James Slumping

Veteran guard Mike James, who was acquired in a trade from New Orleans in December to provide some much-needed scoring to a Gilbert Arenas-less backcourt, has chosen a particularly bad time to enter into a slump.

In last night's loss at Miami, in which the Wizards scored a season-low 71 points, James was 2 of 8 from the field and 1 of 4 from three-point range. He finished with five points and three assists in 32 minutes.

In the last six games, James is 12 of 44 overall and 2 of 16 from three-point range and while he's not turning the ball over at a high rate, he's also not getting to the free-throw line, generating steals (one in the last six games) or otherwise impacting games. Even worse, I watched him closely in the first half last night and a couple of his shots weren't even close to being on target.

Not that the team's struggles can be pinned on James or any other single guy. No way. Right now, this team has two guys who could be called legitimate night-in, night-out NBA starters (Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison), a handful of role players who would get minutes only here and there on a playoff contender, and a bunch of young guys who are far from polished.

Combine all of that with the injuries to Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood and you have a recipe for the 9-36 disaster we are all witnessing.

By Ivan Carter |  January 29, 2009; 8:56 AM ET
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honestly Ivan I think every body on the team is an a slump accept CB,AJ

Posted by: brandonjamal13 | January 29, 2009 9:03 AM

We don't move the ball well enough, nor move off the ball well enough, for anybody to get decent looks. It's no wonder we can't shoot.

Simple.

Posted by: Matte | January 29, 2009 9:12 AM

Ivan, you forgot to mention that combined with Gil and Haywood being out, we have a novice as a coach. No wonder the Wiz are at the bottom of the NBA. As for Mike James, he is a straight up ball hall. His stats are so bad because he doesn't pass the damn ball. When they played New Orleans and he was jacking up shots, I saw the Hornets coach kind of shake his head and smirk. That is why they got rid of his behind. A team player he is not.

Posted by: ivyleague | January 29, 2009 9:16 AM

Dude, they suck!
Even CB and AJ can't do anything except jack up shots.

Posted by: jimmydeanroundsausages | January 29, 2009 9:20 AM

The team misses Antonio Daniels. The motion offense requires a capable point guard. Daniels was a big part of last year's success. Yet another horrific Ernie Grunfeld blunder.

Posted by: SteveC28 | January 29, 2009 9:25 AM

Combine all of that with the injuries to Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood and you have a recipe for the 9-36 disaster we are all witnessing.

Posted by Ivan Carter

Are you kidding? That is just an excuse to let the organization off the hook. I can accept with the injuries the Wizards not making the playoffs, but being the worst team in the NBA there is a lot more to it then just having two injuries.

The real reason they are the worst team in the NBA is because they have a CHEAP owner, a below average GM, a really bad coach, and players who do not either know or do not want to play the game the way you have to play it in order to win.

Ivan, I am starting to think the Wizards pay you to write this blog!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 29, 2009 9:30 AM

Oh and BTW, Taps, please play CB and AJ less than 32 a night.

Posted by: Matte | January 29, 2009 9:36 AM

McGuire is playing well too. Too bad you can't win in the NBA with only 3 players.

James needs to sit, Crit needs to start. James has no long-term future here, is not providing any short-term impact, and frankly shouldn't be expected to do either of those anytime soon.

On the flipside, there's a lot of potential in Crittenton. He actually reminds me of Rajon Rondo in ability and style of play. Get him out there and let him learn on the fly.

Posted by: psps23 | January 29, 2009 9:38 AM

Ivan, I know the vets (especially Jamison) don't want to just give up on the season, but I get the feeling that they are going out there just to get thier numbers. Do you get that same feeling in any way?

Posted by: CBell29 | January 29, 2009 9:40 AM

cbell, i have to disagree. sure, cb and aj realize the season is done for, but to go out and not play your hardest would be the equivalent of quitting in the eyes of many. and when the team leaders quit, they lose the team, and rarely can they ever get it back.

do i think they'd complain if they were given a little less playing time? like 34 minutes a night or so? no, probably not. but they're not going to ask for less playing time, and they're going to play their hardest while on the floor.

one thing i have to say for this team, as bad as this season is going for them, at least publicly, we have yet to hear any moaning or groaning amongst the players. nobody is complaining about coaching or playing time. hopefully that's a sign of maturity and team togetherness, and not just a lack of motivation and intensity.

Posted by: segastyle | January 29, 2009 9:53 AM

Ivan, I found your characterization of this being a "particularly bad time to enter in to a slump" somewhat curious. What makes now a worse time than any other? Is Grunfeld trying to showcase James and move him at the deadline? Frankly, I'd rather have James in a slump during a lost season than if we were in a playoff chase and really needed him.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | January 29, 2009 9:59 AM

If James is not scoring, then I see zero reason to play him over Crit. He is not a distributor - not a particularly good defender - does not get in the lane in better than Crit. His "veteran" leadership is really not worth much if his shot is not falling. Crit needs run - as do all the kids. He seems to be the easiest to justify much more playing time.

The coaching philosophy continues to boggle...

Posted by: Henchlow | January 29, 2009 10:05 AM

Ivan,

Bulletsfan78 could not have said it better.
What are you thinking man?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 29, 2009 10:24 AM

Important off season for the Wiz coming up, the Wiz should be playoff team if they make the following moves:

-Sign Mike James to long term deal (first and foremost).

-Extend DSong’s contract

-Trade Caron Butler and our first round pick for Jason Kidd (we need a true PG).

-Resign Eddie Jordan

-Make Gilbert Arenas team Captain (he is the highest paid player and the face of the franchise)

-Give Javale 5 more years of “learning” and “developing” by sitting on the bench and watching. He should be ready by 2014.

Posted by: cj658 | January 29, 2009 10:28 AM

BRING BACK EDDIE JORDAN!!

Posted by: SteveC28 | January 29, 2009 10:36 AM

LOL at the "CHEAP" Abe comment. Fine if you want to make the argument that he hasn't spent his money wisely, but he just signed Gil and Antawn to $150M+ worth of contracts this offseason. He built the Phone Booth with his own damn money, unlike the Nats stadium. The man is not cheap.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | January 29, 2009 10:37 AM

"LOL at the "CHEAP" Abe comment. Fine if you want to make the argument that he hasn't spent his money wisely, but he just signed Gil and Antawn to $150M+ worth of contracts this offseason. He built the Phone Booth with his own damn money, unlike the Nats stadium. The man is not cheap.

Posted by: TheFunBunch"

Not to mention a cheap owner would not have fired a coach midseason knowing he has to pay out the remainder of the contract regardless.

Posted by: psps23 | January 29, 2009 10:42 AM

My wife asked me last night, as I was watching the game, why you watch them, they always lose? She's got a point but I'm just waiting for something to happen.

Compared to last year they're missing Haywood, AD and Roger Mason Junior - not a star studded bunch maybe, but a bunch that PLAYED TOGETHER well and LEARNED to win, played defense, beat Boston twice .. etc.

Even if they get Haywood and Arenas back, they'll have to still learn to win again. HOPEFULLY that's a short learning curve but we'll see.

We're just playin for pride right now.

Posted by: boblas | January 29, 2009 10:47 AM

I'm an extremely die hard wiz fan, and I've watched almost every game this year. That being said, I'm to the point that I dont even look at the schedule ahead of time to see if they're playing. This team is awful. We should get the no. 1 pick w/out the lottery this year as a make up for kwame brown.

Posted by: tonytroese | January 29, 2009 11:01 AM

I'd like to direct everyone to cj568's comment. hahahaha what a joke. here it is.

"Important off season for the Wiz coming up, the Wiz should be playoff team if they make the following moves:

-Sign Mike James to long term deal (first and foremost).

-Extend DSong’s contract

-Trade Caron Butler and our first round pick for Jason Kidd (we need a true PG).

-Resign Eddie Jordan

-Make Gilbert Arenas team Captain (he is the highest paid player and the face of the franchise)

-Give Javale 5 more years of “learning” and “developing” by sitting on the bench and watching. He should be ready by 2014."

Posted by: tonytroese | January 29, 2009 11:08 AM

Tony, do you disagree with my comments? Each one of those moves makes sense. Let me break them down:

-Mike James and Darius are proven veterans who knows the game, guys like that are irreplaceable.

- I don’t think Dallas would give up Jason Kidd for Caron, so we have to throw the 1st round pick in to sweeten the deal. I think Dallas will then do it.

-As far as EJ, he lead the Wizards to the playoffs 4 straight season, remarkable! His toughness and discipline he exercised with the star players was the main reason for our success.

-Gilbert is top 3 in the NBA, and his leadership skills and toughness are what captains are made of. Not to mention, he plays well on both ends of the court.

-Javale is not ready yet, he still needs 5-6 years to come out of his shell. After all, it took Brendan Haywood 7 years to finally have a decent year. Brendan has earned the starting center position for the next 5-6 years due to his monster season last year. Under Brendan’s tutelage, Javale should be ready to go when Brendan retires.

How can you argue??

Posted by: cj658 | January 29, 2009 11:35 AM

Oh, Tonytrose, and I forgot to ad, all of that will translate to success ONLY if Ernie Grunfeld makes an easier schedule for the Wizards next year. No more tough non-conference opponents.

Posted by: cj658 | January 29, 2009 11:38 AM

Sorry, Caron Butler and a lottery pick for a soon to turn 36-year old point guard that has, at best, two years left?

No thanks.

Anyway, Dallas would probably (I'm guessing) grab either Butler or the first straight up for Kidd.

Who probably wouldn't agree to the trade anyway.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 29, 2009 11:43 AM

tony,

cj658 is kidding, man.

Re: Mike James -- no matter how crappy the guy plays, he'll continue to get most of the minutes. He's a vet, after all, which makes him by default better than a young guy. We can't give the young guys minutes and jeopardize our season by losing a game or two.

Posted by: keithward64 | January 29, 2009 11:47 AM

Tonytrose, and I forgot to ad, all of that will translate to success ONLY if Ernie Grunfeld makes an easier schedule for the Wizards next year. No more tough non-conference opponents.

Oy, I'm a dope. The sarcasm went right over my increasingly shrinking brain.

Yeah, if Grunfeld can schedule more games against teams from the MAC conference, the Wizards might have a shot at the 8th spot.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 29, 2009 11:53 AM

can we fast forward to the draft?

Posted by: DMoney28 | January 29, 2009 12:07 PM

Caron has become a sloppy player. Too many turnovers. The wiz need a pure PG to run the offense.

Posted by: Stevie-J | January 29, 2009 12:29 PM

He seems like a fine fellow, but Mike James is terrible. His shot is awful, he can't make plays, and the rare times when he looks to pass it's not to set anybody up, it's only because he can't get off one of his terrible shots. That he's even nominally considered a point guard is a farce. Watching him run the point is like getting forks jammed in my eyeballs.

Posted by: doogiex | January 29, 2009 12:40 PM

The Mike James that we are seeing now is not the Mike James that we saw when he first got here. He used to look to score or pass depending upon what was available. Now, he looks only to pass and shoots when the clock is running down as a last resort. The coach's instructions to look for CB and Aj as primary options has changed his game for the worse.
I'm not saying Mj is a savior but he is probably not as bad as he's looking now. You should not expect a scorer to be effective shooting 3, 4, 8 times a game. Those are the number of fg attempts over the last 3 games for him.

This is kinda the same thing that happened to Juan. Once he was instructed to pass and not look for his shot, he started looking really bad. If we want Mj to snap out of it, give him the green light along with Aj and CB. If not, just start Crit and live with what he gives us.
Crit is better than a handcuffed MJ.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 12:55 PM

Since we are on pace to finish with the worst record in the NBA, hopefully we will get to hear David Stern say the following: With the first pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards will select...???

Posted by: S-Doug | January 29, 2009 1:07 PM

And why is Crittenton not playing more? Or even starting? How many minutes did he play last night? I don't recall many. I'm REALLY trying my best to be patient and not blast Tapscott. But seriously, a number of the decisions he has made are jokes at best. Like starting Songalia at center, but having McGuire jump for the opening tip. A center that can't even represent at "jump ball" time. What a joke!!I guess its a coaching thing - if you don't have a degree from Tufts University, or a law degree from American University, you wouldn't understand.

Posted by: hamptonpirates89 | January 29, 2009 1:09 PM

...Greg Monroe from the Georgetown Hoyas.

Then he'll sit on the bench for 4 years while we claim that with Gil, BTH, Aj , CB and DS, we are a playoff team.

"Remember back in 2003 we were in first place for a week in the conference".

Um yeah. I also remember back in 1984 I wanted to date Madonna.

Now, ...shudder...

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 1:12 PM

Are you kidding? That is just an excuse to let the organization off the hook. I can accept with the injuries the Wizards not making the playoffs, but being the worst team in the NBA there is a lot more to it then just having two injuries.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 29, 2009 9:30 AM

It's interesting that you bash Ivan for saying that the two injuries are the reason for our woes by saying there's a lot more to being the worse team in the NBA besides two injuries.

Also interesting that you included the part of his quote that said "Combine that with...(the injuries)."

If you weren't just cherry-picking tidbits for you to rail about, you would have recognized that the point was that the "recipe for disaster" was the two injuries PLUS all the other things that he mentioned the paragraph before (which, yes, the team makeup is in fact linked then to the owner and GM.)

"Ivan, I am starting to think the Wizards pay you to write this blog!"

I have a hard time believing that you actually started thinking.

Posted by: crs-one | January 29, 2009 1:21 PM

Are you kidding me James is slumping- the whole darn organization is slumping! Ed Tapscot as coach are joking he is no more qualified to be coach than I am, his roatation sucks why are we still watching Darius Songalia, MJ, CB, AJ, DS when he was healthy log major minutes. All I keep hearing is how young they are as a team. Watching Miami last night they had plenty of youngs playing major minutes. Let the kids- play this season is done!!! Pech, Critt, Nick, Javale, AB when he comes back- Tapscot wake up no play-offs are in sight, Playoffs someone said playoffs are you kidding me playoffs!

Posted by: rweaver111 | January 29, 2009 1:22 PM

Ivan --when are you going to ask
Ernie Grunfeld to make a public comment that he make a mistake firing Eddie Jordan.
Jordan was a seasoned coach. Tapscott is a rookie coach he has been around a long time in the Front Office but Not on the Bench. He does not have a clue as to how to deal with this situation.
The Only Player holding his own is Jamison. Last Night the Wiz scored 71! Points 71 Points in 4 Quarters.! Jamison still got his 21 and 12. Which means the rest of the team scored only 50 Total
Where is Mike James? A bad trade for Daniels.
Time for Ernie to Go and take Tapscott with him.
$112 Million for Agent Zero he has not played in almost two whole seasons.
Where is Nick Young? We amade all this fuss a few weeks ago when he scored back to back 30+. what Happened?
Its the Coach. Where is Juan Dixon?
Why is Mike James getting 30 Mins- 4 Points and Juan stays on the Bench.
Its time to clean house.
Only Jamison and butler should stay. Lets do like corporate America let the rest of them all re apply for their jobs including Ernie.

Posted by: Carprin | January 29, 2009 1:29 PM

Since we obviously are not going to earn defense this year, it should be Helter Skelter. Run and Gun. Even Mike James should look good when we run.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 1:39 PM

Its called scrubs....you guys know that....its a team of scrubs and selfish playahs.

Posted by: nowhine | January 29, 2009 1:40 PM

Ivan, why does James get so many minutes???? Is Dixon that out of favor with the coaching staff?

Posted by: nmccray | January 29, 2009 1:41 PM

I really dislike Tapscott. He was an under 500 coach at American before. He maktes terrible decisions such as starting Songila over our rookie Javale. Does he not realize that this season is lost and we are right now preparing for the future? Why doesnt Nick Young play more? It was only two weeks ago when he was lighting it up. AND Mike James is AWFUL. The only hope for this season is that we get the number one pick and choose Blake Griffin.

Posted by: askhosh10 | January 29, 2009 1:48 PM

This should not be a referendum on Mike James. He was the 2nd or 3rd point guard in New Orleans, so no one should think that he is an NBA starter or even a sixth man. The trade of MJ was supposed to accomplish: 1)get the Wiz an experienced, healthy point guard (which AD was not), 2)provide a bridge until Arenas returns (at which point MJ would again become a backup or be released ), 3)provide some breathing room for Crittenton to learn and 4)be salary cap neutral.

By all of those measures, the trade has worked. His productivity or lack thereof was not why the Wiz traded for him and it won't make or break them. He is not a defensive minded power forward or center and he is not an outside threat. He is a seat warmer for Arenas and ultimately Crittenton if Arenas does not recapture prior form.

There are many reasons why this team is bad, but MJ is way down the list. It's tough to judge him on his total assists on an offensively challenged team. Perhaps he would hit more shots if the team had a slasher who could drive and dish (NY). Or a consistent outside shooter who would draw double-teams and leave MJ open (also NY).

I think we have star expectations of someone who is at best a journeyman role player.

That said, the cynic in me believes that Grunfeld decided to tank the season after firing EJ and the MJ trade was part of that grand plan.

Posted by: bigskells | January 29, 2009 2:03 PM

LOL at -"Mike James and Darius are proven veterans who knows the game, guys like that are irreplaceable."

Come on man I could replace these 2 guys with anybody in the league. Probably could replace them with 2 college players. I knew Tapscott had lost his mind when he actually started Songaila over McGee.

Posted by: tywill28 | January 29, 2009 2:10 PM

tap needs a beating, so we've compiled 9 sweet ones so far and because the next 5 are going to be just as shockingly dulcet we'll stick with the 4 man powerhouse of james, cb, aj and song, nice. Is there any accountability for players or coaches? CB and aj are doing nothing but forcing shots, our offense does nothing but try and feed them on the wing and watch them force these shots and on defense we've refused to play the only man who can actually add any level of respectability on the interior, I'm sure all that playing out of position is what allowed javale to garner 6 boards in 17 minutes, his activity and presence couldn't possibly be more of a factor than the basketball iq of the mighty darius, you'd think he was some autocratic ruler who just chose to be a bench player that gets too much playing time, how else does this happen. please report, this team needs brutal honesty from its beat writers, tap is unacceptable...then a list of his coaching philosophies, it's easy, how much teaching has been going on since he loves "that old coaching adage", how pathetic, you had deshawn tell you to pull him from the lineup, this alone should have been the last straw, it's unthinkable that a coach could be so inept and blind to what is going on on the floor, the only thing that makes it even slightly better is that his incompetence is written all over him as he squirms on the bench during games. that tufts education does a whole lot of good for those smirk-filled, postgame beatdown summations that have nothing to do with our team, well done, you should invite all those whose opinion you respect to come and witness your greatness.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 29, 2009 2:13 PM

it's very hard to think we are not trying to lose, given the nature of our perpetual failure, no one could be stupid enough to watch our squad and honestly respond how tap does, I hope he throws a cup of water at ron artest later in the year.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 29, 2009 2:16 PM

LOL. nicely put, bford1kb.

I would have put the word 'asinine' in between the words 'beatdown ' and 'summations'.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 2:18 PM

it's a shame that tap isn't having an nervous breakdown and gary williams is

Posted by: bford1kb | January 29, 2009 2:20 PM

You know, the crazy thing is that i don't think he's trying to lose. He wouldn't be playing AJ and CB so many minutes if he was. I think he's trying to win but has no clue as to how to do it. That's what's frustrating to me.

As an aside: Pech looked completely lost last night. I think he was told to stay inside more and now has been taken out of his game. We'll see more tomorrow.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 2:21 PM

I definitely agree that james must have been told to shoot less, rendering him much less effective. all we do offensively is hand it to either caron or aj. crit can create, but his uptempo style doesn't suit our stellar, proven, veteran gameplan.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 29, 2009 3:05 PM

"The team misses Antonio Daniels. The motion offense requires a capable point guard. Daniels was a big part of last year's success. Yet another horrific Ernie Grunfeld blunder."

-SteveC28

Wrong! The team missed the Anonio Daniels of LAST season. Not the injured, rapidly aging Daniels of this season. Plus, we got a young decent looking former first round pick at PG to groom for the future. So, far from being a blunder by EG, it may end up being another coup for him even if JC just becomes a very good backup PG.

Why is JC not playing more? Well, for starters (no pun intended), it was mentioned that when he got here he was not even in good enough game shape to play a quarter. So, I'm sure as the season gets older he sees more and more time along with the rest of the raw younger player crowd!

As for the rest of you now calling for JD, he is a much worse option at RUNNING the offense than MJ. MJ was playing well and, like Ivan said, is in a shooting slump right now. It has nothing to do with some secret conversations the coaching staff has had with him to have only AJ and CB shoot. That is preposterous along with a lot of other things said in here. His shot is off so he is deferring more often the last few games. Plain and simple!

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 29, 2009 3:11 PM

Next Blog entry from Ivan should be:

Should Ed "The Waterboy Coach" Tabscott be reassigned to the front office and replaced with Randy Ayers?

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 29, 2009 3:26 PM

Man, why are there so many whiners in here?

If it's a lost season as so many of you have properly acknowledged, then just deal with it! There is no reason to have a nervous breakdown about coaching, player's minutes, or much of anything this year on a per game basis. Save those kind of critiques for when we are actually competitive again, which, I believe, will be next season. We actually have a cavalry coming unlike other really bad teams!

Bulletsfan, you never cease to baffle.

"I can accept with the injuries the Wizards not making the playoffs, but being the worst team in the NBA there is a lot more to it then just having two injuries."

Yeah, your right. It's more like 5/6/7 key injuries if you include things like Antonio Daniels being completely diminished due to his knee injury this season. The same with Stevenson even though he just recently starting sitting out. So, here's an analogy. How good would the Lakers be without Bynum, Gasol, Bryant, Farmar, and Fisher? Terrible is the correct answer. So, why you and others are so baffled that we are not good at all this year is baffling unto itself. The remaining Lakers team would be the worst in the West if those guys were gone for long stretches particularly all at once!!! Probably one of the worst teams in the league as we are!

Posted by: rphilli721 | January 29, 2009 3:34 PM

and the answer is obvious, yes, Ayers should be the coach

Posted by: bford1kb | January 29, 2009 3:44 PM

From that boob Hollinger's chat...


Geoff (DC): What are your thoughts on the many guys playing minutes for the Wizards who we would not normally ever expect to see? Which of the players do you think are viable rotation options on a good team (which we hope to miraculously have next year) and which are playing their way out of the league?

John Hollinger: (3:16 PM ET ) Blatche and McGee are the keepers. Young is a decent sixth man but still has a lot of rough edges that need sanding down. Can't think of anyone else I'd expect to still be there in two years

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 3:44 PM

This whole city is in a slump except for the Caps, and who cares about hockey? As for the Wiz, they are a night off for the other teams in the league. The teams know they only have to play hard during the 4th quarter, so they do. That's the only reason the Wiz are in the games through halftime or three quarters. The sad thing is that the Wiz think they are actually just not playing well down the stretch. The reality is that the competition is taking most of the night off and then dust off the Wiz at the end of the game. I'm sure players from other teams are circling the Wiz games on their calendars and figuring out their personal pre- and post-game plans instead of game planning. Next year we will have our "varsity" squad back and hopefully be back in the hunt with a quality coach (like EJ was).

Posted by: bkhoward | January 29, 2009 4:00 PM

did anybody actually think that mike james, a pathetic wannabe excuse for a basketball player, would actually help the wizards in any way, shape or form? he's the worst thing to happen to this team this season. even worse than gilbert and haywood's injuries.

james should never be on the floor, period. he shouldn't even be on the bench, because no gm should be signing him to play. ernie needs to release him now.

james is the perfect example of how stupid tapscott is. the coach says rookies have to earn their time, like the veterans do, but most of our veterans are awful. shouldn't sucking at basketball earn you a trip to the bench?

i'm actually grateful that blatche and thomas are out, because it means tapscott is forced even more so to play young players. lets trade jamison, reassess everything about this team, and rebuild next year with a (please god) healthy gilbert.

Posted by: thedude1 | January 29, 2009 4:01 PM

Reno (DC): You don't expect Dominic McGuire to stick around with the Wiz? The guy can't score yet, but he does everything else very well.

SportsNation John Hollinger: (3:31 PM ET ) He has a future as a defense-and-energy guy off the bench, I'll agree, but that's about the extent of it for me.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 4:04 PM

Akim (Washington DC): I bet Roger Mason would look good in a Wizards uniform right now, instead of watching Mike james chuck up 3 pointer after 3 pointer. What was Ernie thinking? Mason wasnt asking for much either.

SportsNation John Hollinger: (3:23 PM ET ) Unfortunately he'd already committed a full midlevel deal to Daniels and didn't want to be spending $10 million on his backcourt backups ... You can criticize a lot about Ernie but if Arenas had come back we would be spending zero time discussing Mason. The far greater crime was resigning Jamison and Arenas at big dollars when the Wiz had middling results with that core.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 4:06 PM

Trading a true PG like AD (even though he was hurt at the time) for a journeyman like Mike James was a typical knee-jerk reaction by EG like all of the other bad personnel decisions made the last two summers. Something tells me that AD asked quietly to be moved rather than to play for a team that he knew was going to tank. What did EG do this summer to help the team from last year's version? Sign Dee Brown and Juan Dixon, draft J. McGee, and lose Roger Mason. Not exactly the way a good GM goes about building a team. Look at the moves Danny Ferry has made in Cleveland to surround LeTravel with a better supporting cast while we've done nothing.

As for the team, we're minus 5 of the team's 8 rotation players heading into camp (Agent Zero, BTH, AD, DSS, and Blatche), not to mention that ownership was too cheap to resign Roger Mason who would have been our starting shooting guard. Take any NBA team and remove 5-6 of its rotation players including its star PG and only true center, mix in a stupid coaching change early in the season, and you have a recipe for disaster.

This year is like seeing an expansion team minus CB3 and AJ who are trying hard to win games. Taps needs to limit their minutes to 30-35 a night so they too don't get hurt. The worse our record, the better our chances of the No. 1 pick which will likely be Blake Griffin.

Posted by: wizfan89 | January 29, 2009 4:15 PM

what's with all the talk about not playing the young guys because getting schooled would "hurt their confidence"? doesn't the vets getting hammered every night hurt *their* confidence? (if it doesn't, it should!) hopefully after the all star game the rotations will loosen up and the kids will get more playing time - there's still a lot of season left for them to get their minutes.

in the meantime, how about letting the one guy on this team who's won anything and never lacked confidence play his game and be the leader he can be. yes, it's time to free juan dixon!

Posted by: rm0659 | January 29, 2009 4:26 PM

The Mike James we're seeing now is the Mike James that the last several teams he played for saw, which is why he's played for something like 8 or 9 teams in the last 5 years.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 29, 2009 4:47 PM

Bigskells big ups I think you hit the nail right on the head...

To whomever said Mason would look good in a uniform is right! Not only would you have someone who made sound decisions, a good shooter, and a team player playing point but when Gilbert Arenas (that is his name right I havent seen the guy in so long) comes back you would have a legitmate threat off the bench like Boston has in Eddie House or Lakers have in Farmar..someone who can step in with the starters and they not loose a beat! I cant wait til they can cut Etan this year!!! Someteam will pick him up just because his contract expires soon! I like the idea of having Crit, Young, Songalia, Dixon, Blatche, and McGee on the bench. Throw in deshawn stephenson and etan somewhere and thats a good way to clear salary space and playing time for a member who would actually contribute to the team!

Posted by: SkinzFan4lyfe | January 29, 2009 4:54 PM

I disagree about MJ. His career numbers are .422 from the field, 25 mpg and 11 ppg with almost 4 assists and 3 rebounds.

These numbers are almost identical to what he put up the last time he started a significant number of games a couple years ago. His last couple of years were years in which he started only 1 game and rarely played.

Again, while he isn't a long term answer, at least he's not getting his pocket picked like JD.

Take a look at Deshawn, AD while he was here and Juan and you'll see that MJ is better across the board in a lot of areas. AD averaged 3.6 assists for us. while MJ is at 3.8 in 8 more minutes per game.

MJ is not the sole reason we're losing. He's not the answer but the main problem lies elsewhere on the bench in the form of Eddie Tapscott. esq.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 5:07 PM

But the fact that we're talking about a journeyman potentially being one of our problems is alarming in itself.

I think we all agree that the main players are the ones who determine how the season goes. CB and AJ are responsible by virtue of their status. They are leading by example (no defense) so they are to blame.

I have to give AJ a bye because he's NEVER been a defensive player. Caron had to have played it for Riley. There's no reason he shouldn't be better at it. Plus, rebounding is part of defense and Aj is doing his thing on the boards still.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 5:10 PM

"His last couple of years were years in which he started only 1 game and rarely played."

There's a reason for that. tThe teams that got him immediately after his time as a reserve for the Pistons title team thought they were getting the pressing, trapping bulldog of a backup guard that helped the Pistons win a title off the bench. What they got was a defense free chucker who put it up at every opportunity and didn't seem to care much for playing within the structure of the team. When he played in Toronto, the Raptors were a mess of a team with no direction and no hope of winning, so he got the green light and took full advantage of it. But his numbers there were indicative more of quantity than quality. He's a player who can put up nice looking numbers on bad teams with lots of PT, but he's not a winning player on good team with an actual team offensive structure, which is why he's moved teams so frequently and hasn't played much since then.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 29, 2009 5:43 PM

uncle.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 5:57 PM

"The worse our record, the better our chances of the No. 1 pick which will likely be Blake Griffin."

Not necessarily. Since 1991, only twice has the team with the worst record actually gotten the #1 overall pick (Cleveland in 2003 and Orlando in 2004).

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 29, 2009 6:36 PM

I agree Mike James is not our version of the "answer" (get it?) but if we bench him and play the kids, how will this affect our playoff run?

snicker ..

Posted by: mkrumm03 | January 29, 2009 8:01 PM

one of the reasons they are so bad - besides the injuries - poor draft choices. Of course, they haven't had a high pick lately because the team was decent. still, it's about time to call Young a bust, give Pec a one-way ticket to the Turkish league, and McGuire, well, he might keep a place at the end of a medicore team's bench for a couple years. You got to get a few of picks right. the batting average ain't too high lately.

Grunfield has made some good moves in the past so i guess we have to give him a second chance. but if "what have you done for me lately" is the critera, he should be getting nervous.

Posted by: stevie2 | January 29, 2009 8:53 PM

The firing of Eddie Jordan was in essence the end of the season.


James is ok, but I do miss Daniels. He was underappreciated.

At this point I'm for playing all the young guys as much as possible. Crittenton, Young, McGuire, Pecherov and McGee should all be playing major minutes if not starting, with Blatche when he comes back. I do like seeing Dixon out there too.

Just for entertainment purposes I'd rather watch those guys play with no chance to win than watch the usual assortment of Songaila, Etan, Jamison, Butler, Stevenson, James grind out a game that's blown in the 4th Q, near miss after near miss with the occasional win squeaked out.

Play the young guys! At least get one good thing out of this joke of a season.

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 29, 2009 9:34 PM

And Tapscott's explaination about playing Songaila because he sets good screens and does subtle things average fans don't see...

That is good and dandy, but setting good screens and doing subtle things does not outweigh being 4 inches taller, young, energetic, and a freak of an athlete. When is Tapscott going to wake up and realize we are losing either way! Riding the steady ship and going status quo with the vets isn't going to get us anywhere. At least letting the young guys develop their games is a path to improvement.

Guys like Songaila are good to have for practice to go against the young guys like Blatche and McGee, show them how to play and teach them. Not to be on the court in the game instead of them.

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 29, 2009 9:55 PM

kalo_rama said: Not necessarily. Since 1991, only twice has the team with the worst record actually gotten the #1 overall pick Cleveland in 2003 and Orlando in 2004).

Well, yes, it is necessarily so. If we have the worst record we will have the best chance at getting Blake Griffin. It is not necessarily true that we will get him, but that we will have a better chance at getting him.

The team with the worst record has at 25.0% chance at the first pick. Next team is 19.9%, next team is 15.6%, next team is 11.9%, and so on.

You could look it up...

Posted by: ajedwardsjr | January 30, 2009 8:55 AM

I did look it up. And, as usual, while numbers may not lie, they rarely tell the whole truth.

As as I said, the team with the worst record has only won the lottery twice in 18 years, indicating that, in actual reality (as opposed to statistical theory) the number of ping-pong balls a team has and their actual likelihood of winning the lottery are rarely directly correlated.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 30, 2009 9:10 AM

For those slow on the uptake, 'likelihood' and 'chance' are two different things.

Posted by: jones-y | January 30, 2009 10:09 AM

James was never meant to replace Daniels. Had Daniels been healthy and able to play 25-35 minutes a game that trade would never had happened. But he showed up badly hobbled from an injury he suffered this summer, that combined with age and wear and tear left him a shadow of who he was.

Daniels is very suited to coming off the bench and giving New Orleans the 5-15 minutes a game they need behind Chris Paul. I wish him well, he was a valuable player when he was here, maybe he can pickup another ring in New Orleans.

The key to that trade was Crittenton, he's shown a lot of promise. And getting him for a number one that we may never have seen was a shrewd deal. But watching Critt play in Jordscott's crawl ball is like watching a little old lady drive a Jag to the post office. Tapps needs to let Critt apply pressure at both ends of the court and up the tempo, win or lose that's the tempo this team was designed to play.

I read over and over about poor Wizards draft picks, and declaring this guy a bust and that guy a bust. The Wizards/Bullets franchise has had a long history of drafting well and giving up on guys before they matured into solid NBA players.

Young can't play in the grind it out style that the Wizards have evolved to in the past two seasons, neither can Crittenton. But get Gil back and healthy they could form a deadly three guard rotation with Arenas sliding back in forth between the one and two.

I really like McGuire as a player, his offense is going to have to develop more, he's a solid rotation guy right now. In an uptempo game he'd pickup 4-5 points a game just filling the lanes on the break and getting layups off of drives to the hoop.

Speaking of drives to the hoop, it sure would be nice to see one once in awhile. But since our points are all instructed to pass the ball to Jamison and Butler no one feels they have the freedom to create. The ball funnels through Jamison and Butler and they're working harder for their production.

I'm sure both guys feel the deserve to be Allstars because they're working overtime to get their points. It's tough to be a great defender, or not turn the ball over because everybody on the opposing teams know where the ball's going.

The Wiz offense is a mystery to no one in the NBA. Time to take the reigns off and let Jamison, Butle and the rest get some easy baskets in transition.

Posted by: flohrtv | January 30, 2009 10:42 AM

Young can't play in the grind it out style that the Wizards have evolved to in the past two seasons

Actually, he has value in that scenario. Give him the ball in the halfcourt set and he can create a high percentage shot (perfect for when the offense bogs down, as it often does, and you need the ball to go in the hole).

That's offset by his relative inability to find his shots from within the framework of a halfcourt offensive system (not so perfect for reestablishing offensive flow when it does bog down). But he should improve his set shooting, and learn how to run pick-n-rolls, backdoor-cuts etc over time.

Posted by: jones-y | January 30, 2009 10:59 AM

Hopefully Agent Zero minutes per game and Griffin will come to our rescue next year.

Posted by: t-train | January 30, 2009 11:04 AM

James is a nice player - but come on - what has Juan Dixon done to deserve being buried on the bench. Juan is not the answer at point guard but he is a veteran who often makes good decisions with the basketball, and he is capable of putting together stretches of inspired team play. Jordan used to leave him in to finish games because he made intelligent plays. This is a lost season and D.C. loves this kid. Juan deserves to be in the rotation.

Posted by: djhubbard | January 30, 2009 11:07 AM

Dixon is another guy totally throttled by small/crawl ball. He needs to be allowed to apply pressure with his quickness on defense, and drive and stop and pop on offense. The combo of Jordan and Tapscott( I call it "Jordscott") has everybody thinking and no body just playing!

Posted by: flohrtv | January 30, 2009 11:51 AM

"I'm delighted," Tapscott said. "Simply because he knows how to play. He knows how to play both ends. He's got veteran savvy, and he also has the type of verbal communication I like to have on the floor. He's very verbal. If you're not talking to each other on the floor, you are minimizing your chances for success. We've got too many guys who I think are afraid to speak and maybe that's because they are unsure of what to say. But again, that comes with experience, and having another experienced guy out there will help a lot."

- Ed Tapscott

And this is why he retains the title of Ed "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott. You are 9 and 36 and you are talking about giving major minutes to a dude who has a slipped disk in his back and a bum knee. These two injuries alone will have adverse effects on your jump shot and playing defense.

Ed "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott kills me with all of this "veterans" can do no wrong stuff. That is the whole problem with the team now. So now he is telling me because "certain young players" are not speaking out there gives him another reason to bench them??????

This dude is a joke. He would do best not to answer anymore questions about playing time for his players because the more he talks, the dumber he looks. This guy has to be learning how to coach on the fly, or he picked the wrong Coaching 101 book from the library...........

Ernie please come in and correct your mistake man before you lose the last small fraction of the Wiz base you and Abe have left.....Give Randy Ayers a shot as long as he is not going to call games like Eddie J' and The Waterboy call games.


Posted by: BulletsFever | January 30, 2009 12:56 PM

There are some people on this board that I have just got to invite to my Saturday night poker games. But I digress.

Anyway, kalo_rama, just what is it, do you think, that is directly correlated to a team's "actual likelihood of winning the lottery"? If it is not the number of balls in the hopper, then just what is it?

Uniform color? Alphabetical order? Alignment of the moon and the stars? Maybe it's linked to the stock market somehow? Controlled by the mafia?

Just curious about what you think is going on here?

Posted by: ajedwardsjr | January 30, 2009 1:01 PM

Well, likelihood is a combination of things, including statistical probability, but also other indicators like historical record and a fair bit of common sense. At best an inexact science.

Having said that, your point was about chance (probability) and is completely valid, and his argument cannot negate it in any way. And in fact, it is his misinterpretation of your point that led to his response.

Posted by: jones-y | January 30, 2009 1:27 PM

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