Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: MrMichaelLee and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Stevenson's Story

No practice today and I'll be on a plane most of the day getting back from Portland, so look for an update early tomorrow but in the meantime, check out the excellent story Mike Wise did on DeShawn Stevenson for today's post:

I'm contiously reminded of the interesting and often, painful life stories a lot of these athletes have. On just this team alone, you have Gilbert Arenas, who was basically abandoned by his mother as a toddler, Caron Butler, who was in prison as a teenager for dealing drugs, Nick Young, whose family story was illuminated in a documentary and JaVale McGee, whose mother played in the WNBA.

Anyway check it out. For those of you begging for more JaVale McGee, I again asked interim coach Ed Tapscott for his philosophy on the team's center rotation after last night's loss and am working on a story for tomorrow's paper detailing the situation.


By Ivan Carter  |  January 25, 2009; 10:22 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Portland 100, Wizards 87
Next: Monday Morning Point Guard

Comments

I just finished reading Mike's article on Stevenson; a well written and brutal story. I knew very little of DeShawn's past except for the hype surrounding him as a young player and the rape charge. This however is pretty staggering and, without going into a therapy session, does shed a lot of light on his false bravado and other theatrics. Clearly DeShawn has much bigger issues than trying to get his 3 ball back.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 25, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I like DS. Who knew that a back injury was mostly the reason for his inept play this year.

Number twos on this team: GA, NY, MJ, JD, DS. Too many. Somebody has to go, along with DSon and ETan. Depending on who the new coach is Pech goes too. There is a question on Pech only because we don't know whether he might truly be a Gunslinger off the Bench.

From the guys above I am keeping only two. Gilbert Arenas and Nick Young.

That gives me three spots to fill for next season. A point guard, a power forward - Tyler Hansboro is my choice, and a Strong versatile swing that can play 3 & 4 or even some 5, so I can stop having DSon and Etan nightmares.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 25, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Who knew that a back injury was mostly the reason for his inept play this year.

It was obvious that he was hurt almost from day one. I thought it was a knee (that's what bothered him at the end of last year), and it turned out it was, but the root cause was his back, and that noone knew except him and the organization - until he announced it.

We could use a healthy DSteve. We could use his 3 and his perimeter D. As much as you guys dislike him, he adds value and he's underpaid for the contribution he gave us last year. I for one hope he gets healthy and turns his season around. I think it will help us.

Posted by: jones-y | January 25, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

FYI for those of you who think that Ricky Rubio could help this team especially if Gil is only a shadow of his former self, and worse, takes some time to realize it. My Spanish daily is reporting that Rubio's team has decided to increase the salary on his contract that runs out in June 2011 and which has a buyout clause of 6 million euros. Can't imagine Abe (or anyone else really) shelling that kind of money out if Rubio wants to jump to the NBA before 2011.

Posted by: mugsybol | January 25, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Stevenson looks like someone another team will pick up soon, a victim of bad timing. He gave a lot more than he got before this killer season, but I expect Ernie will make a move soon, and other GMs will know value when they see it. Wouldn't be tremendously surprised to see Nick Young depart either.

Posted by: Bullets72 | January 25, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

shadow,

Everybody has a story. And lots of those stories are painful. I've got one...

I've never even thought twice about DSteve's antics last year, and that's because of perspective.

I have a childhood friend with a similar life story to Stevenson's, with the addition of his mom being a crack addict. Last year he was killed when he opened fire on police as they were raiding his apartment...

It really amazes me (I've been through my own share of ordeals - and I'm happy to be alive) the things that people declare to be important, or of consequence, to them. One thing that tragic life experiences teach you is perspective.

Posted by: jones-y | January 25, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I watched Blake Griffin last night, and man that dude looks really good. I like the way he plays, he's physical and plays hard, has good hands, is strong on the boards, and has a surprisingly well rounded game.

Jordan Hill from AZ, another PF, looks pretty good too...

Say we get Griffin...

From there, this is what I'd be looking to do to restructure this team.

I hate to do it, because he's probably my favorite player on the team... but if we can I'd deal Caron for Micheal Redd. A package of Butler, Stevenson and Pecherov works. Butler goes home to Wisconsin. Grunfeld gets the pride of his drafting career.

Redd with Arenas would be awesome! We'd move Jamison to the 3 where he's more effective.

PG - Arenas, James, Crittenton
SG - Redd, Young
SF - Jamison, McGuire
PF - Griffin, Blatche, Songaila
C - Haywood, McGee, E.Thomas

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 25, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

i was most impressed by the fact that he called the girl's mother to apologize (re: the statutory rape charge.) that's an honorable thing. kind of like realizing every girl is someone's sister or daughter.

too bad that women used that decency against him.

i hope the guy comes back and reestablishes himself as a reliable player.

Posted by: crs-one | January 25, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

jones-y,
Absolutely agree. While experience are relative I certainly have never endured anything on par with these. It does lend perspective and the game becomes very small. I was very moved by this story and pray that Stevenson is getting some help to work through his past. Not necessarily professional care but that he at least has people he can share with. Too much pain to just suppress forever.

No cliche here, I really appreciate you sharing as well and happy to hear you have been able to navigate through your own challenges. No small achievment.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 25, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm getting the feeling that the smartest move season made all season was to go on the injured list for an extended period. Nothing rehab's a player's standing with the fans than the realization that even without him, the team is still terrible.

Now everybody gets a chance to remember what a nice guy he is and how he was always willing to take one for the team. Not to mention the occasional foray into perimeter defense, something that hasn't been seen much since he went to the bench.

Of course, if the poor guy jacks up a few air balls when he returns, there will be renewed calls for summary execution.

Fans. Ya gotta love'em. After all, you're not allowed to shoot them, right?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 25, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I got time on my hands. I'm sitting here flipping between The Aussie Open and the Celtic Mavs game. The Celts are killing.

I wonder what Tapscott is watching.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 25, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Back to DStev, I think that besides the luxury tax, his play play/value contributed to Mason not being resigned. We had to many shooting guards and still do.

Not saying that Mason was the right one to let go, but we need to cut down on our shooting guards and replace those spots with some big mean tough guys.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 25, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, letting Mason go certainly cut down on the number of shooting guards. Now, where are all those big mean tough guys at?

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 25, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Jones-y

Tragedy can stike close and sometimes very close. Some may never get over it and maybe they shouldn't. Maybe its all in the way they handle it.

Deja vu Comrade.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 25, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Kalo,

I hope that is part of the strategy on the board now. BH, JM, AB, and AJ certainly will need some big mean tough guys to make them better and push them to play. The currents backups of Etan, DSon, and Pech puts the oposition on a roll.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 25, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Which goes back to the logic behind Jordan's attempts to get Blatche to play with the kind of focus, force, and aggression his size, athleticism, and skill make possible, rather than letting him play like a Charmin soft shooting guard and not caring as long as he puts up the numbers (otherwise known as "the fan strategy").

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 25, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

And where, exactly, are the Wizards going to get these big mean tough guys from? They have no FA money, they have few if any real viable trade assets, and even if they get a top 5 pick, this draft isn't exactly loaded with immediate impact players. Another big man project is the last thing this team needs, unless they're planning on blowing the whole thing up and starting from scratch (an unlikely strategy given the difficulty in moving Jamison or Arenas at this point).

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 25, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

This is obviously accidental, but it's pretty funny how Ivan refers to Javale McGee's mother playing in the WNBA as being a "painful life story."

Posted by: J-Wiz | January 25, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Kalo,

I may be wrong, but isn't the contracts of DSon, Etan, MJ, JD, MJ, Pech and maybe DStev availble for non-renewable or buyout.

If so, that gives me three spots, and I go get me a point guard and two of those big mean tough guys starting with Tyler Hansboro.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 25, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Which goes back to the logic behind Jordan's attempts to get Blatche to play with the kind of focus, force, and aggression his size, athleticism, and skill make possible

Focus I can see. His physical toolset isn't the forceful aggressive type. Call him soft if you wish, but short of the lack of effort and focus he sometimes displays, he does not play the way he does by choice. Same with BTH.

EJ's big failure was not realizing that not every 7 foot player with some degree of athleticism has a beast locked inside him. He (and a number of folks here) never realized that AB and BTH play within the limits set by their physical toolsets.

Posted by: jones-y | January 25, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

LarryInClintonMD,

Here you go:

http://hoopshype.com/salaries/washington.htm

Posted by: jones-y | January 25, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Tyler Hansborough will either be Mark Madesen in the NBA or at best Udonis Haslem like. The Wiz will have a top 5 pick...top 10 at worst. If Grunfeld took Hansbrough in the top 5 or 10 it would be one of the worst picks in NBA draft history.

Posted by: beas13 | January 25, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

EJ did not accept BTH for who he was as a player, until he was forced by ET's injury to do so. And he was going the exact same path with AB.

Its fine if you want agressive athletic guys in your frontcourt, in fact, I do too. But don't think that you can turn your player into one, or that he is not giving all he has if he isn't one.

Posted by: jones-y | January 25, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"But don't think that you can turn your player into one, or that he is not giving all he has if he isn't one."

Bull. If a player isn't performing up to the full capabilities of his talent, of course he's not not giving his all.

Blatche, clearly and unquestionably, has the size and physical talent to be an aggressive force up front (noting again, for those slow on the uptake, that being an aggressive physical force isn't the same as being a back-to-the-basket low post scorer). But he's made an obvious choice not to because he appears to prefer to avoid the physical contact that comes with such play. By failing to give his team something (A) it needs and (B) he's capable of, he's quite clearly not giving them his all.

To give a parallel example: Stephon Marbury clearly has always had the skill and physical talent to be a great PG, the kind who makes teams better. But he's never done it because he prefers the attention and "glory" that come from looking for his own stats and padding his personal portfolio. Was he "giving his all" for the Knicks, Suns or Nets in all of those games where he scored 20+ and the team lost by double-digits?

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 25, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"I may be wrong, but isn't the contracts of DSon, Etan, MJ, JD, MJ, Pech and maybe DStev availble for non-renewable or buyout."

Dixon is the only player whose contract comes off the books this summer, and he's making the vet minimum, so no real asset there. Songaila and Stevenson both have two more years on their deals after this season. Pecherov has a team option and Haywood, Thomas, and James become FAs after next season, which makes it likely they won't become attractive trade assets until around the trading deadline next season, which means the Wiz will likely be coming back next season with pretty much the same team they have now. An even then, with the exception of Gasol, quality big men don't usually t traded for nothing, and aside from expiring contracts, the Wiz have nothing much to offer.

They can certainly get players with those expiring contracts, but to get the kind of immediate difference makers this team needs, they need to sweeten the pot, and they don't have a lot of sugar.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 25, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

If a player isn't performing up to the full capabilities of his talent, of course he's not not giving his all.

Of course. If. If being our point of contention...

Blatche, clearly and unquestionably, has the size and physical talent to be an aggressive force up front

Its clear to me that he doesn't have the physical toolset to be an aggressive force in the paint.

...for those slow on the uptake...

There's no need for that.

But he's made an obvious choice not to because he appears to prefer to avoid the physical contact that comes with such play.

Rubbish. The only thing obvious is that he's not an aggressive force. Its a stretch to therefore conclude that he is, by choice, not an aggressive force. Fallacy of logic, my friend.

Yes Steph has the tools to be a great PG. He's also a headcase.

Blatche has physical tools. Not the type to make him aggressive physical player around the rim. Tools to be effective around the rim, and out to 18 feet away from the rim. But not aggressive. That's not his game. Wasn't his game in high school. In fact, here's his pre-draft scouting report:


Amazing potential… This guy has more well developed skills than most big men at the college level… already plays at an NBA speed… will need to add muscle or else will get pushed around in NBA… does not have explosion of past high schoolers who have jumped to the pros such as Lebron James and Amare Stoudemire

Strengths: Soft touch, versatile offensive skills, maturity

Weaknesses: Too thin… disappears from games… could be more dominant on the glass and defensive end

Posted by: jones-y | January 25, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

kslorama: "[Blatche]...prefer[s] to avoid the physical contact that comes with such play."

Right. Makes me think of Lamar Odom. Very talented guy who frustrates coaches because he's basically a wing player in a big guy's body. Every so often he'll get after it inside, but he gravitates toward the 3 point line. Which would be OK if he could reliably hit that outside shot.

Sound familiar?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 25, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Makes me think of Lamar Odom. Very talented guy who frustrates coaches because he's basically a wing player in a big guy's body.

He frustrates coaches because his physical toolset dictates who he is as a player?

Yes that sounds very familiar.

Posted by: jones-y | January 25, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

If I understand what buyout means, it means that a Team can buyout a players contract.

That means that ET, 7,350,000, DSon at 9,344,000 - 2yr buyout, Pech 3,927, 2yr buyout, MJ, 6,466,600, and JD non-renewable releases 5 players for next year giving me a net of two open positions rather than three.

So, I can add a point guard and one big mean tough guy.

27,087,600 will wreak havock with my salary cap but only put me in the luxury tax penalty for two years.

As BulletsFan78 would say, do we want to be cheap or figure out how to win this thing, a championship, I mean.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 25, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Larry,
Abe has been terribly consistent that he does not wish to exceed the salary cap...even by a little. I can't imagine him considering two years of huge salary cap penalties. He has played his hand, re-signing of Arenas and Jamison. I believe Kal is correct, little potential for any real movement.

Unfortunate but these are the parameters.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 25, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Grunfeld must be held accountable for this mess.

Free T-shirt

Fire Ernie

Email address to ErnieGone@Hotmail.com

Posted by: erniegone | January 25, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Watching the Lakers Spurs game today confirms to me why I think Mark Jackson is the best choice for coach of the Wizards right now, with emphasis on Right Now!

Parker guarded by Odom drived to the basket with no shot continued on through without the Spurs scoring.

Jackson noted and commented that the defense of the Lakers by not switching off their man and choosing to live or die with the defense of Odom against Parker was smart. It gave Parker no options to pass and his own scoring op was nullified by Odom.

Mark Jackson gets it. His knowledge might not translate into a successful coach, but he gets it, he knows what good basketball is.

Help/switch defense in the NBA has kept bad defensive players bad. They know that they will always get help and thus they never have to play better defense themselves.

Good individual defense is directly attributal to good Team Defense. No, this is not an oxy moron. The weaker the defensive player, the weaker the Team will be defensively.

So, if you, like the Wizards, are always teaching a switching defense it never demands that your players have to stay with/stop there own man, thereby having a weak soft defensive philosophy.

I've said over and over again, that Man to Man means just what it says and not always switching like the Wizards do. Switching is a only a technique, but not a Defense.

Hire Mark Jackson Right Now and get a leg up on next season.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 25, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Grunfeld must be held accountable for this mess.

Posted by: erniegone | January 25, 2009 7:15 PM

For Arenas needing another surgery? For Haywood breaking his hand/wrist? For Abe telling EG to give Arenas a blank check?

I respectfully disagree, I personally feel EG has done a pretty good job during his time here. Consider the formula for virtually all major trades prior to his arrival; Trade most athletic player with greatest upside for formerly great player definitively on their down side (Prime Chris Webber for virtually retired Mitch Richmond, Young Rip Hamilton for older Jerry Stackhouse etc.).

EG has made a lot of good moves and I suspect with one arm tied behind his back.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 25, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Juan's story makes the rest of them look like they grew up with the Cleavers.

Posted by: heath717 | January 25, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Larry,
I know you remember when Mark Jackson came into the league with the Knicks. Outside of MJ there may not have been anyone more entertaining to watch, especially his first few years. The kid had no fear and a ridiculous swagger. The point is he had fun playing the game. Other than NY's "I dropped the ball, no I didn't, spin on you and dish like Chris Paul" move you don't see the Wiz exhibit any creativity and they clearly are not having any fun. I think there is something to that. Too much thinking and not enough flow.

None of us know what sort of coach Jackson would be but I do imagine he may be able to reach some of these guys at a different level.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 25, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Ya know, the whole "soft as Charmin" tag used to get thrown at a certain guy named Kevin Garnett. Know-it-all sports pundits used to crucify him for taking jump shots and avoiding contact at the rim.

Now he's considered to be one of the most intense players in the NBA, and the key piece on a championship team. Amazing what winning will do for your reputation.

AB is obviously no KG, but he does have a similar skill set and style of play. Now he just needs a coach who knows how to adapt a system to their player's strengths, instead of trying to force a system to work with incompatible personnel.

Posted by: Plix | January 25, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Are we talking about the same Stephon Marbury who up until the last couple of NY years was one of only 2 players n NBA history(along with Oscar Robertson)to average 20+ points and 8+ assists over their careers? Even with the NY debacle, he's at 19.7 and 7.8.

Must be the same revisionists who say Gil is selfish when he averages 6 assists per game. It's one thing to say a guy is a cancer but you can't change the results. If a guy is good, give him his due.

Posted by: original_mark | January 25, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, you got any read on what EG is thinking? I'd like to know what his thoughts are on finishing up this season. Sticking with Tap? Hiring new coach this year? Develop young players (seriously)?

Posted by: t-train | January 25, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm an ardent AB supporter but he plays soft. No denying that. Even offensively he fades and finger rolls. I'm hoping it's a strength thing because that can be rectified.. He's also a poor rebounder who always tried to tip the ball to himself.
Still, the guy has undeniable skill. He's actually more of a small forward that pf. All he needs is 3 point range and it might not be a bad idea to experiment with putting him there next year. He can pass and would be impossible for almost all sf's to guard.
With JM and AJ in there, we might be able to get by with him only grabbing 4 or 5 rebounds per game, too.

MJ, CB, AB, AJ, JM starting for now sounds intriguing. Might not be the answer but try it out.

Posted by: original_mark | January 25, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

caveat: Of course, Ab would be hard pressed to guard a lot of sf's, as well.

Posted by: original_mark | January 25, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

"Ya know, the whole "soft as Charmin" tag used to get thrown at a certain guy named Kevin Garnett."

I know that's unadulterated bull. I know that.

"Are we talking about the same Stephon Marbury who up until the last couple of NY years was one of only 2 players n NBA history(along with Oscar Robertson)to average 20+ points and 8+ assists over their careers? Even with the NY debacle, he's at 19.7 and 7.8."

Exactly my point. Marbury's career is all about stats. He never once put the best interests of the team ahead of what he thought would make him look good. People (including the ones here) laud Blatche when he fillsup the stat sheet, but it's not just about the numbers. How a guy plays can have just as much (if not more) impact as the numbers he puts up. Blatche's dedication to soft play at both ends may help his bottom line, but when the most talented big man prefers to play like a SG, it hurts the team's bottom line.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 25, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

How a guy plays can have just as much (if not more) impact as the numbers he puts up. Blatche's dedication to soft play at both ends may help his bottom line, but when the most talented big man prefers to play like a SG, it hurts the team's bottom line.

What if I were to tell you that the Wizards are 7.4 points better per 100 possessions with Blatche on the court than with him off it (and that's with Darius Songaila, who has a good on/off rate, backing him up). What if I were to tell you that's the highest mark on the team (which it is).

First, your story is that he's not producing. Then, your story is that he puts up good stats, but doesn't help the team. What exactly are you going to do when yet more evidence comes in contradicting your argument?

You're talking about a Blatche that existed in past years, not the Blatche that is out there this year.

Posted by: Pradamaster | January 26, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

"What if I were to tell you that the Wizards are 7.4 points better per 100 possessions with Blatche on the court than with him off it"

Then I'd tell you that stats, while they rarely lie, also rarely tell the whole truth. The Wizards are a bad team. The fact that they may be a marginally less bad team with Blatche on the floor doesn't even come close to being an actual response to the argument that his style of play isn't giving the team wht they really need or what he's really capable of.

"First, your story is that he's not producing. Then, your story is that he puts up good stats, but doesn't help the team. What exactly are you going to do when yet more evidence comes in contradicting your argument?"

What more evidence? In order for there to be more, there first has to be some. I haven't seen any.

"You're talking about a Blatche that existed in past years, not the Blatche that is out there this year."

I'm talking about the Blatche that launches 20 foot fadeaway jumpers when being guarded by Cs who have no chance of guarding him off the dribble. I'm talking about the Blatche who repeatedly short arms put backs on the doorstep of the rim and who gets weak finger roll attempts blocked on the break.

In short, I'm talking about the Andray Blatche that's appeared in every game this season for the Wizards.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

"Rubbish. The only thing obvious is that he's not an aggressive force. Its a stretch to therefore conclude that he is, by choice, not an aggressive force. Fallacy of logic, my friend."

The only thing that's obvious is your continued lack of understanding of the parameters and definition of the topic under consideration. And the only thing that's rubbish and a fallacy are your attempts at a counter argument.

Again (for those who continue to be slow on the uptake) we're not talking about him being a back to the basket low post banger. We're talking about him using the physical tools and skills he clearly possesses (size, length, quickness, athleticism, ball handling) to create the kind of opportunities on offense (strong off the dribble drives against bigger, slower PFs/Cs; up fakes in which he gets the defender off his feet and seeks rather than avoids contact, crashing the offensive glass hard) that put pressure on opposing defenses and create better, easier, higher percentage opportunities (certainly easier and higher percentage than 20 foot fadeaway jumpers). To claim that he doesn't have the tools (again, for those who missed them the last time, they are: size, length, quickness, athleticism, ballhanding) to accomplish this is self-delusion of the highest order. He has all of the physical tools. What he lacks is the will to use them. To suggest that that is something that can't or shouldn't be changed is to suggest that a team and a coach and fans should be satisfied with whatever effort a player decides to give them and that they have no right to expect or demand more when they know full well he's capable of giving it. If everyone's willing to agree to that, then so be it. But that, of course, will mean an end to all of the haranguing screeds about Jamison not playing defense or Songaila not rebounding.

Try watching a Wizards game on TV. I guarantee you that at some point you'll hear the announcers talk at length about Blatche's tendency to play small. (I was going to suggest watching one of the national broadcasts to get an unbiased perspective, then I remembered that Phil Chenier has made a point of bringing it up on a near daily basis for weeks now).

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

"Of course. If. If being our point of contention..."

Nothing contentious about it. You're wrong. Blatche has clear physical advantages against many of the players who guard him, the kind of advantages that the team would be well served by him exploiting in a way that would get him to the line and create easy scoring opportunities. Instead, he dedicates himself to soft fadeaway jumpers and alligator-armed put back attempts that fall short around the basket in a pretty obvious avoidance of contact. When a 6' 11" guy plays like a 6' 3" guy, that's a pretty clear failure to take full advantage of his capabilities.

"Its clear to me that he doesn't have the physical toolset to be an aggressive force in the paint."

It's clear that you still miss the point. Blatche has the physical tools to take advantage of many of the players who guard him. But aggression is not a function of physical ability. Every player in the NBA can be aggressive. Aggression is a function of attitude, and it's here where Blatche falls woefully short. And, in stark contrast to your earlier assertion/implication, a non-aggressive player can, in fact, be made into an aggressive one. But it can only happen if the player in question is willing to make the change. Blatche, to his (and the team's) loss, is quite clearly not willing to do so.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

"Blatche has physical tools. Not the type to make him aggressive physical player around the rim."

And, to reiterate, aggression is not, in any way, a function of physical ability.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

"If I understand what buyout means, it means that a Team can buyout a players contract."

A team can only buyout a players contract if that player is willing to have his contract bought out. And since taking a buyout usually means taking less than the full amount owed on the contract, there's no reason to think that any of the Wizards players would gladly line up to be bought out.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

(A) Odom is a much, much more highly skilled player than Blatche, so whatever the deficits of his lapses in aggression (and while he has been frequently and rightly criticized for them in the past, both this season and last he has also been frequently praised for playing with more aggression in just the kinds of ways I've been talking about) he still provides more benefits with his overall game than Blatche. (B) The fact that Blatche is the only player in the NBA guilty of not playing up to the full potential of his ability doesn't actually absolve him of any of his guilt. And last I checked, Lamar Odom doesn't play for the Wizards, so why should I (or any Wizards fan) care what Lamar Odom does or doesn't do?

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Edit:

Make that: "(B) The fact that Blatche is not the only player in the NBA guilty of not playing up to the full potential of his ability"

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 26, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Kal, when I read your arguments about Blatche, they all point me to the same conclusion...that he's just not a C. (You may well be saying something entirely different but this is what i come up with after reading it). He puts up decent stats but this team needs more than points.
It's no indictment (in my opinion) to say that a guy is a finesse player. Unfortunately, he brings a lot of skill to the table that this team has in abundance and doesn't need. On a team like Detroit that has interior toughness, AB wouldn't be needed to shotblock and lock down his guy because they understand the concepts of rotating and help defense. I can't defend the way the guy plays because that's just the way that he plays. Our 2 main stars are also finesse guys and need a backstop type of C. AB aint that.

What I WILL do is criticize the way that his game has been developed. AB used to be a shotblocker when he first started getting minutes. If we'd wanted a low post big man, he was young and raw enough that we could have taught him a low post role. Apparently, we allowed him to develop the way that he has. Personally, if I saw my 7 footer continually finger rolling, I would have told him to either dunk it or get off the floor. What was our coach saying to him when he was shooting 15 footers rather than developing a jump hook or learning how to establish position?

Ab is a good player with decent skills. He's actually a matchup nightmare on offense because he's more mobile than most guys his size and can hit a 15 footer. He just isn't right for a team looking for a C who's forte is defense and rebounding.

Posted by: original_mark | January 26, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

AB's numbers are up almost all the way across the board beside the blocks. He's getting a full half a block less per game.

Since he's starting now and still improving statistically, I have to assume that if he were still going against backups as he did last year, he'd be doing even better.

The guy is improving. While we may not like his penchant for shooting jumpers, he's shooting almost 50% (the highest of his career). I just can't bash the guy since I can see him working on his game. He's shown us a couple of moves that we've never seen from him til this year. His ft% is up from .695 to .759, too.


The best move for us is probably to make him a permanent pf and see how he performs there.

Posted by: original_mark | January 26, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Just read Ivan's article this morning about Jm and Tap is so full of sh^^ !!

"You don't give things to people, people earn them. They earn them through solid play and making contributions. Otherwise, you can destroy the fabric of your team. You don't do that for any one player ever." - Tap


So what did DS to to earn starters minutes before he had to come to you and ask to be taken out? For that matter, what has DSong done?

Posted by: original_mark | January 26, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

"Just play those guys and lose games?" Jamison asked. "No, no, no. I'm not going to be a part of that. We're still trying to win games. Those guys have to earn their minutes and learn how to be professionals. That's how it is in this league."

Antawn, we're losing with YOU guys.

Hello ? Hello?

Posted by: original_mark | January 26, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

original_mark wrote: "The best move for us is probably to make [Blatche] a permanent pf and see how he performs there."

It would probably help him a bit to have one position for thirty games, wouldn't it?

My point was that I think when he's fully developed, he'll be one of those 'tweeners who coaches want to stick inside but is actually more comfortable out on the wing -- a poor man's Lamar Odom. Odom's problem is that he hasn't shot well enough to play outside where he thinks he belongs, and he doesn't like contact enough to flower inside, where the coaches want to put him.

Blatche is that sort of player, I think. We'll see.

If I were a scout, I'd wonder the same thing about Jordan Hill, the big kid at Arizona.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 26, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

One more idle thought: I'm wondering if Allen Iverson wouldn't be an asset to the Wiz. He plays the same position as Arenas, after all, and the team plays pretty well with a scorer at the point.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 26, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Yes Kalo, you are right about the buyouts. It's an avenue to consider though. Thanks for the lesson.

Reference AB, Up his TemPo. Some players need speed in order to show their strength(s).

When Plix says, "Now he just needs a coach who knows how to adapt a system to their player's strengths, instead of trying to force a system to work with incompatible personnel." ... this applies appropriately to the whole Wizards Team.

And I think you agree. This Team is not built for slow. UpTemPo will make all of them better players. It's their niche.


LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 26, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to see AJ as the 'shoot every time you touch it' guy off the bench for 30 minutes per game. Even though AB hasn't shown that he's anything special defensively, it'd be interesting to see him play at the pf position and start there.
We should bench AJ under the pretense of not trying to burn him out in a lost season. He may not like it but he's not the coach. I think he's professional enough to play hard and not pout. He took a benching a couple years ago under Don Nelson.

I would start JM and AB together, move CB back to the 3 and start NY at the 2. Just for sh%%s and giggles, let's see how they perform as a group.

Alternately, how about telling AB and Jm that they will be given 3 games each as a starter for at least 35 minutes per game. Whoever plays better defensively will get the starts for the rest of the season. Make it a true competition. Whichever of the two rebounds, rotates, boxes out, helps out better gets the spot. Throw Pech in the competition, too. If Pech can't handle it (and he may be so out of shape from not playing that he can't) then don't give him the 35 minutes.

Posted by: original_mark | January 26, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

All the back and forth about Blatche is pointless. To put some much needed perspective into this debate, one simply has to look at his production. Facts are facts, and he has not produced. Sure, he is playing better, this year, and is starting to come out of his “shell”. (note the keyword “starting”). Did anyone ever think that may be due to the fact that the Wizards are absolutely horrid, and they have no one else to play at the center position (besides Javale). I’ll be the first to admit, AB is playing out of position, and I think he would be better at his natural PF position. But he is not good enough on defense to guard athletic PF’s off the dribble. Does anyone remember the Detroit game early in the season? Remember what Kwame did to AB? Ah, do we all seem to have selective memories when arguing.

As far as his recent “surge” in production, truth be told, it’s not that hard to average decent numbers on a pathetic team. (See Mike James in Toronto).

And to whomever is still comparing AB to KG, please knock it off. While AB has the potential to be a decent player in this league, he will never come close to being the all around player that KG is. To suggest KG was called “soft” by the pundits in his early years is laughable. KG averaged 10 and 6 his rookie year, and 3 years later he was averaging 20 and 10. The rest is history.

In conclusion, I am not an AB “basher”, and I still feel he has upside and the ability to be a 14 & 7 player, year in year out. But I do not see him ever being a 20 & 10 player, or ever being the defensive force that KG is. To compare him to KG simply because they are “similar in size and skill set” is hogwash. Two players on a totally different level.

I guess every player who is 6’6, 205lbs with hops and a jumper should be compared to Kobe? It simply does not work like that.

Posted by: cj658 | January 26, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

In short, I'm talking about the Andray Blatche that's appeared in every game this season for the Wizards.

Exactly my point. Show me a game (or any 5 minute stretch in a game) where blatche played with agressive force, and I'll concede that his playing that way is a choice.

The only thing that's obvious is your continued lack of understanding of the parameters and definition of the topic under consideration. And the only thing that's rubbish and a fallacy are your attempts at a counter argument.

Riiiight. Your usual tactic. Change your point then accuse others of not getting it.

for those who continue to be slow on the uptake

Come on dude. Stop being a prick. You only make yourself look silly.

And, to reiterate, aggression is not, in any way, a function of physical ability.

But you yourself said:

Blatche, clearly and unquestionably, has the size and physical talent to be an aggressive force up front

And now you say:

Every player in the NBA can be aggressive.

So if we accept that, then by extension, we could criticize dozens of top notch players for playing the style of game that they play. Don't quite see a point in tying Blatche's style of play to some sort of inherent deficiency, when dozens of very productive players also make the same exact "choice" concerning their style of play, and translate that into concrete results, including championships.

And if we accept that, then we also much accept that playing with aggressive force is not a prerequisite to being an effective NBA player.

they know full well he's capable of giving it [aggressive play].

And how, exactly, do they know full well he's capable of giving it, when he has never, not once, not for any 5 minute stretch of any game, given it?

Try watching a Wizards game on TV.

Thanks for the suggestion. I've watched them all for about 4 years now. So I've seen every game Blatch has played in as a professional.

I guarantee you that at some point you'll hear the announcers talk at length about Blatche's tendency to play small.

Which in no way gives any substance to your point. Again your point (in case you missed it LOL) is that he plays that way by choice, DESPITE having the physical tools to play some other way. Mine is that he plays that way because that's what suits his physical capabilities. What is NOT in contention is the fact that he plays that way. So I don't see the utility in your paraphrasing sportscasters.

Posted by: jones-y | January 26, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Personally, if I saw my 7 footer continually finger rolling, I would have told him to either dunk it or get off the floor. What was our coach saying to him when he was shooting 15 footers rather than developing a jump hook or learning how to establish position?

He was saying dunk or get off the floor. Look how that strategy worked out...

Posted by: jones-y | January 26, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Yeah didn't work at all. Let me qualify that statement by saying that if my 7 footer was a forwardand I knew it, I wouldn't be expecting dunks and I'd be ok with finger rolls and fade aways.

Quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, he's a duck. I'm kinda old school and like 7 footers to be power players but hey, whatever works for him. If we can find a way to fit his game into what we do, great. I think we can.

I believe that AB is a guy who could, in the right situation, be a VERY good player. I don't know if this is the right situation for him, though.

Posted by: original_mark | January 26, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

So what did DS to to earn starters minutes before he had to come to you and ask to be taken out? For that matter, what has DSong done?

Posted by: original_mark | January 26, 2009 8:17 AM

In my opinion, the mistake that you're making is thinking that everyone agrees that DSteve and DSong have to earn their minutes this year by producing this year. Whether or not ETaps and other coaches should agree and operate that way is debatable, but the fact is that, barring a few exceptions, they don't.

Veterans are veterans because they've earned their stripes. That translates to them receiving PT to work their way through bad stretches.

Posted by: jones-y | January 26, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Yeah didn't work at all. Let me qualify that statement by saying that if my 7 footer was a forwardand I knew it, I wouldn't be expecting dunks and I'd be ok with finger rolls and fade aways.

Quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, he's a duck.

Exactly.

I'm kinda old school and like 7 footers to be power players but hey, whatever works for him.

I agree totally. He finger rolls and shoots fadeaways because he can't jump without a running start (and because he has the ability to make 50% of them). He tips rebounds to himself because he can't jump without a running start. He doesn't get a lot of blocks because he can't jump without a running start. Most of his blocks last year were helpside or opponents' fast breaks.

If he could get up and throw it down in opponents' faces, then there would be a point to all this debate, but he can't. I don't see how that's not obvious, but I've pointed it out to more than a few people who missed it...

And like you say, his game is effective. Regardless of whether its an aggressive forceful game or not.

Posted by: jones-y | January 26, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

“Veterans are veterans because they've earned their stripes. That translates to them receiving PT to work their way through bad stretches.”

Not true. Just because a guy has been in the L 7 years does not mean he has the automatic “right” to play 35 mpg. All that is going on right now is that EG is simply trying to prevent a mutiny, if you will. Cousin-IT and Uncle-Fester both know full well the youngsters should be getting the majority of the mins given the current situation. But how would that make AJ, CB, M James, and DSong feel? They wouldn’t be to happy about it. And let’s not forget that EG is paying these guys top dollar. Fact is THEY are the ones that feel that they simply “deserve” minutes, because they are vets.
They have been given an opportunity to earn minutes, and have failed miserably. 9 wins so far, way to go vets! As veterans on this team they should be thoroughly embarrassed and give up their spots, much like DS did. It amazes me how the topic of discussions still are NY, JVM, & AB. Anytime they make the slightest mistake, they are the scapegoat. No one in management or the media has pointed the finger at AJ or CB, why? I do not know. This is the same CB who feels that either he or AJ should be an all-star this season. Disgusting.
For AJ to make the above quote about the youngsters playing is unbelievable (Thanks Original_Mark for bring that to light). He doesn’t seem to realize that CB and himself are 5th and 7th in the Eastern Conference in MPG, respectively. Unbelievable. A true veteran would leader would acknowledge that he has failed and let the the young players develop. It is simply a case of not wanting to ride the pine for some 21 year old kid. It is a matter of pride, which I can understand to an extent.

Posted by: cj658 | January 26, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

To sum up my previous post:

The only reason AJ, & CB and the rest of the vets are still getting big PT is simple. If they didn’t get the time they wanted, they would be pissed. They would do one of the following:

A) Demand a trade
B) Publicly bash management and coaching
C) Create a rift in the locker room (as if there already isn’t one)
D) Pull a Marbury


Anyone, if not all of these options is foreseeable. EG knows this, and essentially has made Tapscott his puppet. Tapps is simply a warm body following EG’s every command. Say what you want about Tapps, but he knows basketball, and he KNOWS the young guys should be getting all the PT right now. BUT, he also KNOWS who signs his paychecks! Plain and simple folks.

Posted by: cj658 | January 26, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Wow, please read this observation from the Portland media. We don't get the REAL (outside) observations in DC:


"It's difficult to imagine a team caring less about winning or playing the game the right way than the 2008-2009 Washington Wizards.

It started with the most lackadasical warmup routine I've seen this year, starring an assistant coach who was practically begging Nick Young to focus for 5 seconds so he could hit at least 1 15 foot jumpshot out of a series of 7. In the co-starring role: 7 footer Javale McGee, who, while practicing complex crossover dribble moves on the perimeter unguarded, was challenged by a teammate to make a 3 pointer for $100. He attempted to take up this bet but, before he could launch a shot, found himself running across the court to track down the ball that he had managed to dribble off of his own foot.

This scene was followed minutes later by another Wizard firmly declaring, "male sperm swim harder than female sperm."

Later, the crowd was treated to Deshawn Stevenson, who had scratched himself from tonight's contest due to lower back pain, shimmy-dancing in his seat (through the pain?) during multiple timeouts.

The Wizards committed 27 turnovers, most of them unforced; many were taken the other way for uncontested dunks. They scored 31 points in the first half. They demonstrated a practiced ability to hit meaningless jumpers during garbage time (from the middle of the 3rd quarter on) so that the game wouldn't look like a complete embarrasment in the final box.

The final score was Blazers 100, Wizards 87.

Someone please save the game of basketball from this group."


Posted by: cj658 | January 26, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

My response to the Portland story is this ...

First of all, those two guys played 6 and 8 minutes respectively. The media may be trying to make a point about maturity but those 2 aren't the reasons we lost.

Nick Young's strength is 15 foot jump shots. I don't know that criticizing not practicing those makes a lot of sense.

Is Javale dribbling the ball of his foot or taking a bet to make a shot the big news? Which one is it? Should he be practicing his low post moves against that dominant defensive force, Andray Blatche? That'll make him better (dripping with sarcasm)

I wish the Portland media would stick to reporting about the Blazers team. How about talking about the attempted collusion to keep Darius Miles out of the league?

Posted by: original_mark | January 26, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Okay so which of you guys called the John Thompson Show just now about Ivan's Javale McGee article??? The callers (as well as Brain Westbrook) sounded just like you guys...

Posted by: jones-y | January 26, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm still at work or I would've called. Gotta try something.

Posted by: original_mark | January 26, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

From Michael Lee's Monday Morning Point Guard:
And, finally, when asked about returning this season, Arenas mentioned the Wizards' lousy record and asked back rhetorically, "Would you?"

This should clear it up for anyone uncertain about the character and leadership abilities of our franchise player. Please pass on to the Wizards front office that Gil's words are an inspiration and we will not be showing up to games either. Way to go Abe, you can really pick em.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | January 26, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company