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Getting Ready for the Nets

One of the interesting things about Wednesday's opener is the familiarity of the two coaching staffs. Eddie Jordan and Nets Coach Lawrence Frank worked together under Byron Scott in New Jersey and when the teams play, there are very few secrets. Today, the Wizards will concentrate specifically on game-planning for the Nets, a team that is in major transition.

Like Jordan, Frank is still in the process of hammering out a rotation. The Nets were bothered by injury throughout the preseason so Frank will be finding out exactly what he does and does not have early on.

Former Wizard Jarvis Hayes, who was bothered by a hamstring injury, started the final preseason game and figures to see action Wednesday night.

According to today's NY Post, the Nets will likely start rookie Brook Lopez at center. That should give Jordan a chance to play his own rookie big man, JaVale McGee, if the opportunity arises.
When thinking about McGee and his possible role this season, I have to keep reminding myself that the league is filled with a lot of guys like Brook Lopez, so it's not as if McGee is going to be getting schooled by experienced veterans every night. It's going to be very interesting to follow the path of the bigs who were drafted this summer. McGee, Lopez, Speigths (in Philly), HIbbert (Indiana), Hickson (Cavaliers) etc.

I would imagine that Jordan's rotation early on will include the five starters (with Etan Thomas at center) along with Nick Young, Darius Songaila and Andray Blatche. After that, it's wide open. We know that Jordan trusts Juan Dixon, and he had high praise for Dominic McGuire's progress prior to Friday's preseason finale in Columbus. I'm not sure how he'll use McGee early on but I'll ask him after today's practice.

By Ivan Carter  |  October 27, 2008; 9:50 AM ET
 
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Next: Wizards Pick Up Options on Young, Pecherov

Comments

"Today, the Wizards will concentrate specifically on game-planning for the Nets"

Perhaps that is what was missing last Friday, the Wizards did not prepare specifically for the Cavaliers. It seems to me that the Cavs did specifically prepare for the Wiz.

The Cavaliers are known for a good defense, and the Wizards came out looking inept. The ball movement was limited to passing the ball around while standing still, fat lot of good that does against the Cavs whose first unit was quicker than the Wiz.

On offense the Cavs were constantly moving, not just halfheartedly but with purposeful movement. It was intended to mix up, and confuse the Wiz defense which it accomplished. Forcing the Wiz to switch off, the Cavs quickly found mismatches and perimeter shooters who were unguarded.

As for the center position, all I can say is that ET was schooled by Ilgauskas, Wallace and even Sideshow Bob. And where was the vaunted Stevenson defense against Mo Williams?

Posted by: rickgonz | October 27, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"As for the center position, all I can say is that ET was schooled by Ilgauskas, Wallace and even Sideshow Bob. And where was the vaunted Stevenson defense against Mo Williams?

Posted by: rickgonz | October 27, 2008 10:23 AM "

Amen...

When shots don't hit for Les BouleS, expect a long, painful game.

Christmas game might end up being national embarrassment.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 27, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

DC Man is right in that this team tends to want to jump shoot it's way out of trouble. Rarely do you see a drive-and-dish assist. The Nets are the type of team they must beat to stay in things.

Posted by: jweber1 | October 27, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse


His career average is about 5 rpg in 18 mpg (a slightly higher per minute average than Haywood, at 6 rpg in 24 mpg).

- kal_orama

The main difference will be the 25 and 14 that Etan gives up. By virtue of the defense (height and wingspan), BTH and the Poet are incomparable in my opinion.

BTH averaged just under 28 minutes per game. 6.7 rebounds is decent. Not great but decent. That extrapolates out to 9.8 rebounds a game if you give him 41 minutes. (I picked 41 because CB avgd 41). Again, not great but not terrible either. I seriously doubt that Etan can stay healthy. His best year (03-04) was comparable to BTH's year last year. Not including last year he averaged 58 games per year. Throw last year in and that number drops to less than 50.

I'm an admitted BTH fan but Etan isn't the answer.

Posted by: original_mark | October 27, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

..but regardless of what you or I think, we'll know soon enough.
As for people leaving Pech open to shoot when he's in the game, I don't see it happening. Just because you don't respect his game doesn't mean other teams and coaches and scouts don't. It's not like he's a Ben Wallace or Rodman who you can just dare to shoot. No one's leaving Pech wide open if they read any type of scouting report.

No matter how many times you type it or how rudely you contradict, your views and opinions are no more valid than any others. We'll see. I'll be the first to say 'uncle' if I'm wrong. Fact is, we'll probably never find out cuz Pech will either get hurt again or be relegated to pine time for the whole season.

Posted by: original_mark | October 27, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I never said Etan was "the answer" to anything. I was, once again, simply pointing out to the members of the Haywood fan club that their boy isn't quite the colossus they make him out to be.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 27, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"No one's leaving Pech wide open if they read any type of scouting report. "

If they're reading the one that says he's a chucker who shoots 28% from 3 pt range (and that's pretty much all his scouting report would say) that's exactly what they're doing. Most of his shots last season from deep were, in fact, wide open. He's given no defense in the NBA any reason to respect him.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 27, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

It'll be telling if EG does not pick up OPech's option.

It'll mean that OPech was a failed pick, just like Peter John Ramos and Vladimir Veermenko were failed picks by EG, with the only difference being that OPech was a first round pick at #18.

Why bother drafting a Euro guy who's never going to play for you anyway?

Keep in mind, EG also drafted AB, who hasn't exactly panned out yet either.

And this offseason, of course, he drafted JaTravel, who looks like he'd rather play the 3 than the 5.

EG don't know big men.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 27, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone's even IMPLYING that BTH is any sort of "colossus" in the NBA, but with regard to the Wizards, he's their anchor and probably the MVP of their defense.

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

Jamison said the Wizards are struggling while trying to find a replacement for center Brendan Haywood, who could miss the entire the season following surgery on his right wrist. His replacements have been Etan Thomas, a veteran who is still working himself back after missing all of last season with a heart ailment; Andray Blatche, who leads the team in scoring this preseason but has baffled the team with his inconsistency; and JaVale McGee, a rookie who is raw athletically and still trying to grasp the team's plays. Aside from providing a defensive presence, Haywood was also a vocal leader on that end of the floor.

"We got accustomed to Brendan being out there and talking. I got accustomed to him telling me where to be at," Jamison said. "That's a luxury that we don't have and that I think we definitely need to get situated quickly, as far as which big is going to start for us, which big is going to play significant minutes for us."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/20/AR2008102002849.html

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 27, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"No matter how many times you type it or how rudely you contradict, your views and opinions are no more valid than any others."

Except we're not talking about "my opinions."

Fact: Pecherov is a subpar 3 pt shooter.
Fact: He likes to chuck the ball up as soon as it hits his hands (a fact both his teammates and the game announcers routinely poke fun at).
Fact: Rushing out to the line to challenge a guy shooting 28% is not a high priority on any coach's defensive game plan.
Fact: Most of Pecherov's 3 pt looks last season were largely unguarded because opposing coaches (rightly) don't see him as any kind of threat.

Just because you refuse to acknowledge the facts makes them no less true or accurate.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 27, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"The main difference will be the 25 and 14 that Etan gives up."

But that's not what you said (in the post I responded to). You were talking about rebounding, implying that Thomas was somehow a significantly inferior rebounder to Haywood. The numbers (which we all know you love) say otherwise.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 27, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

i fell asleep on the game friday night. and judging the final score, it's a good thing i did. i can't fathom why espn feels the need to show preseason nba games. after the first qtr or so, there is just too much chaos. anyone notice ilgauskas repeatedly went to the basket on etan whereas typically against haywood, he'd settle for the 10 - 14 foot j. and the wiz still live and die by jump shots. this team will continue to run hot and cold. dee brown and daniels might be point guards but they don't scare anyone. opposing teams will be trying to neutralize caron and antawn every night. someone else is going to have to step their game up. nick? andre?

Posted by: gregskins | October 27, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what everyone expects of Grunfeld, considering he's with an owner that wants to stay away from the luxury tax. He's not supposed to land a future hall-of-famer with the 15th & 45th picks of the draft, is he? The only huge mistake of his I can think of was matching Thomas' contract with the Bucks ('03?) and not taking advantage of the luxury tax relief in '05 by cutting Thomas (Thomas' contract would not count against the cap, even though the team would still have to pay out the remaining terms).

I'm not going to mention what he did do for the franchise, as the nay-sayers would use the "what have you done for me lately" argument. However, we have yet to see how Pecherov performs in a full season, granted it doesn't look too bright, but he was the 18th pick, not 8th (or higher). Blatche, Ramos, & Veremeeko were 2nd round picks, we shouldn't be expecting Robert Parish or even Gheorge Muresan's to be plentiful at that point.

Considering the cards he's been dealt, I don't think we could have done better...

Posted by: -CN- | October 27, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

The opponents won't need to worry about covering Pecherov on the perimeter because he's not going to get any meaningful minutes...

Posted by: -CN- | October 27, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"I don't know what everyone expects of Grunfeld, considering he's with an owner that wants to stay away from the luxury tax. He's not supposed to land a future hall-of-famer with the 15th & 45th picks of the draft, is he? The only huge mistake of his I can think of was matching Thomas' contract with the Bucks ('03?) and not taking advantage of the luxury tax relief in '05 by cutting Thomas (Thomas' contract would not count against the cap, even though the team would still have to pay out the remaining terms).

I'm not going to mention what he did do for the franchise, as the nay-sayers would use the "what have you done for me lately" argument. However, we have yet to see how Pecherov performs in a full season, granted it doesn't look too bright, but he was the 18th pick, not 8th (or higher). Blatche, Ramos, & Veremeeko were 2nd round picks, we shouldn't be expecting Robert Parish or even Gheorge Muresan's to be plentiful at that point.

Considering the cards he's been dealt, I don't think we could have done better...

Posted by: -CN- | October 27, 2008 1:19 PM "

EG signed over 171 mil worth of contracts this past summer, one to a guy who's now out until who knows when with a knee injury, and another guy who's got a sore knee, doesn't play D, likes to roam and shoot at the 4, and needs BTH to tell him where to be defensively.

During the year when they drafted OPech, two guys were also available who could have helped the team and provided insurance, Kyle Lowry and Jordan Farmar.

This past draft, he took a very raw JaTravel McGee. We all know big men take a lot longer to develop, so those saying he's going to send BTH packing is ludicrous.

Instead of JaTravel, EG should have drafted someone like Mario Chalmers, especially given the track record of Gilby with his knee injury. Chalmers is now fighting for the starting position on the Heat, as a rookie.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 27, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

So, of course I no longer have my old ID as well. Previously I was Dr. Strangelove but now I am The_Shadow_Knows.

Etan is not a center, he should be watching nothing but old footage of Charles Oakley and working on getting us 10 boards a game. That said, he is our starting center which bodes badly. Haywood does not work as hard but has natural gifts of size and length which made him an adequate center, could have been more than adequate if he was hungrier.

I also don't believe DS should be a starting SG. He simply does not provide sufficient scoring and his defense seems a bit overrated.

The Wizards are going to have a hard time filling seats with this unit, much less winnning games. Unless Gil does come back earlier than antipated, and is something approximating his old self, I do not think there is much chance of this team making the postseason. This looks to be the transition year where we fall back to reality. If Gil does not come back to form for the end of this year and next year, the team gets blown up before 2010/2011 season with Eddie and EG out the door. Pollin might just get senile enough by that time to try and coach the team himself.

I would love to hear something from Caron about putting the team on his back but I guess that is not his style. He and AJ keep talk a lot about the young guys needing to step up, and they do, but it would be nice for them to acknowledge the burden is really on them and they are ready for the challenge.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | October 27, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how he'll use McGee early on but I'll ask him after today's practice.

By Ivan Carter | October 27, 2008; 9:50 AM ET

Ivan there is no need to ask Eddie this question, because we all know (except McGee) he will see 0 minutes on the floor. Eddie is from the old school and he does not believe in playing rookies at all (even if they show flashes).

I will pretty much tell you after we get torched the first 3 games of playing small ball with Etan and Song. at the "5" EJ might come around to letting McGee get 10 minutes in a game. I am already getting ready to be fustrated with EJ's sub calls.

People get ready for a full dose of "small ball" in 2 different flavors (Etan & Song.). AB get ready to lean on BTH to ask him what to be prepared for while you are doing time in EJ's doghouse. McGee get ready to lean on AB to ask him how did it feel to sit a full two seasons on the bench before you saw any minutes?

And you wonder why AB's head is so messed up right now. I know a lot of it was his own doing, but you have to figure out a way to get this guy steady minutes so he can get some of his confidence back.

If EJ uses the same "mind games" he used on Haywood on AB, I think you will completly lose the guy. Those games may have worked out well for Haywood, but I think the head games will mess AB up for good.

Posted by: BulletsFever | October 27, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Even if Gilby came back early, that does nothing for the team defensively as they would still not have a shotblocking defensive presence at the 5.

Even if ET were to borrow a page from Oakley's book, that doesn't mean much b/c Oakley was a starter, and AJ, with his contract, is firmly entrenched at the 4.

Caron is pretty much on his game now, but even if he were to "put the team on his back," that could only be done offensively, not defensively. Caron is not going to be guarding 4's and 5's.

It'll be interesting when Les BouleS play the Nets. If Brook Lopez eats ET's lunch, then you can probably call the season right there.

EG's going to have to make a trade to make up for BTH's absence. Center by committee won't work.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 27, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

exactly, CN. Pech is a moot point. His shooting % on the bench will be 0%.

Kal, I like 'Colossus' even better than BTH. I do believe that Etan is an inferior rebounder. He was putting up good numbers against 2nd teamers 4 years ago. I don't expect him to play as well as Colossus did last year. Yes I like numbers and stats. I also base my judgements on watching the games in person and on tv. Etan's rebounds are largely unchallenged because he's able to plant and position himself. Colossus isn't really mobile and collects more of his because of his length. He's also much better on the offensive glass. Offensive rebounding is more difficult. I'd say that even now there's more room for improvement with Colossus while the Poet is maxed out. Last year was his Colussus' first full year starting.

I'm on board with pretty much everything 88 says except I think JM is a great prospect. I don't see him travel any more or less than any other young big. With his long arms and behind the head release point, he should be virtually unstoppable once he's able to get stronger and establish and maintain his position. Even now his shot isn't really challenged. The only thing we need to do is get him to slow down and shoot the right shots.

This year is going to be challenging and that's an understatement. We all know that EJ is prone to using vets because he trusts them more rather than developing youngun's. With Colossus and Gil's absences, this means more Songaila, Juan and smallball. I'd prefer a mix of some JM and NY but EJ's going for the immediate gratification. I think we'll need some luck to stay afloat.


Posted by: original_mark | October 27, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Given the health record of CB and AJ, asking them to carry us for a long time is a scary proposition, 88.
You're right in that we'll be outrebounded in every game cuz both our forwards are undersized. Now, our center is undersized, too. In fact, if you look at league averages, we're probably small at every position.
When outsized, there's usually only one good option...run. Shooting 3's leads to more long rebounds. It may be our only option to stay in some games. If EJ gets 45 wins out of this team as it stands without GA and Colossus, he's my choice for Coach of the Year.

Posted by: original_mark | October 27, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

"If Brook Lopez eats ET's lunch, then you can probably call the season right there."

Truer words never spoken. Lopez is the definition of average.

Posted by: original_mark | October 27, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"When outsized, there's usually only one good option...run. Shooting 3's leads to more long rebounds. It may be our only option to stay in some games. If EJ gets 45 wins out of this team as it stands without GA and Colossus, he's my choice for Coach of the Year.

Posted by: original_mark | October 27, 2008 2:51 PM "

Ok, so what's going to happen to AD and his 35 year old legs when Les BouleS run? Same as last season...he'll break down and the team will be on a downward spiral.

This team needs to be overhauled. Don't look at the individual pieces only. These guys can't function as a team because of many reasons...players don't gel well, coaching scheme is shaky, too many injured/inexperienced guys, and other teams just got that much better.

JaTravel has the tools to be a good player in this league, but he left school early and big men take longer to develop anyway. He's a long term prospect and this team was assembled to win now.

You don't dole out 171 mil in contracts and expect to be back in the lottery.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 27, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Did Javale committ like six travels or something on Friday????

BTH routinely averaged 1-2 travels a game until last year when he finnaly knocked it off.

I want Javale to get schooled because he'll learn by example and he may just surprise us. The kid is 20 and has a sweeter stroke than BTH and ET combined

Posted by: BurgwithaU | October 27, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

DCMan I love your propaganda for Mario Chalmers... fighting for the starting point guard slot with the Heat... who would he be fighting against? Quinn? What a pitched battle on the level of TJ Ford vs Calderon last year, no doubt!

When Chalmers emerges as a starting point against an incumbent at least as good as Raymond Felton (which D J Augustin apparently is) then maybe we should take notice.

In short, picking McGee over Chalmers was a reasonable decision by EG and may in time prove to be a master stroke.

Now, how much PT McGee gets this season is another issue, but for the time being Etan gets to start, which is fair. For openers, I will wager that ET more than holds his own against young Lopez.

Posted by: khrabb | October 27, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Khrabb, you may love my push for Mario Chalmers, but I guess you'd rather be EG and bring in someone by the name of Dee Brown to run your point as backup, as he's done a masterful job all preseason.

Keep in mind, drafting Mario Chalmers would have cost peanuts to Les BouleS compared to spending 171 mil and from the onset, looking like another trip to the lottery.

I don't think most teams pre plan or plan it that way.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 27, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 27, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"The kid is 20 and has a sweeter stroke than BTH and ET combined"

True, but also damning with faint praise. McGee has significant potential, but we won't likely see it really emerge for a year or two. Right no he's operating entirely on instinct. He needs a lot of refinement to grow into all of that physical ability.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 27, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

88 - As I said before, you can find a legit point guard "anywhere" way faster then you can find a legit 7 footer with raw skills and good footwork. EG's pick was a no brainer.

As for your reasoning to select Super Mario Brother, why not judge Gil's contract after the season is over? Then we can access whether or not it was a dumb move on EG's part. I am looking at Byran Davis and the dude was always injured. He looks pretty good to me and I think he made through a whole season last year.

I think there is hope Gil will get most of his game back. Again, lets give him this season to prove if he is worth the $$$'s. EG did the right thing by giving Gil that contract as far as I am concerned. He could not let him walk and not get anything in return (sign and trade???).

As for AJ, yes I would have resigned him also. He is a solid 20 and 10 guy, strong leader, who can not play defense. Oh well, 2 out of 3 are not bad in my book.

Posted by: BulletsFever | October 27, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"He was putting up good numbers against 2nd teamers 4 years ago. "

Not really. That would be true if Jordan used Haywood and Thomas in traditional starter/backup roles/minutes. But, as the Haywood MBLA knows full well (and complains about incessantly, even after it ceased to be an issue), the C minutes were pretty much split. It certainly was not a situation where Jordan played Haywood 35 mpg and kept him in against the starters, only going to Thomas when the other team went to their bench. The way the Wiz's rotation went, both of them got time against both the other teams starters and backups.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 27, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"88 - As I said before, you can find a legit point guard "anywhere" way faster then you can find a legit 7 footer with raw skills and good footwork. EG's pick was a no brainer."

EG's pick is a nobrainer if you've got 4 years to wait and see.

Les BouleS spent 171 mil to win now.

"As for your reasoning to select Super Mario Brother, why not judge Gil's contract after the season is over? Then we can access whether or not it was a dumb move on EG's part."

It was a dumb move on EG's part to pay top money for a guy with a bum knee that's been operated on 3 times.

"I am looking at Byran Davis and the dude was always injured. He looks pretty good to me and I think he made through a whole season last year."

Baron Davis was healthy last season and played. Also, he didn't hurt himself by running behind parachutes or biking around town of playing in blacktop pick up games with 9 ft. rims. LA Clips paid good money to a guy who was healthy.

"I think there is hope Gil will get most of his game back. Again, lets give him this season to prove if he is worth the $$$'s. EG did the right thing by giving Gil that contract as far as I am concerned. He could not let him walk and not get anything in return (sign and trade???)."

Gilby already had least season as cushion. Nobody knows if he'll ever be the same player he was, and even if he does come back at that level, he was never a team player or good defender to begin with.

"As for AJ, yes I would have resigned him also. He is a solid 20 and 10 guy, strong leader, who can not play defense. Oh well, 2 out of 3 are not bad in my book.

Posted by: BulletsFever | October 27, 2008 4:46 PM ""

Add also a guy who hasn't helped the team go past the 1st round for the past 3 seasons.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 27, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ivan, you forgot to mention the other Lopez in Phoenix. Just thought I mention that.
And when you ask Jordan how he's gonna use Mcgee, ask Etan how many minutes he think he can night. Can he go 30-35 a night? And when Blatch and Songaila is on the floor, will he use Mcguire, who is an excellent rebounder for his position?

Posted by: CBell29 | October 27, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"why not judge Gil's contract after the season is over? Then we can access whether or not it was a dumb move on EG's part.""

When you walk into your Mercedes dealership and you eye that SL65 AMG that goes for $190k, do you still want to pay the same price when you find out it needs its transmission and engine replaced with no guarantee that it will perform up to AMG specs again, especially if you're the only one who can afford to pay 190k for this beast?

I think not.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 27, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

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