Heading West

The Wizards practiced this morning before hopping a flight to the Bay Area for tomorrow's MLK Day matinee against the Golden State Warriors. It's going to be a challenging four-game trip for a Wiz team that has lost five straight away from Verizon Center and is 2-16 on the road overall.

The good news is that Friday's win over the Knicks appeared to have a very positive mental effect on the team. As much as we all want to monitor the progress of the team's young core, I think it's important that those guys taste winning for purposes of morale. Case in point: the Minnesota Timberwolves.

That's another young team that was really getting beaten down with losing earlier in the season but has recently perked up with some solid wins, including one at Phoenix the other night. As much as I've been all over Kevin McHale for his mistakes as GM, I have to admit that he's done a good job of blending in the young fellas with the vets since taking over. It will be interesting to continue tracking how Ed Tapscott does the same.

Check in tomorrow for updates from Oakland...

By Ivan Carter |  January 18, 2009; 2:39 PM ET
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Any more news flashes on the Gilbert situation? Is there any chance at all that he'll come back this year, or is Ernie aiming for the best shot at the #1 pick at this point? I wouldn't mind the latter scenario, except that there don't seem to be any real franchise players in this year's draft.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | January 18, 2009 3:19 PM

That's the other side of benching the veterans and letting the kids risk piling up the lopsided losses --- most NBA coaches regard that as giving up on a season, and as the worst thing you can do with a young squad.

I guess I can understand that. What's the lesson they learn? That the club doesn't believe they're good enough to win. That they might as well lay down when the other team's lead gets above ten points. That the regular season games are just an extended preseason.

Maybe that's not such a good lesson for young players to learn.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2009 4:13 PM

As much as I've been all over Kevin McHale for his mistakes as GM, I have to admit that he's done a good job of blending in the young fellas with the vets since taking over. It will be interesting to continue tracking how Ed Tapscott does the same.

Check in tomorrow for updates from Oakland...

By Ivan Carter | January 18, 2009; 2:39 PM ET

Ivan - There is no need in tracking how Tapscott is going to do the blend because he is never going to do it. The dude is just as stuborn as Eddie J' was if not more. Also he does not know what he is doing.

What I don't understand is what was the point of firing Eddie J' if you were going to replace him with someone who calls games just like he does, but WORSE?????!!! Now I suppported Eddie J' all the way up until that Knicks game where Eddie J' looked like he lost the game on purpose with his rotational calls, or lack there of. To me at that point, I did not want a coach who did not want to be here anymore because his heart was not in it anymore.

I got tired of Eddie J' dogging AB, not calling functional rotations during games, givng Stevenson way too many minutes and most of all playing way to much "slow small ball" with Song. at the "5"...?? I thought with firing Eddie J' and bringing in a replacement would mean a 180 in the treatment of the young players like AB, Young, McGee, McGurire and OPEC; and most of all no more "slow small ball"....!!!!!

Now to Eddie J's credit, he gave McGee major minutes and believed in the young boy. But for some reason he could not transfer those same feelings to AB. Now Tapscott has come in and completely destroyed McGee's head and game. For what, at the expense of giving Song. more minutes at the "5".

Tapscott gave AB false hope like he was going to give him 30 to 35 minutes and now has yanked the rug from up under the young boy. He is never in the last minutes of games even after playing well in the game early, ala Haywood last year and Eddie J' doing the same thing to him. For goodness sake, it took for Stevenson to come to him to take him out of the game even when Stevenson was clearly stinking the joint up.

You better believe if Stevenson did not take himself out of these past games because of his back, we would not have seen Nick Young. Tapscott would still be playing Stevenson 30 to 35 minutes coming off of the bench, go figure? NY would still be on the bench with all of the other young guns.

You have middle school and AAU coaches who can coach better then Tapscott. I am really surprised because I thought the dude was going to be coaching from his own playbook vs. the one Eddie J' left in his office when he was fired......?????

Tapscott reminds me of Henry Winkler in the Waterboy. He was the coach who was coaching the Waterboy's team from a book called "Coaching for Idiots".... Looks like the same thing to me, but the only difference is that was a movie, but unfortunately Tapscott coaching the Wiz is real............

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 18, 2009 5:34 PM

Blatche needs to motivate himself. If that's not enough motivation, give him a million dollars.

No need to blame others for his lack of success.

Repeat, ad nauseum.

Posted by: crs-one | January 18, 2009 6:42 PM

I feel that Songaila, Dixon, Thomas, and Stevenson have gotten too many minutes.
I think part of the frustration is that this is a developmental season and so the young guys should be getting tested.
I think another more significant part of the frustration is that the young players are more effective on the court this season than those four veterans. All considerations of youth vs veteran aside, Critt and Young are better guards than Dixon and Stevenson, and McGuire, Blatche and McGee are better than Songaila and Thomas.
Thats why James minutes are somewhat stomachable, because although his playing time takes away from Critts development, James gives us the best chance to win. But those other four vets take development time away and hurt our chances to win. Now injuries to Deshawn and Etan and Dixon's terrible play have denied Tapscott the ability to continue this favoring of veterans to the same extent as before, however Tapscott still has the choice to make between giving Songaila 25 mpg or reduce his minutes to 10-15 mpg and split the savings between McGee/McGuire/Blatche

Posted by: emmet1 | January 18, 2009 6:55 PM

Emmet1 - Could not agree with you more.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 18, 2009 7:28 PM


With that take you are the man. Hands down - discussion over. You and I need to team up with JPRS. "The three of us together, forget it." Line from one of my fav flicks - "STRIPES."

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 18, 2009 7:36 PM

first time for everything. reassign Tapscott to his old position and HIRE RANDY AYERS AS THE NEW INTERIM COACH.

Ayers would have had it at first if he was not having health problems. He is back on the bench, so lets give him a chance.

At least he coached at a division 1 school and has coached a NBA team before. Come on Ernie "come get your boy" and put him back in a job he can handle.........

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 18, 2009 7:37 PM

Are you kidding me? First, we have piled up 31 losses utilizing a strategy of veteran first basketball, playing the wrong way. Poor shot selection, one on one basketball, non veteran accountability and matador defense.

We have the WORST TEAM IN THE NBA. The Thunder have an equal number of wins but they are doing it with young players which benefits their future. Your squad has eight wins (with one quality win over an injured Houston team). The Wizards wins include HOME WINS over Golden State, New York (a CBA TYPE TEAM WAITING FOR 2010) and the Oklahoma City Thunder,,,,,

If this organization feels good about themselves, then that is concrete evidence why this organization loses so much. Lets be real, who cares about a meaningless win against the Knicks if it does not help you for the future.

Stop the nonsense about ANTWAIN AND CARON being All Stars, they are not. If you play 40 minutes every night, play absolutely no defense and shoot any dumba... shot you like, these players can average 20 points easily in this league. No other squad with 2 All Stars have loss so much. Heck, no other team with One All Star has lost so much.

All the munutes that Jamison, Butler, Songalia and James have played have produced 8 WINS. THAT IS THE EVIDENCE FROM WHICH THE ORGANIZATION SHOULD MAKE ITS ANALYSIS. NOT SOME IDIOTIC PHILOSOPHY ABOUT MERITOCRACY AND TRYING TO SHOW YOUNG PLAYERS HOW TO WIN. THERE AIN'T NOBODY IN THAT LOCKER ROOM THAT HAS WON ANYTHING OF IMPORTANCE. ONLY DIXON HAS AN NCAA Championship. Grunfeld and Tapscott owe their jobs to the good old boy network because they have not won jack.

Lets examine the VETERAN PHILOSOPHY in comparison to the rest of thw league. Philadelphia with its interim coach who seems to know what he is doing, has a core of young ballplayers. The Hawks who are doing well have a core of young ballplayers that were given playing time. The Trailblazers blew out most of its vetreans and have the team of the future. NEW JERSEY WITH A YOUNG NUCLEUS IS MUCH BETTER THAN US. Further, a number of First Round Draft choices are getting playing time and getting better because of it . i.e. Brooke Lopez, Maurice Speights, Kevin Lov, Maurice Chalmers, Eric Gordon. jAvALE mCGee was playing good ball until the substitute coach shoewd up and now he is getting pledged like a plebe in a fraternity.

The leadership of this group has gotten a pass from the media and the organization remains successful because we live in a great city(with a stable economy and folks with disposable income), with a great arena in a good location.

The organization has sacrifaced it s future and has gotten 8, I repeat 8 wins to show for it.This is absolutely the most shortsighted, irresponsible group that would have been summarily dismissed by any other owner in the league.

Posted by: NewManagement | January 18, 2009 7:41 PM


Could not disagree more. PT comes to those who play best. Bank it.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 18, 2009 7:42 PM

I like JC's defense, playmaking and drives to the rim, but on the rare occasions that he shoots from 15-20 feet, he throws up some awful bricks. Hope he works hard on his jumper in the off season. I'm thinking that if Sebastian Telfair can make himself into a good outside shooter, JC should be able to do it.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | January 18, 2009 7:57 PM


Could not disagree more. PT comes to those who play best. Bank it.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 18, 2009 7:42 PM

glawrence007 - That is how it is supposed to work when you have a "Real Coach". That is not the case here. Favoritism is clearly rearing it's ugly head when it comes to Tapscott's and Eddie J's coaching styles.

They both have their favorites (i.e. Tapscott loves AJ, Butler, Songalia, and Stevenson and Eddie J' loved Etan, Jarvis, Ruffin, Stevenson and Song.).

There is never a "even" playing field here for minutes with both Eddie's here coaching. They never put the best "5" out on the floor. That is what ticks people like myself off so much.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 18, 2009 8:08 PM

Something I would like to hear about...why did it seem that Hopla had such a major effect on the team last season, but he seems to be neutralized this season.

Last season, Butler improved his range, Haywood improved his FTs. We were one of the best FT teams in the league.

Now there's nothing to give him credit for. Any idea what's been going on? Why we can't shoot anymore?

Posted by: crs-one | January 18, 2009 8:27 PM


Yeah. I'm up for the shooting percentage demise. Hey blog-guys. Wha'dup with that? Did DAVE HOPLA's checks clear this year?

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 18, 2009 8:48 PM

They can win all four of these games. But will they? You know I think the Team knows they are better than what they have achieved, which is not much.

I wonder who will be the first player to call the organization out.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 18, 2009 11:01 PM

Beat Golden St. for Obama he's a Bulls fan

Posted by: jeremydvid | January 18, 2009 11:13 PM

New Management I completely agree. We start three players 30+ in age and are still the worst team in the league. That has to be some kind of NBA record.

Expansion teams aren't even as bad as we are, yet veterans like Antawn, Caron, and Mike James are playing 40 minutes a game. Unbelievable.

Posted by: twigmuffin | January 19, 2009 12:00 AM


You can't be more wrong. We've discussed in here how the young player ARE playing much more now. I understand in a losing season fans are going to be frustrated etc..., but don't confuse frustration with reality.

Tap is STARTING Blatche and McGuire consistently. NY has been getting 25+ mins for weeks now. I'm sure as the season progresses McGee will see more time as well as Pech. Btw, Tap has done nothing to McGee. McGee simply stopped being quite as effective when the league figured him out, which means don't let him dunk it. The dude is 20 and looks lost at times on offense and defense except for when his exceptional athleticism bails him out.

Next year, I think we will be pretty good even if GA is 80% of what he was.

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 19, 2009 12:53 AM


Let me give you a clear dose of reality and not Tapscott's party line - 8-31 (including home wins over Golden State, New York and Oklahoma). The reality is the core players have been ineffective Jamison, Butler and James are the worst defenders in the league and their shot selction are the function of their liberties as veterans. Quite franlkly, the young guys are not playing (Blatche and MdGee nearly the minutes they should).

McGee plays the same whether he plays well or poorly. McGuire gets minutes because he rarely shoots and does not impede the veterans ability to take any dumba... shot they want. Nick Young only got a shot after Stevenson went down. That was not a function of a coaching or organizational decision, that was only because of an injury.

Your veteran philosophy has produced a record of 8-31 on a franchise going nowhere with 30 year old ballplayers being the fol point of your organization. Add to that a substitute coach who has never coached, never played in the league or at a major leevel and never been successful in the NBA at any level. Clearly, a formula for success.

That ain't frustration that is keeping it real.

Posted by: NewManagement | January 19, 2009 7:08 AM

In my mind Tapps has done nothing to warrent Grunfeld taking the interim off of his coaching title. He's neither been able to win with the vets or has been able to turn wholeheartedly to the team's youthful core.

I agree with the premise that to keep the guys' morale up an effort to win games has to be made. But if the Wiz went totally with the kids, how much worse could it get?

The thing that perplexes me when I read people's opinion's about the Wiz is the complete lack of a conversation about what is the way forward past "just play the kids".

This franchise will possibly have it's most important draft pick in years coming up, it's most valuable player in years will soon be coming back from injury, and the team doesn't have a real coach.

I'm really wondering, who's out there to do the job for the Wiz? Are there guys that the Wizards have a real chance of hiring that can turn this thing around?
Sorry Mark, I don't think Riley would come here unless Obama moves out and lets him use the White House!

Who can bring a style of basketball to DC that gets the most out of the Veterans while developing the young talent? I've read a lot about what's wrong with the Wizards. Haven't read many positive minded solutions.

I saw Sam Mitchell's name floated the other day, is he the guy for the job? I thought he did a good job of turning things around for the Rapters, didn't see much about why he got canned. But now it appears the Rapters have given up on O'Neal already and are shopping him. So it appears Mitchell could have been the whipping boy for a trade that didn't work out.

Playing through a season with an interim coach with no real solutions is like trying to get accross the ocean in a sinking ship with no plan to patch the holes.

I beleive the Wiz should start seriously looking for a new coach now rather then later. It's time to stop bailing water and start fixing the holes. The biggest hole right now is an NBA tested head coach.

Posted by: flohrtv | January 19, 2009 8:32 AM

"The Wizards will be stuck in the Bay Area when Barack Obama is sworn in as president on Tuesday, and they're not happy about it."

Maybe the Wizards should be more unhappy about sucking instead??

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 19, 2009 8:55 AM

Note to CRS-ONE: Thank you for telling it like it is concerning Andray(party all the time)Blatche, and to some of you on this blog stop dogging EJ where Blatche is concerned and for the umpteenth time you earn minutes in this league by your play and work ethic not because of your high school resume,to be truthfull Dray has played well at certain times but as it was when EJ was the coach he is inconsistent and it's obvious he does take well to being coached IMO EJ did not play favorites, he was looking for effort on a daily basis, and the only thing Blatche has been consistent at is his regular visits to various DC nightspot's what do you think would happen if he played for Jerry Sloan or Phil Jackson or Greg Poppovich? Right! he'd be buried on the bench if he even so much as looked at the coach's i just mentioned in the wrong way so stop blaming EJ for Dray's development or lack there of.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 19, 2009 10:08 AM


Remember that Taps was always going to be nothing more than a temporary stopgap. He knew it when he took the job. I'm confident EG will find the right head coach in the offseason.

NewManagement, I hear ya, brotha. Taps continues to lose with the vets (although he is giving some young'uns some run). Why not give McGee/Blatche all the time at the 5 and see what happens? Is he afraid of losing games or something? Wake up, Ed. You're losing games, buddy. Will it really be worse if he plays youth at C?

About last game: How can beating an awful Knicks team because your shooters got hot at the end for once magically transform this team? The vets finally pull one out, and this is some cause for optimism? Gimme a break. They're 8-31 with the vets. Does Taps honestly believe it could be worse? Maybe the youthful energy will help us win as many games as savvy veteran play.

Posted by: keithward64 | January 19, 2009 10:53 AM

Blatche needs to motivate himself. If that's not enough motivation, give him a million dollars.

No need to blame others for his lack of success.

RIGHT and getting a double/double in the first half of a game is the reason to not get any time in the second half of a game. Plus/minus, actual scoring results, actual interior defense all are in favor of Blatche. Tapscott has no idea about reward for results.


Posted by: h20law2000 | January 19, 2009 10:54 AM

I'll tell you what I'm sick of is watching ANTAWN JAMISON constantly and I mean constantly whining to the refs!!! Every time he whining and complaining to the refs everytime he touches the ball!! It is unbelievable!!! And why isn't Tapscott telling him to stop it!!!

On one play I saw he goes up for his flip shot then he turns and is talking to the ref, meanwhile the ball is still live and bouncing on the rim!!! He is standing there complaining to the ref on the sideline with his back facing the basket, then the ball comes off the rim and Blatche or someone puts it back up, and misses, it bounces off and then someone on the other team grabbed the rebound. All the while JAMISON the great leader of our team is standing there complaining that he got touched on his arm when he went up!!!!! It was unbelievable! And he does it CONSTANTLY!!! The other team will be going up court in transition and he is standing whining to the refs!!!!

I really hate it! It is one of my big pet peeves about NBA ball is the constant complaining to the refs on every shot, and Jamison is the worst of all time at it!!!!

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 19, 2009 11:19 AM

I am constantly yelling at my tv every game "What are you DOING ANTAWN!!!!" "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!!"

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 19, 2009 11:21 AM

I really hate it! It is one of my big pet peeves about NBA ball is the constant complaining to the refs on every shot, and Jamison is the worst of all time at it!!!!

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 19, 2009 11:19 AM

Actually he's the second worst, King Baby James I believe is #1. Well maybe #1b.

Like I said before I think you must trade AJ by draft day, while he still has value. I dont know if it will happen because abe loves the guy, maybe to a fault. We dont have a real starter at that position, even from our young guys, so we must draft one.

Posted by: dsquare | January 19, 2009 2:54 PM


I get the impression you don't like Mr. SOFTEE's style of play.? No?

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 19, 2009 4:42 PM

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