McGee Still Seeing Limited Minutes

When Etan Thomas went down with a torn MCL in his left knee, many assumed that rookie center JaVale McGee would see an increased role.

To this point, that still hasn't really happened. McGee, who started 13 games earlier in the season and has flashed talent while showing that he's still a raw young guy with plenty to learn, played 14 minutes against Milwaukee, 16 minutes at New York, four minutes at home against the Knicks and five minutes yesterday at Golden State against a team that doesn't employ a traditional center.

Clearly, interim coach Tapscott still feels more comfortable starting Andray Blatche at center and playing Darius Songaila long minutes at that spot. Blatche put up 22 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes yesterday while Songaila posted six points, two rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes.

If there is a big-picture theme to this team, it remains this: try to win every night and utilize the players that Tapscott (and by extension Ernie Grunfeld) feel can get that done.

After yesterday's game I asked Tapscott about McGee's role: "It's the ability to execute what we are trying to do. If we are going to be a defensive team, then one of the things you have to do is play pick-and-rolls correctly, you gotta play post-ups and iso correctly. Mistakes at those times, cost you dearly against a very good offensive team. So now, you're looking for matchups and the proper reactions on defense. And those things just take time and experience. If you're thinking too much here in this game, you're behind. You've had to have done it enough, it becomes instinctual, you know it, anticipate it. Some of our young guys are struggling to get to that point. It's a process. I don't fault him. He plays hard, he gives his best effort. It's just a lack of experience that at times costs him and others in certain situations and that will come with time."

How do you balance getting experience for a young guy like McGee with trying to win games?

Tapscott: "That's a job that I have to figure out. That's incumbent upon me to figure that out. How much time to give, what to teach in practice, what to put into the game plan. Whether we put too much in or too little. That's part of the formula we are trying to find."

By Ivan Carter |  January 20, 2009; 8:13 AM ET
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"The Wizards have lost seven of the last eight and it's hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel."

See Ivan, that's not fair.

The Wiz are a bunch of kids with a couple of vets mushed in between. Even if you're asking guys like Blatche and D.Mac to step up, they can't becasue they don't know how. You're asking your vets to show that kind of role and they really can't because one can't play a lick of 'D and the other seems to be lacking motivation at the moment.

Oh, and one who shall remain nameless can't even get on the floor yet he gets a big fat contract.

There is no Lebron or Kobe on this team. And to me there is no coach either.

So what do you expect to happen? Seriously?

If they get some shlub as coach next year, expect the same results. Otherwise they need a "teacher" and if that does not happen next year will not be much better.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 20, 2009 8:20 AM

"It's the ability to execute what we are trying to do. If we are going to be a defensive team, then one of the things you have to do is play pick-and-rolls correctly, you gotta play post-ups and iso correctly. Mistakes at those times, cost you dearly against a very good offensive team. So now, you're looking for matchups and the proper reactions on defense. And those things just take time and experience. If you're thinking too much here in this game, you're behind. You've had to have done it enough, it becomes instinctual, you know it, anticipate it. Some of our young guys are struggling to get to that point. It's a process. I don't fault him. He plays hard, he gives his best effort. It's just a lack of experience that at times costs him and others in certain situations and that will come with time."

Was that a Tapscott quote or a Clinton Portis quote? It makes no sense at all. How much worse could the Wizards be by playing McGee over DS or AB?

Posted by: peej9999 | January 20, 2009 8:21 AM

"And those things just take time and experience......He plays hard, he gives his best effort. It's just a lack of experience that at times costs him and others in certain situations and that will come with time."

Theses are YOUR words, Tap. Just how does a guy get experience sitting on the bench watching Songaila? If you'd said he lacks the requisite strength, I'd possible buy it. This is absolutely no excuse. In a lost season, let him learn by playing. Repetition is the best teacher. It sounds like lawyer-speak to me.

Original_mark: "So is JM going to start getting major minutes now that it's clear this team is going nowhere?"

Tap: "It depends on what IS is"


Full, unabashed bs...and you know it, Tap.

Posted by: original_mark | January 20, 2009 8:23 AM

McGee isn't a "traditional center" either. The kid's got some of the quickest feet I've seen on a 7' guy. He's freakishly athletic, and has hops comparable to "Superman" Howard.

On a pick and roll he changes it to a pick and lob. Nobody gets to the hoop any faster or gets up any quicker. Play to the kid's strengths and quit trying to protect him, he's a "really big" boy. Let him play and he will make mistakes, then, as the Old Ball Coach used to like to say "Coach him up some" when it happens.

This team has become a mess because the Wiz are now asking people to be what they're not. Look around the league, watch other teams play, there are a lot of poor defenders in this league. There's a lot of poor defensive teams that are winning right now.

This team is out of sync because the offense has ground to a halt, everyone but Jamison, Butler, James, and a "3 in 3 seconds" Pecherov are afraid to shoot. And the other players see where firing away is getting Opec!

I know head coaches are normally hired in the off season. But I'll say it again, the Wiz need to make a move at the All Star break.

This is getting past ugly, letting this go on all year could scar what was a fairly good locker room for years. I don't think Ernie's traveling with the team just for fun or scouting. Make a move Ernie! Make a move! The team wasn't 1-10 bad and it isn't this bad either...

Posted by: flohrtv | January 20, 2009 9:17 AM

Perhaps I'm the only blogger who would dare agree with Tap...but McGee getting abused on D for 30 min a night may not be the best way to develop a player. The only thing developing is bad habits. He should get 5 min a night to measure any progress and get film to study. As he gets better the min will naturally go up.

As far as playing to win, I agree there too. The idea that we should "let 'em play" leads to blowouts and more gargabe minutes. Blow-out garbage time is NOT the proper place to develop a young player - it's not close to the kind of ball we need to learn if we're going to compete with the elite teams.

Posted by: cballer | January 20, 2009 9:17 AM

And how does a player reach the point where he does things without thinking if he's not out on the court doing them?

You can't improve while sitting, so how will the team improve? The lack of practice time in the NBA makes it impossible for guys not getting court time to improve during a season.

So in a year that the playoffs are long out of site, work on improving the bench players' skills for next year. I think that's the consistant message that the fans on here are trying to say.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | January 20, 2009 9:24 AM

cballer, I would agree that we should bring him along slowly if I hadn't seen signs of him being a good player early.

During the 13 games that JM started, in 15 minutes per game he gave us 6 ppg, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

That's not bad for for a rookie. Contrary to what Tap is intimating, JM's inexperience did not cost us games. Blaming this kid for losses is just outright ridiculous. Under normal circumstances I could understand sitting him while he learns and gets stronger. If BTH were playing, I'd be ok with the minutes JM's getting (as long as spare minutes didn't go to Song). But these are not normal circumstances.
Someone needs to tell Tap that we are 2 losses away from being the WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE. Yes, the Wizards are the 2nd worst team in the NBA. Even if JM were to screw up and pay the pick and roll incorrectly and we loses as a result, it's still no excuse to not play him. Let him learn on the job. We have NOTHING TO LOSE. The rest of the season should be like training camp but with live bullets.

wow. I just do not get it. stop trying to get to 20 wins at the expense of the young guys learning and getting the experience that we may well need next year and beyond.

Posted by: original_mark | January 20, 2009 9:28 AM

...and this also means stop playing AJ and CB 40 minutes per game. We've all been complaining about this for years. It especially applies to this season when we're clearly going nowhere.

Posted by: original_mark | January 20, 2009 9:31 AM

I think we need to face the obvious. It makes absolutely no sense for Tapscott to be playing Butler and Jamison 40 minutes a night, and Mike James 35 minutes a night, in this lost season.

That is, unless Tapscott and Grunfeld are just trying to save their jobs. Unless Grunfeld feels that he can't survive a 15 win season. Unless Pollin told Grunfeld that he wants wins this season. It's sad that this perfect opportunity to get experience for the young guys and to avoid wearing down the vets is being squandered by short-sighted thinking.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 20, 2009 9:37 AM

cballer:

You can't possibly sgree with Tap.s comments regarding McGee becuase what he and you by extension are saying applies to the whole team. The whole team gets abused defensively and to a greater degree than McGee. McGee played good pick and roll D under EJ averaging over two blocks and 6 boards during this tenure. He only started regressing after the SUBSTITUTE was brought in to cach the team. The young fellas confidence, aggressiveness and decision making has regresses teemendoulsly under this regime.

THE REALITY IS THE WHOLE TEAM GETS ABUSED BECAUSE THEY ARE THE WORST DEFENSIVE TEAM AND THE WORST COACHED TEAM IN THE LEAGUE.
MCGEE ONLY PLAYED 4:52 YESTERDAY, SO THE 22 PPOINT LOSS AIN'T ON HIM.

Jamison, James and Butler got abused by Crawrord, Magette and Jackson repeatedly. But there is no requirement for the veterans to play defense. More importamntly, there is no consequence if they don,t. There is no deterence at the rim.

You are 8-32 and you asa the leader call out your 21 year old first round draft pick. The bottom line is it is on the leadership. If he has somehow unlearned how to play screen/roll do what good coches do teach and fix. Taps comments to Ivan Carter are disingenuous and reflective of his lack of coachinmg acumen.

Posted by: NewManagement | January 20, 2009 9:44 AM

NewManagement, totally agree.

Amazing how the vets don't get called out for making mistakes for 35+ minutes while the young ones do for making mistakes for 6 or 7 minutes.

I'd be willing to bet that if you sat CB, MJ, and AJ down for an entire game, we'd be better defensively. We may not score enough to win but a lineup of Crit, NY, DM, AB and JM would probably give up less points and open shots that the lineup that is playing right now.


"If we are going to be a defensive team, then one of the things you have to do is play pick-and-rolls correctly, you gotta play post-ups and iso correctly."

This is a startling revelation. We're trying to become a defensive team? What are we doing to that end? Songaila at the 5 with AJ at the 4 at the end of the games? Hmmm.

Posted by: original_mark | January 20, 2009 9:55 AM

"If we are going to be a defensive team"

Wait a second, so we are a defensive team? That is laughable.

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | January 20, 2009 10:14 AM

As far as playing to win, I agree there too.

cballer, here's the point: they're not winning! They may be playing to win, but they're still losing -- and losing big. When you lose as consistently as the Wiz do, why not try something else, like playing McGee, Pech, Critt, etc. big minutes and see what happens? What, is Tapscott afraid the young guys will lose games?

Hello? Hello? HELLO?

Posted by: keithward64 | January 20, 2009 10:17 AM

EX...freaking...ACTLY.

Earth to Tap:

We're losing with vets. Play the younguns. At least there's a potential upside there.

Ok I'm about to mention the elephant in the room....

Our defense is abysmal with CB, AJ, Songaila in the games. If we're trying to be a defensive team, at what point do we acknowledge that CB and AJ (our two best players on the court right now) cannot get it done defensively?

At what point do we consider bringing one in off the bench? I understand that their numbers are good ON OFFENSE. AJ is doing a heck of a job with the 9 rebounds, as well. But if a vet is having a hard time learning rotations, closing out, switching/not switching on pick and rolls, it's time ti make a change. These guys should know what to do after so many years in the league. If they can't, bench 'em.
I'd rather lose 85-70 with young guys than lose 100-90 with veterans.

Posted by: original_mark | January 20, 2009 10:35 AM

Hello? The Wiz let up fewer points per minute when McGee is on the floor.

Everybody makes mistakes. McGee more than compensates for his mistakes versus the alternatives.

Get real guys. The vets are the problem. Obviously, EG/ET can't admit that because they wanted each and every one of those underperforming vets.

Winners acknowledge their mistakes and make adjustments.

Posted by: Izman | January 20, 2009 10:38 AM

This is one of those rare places where I actually agree with the majority of the fans, on two points:

a) Butler and Jamison play too much when the team's behind anyway and they're on the road. It would help both to keep them down around 30 minutes a game unless the Wiz are really cooking.

b) McGee is admittedly a complete fumblefoot when it comes to defensive positioning but how's he going to improve if he isn't on the floor in a semi-blowout like this? It's not as if they ever get to practice during the season.

But as far as all the fire-the-coach hoohaw that goes on here, that's just silliness.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 20, 2009 10:44 AM

Cballer - You have to be kidding me right? Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott is KING of the double standard. This dude has no clue of coaching. We are 8 and 32 for goodness sake. What are we accomplishing playing CB, AJ, James and Song. over 35 minutes a game???? Please explain this concept to me because I am not getting it?????

Ivan first I want to thank you for asking him that question. On the other end of that I hate hearing Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott's idiotic explanations for his decisions when you ask him these good questions.

If Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott wants to use that excuse about McGee getting abused on defense, then what about Jamison always get toasted? What about CB getting burned? What about whoever is playing point for us getting burned? What about Song. not being able to ever get any rebounds and the other team gets two to three tries at the basket, EVERY POSSESION?

What about teams attacking the rack at will and with success when his "boy" Song. is in there manning the "5"? So what Song. knows how to "front" a center better then McGee. All that is negated when the other team keeps getting numerous offensive rebounds and are driving and converting at the rim at will!!!!!!

Once again, Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott is full of it. We are still losing with his great vets (CB, AJ and Song.) playing major minutes??? Would anybody name any of those three to their 1st, 2nd, or much less 3rd team "all defensive team"??????? I think not???

So how in the heck can Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott say we are getting better defense with Song. in there at the "5"????? That king of thinking makes NO SENSE AT ALL????????????????

Things changed for McGee that game he had against Superman months ago. Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott could not get that game out of his head and he has been punishing McGee ever since. Superman has been doing that to everybody....???

One bad game, against a superstar at that, and McGee is banished to the doghouse forever. Wow, and I thought Eddie J' and his coaching style was fired two months ago???? Boy was I wrong for ever thinking that.......?????

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 20, 2009 10:49 AM

But as far as all the fire-the-coach hoohaw that goes on here, that's just silliness.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 20, 2009 10:44 AM

Samson151 - Reassigning Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott is not silliness at all. The dude does not have a clue on what he is doing. It was already documented Ernie G. wanted to give the job to Ayers but he was having medical problems at the time, so Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott got it by default.

If Ernie G. would have waited for Ayers to get better, Eddie J' might have righted the ship by then and Ernie G would have lost his chance at having a good excuse to fire Eddie J' then.

Thus, he fired Eddie J' after the Knicks game because that was as good as a shot at him getting Eddie J' out of there as any. Ayers could not take over because of medical problems, thus he hands it over to Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott.

We all know Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott's resume. That is enough said right there. Now we have to watch him call games just like Eddie J' called but with even more worse results.

As I have said before, if Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott was going to call games exactly the same way Eddie J' was doing, then what was the point of firing Eddie J' ??????? This is what has everyone who follows the team is upset about!!! This dude does not know what he is doing??????? Plain and simple...!!!!

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 20, 2009 11:01 AM

BF, excellent points. Yes Ivan, you need to ask Tapscott about the horrid defense that Antawn, Caron and Mike James play every game. Antawn is particularly guilty here. I love the guy, but he either can't, or won't, play defense. Never has, never will.

Song may have the knowledge and desire to play D, but he's hopelessly overmatched at the 5. We get killed every time he's at center. He is simply not competent in the middle. At least McGee will get you boards, and block and alter shots. Will he get out of position often? Yes. Will he do worse, overall, on defense than Songaila in the middle?

No way, Jose.

Posted by: keithward64 | January 20, 2009 11:02 AM

As the others have said, it makes no sense to not play McGee at least 10 minutes per game. That is the way to learn. This season is trash anyway so give the minutes to the young guys and cut back on the veterans like AJ and Caron.

But we have to remember the personalities of each player. AJ and Caron would probably take it as a slight if they get less minutes and we know Tap along with the other coaches will give the minutes to the best players as bottom line is to try to win.

However, everyone knows the Wizards are going to have one of the worst records at season's end.

Let's just hope that Tapscott will not be made the full time guy. I think EG should go ahead and get the guy on board now so the new coach has rest of the season to grasp this team. No need for Taps to stay around unless Honest Abe is trying to save some coach money.

Kevin

Posted by: fearturtle44 | January 20, 2009 11:21 AM

I don;t think folks here are calling for Tap to be fired as much as reassigned like someone else said. If we truly intend to be a defensive team, why not have a defensive head coach? Ayers for president...i mean coach.

Posted by: original_mark | January 20, 2009 11:25 AM

I'm trying my best to respect Tapscott as a coach. I really am. But when you start saying that McGee is more of a defensive liability than Darius (Dennis Rodman) Songaila, I have to draw a line in the sand and say stop the madness!!! Does he think we are that dumb as fans that we can not understand how to defend a pich and roll? Perimeter 3-pt defense? How about uncontested lay-ups? McGee out of all their bigs, plays some of the most inspired defense of all of the bigs.

Posted by: hamptonpirates89 | January 20, 2009 11:26 AM

It's fun to watch McGee dunk, but he's awful on defense. People can call out Jamison, but Jamison provides a lot more than McGee does at this point. Jamison may be a poor defender, but he's not as bad as McGee. He can rebound, for one thing. Also, he's a frigging all-star. The guy's a really good basketball player, despite being over 22.

It's also ridiculous to say that the only way Javale will get better is by playing in games. Why do they bother having practice, then? Again, you people are a bunch of loudmouth crybaby idiot jerks.

Posted by: IrenePollin | January 20, 2009 11:31 AM

Wow - agree with Tap and get a nice response here!

Some of you are saying that JM is playing better than Tap suggests - and better than Dsong or Etan.

I think the reality is that all are inferior options, so Tap is picking the spots and playing his least-bad option at C. It's a long season - even longer to JM's 3rd year when he may be bulky enough to be really good. Patience. JM will grow into his role.

I'll continue agree with EJ and Tap on the larger issue of culture: We might not have the players to get a ton of wins against superior talent - and without a real PG or a real post presence, we have inferior talent. But the coaches can instill a culture of trying to win every night - regardless of the outcome. That means letting AJ do his best to lead and act like a winner. It means letting the youngins see Dsong and Etan get rewarded with minutes when they put an elbow through Gasol's back and scare him out of the paint. It means seeing a 10 Point deficit in the 4th, and letting the All-stars try to pull out a win. Rewarding winning habits is a legit option in this undesirable circumstance. Just imagine if JM can be persuaded to aspire to Dsongs fundamentals or Etans&AJ's intensity. Tap's recommemded mix of watching vs. playing may be justified. Are the bloggers really suggesting that we know better?

Culture is important. If Arenas is able to get to the rim at will like he used to (or we somehow get someone who can), then we'll be back to a 500 caliber team soon. Once we're at that level it's culture that dictates how far over or under 500 the Wiz can be.

Nothing in Ivan's reporting suggests that the team feels like loosers. Certainly frustrated, but not loosers. That's a credit to Tap and his vets.

Posted by: cballer | January 20, 2009 11:40 AM

WE WANT FLIP! WE WANT FLIP! Flip Saunders is the perfect coach for this team as he is able to utilize the talent he has and motivate, teach guys to their full potential. Somebody tell Tappscott to watch Chris Paul lob the ball to Tyson Chandler for dunks 5 times a game! That is what Javele McGee can do all game with his length,athletic ability, jumping ability and height. Let the kids play with their athletic ability and we will be great when Gil comes back to give us 20-30 a game next year!

Posted by: BRANMAN | January 20, 2009 11:54 AM

Valid points all, cballer. But let's fast forward to next year.

At this point, we'll have two worn out veterans (CB and Aj) and we'll have a bunch of young players who are still at least a year away from contributing. If we get them out there now and teach them, we can mitigate the inevitable injury that is coming next year.

I don't think that you can teach a culture of winning unless you're actually winning. I believe that its a fallacy to assume that ppl get used to losing and accept it. It's in you as a kid growing up. If you hate to lose, you never lose that hatred. Winners are determined at a very young age. I believe we need to teach the kids how to learn how to win and they can't do that by watching.

Winning begets winning. Losing with vets does nothing fo the future of this team. Unfortunately, neither does winning with these old vets that have no prominent future with the team like Songaila.

Posted by: original_mark | January 20, 2009 11:54 AM

tapscott citing defense as a reason that songaila is playing is ludicrous, he is the worst option league wide used at center defensively and not only that but he plays alongside another weak sister defensively, jamison. "How do you balance getting experience for a young guy like McGee with trying to win games?" - easy you dismiss all chances of winning by not playing your only center, blatche and song are both pf's, this is no secret. If tap truly believes song is a better option then it seems he has never watched basketball before. Yesterday with aj and song on the floor the warriors were able to use their 20 possessions to get 12 layups attempts/fouls committed during layups, that's an unbelievable 60% of their possessions resulting in the easiest shot imaginable, they converted on all but one of these attempts, overall with song/aj on the floor they got 4 stops in these twenty possessions. This is the defense that helps us have our best shot to win? You do not fool anyone, grunfeld must be telling him to let this season slide away because there simply is no other explanation for such repeatedly inept front line rotations. it is sickening to see them continually throw songaila out there to the wolves with aj as his partner in crime, what about our record indicates any level of success with our "veterans give us our best chance" philosophy? Mcgee is already far and away our man who commands the most respect in the paint, all guards near the paint fear him and are too smart to challenge his frame, minimizing the easy buckets that we currently surrender night in and night out with songaila at the five, song is an open invitation for teams to get their layup lines running and since he is always next to an over-matched pf, aj, we will continue to lose painfully.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 20, 2009 11:56 AM

PERs of opposing centers when facing the following Wizards at center:

Blatche -- 17.5
Songalia -- 19.3
McGee -- 22.6
Thomas -- 24.5
Jamison -- 50

(Jamison has played very few minutes at center, so that number is not statistically significant.)

PER is only one measure, but if, 465 minutes into his NBA career, McGee is defending opposing centers almost as well as Songalia and better than Etan Thomas, why not build on that and give him at least 8 to 12 minutes a night? Why not have Blatche and McGee split the minutes at center, and Jamison and Songalia split them at power forward? Or would that make too much sense?

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 20, 2009 12:48 PM

It's fun to watch McGee dunk, but he's awful on defense. People can call out Jamison, but Jamison provides a lot more than McGee does at this point. Jamison may be a poor defender, but he's not as bad as McGee. He can rebound, for one thing. Also, he's a frigging all-star. The guy's a really good basketball player, despite being over 22.

It's also ridiculous to say that the only way Javale will get better is by playing in games. Why do they bother having practice, then? Again, you people are a bunch of loudmouth crybaby idiot jerks.

Posted by: IrenePollin | January 20, 2009 11:31 AM

Once again Irene you shoot yourself in the foot with your own statement. Please do reaserch before you make statements about playing the game before you post. "It's also ridiculous to say that the only way Javale will get better is by playing in games. Why do they bother having practice, then?

It is pretty obvious you have not played organized ball before because practice it what it is, "practice". There are not live bullets flying at you like "real" games, there are not real time game situations going on in practice, you are not playing against a legit "5" man in practice (AB) to make yourself better.

When you play in "real games" that is where all the previous factors I just mentioned are answered. You are in a real game that counts, the intensity is real and not practice level, you are going against a top flight starting "5" from the other team and you are playing against people who you do not play against everyday, like practice.

Also how in the heck can you say the dude is playing awful defense???? He gets rooted out of the lane in the Orlando game by Dwight Howard and a little against the Lakers against Bynum and that was it. After those games McGee has fronted the "5" man he was checking and has held his own for the most part. He has way better lateral movement then AJ also he is a natural shot blocker. What are you talking about......???????

He just does not have the weight yet to hold his ground, which will come. Marcus Campy was the same way but he "learned" while playing live and real games; not PRACTICE...????? Do you understand the concept now?????? Please take time out to think out what you are writing before listening to Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott's lame excuses for not playing McGee and trying to use them. All that is doing is having the blind lead the blind.

Or better yet, please convince your husband to sell the team to Ted Lenious and give up your 10% part of the team in the process too........

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 20, 2009 1:10 PM

Just imagine if JM can be persuaded to aspire to Dsongs fundamentals or Etans&AJ's intensity. Tap's recommemded mix of watching vs. playing may be justified. Are the bloggers really suggesting that we know better?

Culture is important. If Arenas is able to get to the rim at will like he used to (or we somehow get someone who can), then we'll be back to a 500 caliber team soon. Once we're at that level it's culture that dictates how far over or under 500 the Wiz can be.

Nothing in Ivan's reporting suggests that the team feels like loosers. Certainly frustrated, but not loosers. That's a credit to Tap and his vets.

Posted by: cballer | January 20, 2009 11:40 AM

cballer - Wow. The culture that is developing is that of "double standard coaching" vs. a "winning culture". When I was playing football back in the day there were two guys on the team who clearly were getting favoritism from the coach for playing time.

We all knew it and it was really hard going out there to perform when we knew we were outworking those guys in practice and in games. Trust me, when you see that type of favoritism it creates a negative culture in the locker room and on the sidelines, or bench in this case with basketball.

Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott does not balance out correctly the mix of "watching and playing" like you are suggesting he does. You can look at the minutes for CB, AJ, and Song. to see that.

Again, this dude does not know what he is doing although he tries to talk like he does. Granted I give him credit for having good ideas about driving to the rack more vs. settling for jumpers, but that is it.

Yet CB and AJ jack up jumper after jumper and never get yanked out of the game. Let NY, AB, McGee or Critt. do it and they are shown the bench. That is the type of stuff that Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott is feeding into the culture in this team. Is that a winning culture, or one that is letting you know there is the "haves and the have not's" on this team and that veterans can do no wrong? That's what it looks like to me....????

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 20, 2009 1:24 PM

Live games are for putting into play the lessons learned and reinforced through practice. But the lessons have to be learned first, and McGee isn't even close to being there yet.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 20, 2009 1:26 PM

blah blah blah, more crap. call when this organization grasps the reality of its situation and adjusts their philosophies accordingly...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | January 20, 2009 1:27 PM

do you think song is a better option?

Posted by: bford1kb | January 20, 2009 1:27 PM

Irene = Kalo_rama = hopeless despair

Posted by: Izman | January 20, 2009 1:32 PM

blah blah blah, more crap. call when this organization grasps the reality of its situation and adjusts their philosophies accordingly...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | January 20, 2009 1:27 PM

That's the problem, this organization has no philosophy. When it resigned Gil and AJ they had to go with a run and gun style since neither of those players play defense. Right now the team is losing by 20 with AJ and CB playing 40 minutes a game because they do not know how to play defense and they can not out score the other team. It needs to start at the top and that is with ABE.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 20, 2009 1:43 PM

Somebody tell Tappscott to watch Chris Paul lob the ball to Tyson Chandler for dunks 5 times a game! That is what Javele McGee can do all game with his length,athletic ability, jumping ability and height."

Sure he could, if Chris Paul played for the Wizards. Last I checked, he doesn't.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 20, 2009 1:48 PM

Live games are for putting into play the lessons learned and reinforced through practice. But the lessons have to be learned first, and McGee isn't even close to being there yet.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 20, 2009 1:26 PM

Kal- How do you know that other then what happened in the Magic and Laker game more then a month ago, McGee is not even close yet? One lesson McGee had to learn in practice from those two games was not playing behind the opposing "5" and learn how to front instead.

Now the reinforcement concept as you mentioned transferred into the following games because I noticed a concerted effort from McGee to "try" to front the opposing "5" he was going up against instead of playing behind him. Was he alway successful, no but "the lesson was learned from practice, reinforced and then applied in the game". That is what you said has to happen for him to play more minutes right?

What more does McGee have to do? Are we just to assume and take Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott at his word McGee is not learning "these lessons" in practice so that gives him a reason not to play him? Taking the word of a dude who never coached at a division 1 college and was never a NBA assistant coach? Oh yea, that makes a whole lot of sense.

If so, that is a bunch of you know what. The lesson thing learned in practice is fine to use if you are still playing to make the playoffs and you are still in the race. But we are 8 and 32, 8 and 32...??!!! You now have to think about next year weather you like it or not.

By doing so, you use these live games as practice to prepare them for next year once we get Gil and Haywood back. They have to know what we have because there is no guarantee Gil will be coming so Ernie might have to draft accordingly. He might have to draft another big if McGee or OPEC don't look good. But how can Ernie make that determination if he has NO TAPE to look at but McGee and OPEC spending time on the bench with little minutes or DNP's???

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 20, 2009 1:56 PM

It's unfair to single out McGee for his weak D when, as others have noted, hardly anyone of this team except McGuire actually plays tough D--but Tapscott is too cowardly to call out his vets. In the meantime, CB and AJ are getting worn down playing too many pointless minutes--so if and when Gilbert does come back, they'll be wasted. This team--and I mean the owner and management--needs to tell us fans what the plan is. I've never seen a professional sports team that spoons out so little information and that so tightly controls the press. If this were the 'Skins, the Post would have five reporters calling up sources, other teams, and pressuring management for an on-the-record interview.

Posted by: jweber1 | January 20, 2009 2:02 PM

Somebody tell Tappscott to watch Chris Paul lob the ball to Tyson Chandler for dunks 5 times a game! That is what Javele McGee can do all game with his length,athletic ability, jumping ability and height."

Sure he could, if Chris Paul played for the Wizards. Last I checked, he doesn't.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 20, 2009 1:48 PM

Kal - You do not have to be an All-Star Guard to throw a alley oop. Last time I checked Juan Dixon was the best on the team at throwing McGee the pill with great success.

Of course that great Hall of Fame coach we have put a stop to it for reasons of his own. He will use another one of his lame excuses that teams got keen to it and shut it down. Bahhh hum bug, Eddie "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott told the team to stop throwing them to McGee. Plain and simple.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 20, 2009 2:04 PM

How is McGee going to get the experience, if he doesn't get the playing time. The team has lost 42 games and heading for the lottery, how much worse can it get by giving him and other youngsters more playing time. I sure hope Ernie has a grand master plan up his sleeves for next year. It would be great to see him hire a coach who can teach, and bleeds defense. A coach who has an eagle eye for talent, in both players and assistant coaches, who can turn this mess of a team around.

Posted by: skyerocket1969 | January 20, 2009 2:31 PM

I would like to see Ernie hire Avery Johnson as next coach. Yes I would like to sign him now and get him started but most coaches will not want to come in the middle of the year racking up L's messing up their record.

They would want to evaluate the team first and then start the season off at the beginning instead of the middle. I would suggest that Ernie sign Avery as a "special consultant" and let him sit on the bench and evaluate the team for the remainder of the season.

That way he can have a bead on what he has and then he can plan accordingly. With Avery you would be getting a coach who knows how to coach defense and one who would not be afraid of the veterans and putting the best 5 out on the floor.

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 20, 2009 2:41 PM

Coach????

We don't need a new coach.

What would our record be with Phil Jackson, Popovich, and Jerry Sloan running this team?

I think that it's the current all stars CB & AJ. They get their points and individual stats but they don't make the supporting cast any better.

Look at Labron, Kobe & Duncan they win, they make their teams better---MJ, Magic and Bird they made their teams better, when they left their teams struggled without them.

Gilbert helps when he's healthy but now we see what he's worth to this team.

His presence made the rest of the team better.

Firing the Coach and/or trading for another STAR ain't gonna help.

Develop the youngsters and let's get ready for next year.


Posted by: VBFan | January 20, 2009 3:20 PM

While I think that Avery would be a successful coach for the Wizards, I don't like the fact that he did not win a championship at Dallas. He should have, but something went awry.

When Avery won his ring as a player in San Antonio the offense of that team stayed consistent and Avery was a part of it. And there defense was tough also.

But it seemed when he coached at Dallas, he tempered the offense for the sake of what he thought made them a better team. He was right to make Dallas better defensely, but in the final analysis, it was the lack of offense that caused his firing.

Mark Jackson does not bring the qualifications that Avery has, but I think like Mark better as a fit for this Team than Avery.

For some reason I think Mark would do a better job of meshing the whole Team concept in which Avery did not do with Dalls.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 20, 2009 3:22 PM

But you do have to be a capable passer, which Dixon really isn't. He's hit McGee with the occasional on-target lob, but he's also sailed a few out of bounds and bounced several off the backboard. The Paul/Chandler hookup works because Paul is a great passer with great floor vision and instincts for knowing when Chandler is open and when and where to throw the pass in traffic. The Wiz have no one on the roster who comes close to fitting that description. Trying to constantly force feed McGee, a hit-or-miss rookie, will result in a couple of highlight worthy dunks, but it's just as (if not more) likely to result in turnovers, something we've already seen with increasing frequency, now that other teams have figured out that dunking off lob passes is pretty much all he's good for on offense.

Of course, the argument could be made that dunking off lobs is all that Chandler is good for. Which only goes to underscore my point about how valuable Paul is to that equation. Chandler didn't all of a sudden learn to jump and dunk when he got to the Hornets. The reason it's the first time he was successful in any meaningful way offensively is because he has a floor general who understands how to run a team and make plays. The Wizards don't.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 20, 2009 4:08 PM

Early on, when McGee first started getting PT under Jordan, they were lobbing the ball up to the rim for him, with decent (not great) success. But that only lasted as long as it took teams to figure out that if they took that away, then McGee had nothing else to go to, which is just what happened. They started putting a body on McGee to make it hard for him to get to the rim and started pressuring the ball handler to make it harder to get the pass off. And poof, no more McGee. Once opposing defenses figured out how to impede that play, it was incumbent on the Wiz to come up with a counter. They didn't (or couldn't). Thus McGee's value on offense plummeted, his PT decreased, and he sat. That's not going to all of a sudden change just because the Wiz decide to start lobbing it up again. It's not likely opposing coaches have simply forgotten how to defense the play.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 20, 2009 4:25 PM

he hasn't gotten enough time to criticize him offensively, he certainly isn't a guy you go down low and pound away with yet but there is no reason to believe that songaila's production would not be matched offensively, currently song averages 5.9p,2.6r in 17.3m and mcgee 5.5p,3.6r in 13.8m. It is obvious that mcgee is already our best option at center defensively there is no excuse for him to not be getting 20+ minutes if our team truly wants to win games. Right now that is a rather large if. in all the years past when we have been awful, before gil got signed, I have never questioned our objective of trying to win until now, but witnessing our rotations that are utterly devoid of any defense day in and and day out leaves me without explanation other than we are simply in the business of losing games for the rest of this season.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 20, 2009 4:50 PM

Charlie Rosen's Eastern Conference mid-term grades

WASHINGTON's abysmal showing suggests an updated version of a semi-poetic couplet that was used for so many years to describe the perpetual ineptitude of the old Washington Senators:

First in war, first in peace,
And last in the Eastern Conference.

Grade: F

Charley Rosen is FOXSports.com's NBA analyst and author of 15 books about hoops, the current ones being The First Tip-Off: The Incredible Story of the Birth of the NBA and No Blood, No Foul.

Posted by: VBFan | January 20, 2009 6:32 PM

Since SONGAILA appears to be inhibiting the grown of our youngin's I suggest we petition the commish to allow all teams with single digit wins at the mid-point in the season to be allowed to play six guys on the floor at the same time while limiting any team with 10 or more wins to play straight up with the normal five. That way its eminently more favorable for the team on the downside win-wise. This will allow the WIZARDS to play SONGAILA, BLATCHE and McGEE all at the same time. It should improve the quality of our defense considerably as the playa's don't have to move their feet as fast or cover as much of the court as would be necessary in a five on five match-up. Obviously our team carries a distinct liability to the rest of the league in this regard.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 20, 2009 7:11 PM

cballer:

Patience is a virtue hard earned. But necessary in the case of McGee.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 20, 2009 7:25 PM

How do you balance winning with developing young guys? When you're in the playoff hunt, thats a relevant question. When you're 8-32 (not going to check the exact number, but this is close enough), winning doesn't mean a thing. If playing McGee now and losing because of him, means that he will know the offense and defense next season, then by all means do whatever it takes. Because we all know he is more raw talent than Songaila and is the natural center of the two, so an experienced McGee will play much better than Songaila. So that should be our focus, getting McGee experienced. We want to win next year, not this year. Just like we would trade a victory in preseason for a victory in the season.

Posted by: emmet1 | January 20, 2009 7:39 PM

Ivan,
Sorry I was unable to participate in this trial earlier today but just wanted to say thanks for a very good post. This is exactly the sort of information I lust for. You were crystal clear about what you were asking and what you were receiving.

Yes, not the answers I and a number of other would care to hear but nothing can be done about that. I do feel I understand the mindset behind this present situation better. Again, thank you!

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 20, 2009 8:16 PM

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