Different Directions

It's stunning to believe now, but there actually was a time when the Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers were fighting it out for a spot among the East's elite. Remember how good that playoff series was in 2006? Three games decided by a point, thrilling finishes, big shots...it had it all.

Now the Wizards are struggling through a 3-15 start while the Cavaliers? Well, they're rolling. This story summarizes how LeBron James and the Cavs are crushing folks right now.

By Ivan Carter |  December 7, 2008; 12:25 PM ET
Previous: Bulls 117, Wizards 110 | Next: Monday Morning Point Guard

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Let's remember what sort of won-lost record Cleveland had when it was maneuvering to get the chance to draft LeBron.

While it was disappointing to have Arenas and Haywood go out with injuries, making this a "lost season", on the other hand it is a heaven-sent opportunity to get into the draft lottery.

So in my view, it's all good. If the Wizards play well, they are developing and building a foundation, and are playing exciting basketball. If they play well and lose anyway, they are positioning the team to at least have a shot at adding a lottery pick.

Let's not end the honeymoon with Tapscott just yet. Take the long view.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | December 7, 2008 1:25 PM

Free J. McGee!!!!

Keep Juan Dixon Free!!!!!

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 7, 2008 2:09 PM

Blatche said the reason for the change is simple.

"It's just having a coach that gives me confidence, builds me up, and he gets me going," Blatche said. "He makes the game exciting for me, and I just give the effort. He has my back within practice and the game, and I just feel like it's my right to give him the effort."

- Washington Times 12/05/08

Things that make you say Hmmmmmmmmm?????

One of my reasons I stated since last year EJ got the hook. Mind games don't always work for everybody (i.e. Haywood).

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 6, 2008 8:13 PM

Now I guess it is going to be McGee's turn, but this time there is a new Puppet Master (i.e. Tabscott)

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 7, 2008 2:12 PM

It's not stunning Ivan.

Les Cavs have a franchise player in LeBron.

Les BouleS don't have any franchise players, playing or injured.

LeBron was able to carry Les Cavs to the finals.

Les BouleS can't get out of the 1st round WITH Gilby, since Larry up and walked out of VC.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 7, 2008 2:16 PM

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 7, 2008 2:18 PM

BulletsFever,

You would never see that quote from Blatche in the Post.

According to Wilburn and company, AB is guaranteed no show against the Bulls tonight.

And Kalorama has him scheduled for a lobotomy.

Posted by: Izman | December 6, 2008 6:29 PM

Izman - That's why I also check out the Times sometimes, so I can sometimes get an unbiased report on the team........

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 6, 2008 8:20 PM

Yo Izman. Lets hope AB can start making some folks reevaluate what they were saying about him now?

All this crap about he is a professional and he should know this and that and etc, etc, etc. Sometimes leaders (i.e. Jordan) have to know how to build an employee up, after tearing them down, who is under performing.

Let them know you believe in them and allow them to make mistakes and still encourage them. There is no handbook out here to use to manage people. It is a common sense thing. A good leader needs to know how to humble themselves sometimes.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 7, 2008 2:21 PM

Also, Andray Blatche, was effective for stretches at center. He finished with 14 points and four rebounds in 20 high-energy minutes. Still, this team needs to play McGee. He's the future.

By Ivan Carter | December 7, 2008; 12:02 AM ET

Yo Ivan. I can finally say I agree with you brother. Glad to see you are getting a little tired of drinking that Phil and Buck "Homer" KoolAid...........!!!

Start taking a sip of what Mike Jones of the Times, Chris Johnson of Comcast, or Jason L. on the Redskins blog is drinking... Keep speaking the truth brother.

Thanks again for the "inside stuff" on these blogs my man....

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 7, 2008 2:34 PM

"I said that his opportunity would come and it came tonight," Tapscott said of Dixon after the game. "Juan came in and gave us good energy, hit some shots and did some good things for us when we really needed it. That's why you tell guys to always be ready

Yo Tabscott. You will need to repeat this same advice to Stevenson when you finally have the light bulb come on and bench him in favor of more minutes for Juan....

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 7, 2008 3:16 PM

PLEASE!!!! You can believe all that Andray bull s#&t if you want, EJ wanted PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYERS NOT PROFESSIONAL JOHN'S/SKIRT CHASERS/CRYBABIES we'll see if he's a ballplayer as the season goes or if he keeps making those stupid in game mistakes at critical junctures i.e.behind the back passes while surrounded by three defenders,driving the length of the court into a stationary defender(charging foul!!!)instead of giving the ball up to an open man no less!! Look at Dwight Howard when he came out of high school and look at Mr.Blatche look at their respective physique who has worked harded in the offseason and in the weight room? who is in better cardio condition? let me give you a hint it ain't the the serial skirt chaser/john(arrested for soliciting a undercover streetwalker,too stupid or too cheap to call an escort service) so don't give me that krap from the washington times like I said show me Andray because EJ just wanted you to realize your potential but obviously you can't handle a father figure type because you probably never had a dad in your life that's why you're such a screw up you shouldn't need anyone to pump you up playing pro ball is a luxury afforded to the very few, that alone should be reason enough but it seems like you're looking for excuses instead of taking advantage of a golden oppourtunity.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 7, 2008 3:29 PM

Yo Dargregmag. Just to let you know I had no problems with the "tough love" approach EJ put on AB at the beginning. Notice I said at the beginning. As time went on you could see that was not working for him.

Did that same approach work for Haywood, I would say yes. Every individual is not the same, so you have to change your game a little sometimes to get through to certain folks.

Now there is no way at all you can compare D. Howard's situation to AB's. First of all D. Howard does have a "strong father figure" in his life plus the young dude is a Christian, so he already understands the concept of commitment.

He has a strong support system, plus a totally different body type (i.e. LaBron James). There is a reason he was drafted #1.

As for AB, the young boy had no "strong father figure" in his life and also had no where near the support system D. Howard has.

The book when AB was drafted was he had a lot of talent but was lazy, not a hard worker, and was immature. He was a 2nd round pick. Those are "gamble" picks, so he should not be judged as a top 5 pick.

Ernie knew whoever coached him was going to have some hicups (i.e brushs with the law) to deal with. It is real hard to try to change a teenager's mindset when they are 18 and have not had any kind of discipline in their lives shown to them.

Sometimes it takes time for the light bulb to come on. With that said, if the young boy is not a hoodrat off of the break (which AB is not), you might have a chance with him by showing him some encourgement after you beat him down.

This is what EJ seemed not to do. If Gil and Haywood were healthy, then I would then know there would be no time for the youngsta's (NY, McGee and AB).

But they are not, and the vet's EJ's keep playing extended minutes (i.e. Etan, AD, Song. at the 5 spot and Stevenson) went on too long.

We were losing games regardless, so if you are going to lose you my as well let the young boys play to get them minutes.

Again, that is all EJ had to do and he would still be coaching right now. Nobody would have faulted him for the losing then.

Eddie set himself up to be fired by not doing that. He lost 3 to 4 games this season on totally bad substitution calls.

Now I agree with you Tabscott is questionable with his sub calls too. It looks like we will have to wait until next year to get a real coach.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 7, 2008 4:19 PM

Anyone who thinks that Blatche will be a consistent performer and a piece to he puzzle really doesn't understand this game. 4 years later and he is still a basket case. He is more concerned trying to live the perverbial NBA "life style" than actually being an accomplished NBA baller. He has flashes of talent but cannot sustain it over an 82 game season...ever...never. Grunfeld should lose his job for assembling this team and Abe really needs to sell to an owner that knows how to win consistently.

Posted by: dcfan1 | December 7, 2008 4:26 PM

What has Ernie Grunfeld done to supply the personnel to get this team to the next level? What is Ernie's plan for 2010? Will Ernie be held accountable for this mess?

Posted by: SteveC28 | December 7, 2008 5:35 PM

Anyone who thinks that Blatche will be a consistent performer and a piece to he puzzle really doesn't understand this game. 4 years later and he is still a basket case. He is more concerned trying to live the perverbial NBA "life style" than actually being an accomplished NBA baller. He has flashes of talent but cannot sustain it over an 82 game season...ever...never. Grunfeld should lose his job for assembling this team and Abe really needs to sell to an owner that knows how to win consistently.

Posted by: dcfan1 | December 7, 2008 4:26 PM

dcfan1 - I beg to differ my man. The youngin after 4 years would now be a rookie in the NBA. Remember he came straight from high school. So how in the heck can you make a crack judgement on his game at this stage in his career?

Every high school player is not going to be as mature as D. Howard and Labron James. Also, these "high school" players were the #1 pick in the draft not the 30th or 40th something pick.

As for the lifestyle what was you doing when you were in your early 20's? Please lets not forget we were all young too and did stupid things.

He was, and notice I said "was", unable to substain it because Jordan never gave him consistent minutes.

"Anyone who understands the game" would not miss that important detail and would not make quick judgement on his game until he has played a full season with consistent minutes as he is getting now under Tabscott.

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 7, 2008 6:19 PM

What has Ernie Grunfeld done to supply the personnel to get this team to the next level? What is Ernie's plan for 2010? Will Ernie be held accountable for this mess?

Posted by: SteveC28 | December 7, 2008 5:35 PM

He has done what he is supposed to do other then get a decent backup point guard. Have you noticed we have a pretty good bench? With that said, bench players are getting more minutes then they are supposed to because of Haywood's and Gilbert's injuries.

Now if Gil and Haywood were playing, we would have a real nice starting five. Then we would have a real nice 2nd string 5 which 4 (AB, NY, DMac, and McGee) are under the age of 22. You have Song. who has a nice game when you play him at the "4" spot only.

That is a pretty good decent 10 NBA players. So I do not know what more Ernie could have done other then heal Gilbert's knee's overnight and not have Haywood break his wrist.

As for 2010, why put all of your eggs in one basket like NY hoping you will sign one of the "hot" FA's? What if they all go somewhere else and then you are standing there holding the bag.

Ernie should be accountable only after Gilbert comes back and they play at least a half season. If they are still sorry, then blame Ernie. You can not calculate when injuries are going to happen.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 7, 2008 7:09 PM

In Abe’s case it was not how he spent his money, but why. It was not a good basketball decision (winning games and a championship) to resign AJ and Gilbert.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 7, 2008 12:52 PM

If it was a bad basketball decision (which it really wasn't) then criticize him for making bad basketball decisions. But criticizing him for being unwilling to spend after he spends upwards of $160 mill on two players is just silly.
Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2008 1:38 PM

Do you know anything about basketball? If it was a good basketball decision why are the Wizards 3-15?

ABE did it to keep the fans coming to games, that’s why it was a financial decision not a basketball decision. It’s also a financial decision not to hire a real coach, but I guess you think Ed is the next Phil Jackson?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 7, 2008 7:23 PM

"The youngin after 4 years would now be a rookie in the NBA. Remember he came straight from high school. So how in the heck can you make a crack judgement on his game at this stage in his career?"

Because after 4 years in the NBA, it's not a "crack judgement." Blatche is a 4-year NBA veteran. The fact that he came straight out of H.S. doesn't alter that basic fact. He's had 4 years to learn the rudiments of discipline and focus required to become a pro player, and it seems as if he hasn't bothered. He's had veterans around him who have never shown any hesitance to get in his ear and tell him the right way to do things. He just hasn't shown much interest in listening.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2008 7:28 PM

"The youngin after 4 years would now be a rookie in the NBA. Remember he came straight from high school. So how in the heck can you make a crack judgement on his game at this stage in his career?"

Because after 4 years in the NBA, it's not a "crack judgement." Blatche is a 4-year NBA veteran. The fact that he came straight out of H.S. doesn't alter that basic fact. He's had 4 years to learn the rudiments of discipline and focus required to become a pro player, and it seems as if he hasn't bothered. He's had veterans around him who have never shown any hesitance to get in his ear and tell him the right way to do things. He just hasn't shown much interest in listening.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2008 7:28 PM

Kal - How long did it take for the light bulb to come on for Tracey McGrady or Jermaine O'Neal? What about Rashad Lewis and Al Jefferson to name a few?

Each individual has different learning curves and maturity levels. If this is the 6th year then I would be worried.

Lets judge AB after this season, because it looks like he will be getting consistent minutes at the same spot in games now so he knows what to expect now.

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 7, 2008 7:46 PM

BulletsFever,

Thanks for making sense in here about the team and AB! This team is missing two starters. I missed the Bulls game, but I have had no problem with Tapscott thus far. We almost beat the best team in basketball and if we had we would be 3-3 under him. Ok, maybe last game McGee should have played more. It's not the end of the world!

Love how Ivan immediately criticizes Tap, but hardly ever criticized EJ's continually baffling substitutions!

Also, a big criticism of EG in here has been the contract of Thomas of all things. Well, Ivan pointed out in a recent post that that signing was on Abe Pollin. So, scratch that one from the con list!

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 7, 2008 8:52 PM

He's had veterans around him who have never shown any hesitance to get in his ear and tell him the right way to do things.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2008 7:28 PM

The veterans like AJ showed him you do not have to play defense and you can get a 4 year deal, Gil showed him you can come down the court and throw up shots whenever you want, do not have to pass the ball, not play defense and get a great deal. Why should he play hard?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 7, 2008 8:54 PM

Yes, the 06 playoff series with Cleveland was exciting and fun. Went to both games but it seems so long ago now. I also wish we still had Larry Hughes,

Posted by: washwiz | December 7, 2008 9:16 PM

"Kal - How long did it take for the light bulb to come on for Tracey McGrady or Jermaine O'Neal? What about Rashad Lewis and Al Jefferson to name a few?

Each individual has different learning curves and maturity levels."

Exactly. Which makes your reference to all of those other players as some kind of benchmark irrelevant.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2008 11:01 PM

"If it was a good basketball decision why are the Wizards 3-15?"

Because two of their starters (including their best player) haven been out all season due to injury and they lack the depth to overcome those losses.

Any more questions you want glaringly obvious answers to?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2008 11:02 PM

But, since you brought McGrady, Jefferson, et al up . . . the answer to your question is: Fewer than 4 years.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2008 11:04 PM

"Lets judge AB after this season, because it looks like he will be getting consistent minutes at the same spot in games now so he knows what to expect now."

Sorry, but that's a B.S. excuse. He got consistent minutes at the same spot, backup C, last season that he's getting minutes at now.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2008 11:06 PM

But, since you brought McGrady, Jefferson, et al up . . . the answer to your question is: Fewer than 4 years.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2008 11:04 PM

I brought them up for a reason. My reason is they are all number 1 picks. AB is a 2nd round pick. So again, the noose should not be as tight around his neck as it should be around theirs.

He is a 2nd round pick straight out of high school folks. That is the bottom line and that is the grey area people who are on AB's back do not realize.

So take a step back and judge him after this season is over after he now has consistent minutes.

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 7, 2008 11:50 PM

"Lets judge AB after this season, because it looks like he will be getting consistent minutes at the same spot in games now so he knows what to expect now."

Sorry, but that's a B.S. excuse. He got consistent minutes at the same spot, backup C, last season that he's getting minutes at now.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2008 11:06 PM

No excuse at all. First of all you can not use the word "consistent minutes" in the same sentence with Eddie "Give Them The Yank" Jordan, unless your name is Gilbert, Caron, Stevenson or AJ.

As for your point about AB getting the same amount of minutes he got last year under Jordan is a joke.

I am pretty sure one of these stat guys here on the blog can pull that up and see if that is true or not.

If I am not mistaken, I thought EJ would often use Song. at that 5 spot to backup Haywood after giving AB about 2 minutes at the spot? This in turn, got everyone complaining about "slow small-ball"? Except you were the only one defending Eddie for using Song. at the "5".

If it was up to me, AB would be playing at the 4 spot were he belongs and then add that on with confidence being shown from the coach and 30 minutes a game you would see a nice ball player emerge.

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 8, 2008 12:00 AM

The decline of the Wizards started last-season when DeShawn Stevenson called LeBron James "Over-rated" and Jay-Z responded with the DeShawn Dis-Remix (Blow the Whistle). King James and the Cavs have the second best record in the East (3rd overall in the NBA). The Wizards are at the bottom of the league with the Oklahoma City Thunder (nuff said). Ask Deshawn who is a stater for the Wizards if King James is over-rated and see what he has to say. His best response would be nothing because that's what's going on this club right now nothing!!!

Posted by: DunkadelicTV | December 8, 2008 5:58 AM

stupid article, Kal.

Posted by: prescrunk | December 8, 2008 8:52 AM

Different directions, I think not. Moving AB to the 4 BulletsFever would be a good start. Giving JM major minutes at 5 would be a good start. Keeping AD's slow butt out of the point is a good start. Stop giving minutes to the non-performers on this team. The guys that perform seem to always get yanked..DB. Stat guys, does DB have more 3's than AD this year. Comparatively, I bet he outshoots AD.

The lottery. Nonsense. What is this current coaching philosophy gonna do with it. Treat him like JM or AB or NY or even BH.

Yeah, we got more of the same, the only difference we just ain't winning, but overall, everything is mostly the SOS.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 8, 2008 9:09 AM

"Because two of their starters (including their best player) haven been out all season due to injury and they lack the depth to overcome those losses.

Any more questions you want glaringly obvious answers to?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 7, 2008 11:02 PM "

Those are not answers or reasons.

Those are excuses.

For example, the Knicks were a totally depleted team with a new coach when they played Les BouleS this season. They still beat Les BouleS twice!!!

I've lost count, or don't care to, the number of ex lottery teams from last season, the number of rookie coached teams, the number of excuses other teams could have used to lose to Les BouleS (with their 2 all stars), but they didn't.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 8, 2008 10:02 AM

Here are the players that were taken ahead of Andray on the 2005 draft. (from 10th - 48th):

11.Orlando Magic Fran Vazquez, Spain
12 LA Clippers Yaroslav Korolev, CSKA Moscow
13 Charlotte Bobcats Sean May, North Carolina
14 Minnesota Timberwolves Rashad McCants, North Carolina
15 New Jersey Nets Antoine Wright, Texas A&M
16 Toronto Raptors Joey Graham, Oklahoma State
17 Indiana Pacers Danny Granger, New Mexico
18 Boston Celtics Gerald Green, Gulf Shores Acad (TX)
19 Memphis Grizzlies Hakim Warrick, Syracuse
20 Denver Nuggets Julius Hodge, North Carolina State
21 Phoenix Suns (to New York) Nate Robinson, Washington
22 Denver Nuggets (to Portland) Jarrett Jack, Georgia Tech
23 Sacramento Kings Francisco Garcia, Louisville
24 Houston Rockets Luther Head, Illinois
25 Seattle SuperSonics Johan Petro, France
26 Detroit Pistons Jason Maxiell, Cincinnati
27 Portland Trail Blazers (to Denver) Linas Kleiza, Missouri
28 San Antonio Spurs Ian Mahinmi, STB Le Havre (France)
29 Miami Heat Wayne Simien, Kansas
30 New York Knicks David Lee, Florida

ROUND 2


NO. TEAM SELECTION
31 Atlanta Hawks Salim Stoudamire, Arizona
32 LA Clippers Daniel Ewing, Duke
33 New Orleans Hornets Brandon Bass, LSU
34 Utah Jazz C.J. Miles, Skyline H.S. (Tex)
35 Portland Trail Blazers (to Denver) Ricky Sanchez, IMG Academy
36 Milwaukee Bucks Ersan Ilyasova, Ulker Istanbul
37 LA Lakers Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga
38 Orlando Magic Travis Diener, Marquette
39 LA Lakers Von Wafer, Florida State
40 Golden State Warriors Monta Ellis, Lanier H.S. (Miss.)
41 Toronto Raptors Roko Ujic, KK Split (Croatia)
42 Golden State Warriors Chris Taft, Pittsburgh
43 New Jersey Nets Mile Ilic, BC Reflex (Serbia & Montenegro)
44 Orlando Magic (to Cleveland) Martynas Andriuskevicius, Zalgiris (Lithuania)
45 Philadelphia 76ers Louis Williams, South Gwinnett HS (Ga.)
46 Indiana Pacers Erazem Lorbek, Climamio Bologna (Italy)
47 Minnesota Timberwolves Bracey Wright, Indiana
48 Seattle SuperSonics Mickael Gelabale, Real Madrid (Spain)

I can name maybe 5 players that have a more solid game that Andray at this point of their careers. Some of them are even out of the league already.

Posted by: Dave381 | December 8, 2008 10:32 AM

Ppl keep talking about AB being in the league x number of years but completely discount that his first year, he was shot in the chest. I can't speak from personal experience but I imagine that it's hard to work on your game when you're recovering from something like that.

AB is averaging 9 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes per game and he's 22 years old.

Songaila is averaging 6 points and less than 2 rebounds in 16 minutes per game and he's as good as he's gonna get.

AB is getting more assists and blocks, too...(and more TO's). I don't get why there's so much animosity towards AB. He's the one guy on our active roster that could make the difference between winning and losing. We need one more guy to step up but it's hard to do when you're only getting 18 minuter per game.

Posted by: original_mark | December 8, 2008 1:05 PM

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