Impressive In San Antonio

Before we get to last night's game, bad news out of Chicago, where former Wizard Larry Hughes has been bitten by the injury bug again. Hughes injured his shoulder and could be out a while according to the Chicago Tribune.

Health has been THE issue for Larry throughout his career. Other than during the1999-00 season with Golden State when he played all 82, Hughes has not played more than 70 games in a season. I have no idea what to expect from that Bulls team. I've watched them three times during the preseason and just can't get a feel for where they stack up in the East.


- As for last night, Michael Lee was in San Antonio with the coverage

That gave me a chance to hang at the pad and watch the game on TV with man's best friend (my dog has been following me around for three days, no doubt thinking I'm getting ready to ditch her for Europe again).
After seeing this team play unispired, sloppy basketball for much of the preseason (especially in Berlin and Barcelona) Eddie Jordan had to like the way his team come out with energy and purpose last night. One key was Etan Thomas, who was really aggressive early. For the second straight game, Caron Butler brought it as well.

-As Mike mentioned in his story today, Nick Young really had it going. That crossover he used to shake Roger Mason before stroking a long jumper was sick and he also gave it to Bruce Bowen a couple of times. His scoring off that bench will be crucial because, as we saw during the first few preseason games, this team will go through some scoring slumps without Gilbert Arenas. Other than Butler, Nick is the one guy on this team who can consistently create his own shot. I'm not sure what to make of the fact that he fades away even when he doesn't have to, but as long as it goes in ...

-Mike also touched on the Arenas situation. Gilbert told him that rehab is going great and he could be back sooner than expected, possibly November. I would advise WIz fans to take that for what it's worth. As we've learned over and over again the last two seasons, Gilbert's timelines can fluctuate like the stock market. The key will be taking his time, getting that knee right and coming back only when he's really ready for the pounding. The trusted folks I've spoken with have pointed to mid- to late December as a realistic goal for seeing game action. We'll see.

By Ivan Carter |  October 23, 2008; 2:20 PM ET
Previous: Poll: Biggest Impact? | Next: Arenas, Nick Young's Unofficial Media Coach


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That's exactly why they probably need NY in the starting lineup until Gilby returns.

AD and DS in the front court means there's less of a scoring threat.

In any regard, even though AJ is a decent 3 point shooter, it's still upsetting to see your 4 jacking up shots beyond the 3 point arc when he's supposed to be in the paint mixing it up.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 23, 2008 2:41 PM

Lots of mixed messages have been sent out about the severity of NY's knee problem. I've read in interviews with NY and the WaPo that doctors tell him he will need offseason surgery. On the other hand, he says it feels great and it showed last night. Are the Wizards risking a long-term injury to one of their top young players to ensure they can be competitive this year? Would NY have had surgery by now if Agent Zero was healthy? I don't trust the Wizards' medical staff and neither should NY. I hope he's gotten a 2nd opinion outside of the team doctor.

On a positive note, Butler, Jamison, and AD look to be ready to go and the young players like AB, D-Mac, and J. McGee have all made nice strides this summer. I think that NY and AB are the key to this team being able to keep the Wizards' heads above water in an a very improved Eastern conference. Cleveland, Philly, and Milwaukee have all added talent and even Miami could be in the playoff hunt with a healthy D. Wade and the addition of Beasley. Wiz must avoid last year's awful 0-5 start that kept them below .500 for the first month or so of the season.

Re: Agent Zero, I think this is more of a publicity stunt to generate interest in the team in light of their injury situation and downgraded expectations. I still don't think he'll be suited up until after Christmas if that. No point in rushing it after what we saw happened when he returned late last year.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 23, 2008 2:45 PM


In light of last night's rotations in the 1st and 2nd quarters against the Spurs, is it possible for EJ to have the 1st unit to play a slow, grind-it-out pace and the 2nd unit to play a fast up-tempo pace (to match the respective skills on each unit)? Or does this add more complexity than it's worth? Would the competition be ready to make the switch on a dime?

Posted by: Izman | October 23, 2008 4:20 PM

It looks like EJ is keeping Javales playing down just so the opposition doesn't get a fix on him too soon.
I bet he's gonna get a lot of minutes.

NY needs to keep his tude in check and just play like he did last nite.

The Wiz threw up a lot of jump shots ( they went in last nite) and not enuff in the paint.

Posted by: VBFan | October 23, 2008 4:24 PM

The problem with AB: he thinks he is a better jump shooter than he really is. This is the problem with him in the past and is the problem with him last night. He needs to be active on offensive, use his quickness and not settled for jump shots.

Posted by: sagaliba | October 23, 2008 4:29 PM

Ya know, i'm going to have to steal a page out of DCMan's book on this one. I think Gil only said that to keep people talking about him.

Posted by: CBell29 | October 23, 2008 4:33 PM

Watching McGeee right now reminds me a lot of what Rasheed Wallace looked like his rookie year. Outstanding, jump-through-the-roof physical ability just waiting for his basketball understanding to catch up.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 23, 2008 4:55 PM

My main concern with McGee is whether or not he can bring it on Defense even when he is not getting a lot of touches on offense.

Posted by: SportzWiz | October 23, 2008 5:01 PM

McGee was never a big time scorer during his time in Nevada, so one wouldn't think he would have motivational issues on D, if he didn't get the looks on offense. Seems like a grounded kid due to the fact his parents made him run laps on his own when he didn't play hard during HS practices...

Posted by: -CN- | October 23, 2008 9:19 PM

McGee was never a big time scorer during his time in Nevada, so one wouldn't think he would have motivational issues on D, if he didn't get the looks on offense. Seems like a grounded kid due to the fact his parents made him run laps on his own when he didn't play hard during HS practices...

Posted by: -CN- | October 23, 2008 9:21 PM

McGee is really a scrapper and will make his money in the league as a scrapper.

His handles aren't good enough to create his own shot, and his shot is not good enough to be a reliable threat. I'm sure both can improve, but he'll probably never get enough PT on the court to do it consistently in a game.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 23, 2008 10:00 PM

Correction above, I meant McGuire.

I think McGee can do some good things due to his physical attributes, but he's more of an uptempo type of player rather than a back to the basket kind of player.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 23, 2008 10:01 PM

"Talk to me at Christmas," point guard Antonio Daniels said, referring to the teams' first regular season meeting in Cleveland. . . .

Them sound like figthin' words to me!

Posted by: CBell29 | October 24, 2008 12:59 AM

re: Nick Young's fade...
I think it's actually a good strategy for young players to at least put the fading jumper in the repertoire. As they get older and are not able to rely on their hops for separation, it'll help maintain the continuity in their shot. When Jordan got older and couldn't outjump people to get his shot off, he developed a fade. Also, at the end of the game when you're tired and don't have the legs, it helps to keep you from getting your shot blocked.
Like you said, as long as it keeps going in..

I remember big E doing his fading turnaround and he was able to shoot that thing well into his late 30's.

Posted by: original_mark | October 24, 2008 7:30 AM

With Kobe's bum knee, where's the wave of criticism that he shouldn't have played for the gold and just rested up all summer?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 24, 2008 8:30 AM

Thing abut the fade is:

For now it's fine while he's still lean and less strong, but the point of the fade is to avoid contact, it will tend to prevent him from going to the line much.

Also it's a tougher shot to stay consistent with once you get tired. You put more arm-flick into it than a standard jumper so there's more micro-muscle variation. More likely to be streaky.

Hopefully down the line he builds arm and wrist strength to go up strong and power through contact and still finish, like Jordan, Kobe, etc. But for now, yeah-- nah nobody's gonna complain about the shooting %'s of a guy who goes 7 for 8.

Posted by: doclinkin | October 24, 2008 8:58 AM

The fadeway is a dangerous weapon when mastered, The big E on the baseline was almost automatic. In some ways Nick Young has a very "old school" game.

Guys like Earl "The Pearl" and Walt Frazier were more likely to break their man down and then put up the short jumper then to try and go all the way to the rack. Jordan added that short range fading jumper to his game and mastered it in the three title runs after the comback.

When Gil comes back I'd imagine we'll see him start to develop a mid range game. Going to the rack all the time is really hard on the body. Just ask Allen Iverson.

Nick "The Quick" Young and McGee look like a couple of real finds. Both of those guys are really long and explosive, if Nick learns to use that natural ability on the defensive end he could be a real disrupter out there.

"McBust" makes me smile every time I see him on the court, I liked the comparsion of his talent to when Wallace was here as a rookie. Except I've yet to see any borderline behavior out of McGee. He seems to have a real coachable nature about him, you can tell he grew up around the game and around people that know the game.

One thought about Blatche and the dribbling up the court with the defensive rebound habit. Most guys grow out of it, but sometimes a really talented young guy that's being asked to play center really can't resist it.

It's like, "Look at Me Coach, I've got Skills! I don't want to play no center!" Remember way back when Chris Webber and Wallace were here those guys were trying to dribble the ball up the court all the time.

In time I think Blatche will settle into a power forward's role and the he'll learn to get the ball to the guards and fill a lane on the break. He still frustrates the devil out of me at times, but he's still really young and if he ever really gets it he could be a monster.

The really exciting thing about this team is going to be watching these kids grow up on the floor together. The "Little Three" and McGee could be really exciting to watch. Add in Gil, along with Jamison,and Butler, and this could be a really exciting team in the second half.

I'd bet almost any amount of money that Gil will be back in time for the Cleveland Christmas Classic...

Posted by: flohrtv | October 24, 2008 9:35 AM

I'd like to how more people will get on the fade bandwagon when he goes 1-8 vice 7-8.

JaTravel needs to understand that he needs to work on his footwork and dribbling. Let's nominate him for rookie of the year right now!

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 24, 2008 9:43 AM

I think in time, if Tiago Splitter got 20 more inches of vertical, 10 more inches in wingspan, and 30 more inches in bulk, he'd be a monster too....and they might make a Halloween costume of him.


Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 24, 2008 9:46 AM

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