to take this team by the throat and do big things this coming season.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 19, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Songaila's back injury reported on ESPN which kept him out of the Olympics may be worse than feared...he took a tremendous shot to the back in Game 5 on LeBron's final shot and the Wizards have been mum about his condition during the offseason. Coupled with the fact that he had back surgery two seasons ago, it makes me wonder if he will be healthy by training camp.

If Songaila can't play or contribute, AB will have to play most of his time at the 4 to give Jamison a breather and also be Caron's backup as well if D-Mac isn't ready to be a rotation player. As much as I hate to admit it, AB's development this year is crucial to the Wizards having a deeper bench and being able to go places in the playoff..hopefully his conditioning and maturity have improved over the summer.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 19, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I'd agree with Doclinkin, Haywood's improvement has come from his own sustained hard work and from some good coaching. I don't think that Eddie is going to go back to the musical centers routine he was running trying to light a fire under both Haywood and Thomas.

It clearly didn't work, and Haywood clearly became a servicable starting center in this league last year without the help of that circus. Thomas has never played well enough to start in the NBA, Eddie just was using him to play mind games with Haywood to see if he could spur some fire out of his 7 footer.

I think we've moved past that method of trying to light a fire under Haywood here in DC. I would think that he'll enter camp as the clear starter with Thomas clearly fighting to gain backup minutes from Songalia and Blatche. If Thomas can carve out a clear backup role, that clears Blatche for more minutes in a natural forward role.

The Cavaliers drafted Ilguskas in 1996, he played 82 games in 1997 and averaged 13.89 pts. per game, in 1998 he played 5 games, 1999 he didn't play, 2000 24 games, 2001 he was healthy for 62 games. Not until 2002 did he fully regain his health and has been a durable player ever since. But Cleveland waited nearly 6 years to get the center that we've seen in recent seasons.

For a player that was drafted in 1996 and showed promise as a rookie, Cleveland then had to wait three seasons where Big Z played a total of 29 of a possible 246 regular season games while he walked around with screws in his foot. The B word was uttered a lot in Cleveland and around the league during that time. But that patience paid off for the Cavs.

Pecherov has had one season where he's suffered a stress fracture and was unavailable for the first half of the year. A 7 footer with a foot problem can't do a lot to keep his legs in game shape.
Judging him to be a bust off of a half season of action when he clearly didn't have game legs isn't showing a lot of patience.

The guy has shown NBA level ability, no he's not Dwight Howard, but you're not find many supermen in the middle of the draft. On one hand we're supposed to pat Cleveland on the back for 6 years of patience with Ilguskas because we can look now and clearly see an near Allstar caliber player.

On the other hand we're to look at Pecherov coming off of an injury shortened year and anyone that can't clearly see that Pecherov is a wasted pick is nothing but foolish.

I can't look into the future and tell what Pecherov will mature into. He clearly isn't going to the Allstar game anytime soon, but can he mature into a servicable NBA player? Or even develop into a guy that becomes a solid rotation player in the next couple of years. I think with a hard worker, that hustles, and has some skills, its quite possible.

I think it's way to early to give up on Pecherov at this point and make blanket declarations of his failure as an NBA player.

I brought up Ilguskas as an example of a guy that many said would never play in the NBA again and was labeled a bust, or a wasted pick. Cleveland had the patience to wait out his injury and let him mature into the player he is now.

I've watched the NBA for a long time, the gangly kid I saw in Cleveland in 1997 didn't look whole lot better then Pecherov did last year.

Last year this time some on this site were ready to cut Haywood or trade him away for next to nothing. Glad Ernie's got more patience and basketball knowledge then some of our posters...

Posted by: GM | August 19, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what "gangly kid" in Cleveland you were watching, but it certainly wasn't Ilgauskas. Ilgauskas put up near all-star numbers as a rookie (as you noted: In 1997-98 (his rookie year) Ilgauskas played 82 games, averaged about 14 pts, 9 rebs, 1 1/2 blocks; those are close to All-Star good for a vet, let alone a rookie). Claiming that he "didn't look whole lot better then Pecherov did last year" is flat out ridiculous.

"Not until 2002 did he fully regain his health and has been a durable player ever since. But Cleveland waited nearly 6 years to get the center that we've seen in recent seasons."

Not trrue. Ilgauskas' numbers his rookie season were comparable to (and in a couple of categories, better than) the ones he's put up the past 6, when he's been healthy (his rookie rebounding and FG% are among his career bests).

You're trying to make a comparison between Ilgauskas and Pecherov regarding development time. But that's a straw man argument, because Ilgauskas was a near All-Star caliber C his first season, Pecherov wasn't even an NBA caliber player. And even when the injuries hit, Ilgauskas still put up pretty good numbers during the few games he did play in those seasons, indicating the skill was always there, it was only the health that was an issue. We have yet to see anything resembling NBA skill from Pecherov. It's apples and oranges.

"I brought up Ilguskas as an example of a guy that many said would never play in the NBA again and was labeled a bust, or a wasted pick."

Again, Ilgauskas was never labeled a "bust." It was clear from his rookie campaign that he had the talent to be a top flight NBA big man. Were there concerns that the injuries might end his career? Yes. And the reason why it was such a concern is because that pretty much everyone agreed that, before the injuries, he was on an all-star career path. He was clearly that good from the beginning. Aside form both being tall and from Europe, there's absolutely no meaningful comparison between him and Pecherov. Ilgauskas proved himself an NBA ready player from day one. Pecherov hasn't.

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"The guy has shown NBA level ability, no he's not Dwight Howard, but you're not find many supermen in the middle of the draft. On one hand we're supposed to pat Cleveland on the back for 6 years of patience with Ilguskas because we can look now and clearly see an near Allstar caliber player."

Huh?

Opech has "shown NBA level ability?"

When did this happen?

Cleveland waited for Big Z b/c he put up big numbers (14.1 pts, 9.3 rebs, 1.6 blocks while shooting .518) his rookie season where he played 82 games.

Let's not parallel OPech's situation to the road traveled by Biz Z. Big Z is 7-3 and has an inside game.

OPech is just a "gym rat" who likes to shoot from the outside, can't play D, and is injury prone.

Big Z has averaged 1.8 blocks/game in his career. Opech averages .1 block/game.

Big Z shoots .781 from the line. Opech, this so called "shooter," shoots .645 from the line.

Excluding 98-02, Big Z has averaged 79 games/season, and don't forget that some games were missed in 07 because his wife gave birth to stillborn twins. Therefore, Big Z is a durable guy.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/stats?playerId=3020

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/stats?playerId=362

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 19, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I guess the next thing we'll here from the wise old analyst is that Tiago Splitter is a combination of Nene and Leandro Barbosa.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 19, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Ilguaskas was healthy his rookie NBA year and Pecherov wasn't. Z got a lot of playing time as a rookie before the injuries crippled him for much of the next three years.

Give Pecherov a chance to play as a healthy player before making blanket declarations about his NBA ability. I'd trust Ernie Grunfeld's track record and judgement as a talent evauluator and give the kid a chance to get healthy before declaring him a bust.

Foot ankle problems are a really big deal for big guys, most guys take upwards of a year to get their game legs back after a stress fracture in their feet. Bill Walton was reduced to a shadow of the Allstar that he was when he came in the league by foot problems.

So if a guy only has average talent wouldn't be pretty safe to say a foot problem could make him look really bad?

My point is don't judge a player until he's been able to be on the court and healthy. If Pecherov's problems go on for another season then it's fair to say that he's injury prone and may never make it.

But you can't judge a 7 footer's talent if he's trying to play while recovering from a foot injury. In the post, everything starts with your feet and the ability to plant and fight for position.

Pecherov's inability to play in summer league was disappointing. He needs to get healthy and get plenty of time in camp and the preseason. If Songalia's back problem is lingering Opec could be needed to play a bigger role this season for the Wiz. So we better all hope he comes ready to play this fall.

Posted by: GM | August 19, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"Ilguaskas was healthy his rookie NBA year and Pecherov wasn't. Z got a lot of playing time as a rookie before the injuries crippled him for much of the next three years."

In other words, you're admitting that their situations were completely different, which (A) was exactly the point I was making and (B) only further calls into questions your misguided attempts to compare the two.

"So if a guy only has average talent wouldn't be pretty safe to say a foot problem could make him look really bad?"

If he only has "average talent" to begin with, why was he a picked in the top 3rd of the draft when there were better players still on the board? Grunfeld's a good GM, but he's had his share of misses, just like they all do. So far, Pecherov is on that list.

"But you can't judge a 7 footer's talent if he's trying to play while recovering from a foot injury. In the post, everything starts with your feet and the ability to plant and fight for position."

Which might be relevant if Pecherov had ever shown any signs of actually being a post player. He hasn't. He's a 7 foot outside shooter. A 7 foot shooter who shot 18% from 3 pt. range. The Washington Post article that appeared after he was drafted actually referred to him along the lines of a typical Euro big man who likes the outside shot. Nowhere has there ever been any evidence of him having significant post skills. He was a shooter overseas and that's what he is here. Only he's apparently not very good at it over here.

"So we better all hope he comes ready to play this fall."

He's not exactly off to a good start, is he?

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Correction:

Pecherov shot 28% from 3 pt range last season, not 18%.

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Comparing a healthy veteran to an injuried rookie who missed half of his rookie season isn't exactly an apples to apples comparison.

Again, the comparison I made was to another player who had foot problems when he first came in the league. The point was patience in developing a young player with an injury. Comparing Ilguskas's healthy rookie year to Pecherov's stats when he was hurt is, well, pointless.

If we're going down that road, then what did Ilguskas produce in 1998 or 1999 when he played a combined 5 games? But again, the point was Cleveland had the patience to wait when many were calling the pick a bust.

Our two resident "happy people" want to declare Pecherov a bust based on an injury plagued rookie season. Let the guy get a year to play with two good feet before passing judgement.

Tiago Splitter was good enough to get more money in Europe then the Spurs could offer him on a standard rookie contract. Would his game translate to the NBA? Pretty pointless to debate since we won't be seeing him anytime soon it appears.

Posted by: GM | August 19, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"Comparing a healthy veteran to an injuried rookie who missed half of his rookie season isn't exactly an apples to apples comparison."

Yet that's exactly what you did when you said:

"I've watched the NBA for a long time, the gangly kid I saw in Cleveland in 1997 didn't look whole lot better then Pecherov did last year."

So you're now admitting that it was a poorly conceived comparison to begin with (in addition to being flat out untrue and wildly inaccurate)?

"Again, the comparison I made was to another player who had foot problems when he first came in the league. The point was patience in developing a young player with an injury."

Except that's still a bullsh*t comparison (to say nothing of the fact that it's not what you originally said). The Cavs were "patient" because they were waiting on a player who had already shown all-star potential. There were no skill/ability questions with Ilgauskas. It was only about his health. The issues with Pecherov clearly encompasses both. He has yet to display any real NBA level talent. Is it possible that it's because of injury? Sure. but it's equally possible that he was a bad pick and he's simply not very good. Given that they're going to have to make a decision on picking up his option and offering an extension in not too long a time, they can't afford to be too patient on a guy who's (A) shown them nothing when "healthy" and (B) is never healthy to begin with.

"Comparing Ilguskas's healthy rookie year to Pecherov's stats when he was hurt is, well, pointless."

Agreed. So, again, why did you do it?

(I find it very amusing (though, frankly, not surprising) that you're now harping on the inequity of comparing Pecherov to Ilgauskas when you were the one who made the comparison in the first place.)

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

"Comparing Ilguskas's healthy rookie year to Pecherov's stats when he was hurt is, well, pointless."

One more thing ... how do you know how "hurt" Pecherov was when he played last season? Your entire argument is based around the assumption that he was playing hobbled last season, but you have no way of knowing what condition his ankle was in. Clearly he was healthy enough to be cleared to play. Does that mean he was 100% healed. Probably not. But it also doesn't mean that he was, as a matter of course, as severely hampered as you seem to be implying. He may not have been 100%, but that doesn't automatically explain all of his poor play.

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

While I doubt Pecherov will somehow morph into Ilgauskas-- it still seems fair to suggest we probably haven't seen the kid at his absolute best, whatever that is.

Rookies struggle; Euros have to adjust to the deep-range (and asymmetrical) 3-pt arc; injuries affect your game. Confidence tends to suffer, as does timing, etc.

Other factors would suggest if he's gonna pan out it may take a minute, (more than a one-year evaluation of a hobbled player). True Bigs develop more slowly than other positions; he's been balling since late Highschool only; the offense takes ~3years to fully understand (says Jason Kidd).

Worth the wait? Eh, dunno. But he's not killing chemistry anyway: Kid is big, good work ethic, good attitude.

Maybe the team suffers because his slot could be used on a minimum-salary vet, or because that's one more 'woulda coulda' retroactive draft pick that Wiz fans get to enjoy regretting...

But truth is the concept behind the selection is sound: in this offense the Wiz need a long-range-capable Big to sub for Jamison. To approximate some of that 20/10 game, with the same stretch-the-floor skills but maybe more intimidating size and defense.

It's tough to find guys like that, so we hope to build one out of raw materials. Either Dray needs time with Hopla to build a reliable shot. Or JVMcG learns footwork and position defense, rebounding, and well everything else.

Or Pech pans out. Shows something good.

[Or we scrap everything, fire coaches, trade off all assets and build a new system from the ground up. Of course.]

Me personally I expect to be pleasantly surprised by at least one of the Bigs. If it takes there pick to get near all-star production out of a skilled Big, hey seems like a bargain worth more than a minimum vet.

And if a couple of them show flashes, well hey teams will trade for a Mystery Big playing behind an allstar. Remember, to land KG, Ainge had to deal a ton of interesting talent on a 5 for one deal.

So rather than dump him, might as well cheer for Pech to get all hella better. Ya never know, kid might surprise ya.

Posted by: doclinkin | August 19, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

"if it takes three picks" (typo)

Posted by: doc | August 19, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse


doclinkin, that's a fairly reasonable and moderate position (although I don't necessarily agree with it). The only thing I really take issue with is this:

"But truth is the concept behind the selection is sound: in this offense the Wiz need a long-range-capable Big to sub for Jamison."

Sorry, but the last thing this team needs is another jumpshooting big man. They need inside presence and skill above anything else (including a backup PG).

I was never suggesting they "dump" him, if for no other reason than it's not really possible. And I've made the point in prior threads that it's hardly outside the realm of possibility that he becomes a serviceable player. However, I do find it highly unlikely that he ever becomes good enough to justify being taken at #18 overall, so even if he maxes out, the best case scenario I see is that he goes from being a likely bust to a minor serviceable role player. Either way, unless he becomes a starting or primary/first big off the bench backup caliber player, he ends up being a guy who was taken way too high in the draft, which means he was a bad pick.

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

No the last thing they need is jumpshooting Bigs who can't shoot.

Look there's a reason why the Wiz have been league leaders in converted FT's (per100 possessions) the past 5 years. And it ain't because of our post play (Jamison lags way behind the average for Free Throw attempts by power forwards because his playstyle is predicated on avoiding contact. Jamison on the floor means the Bigs have to clear the paint, leaving room for undersized SF Caron or undersized scoring guard Gil to rip down the lane with bad intent. Often for an And-1 chance.


The fact is Coach Eddie has developed an offense that is predicated on creating mismatches via proper spacing, and Jamison's jumper is key for that.

You may think you don't agree but stat isolations over the past few years (*) show when Jamison is on the floor the shooting %'s of his teammates rises significantly. This effect is pronounced, no other player has the same effect.

(* looking at effective FG% for 5-man line-ups, then running regressions to isolate for a given player).

Put simply: Jamison makes Caron and Gilbert more effective. And without getting to the line himself, he gives us more FT attempts. And he keeps Gil from being doubled, or beaten up by Bigs.

Pretty key.

The problem is that he's undersized for his position, and not a physical defender He rebounds by predicting angles and running to the open space, not by putting his ass on someone and shoving them out the way.

In short: he's small, and since he's so effective we run small ball more often than diehard Wiz fans' nerves can handle. What we make up in offense, we lose in defense, leading to too many 42 win seasons with +/- '0' scoring differentials. And with the drop-off behind Jamison, the top 5 offense sputters -- which leads to too many long minutes for the starters trying to preserve the magic.

Look, doubt it if you want, but you're doubting Ernie Grunfeld if anyone. There's a reason he's been trying to draft finesse Bigs ever since he got here and saw the offense: a Big who can hit a shot is the keystone in what makes the system succeed.

But yeah it would be gravy if the Big was able to defend like a pitbull and score with a defender chewing on him.

Is Pech the guy? Maybe, Maybe not. I doubt he becomes a skilled paint scorer, though he can catch and throw down an alley oop. But the fact is nowadays teams all around the league are trying to borrow Wiz concepts and fill empty slots with combo guards and Bigs who can shoot. That's jsut the way the refs are calling the games right now.

It doesn't take much but a string of decent games before Pech becomes a plausible trade asset 'stuck' behind an allstar shooter. GMs will often gamble on 'potential' more than a proven player who is a boring if steady producer. Call it the Paul Millsap syndrome.

Posted by: doclinkin | August 19, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Either way, unless he becomes a starting or primary/first big off the bench backup caliber player, he ends up being a guy who was taken way too high in the draft, which means he was a bad pick.
---------------


So I decided to look at the past 20 years to see how many big men were drafted at #18 that actually ended up being a primary/first big off the bench type player....

Guess what.... only two, count em, two players could fit that description...

1990 Kings Duane Causwell 7'0 240 played 11 years in the NBA for the Kings and the Miami Heat averaging 4.9 ppg in his career
1993 Jazz Luther Wright 7'2 270 Played in only 15 games avg 1.3 ppg
1994 Bucks Eric Mobley 6'11 235 Lasted 3 years, averaged 3.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
1995 Pistons Theo Ratliff 6'10 225 Still playing ***** DING DING DING
1997 Trailblazers Chris Anstey 7'0 249 Played 2 years, went back to the NBL
1998 Rockets Mirsad Turkcan 6'9" PF Played a total of 7 games in the NBA
2001 Rockets Jason Collins 7'0 260 Still playing, average 4.3ppg 4.4rpg
2003 Hornets David West 6'9 240 ***** DING DING DING
2006 Wizards Oleksiy Pecherov 7'0 210 Too early to tell


So, in 20 years, 18 teams made "bad picks".....

Posted by: Rook | August 19, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

sorry - make that 7 of 9 teams made "bad picks"

Posted by: Rook | August 19, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

"But you can't judge a 7 footer's talent if he's trying to play while recovering from a foot injury. In the post, everything starts with your feet and the ability to plant and fight for position.

Posted by: GM | August 19, 2008 5:04 PM "

Huh?

When has there ever been a sighting of OPech in the post?

OPech is a 7 ft. jump shooter until proven wrong. Live with it.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 19, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

"Sorry - make that 7 of 9 teams made "bad picks"

So? Just because other teams made bad picks at 18 doesn't mean the Wizards didn't make one. That list is especially meaningless since you made a point of only listing "big men" because, last I checked, there was no rule that said you could only take big men at # 18 or that players who don't pan out are only bad picks if they're "big men." The point is to get the best player available. If the Wiz used the #18 pick on a guy who'll be three deep down the depth chart and only averages 10 mpg of spot duty when there were still players on the board who could be regular contributors (at any position), which there were, it was a bad pick.

"Look there's a reason why the Wiz have been league leaders in converted FT's (per100 possessions) the past 5 years. And it ain't because of our post play (Jamison lags way behind the average for Free Throw attempts by power forwards because his playstyle is predicated on avoiding contact. Jamison on the floor means the Bigs have to clear the paint, leaving room for undersized SF Caron or undersized scoring guard Gil to rip down the lane with bad intent. Often for an And-1 chance."

Nice story.

First of all, Arenas is not "undersized." He's actually one of the bigger stronger PGs in the NBA, and more often than not has a physical advantage over the guys who guard him. Second, for a player who has as big a role in the offense as he does, Butler really doesn't get to the line that often (he wasn't even in the top 50 in FTA/gm last season). Third, you can spin and twirl the stats all you want. The simple, undeniable fact is that teams who don't have any inside presence, both offensively and on the boards, rarely advance deep into the playoffs and pretty much never win titles. They can win lots of regular season games and maybe make it into the second round. But contenders need inside presence. Period. Teams built around jumpshooting bigs don't win titles. And that's the whole point, right?

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

doclinkin,

To address your argument more thoroughly ...

If your breakdown proves anything (and I really think that's debatable) it only proves how valuable Jamison is the the Wiz. Well that's nice, but it has nothing to do with anything I was talking about. I never questioned Jamison's value to the team. The issue is Pecherov. If he becomes as productive and effective as Jamison, then yeah, he'll be a great asset. The chances of that happening? Pretty much nil.

"Is Pech the guy? Maybe, Maybe not. I doubt he becomes a skilled paint scorer, though he can catch and throw down an alley oop."

In somebody's driveway, maybe. Because he hasn't shown any signs of being able to do it with any regularity or consistency in the NBA. He may have done it once (although I must have missed that game), but doing something once doesn't mean he can do it in a way that really matters. A 7 footer with long wing span should be able to do it regularly. He can't.

"But the fact is nowadays teams all around the league are trying to borrow Wiz concepts and fill empty slots with combo guards and Bigs who can shoot."

That's not even close to a "fact."

"It doesn't take much but a string of decent games before Pech becomes a plausible trade asset 'stuck' behind an allstar shooter."

It'll take a helluva a lot more. Because If Songaila and Thomas are healthy, he'll most likely never get to play a string of games. And now, not only does he have to compete with Blatche and Thomas, and Songaila for backup big minutes, but he's also got McGee in the picture coming up behind him. The squeeze is on, and McGee, even though he's got some growing to do, has the better long-term prospects, because he's got the better set of physical attributes to build on.

"GMs will often gamble on 'potential' more than a proven player who is a boring if steady producer."

And they will often end up regretting it.

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

kal's quote: "Gil is one of the bigger stronger PG's..."
---

'Scoring guards' not point guards. Gil is often guarded by the opponents best defender (one reason why when Gil is in the game DeShawn is Mr 50 -- but when Zero is out, DSteve is Mr 19%). There's no argument, Gil is one of the smaller primary scorers in the league. Sure he's athletic, and strong (and hopefully recovered from injury enough to regain that first step). But our backcourt consists of players 6'4", 6'5" and 6'5" (according to pre-draft measurements). That's small.

Defenses tend to unbalance the floor to choke off Gil's driving lanes and force him to shoot. It's easier to guard him tight on the perimeter if you know your Bigs are behind you taking care of the lane. That's pretty basic stuff.

Caron too works best and gets to the line more often when he can isolate against a smaller defender. I watched a ton of UConn games when Caron was playing; Calhoun often used him as a power forward, same position he played in prep school in Maine. In the NBA he's on the negative end of that mismatch though, no matter how Tuff he is. The 'tweener' label is part of why he fell to #10 despite a solid Big East career.

Doesn't matter that he's not the sole reason we rank high in FT's converted (though his 90% FT shooting doesn't hurt) he gets _more_ chances with Jamison in the game, as does Gil. He gets more ISO's, more low-post msimatches.

Not sure why this is even a question. You build an offense to take advantage of your best players.

The object in drafting players like Pech (and Dray, and Javale-- hell PJRamos who showed a jumper and passing in PR-League play) is in large part to _approximate_ what Jamison does, not replace him.

At the other end though nobody is intimidated by Jamison-- while a 7 footer, no matter how goofy-looking has a better chance to make them think twice and can clog up more lane space. (Nocioni's danglers in his face notwithstanding). Or anyway that was the idea when we drafted him. Face facts, the offense works best, (when it's clicking at that Top 5 level) when we're scoring from the outside-in. Trying to frontload the team and force a post-feed system would interfere with what the team does best on the nights when they do it better than anybody else in the Association.

Don't have to like it, but it's what we got right now.
---

"Not even close to a fact".
Argue with the scouts quoted in Sport Illustrated and if I recall correctly, here in these Insider pages.
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/wizardsinsider/2008/03/wiz_move_up_to_5th_for_now.html

(not finding an on-line version of the SI story from preseason last year. The scout said teams were basically stealing wholesale Eddies offense).

Many teams are adding smallball sets to their regular Pro sets.

That said, teams with jump-shooting Bigs in the playoffs that have run smallball sets:
Boston
LA
Detroit
New Orleans
Utah

(okay can't really count San Antonio since Timmy doesn't shoot threes, but I'm pretty sure a couple of 'em have won titles over the past few years).

The hand check rules mean that combo guards are more dangerous when they used to be liabilities. But they need room to operate.
---

"...if [Thomas and Songaila] are healthy..."

And if poverty is eliminated, and if everyone gets a free house and maserati...

[History suggests: Don't hold your breath.]

But truth is, under Coach Eddie, all it will take for Pech to get playing time is to hit a string of threes in practice, then a clutch three or two in games-- and give a bit of 'effort' trying for rebounds.

You prob'ly noticed without the Maser on the team, we're pretty light in 3-pt specialists off the bench. Pech will get a shot if he shows he can hit some.

Posted by: doclinkin | August 20, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

and at soem point, so will McGee prob'ly.

Posted by: doc | August 20, 2008 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Correction:

Our starting backcourt:
Gil: 6'2.25"
Caron 6'5.25"
DeShawn: unknown. (But about the same height as Caron).

http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-pre-draft-measurements/measurements.php?page=&year=All&sort2=DESC&draft=100&pos=1&sort=2
http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-pre-draft-measurements/measurements.php?page=&year=All&sort2=DESC&draft=100&pos=3&sort=2

Averages:
http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-pre-draft-measurements/?page=avepos&year=All

Granted, Gil and Caron have ungodly wingspan, and solid standing reach for their respective heights. But that undermines my argument a wee little bit, so feel free to disregard it...

And if you rank Gil among traditional shooting guards, he's well down that list, especially in standing reach. Which is why he's looked at as a Combo guard, and until the handcheck rules emphasis had question marks raised about whether he could succeed as a player without a 'true' position.

What I like best about the offense though is that EJ can take talented players with holes in their game and find a way to make them allstars. Make an asset where others saw liability.

Posted by: doc, stats included | August 20, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Re: Pech

He sucks,nuff said

Posted by: Wizzy | August 20, 2008 2:33 AM | Report abuse

As always Doclinkin makes good sense and is making points that are derived from actually watching basketball.

My point from the beginning was and still is: We haven't seen Pecherov on the court and healthy yet. Closest thing to it was at last years summer league where it appears he first hurt the ankle.

It is way too soon to make a statement of him being a bust. Yes, sure if he has another injury filled year then it starts to look like a wasted pick.

But I still do trust Ernie's track record of making picks. Is he always right, no.

People on this blog were calling for Ernie to trade or cut Haywood last summer. I think it's fair to say the Wiz wouldn't have made the playoffs without Brendan's contributions last season.

I think some will be pleasantly surprised with Pecherov's play for the Wizard's this season. Will he ever be as good as Ilguskas? Don't have any idea, and neither does anyone else.

But by declaring him a wasted pick now, he'll be like a lot of other ex Bullet/Wizards players, we'll get to find out while blooms somewhere else.

I'm glad this franchise finally has someone at the head of basketball operations that has the patience to build a team. It takes time and a lot of developmental work to put a team together.

What's the hurry to declare Pecherov a bust, do we need his slot to sign Ming Ming?

Posted by: GM | August 20, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

"What's the hurry to declare Pecherov a bust, do we need his slot to sign Ming Ming?

Posted by: GM | August 20, 2008 8:02 AM "

Actually no.

I think the Wiz only have 14 players under contract, so there's still a slot for Sun Ming Ming and he wouldn't be taking OPech's slot.

OPech's contributing just as about as much as Sun Ming Ming to the Wiz right now, and Sun Ming Ming ain't even on the team or in the building.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 20, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

For that matter, Sun Ming Ming hasn't even been invited to a summer league team or received a tryout for even a D League team!

I trust Ernie's ability to judge talent above someone who suggested that we give Ming Ming an NBA contract any day of the week.

"Right now", Pecherov is producing as much as any NBA player on any roster in the league. So saying Ming Ming could contribute as much as Pecherov "right now" is right up there with suggesting the signing of Ming Ming in the first place.

Posted by: GM | August 20, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

"First of all, Arenas is not "undersized." He's actually one of the bigger stronger PGs in the NBA, and more often than not has a physical advantage over the guys who guard him. Second, for a player who has as big a role in the offense as he does, Butler really doesn't get to the line that often (he wasn't even in the top 50 in FTA/gm last season). Third, you can spin and twirl the stats all you want. The simple, undeniable fact is that teams who don't have any inside presence, both offensively and on the boards, rarely advance deep into the playoffs and pretty much never win titles. They can win lots of regular season games and maybe make it into the second round. But contenders need inside presence. Period. Teams built around jumpshooting bigs don't win titles. And that's the whole point, right?

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 10:22 PM "

What Gilby has in size and strength and straight forward speed, he also lacks in lateral quickness which is why he's a poor defender, nevermind his total lack of desire to play D.

Also, Gilby's height and "long arms" don't do much for him with regard to blocks, but he does have a good steal average because he gambles and plays the lanes to make steals.

Being a "bigger and stronger guard and having a physical advantage over other guards" is overrated when Gilby doesn't play defense, and size and strength is more necessary for post players compared to guards. In fact, some of the smaller guards in the league are its best PG's (e.g AI, Nash, CP3, etc.).

With regard to guards, size may be a bigger deal for a SG vice a PG and based on that, Gilby ain't playing or defending no SG.

With regard to Butler getting to the line...just because he doesn't get to the line doesn't mean he's not fouled. A lot of fouls get called on players based on rep. How many times did Lebron get a call but didn't deserve it, or a flop got called? Caron doesn't flop, and Caron established himself as an individual player last season...he should get more calls this season, if he gets the touches since Gilby's coming back (22+/game).

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 20, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"For that matter, Sun Ming Ming hasn't even been invited to a summer league team or received a tryout for even a D League team!

I trust Ernie's ability to judge talent above someone who suggested that we give Ming Ming an NBA contract any day of the week.

"Right now", Pecherov is producing as much as any NBA player on any roster in the league. So saying Ming Ming could contribute as much as Pecherov "right now" is right up there with suggesting the signing of Ming Ming in the first place.

Posted by: GM | August 20, 2008 8:40 AM "

Yeah, and I'm sure you're smart enough to trust everything Abe tells you too.

OPech's getting almost 1.5 mil from the Wiz. Sun Ming Ming, who's not even on the team, is getting zero money.

I'd have to say OPech is the worse investment between the two by far.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 20, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

OPech was a project when he was drafted and the best "future" comparision was to Dirk Nowitzki who is a finesse, outside shooting 7-footer who has a nice all around game but never has been known for his post game.

Do I think Pecherov will ever be comparied to Nowitzki? NO, but EG felt some of the skills he had as a 20-year old could be compared to Nowitzki. I don't think the Wiz ever envisioned OPech being a low post scorer or shot blocker. I'd like to see how he develops over the next year or two before making any judgments. Same applies to McGee who may play little or no minutes this year with Thomas as our backup center.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 20, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

But if we'd signed Ming Ming when 88 thought it was a brillant idea, with the lost share of the Luxury Tax funds the cost would have added up to something like 4.5m if I remember Rook's figures correctly.

Now that would have been a really smart way to spend some money!

My trust is in a General Manager and President of Basketball Operations who has a very proven track record at New York and Milwaukee. No, Grunfeld's never won that ring, that's why he's hungry enough to stick in the game and keep trying.

Grunfeld knows that to really make a move you need Cap Space: Summer of 2010 he's lined up to have a boat load with Daniels, Thomas and other contracts all expiring. Plus he has Pecherov,Young,Blatche, and McGuire all in a position where he can renounce their rights if needed to create even more if any of those guys don't pan out.

You need draft picks: The Wiz haven't traded away any future picks and have a conditional number one from Memphis to use in any future deal.

And you need a core of players to build around: Arenas, Jamison, and Butler form that core. Haywood, Blatche, Young, McGuire, Pecherov, McBee, and Stevenson all may or may not be part of that future, or potential trade bait.

Grunfeld has manuvered this team through salary cap hell when he took over and has made smart trades to make this team better. He also knows that in this league young big men with potential are often over valued. That's how he picked up Butler.

Part of his plan seems to be to accumulate some big young talent(Blatche, Pecherov, and McBee) and hope that one or more of them pan out. That way he ends up with a group of young bigs to throw at teams, along with his big three. Or, along with that cap space and picks, he's got someone to deal to make a bigger move next summer or at the deadline next year.

Not a perfect plan, but it's a plan. Like all well laid plans it could blow up in his face. But at least this team seems like it has set a course and seems to be following it.

It sure beats the revolving door of trading every year with no apparent goal, which was the way things were ran around here for a long time.

Posted by: GM | August 20, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"'Scoring guards' not point guards. Gil is often guarded by the opponents best defender (one reason why when Gil is in the game DeShawn is Mr 50 -- but when Zero is out, DSteve is Mr 19%). There's no argument, Gil is one of the smaller primary scorers in the league."

So you now move from spinning stats to playing semantics. Nice.

Arenas is a PG. Yes, he's a scoring PG. But he's still a PG and he's most often guarded by other PGs. And in matchups against other PGs, he usually has the physical advantage. And at 6' 4', 220 lbs, he also matches up up pretty well physically with a lot of SGs in the league, esp. when you factor in his quickness off the dribble. The suggestion that his size is somehow a major disadvantage is pure, unfiltered nonsense.

Posted by: kalorama | August 20, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"No the last thing they need is jumpshooting Bigs who can't shoot."

Posted by: doclinkin | August 19, 2008 8:35 PM

Which is exactly what they got in Pecherov, he of the 35% FG percentage and 28% 3 pt percentage.

"OPech was a project when he was drafted and the best "future" comparision was to Dirk Nowitzki who is a finesse, outside shooting 7-footer who has a nice all around game but never has been known for his post game."

That's like saying the "best "future" comparison" for every 7 foot, 250 lb big with a low post game is Tim Duncan. In other words, it's saying nothing at all. Just because they're the same size and play in the same spot on the floor doesn't mean they have the same potential.

Posted by: kalorama | August 20, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"But our backcourt consists of players 6'4", 6'5" and 6'5" (according to pre-draft measurements). That's small."

No, it's not. Again, at 6' 4", Arenas is one of the bigger PGs in the NBA. The only PGs with comparable size are Billups and Davis. He is bigger than pretty much every other starting PG in the NBA. And 6' 5" is about the average size for a SG in the NBA. Yes, there are some bigger, but there are also several smaller.

And that's not even addressing the fact that Nick Young is actually listed at 6' 6" or that, if you're using pre-draft measurements (and why would you be using pre-draft measurements for Arenas and Stevenson, two guys who've been in the NBA for almost a decade?) then there's a good chance that Stevenson is actually bigger than his listed height, since he was drafted right out of High School, at a time when he was probably still growing.

Posted by: kalorama | August 20, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"Do I think Pecherov will ever be comparied to Nowitzki? NO, but EG felt some of the skills he had as a 20-year old could be compared to Nowitzki."

Find me one quote where Grunfeld compares Pecherov to Nowitzki.

Posted by: kalorama | August 20, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"But if we'd signed Ming Ming when 88 thought it was a brillant idea, with the lost share of the Luxury Tax funds the cost would have added up to something like 4.5m if I remember Rook's figures correctly.

Now that would have been a really smart way to spend some money!

Posted by: GM | August 20, 2008 11:53 AM "

GM apparently got too much sun sitting next to his $5 walmart special baby pool.

GM is a dork grasping in the air for strength to sustain his weak argument.

I haven't mentioned anything about bringing Sun Ming Ming in as a practice player since the Wiz's roster started getting depleted last season due to injuries.

But, GM keeps trying to lift up his weak argument that OPech should be given a chance like Big Z because they are comparable players.

Again, Sun Ming Ming didn't and doesn't cost the Wiz 1.5 mil to sit on a bench, so he's not wasting the Wiz's money.

OPech on the other hand, does cost money....money that's being wasted.

Keep it up GM'er...maybe you'll even convince yourself that you've learned a little about basketball given the 65 years that you've been a fan.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 20, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"The suggestion that his size is somehow a major disadvantage is pure, unfiltered nonsense.

Posted by: kalorama | August 20, 2008 12:37 PM "

Find me a quote where I said size is "somehow a major disadvantage."

Size for a guard does not clearly provide the benefit as size does for a post player.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 20, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 20, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"The suggestion that his size is somehow a major disadvantage is pure, unfiltered nonsense." -- k'rama

Okay I'll continue with the dead horse cavalry charge...

Hey clearly a 29ppg scorer isn't too handicapped by his size, that's axiomatic.

It's also not the point. The point is the offense is constructed to make him a more efficient scorer and take advantage of his unusual skillset/size. Yes he's too big for PG's and too quick for 2-guards. Sure. If he has space to do so he can power past and force his opponent to hack, or force a big to run from out of position to challenge. That's where he racks up his 9 FT's per 40 minutes (pace adjusted).

But his best strength is not as a jumpshooting distributing point whose job it is to bring up the ball and pound it into the Bigs, maybe take a shot if open.

Playing that style allows the opponent to fill the lane with widebodies, force him to his jumper then face Gil against a bigger (slower) perimeter defender, knowing there's help behind him.

That's not to the team's best strength.
----

"'No the last thing they need is jumpshooting Bigs who can't shoot.'

Which is exactly what they got in Pecherov, he of the 35% FG percentage and 28% 3 pt percentage. " -- kalo redux

Which is why it would be great if the team had a shotdoctor, or if Pech was the kind of hardworking gym rat who could improve his shot...

I'm not really sure what the investment is in thinking the kid will never develop.

Do players ever improve? Seems to me they do. And there are more reasons to suggest that Pesh was fighting an uphill battle last year than there is proof that he'll never build skill.

We better hope so, since that's currently what this team's success is predicated on.

Funny how much y'all like to argue up in this piece. Must be the offseason.

Posted by: doclinkin | August 20, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

clarification:

'Player development' overall being what the team's mid-range success is predicated on; not Pech's development alone.

Posted by: doc again | August 20, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"Which is why it would be great if the team had a shotdoctor...

Your entire argument was based around the assumption that the reason they drafted him was because they had a pressing need for another credible big man outside shooter. If they have to spend the next few years actually teaching him how to shoot, that pretty much undercuts tour whole reason for drafting him in the first place.

"or if Pech was the kind of hardworking gym rat who could improve his shot...

Aside from the fact that Mike or Ivan 9can't remember which) called him a gym rat in one of the pieces they wrote about him for the post, what actual evidence is there of this "work ethic" that his supporters are so quick to credit him with? To say nothing of the fact that hard work is only laudable when it produces results. We've been hearing for 15 years now about how hard Shaq works on his FTs in practice.

"That's not to the team's best strength."

Uh ... yeah. That's exactly my point. (wow.) It's not the team's strength because they don't have anyone on the roster who can create in a 1-on-1 post matchup or dominate physically on the interior. But my point is and remains, in order to make it to that mythical "next level" they absolutely need such a player, because teams don't win titles without one. Getting another outside shooting big man may, in theory, make them more efficient at playing their current style (dubious though that reasoning is), but all that does is make them a better team that gets bounced in the first or second round. In order to get where they clearly want to go, they need to get better at doing the things that are currently weaknesses. That means presence on the inside.

Posted by: kalorama | August 20, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not really sure what the investment is in thinking the kid will never develop."

There's a difference between having a belief and being invested in it. I have no desire to see Pecherov fail. But I've seen little to nothing to convince me he has more than a moderate chance of marginal success.

Posted by: kalorama | August 20, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

"But his best strength is not as a jumpshooting distributing point whose job it is to bring up the ball and pound it into the Bigs, maybe take a shot if open.

"Playing that style allows the opponent to fill the lane with widebodies, force him to his jumper then face Gil against a bigger (slower) perimeter defender, knowing there's help behind him."

Sorry, but that's unmitigated gobbledygook. The idea that having a low post capable big man would somehow cripple Arenas' effectiveness is pure conjecture with no basis in actual provable fact. It's basically starting with a conclusion (the Wizards are a jumpshooting team) and working backwards it to from an argument (the Wizards are better off with out a low post presence). That's not how it works.

Posted by: kalorama | August 20, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Teams built around jumpshooting bigs don't win titles. And that's the whole point, right?

Posted by: kalorama | August 19, 2008 10:22 PM "

Kevin Garnett would disagree.

Posted by: Pradamaster | August 20, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Hmmn, I like the carnival rides that go fast, not the ones that go round and round 'til you puke. Somehow seems like we've gotten on one of the latter.

To recap:

1. The Princeton offense works best when you have Bigs who can shoot. This preserves room for player movement, back-cuts, or in the hybrid NBA version often works by simply setting up floor balance and spacing to give your talented perimeter players room to attack.

Does it preclude a low-post presence, no. But are you sunk without one? No.

Your wing players get easy scores by getting into the paint when the Bigs ain't there.

Adding a skilled inside/outside Big adds an option. Adding a limited lowpost-only player is less useful inthis offense. (See Etan Thomas).

Putting two oncourt at the same time (defensive stalwart Haywood plus this purely theoretical lowpost-only PF beast) would require a pretty radically different playbook.

2. The Wiz' talented perimeter players have had success within this scheme. The Wiz' best players are perimeter players. Whatever makes them more effective is good. This maximizes the best talents of our best players.

(Tautological repetitive redundancy, but sometimes you have to beat a point to a bloody pulp just to get it to 'get it').

3. We only have one Big who can shoot. The eFG% of his most talented teammates drop when he's off the floor. Gilbert agrees-- Jamison makes him better, preserves spacing:

"If Antawn is not back, then there’s no point in me coming back because he’s part of my success, too. When you’re doing pick and roll with a player like him, they can’t double you, they can’t trap you because you have a pick and pop guy who can shoot the three at your four position."

http://my.nba.com/thread.jspa?threadID=580003995

4. Depth is good. Add more of what works so you can afford to rest starters without drop-off, and weather injuries. Or prevent injuries borne of fatigue.

5. The Wiz have tried to draft a few skilled bigs (Andray et al, op cit.).

The Wiz have tried to recruit a few skilled bigs (Free agents Donyell Marshall, Darius Songaila, Calvin Booth, Aussie Chris Anstey, etc.).

So far the recruitment has had limited success & results. Skilled Bigs aren't common. especially the inside/outside variety. Could be we have to build our own out of raw materials.

6. Opec is one of those projects. His Rookie year showed little promise, but with plausible asterisks weighting him down. (also op cit.)

Could he improve? Probably-- from where he is now there's only upside. Or put negatively: 'can't get much worse, right?'

'Skill' comes from effort and experience almost as much as it does from talent. Talent may still be there. Scouts and talent evaluations suggested that before this year he could shoot pretty well. Might take just a tweak of mechanics or an adjustment. Never know.

But the team talent evaluators saw something they like, and Gilbert among others gave reports that the kid was always at the gym. Hard work doesn't always work, but laziness 'bout never does.

And as far as hard work and improvements, just ask Brendan Haywood if it's possible to improve your FT %.

7. Some folks just like to be disagreeable, and deliberately 'disunderstand' just to have a good dust-up. S'alright. I like the verbal judo okay.

Anyway I hope that mitigates the gobbledygook for ya. If not I'll come back and re-gook it for ya. Promise.

Posted by: doclinkin | August 20, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

"Teams built around jumpshooting bigs don't win titles. And that's the whole point, right?" Posted by: kalorama

"Kevin Garnett would disagree." Posted by: Pradamaster
...


Right, and so would Rasheed Wallace:


Garnett '08: 73% jumpshots
http://www.82games.com/0708/07BOS11A.HTM

RWallace '04: 77% jumpshots
http://www.82games.com/03DET11A.HTM

Making the point even more plain, (SF) Paul Pierce and (PG) Rondo took fewer jumpers per attempt than KG (70% and 54% respectively).

And even Rip Hamilton and Billups scored inside on more of their shots than Rasheed did in '04.

Comparing with the Wiz, the last time the Allstar Three were healthy (06/07) about 30% of Gil's total shot production was scored inside. And 41% of Caron's total shot pts were scored in the paint. And that's irrespective of FT totals.

Remember, that incandescent December run-- before Jamison's injury-- was when the team was scoring with unparalleled efficiency.

The primary difference here is that nobody would argue Jamison is any kind of defender like 7' KG and 6' 11" Rasheed.

Which is why the Wiz hope to draft or grow a Big skilled finesse-playing defender of their own.

Opec may not be the guy. Blatche may not. JvMcGee may not. But one of 'em should pan out given hard work, chemistry, and training by the player development specialists. (Hoops Hopla and Ed Tapscott, specifically).

Or that's the operating theory anyway.

Yes defense wins championships. Yes Size wins championships, or makes defense easier. But all you're looking for offensively is easy shots, sometimes that's a lowpost presence, sometimes it's an outside-in attack.

Key is to do preserve what you do well, and shore up your shortfalls at the same time. Ernie is right to think if we add size and (hopefully) defense while preserving the spacing and offensive flow, we'll be golden. Trouble is it's tough to even match Jamison's 20/10 production and ranged shooting, much less bump him to a 6th man role with a bigger badder player.

Jumpshooting fierce defending Bigs are a rare breed. An allstar breed. Maybe if you raise'em all in the same kennel and pit 'em against each other you'll get one worth the effort.

Posted by: doclinkin | August 21, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Doc, I admire your tone. I had a long post out there blasting the very premise that there's something wrong with our offense, but I think the new Post censors caught it because I said "clusterf*ck" there.

You're saying what I wanted to say about as well as I could have said it

Posted by: Pradamaster | August 21, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Well thanks mike. Just doing my part to keep wizfans happy.

I agree though its sorta absurd to try to 'fix' the offense of a team that's consistently top-5 in the league in offensive efficiency. That's not our key problem or need.


Posted by: doc | August 21, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

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