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Questions For Wizards Media Day

The Wizards are having the annual media day tomorrow at the Verizon Center. If you haven't seen it, it's the deal where all of the players have their uniforms on and take turns at little tables or podiums where they answer a slew of questions from the ink-stained wretches (like me) and the tv types (you know which ones) who ask hard-hitting questions that start with "So, how does it feel?"

I know I can't wait.

Anyway, I'm curious to know what types of quetions you folks would like to hear asked by yours truly tomorrow (try to be serious please). What are the main issues, as you all see them, going into Saturday's opening of training camp in Richmond? If you had to ask different players on this team specific questions heading into camp, what would those questions be?

As I see it, there are a handful of interesting themes/issues to keep an eye on during camp and the preseason. Among them:

-Who will emerge as a solid three-man to spell Caron Butler? Dominic McGuire was drafted to be that guy and he had a strong Las Vegas summer league. He has the size, quickness and game to be a solid NBA 3-man no doubt and he showed a much-improved jump shot in Vegas. Still, the team signed two guys who have a lot of NBA experience to push him in DerMarr Johnson and Linton Johnson. Also, Andray Blatche has the skills to play some three and Eddie Jordan said he is going to challenge him to be a defensive stopper at that spot.

That didn't go so well in second game of last season when Jordan put Blatche on Paul Pierce up in Boston and watched Pierce torch Blatche but the little ticket is a year older now and a year better (one would hope).

-How far away from game action is Etan Thomas? He missed an entire season and though he looks to be in great shape, you would think that it could take a bit to get it all back. The good news is that Etan will have a week of camp and the preseason to find his flow. Jordan stated that Brendan Haywood is the starter and that Blatche could be an option as a backup as well but keep in mind that Jordan has always liked Thomas.

-What will Jordan's guard rotation look like? We know that Antonio Daniels and DeShawn Stevenson will start and that Nick Young, Dee Brown and Juan Dixon are behind them but I'm curious to see which combinations Jordan uses during camp and the preseason. I still contend that this team is going to miss Roger Mason Jr. a great deal this season but I guess we'll see.

-What is Oleksiy Pecherov going to be? Pesh had a pretty solid preseason going last year but then he rolled that foot right before the season started, missed a chunk of time and never really got rolling. I still don't really know what he is. A five who can shoot the long ball? An oversized three? Something in between? Jordan made a point of talking him up the other day and that's telling. I've always had the sense that Jordan really likes the skill Pecherov brings to the table and would like to utilize them but the injury factor really hampered his development last year.


Did anyone see the Nick Young documentary last night? I had it on tivo and checked it out later (after watching the Twins take a crucial game off of the Fightin' Ozzies. Yes! Have to complete the sweep tonight though) and really enjoyed it. I was familiar with the story in Nicks's family from reading about the film and from some chats with him but it really brought it all to light. The show also really provided some insight into what a likeable young guy Nick is. It's difficult to be around the guy and not have a smile on your face, that's how funny he can be.

The goofy side he shows in the film is regularly on full display in the lockeroom and around the team. The film also shows what a freak athlete the kid is. Some of those dunks from his high school days are incredible.
For those of you who did not see it, I'll try to find out when it will re-air and I'll keep you posted.


By Ivan Carter  |  September 25, 2008; 12:24 PM ET
 
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Next: Media Day Highlights

Comments

Ivan, if you can please let us know when it will be rebroadcasted. I missed it and didn't TiVo it either. (too stuck watching the 3-ring circuse that is the election) Anyway.........thanks for all of the updates.

Posted by: Ultimate WizFan | September 25, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Please ask EJ or EG if its possible to package DCMann88, Anonymous and Pech in a trade for the San Diego Chicken?

Posted by: LosAngelesWiz | September 25, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

To Etan and Brendan: Do you think you can play PF and C on the court together?

To everyone: The defense started strong last year, then dropped after December. What can be done this season to improve defensively?

To Antawn and Caron: Have the big minutes in the past taken a toll on you? Ideally, how many minutes per game would you like to average?

To Pecherov: If you aren't going to get much time this season, would you prefer to go to the D-League or to stay with the Wizards and just work on your game in practice?

To Dee: What did you learn from playing for Jerry Sloan?

To Caron: What new and different skill are you going to bring to the table this season?

To everyone: Who seemed to improve the most this offseason? Who will surprise fans the most?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Tough question for the players, specifically DeShawn and Gilbert:

Last year in the playoffs, I senses immaturity on their part with lots of trash talking and less emphasis on being professional and going out there needing to prove something first. When I watched other teams, they realized that they should save the trash talk for when they actually accomplish something in the postseason. Will the Wiz player and specifically DeShawn change this attitude and be more professional?
I liked what I saw from Caron and Antawn in this aspect but really nobody else. They looked like immature rookies asking for it. I hope they act more like Caron and Antawn this season - acting more professionally and treating opponents with class until there is actually something to brag about.

Posted by: NobodyBeatsTheWiz | September 25, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Various questions:

For all the ink on the Wiz' defensive improvement they were among the league worst in defending the three point shot, what steps can be taken to improve here. (Prob'ly a coaching question, actually).

Andray: In the playoffs and late-season you started to play tough chippy defense, leaning into contact and intimidating players with your size, provoking other Bigs to retaliate and getting in their head (Rasheed, LeBron). Is this something you plan to continue? Who on the team sets the hardest picks? Could you do better than them?

Have you developed a go-to low post move? Do you study film on other Bigs to pick up tricks and tips? Is there any Big you admire and think you could imitate (Kareem's sky hook. Hakeem's shimmy-shake, Kevin McHale's up and under and sharp elbows, etc).

Etan goes to Big Man camp every summer. Did you spend any time at a specialist camp like this? What part of your game do you most want to improve? What do the coaches want you to work on?

Dominic: what position did you play in football? Are there any football skills that translate onto the hardwood?

Rumor has it you've been working on your jumper all season -- looked good in summerleague-- are you starting to get comfortable out there? You play a hardnosed game defensively, but tend to opt for finesse on the offensive side, is that by choice or habit or what?

Seems like you 'leaned up' over the summer, opting to get quicker more than bigger. What part of your game were you hoping to improve most?

Caron. Sounds like you've scrimmaged with the youngsters over the summer a bit. Who was around? Who have you played with? Who looks good? Who has improved their game? Is there anyone you're expecting will surprise the fans with their play?

How is Coach Calhoun doing? (UConn -- recovering from cancer). Who looked good of your UConn alumni NBAers. Did you play in the Charity game this summer?

How was Africa?

Antawn and Antonio: talk a bit about the 'basketball without borders' thing.

Posted by: doclinkin | September 25, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Good point NobodyBeatsTheWiz!

I agree, the Wiz motto this year should be "Shut up, Win, and Get to the Second Round"

Ivan, whatever you do, do not ask EG if he's had any tampering with any other players in the league.

Posted by: Wizzinhut | September 25, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

AJ: What's your defensive strategy against guys like EBrand, Beasley, etc. and do you need help defending them?

EG: Why didn't the Wiz announce Gilby's injury and delayed return until AFTER the season ticket renewal deadline was over? According to Gilby, "everybody knew he wasn't coming back until January '09."

Caron: What aspect of your game have you worked on this offseason to take you to the next level?

AB/EJ: Do you think AB should start ahead of AJ at the 4 so that AJ can be the spark off the bench?

DS: Should we expect more drama from you this season when you play Lebron?

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 25, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert: Have you seen any other doctors for a second opinion on that knee? What about that knee specialist that has worked with so many other basketball stars? Why not get a second opinion from him? (Can't remember his name, Dr. Andrews?)

Posted by: G | September 25, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Is it true that Pech just now returned to the court after spraining his ankle just before summer league in Vegas? Is that even possible?

I am curious whether his spot on the team is secure. In my mind, he brings zippo to the table. Not a consistent threat from outside, can't defend, and doesn't bang.

Posted by: M.E.G. | September 25, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Young guys!
What have the "young guys"
done during the offseason to improve?
What part of their game did they work on?

Posted by: VB Fan | September 25, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Good question by G.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

By the way, did anyone see the interview where Jason Taylor said that they were in touch with Dr. Andrews about his calf injury? And did anyone have the same thought that I did, that if this injury occurred to someone on the Wizards, the player would have likely died? (Taylor's doctors said that if he didn't have it treated immediately, he could have lost his foot, and if it wasn't treated relatively soon, he could have died).

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

AB/EJ: Do you think AB should start ahead of AJ at the 4 so that AJ can be the spark off the bench?

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 25, 2008 2:26 PM
Great question DCMan. This is really the only question that matters!! AB averaged a double double in the limited starts he had last year (15 and 11, i think). Jamison can get his points anytime and he did win 6th man of the year the year before he joined the Wiz. The way our squad is built right now, having Jamison off the bench would make us better team. Please ask this question Ivan or Mike.

Posted by: C.Bell | September 25, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

And to comment on Nick Young's Doc last night; I enjoyed it. I don't watch a lot of documentary films but this one was great. 10 times better than the one about Sebastian Telfair.

Posted by: C.Bell | September 25, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

To Jordan:
1) Last year, it was widely-known that defense was heavily emphasized during training camp, which led to noticeable returns. If defense is again emphasized, do you plan to go the next step and play the defensive specialists (McGuires, Haywoods, etc.) more regardless of who is on the court for the opposition?

2) Will training camp help you assess and become more comfortable with the young guys, or is that something that you will need to see during the season, in order to give them more minutes, allowing the older guys (notably Jamison & Butler) more blow. What is your approach to playing Jamison & Butler? 35-38 mins/game, or as much as it takes to win? Has this approached changed seeing that the load appeared to wear on these guys as the season progressed?

Posted by: CN | September 25, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Question to Eddie Jordan....

Are you gaining confidence in your 2nd and 3rd year players...Blatche, Young & McGuire??? and what do they have to stay on the court in crucial situations?

Since Coach Hopla made such a difference by working with Brendan Haywood last season, is there anyone else that you've noticed who has improved their shooting/free throw percentage as a result of Hopla's work???

Question for Ernie Grunfeld/ Abe Polin, if the WIZ are winning and there is a revelant trade on the table before mid-season, will you make a move?

Posted by: G$ | September 25, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Enjoyed the documentary on Nick Young also. He's also one of my favorite wizards along with Gilbert, Jamison, Butler, the whole team! Nick Young - much success this season.

Posted by: washingtonian | September 25, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Eddie Jordan: How will you contend with the improved talent in the conference?

To Blatche: Whom do you respect most on the team (or in the leagure) and why?

Nick Young: If you were coaching yourself, what advice would you give?

Posted by: LK | September 25, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

question Gilbert: Ditto - did he get a second-third opinion from someone outside of the wizard's organization...(the specialist that Jason Taylor consulted with, etc). If not, is he planning on?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

question Gilbert: Ditto - did he get a second-third opinion from someone outside of the wizard's organization...(the specialist that Jason Taylor consulted with, etc). If not, is he planning on?

Posted by: washingtonian | September 25, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I want to root for Juan and CB3.

They have the spirit of Ruland, Mahorn, and Kupchak, without the same size. We need the size to bring that spirit, too!

I hope some Bullets, unfortunately badged as Wizards, in this Camp, will take some additional lumber to the others on the hardwood, and lay in to them.

Treat the others like cowboys, and hit hard. Get ready for 82 +.

Maybe Eddie should have them watch the Skins on Sunday.

And F the cowboys!

Posted by: Shotgun | September 25, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, here are some things I'd like to know.


Young, McGuire, Blatche, McGee, Pesh... what have they been doing this offseason to improve their games and stamina for the upcoming season? Do they feel they are ready to contribute more?

How does Etan feel? Can he give us the same energy and physical toughness down low that he used to give us pre-surgery?

How does Antawn feel about being back? Can he play more sf this year to give Caron more rest and Blatche more pt at pf and is he comfortable at the 3?

How is Darius feeling?

What has Haywood been up to this season? Is he ready for the competition this preseason with Etan, McGee, and Blatche all competing for his time at center?

Will Deshawn walk the walk this year instead of just talking the talk?

How does Antonio feel? Is he ready to play alot of minutes again this season?

Posted by: Darnell | September 25, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

For Juan Dixon: What did you learn from being on an elite team last year like the Pistons? What can you take from that experience that is helpful for this team?

Posted by: Roman | September 25, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know what everyone thinks of JaVale McGee, including Gilbert.

I'd like to know how Brendan Haywood improved his freethrow percentage so much last season, and whether he sees any room for improvement.

I'd like someone to ask Caron Butler if he thinks he'll be able to keep the "attack" mentality that we saw for so much of last season while Gilbert was out once Gilbert gets back from his injury.

I'd like for Antawn Jamison to talk about the young guys on the team (including Dominic McGuire), and frankly, whether he thinks he's had much influence on them thusfar.

I'd like to second someone's question regarding whether Etan and Brendan think they could play the PF and C positions, respectively, at the same time, and whether they think there would be any advantage to that.

I'd like to hear Nick Young talk about the areas that he's concentrating on improving this season, and frankly, where "defense" is on that list.

Posted by: satch | September 25, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who saw that Nick Young documentary and isn't rooting for the guy doesn't have a heart in his chest. It was "Hoop Dreams" with more tragedy and more triumph. Great story.

Posted by: mark | September 26, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Ivan, you touched on a few questions but here is what I'm wondering:

Can we find a position for Blatche and stop moving him around? He can't develop trying to lear the 3,4 and 5. he's too small for 5. He's more Garnett-like. I think he's best suited at 3 and 4.

How about getting NY regular minutes. I'd be willing to bet that Juan gets more time because he's a vet. The only way NY improves is with pt. He gets knocked for his defense but how many 2 guard scorers in this league actually play good D? Not many. That's why they're called scorers, not defenders.

Can we get McGuire some time at the 3? How many seasons of CB breakdowns do we need to see to reduce his minutes? If it costs us a game or 2 early, let's live with it as it'll pay dividends because of his freshness at the end of the season.

What about Pech? I'm still of the belief that he's an above average rebounder and decent shooter when healthy. He's too slow for the 3. He's limited to 4 or 5. Can we nail it down?

Can AD hold down the 1 til Gil gets back? If not, what's the rotation? AD is older and reckles with his body. Is Dee our backup plan?..or Juan?

Can we address some of the glaring deficiencies we have defensively (league worst opponent 3 point shooting%)? What is being done besides telling them the same thing over and over? We've been at or near the botton in giving up open 3's for years. I can recall Calvert Cheaney repeatedly running out late to catch 3's in his face years ago. Can we either trust our interior defense and start closing out on shooters or change our defense?

Can we give Hopla a lifetime contract? His ft% instruction probably earned us at least 5 to 10 wins. Are we looking to upgrade or change the coaching staff at all to help with D?

Posted by: mark | September 26, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Last but not least...
Can we take out some of the 200 watt bulbs in the V Center and dim the lights a bit. I come out of there with a tan after every game and I'm a black man!

Seriously, I remember Cap Center games and it was much darker and rowdier (except for when the Celts were in town and all the Virginians came in with their Bird jerseys on). Seems to antiseptic in the V Center because it's too bright. The place caters to the corporate crowd. Let's dim the lights a bit so the real " Average Joe" fans can get crazy!

Posted by: mark | September 26, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

...should nickname the place the Tanning booth, not the Phone booth.

Posted by: mark | September 26, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

to eddie jordan: something's gotta get us out of the first round of the playoffs. what do you think that something is?

to antonia daniels: why did you stop taking it to the hole last year?

to brendan haywood: what do you think the next step is in developing your game?

Posted by: washington ball | September 26, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Juan: What is going on over at College Park? Why can't Gary get some good recruits? Is it time for him to go?

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 26, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

It's kind of sad that the questions posted here are for the most part better than the questions most media members ask.

Actually, most reporters ask pretty good initial questions. Where they fail is poor follow-up questions.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to know who in there right mind would give gilbert that much money coming off multiple knee surgeries when he wasn't even worth it in the 1st place.

Also will EJ/EG get fired if we don't make it pass the 1st round this year or will it be the same old excuses and the same old no changes in the offseason.

FIRE EG NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Worth is determined by how much money someone is willing to pay you. If you're paid $200 million, you're worth it to whoever pays you. Debating Gil's 'worth' is pointless.
Can we talk about the on the court stuff?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

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