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Questions at Center

With the season opener rapidly approaching, which player do you think Eddie Jordan should choose to replace injured starting center Brendan Haywood on Oct. 29?


By Alexa Steele  |  October 21, 2008; 9:24 AM ET
 
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Comments

Okay, Alexa, now ask which person we think EJ will actually choose.

Posted by: Izman | October 21, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Haha ^ funny stuff. I think Etan should be the starter, and have JaVale waiting in the shadows. If Etan, doesn't produce, it will be time to throw the young guy into the fire. Andray should be saved to mostly spell Jamison.

Posted by: LooseCannon | October 21, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I personlly think JaVale should start, to literally throw him into the fire. Give him serious minutes, let him learn on the job. If this were a playoff series, start Etan or even Andray (though I love Andray causing matchup problems by playing him in different positions off of the bench).

I love EJ as a coach, but my one beef--consistently--has been too many minutes for starters, not enough to develop the young guys. Unless the coaching staff determines that playing JaVale a lot of minutes would jeopardize our ability to make the playoffs, I'd play him, and play him a lot.

Posted by: psdfx | October 21, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The way we're playing, we won't be going to the playoffs. So we might as well put JaVale in there and develop him. That way if Haywood demands too much money after next year, we can tell him to walk...

Posted by: Sam | October 21, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The only reason I voted for Etan to start was to (hopefully) increase his trade value and then... well, trade him.

Posted by: Crabhands | October 21, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Everyone knows Etan is starting. As long as he doesn't have any setbacks. But having Mcgee step up the way he has is giving the bench more depth. Now AB can back up Jamison instead of being pushed around at the center position.

But isn't it funny how we all blasted Grunfield for wasting a draft pick on some nobody named Mcgee when Brendan was coming off a career year and Etan was getting healthy. Ernie is smart.

Posted by: C.Bell | October 21, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I voted for pech.

i got jokes.

Posted by: Chris | October 21, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

He should choose whichever one is best suited to get the job done. Seems like a simple, obvious principle, but the level of partisanship over the issue makes it a tough one for some to grasp.

"But isn't it funny how we all blasted Grunfield for wasting a draft pick on some nobody named Mcgee "

What you mean "we" kemosabe?

Posted by: kalorama | October 21, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"But isn't it funny how we all blasted Grunfield for wasting a draft pick on some nobody named Mcgee when Brendan was coming off a career year and Etan was getting healthy. Ernie is smart.

Posted by: C.Bell | October 21, 2008 10:38 AM "

Hmmm, what has McGee accomplished in the league so far besides playing in a few preseason games.

I guess you are easily impressed.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 21, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I voted for pech.

i got jokes.

Posted by: Chris | October 21, 2008 10:42 AM

I liked the few times during the previous preseason games that EJ put in McGee, Blatche & Pech at the same time as a second unit or McGee, Blatche & McGuire at the same time. It would have worked had they had more reliable scoring guards.

Unfortunately the only possible scoring option among guards was Dermarr Johnson, as Dee wasn't feeling it, and Juan was out.

Posted by: rgz | October 21, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I voted to start Etan in Game 1 of the regular season because (1) he has come back with energy and enthusiasm from a tough surgery and (2) it would put unnecessary pressure on JaVale to start an NBA opener.

I also think JaVale and Andray should enter the game simulatenously on the first substitution with Caron sliding over to the 2 and DS to the 1, sitting down both Etan and AD. The thought of a big and relatively fast lineup like this for the last 4 minutes of the first quarter is I think an intriguing one.

We all know who the Wizards don't have at this point, but the team still has a number of role players who have the ability to produce potentially decent results when deployed in different configurations.

That said, I am truly hopeful that the coaching staff will give ET and JaVale the vast share of PT at center, so long as they are productive, while reserving the possibility of an AJ, CB, AB frontline only for those situations where the opposing team also chooses not to have a true center on the floor.

Posted by: khrabb | October 21, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I liked the few times during the previous preseason games that EJ put in McGee, Blatche & Pech at the same time...

Posted by: rgz | October 21, 2008 11:11 AM

talk about easily impressed... lmao... les boules fans

Posted by: prescrunk | October 21, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

My biggest fear, knowing Eddie Jordan, is that he will consider starting Jamison at center.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I said earlier that McGee SHOULD be who starts. At least until he proves/disproves that his potential is worthy of the minutes ...

The question of who WILL start is probably more clear: I can't imagine Jordan not starting Etan.

And re: the post above about people on THIS blog blasting Grunfeld for picking JaVale, the venom was real, and overwhelming. He was called (not by me, ever) JaBust the DAY AFTER THE DRAFT.

Has he proven anything? No. But does Chris Paul say "Etan Thomas is right up there with Dwight Howard in the area of athleticism"? I don't think so. To get this great an athlete (even if his skills need development) as late in the first round as we did was a calculated gamble. Early returns do not tell us ANYthing about what he will be---but they do give great room for optimism.

Posted by: psdfx | October 21, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Start Dray.

He prepares and performs best when he has expectations resting on him. From the center position it doesn't matter as much that he's still a bit footslow. He's likely to foul less, reach less. The extra weight he put on will help him hold his ground here.

And on offense he's a positive mismatch for the opposing center: too quick and skilled for most 5's. Able to pass from the high post, occasionally hit an open shot and still rebound pretty effectively.

One year's familiarity under the defense should help. Etan is still getting his timing back, and if you watched the game and checked the play-by-play Etan was on court for most of the opponent's leads. He's still working his way back, even to 'back-up' quality, he'll play better against opponent back-ups. Preserve his trade value if the franchise chooses to send him to a team desiring 2010 cap relief.

McGee doesn't know the offense yet. No problem for him, but a problem for the rhythm of the starters. He makes a better second line uptempo high energy guy, racing up court with Dee Brown/Juan, Young Nick, Dominator. High energy Shock troops. More energy than sense.

JVMcG becomes an inside bail-out scorer to Nick Young's outside bailout scorer. Neither needs to know the offense to succeed, and both can finish on the break. (While Dom boards and blocks shots and DBrown --if kept-- digs out loose balls and long bounces). On defense: Plug Etan in the middle and allow JVMcG to roam as a human missile shield.

Or add Dray for extra length, rebounding, some face-up skill. Or (occasionally) sub Pesh to bomb from outside, since that's all he knows how to do right now.

I'd rather have Haywood back, but there are options at least.

-doc.

Posted by: doclinkin | October 21, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"Has he proven anything? No. But does Chris Paul say "Etan Thomas is right up there with Dwight Howard in the area of athleticism"? I don't think so. To get this great an athlete (even if his skills need development) as late in the first round as we did was a calculated gamble. Early returns do not tell us ANYthing about what he will be---but they do give great room for optimism.

Posted by: psdfx | October 21, 2008 12:15 PM "

Last I checked, being a good athlete doesn't always translate directly to basketball ability, skills, or playbook knowledge for that matter.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 21, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, what has McGee accomplished in the league so far besides playing in a few preseason games.

I guess you are easily impressed.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 21, 2008 11:06 AM

???? I don't get where you're going with this. My statement was geared towards the fact that everybody was killing Ernie for drafting Mcgee (especially you) and now with Brendan going down, it doesn't look like a wasted pick. That's all I was saying. I also said Etan would start. But you forgot to cut and paste that part as well...

Posted by: C.Bell | October 21, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

If Eddie has this team over .500 at the end of the year, he deserves Coach of the Year honors. But if this team gets off to another bad start, Avery Johnson is available.

Posted by: C.Bell | October 21, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"???? I don't get where you're going with this. My statement was geared towards the fact that everybody was killing Ernie for drafting Mcgee (especially you) and now with Brendan going down, it doesn't look like a wasted pick. That's all I was saying. I also said Etan would start. But you forgot to cut and paste that part as well...

Posted by: C.Bell | October 21, 2008 12:58 PM "

My point?

My point was that McGee has played in a few preseason games. That in itself doesn't declare him a good draft pick.

Let's see him in real games that matter first before we start patting EG on the back.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 21, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

talk about easily impressed... lmao... les boules fans

Posted by: prescrunk | October 21, 2008 11:32 AM
Does repeating a Tony Kornheiser cute putdown make you any more knowledgeable than anyone else on the Wizards?

I said "liked", where did you read impressed?
If you don't want them on the court at the same time say so, don't attack me or any other Wizards fan.

Where there is a team there is hope.
Places like Seattle have nothing.

Posted by: rgz | October 21, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

But you forgot to cut and paste that part as well...


Posted by: C.Bell | October 21, 2008 12:58 PM

DC Man88 "forgets" lots of things..

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah - wait until JaVale is starting and doing a good job, then DC Idiot88 will be telling everyone "I told you he was gonna ge good".... "I was the first one........"

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Acting giddy about the prospects of McGee success based on a few blowout preseason games, and calling EG smart for drafting him, has absolutely nothing to do with that tidbit you mentioned about ET.

Absolutely nothing.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 21, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Last I checked, being a good athlete doesn't always translate directly to basketball ability, skills, or playbook knowledge for that matter."

There are no guarantees in life. But a player with top notch athleticism will have an easier time acquiring the skills than a skill player with no athleticism (like your boy Gerry McNamara) will have overcoming his physical limitations.

Posted by: kalorama | October 21, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

JaVale has promise. We shall see.

Posted by: khrabb | October 21, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"There are no guarantees in life. But a player with top notch athleticism will have an easier time acquiring the skills than a skill player with no athleticism (like your boy Gerry McNamara) will have overcoming his physical limitations.

Posted by: kalorama | October 21, 2008 2:07 PM "

Who's comparing an athletic McGee to any sort of "skill player with no athleticism." I was only talking about McGee, not comparing him to anyone else.

To humor you, since you deserve some laughs, how much athletic ability does Steve Nash have vs. him being a "skill player?" Or what about Larry Bird, or Stockton, or McHale, or Duncan, etc.?

You must be debating yourself, or still upset at how valuable BTH is to this team or still getting over your brilliant proclamation that "the Grizzlies got exactly what they wanted with the Pao Gasol trade."

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

The Wizards implemented assistant Randy Ayers's new defensive system last season and it resulted in some drastic improvements. But despite the relative continuity of the roster, Jordan said there has been little carryover. That has resulted in blown assignments, communication breakdowns and easy scoring opportunities for opponents. In the first quarter of their two losses against New Orleans in Europe, the Wizards surrendered a combined 68 points.

"We know who the culprits are -- the starters. That's no secret," Jordan said. "I thought it was my responsibility that they commit themselves to defense and we haven't done that thus far. We have to concentrate better and be more committed and more sincere about the defensive effort. Not only the effort, but the execution of it."

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 21, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I am with you, doc.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Who's comparing an athletic McGee to any sort of "skill player with no athleticism.""

I was. Try to keep up.

"To humor you, since you deserve some laughs, how much athletic ability does Steve Nash have vs. him being a "skill player?"

Nash has plenty of athleticism. He simply doesn't have great vertical leap. Last I checked quickness and speed also counted as athleticism. So do footwork and coordination (Bird, McHale, Duncan, Stockton).

"still getting over your brilliant proclamation that "the Grizzlies got exactly what they wanted with the Pao Gasol trade.""

Not brilliant, just common sense encompassing all of the facts. The Grizzlies' coach apparently agrees:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/arash_markazi/10/20/grizzlies.preview/index.html

"We wouldn't have made the deal if we couldn't get Marc Gasol," Iavaroni said. "That trade wouldn't have had any legs if he wasn't included. I mean, how stupid are we? 'OK, let me see here, Pau for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton and two future first-round picks. Yeah, OK, that sounds good.' The trade was always viewed as if he wasn't part of it. It was never mentioned on national TV as far as I know. They never mentioned his brother. I thought that would have been the most interesting part of the national discussion, but the most interesting part was how someone had committed grand larceny."

Yeah. Very "interesting" how some people thought that. "Interesting" indeed.

Posted by: kalorama | October 21, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse


Let's see him in real games that matter first before we start patting EG on the back.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 21, 2008 1:13 PM

Fair enough. but nobody waited to see him in a real game before they declared him a bust.

Posted by: Chris | October 21, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Etan's obviously going to start, but Jordan had better start trusting the young guys and at least let them play consistently. The regular season is used to pace the team, not to go all out, as Jordan has done the last couple years, thus burning out the vets. Young & Blatche should be getting close to 20 mins/gm, while McGuire & McGee tally up 10 mins a game. The pups need minutes to stay focused, unfortunately, but with all the injuries, we'll need to play somebody. I'd take my chances with the pups' mistakes, given their 'potential' as opposed to the rock solid consistent 3 pts & 2 rebounds that Songalia contributes...

Posted by: CN | October 21, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"I was. Try to keep up."

Which was totally irrelevant to the conversation. If you want to go off on a tangent, then keep that to yourself.

"Nash has plenty of athleticism. He simply doesn't have great vertical leap. Last I checked quickness and speed also counted as athleticism. So do footwork and coordination (Bird, McHale, Duncan, Stockton)."

If you ever watched any of his games, his so called quickness is based on him being able to shoot and pass, which has nothing to do with athleticism, and is more skill oriented. If he couldn't shoot or pass, then he wouldn't be as athletic as you think he is.

"Not brilliant, just common sense encompassing all of the facts. The Grizzlies' coach apparently agrees:

Posted by: kalorama | October 21, 2008 4:23 PM ""

Unfortunately, the coach's opinion doesn't matter as much as the owner's opinion:

http://www.faniq.com/blog.php?id=9367

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-heisleygasol060308&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 21, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Start McGee. Jordan definitely needs to lessen the minutes he plays our starters, especially Butler, because we're going to need them healthy for the full run with Arenas likely out more than half the season.

That being said, we are still a playoff team and I would be extremely surprised if we didn't rally together to make the playoffs a fourth straight time despite our injuries and our lackluster preseason performance.

Posted by: Alex | October 22, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Ivan/Mike - please try to keep Gil away from the Political Writers until the election is over!

In the article that is on the WP.com site today, Agent 0 says that he will not VOTE because he doesn’t want to pay more taxes! I am not going to scold the young man about his RIGHT to vote. Does he understand how he got that right to vote? Does he understands that are ancestors (Blacks) have literally given their lives so that he was born w/ the right to vote? Does he realize that black me his age we beaten, murdered, lynched in order for his behind to VOTE?!!?

Doesn’t want to pay more taxes!!!??? Ask him to pay for me and my family of 4 to come see his butt play and buy the good seats along w/ the hot dogs, popcorn and sodas! Maybe the new purpose for him wearing the No# 0 signifies that he has no clue!

Posted by: Dash13-Fore | October 23, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

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