A Chance to Make a Move?

Starting with tonight's game against Toronto at Verizon Center, the Wizards will face eight straight teams with sub-.500 records: the Raptors, at Chicago, Charlotte at home, Milwaukee at home, at the Knicks, home to the Knicks, at Golden State and at Sacramento.

Not to say that the Wizards, who dropped a tough one at Orlando last night, are going to go on a huge run but, it does present an opportunity for a team that has been competitive against good teams like Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans and Orlando of late.

By Ivan Carter |  January 7, 2009; 8:58 AM ET
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the rest of the season will be a test to see who claims the glass the is half full or half empty. The Orlando loss is another woulda, coulda, shoulda again. 3 good quarters with 1 crappy one thrown into the mix that was out undoing

If they can pull out a decent stretch of wins here it will give the team some promise and a chance to pull out of the gutter. Then you never know what might come after that. Anything is s till possible at this point

http://www.wizardsextreme.com

Posted by: WizardsExtreme | January 7, 2009 9:16 AM

If we start going on a run, first thing Tapscott will do is put Dixon Songaila and Thomas in the starting lineup. The guys crazy

Posted by: emmet1 | January 7, 2009 9:19 AM

Exactly, emmet1. Tap acts like we're in the thick of a playoff race. There's no point in playing Songaila major minutes while you have young guys that need time to develop behind him. EVER. The only way for guys to learn is by doing it, not watching someone else do it.

Posted by: original_mark | January 7, 2009 9:21 AM

The only way we 'make a move' is packing up the moving vans a la Irsay and literally moving the team. We should not be looking to improve our chances of getting into the playoffs this year because we have no chance of getting to the playoffs.

The focus should be on training the young guys and getting them experience so that when the games really count (like during a season when we actually have a shot at the playoffs) they don't choke under pressure.
We're seeing guys choke under pressure now and this is one of the reasons why we are giving away leads. Rather than benching players, how about COACHING them to prevent it. If we play this right, we could have veteran team next year (or the end of this year) with a bunch of contributing, experienced young players.

My main problem with Tap is that we blowing a golden training opportunity.

Posted by: original_mark | January 7, 2009 9:32 AM

Ivan we are not competitive! Tapscott is playing slow-ball to keep the score LOW. So when we lose 88-78 it is not a close game. If we increased the pace we'd lose by 20!

It is the oldest trick in the book to walk the ball up the court to avoid blowouts. I am sick of E-Tap trying to save his own job instead of developing the young talent on the team.

Posted by: twigmuffin | January 7, 2009 9:46 AM

On Tapscott: I think we have to assume he's doing pretty much what Ernie Grunfeld wants him to do. That's what we're seeing on the court.

He isn't going to be the head coach next season, is he? Chances are he'll be back in his consultant role. Working with the young guys, teaching them fundamentals of playing together -- stuff they might have learned in college if they'd spent enough time there.

He believes -- he's said as much -- that he needs the vets on the court to teach the kids how to play NBA basketball. True or not, I don't know. But it's what he thinks, and by extension, Grunfeld too.

Wonder who the next coach'll be?


Posted by: Samson151 | January 7, 2009 9:56 AM

Samson, you're probably right but I wish it wasn't the case. I seriously doubt that the guys on the bench are thinking "Wow I gotta learn that nifty Songaila move that i just saw."

More than likely they're wondering "Who's a guy gotta **** around here to get some consistent minutes?"

AB SHOULD have been mad about coming out. He may have expressed it improperly and discipline wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I'd be more upset if he was ok with coming out of the game. My problem with it all is starting Songaila and giving JM no minutes.

Like I've said before, next year if we ever get in a position to have to play Jm (like when AJ gets hurt from overuse) he's gonna be a wide eyed rookie rather than a rookie who's gotten his feet wet and knows what to do. Why not get them over the learning cure in a year when we're going nowhere?

Wake up, Tap.

Posted by: original_mark | January 7, 2009 10:04 AM

I will be interested to see who is getting the majority of minutes after the trade deadline comes and goes.

Posted by: riskus | January 7, 2009 10:06 AM

i'm sure all those teams are looking at the wizards and thinking of a "chance to make a move" as well

Posted by: Blanks15 | January 7, 2009 10:17 AM

That means 8 more chances for a JaVale McGee DNP!

Posted by: sargeantmofo | January 7, 2009 10:20 AM

Agreed, they were competitive against Orlando last night and have shown signs of life since the close loss to Cleveland.

To the ETaps detractors, the problem is obviously not the coach, when core players like Haywood and Arenas go down the team is destined for hard times. Despite what we think, ETaps would understandably like to be working next season as a head coach and the only way that will happen is if the Wiz turn a corner. His strategy is immediate, short term results not midrange player development. Unfortunate because a few more minutes for McGEee and Crit and a few less for CB and AJ probably wouldn't change the W's and L's.

Arenas return can't wait for next year, three years will have been lost before the Wiz really know where that knee is. When he is healthy, the Wiz need to see what they've got, the team theoretically runs around him.

The big questions that need to be answered now are how much does Arenas have and how will he work with the current personnel. If Arenas by some chance returns to top form the Wiz could reasonably sit on the roster they have, if they wait until next year to find out he's a shadow of the player he was three years ago, management is going to look pretty bad.

Posted by: pdarroch | January 7, 2009 10:27 AM

The Wizards will face eight straight teams with sub .500 records: the Raptors, at Chicago, Charlotte at home, Milwaukee at home, at the Knicks, home to the Knicks, at Golden State and at Sacramento= AJ and CB playing 40 mins a game, (DS, ET, and MJ) playing major mins while the younger players learn by sitting on the bench?
If Ed Tapscott, who had carried the title of Director of Player Development never developed any players why did EG make him coach?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 7, 2009 10:35 AM

I don't think Tapscott would make the playoffs WITH a healthy Arenas and Haywood. C'mon, the guy can't coach, I'd take Darrell Walker, Bernie Bickerstaff, Leonard Hamilton, or Gar Heard over this guy.

Posted by: twigmuffin | January 7, 2009 10:35 AM

ivan---stop drinking the kool aid. this is a BAD TEAM with marginal NBA talent aside from Jamison/Butler. PLEASE STOP TALKING PLAYOFFS---there is a reason the Wiz ar 4 games out of SECOND TO LAST PLACE IN THE CONFERENCE

Posted by: fnkyniedls | January 7, 2009 10:36 AM

crs-one and kalo_rama you are both wrong the difference is…

Sac fired Thues and hired asst coach Kenny Natt

OKC fired Carlesimo and hired asst coach Scott Brooks

Toronto fired Sam Mitchell and hired asst coach Jay Triano

Minn fired Randy Wittman and Kevin McHale hired himself

Phil fired Maurice Cheeks and hired Tony DiLeo who was brought in by Stefanski when he took over the GM spot

The Wizards fire Eddie Jordan and hire Ed Tapscott, who had carried the title of Director of Player Development?

If you are going to be CHEAP like these other teams at least hire an assistant coach.

You can offer a coach a one year contract and over pay him for that year to see how he does before committing to a long term deal? But that would take a financial commitment and a desire to win?

"What's left unsaid is that it's also a league about the guys who pick the players, the general managers." Not only do they make most of the big player decisions on trades and free-agent signings, but they also get a lot more face time with the people who sign the checks, meeting almost daily with the owner. "Coaches have very infrequent contact with the owners, so they only get the perspective of management," says Van Gundy.


Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 7, 2009 10:41 AM

The focus should be on training the young guys and getting them experience so that when the games really count (like during a season when we actually have a shot at the playoffs) they don't choke under pressure.

Mark, that is exactly, 100 percent, correct. But Tap doesn't care. We'll see more Song at C, Jamison and Caron at @40 min./game, and worst of all, McGee with plenty of DNP/CDs.

Tank the season! This team IS rebuilding!

Posted by: keithward64 | January 7, 2009 10:44 AM

o_mark: if you don't mind, I'd like to pick up on some of the interesting comments you made in response to a post I left on a previous thread. First, I'm glad you like the name. Sounds like we are both veterans of cold winter nights out at the Cap Center.(never thought I would miss that dump) Second, I see a lot of Ricky Rubio as I'm in Spain on assignment and I'm impressed with his skills and poise given his age and potential for improvement. I rate the Spanish league quite highly, certainly above NCAA ball. There's something about playing against men and not boys, and while comparing anyone to Stockton is dangerous, I think Rubio will be someone who makes everyone around him better without necessarily putting up eye-popping numbers. In any case, we all hope that between Gil and Crittenton, we can safely pass on Rubio. Still we need to know, sooner rather than later. Finally, I'm not so sure that all the pieces are in place with this roster. There are times I feel that many of us need to admit that we were seduced by 6 weeks of sublime ball 2 years ago, when Gil went off on the league and it looked like we were turning into the Phoenix of the East. It's over. Repeat as many times as necessary until you are convinced that Gil, Caron and Jamison really don't amount to all that much, even when healthy.

Posted by: mugsybol | January 7, 2009 11:16 AM

Interesting arguements from Bullet and Kalo...
Defense is what wins in this league and any league, and in any sport, consistently.
It is also defense that determines the tempo of the game, not just running and shooting.
The Celtics, San Antonio, Detroit all were and are successful becuase of their D, and the Lakers are learning the hard truth about D as well.
Phoenix has learned the hard way.
It is not about being competitive, it is about winning.

The defense determines the pace and tempo. Fast breaks are generated successfully from defense and rebounding, not from just pushing the ball.

The Wiz are pathetic defensively, and thus have zero chance of winning, no matter the insuries, until a coach with strong and historical defensive resume is brought on.

There is planty of talent on this team. Granted the coaching is and has been pathetic, mainly because of ownership's love relationship with hired coaches and a tight budget.

This team needs discipline offensively and defensively that only a strong coach can deliver.

With that said, coaching decisions/player choices and playing time is also paramount.

Combinations and chemistry are apparent to successful coaches, not to anyone we have had forever.

Also AB is not in any way a 5, he is a 3/4 at best.
JM is a very strong possibity at 5, and agreed he should be on the floor, but with a system that maxximizes his talents. No jumping out at guards to give up inside poistion. Rotations on D that allow him to remain inside and ready to pounce.

Also a front line of JM, AJ and DS/AB is what we need to build an inside defensive posture. That will allow our 1/2s to freelance defensively, and also play tight on the perimeter players of the competition.
We get killed on the arc, by having all our players drop inside to help cover the inside defensive concerns.

This should allow the uptempo generated rebounding and defense that will allow us more easy points on offense, rather than falling into that CB AB one on one dipsey doodle failing offense, and losing ball!

Posted by: maxman2162 | January 7, 2009 11:18 AM

Not that he will make a difference but, why is Pech on our team? We get Rid of Peter John Ramos and pick up Pech. Is it required to have a Dud (Something that doesn't work)on your team. He been here for 3 years and makes 0 contibution. Also, hes not even in any conversation as if hes not there. He must have pictures of EG poking a small animal or something.

Posted by: 15600_sknfan | January 7, 2009 11:21 AM

Excuse, I meant falling into that CB AJ dipsey doodle offense that is a loser...sorry!

Posted by: maxman2162 | January 7, 2009 11:22 AM

they cant cut pesh because they would have to redo the dance cam graphics

Posted by: riskus | January 7, 2009 11:26 AM

Now all you armchair coach's pay attention, we fire a competent coach who took this team to the playoff's four years in a row two of those years without the teams best player he is acknowledged around the league and by the NBA media at large as one of the league's best coach's, this coach's GM who is supposed to be helping the coach and the franchise get to the next level mismanages the cap,allows the team's best bench player to get away(for not a lot of money no less)does absolutely nothing in the offseason personel wise, two of the starting five are injured before this season starts the team starts off 1-10 and the GM talk's the owner into firing the coach even though this same coach rallied the team from and O-5 start the year before and into the playoff's,now you have to pay the remainder of EJ's contract EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS!!!! and you wonder why we have ETAPS and why it is worst kept secret around the league that Wes jr.is the coach in waiting.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 7, 2009 11:30 AM

EJ sucked as a coach plain and simple. The players got us out of the funk in 2007 not EJ. EJ needed to go because he threw players under the bus. Our record would be identical to the one we have now if he was still our coach. Thanks for the memories and the crappy sub patterns

(ie: Bucks game from this year...disgusting)

Posted by: BurgwithaU | January 7, 2009 12:05 PM

Wes Jr.? Thats funny

Posted by: 15600_sknfan | January 7, 2009 12:29 PM

HAs anyone ever seen Pech play for real, and can anyone say why;

He is still on the team and...
Why he doesn't get any minutes and...
Where can he contribute to this years team or next...

Posted by: 15600_sknfan | January 7, 2009 12:32 PM

15600_sknfan,

Last year against the Knicks at MSG I believe Pech drained like 3 or 4 three-pointers. Yet this occurred when we were getting blown out. Then there was that Bulls game where he Posterized stewie style.

Posted by: BurgwithaU | January 7, 2009 12:43 PM

Now all you armchair coach's pay attention, we fire a competent coach who took this team to the playoff's four years in a row two of those years without the teams best player he is acknowledged around the league and by the NBA media at large as one of the league's best coach's, this coach's GM who is supposed to be helping the coach and the franchise get to the next level mismanages the cap,allows the team's best bench player to get away(for not a lot of money no less)does absolutely nothing in the offseason personel wise, two of the starting five are injured before this season starts the team starts off 1-10 and the GM talk's the owner into firing the coach even though this same coach rallied the team from and O-5 start the year before and into the playoff's,now you have to pay the remainder of EJ's contract EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS!!!! and you wonder why we have ETAPS and why it is worst kept secret around the league that Wes jr.is the coach in waiting.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 7, 2009 11:30 AM

Amen!!

Also, the reason why you play the Songalia's and the Dixon's minutes and not just throw the youngins to the wolfs is because they won't learn by being unorganized and getting blown out. You have to keep playing the vet's and gradually reduce their time over the course of the year. That's how you develop your young guys.

You can't put the cart before the horse!

Posted by: kendallreeves | January 7, 2009 1:06 PM

ETaps is keeping the bench warm and is simply following instructions from EG about who to play and how many minutes...EG is still trying to keep the vets interested until Agent Zero returns and he can assess if he'll be anywhere close to his old self. If the team plays .500 ball after Arenas returns next month along and there is good chemistry with the young guys, it will justify his firing Eddie and keeping the 'core' of AJ, CB3, BTH, and Arenas together for another year before blowing up the team.

People fail to realize the Wiz are going through the same type of season that Miami experienced last year with injuries, except Reilly blew up the team by trading Shaq for Marion and shutting down D. Wade after the All-Star break. The Wiz will be in the lottery and the hope is they'll get an impact player like Blake Griffin to add to the core.

Impossible to evaluate any coach given the minimal talent besides Jamison and Butler on this team...lots of journeyman (Dixon, Songaila,James) and young players mixed in with a couple of talented vets. This team is a 15-20 win team minus Arenas, Haywood, and a healthy DSS. The season has been over since training camp and EJ was simply the scapegoat for the lack of talent.

Posted by: wizfan89 | January 7, 2009 1:55 PM

mcgee needs to play, our no center approach has reliably failed, it's invaluable for him to get some experience the same goes for dom,crit,ny, blatche they all need the time on the floor more than anyone called a vet, even aj and caron, we need to figure out what the young ones have and whether it's worth waiting for, trading, outright cutting or immediate promotion. Running caron and jamison ragged will do nothing but get them injured and keep developing the young guys impossible
Caron 38.2 mins per game too much
Jamison 38.5 mins too much
james 31 mins too much
Between those three guys we can knock off 15- 20 minutes to immediately hand over to mcgee, songaila playing center means we need to shoot 50% to win because we are going to give up X amount of easy buckets and offensive boards/extra possessions, his offensive skill set is completely outweighed defensively at the five, play him at the four, his actual position, same with blatche. Well at least deshawn is no longer in the picture, due in no part to coaching.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 7, 2009 2:03 PM

Okay gang, let's do some basic arithmetic.

Average minutes per game:

AB: 22mpg (and at least 30mpg since he's been a starter)
NY: 20.8mpg
DM: 16.9mpg (and close to 30 since he's been a starter)
JM: 14.2mpg
JC: 8.2mpg
OP: 8mpg (when not deactivated)

So first, the young guys are getting minutes, contrary to what some of you believe. Out of 240 minutes a game, the young players are getting 90, and if you factor in AB and DM's increased playing time, its up to 110. THATS HALF!

Second, what do you expect from increased time on the court? The Wiz are losers this year, give the young players (especially the ones that aren't ready - JM, OP and JC) more minutes, and they will only learn how to lose. That will take time to undo, meaning that in effect it will stunt their growth. See Los Angeles Clippers.

Third, is pecking order. AB, DM, NY, JM, JC, OP. That's the order, based on experience, production, understanding of the team's sets, length of time with the team and other factors. And as you all can clearly do arithmetic, their minutes are proportional to that pecking order.

PLEASE GIVE IT A REST ALREADY with the constant whining about the young players' minutes...

Please.

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 4:19 PM

And in addition, with AJ and CB each pulling in 40mpg, that leaves 50 minutes (240-110-80=50), which are divided between MJ, JD, ET, DSsong, and DSteve.

Do I need to go on?

That means that the five vets above average less than half as many minutes per game combined as the six developing young players.

That means that on a per player average, the youngins each get close to 20mpg, while the vets above get around 10mpg each.

I'm not quite sure what you guys want, but its clear to me that, unlike what you all believe, the young players are being developed. They're getting PT.

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 4:27 PM

"A Chance to Make a Move?"

What a misleading title! I thought we happen to have found an unwitting trading partner with Toronto to get Bosh and O'Neal for Etan and DeShawn...I guess I can only dream!!!!

Posted by: JohnWWW | January 7, 2009 4:53 PM

Not that he will make a difference but, why is Pech on our team? We get Rid of Peter John Ramos and pick up Pech. Is it required to have a Dud (Something that doesn't work)on your team. He been here for 3 years and makes 0 contibution. Also, hes not even in any conversation as if hes not there. He must have pictures of EG poking a small animal or something.

Posted by: 15600_sknfan | January 7, 2009 11:21 AM

3 years?

He was drafted in 2006 and stashed in Europe for a year. 2007 was his first year here. He lost basically the whole season to injury (training camp and all of the season up to the all-star break, after which the team was playing the playoff positioning game - fat chance for development minutes in that scenario).

This year (2008-09) is basically his rookie year. From what little we've seen of him, he's clearly not ready, and may never be. That's given. But if he does pan out, he has some nice (and sorely needed) elements in his game that would be useful. If he can get the trey to fall consistently, and play some low post D and rebound, he'll be a nice addition.

Big men take longer to develop. This is, for all intents and purposes, his rookie year.

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 4:55 PM

Oh and by the way, in 48 total minutes this season, Pech has attempted 11 treys, and made 4. That's 36.4%. Respectable. Not awesome, but not horrible either. Last year he was 17 for 60 (28.3%) on the year.

His rebounds are up from 1.9 in 9 minutes per contest to 2.5 in 8 minutes a game.

There's no reason to believe that those statistics will increase linearly with more minutes, but there's no reason to believe they won't either.

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 5:13 PM

I'd kind of tend to think that Songaila might be getting heavy minutes leading up to the trade deadline, If Ernie's not able to get a deal he likes his minutes will dail back down the stretch.

I'd tend to think that Thomas maybe in that same boat, the guy almost went missing a couple of weeks ago. Now it seems he's getting some minutes in some matchups that tend to make him look good.

If you're a team like Atlanta that could use a vet to help out against Superman, Songaila and Thomas could have caught your eye last night.

I really don't see James as a long term guy here, it seems to me the Wiz might be out to show he's still got some gas in the tank.

In the end the Wiz need a proven veteran to turn their youthful talent into solid NBA players. I've been saying it for weeks, Ernie should consider making a move for a proven NBA coach before the Allstar break.

That would give the guy the second half of the season to install his system and give the youngsters something to build on for next year.

Posted by: flohrtv | January 7, 2009 5:17 PM

jones-y, you're spot on with your PT analysis. All of these complaints about how the younger players are being unfairly caged flies in the face of what actually happens on court (not that this is new, or that it will make a difference in the minds of those complaining). They aren't getting ironclad, guaranteed, come-hell-or-highwater minutes. but then, why should they. With the exception of Pecherov, they've all been given a roll of the dice, and the ones who've produced have earned a shot to stay on the floor. That's the way it's supposed to work.

I have to differ with you, however, on Pech. I don't know what "elements" you've seen in his game, but all I've seen are slow feet, weak body, no athleticism, and an inability to distinguish bad shots from good. It's (remotely) possible that if he works on his stroke he could be come a marginal role-playing distance shooting bench player, a la Pat Garrity, but (A) I'd be shocked if he ever became more than that and (B) I don't see a glaring need on this team for another non-defense playing, contact averse big man who shoots fadeaway jumpshots and doesn't do much else.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 7, 2009 5:22 PM

Jones-y and Kal,

Finally some comments that make sense in here. I have avoided this space for a couple of weeks bc it was just getting ridiculous.

The young guys ARE getting more minutes and Blatche and McGuire have responded fairly well. NY is off and on, but he may yet develop into a more well rounded NBA player although he has not yet. And, McGee was simply playing like a 20 year old lost rookie when he started seeing his minutes disappear.

Yeah, development is the theme to this season now, but in a measured prudent way. I'm sure as the season progresses we'll see more of Crit and McGee etc...

When people complain about things like ET getting minutes last night against a guy who he has historically played well against and the only Wizard who can remotely match DH's power game, I just want to bang my head against the wall. Should we just play to lose every game this year? Is that what some of you in here want our young players to learn from this season?

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 7, 2009 5:49 PM

14 minutes for javale is due to him getting some pt early in the year he was over 20 per when eddie got canned, he has steadily decreased to dnp's under tap, inexcusable and unleashing nick like tap said he was going to do has yet to happen.
Thomas should get minutes at the five but not songaila. There is no point in having aj and cb log huge minutes for this squad, they are 7th and 10th in the league in minutes per game, this is foolish.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 7, 2009 6:19 PM

kalorama,

I'm seeing mostly the same things you see in OP. His footwork will improve. It'll remain slow, but his foot technique will improve. Haywood is also slowfooted. That shouldn't stop him from clogging the lane on D, and playing solid man-up D on other slow lumbering centers. I don't see him being afraid of contact, I see him lacking understanding of how to play the NBA physical big man game. He'll bulk up. He'll learn to use leverage. And in the end he'll be fine on D. And we all know rebounding is 95% attitude. He's got a little bit of athleticism, IMO, not a whole lot, but more than DSong.

As for shot selection, that'll come with experience. And as long as he can hit a decent enough percentage to be a threat, he'll also serve to open up the lane for everyone else.

I know, I'm giving him benefit of the doubt that he hasn't earned, but I respect EG's scouting ability. Anyone who can pluck Michael Redd and McGuire out of the second round is okay by me.

bford,

McGee is RAW as rabbit food, man. Let it go. He will still end up being the steal of the 2008 draft. He's just not ready. Period.

And name me a team that doesn't play its two best players close to 40 minutes per.

DSong at the 5? Meh. He's done much better there this year than last. However, it kills us defensively, in terms of DSong being the last line of said defense, and it kills us on the boards too. DS in the middle is far too tempting to opposing guards. His one on one D is miles better than both AB and JM, however. Ab does well against slow-footed centers, because he can out-quick them, but DS does better against the power guys, and, surprisingly, the more athletic big men too.

Posted by: jones-y | January 7, 2009 10:01 PM

jones-y, I'll keep it short and sweet . . I think you're dead wrong on every single point regarding Pecherov. I guess only time will tell.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 8, 2009 12:05 AM

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