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The Other Side: Indiana Pacers

We aren't that bad. We beat the Lakers and the Celtics. Those wins should count double. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Indiana Pacers made some serious moves in the offseason to move beyond the most difficult run of off-court (and in the stands) mishaps in franchise history. Team President Larry Bird completed his roster makeover when he traded Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto for T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and Roy Hibbert and later when he sent Jamaal Tinsley home and paid him not to be around the team. The Pacers (7-16) are the only team in the NBA with wins over the Celtics and the Lakers, but they continue to struggle on the floor, however. They come to Verizon Center on a six-game losing streak and haven't won since beating the Lakers on Dec. 2.

Here's what else you should know about the Pacers heading into tonight's game:

1. Hibbert's Coming Home
Hibbert, the former Georgetown center who grew up in the D.C. area, is expecting about 25 friends and family members at the game tonight. He spent most of the season getting limited minutes behind Rasho Nesterovic and Jeff Foster, but he made his first career start on Saturday against Milwaukee. He is expected to start again tonight.

2. Danny Granger Is Blowing Up
With Jermaine O'Neal gone and Mike Dunleavy out all season with bone spurs in his right knee, Pacers forward Danny Granger has been given the green light to take as many shots as he likes. He is averaging a career-high 23.5 points and had a career-high 42 against Detroit on Friday. Granger recently signed a five-year, $60-million extension. His former coach, Rick Carlisle, is singing his praises and ESPN is comparing him to Scottie Pippen. Why? Because they both wear No. 33?

3. Pacers Fans Still Haven't Come Back
Bird has succeeded in clearing out any bad apples, but it hasn't helped to completely win over a once-loyal fan base. The Pacers no longer rank last in attendance, as they did last year. But they still rank 25th in the NBA (14,483 per game). One of the reasons may be that fans in basketball-crazed Indiana want good guys who can play. The Pacers still come up short in the talent department.

By Michael Lee  |  December 15, 2008; 4:06 PM ET
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Next: Wizards at Pacers: Pre-game


Solid chance at a W tonight. Indiana is just about as garbage as we are.

Posted by: dingersoll1 | December 15, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Wiz have two really good players, the Pacers have one. Plus being at home, we should win this, right?

I'm not exactly putting $10 on it, however.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 15, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Why should anyone think the Wizards have anything more than a prayer's chance to beat the Pacers?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 15, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Question: "Why should anyone think the Wizards have anything more than a prayer's chance to beat the Pacers?"

Answer: Because rumor has it that Abe has suited up and will be replacing DeS in the starting line-up.

Posted by: Izman | December 15, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

An Order of Runnin And Gunnin Please.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I've not read all the comments, but it's clear that most people believe as I do that there has got to be some serious friction in that locker room. The past and present coach is doling out playing minutes based on years in the league instead of game performance. The former coach said that his young guys had been outplaying his starters since training camp, but for some reason he did not give them the minutes they’d work for. We have a new coach, but he’s kept the same philosophy. Vets can do no wrong, but if a young guy makes a mistake he stands a good chance of getting taken out the game. You’re part of a team, but you’re not being treated equally has got to be causing problems.
In addition, we had two coaches who for some unknown reason will not play his size. The coach has access to 3 guys (JM, AB and yes OP) and none of them can get in the game at the same time. ET’s first game as coach he played JM and AB together, however, for some reason refuses to do it even when everyone can see his team is getting killed on the boards. When you’re not playing your best player and your best line up you can lose a team and it is clear EJ and ET has lost this team.
Another thing, you have your two co-captains calling out the young players on the team in the press, although by the time the young guys get in the game they’re 10 points behind. And you have all reports in the media placing blame for the team’s problems on the young players. The Wizards have turned into a team with two parts (separate and unequal) vets and young guys. If this keeps up I promised you that one of the young guys are going finally start speaking up for themselves in the press and that’s when the you know what is going to hit the fan.

Posted by: 33dgriffin | December 15, 2008 1:03 PM

33dgriffin - Excellent points in your post. Glad to see there is someone else along with us few seeing the "double standard" rule being used to perfection first by Eddie J' and now Eddie Tabscott.

As I have said before, I am really surprised Tabscott is doing the same thing Eddie J' was doing with the youngsta's and also playing "slow smallball" alot.

Ernie G' I have been trying to back you on your decision for firing Eddie J', but if you are going to have your right hand man coach the games the same way Eddie J' did you my as well have keep Eddie J' on board.

I just want somebody who is going to give McGee, NY, DMac and AB equal run thats all. I want to see AB and McGee in the game together sometimes. I even want to see if OPEC is a bust or not.

Tabscott please use your own coach's manual and stop using the one Eddie J' left in his office.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 15, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

The fun matchup will be JaVale versus Roy.

Caron should make a point of shutting down Granger. They could be battling for the same All-Star spot.

Posted by: liveride | December 15, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Blatche to start

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POSTED December 15 2008 6:12 PM BY Mike Jones Print
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The Wizards will have another new look tonight as Andray Blatche will replace rookie JaVale McGee in the starting lineup at center.

Wizards coach Ed Tapscott said he decided to make the move for two reasons. 1) He wants the team to get off to a solid start -- something they have struggled with consistently -- and he thinks Blatche, whose play has been much improved since Tapscott took over, can help with that. 2) McGee has seen his production dip since moving into the starting lineup because he has to matchup with more experienced players, and Tapscott thinks he can benefit from watching the flow of the game and picking up on tendancies and then get into the game with a little bit of a mental head start and bring the energy he did so well at providing off the bench early in the season.

This should further boost the confidence of Blatche, who during the first 11 games of the season was in Eddie Jordan's doghouse and averaging just 6.7 and 3.5 rebounds. Tapscott replaced Jordan after the 1-10 start and worked to find ways to encourage Blatche as a way to get more out of him. Blatche has said knowing Tapscott has faith in him makes him want to play harder. The result has been a jump to 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds a game in Blatche's 10 outings under Tapscott.

McGee, meanwhile, had been struggling with foul trouble and rarely found himself late in games. For the season he is averaging 7.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. As a reserve in Washington's first seven games, McGee averaged 9.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.14 blocks. But since taking over as starting center 12 games ago, his numbers dipped to 6.9 points and 3.7 rebounds while his blocks slightly improved to 1.4.

Should be interesting to see how it works . . .

Etan Thomas will miss this game because he's in Minnesota for a routine checkup on his heart. So Oleksiy Pecherov's inactive streak will come to an end.

Just posted from the NY Times. Read the article. AB is starting center...........

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 15, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

"Tabscott please use your own coach's manual and stop using the one Eddie J' left in his office....."

Tapscott's coaches manual is covered in dust, full of yellowed pages, and has the AU mascot on the cover.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 15, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

do the wiz EVER get two stops in a row??

Posted by: rachel216 | December 15, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Wiz are even worse than Pacers

Posted by: rachel216 | December 15, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

They have no inclination to push the envelope.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Bulletsfever and 33dgriffin. Fantastic posting.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

We have two 7 footers on the bench (McGee and OPEC) and instead we float out "slow smallball" AGAIN.

They are killing us on the boards with their twin towers. What in the heck does Tabscott have against McGee. Ivan or Mike can you please find out please...?

And the "kool-aid homer crew" of Buck and Phil keep make dumb comments about second chance shots, but still do not make the point we have Song. in at the "5".

I need to find a new team.......

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 15, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

My first time seeing this James guy, but from what I am seeing why is he playing instead JD and NY? He can't handle the ball. He looks like ET fumbling the ball around out there.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

It really sucks to no end that the coaching of these players just gives them no chance to perform to what abilities that they do have.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Taps - we need to get off to a better start. And he leaves DeS in. Guess what happens?

Wiz start closing the gap when DeS is out, and Taps puts in back in. Guess what happens?

Taps subs Song for AB in the hole, and guess who starts scoring?

McGee comes in for 3 minutes and is yanked. Guess who is the only Wiz with + production?

Stranger than strange. If there were anybody any good in the draft, I'd say that they were tanking it on purpose.

Posted by: Izman | December 15, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

This Indy team being 4th in rebounding comes from good defensive balance on the court and not from any dominant player. Team rebounding can be taught.
Why not the Wizs. Jus' might be coaching agin'.

I have never seen back to back firings. We needed the first and we definitely, uneqivocably, I say most emphatically need a 2nd one.

Chances of this happening, it just doesn't happen, no precedence that I know of, so EG lets say we gonna' move ETaps to the front office so we give Wes Unseld Jr. some OJT.

Can't be any worse than what we got going now with this coaching. Geez!

I was for Eddie's I'm for Ernie's.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse


I agree. James is a short gunner... not what we need. They need to bench DS and give NY some minutes. Let them run!

Posted by: WizFan200 | December 15, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Still no Nick Young basically...

Posted by: washwiz | December 15, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

JD has a great crossover, its jordaness, the crossover that is, nothing else, but its all good.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

They ain't really Runnin and Gunnin, but the Tempo has heartbeat and they play better this way. Just think if they or The Coach' would insist on Uptempo play whenever possible for the whole game.

All out I say.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Did ET just replace Haywood in the game after a positive run?

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I guess we needed to change the good momentum we had by subbing. Don't get it. Do you?

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

11 to 0 run since we subbed. Haywood back in for McGee. Why not Eton' oh DSon. But if Dson replaced AB, why is AB replacing McGee? 4 or 5, or 5 or the 4, confusing who's on first?


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

What about momentum does this coach not understand? Oh, we tied the game up, so now I can come with all my great subs and we gonna get more momentum. Yeah, right.

Did we see a clip of Ernie saying he wanted to go with the players that were producing? Yes we did. So why in hell did he take them out the ballgame once they tied it up?

A lot of you keep saying that we are losing cause our players ain't good enough.

Naww, I submit that we are losing cause our coaching from day one of his season has sucked to no end and that is whats not good enough.

With what talent we have on the floor right now and the proper coaching, this is at least a 500 team.

Get Me Some Coaching!!!


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Now the players look like crap because now they have to overcome bad coaching philosophy that put them back in the hole.

As players, you cannot beat the other team and bad coaching from your own coach as well.

The Wizard Players deserve better Ernie Grunfield!!!


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

There is no way that you can play the rest of the season with the glaring incompetence from the head coach of this team EG.

Red Auerbach is rolling over. This is his hometown and there should be no coaching going on as bad as this. We all know that Red is a Celtic, but he is from DC and if he were alive today EG, he would certainly give you a good dressing down for allowing this to go on.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

This coaching will not do! I recommend that the Wizards reach out and contact John Thompson Sr and offer him the job!

What is the status of Gilbert Arenas and when can we expect for him to begin playing again. This silence is deafening!!

Iavan or Michael: Anything in your crystal balls?

Posted by: zbopjazz | December 15, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: dargregmag | December 15, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

One of the temporary answers to our pounding on the boards is sitting there on our bench with a forlorn look on his face. Of all of our big men, Pech is the only one healthy with the height and weight necessary to hold your position and rebound.
Give him 35 minutes and I guarantee he gets 10 rebounds (if he doesn't foul out). I don't know what else he's do but one thing I can spot is a decent rebounder and Pech is decent.

This consistent attitude and obstinance from our coaches is maddening. We are what? 4-18? Would playing Pech ruin our season? What gives ??!!! If you have a problem with him shooting threes, tell him to stand under the hoop. It's that simple.

Free Juan Dixon ? Nope. FREE PECH.

If I'm wrong, let me be wrong but at least SHOW ME that the guy is a bust and can't play. We've seen everyone on this team but our FIRST ROUNDER from a couple years ago. We're playing journeymen over a guy whose contract we just picked up.

Tell you what... we need to fire this coach, too. Get someone in there who knows ball and isn't just in there trying to placate the vets.

And oh yeah. I plan on reposting this in tomorrow morning's wrapup blog. I want to try to start a movement. PLAY PECH. If he crashes and burns, I'll shut up and accept that he is a bum. I already know Songaila is a bum. He doesn't even challenge drivers in the lane. He just stands there and doesn't even move while they blow by.

This is fricking ridiculous. The only way Pech got dressed is because ET was out at the hospital. Ridiculous.

Posted by: original_mark | December 15, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Fire ET!

Posted by: dante232 | December 15, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

And I'm not suggesting that Pech is the savior and will rescue us from the lottery. I'm just saying that we have a glaring problem with rebounding and he's 7 feet tall with decent hands and is solid.

Can we at least try it? Give him 15 minutes in the next game and he'll get 5 rebounds. Are we waiting for him to get so out of shape from sitting that he gets hurt again when he finally gets in a game? Is any team in the league better at ruining prospects? I doubt it.

Posted by: original_mark | December 15, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Guys i missed the comeback, who were our players on the floor at the time the game got tied up? And LarryInClintonMD, who are you referring to as Haywood?

Posted by: T-ROB | December 15, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse


Nevermind Grainger, Troy Murphy and Jeff Foster kill Les BouleS again.

Marquis Daniels eats MeShawn's lunch to the tune of 20 pts, 8 rebs, 7 assists.

The much ballyhooed Roy Hibbert, no impact.

Opech, 2 min, 2 shots, one being a 3 pointer. No shocker there.

Outrebounded 55-41.

Seven more steals.

Seven fewer turnovers.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 15, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I was referring to AB. He was in the game in the 3rd when we came back and tied it up. The first sub from the bench was DSon for AB. To me that was the same as bringing ET in for BH after we had positive play at the 5. Then right after then ETaps makes more subs and Indy goes on an 11 - 0 run, game over. Bad coaching killed the momentum by subbing the players on the floor that tied the game. EJ's playbook.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmmmm...beyond ugly...
nice backcourt/outscored 60/14...did I really see DS do his shadow wave on his way to 6 points in 33 minutes?
He is abysmal, and Etap is beyond over his head....clueless, except for that marvelous shirt /tie/suit combo...sooo handsome!

Nice start, they came out driving and dishing to the basket, of course no D, but it is more important for our big to do the jump know that D philosphy wherein you take your only defensive inside presence and have him jump out to disturb the PG, and then everyone scrambles from there to find the nearest player...marvelous coaching....with no one left in a defensive position.

It is beyond fruitless to even suggest the myriad of coaching blunders in 5 minutes, let alone the game.

I would eat ET, DS and AP contracts and bring up D leaguers...
This is the worst excuse for an NBA team I have ever seen. Been a fan for 48 years, back to the Bullet days in Baltimore. I so look forward to the games, but it is too diffficult to watch.

Let the young guys play against the "vets" in practice, with the winners taking the court to start the rest of the season...any bets?

Posted by: maxman2162 | December 15, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

the distribution of playing minutes is baffling to say the least. even Anne Frank could see that DeShawn should not be starting...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | December 15, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse


You hit the nail on the head. As soon as you said "To me that was the same as bringing ET in for BH after we had positive play at the 5." It brought back flashbacks of Haywood bein taken out after the Wiz had gotten on a roll and he was playin solid defense. EJ lov affair with etan was inexcusable. I wonder why ET and EJ have a love affair with certain players to the point where the team suffers. McGee and Young need to play, period. No one on this team besides Butler and Jamison are consistent enough to justify not playing them. They need the experience, and they might as well learn and make mistakes when it wont hurt the team.

Posted by: T-ROB | December 15, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

the distribution of playing minutes is baffling to say the least. even Anne Frank could see that DeShawn should not be starting...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | December 15, 2008 10:27 PM

Don't think you meant Ann Frank, perhaps Helen Keller, but we get the point...

Posted by: maxman2162 | December 15, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks ABE for everything you are the greatest owner we could ever have!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 15, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

"Don't think you meant Ann Frank, perhaps Helen Keller, but we get the point...

Posted by: maxman2162 | December 15, 2008 11:00 PM "


Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 15, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse


I am one to admit when I don't know something. I was the last in my home to get a cell. But now I text, but I stil don't know all the jargon. What the hell is LMAO!

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Ive been a season ticket holder for the last 8 years and tonight may have been the worst ive seen in that time. Ive never heard as much booing as I did tonight. The last 5 minutes made me feel real awkward just sitting there. When the Pacers had the ball with under 24 to go and were just running out the clock they resorted to playing "defense music" to try and drown it out!

As for the game its self when Mcgee was insterted at the end of the third quarter and the buzzer went off less than a minute later he had to be turned away from walking off the court! They have the poor kid already conditioned to expect failure!

I dont see what the point in not playing the young guys the majority of the time when you are going to lose by 20 anyway. They need to face up to the fact this season is a wash and stop coaching for wins instead focusing on evaluating the young guns by giving them big minutes.

There is no reason to have caron and jamison out there for 40 minutes when you are staring a sub 20 win season in the face.

They need to starting working on this team for next year.

Posted by: riskus | December 15, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Fire Ernie.

Posted by: SteveC28 | December 15, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

I was a huge AB supporter last year but dude is so soft he makes jamison look like a banger sometimes. He had absolutely zero interest in trying to get a defensive board tonight.

Posted by: riskus | December 15, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse


My man. You know I told you that you are two hard on the Ole' Man. Lemme' ask you a question. Do you think he is getting enought Geritol to be proactive or responsible enough to fix this management mess we got going on with the Wizs? Before you jump out their with yo' answer, there is a message in what I am asking you.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow! you guys just don't know or just like to cry about anything and everything.

1) We're simply a bad team without Gil and BH. We're going to lose a lot no matter if Phil Jackson, Larry Brown or whomever is coach ala Miami Heat last year.

2) There was a lot of hollering about not starting McGee if he was going to get yanked after slow starts. Well, he didn't start and Blatche played a pretty good game. Satisfied? Also, he is too much of a black hole at this point. Meaning, you can't pass him the ball on offense unless it's an alley-oop or the offense grinds to a halt. Blatche played a nice floor game from the center spot and played much better game than McGee would have.

3) Why did we sub at the end of the 3rd when we had "momentum"? Well, our players are human and they played almost an entire quarter straight and expended a lot of energy coming back. Guess Tap should have played them the rest of the game?

4) For all you JD fans, he is obviously starting at pt out of necessity, but he is terrible. Love his guts. That's about it. He got absolutely schooled by Jarrett Jack and TJ Ford.

5) Finally, if you watched the game, a lot of the rebounds were coming from the wings and/or weakside meaning AJ and CB were responsible very often. AJ, in particular, gets some of the most meaningless stats based on what he give ups to his opposition!

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 15, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I like your blog all the way up until you said they were coaching for wins.

Riskus, I know you did not mean to say that. There is no way that these coaches are coaching to win and based own your own analysis of the play, I know you know better.

They deserve credit only for retarding successful play and abilities of the players.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Haha genius coach eddie tapscott is getting close....he decided to make a sub in the starting line up finally! Oh wait, no he didnt take out destank, he took out mcgee. &**^*&.

Is it just me or is this not that complicated. We've been talking about this for weeks BENCH STEVENSON and have a line up of either

JM, AJ, CB, NY, and JD


AB, AJ, CB, NY and JD

I don't know what its going to take to get Stevenson out of the lineup...I honestly don't. He's just terrible, now he's not killing us by taking a ton of brick jumpers, he's just not taking shots and doing anything and killing us.

I'm 27 and I've been a Wizards fan since I was 7, and this is just embarassing...reminds me of the Leonard Hamilton days.

Posted by: insanity999 | December 15, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind the loss so much because I think the only path to going deep in the playoffs for the present team is through the draft. Playing James makes no sense to me either as a stop-gap or in the long term. Deactivate James, and activate either Pech or Etan, and give them minutes.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | December 15, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

"What the hell is LMAO!

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 15, 2008 11:21 PM "

Here are some popular net slang used here...feel free to add more:

LMAO - Laughing My @ss Off
LMFAO - Laughing My F'n @ss Off
ROTFL - Rolling On the Floor Laughing
Les BouleS suck - Les BouleS suck

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 15, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

If they werent trying to win these meaning less games they wouldnt be playing caron 40 minutes only to lose by 20!

This coach is looking for wins to try and keep this job fulltime instead of prepping for the future.

whats the point in that?

If they want vet presense on the court get DSong out there even more. If he can keep getting 10 points and play some "ok D" maybe the phone will ring when a team in contention is making a playoff push.

Posted by: riskus | December 15, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

This sounds horrible but the best thing that could happen to Stevenson right now is a minor injury big enough to force him to miss a game thus ending his stupid streak.

I would think this would alleviate some of the added stress he must have knowing his performance is not start worthy and perhaps, just perhaps, he will be able to start performing off the bench.

Posted by: riskus | December 15, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse


If the old man wants to win go out and over pay for a good GM that has a track record for turing a team around. I would take someone from the Spurs front office they always draft well or how about Mitch Kupchak! Pay him twice what the Lakers pay him. Look at what Danny Ainge did with Boston he did not do that through draft picks. But Boston was willing to go way over the luxury cap to get it done.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 15, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

damn ivan takes 1 night off cuz he's sick and we can't get any updates from that slacker mike lee...come on mike give us somethin!

i just still can't get over the fact we're so terrible, have the lowest scoring backcourt in the nba, a guy is shooting 30% from the field, yet neither coach even benches him for one game. one game! give someone else a shot for god's sake and put him back in after that if nothing else.

Posted by: insanity999 | December 15, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

6) CB is not much better these days than AJ. I guess he feels like he has to be "the guy" on offense with his scoring and play making ability. Therefore, he coasts more on D and defensive rebounding than I've seen him in the past. He blatantly missed 3/4 blockouts that I saw tonight.

Positive outlook - next year:

GA - back and hopefully healthy (90% + of before)
JC - good young backup (hopefully), 1st rounder, 6'5"

DS - back in his more productive/intended role
NY - more mature, better all around game

BH - back and providing stability at C position
McGee - more experienced and improving

CB - doing his thing, better on D next year
McGuire - defensive stopper, maturing

AJ - more doubles
AB - playing like a pro more and more, continues?

Now, I see a nice 8 deep roster there. 3 all-star caliber players, solid role player, and a solid NBA pro center with good young players up and coming behind them.

Blatche, NY, and McGee might all mature into really good players, but you got to let it play out. It's DC and the Wiz. We're not NY or LA where every player wants to come here! If you don't like this vision and the talent on the team compared to teams of the past, I don't know what to tell ya! Find a new team maybe? Hopefully, this year is a bump in the road with a lottery pick to add to the mix!

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 16, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

how do you see these young guys getting more mature and experienced when they are getting less than 10 mins a game?

Posted by: riskus | December 16, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse


What are you talking about? EG built the NY team that went to the finals TWICE and would have won minus Jordan. Then, he went to MILWAUKEE of all places and made them into a perennial playoff team, which is no easy feat. Then, he put the team together that got us to the playoffs 4 years in a row. Come on man....make some sense! He is the best GM the Wiz/Bullets have had in my lifetime by far!

- Rob P

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 16, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

This is for you rphilli721.

In spite of all that you say, this team is not that bad. These players are not that bad. Teams salivate when they play us because they know that any good that the players do on the court, the coaching will screw it up. And why is it we had only one good quarter and you suggest that the players needed a rest. Yes indeed they should have kept playing all the way through the 4th if needed. The game ends in the 4th quarter and not the 3rd in case you did not know.

History lesson. Larry Bird, Kevin McKale, Robert Parrish, Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge, when they won those championships for the Celts they played Mega minutes and they did not come out the game when it was in question and when they did they only had a 6 or seven man rotation.

I used to watch them and say there is no way they are going to win it all this year but they did and they were old and hurt. But, they won, because they had good talent and superior coaching to make sure that the talent achieved on the court.

These players won't do nothing with this stinking coaching they got going on and when BH and GA comes back and this coaching hasn't changed, they won't make the playoffs either.

Bank On It. We need some competent coaching more than anything. Playing the young guys with this coaching philosophy will destroy them. Put them in, Yankem' out, play small and slow, play to the other teams strengths and not your own. Gag me with a maggott.

I have never been a season ticket holder but I have always been a fan since Dancing Harry. What you see out there with the Wizards these days is BAD BAD BAD BAD DONKEY COACHING.

And case you don't know, BulletsFan78, has got it right, even though I jump him every he brings up the Ole' Man, Championships are won from the Top Down and not Bottom Up.

Right now BulletsFan78 ain't given the Ole' Man no pass, but I am willing to settle for a Damn Good Coach Right Now!


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 16, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

You mention Boston and LA, which are the premier teams in the NBA. Talent begs to go there! Being a GM either place is not the same as being a GM here. Not even close! They are like the Yankees and Sox of baseball!

Yeah, now people are wishing our players get hurt (DS) and/or deactivate Mike James? Really....that would leave us with two guards - JD and NY. Oh, sorry JC too. Fantastic!

- Rob P

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 16, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse


Delude yourself if you like. This team without GA and BH is terrible. Juan Dixon is our STARTING pg! Are you kidding me? He was close to being out of the league and he is definitely not a pg. Not even close!

Come you watch basketball? No team plays a 5 man unit 1+ quarters straight...NEVER!

So, which is it? Play the kids or keep our starting unit in the entire 2nd half?

What might really hurt them is playing them regardless of results. Let NY and McGee and whomever just play continuously and see how bad it can get. You think that is going to help their confidence?

I'm all for playing them as much as possible when it makes sense. If they come in and are impacting the game and playing well, ride'em.

- Rob P

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 16, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Well, I committed to only watching about a game per week now till things turn around. It will keep me sane and from getting too frustrated. Got my glance tonight against Pacers and here is what I think I saw:

1. Taps is trying different combos to see what will work. AB for McGee worked well tonight. They both have strengths but it is clear that AB when motivated is right now a better player. I'd like to see them together as well for limited time to see what happens.

2. Defense is worse than it was under EJ right now. I think it this because he is trying new concepts that simply aren't working. We are weak in the middle and at the point defensively and no scheming can really up for this.

3. Our guard play is atrocious. We have no point guard right now. Juan, James, Stevenson are all shoot first guards that are trying to play the point. All 4 of our guards are streaky, none is a consistent threat. Why Young is not in the rotation is beyond me. It must be something in practice or off the court that Taps doesn't like. I would start him or give him major minutes to see if he can develop as consistent threat. His head may be gone though.

4. Taps is playing to win games and not to look at talent. There is still the perception (fantasy?) that when Gil returns we have enough talent to make a run.

5. Our defense down low is woeful and we miss Haywood down low as much as we miss Gil up high. Dmac has always been a favorite of mine because he has defensive potential. But he needs time to develop and needs to be matched with the right players due to his offensive limitations.

6. Bottom line to me right now is that Taps is not the problem. We simply don't have the horses. It really is not that complicated. At full strength we are at best a first or second round playoff team but without our starting 1 and 5 for extended games, we stink.

What is frustrating is hearing Phil and Buck call the game as if we have a chance to do something this year. The reality is that this season is going to be like the Heat's season a year ago or the Spurs in the pre-Duncan year. So let's just settle in, lower our hopes and watch these raw players adjust to NBA life. And there will be more trades for sure. EG knows that help is needed. I like others wish he could move Stevenson. Somebody out there has to like him.

Let's give Taps more time to experiment and give EG time to tweak things. They may just find a combo and rotation that works.


Posted by: stanlong23 | December 16, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

just for the record i am not wishing anyone gets hurt. I just think stevenson needs to end his streek without feeling demoted.

Im worried removing him from the starting lineup is only going to make things worse for him, which makes things worse for us too because,lets face it, we need him to be productive.

It really says something when I realize I am expecting a professional to possibly not handle a situation professionally.

Posted by: riskus | December 16, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Grunfeld is easily the best GM the team has had in about 2 decades. But that doesn't absolve him of responsibility for the team's current predicament. He's made some very good moves, but he's also made some bad ones that have undercut the good ones.

"In spite of all that you say, this team is not that bad. These players are not that bad."

Yes they are, at least in this moment. The problem with this team is that the talent mix is wildly unbalanced. Really good teams have a mix of stars, productive journeyman vets, and younger players who have the ability to produce reliably. The Wiz are 1 for three. One of their stars is perpetually injured. Their young guys are all projects who are a couple years away from being finished. They're journeymen (Stevenson, Dixon, James) are marginal at best. This isn't a team built to win now (even if Arenas is healthy), but the heavy financial investment in Jamison and Arenas means that they aren't looking forward to a gradual build up, either. This team is stuck in limbo because of the bad mix, and that's largely on Grunfeld.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 16, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Can someone explain to me what AB is doing that is so great? Yes he scores some points here and there but the points seem to come from shots a small forward should be taking rather than a 7 footer.

Its great when those fadeaways, finger rolls, and quick outside jumpers go in but when they dont its extremely frustrating not having that 7 footer under the basket to get the rebound.

Posted by: riskus | December 16, 2008 12:44 AM | Report abuse


I completely agree with you for once, almost. Although, I think you have to give this "mix" another year or two. Obviously, this year is over. The "mix" is screwed up when players are doing things or having to do things they were not suppose to do. What are EG's bad moves in your mind?

By the way, Larry

LB - 38.4 MPG career
McH - 31
Parrish - 28

That is hardly playing the whole game. Maybe in the playoffs or something, but your memory is not serving you well here!

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 16, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Grunfeld's biggest failure was his inability to provide the big three with adequate support, going back to the very beginning of the "Big 3 era," either by bringing in productive vets who could make an impact right away, or by drafting or trading for younger players who would have maxed out by now. Over the past 4 years, this team's key bench players have included the likes of Michael Ruffin, Juan Dixon, Calvin Booth, Donnell Taylor, a hobbled Jarvis Hayes, a hobbled (until this season) Darius Songaila, and some other faceless nobodies I'm sure I'm forgetting.

To make matters worse, the one guy who actually did develop into a reliable vet scorer under the Wiz, Roger Mason, they let go just as he peaked. And that's not even touching on the headscratching decision to acquire both Chucky Atkins and Antonio Daniels at the same time, knowing both would be playing behind a guy who was going to play upwards of 35 mpg. Or the fact that they basically wasted Daniels' last couple of years by getting a pass-first, offense-directing PG to man the second unit, then failing to give him any offense on the second unit to direct. The only time it actually seemed to make sense was after Arenas was hurt.

They've got some young guys with upside, but so far none of them have shown anything close to star potential. There doesn't appear anyone in the pipeline likely to stp up and displace one of the Big 3, which means the workload will remain heavy on them.

Grunfeld seems to have spent the past 4 years pinning his hopes on the idea that the 49th overall pick, straight out of high school, would develop into a reliable starting caliber player. That's a pretty shaky basket to put all your eggs into.

"Although, I think you have to give this "mix" another year or two."

In two years Jamison will be closing in on 35. If the support crew are just reaching their stride then, that won't be a good thing. Even if Arenas and Haywood come back strong next year, this team still isn't a legit contender, not without more moves

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 16, 2008 1:16 AM | Report abuse


Ok...those are some interesting points you make and actually worthy of thinking about and/or debating - Too far and in between in this Wizards board these days! Somewhat general in nature, but I see what your saying. All I can say is, yeah, he's not perfect and/or does not get everything he desires. I just hate all the "fire Ernie" comments in here. The guy has a track record and he has done a good job here overall. I will say both GA and BH being injured are not exactly his fault and should "absolve" him somewhat for this year. Thus, I said give it a year or two.

Hey, you might remember, I was with Wilbon on possibly getting Biedrins and Baron from GS instead of resigning GA and AJ this past summer. But, it almost seemed like those signings were "predestined" for some reason whether by EG, perhaps, and/or Abe (who knows?). That being said, I don't like to make up my own personal trade rumors based on absolutely nothing like some in here nor do I care/have the time to, but if Wilbon said it, I would think it was out there at some point.

Anyway, I think we both agree that EG is a top GM in the NBA (top 5/top 8 is debatable?). In other words, if the Skins had a GM nearly as competent as him, the Skins would be much better off. Maybe EG's vision and/or this team does not pan out eventually due to injuries or whatever. However, I would keep him bc the Wiz are not going to get better! And from previous post, I like the lineup next year with the "mix" of old and young talent!

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 16, 2008 3:28 AM | Report abuse

Also, last blab

Thanks for no personal attacks, Kal! I appreciate it. I may generalize and say "what the hell is everyone in here thinking" or whatever, but personal things are stupid. G'night!

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 16, 2008 3:34 AM | Report abuse

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