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Defense, Defense, Defense....

This is my fourth season covering the Wizards and yesterday, I wrote a story talking about the need to clamp down defense for oh, about the 1,000th time. The difference now is that without Gilbert Arenas, DeShawn Stevenson, Brendan Haywood and Roger Mason Jr., the Wiz have to play defense just to be in games.

The breakdowns we saw against Golden State the other night were typical: poor pick-and-roll coverage, a failure to stop dribble penetration, poor rotations and not getting back in transition.

Then, at the offensive end, this team tends to easily fall into the trap of one-pass-and-a-shot, one-pass-and-a-shot, and games slip out of control. "It comes down to trust," point guard Mike James said. "Guys have to understand that that someone has their back; and offensively, we have to move the ball and get good shots. It's not that complicated but there's just a trickle down effect when things start to go against us and we have to fix that."

By Ivan Carter  |  January 21, 2009; 1:31 PM ET
 
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Comments

McGee (who basically played his way out of the rotation) they have been playing significant minutes in meaningful parts of the game (at least as much as any Wizards game has meaningful minutes). (B) As has also been pointed out (including in my previous post) there are many ways to learn and many different lessons to be learned from any single situation. There's a difference between learning and getting schooled, and letting the kids play 40+ and lose by 25 isn't teaching them anything of value other than to reinforce how much losing sucks.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 21, 2009 12:30 AM

Kal - First, other then the Orlando Magic game against D. Howard and the following game against the Lakers against Bynum was the only time McGee got "schooled" and he should have been sat down in the two games only.

If Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott is using that as his reason for showing McGee no minutes then that is just plain old DUMB...!!!! McGee never played himself out of rotation other then those two games, so I don't have a clue on how you could say that. Stevenson on the other hand "played his way out of the rotation", oops I forgot.

No he didn't. He went to the coach himself and "took himself" out of the lineup because he is a VETERAN.... Stevenson had a string of games where he was stinking it up and still never "played himself" out of rotation. Once again "double standard" coaching at it's best with Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott.

There's a difference between learning and getting schooled, and letting the kids play 40+ and lose by 25 isn't teaching them anything of value other than to reinforce how much losing sucks.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 21, 2009 12:30 AM

Kal - You are kidding me right? When you get schooled, guess what? You are learning by getting schooled. We are losing by 20 to 25 points now with the vets playing so losing is still being reinforced without the team getting nothing out of it.

Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott is running CB, AJ, and Song. into the ground and for what?????? More unnecessary pounding on their knees just to lose every game by 10 or more. While you have fresh legs (OPEC, McGee, NY, AB, Critt and DMac) over there just "watching and learning" as you and Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott say they are doing.

You used the example of the Timberwolves (hmm doesn't someone else we know like the Wolves????) for your arguement. Well I will use the 76er's for mine. New interim coach who adjusts to what he has (YOUNGIN'S AB, NY, MCGEE AND ETC. AGE) and lets them run.

The difference is Elton Brand gets hurt (he was slowing down their game ie. AJ) and instead of their coach forcing his youngsta's to slow it down (as our genius for a coach is doing), he instructed them to play to their strengths. Coaching my friend makes a heck of a difference, trust me......

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 21, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, nice try. When you are 8-31, defense doesn't matter, offense doesn't matter, and winning or losing doesn't matter.

The team needs to look to next year. In that regard, there can be only one strategy. Play the youngsters and stop destroying their confidence.

Crit, Young, Mac, AB and McGee have played together only once to my knowledge and Taps broke it up after 3 minutes - and the youngsters tied the score and changed the complexion of the game.

Taps clearly is predisposed to the vets and therefore against the youngsters. Yet since training camp, the youngsters have been outplaying the vets.

This isn't very complex.

Posted by: Izman | January 21, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Then, at the offensive end, this team tends to easily fall into the trap of one-pass-and-a-shot, one-pass-and-a-shot, and games slip out of control.

By Ivan Carter | January 21, 2009; 1:31 PM ET

Ivan - May I ask who is guilty of this "one pass and a shot" offense? No need to answer, because it is Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott's trusted VETERAN tandom of CB and AJ. But's oops, lets not forget young cats like AB, NY and McGee are not allowed to "one pass and shoot" because they are not VETERANS......????

The ball can not move because Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott has instructed everyone on the team not named CB or AJ to not shoot without giving the pill to one of the dynamic tag team. Even big bad Mike James has fallen in line with this concept.

And you wonder why the ball does not swing around the horn as it should. Cats not named CB, AJ, Stevenson and Song. are scared to shoot because they don't want to get put in the McGee/Opec doghouse. I just love our coach.........

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 21, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Good defense starts with defensive-minded players.

All the great defensive teams -- the Jordan-era Bulls, the Popovich-Spurs, the Phil Jackson-Lakers, the Larry Brown teams all have individual players known for their capable defense.

Until Ernie Grunfeld takes some personal responsibility, and adds defenders to the roster, things will never change.

Posted by: SteveC28 | January 21, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Mike James mentioned trust and that's a key word. I watched the 2nd quarter of the GS game and chronicled it here yesterday. After Maggette drove by him twice for layups, and no one behind him challenged him, AJ backed off. Maggette then hit an open jumper. After AJ stepped back up, Maggette drove for another layup. Same thing happened with Stephen Jackson. He drove 3 times for layups and no one (Songaila was playing C at the time) came over either to foul or to challenge.

I wouldn't trust that I had help, either. Guys play up on their man and look bad when he drives by them for layups. They play back and give up open shots. Without an anchor, we have no shot at a decent defense. The closest thing we have to an anchor is JM right now.

Play him. It's that simple.

This is why we keep clamoring for JM. Though he's a below average rebounder right now and ppl drive on him more than I'd like, he's more of a deterrent than anyone else at the C position.

Posted by: original_mark | January 21, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Bill Laimbeer was no a great defender. Neither was Mahorn. What they had going for them was the willingness to hack the sh%% out of whoever drove. That strategy alone would make a huge difference.

Posted by: original_mark | January 21, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

It sure seems like a lot of people are giving BTH credit for playing good defense.

Imagine if the rest of the team was playing it with him.

Posted by: original_mark | January 21, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Ivan,

Since this is your fourth season covering the Wizards you should know, this organization does not reward players for playing defense. The Wizards resigned Gil 14,653,466 and Jamison 9,923,285 and neither one will play any defense.

1st This team needs to find out which young players can play. I say start JM C, AB PF, DM SF, NY SG, JC PG and each of them should play 25 minutes a game.

2nd Since they should get a good draft pick this year they need know who to pick (not a project).

3rd The organization should have a good idea who they want to bring in as the new head coach and what if any roster moves need to be made.

It is all about next year and if they follow these 3 easy steps and get everyone healthy, they should make the playoffs next year.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 21, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The way I see it the youngsters already have a good balance of Offense (NY, AB) and Defense (Crit, DM, JM).

Posted by: Dave381 | January 21, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Ivan,

Excellent article on defense in today's paper. Its the primary problem. The wiz can't defend the rim, can't defend the paint, can't defend the 3pt line.

Last year we couldn't defend the 3 pointer, but at least a team had to be relatively hot from outside to make us pay. Goes to show how much of a loss BTH was, where now 3pt defense is not our biggest defensive liability.

I like the accountability AB is showing:

"I need to talk to Brendan and see how he was able to protect the rim like last year. He is a very smart player and always seems to be in the right place, and I need to figure out how to do the same to help the team. I need to try and protect the rim more."

I just hope it turns into results, much like his self-criticism about his lack of intensity in going after rebounds did. But defending the rim is not something you just pick up.

And its about time Ivan wrote some positive words about AB, even if it was still a bit sideways...

A positive development, however, is that AB was in the game down the stretch... Baby steps. Golden State beat us with threes instead of layups and putbacks... Not every team is gonna heat up from outside down the stretch like they did. So if this becomes a permanent change (AB instead of DSong at the 5 down the stretch), and if AB can learn to protect the paint a little better (he's miles better than DSong, but BTH is miles better than him), then we will have a chance to pull out some of these games we've been giving away.

Posted by: jones-y | January 21, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"It comes down to trust," point guard Mike James said. "Guys have to understand that that someone has their back; and offensively, we have to move the ball and get good shots."
Really? Mike James is talking about the need to share the ball? I think my head is going to explode.

Posted by: rodeoclown | January 21, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The reason you keep writing the same story over and over again, Ivan, is because the team's top players don't defend and will fire up ill-advised shots, and they are never held to account for it. So, all the young players learn either that (1) they won't be penalized for playing poor defense and taking bad shots, or if they will be (2) the coaches have a double standard on those issues.

The team's defense won't improve until Jamison, Butler and Arenas have a coach who will bench them for poor defense.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 21, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Our issues defending the pick-and-roll go way beyond the last 4 years...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | January 21, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Ivan - To answer your question about defense. The answer is real simple and we have been going over this a million times since last year's blog.

Straight man to man however not with "slow small ball" (AJ and Song.) doing it. Stop having the 5 showing way past the foul line every time the opposing team brings the ball up the court, stop doubling down everytime a scrub on the other team gets it in the paint, stop switching everytime there is a high pick and roll and fight through the "moving pick" and stay with your man, and last but not least put a legit 7 footer in at the 5 (OPEC, AB, or McGee) to cover the paint in case perimeter defense is compromised.

Put this 5 in at the same time playing "man to man" and I guarantee you will see stops.

5. McGee
4. AB
3. CB
2. DMac
1. Critt.

You would also see some offensive punch too. This is not rocket science, however that genius for a coach of ours makes it seem like it is....... GO VETERANS.......

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 21, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

What a post. It is a tireless debate that is getting quite old, and the solution is not rocket-science.

Saying the Wizards have any hope of playing even marginally good defense with the current personnel, is just like saying Kalo_rama is not related to Eddie Jordan in some way shape or form.

It is simple, the defense will be lousy, and continue to be lousy when your "Big-3" is quite possibly the worst defensive combo in the L.

Posted by: cj658 | January 21, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

" The difference now is that without Gilbert Arenas, DeShawn Stevenson, Brendan Haywood and Roger Mason Jr., the Wiz have to play defense just to be in games."

That's a joke right? It should have just said "without Gilbert". BTH is a 7 footer who will get you 7ppg. DS is a starting 2-guard who shoots below 40% and averages in the single digits. Mason was a role player coming of the bench for a rare offensive "spark".

Can we PLEASE stop blaming the Wizards woes on injuries and departed personnel. That execuse is almost as pathetic as the Wizards season!!!!!

Posted by: cj658 | January 21, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I think the whole thing about young players getting schooled is overblown. Take for example these successful big mean who were all drafted right out of high school, so less experienced and less mature than McGee: Garnett, Al Jefferson, Howard, Josh Smith. i'm rounding the numbers, but here are their average minutes from their rookie year: 29, 15, 33, 28. McGee is at 14. Jefferson had the lowest, and arguably was the slowest to develop, though not that far behind Smith.

We've read quotes before by teammates and coaches about McGee having no hesitation or fear on the court. I think his psyche would be just fine if he get destroyed in a game or two. It might even motivate him. I know i can see a huge difference in his demeanor than from blatche's. After a particularly good game from mcgee earlier in the season, and maybe even one that we won, I remember him being interview after the game, and the reporter had to tell him to smile, because he was being too serious.

It's one thing to throw a rookie to the wolves, and then get on his case constantly because he's not performing greatly, or berate him, like we did with Kwame. But tossing in a young man, and saying, 'go play your best and afterwards, we'll watch tapes and see where you can improve. we don't expect you to dominate, just give your best effort,' and not going to ruin his confidence.

Posted by: segastyle | January 21, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The closest thing we have to an anchor is JM right now.

Posted by: original_mark | January 21, 2009 2:08 PM

You're joking right? The closest thing we have to an anchor is AB. And he's got a long way to go to get to BTH's level defending the paint.
--------------------------------

While you have fresh legs (OPEC, McGee, NY, AB, Critt and DMac) over there just "watching and learning" as you and Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott say they are doing.

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 21, 2009 1:42 PM

The team needs to look to next year. In that regard, there can be only one strategy. Play the youngsters and stop destroying their confidence.

Posted by: Izman | January 21, 2009 1:50 PM

1st This team needs to find out which young players can play.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 21, 2009 2:42 PM

Over the last 10 games, the young players are averaging 104.7 minutes per. That's 43.6% of the 240 available minutes. They comprise 40% of the roster (6 of 15) and they are getting over 40% of the minutes.

What more do you guys want? If its minutes for JM, then fair enough, but you need to say JM and not blanketize your statements to give the impression that our young players aren't getting minutes when THEY CLEARLY ARE GETTING MINUTES AND LOTS OF THEM...

Posted by: jones-y | January 21, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

That's a joke right? It should have just said "without Gilbert". BTH is a 7 footer who will get you 7ppg. DS is a starting 2-guard who shoots below 40% and averages in the single digits. Mason was a role player coming of the bench for a rare offensive "spark".

Can we PLEASE stop blaming the Wizards woes on injuries and departed personnel. That execuse is almost as pathetic as the Wizards season!!!!!


Posted by: cj658 | January 21, 2009 3:26 PM


So pray tell, what exactly is to blame for our woes???

We're missing our two best defenders from last year (BTH and DSteve). That's our best perimeter defender, and our best (and only) interior defender.

We're missing our two best 3pt shooters from last year (RM at 39.8% and DSteve at 38.3%). And that's not even accounting for Gil's absence...

Curious to hear your thoughts...

Posted by: jones-y | January 21, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

But tossing in a young man, and saying, 'go play your best and afterwards, we'll watch tapes and see where you can improve. we don't expect you to dominate, just give your best effort,' and not going to ruin his confidence.

Posted by: segastyle | January 21, 2009 3:31 PM

I somewhat agree in principle, but then you have to consider this: Is it fair to the rest of the team to throw JM out there, regardless of whether he's ready or not?

Taking that into account, I would say that the current strategy of giving JM spot duty is good. For now.

For now. And not for much longer.

Posted by: jones-y | January 21, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

JONES-Y: Sounds like you’re another one that is living in Mr. Roger’s neighborhood. To address your points:

-“DSteve” has played most of this season, and the Wizards were just as terrible when he was in the lineup. Take him out of the equation.

-BTH is a garbo center. Period. I’ve addressed this argument on too many occasions to go back into it. 7points and 5rebs for a 7-footer, over a 7+ year career, pathetic. Again, look at the Wizards tape from the past 2 seasons with a healthy BTH and tell me they were a good defensive team. If you can do that, than I’ll shut-up. But you can’t. The Wizards are terrible on D with BTH, and terrible on D without BTH. It’s a revolving door my friend.

- RM is the only “reasonable” argument you put up out of everyone you name, and him leaving still does not create a good case for why the Wiz suck. He was a role player at best, and looking at his 3-point % is a meaningless statistic. He had a good year, sure. But he made no difference to the teams mediocre success last year. If he were “hurt” all last year, the Wiz still would have finished .500. Not saying much. He really wasn’t a factor. Supposed perennial playoff get over the loss of role players like Roger. Period. Teams overcome taking 9 pts, and 1 ast, out of the lineup.

Posted by: cj658 | January 21, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Ivan

Good defense comes from having a sound basic defensive philosophy. That comes first and then you adjust that philosophy to the players you have.

Everyone can play basic defense, but some players are great at defense. Our philosophy is flawed because it is based on having great defensive players in which we do not.

The greater number of good defensive players on your Team, the lesser your defensive philosophy has to be.

The lack of good defensive players on your Team, the more sound your defensive philosophy has to be.

Sound as in KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid.
Man to Man means stay with your man and not switch. If your man is at 3-point range then you better be two.

If your man is driving, you better be too. It is so much easier to hound a man to the basket, than to let him go freely and hope he gets picks up by someone else.

If your man constantly gets free, then you need a Switch To The Bench.

This one concept alone will tell your players that they must do a good job of shutting down their man and when the whole Team believes this, guess what, you got a better defensive Team. KISS

On offense you must Run And Gun First. Wes Unseld was famous for his two handed half court pass. It was famous not because it was two handed, though that was incredible, but because it set the offense up for easy baskets and when the defense was there, then they went to a set offense.

As a matter of strategy you must push first, i.e. Majic and Showtime, and if nothing is there then set up.

That means a good bulk of your scoring is going to come from an UpTemPo style that kills the other Teams Defense and wears them down.

The Wizards are built to do this.

If you have a Rolls Royce, all you have to do is drive it. You do not have to figure out how to make it better or change its parts.

This Team is made for Running. Even when Gil gets back and Haywood, a new Draft choice, whatever, they better be Running, as they should be now.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 21, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Jones-y

Each young player requires a separate development plan, including which rotations they fit best with.

The youngsters' minutes are going up begrudgingly, and only because of additional injuries to the vets. At 38 minutes a game, it's just a matter of time until AJ andn CB do down. Then we'll be wondering whether they will be ready by camp.

Saying the youngsters are getting lots of minutes is meaningless. AB has gotten the most benefit from TAPS minutes-wise, but even he is not averaging the amount of time that he should be getting(namely, 30-35 minutes a game).

Only Mac has been getting about the right number of minutes given his potential (which isn't as high as the others).

Crit, Young, AB and especially McGee should be getting more minutes.

Posted by: Izman | January 21, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Mason was a bigger part of last year's success then anyone realized. A team needs at least two three point threats on the floor to really spread the defense. Most of the time now the Wiz are lucky to have one.

Mason was a decent defender and had a decent, not great, handle. He could dribble drive and quick dish to keep the offense moving, wasn't going all the way to the rack often, but he was effective at passing the ball.

Along with Stevenson playing like a one legged man with a bad back, the loss of Mason has really diminished the backcourt play. And Daniels showed up gimpy from a summer injury unable to play heavy minutes as well.

Without Haywood the team really had no center, I think Jordan saw that problem for what it was and tried to force feed McGee early minutes somewhat at the expense of Blatche.

Tapps has a different approach with Blatche and McGee. Blatche is clearly the better of the two right now and Tapps is giving him minutes at center instead of McGee.

My problem, and many of the posters complaint is giving Songaila minutes at the 5 instead of McGee. The coaching on this team has for years, even going back to the two year stint of Collins/Jordan have gone to small ball down the stretch. Remember Popeye Jones at Center?

Wiz fans are really tired of people going to the rack with no fear what so ever. And then listening to coaches complain that the Wiz didn't rebound down the stretch while the team's rebounders sat glued to the bench.

My read is that the McGee situation is a symbol to many of us. We're so sick of a young center being pulled in the 4th and getting badly rebounded down the stretch. It's been going on for so long many of us feel it's ingrained into this organization to always coach the same way no matter what.

Mark's point about the old Pistons was a valid one. Like the present Cavaliers they always had waves of bigs who weren't afraid to knock somebody down. Not great interior defenders just great scrappers.

Maybe Lambrier would be a guy that the Wiz should consider for Head Coach. Him and Mahorn would even get in a brawl with the girls to win. Maybe we need a little of that kind of edge here...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | January 21, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Over the last 10 games, the young players are averaging 104.7 minutes per. That's 43.6% of the 240 available minutes. They comprise 40% of the roster (6 of 15) and they are getting over 40% of the minutes.

What more do you guys want? If its minutes for JM, then fair enough, but you need to say JM and not blanketize your statements to give the impression that our young players aren't getting minutes when THEY CLEARLY ARE GETTING MINUTES AND LOTS OF THEM...

Posted by: jones-y | January 21, 2009 3:33 PM

oK. JM, JM, JM.......... & OPEC, OPEC, OPEC.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 21, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Now to answer the actual question “what exactly is to blame for our woes???”
The players, plain and simple. It starts up top with the two “captains”, CB and AJ. Both of whom play no defense and are overrated and overpaid. The Wizards we’re a .500 team last year. It’s not about the system, it’s about the players. Defense wins championships. Period. Until the Wizards invest in players and coaches who understand that concept, they will be terrible. Getting rid of EJ was a good first step. He was a coach with no control, and essentially coached a rec league team with offense talent out of the a$$. This year, they are simply being exposed for who they really are: A team with no leadership, young players who can’t make one mistake without getting the “dog-house” treatment. The vets need to be held accountable, and until they are, the downward spiral will continue. But all in all, they have enough talent to continue to be playoff team (.500) team (with or without Gil), despite all the problems. After all, they were not great last year, but they were still middle of the pack, right?

There is no flicking way a team goes from being a playoff team (#5 seed), to the worst team in the league. Period, it just doesn’t happened. And don’t give me the same hogwash about BTH, and RM being gone. Those 2 role players do not make the difference between a playoff team and a bottom-feeder. Anyone with a brain knows that. Gil didn’t play the whole year last year, and they still made the playoffs, THEN the debate comes “Are the Wizards better without Gilbert Arenas?” Maybe not, but it appeared they we’re just as good. Gil didn’t take to kindly to these suggestions, so he decides to rush himself back from surgery, and proves to ineffective versus the Cavs. Gil is then signed to 111 million dollar deal! Wow, that’s putting all your marbles in one jar with that move. So Gil all of a sudden has “debris-removal” (right AFTER the signing, and right BEFORE the season starts), which causes him to miss this entire season. And the Wizards are all off a sudden TERRIBLE without him in the lineup. What a coincidence! All of a sudden, players are playing below their talent level, and a playoff team from 7 months ago is a disaster. The NBA is a business and there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. How would EG/Abe & Gil look if the Wizards continued to win without him? Not so good. How would EG/Abe & Gil look if the he returned to the lineup of a playoff bound team, and they did not improve? Not so good. BUT, how would EG/Abe & Gil look if he returns to a HORRIBLE team, and they start winning again. Everyone all of a sudden is saying how much this team missed Gil, and how bad they were without Gil, and now the 111 million dollar investment looks like pure GENIOUS. I’ll let you draw whatever conclusions you want from this theory, but I whole-heartedly believe it.

Posted by: cj658 | January 21, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Mahorn got his start in the NBA here in Washington as 1/2 of the "beef brothers" with Jeff Ruland. So he has a connection here from long ago.

Posted by: flohrtv | January 21, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Cj658

If Brendan Haywood had been given the correct PT over his carreer, his numbers extrapilate to a double, double.

Even last year, he had to give up playing time to this so called small ball strategy.

And you are flat wrong about his Defense. When Haywood is on the floor the whole team performs better defensively. They were not great but his presence made the Team better, especially in Team rebounding.

Haywood is not and never will be a great individual defender but he is good at being a Team defender at the Center Position.

You fall into the trap of ideals, without factoring in the whole picture.

For his first 6 years in the NBA he averaged only 23 mpg. Last year he averaged 27 mpg. The Wizards have used Haywood just half a game.

CJ658, them stats you basing Haywoods effectiveness on are just half the picture.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 21, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

JONES-Y: Sounds like you’re another one that is living in Mr. Roger’s neighborhood.

I don't trade barbs, so have at it, my friend. If you'd like to have a grown-up discussion, I'll be glad to oblige...

-“DSteve” has played most of this season, and the Wizards were just as terrible when he was in the lineup. Take him out of the equation.

DSteve has in effect been neutralized by injury this season. He has in essence stated this himself. He's in the equation.

-BTH is a garbo center. Period.

BTH is our best defender and only interior defender. Period. In every other aspect he's a serviceable center in a league in which 25 other teams also start a 'serviceable at best' center.

Again, look at the Wizards tape from the past 2 seasons with a healthy BTH and tell me they were a good defensive team. If you can do that, than I’ll shut-up. But you can’t. The Wizards are terrible on D with BTH, and terrible on D without BTH.

You're asking for evidence that's staring you in the face. Last year (and the year before that) we were a bad defensive team. This year we are a horrid defensive team. Last year we couldn't defend the 3pt line. This year we can't defend the 3pt line or the paint. I'm not clear what other change could account for this. And you haven't offered any reasonable explanation. the ball is in your court.

- RM is the only “reasonable” argument you put up out of everyone you name, and him leaving still does not create a good case for why the Wiz suck. He was a role player at best, and looking at his 3-point % is a meaningless statistic. He had a good year, sure. But he made no difference to the teams mediocre success last year.

I'm not quite sure how you can forward this argument with no reasonable basis. You do understand the effect that a solid 3pt shooter has on floor spacing, opposing teams' defensive strategies, and so on, right?

Posted by: jones-y | January 21, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards have been a team with fatal flaws for the past four years despite the playoff appearances and first round exits.

Unfortunately, it appears Abe Pollin is not going to allow Grunfeld to make any moves to rectify the situation and put this team on another trajectory.

Fearful of the luxury tax and afraid to alter a winning (?) team chemistry, Pollin forced Grunfeld to resign Arenas and Antawn Jamison at top of the market prices given their age (Jamison is 32) and injury history (3 knee operations for Arenas).

Meanwhile the club has never invested resources in a head coach that has a proven track record of success in the NBA.

The Wizards have continued down the 'bargain' route in naming Ed Tapscott the interim coach.

Certainly, the firing of Eddie Jordan came at a time when finding a qualified coach with credentials was difficult, but did it really take a rocket scientist to discover that the Wizards were not a good defensive team, that they were not improving, and that with Arenas out for the balance of the season that Washington was going to be challenged to stay competitive.

The Wizards are also carrying a few players like Pecherov and Etan Thomas who would not make the active roster of teams like the Celtics, Lakers, Spurs, Magic, etc.

Anyone else think we have seen enough of Andray Blatche and that he needs to be moved in the offseason? At 24 someone else will take a chance on him at 6'11, but he is far too inconsistent and too indifferent a worker IMO to ever be a top NBA player or even a solid starter.

It's time to stop the fantasy.

Top five Wizards' fantasies/self-delusions:

1. Gilbert Arenas when healthy is a Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant type leader who will lead Washington to the ranks of a top contender.

2. The Wizards will be able to play solid interior defense and control the boards with Antawn Jamison playing power forward.

3. Andray Blatche is close to breaking out and being a difference-maker in the NBA.

4. Etan Thomas is a capable reserve behind Brendan Haywood. Thomas delivers zero offense and has hands of stone. His rebounding numbers when given playing time are just not there.

5. The team has done a good job of identifying talent in the draft. The Wizards continue to draft jump-shooters and 6'11 beanpoles who turn out to be #4/#5 tweeners. Washington needs to start drafting players whose primary skills are defense and rebounding. In other words, role players. Especially if the team is really committed to Butler, Arenas and Jamison going forward. There is no room on that offense for another player that wants to jack up 15-20 shots per night.

Posted by: leopard09 | January 21, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

we need mcgee to play half the game at center and song to only play the 4, blatche should get time at four and jamison's minutes at pf should be reduced heavily, move him away from having to protect the paint and let him play the three, he should really be the sixth man but we all know this will not happen

Posted by: bford1kb | January 21, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

JONES-Y- If you think I was engaging in attempt to “trade barbs”, you are sadly mistaken. It’s called a joke, J-O-K-E. Looks like you’re just another guy (who shall remain nameless) who needs to loosen his suspenders a little bit. Rough day at the office? Speaking of loosening suspenders, I think I’ll do just that! It’s 5:30, and I’m outta here. I’ll be back tomorrow to refute everyone of your arguments, so I hope you’re around. BTH & Dsteve are factors?, man oh man. Just look at our defensive ranks last season, and the season before that, then rethink your statement.

Posted by: cj658 | January 21, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Saying the youngsters are getting lots of minutes is meaningless.


And saying they need more is equally as meaningless. Especially when they're getting plenty.

The youngsters' minutes are going up begrudgingly, and only because of additional injuries to the vets.

Begrudgingly? Maybe, maybe not. I don't think anyone, besides ETap (and maybe the imp on his left shoulder) is in a position to say whether or not there is grudge involved. And I don't see grudge... For example, JC. No one in front of him went down. As for the injuries, there is the inevitable mpg bump that all players get when someone who plays their position goes down. I'm not sure how that factors in, in this discussion though. That's because you can't say that e.g. NY wouldn't be getting minutes if DSteve were suited up. And you would think that with ET going down, JM would be next in line, and that obviously hasn't happened.

AB has gotten the most benefit from TAPS minutes-wise, but even he is not averaging the amount of time that he should be getting(namely, 30-35 minutes a game).

Only Mac has been getting about the right number of minutes given his potential (which isn't as high as the others).

Crit, Young, AB and especially McGee should be getting more minutes.

AB is averaging 25mpg since ETap took over.

Young is averaging 23mpg since mid-december when ETap let him out of the doghouse (a huge blunder on the part of ETap).

Critt is averaging 19mpg in January. And let's remember he's been here all of six weeks...

DMac averaged 19mpg in December and is averaging 27 minutes in January.

I don't know, it just seems like a case of 'More More More' to me. Especially when a part of your argument is that AB should be getting 5 more minutes a night...

Posted by: jones-y | January 21, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

JONES-Y- If you think I was engaging in attempt to “trade barbs”, you are sadly mistaken. It’s called a joke, J-O-K-E. Looks like you’re just another guy (who shall remain nameless) who needs to loosen his suspenders a little bit. Rough day at the office? Speaking of loosening suspenders, I think I’ll do just that! It’s 5:30, and I’m outta here. I’ll be back tomorrow to refute everyone of your arguments, so I hope you’re around. BTH & Dsteve are factors?, man oh man. Just look at our defensive ranks last season, and the season before that, then rethink your statement.

Posted by: cj658 | January 21, 2009 5:30 PM


Sorry cj... Sorry. No, I mean I'm really sorry.

And I'm not a big stats guy. I like to watch games, and form an opinion from that. And watching games tells me that our interior defense this year is way worse than last year.

And watching games tells me that defenses are collapsing and crowding the paint because we don't have any credible 3pt threats...

Posted by: jones-y | January 21, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Playing defense is the Wizzie's only hope cause they don't have any offense.

If they can hold the opposition under 80 per game and under 18 in the 4th Q they might get 20 wins this year.

This team has no balls but come the lottery they'll have more than anyone else.

Posted by: VBFan | January 21, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Jones-y

Oden played 35 minutes last night and is averaging 22 minutes a game and it would be a lot more if he wasn't constantly in foul trouble.

If you argue that he's not comparable to McGee because he was drafted #2, then what about the 30 minutes per game for Chalmbers of Miami who was a second round pick.

The more the rooks play, the better they are. The question is what is their potential. If coaches play a rook without much potential too much, then there is no long-term pay-off for the short-term sacrifice of a few wins.

In the Wiz case, whether they win 32 with the vets or 22 with the rooks, doesn't matter. Anyway, the rooks are playing better than the vets.

What benefit to the team's long term interest is to give Stevenson, Songolia, etc. minutes this year?

Posted by: Izman | January 21, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

BTH is a garbo center. Period. I’ve addressed this argument on too many occasions to go back into it. 7points and 5rebs for a 7-footer, over a 7+ year career, pathetic.

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

And we've all countered your argument on each occasion and you still ignore it.

You manipulate your numbers to try and make your point. 5.9 rebounds is not the same as 5. I'm not saying it nullifies your point, but you're still manipulating stats.

And since you're talking about career averages, you're watering down the stats even more with seasons of 20mpg (as others have pointed out.)

Haywood wasn't a 7/5 center last year; he was a 11/7 center with a 74% FT. Odds are, that same Haywood would have shown up, if not better. And you're trying to shove down our throats that he is a 7/5. Nobody's buying it.

Posted by: crs-one | January 21, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Stay between your man and the rim! I don't mean to pick on Nick Young - he can flat out score; but when he plays D he stands straight up and gets blown by almost every time his man drives. Defense is contagious. If you see one guy not playing it, no one else is going to bother wasting their energy to chase someone else's man down the court. Forget the D, try and run and gun.

Posted by: t-train | January 21, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Cj658,

I think I told you once before that stats cannot tell you everything. But you insist on drawing your conclusions from stats.

Those same stats that you give could be practically the same for each individual player even if this Team was winning.

The only thing that would change them is a substantial change in the roles of the players.

You see CJ658, you must not understand what the theory is behind the saying, "The whole is neither greater than or equal to the sum of its parts.

CJ658 that saying applies to human behavior. The parts in this case would be the individual players, their play, the coaching/organizational entity, their relationships, together and individually.

The whole is all of this. Each game they go out to play the results of the parts are always changing, so they never equal the whole.

So, while those stats you keep quoting are important, they will never tell you as you keep insisting why this Team does not win.

This Team could win a Championship and some of those same stats you say is why they are losers could be exactly the same.

Get a grip CJ658 and stop letting stats be your common denominater.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 21, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"Bill Laimbeer was no a great defender. Neither was Mahorn. What they had going for them was the willingness to hack the sh%% out of whoever drove. That strategy alone would make a huge difference."

(A) You're wrong (or half wrong. Yes, Mahorn and LAimbeer were willing to maim people under the basket but, that notwithstanding, they were both excellent defenders in the paint, who understood defensive position and were big, strong, and smart enough to use their hands and bodies to make it difficult for opponents to get scoring or rebounding position, and (B) It's not 1988 anymore. The game (and the officiating) has changed. Guys can't get away with hacking and hard fouls and physical intimidation anymore, in part because of the mayhem guys like Laimbeer and Mahorn committed back in the day.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 21, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

"The more the rooks play, the better they are. "

As usual, you've got that backwards.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 21, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

"Is it fair to the rest of the team to throw JM out there, regardless of whether he's ready or not?" - jones-y

considering that we're not winning, playoffs are out of reach, and really, we need to look to next year, i'd argue it is fair. if it helps him be a better player, it means it'll help our team be a better team next year.

i'm just of the opinion that right now, EVERYTHING our team does should be about next season.


"The more the rooks play, the better they are."

i'd rephrase that slightly to, 'the more rooks play, the better they get.' then i'd generally agree.

Posted by: segastyle | January 22, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

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