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Wizards Pick Up Options on Young, Pecherov

As expected, the Wizards today exercised the third-year contract options on second-year players Nick Young and Oleksiy Pecherov. Had the team declined to pick up the option on either player, that player would have become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

After practice today, Coach Eddie Jordan said that he plans to go with Etan Thomas as his starting center for Wednesday night's regular season opener against the New Jersey Nets.

Jordan was asked about his plans for a playing rotation and he responded by saying that after his starting five, everything is up in the air.

"I don't really know yet," Jordan said. "Sometimes it's the game that dictates where you go and the rotation you have. I'm not really set on the six, seventh, eighth guys. I don't know."

By Ivan Carter  |  October 27, 2008; 6:31 PM ET
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NY should have been extended.

OP may be sequestering a roster spot and tossing some money down a rat hole.

Posted by: lrmc623 | October 27, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

It was a strategic move on EG's part to extend the option on OPech. If he pans out, great, if not, he remains unrestricted and can be traded.

It's alarming and disturbing though, how EJ said he's not set on the roster after the starting 5. Les BouleS would be lucky to duplicate what they did last season.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 27, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Both Young and Pecherov are gambles, but impossible to let go. Young can score but must try to defend, pass, and stay within the offense. OP is a mystery...he can do all the frontcourt stuff and hit the 3's, but not with any consistency at all. He's touted as a rebounder and defense guy, but doesn't show it much. Maybe they're just young.

Posted by: joe2chase | October 27, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

So does anyone want to consider Pat Ewing Jr for his defense and rebounding?

Kinda figured. I think he'd be a decent project type player off the bench. Doesn't he have the same potential as a young Ben Wallace? I think he measured 6'7" and that's his undoing. His athleticism was off the charts though. I think his vertical was near the best.

Posted by: original_mark | October 27, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

What Eddie is saying is that matchup's and scouting report's will dictate his subsitution policy regarding his bench, on another subject Pechorev is a waste of money and a roster spot in watching him in the pre season game at San Antonio he was a joke,he can't rebound,a wannabe Dirk Nowitzki with a terrible jumper a defensive liability and did i mention he's a stiff and why is he still here? oh yeah he's white!!!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | October 27, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

"OP is a mystery...he can do all the frontcourt stuff and hit the 3's"

Really? Like rebound, defend, score inside? That kind of "frontcourt stuff"? Because I'm still waiting to see him do any of that, let alone all of it.

"So does anyone want to consider Pat Ewing Jr for his defense and rebounding?"

Sure. Too bad the Wiz don't have any open roster spots.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 27, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like the coach doesn't have much confidence in 8 of the 13 players that will suit up. That means 40+ minutes for AJ and CB, and an increased chance of injury. My guess is that EJ will coach as if getting the first win is do-or-die.

Why do I feel like I've been to this play once or twice before?

Posted by: Izman | October 27, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Man, that Cavs game was ugly. I hope they don't come out and look like that against the Nets.

What's up with AB lately? He looked so good in the first couple of exhibitions, but he's been a nonfactor since.

I have a feeling that McGee is going to surprise a lot of people this year. He's got great length and some nice skills offensively--better ones than BTH, in fact, though BTH has really improved in that regard. And he's definitely more athletic; that reverse alley-oop that he made against the Cavs was spectacular. Unfortunately, he doesn't have anywhere near BTH's or Etan's physical strength, at least not yet. But from what I've seen so far, he's definitely got the potential to eventually be a starting center in the NBA.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | October 27, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Eddie has decided (and it has been apparent for some time) that Blatche is now his Brendan, whipping boy. The difference is Brendan wouldn't take his BS but Blatche is (for now). Eddie is screwing up another player with his inimitable management style. The guy knows x's and o's, I guess. Game managment is not good and player relationships suck.

Posted by: h20law2000 | October 28, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

All of which conveniently ignores the fact that, between last season and now, the teams veteran leaders (most recently and vocally, Jamison) have also called Blatche out on his slack attitude and lax habits. This notion that Jordan has arbitrarily tossed Blatche in the doghouse is utterly unfounded. The kid has demonstrated and documented attitude and focus issues that need to be overcome if he's ever going to fulfill his potential. And handing him something he hasn't earned and hoping he lives up to it isn't the way that's going to happen, nor is it the way any good NBA coach would approach it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 28, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

You know everyone generally acknowledges that it takes a lot longer for big men to develop. But here in DC we like to buck conventional wisdom. "Throw the bum out."

Until we have something better in place I think it makes sense to keep him. Signing his extension gives us better leverage in the long run.

Someone brought up Ben Wallace?

Posted by: gconrads | October 28, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

"When the Washington Wizards open the regular season tomorrow night against the New Jersey Nets, fans can expect to see a starting lineup of Antonio Daniels, DeShawn Stevenson, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Etan Thomas".

One of the most depressing lines I've seen regarding the Wiz in years. That starting five will probably get us 70 points a game on a good night. As tight as EJ is with minutes off the bench, we'd better hope someone has a breakout year. Bearing in mind that I'm a huge Wiz fan, here's my scouting report..

AD - Average, reluctant shooter. Leave him open because he looks to pass. Slow, below average defender. Smart vet. Won't turn it over much. injury prone.

DS - hot and cold from 3. when he starts off missing, he's done. ok man defender. doesn't do much on the offensive end.

CB - excellent midrange shooter, refuses to shoot 3's. Below average defender because of size. Great in the passing lanes but can be overpowered. average rebounder for his position. doesn't drive much or draw fouls, so crowd him and he can be slowed. When his jumper is on, hard to stop because it opens up options. injury prone.

AJ - good rebounder for his size. Good 3 point shooter. excellent offensively around the hoop. When his shot is on, hard to stop because he scores inside and out. Poor man and help defender due to lack of quickness and size. Can be overpowered.

ET - good hook shot within 3 feet. dunks everything within 2 feet. useless offensively outside of 3 feet. poor free throw shooter. decent help defender due to weakside shotblocking ability, below average man defender due to lack of size.
injury prone.

Wiz -

Only one 3 point threat and that's AJ. With him outside shooting 3's, very vulnerable on the glass. Team will be in the bottom third of the league in 3 point attempts. Subsequently, teams will pack into the paint. (another rebounding problem for us). o one on the team goes to the basket (AD very occasionally) so we'll be behind in FT attempts as well. No foul trouble for opponents allows them to play more aggressively.
Veteran team that doesn't turn it over and won't wilt in the clutch. Unfortunately, many games won't be close. With this lineup, we'll play a slow paced game. Since we're deficient in size, this plays into opponents hands. We're one more injury away from a top 5 lottery pick.
Unless someone off the bench steps up in a bigway, I think we're looking at 35 -40 ugly wins. This may change IF GA comes back healthy or AB produces or NY comes through. Unfortunately that's a lof of ifs.

Posted by: original_mark | October 28, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

So does anyone want to consider Pat Ewing Jr for his defense and rebounding?"

Sure. Too bad the Wiz don't have any open roster spots.

uhhhhhhh...yeah. about that...

Posted by: original_mark | October 28, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Kal, this is from Ivan's article...

"The 7-foot Pecherov is a three-point shooting threat who can potentially spread the floor and draw opposing big men away from the basket."

I know. I know. I'm just saying that I'm not the only one who thinks it's a possibility.

Posted by: original_mark | October 28, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

For some reason I couldn't post this on Mike column, so I will post it here.

I just wanted to wish Roger Mason the best of luck with the Spurs, he seems like a really good guy and deserves nothing but the best.

I think the Wiz are going to sorely miss him, he was a big part of the reason the Wiz stayed afloat last year.

On a side note, I do not see the Wiz making the playoffs this year(injuries, ect, no way AJ's knees can hold up playing 40 a night and Caron always misses some games) but I DO look foward to seeing the "young guns" on this team flourish and develope.

Blatche, Young, and McGee should make for a great future here in Washington. I hope Jordan shows patience with those guys and not just think about his job when dealing with them.

Only God knows what's up with Gilbert, and I'm not too sure even he does at this point. ;)

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | October 28, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

After practice today, Coach Eddie Jordan said that he plans to go with Etan Thomas as his starting center for Wednesday night's regular season opener against the New Jersey Nets.

Jordan was asked about his plans for a playing rotation and he responded by saying that after his starting five, everything is up in the air.

"I don't really know yet," Jordan said. "Sometimes it's the game that dictates where you go and the rotation you have. I'm not really set on the six, seventh, eighth guys. I don't know."

By Ivan Carter | October 27, 2008; 6:31 PM ET

All I can say is the 1st quarters of games are going to be really "BORING" now with that starting five. Along with EJ's rotational calls that never make since, I think I am going to be pretty fustrated until Gil and Haywood make it back.

We are going to see "smallball" like we never have seen it before, and my friends that will make for a very fustrating time of watching Wiz basketball.

Again I am a huge EJ supporter but anytime he comes out with a statement "it's the game that dictates where you go with your rotation" that is crazy Joe Gibbs talk. The one reason the Redskins have now become successful is because Zorn has the mindset as a coach to do the dictating, vs. Joe Gibbs letting the game dictate what he was going to do. We all saw that Redskins movie from last year.

One of EJ's flaws is he seems like he does not have a good feel for the game (sub calling wise) and when and how long he should play certain players. Mark my words, he will wear Etan and Songalia out at the "5" and we will get totally dominated on the boards.

And I guarantee you he will not sub in AB (doghouse) or McGee (rookie) in there to stop the bleeding. His third option at the "5" will be AJ (don't be surprised). I will watch the first game because I am a longtime fan, but if his rotational calls start looking crazy and he gives no minutes to AB or McGee; I might have to start thinking about finding something else to do until Gil & Haywood comes back......

Posted by: BulletsFever | October 28, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

What I gather from EJ's comments about his bench is that he will again be indecisive about his rotation. I understand the need to adjust and going with the hot hand but with this core, he can't be holding grudges for long stretches. If his players bring it with effort and intensity, that should have more bearing on consistent minutes than the occasional mistake. I also hope Etan has been working with Hopla on his free throw shooting. From what I saw in the preseason, it didn't look good and he tends to throw up a lot of bricks from 10 feet in.

Posted by: gregskins | October 28, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

O-Pec may have shot too many 3's and not jelled in the offense. But his 3P% is 47.1%, not bad.

In addition, he averaged 4.4 rebounds in 16 minutes, much better than Songiala's 2.6 in 14 minutes!

The best rebounder this team has is D-Mac. I hope he can do other things well to stay on the court more.

Posted by: sagaliba | October 28, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I'm still not sure why everyone is so down on OPech. He's had, essentially, half a season in the NBA. He's still very young and very raw. Frankly, we don't have enough information on him to make a determination one way or another. It often takes 7-footers longer to adjust, especially young ones, as they're still growing into their bodies and gaining coordination. Give the kid a full season or two, then we can start making judgments.

As for where the scoring comes from -- the only major difference between this year's team and last is Etan starting. He'll score probably five fewer per game, on average, than Haywood. The other big factor is Mason's absence.

If Young/Pech/Blatche/McGee can pick up that slack, I don't know that scoring will be an issue. The problem, as always with this team, is a commitment to defense.

-- the poster formerly known as keithinator.

Posted by: keithward64 | October 28, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Forget about it!
EJ has already set the table for "small ball", or "inadequate ball" as in non competitive.
How much of Songalia can you take. At the most 7 minutes replacing AJ, which will not happen.
Between ET and ASong we have the absolutely worst front in the game, maybe in the history of the game.
As long as EJ is here, which will be as long as Abe is alive, frustration will reign.
I feel sorry for NY, DM, AP, JMc...
And to think that Brown is any kind of answer at PG is ridiculous. He shows nothing but speed.
We can only dream what might be with a real and imaginative coach.

Posted by: maxman2162 | October 28, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Disagree completely about AB being EJ's whipping boy. Both of the team's co-captains have challenged him to step up and earn his's on Blatche to show that he's a better option at the 5 than ET. I think the team would be better off starting Blatche in the long run, but he has shown no consistency even with BTH out the entire preseason.

People want to blast EJ for not being more creative with his bench, but two of those guys (AD and ET) who were supposed to be part of the rotation are starting. He wasn't the one who let Roger Mason leave - that was EG's decision with input from the owner. Good organizations anticipate and plan for bad circumstances; the Wiz let their 6th man leave to play with a better team.

I see a team who has two marginal veterans off the bench (Dixon,Songaila), one inconsistent young player (Blatche) and the rest of the guys have one year of experience or less (NY, D-Mac, Pecherov, Brown, and McGee). Not easy to have a set rotation. I'd bet that our bench may be the weakest in the East and we'll be forced to play Caron, AJ, and DSS heavy minutes every night.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 28, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

So how is AJ earning his minutes when he doesn't play any D, likes to take long J's, and likes to forget that he's a 4?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 28, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

So how is AJ earning his minutes when he doesn't play any D, likes to take long J's, and likes to forget that he's a 4?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 28, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

AJ consistently puts up 20 and 10 while providing leadership on a young team. He's earned his spot from 10 years of being a consistently productive TEAM player who can be counted on every night....defense is not his strong suit as he gives up size at the 4 every night and his lateral movement is limited. Funny that Philly was very serious about signing him as a FA before the Wiz got him off the open market.

AB on the other hand has tons of athletic ability, but never gives a consistent effort, shows a lax attitude, and exhibits poor judgment off the court. He's in his 4th year now and should be counted on to be a rotation player given his skills and athletic ability. He's never been well conditioned, shows no court sense, and is always in foul trouble. Simple reason why he plays very inconsistent minutes vs, why Jamison plays 35-40.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 28, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Ditto what wizfan89 said. This team doesn't have enough of the right kinds of weapons to really contend, and that's been the case for a while, either because of injuries or lack of depth on the bench. Jordan has overachieved to keep getting this ragtag, MASH unit into the playoffs every season.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 28, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

sagabila, those are preseason numbers, which means they have almost zero significance. In games that actually mattered, Pecherov shot 28% from 3.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 28, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The success or failure of a team depends on the organization, players and coaches. You can't just praise a coach for the team's success OR lambast only the players for losing.

Posted by: Dave381 | October 28, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Second kal's comments about EJ at least getting us into the playoffs last year minus our best player and little depth. The team essentially carried a roster of 11 players because mgmt. was too cheap to fill the 14th and 15th roster slots. NJ and Chicago imploded last year despite having veteran coaches and less injuries than the Wiz. People may not like EJ's substitution patterns but he's never had a bench like Detroit, Boston, or even Cleveland. I can't see a coach like Jerry Sloan or Phil Jackson getting more out an injury-riddled, shorthanded team.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 28, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Though I disagree with some of EJ's sub patterns and his player development, I don't think he's whole the problem here.
The composition of this team lends itself to playing a fast paced game due to a lack of size at key positions. We're trying to fit the square peg into a round hole.
EJ is known for running his guys into the ground by playing them heavy minutes, so he's not blameless.But there's only so much he can do. He's trying to rack up 'W's now , not shape the future if this team. That's why we won't see JM much this year.

Posted by: original_mark | October 28, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

To pick up a little on Ray's comments. The Little Three + McGee are going to be the key to this team.

Only weeks ago it appeared that McGee would get marginal playing time at best, with Haywood's absence he's going to be force fed some minutes. Tomorrow night's matchup points out that there is not a wealth of veteran centers out there to school the kid night after night.

So if Eddie's smart about it the kid can help this team while gaining some experience. I'd agree with Ray watching how Eddie works with the young talent is going to be key this year. If Eddie finds himself out of a job it will be for lack of patience and skill in developing the kids.

This year could be a strange blessing in disguise for the Wiz. The last three years the team's been playing with the spector of high expectations looming over their shoulder all the time.

This year they've been pretty much written off. It's a much easier enviroment to play the kids and develop some depth on this roster.

Starting the year with the team's top offensive threat and their best defender laid up is problematic. If it was just Haywood down the solution would be to spread the floor push tempo as the original Mark pointed out.

Lacking a scorer you'd slow the pace and shorten the game to keep it close like the Wiz did successfully last year. But without Haywood that strategy is going to be tough.

I'd think this club has the potential to form a uptempo pressing second unit built around the speed and quickness of Dixon and Brown, along with the length of Blatche, McGuire and McGee.

Young could also be used in that lineup as a scoring threat in the open court. Sometimes guys that are indifferent defenders find their way in a pressing unit.

This is a hugely iffy team at this point. Last year's solid starting unit that carried the team to the playoffs has a big hole in the middle without Haywood.

Thomas has never been able to produce consistantly as a starter and he seems to have a history of not staying healthy. By Jan. I wouldn't be surprised to see some combo of the kids playing center.

In many ways this is Blatche's year to either work his way into the starting lineup or to prove that all of his promise is false gold. I tend to think he'll continue his slow ascent.

I'm not one of the guys that's ready to compare him to Garnett, but it's way too soon call him a bust either. Center isn't his natural position, but toughen up and play it kid, it's better then the bench!

If this team can keep from getting buried early there's light at the end of the tunnel. If Butler or Jamison go down that light would be an oncoming train. So anything from 30 wins to 30 losses could be realistic.

Posted by: flohrtv | October 28, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

sagabila, those are preseason numbers, which means they have almost zero significance. In games that actually mattered, Pecherov shot 28% from 3.

Posted by: kalo_rama

And we haven't played any regular games yet, so there is really no non-pre-season games to speak off. Remember he is just a 2nd year guy who has only played less than half a season.

Why don't we withhold judgment until we see him in "games that actually mattered" (assuming EJ would allow him to)?

Posted by: sagaliba | October 28, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"Why don't we withhold judgment until we see him in "games that actually mattered" (assuming EJ would allow him to)?"

We saw him in games that actually mattered last season. He shot 28% from 3 pt range.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 28, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse


I already said "he is just a 2nd year guy who has only played less than half a season" as the reason for witholding judgement. Do you always judge a player's career base on first 35 games he played (many of them aren't even "games that mattered")?

BTW, he averages more rebounds per minutes than Songaila in "games that mattered" by your standard (i.e., last season). So if he is a bad rebounder as you call him, then Songaila must be a worse than bad rebounder!

Posted by: sagaliba | October 28, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

So much to debunk, so little time:

(A) You're quite clearly not "withholding judgment." It's pretty obvious you've already made a judgment on Pecherov. However, based on the available meaningful facts about his game, it's the wrong one.

(B) Do you always judge a player's career based on his shooting percentage in 3 meaningless preseason games? Because that's what you were doing in that first post (before I pointed out your mistake and you started in on the "withhold judgment" nonsense.)

(C) For a team fighting for playoff position (like the Wizards were last season) every game matters.

(D) Numbers without context don't mean anything. How often did Pecherov play with the game on the line versus garbage time? How often was he matched up against the other team's starters or top reserves. Rarely if ever. Songaila, by contrast, was often in such situations. So comparing the "per minute" stats of a top 7 rotation player with the 12th man is pointless and meaningless.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 28, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

everybody on the blog knows kalo_rama is strictly a stats guy. you can't argue with him there. unfortunately, he weighs his arugment solely on stats/numbers and does not give consideration to other intangibles a player might bring. if a player goes 1 for his last 10 from the line in the playoffs, kal will label him a bust. however, that 1 make might come in a tie ball game and win a championship for his team. kal will still harp that he only made 1 of 10.

Posted by: gregskins | October 28, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

and for the record Kal, i'm not sold on Pecherov either. He hasn't shown me much other than an affinity to chuck it when he gets it and he's been injury prone to date and a slow healer. BUT...let's give the guy a full season and see if he shows some improvement. unfortunately, i'm not sold that EJ will give him consistent minutes and let him play through any blunders. as many have stated, this team is built player-wise and more importantly...payroll wise to win now which doesn't bode well to EJ being patient with his young players/bench.

Posted by: gregskins | October 28, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Typical kalorama nonsense! Point by point debunk!

A) Pointing out Pecherov shot a decent 3P% in this preseason (which you chose to ignore) is not a "judgment." Whether or not he is a player worth keeping is. For that I withhold my judgment and I urged you to.

B) I believe for a player who is still improving, performance in preseason can be more important than last season. By using last season stats you are assuming that he has not improved from last season.

C) Don't know your point.

D) Now you are arguing with yourself. On one hand you used OPec's stats last season to argue how bad OPec is. On other, you are saying OPec played in some garbage time, and therefore those stats don't count. Well, Do they count or don't they count? Or they only count when they agree with you?

Posted by: sagaliba | October 29, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

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