Pecherov Gets In

There wasn't much good to come out of last night's loss to the Nets but we did get an extended look at second-year forward Oleksiy Pecherov, and he played pretty well by posting a season-high 13 points on five-of-nine shooting withi five rebounds in 23 minutes.

He had a few breakdowns as well: a play where Keyon Dooling blew past him on the baseline and dished off to Brook Lopez for a score. And all of the Wizards, including Darius Songaila and JaVale McGee were schooled by New Jersey's pick-and-roll game, but at least it was something to build on for Pech.

Of the team's young fellas he's the only one I've heard called a gym rat (and that's saying something) and I've always respected the fact that he's never sulked or gone into the tank while not playing. My general feeling has always been that the guy can play at this level, but I can't be too sure about that because we simply haven't seen him. Perhaps that will change over the second-half of the season.

Ed Tapscott: "I'm delighted for him. He's one of our hardest workers and always has been. He hasn't got a lot of playing time up until now and he's certainly made the most of it. We've got a lot of veterans out and we're shorthanded. Our young guys need to see this as an opportunity to show that they're making the type of strides we need you to make."

Another interesting note about Pecherov's night: His biggest cheerleader was Andray Blatche, who rose up and pumped his arms whenever Pech did something well. That was good to see. Other than Juan Dixon, I haven't seen anyone on that bench really pumping his teammates up lately. It's dead. When we were in Miami for instance, a scout turned to me and said it was as lifeless a team as he's seen in a long, long time. That's what losing breeds.

By Ivan Carter |  February 5, 2009; 9:08 AM ET
Previous: Nets 115, Wizards 88 | Next: Injury Update

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Samson says: "Songaila's not a real NBA center. Unfortunately, at this point, neither is McGee".

By what standard?

ESPN Insider has him ranked at 15th among the centers.

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/statistics?sort=per&qual=true&pos=c&seasonType=2&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnba%2fhollinger%2fstatistics%3fsort%3dper%26qual%3dtrue%26pos%3dc%26seasonType%3d2

When was the last time a Wiz center got ranked as high as 15 in any list?

McGee is a game-changer now with virtually no NBA experience, no big man coaching, and a game-time coach who disrespects him.

What is EG trying to get out of this roster, other than seeing Jamison go right, left and up the middle?

Posted by: Izman | February 5, 2009 9:29 AM

I was at the game and the crowd made more noise during the Burrito dash which is pathetic.

The Wiz played their typical half game and then slept for the 2nd half but honestly, can you expect anything different? We had 1 maybe 2 legitimate scoring threats on the court at any 1 time. Nick and Antawn were the only ones they feared as everyone else is spotty at best. I cherish these situations since pech got decent burn and played decent. I hope to see the rooks play play more

http://www.wizardsextreme.com

Posted by: WizardsExtreme | February 5, 2009 9:29 AM

Ivan,

Just talk about the positives from now on man. Even if it's the vendors at MCI dishing out some really good cheesy nachos or something.

Fro example:

"Hey everyone. Just wanted to let you know the Wiz are getting thier butts handed to them again, but man this is some of the best chili I've ever tasted! I gotta get this recipe!"

See...positive. And it makes eveyone want to come to MCI to watch a game and eat some food. ;)

It's kinda sad to come here and read about everything the Wiz are doing wrong all of the time. This season is a wash anyway, I am just waiting for next season. :(

It's really hard to tell what any of these guys will be like until ALL of the vets come back. I think EG has to suck it up and say he was wrong however to think this team he made was/is better then he thought at 1-10.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | February 5, 2009 9:50 AM

Ivan:
We saw Blatche cheering for Pech on the tube, too. It reminded me of something I saw a couple of years ago when Haywood was in the doghouse, with Michael Ruffin taking/stealing a lot of his minutes. At one point in a game, Ruffin did something good and Haywood jumped off of the bench cheering wildly for him. It was so surprising to me that I still remember it. Perhaps the Wizards bigs work so much together that they are close and support each other.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | February 5, 2009 9:57 AM

The game was a success as far as I can concerned. Pech and McGee got playing time and did pretty well. Thats what we need to see. Its time to spend the rest of the year getting these two and Young minutes to see if they can be counted on for the future. Caron and Antwan need to understand what is best for the team in the future. Both those guys are signed and arent going anywhere so they should be on board with doing the right thing for the future. Its a crying shame though that injuries forced Tap to do the right thing. He should be giving more minutes to the young guys anyway. Thats what a good franchise would do with a lost year.

Posted by: russcarreiro@yahoo.com | February 5, 2009 10:31 AM

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 5, 2009 10:48 AM

Pech actually played pretty well down low. I think ET needs to play him more at center, and forces him to play down low, instead of jacking up 3 pts!

Posted by: sagaliba | February 5, 2009 10:49 AM

"When was the last time a Wiz center got ranked as high as 15 in any list?"

Uh, how about just last season?

Posted by: sagaliba | February 5, 2009 10:53 AM

"It's really hard to tell what any of these guys will be like until ALL of the vets come back. I think EG has to suck it up and say he was wrong however to think this team he made was/is better then he thought at 1-10."

I seriously doubt he ever really thought that. Grunfeld's not stupid. He knew that losing Arenas and Haywood would seriously sink the team, and any thought of the playoffs was a pipe dream. The 1-11 record was just a very convenient and easily defendable excuse for him to file the divorce papers against Jordan. The two of them were never really in sync working together, and Grunfeld most likely would have let Jordan go over the summer (by declining to pick up the option year on his deal), but Jordan's managing to get the team back to the playoffs last season despite the injuries pretty much forced Grunfeld's hand to retain him.

Now that Grunfeld has full control of the ship, it'll be interesting to see what direction he steers it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 5, 2009 10:55 AM

Free Pech again...and this time give him Songaila's minutes.

Also get him some solid practice time. He actually looks ok on defense. I was surprised but he didn't get out of position too often and almost always had a hand in a shooters face when he was nearby. Pech also seems to get a decent amount of deflections, tips, etc. He can give us some valuable minutes.

I don't see much of a place for him with JM, BTH and AB all healthy next year but for now he's good enough to be giving us some solid minutes.

Posted by: original_mark | February 5, 2009 11:11 AM

I'm with you Kal. I think Eddie saved his job with that playoff run last year. But what begs to question is, What would've happened if he didn't? There's a ton of what if's that can be said for that one.

Posted by: CBell29 | February 5, 2009 11:19 AM

Puhleeze, Pech will never be more than a marginal player. He's a seven footer who never even thinks about going down on the block, preferring instead to float around on the perimiter launching threes. We don't need that. And where is the other seven foot Euro EG drafted? Whatever happened to that guy? I can only assume he's another bust. Too bad EG didn't have the sense to keep Mason Jr. That's the guy we should have shooting threes from the perimiter. Not some seven foot stiff.

Posted by: sonny2 | February 5, 2009 11:53 AM

anyone see that haywood update on washingtonwizards.com?

Hopefully we can get him back soon.

Posted by: Igetbuckets | February 5, 2009 11:55 AM

Which reminds me

Ivan, a request...will you give us coverage of Mason at the 3point shootout? I don't know if you're going to be at all star weekend at all, but hey, we love the guy. even though we can't have him.

Posted by: crs-one | February 5, 2009 11:55 AM

Another classic quote from Tapscott last night:

"Please don't ascribe any blame to [Jamison]," Tapscott said. "They loaded their entire defensive package to stop him."

Big surprise there. Aside from the entertainment value, you can expand your vocabulary listening to a Tapscott presser. I'm going to be looking for an opportunity to say, "ascribe" for the rest of the week.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | February 5, 2009 12:03 PM

Why did Tap banish McGuire to the bench for almost the entire half after he picked up 2 1st QTR fouls?
He's our best defender and he can't get any ryhthm when he sits for such a long stretch.

Posted by: elfreako | February 5, 2009 12:24 PM

ha, so jamison should not have noticed he was the only man being guarded and passed once or twice instead of forcing up contested shots all night? Solid coaching, you tell aj to force shots up in high volume , he does so miserably and then you publicly free him of blame, eschewing any criticism and believing our pf to be above and beyond reproach.

Posted by: bford1kb | February 5, 2009 12:37 PM

If Opec doesn't get time in a lost season like this, when will he ever get time to develop. The kid's got some moxie down low, he gets in there and gets his hands on alot of balls.

Anybody that knows anything about coaching defense knows that deflections are huge. Most teams from High School on up chart them when they grade film. I'd give Pecherov no better then a C for what we saw last night. For a guy that's been buried at the end of the bench, that's a good first effort.

Jamison flat out quit last night, was Tapps thinking that once he sat for awhile he'd come back and finish the night strong. No other reason to bring him off the bench in a blowout. It didn't work.

Twan should have woke up this morning with a really bad taste in his mouth. He should quit jawing the refs and get back on defense. He's a classy guy and a great competitor, but he's making himself look bad at this point.

Everybody knows this is no fun, but Twan it's no fun to watch you jaw at the refs everytime up and down the floor...

Posted by: flohrtv | February 5, 2009 12:47 PM

"Please don't ascribe any blame to [Jamison]," Tapscott said. "They loaded their entire defensive package to stop him."

Yes, I will not "ascribe" any blame on Jamison, instead I will "describe" the blame in detail:

40:19 Minutes played, with 4-20 shooting, 1-7 three points attempts made, 1-2 free-throws made, -24 (+/-), and just 10 points for the whole game.

I do not "arrogate" Jamison's desire to help the team, but I do "caluminiate" Mr. Tapscott of "expropriating" the playing time of the young Wizards. But that is just my opinion. Idiot coach!

Posted by: JohnWWW | February 5, 2009 1:17 PM

Lost season means that EG shouldn't have used Eddie Jordan as a scapegoat when the team started 1-10. Jerry Sloan, Phil Jackson, and Pat Reilly couldn't have coaxed more than 20 wins out of this injury riddled team. Minus Arenas, this was a .500 team last year and we started the season without our only legit center (BTH) and best 3-point shooter (Mason).

EG has done virtually nothing to improve the roster since the close loss to the Cavs in the 2006 playoffs. The team has regressed partly due to the knee injuries suffered by Arenas, but equally due to the poor personnel decisions by the front office. Even non-playoff teams like Milwaukee and Indiana made legitimate moves in the offseason to either position themselves for the future or to rid themselves of undesirable long-term deals.

After seeing what happended during the playoffs the two years, even the most loyal Wizards fan could only see this as a 45-win team with a return by a 80-90% healthy Arenas. Instead, EG resigned marginal players like DSS and AB in 2007 and let Roger Mason leave in 2008 to avoid going over the salary cap. He would have been our starting SG this season and given us a 3-point threat we lack. EG should be held accountable for the slow, steady regression of the team and the fact the franchise has now been set back a minimum of 5 years after the re-signings of AJ (thought this was a good move at the time) and Arenas (poor move then which looks even worse now).

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 5, 2009 1:26 PM

I'm on board with Kal's comments about EG being forced to extend EJ's contract rather than just not exercise his option at the end of this season. A lame duck coach would have had no real authority over the team. There clearly was a lack of support from the front office who never backed up EJ after the disrespect showed him last year by Agent Zero. I sensed Eddie was relieved to have been let go and to have the rest of the season to mull his options and to be in position for a better job next year (i.e. Philly, NJ, etc.)

As far as the authority to steer the ship, I disagree with Kal as it was clear that EG was calling the shots on personnel moves both via FA and the draft. Based on Eddie's comments last year when he was playing with a short bench (sometime only 8-9 guys), it was obvious he hoped that EG would at least have signed some players to 10-day deals or filled out the open two spots on the roster with some healthy bodies. In hindsight, it almost appears that EG hoped Eddie would fail (not reach the playoffs) so he could justify getting rid of him after last season. Only some career years from CB3, AJ, BTH, DSS and Mason + some good coaching got this team into the playoffs.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 5, 2009 1:48 PM

I've been hard on Jamison but I'm not going to pile on when he has a bad offensive game. He's still a 21-9 guy who is the victim of bad coaching. A real coach would have started off running plays for NY since he's our only other established scorer. Then once the pressure eased off AJ, he could have done his thing. AJ plays no defense but I place the blame for this one and many others squarely on Tap.

Posted by: original_mark | February 5, 2009 1:58 PM

"I disagree with Kal as it was clear that EG was calling the shots on personnel moves both via FA and the draft.",/i>

Then you don't disagree with me, because I never said nor implied that Grunfeld wasn't calling the shots on those things.
But he didn't have full control of the ship because he wasn't the one who chose the captain.

Jordan was not hired by Grunfeld. He wasn't Grunfeld's "guy." And it was clear from the beginning that they did not see eye to eye on a number og key things. Now that Jordan's gone, Grunfeld will be able to chose a coach who shares the same vision as he does and will be more likely to implement that vision in a way that Grunfeld signs off on.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 5, 2009 2:00 PM

Ivan Carter: Nice article on Caron yesterday. It was good to see an article highlighting one of the "vets" poor play.

Posted by: cj658 | February 5, 2009 2:31 PM

Now that Jordan's gone, Grunfeld will be able to chose a coach who shares the same vision as he does and will be more likely to implement that vision in a way that Grunfeld signs off on.

I wonder what exactly that vision is. Here's my 2 cents on Grunfeld....
When he joined the Knicks, they had already experienced some success. They had a top 50 player as their centerpiece and it shouldn't be that hard to build around a guy like that. The Knicks has been to the playoffs the year before he got there.

In Milwaukee, he had a young Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell. He didn't have to do much to much because they'd already been to the playoffs the year previous to his arrival.

I think he's a competent GM. He may not be the best at assembling a team but he knows talent and can pick players. There's no disputing that he has some hits in Blatche, JM and NY. These guys would be starters or at least starter quality on a lot of teams in this league while they were being panned on draft day by so called 'experts'.

I think he's doing his job for the most part and it's up to the coaches to get the most out of the talent. I will assign some blame to him for the lack of defensive specialists on this roster but it appears to me to be a matter of effort, not talent.

Posted by: original_mark | February 5, 2009 3:03 PM

..and that's on the coaches.
What exactly is Randy Ayers doing? I'd love to hear a frank analysis of what he sees and why we are so deficient when it comes to perimeter defense. I want to hear him single out some players.

Posted by: original_mark | February 5, 2009 3:04 PM

You guys kill me...

Last year it was "let Mason go to clear PT for Nick Young."

Now, you guys whine about EG letting Mason go. Now, you guys are throwing in the towel on NY, even though he's doing very well this year... And by the way your expectations are way too high. He's a mid first rounder who played three (count'em, three) years of college ball, and you seem to think he's supposed to be a great player!

News flash: Mid first rounders who played three years of college ball are that for a reason...

Same with AB. Mid second rounders may or may not even make the roster... AB is shaping up to be a long term contributor, and maybe even the next in line starting 4, and yet you all seem to expect greatness from him...

-------------------------------------------
About a month ago (and as recently as a friggin WEEK ago) you guys were calling for the organization to tank the season.

Now you're complaining that the team is tanking... Did you think it would be pretty?

Posted by: jones-y | February 5, 2009 3:08 PM

When we were in Miami for instance, a scout turned to me and said it was as lifeless a team as he's seen in a long, long time. That's what losing breeds.

I think it is the other way around with all of the selfish players on this team AJ, CB, and Gil it should read....

Losers breed a lifeless team

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 5, 2009 3:21 PM

Now, you guys are throwing in the towel on NY, even though he's doing very well this year... And by the way your expectations are way too high.

Who's throwing the towel on Nick Young?

I think most logical fans don't expect young to come out and let it rip to the tune of 30 every night, but I know, speaking for myself, that I would like him to receive more minutes than earn them (Tis the season) and take his craft more seriously (he comes off as one of those "gee-golly-wow-I'm-just-happy-to-be-here" types).

Not to sure what you're implying with this statement: "Mid first rounders who played three years of college ball are that for a reason...", but I can name several NBA players who weren't lottery selections and have panned out fine.

Posted by: RedDMV | February 5, 2009 3:55 PM

LOL @JohnWWW

Nothing to say further other than to harp on how insane Tapscotts coaching is.

---Jamison go right, left and up the middle--

Lets look at one of the greatest coaches of all-time, The Zen master who has coached two of the greatest offensive players in the history of basketball. Kobe and Air someone.

Did he ever tell them to shoot left, right and middle!?!? He spent every ounce of his coaching energy making sure they learned that they could not maximize their own talents until they made the players around them better and got their offense from within the design of the offense.

Telling one player (or two) to chuck up as many shots as possible is a bad strategy for an 8th grade team and its terribly easy to defend.

I would quit too if I was involved in a gameplan that was doomed before tipoff.

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | February 5, 2009 4:14 PM

"I wonder what exactly that vision is. Here's my 2 cents on Grunfeld....
When he joined the Knicks, they had already experienced some success. They had a top 50 player as their centerpiece and it shouldn't be that hard to build around a guy like that. The Knicks has been to the playoffs the year before he got there."

If by "some success" you mean getting to the 2nd round of the playoffs, sure. But Grunfeld got them to multiple conference and NBA Finals, something they hadn't done before during Ewing's career and haven't come close to doing since EG left.

And on their last trip to the Finals, every player on the team other than Ewing (who missed a big chunk of the playoffs, including the Finals series because of injury) was acquired by Grunfeld.

"In Milwaukee, he had a young Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell. He didn't have to do much to much because they'd already been to the playoffs .

They got to the playoffs the year previous to his arrival for the first time in 8 years and were swept in the first round. In the 4 years Grunfeld ran the show, they never finished below .500, made it to the playoffs 3 times, and won more playoff games than they had in the previous 12 seasons combined.

The implication that he just lucked into good situations and rode them without having any impact is way off base. Certainly he's not above criticism. I've criticized him myself for his failure to do certain things to help the Wiz, but part of my disappointment is based on the fact that I know he can make the right moves because he's done it before. The guy absolutely knows how to assemble a team. He's proven that more than once.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 5, 2009 4:28 PM

Not to sure what you're implying with this statement:

What I'm implying is that they are rarely (in this new NBA age) impact players, and that a realistic expectation for a player like that is rotation guy, or fourth fiddle starter at best.

but I can name several NBA players who weren't lottery selections and have panned out fine.

Fine, yes. (Fine is a realistic expectation for Nick Young IMO) Great? Not many, and of those, not many spent three years in college.

And that was my point, that Nick Young has met or exceeded any realistic expectation we could have had. But there have been more than a few posts in the past few days where people are stating that they're disappointed with him, or that they've readjusted their expectations. IMO, its because they had unreaslistic expectations to begin with.

Posted by: jones-y | February 5, 2009 4:32 PM

"And that was my point, that Nick Young has met or exceeded any realistic expectation we could have had. But there have been more than a few posts in the past few days where people are stating that they're disappointed with him, or that they've readjusted their expectations. IMO, its because they had unreaslistic expectations to begin with."

Yes and no. Anyone expecting all-star elite stardom for Yong (and there seem to be some here who do) definitely have their expectations out of whack. But based on what he's actually proven to have the ability and talent to do, he should be doing more than he is. If he never improves more than he is right now, he'll probably have a nice career as a backup SG who provides an offensive shot in the arm in limited minutes. A bigger version of Eddie House, basically. And that's not bad for a guy taken at #17. But his demonstrated talent suggests that he could be more. Not necessarily a whole lot more, mind you, but every little bit helps.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 5, 2009 5:17 PM

Samson says: "Songaila's not a real NBA center. Unfortunately, at this point, neither is McGee". By what standard? ESPN Insider has him ranked at 15th among the centers. When was the last time a Wiz center got ranked as high as 15 in any list? McGee is a game-changer now..."

This is that PER stat again, right? Curse you, John Hollinger. You've made folks believe that 'efficient' is another word for 'good.'

A third of the time, McGee's hopelessly out of position on defense. Another third of the time, he's out of position on offense.

Like a lot of young big guys, he's 'light in the seat'. Not the same thing as being light in the loafers, but also not an asset in a big man. When some 280 pound behemoth gets McGee on his hip, it's launch time at Cape Canaveral.

If the other team cooperates by racing up and down the floor and launching themselves at the basket, he can look All-World. If they pound the ball inside to a big, bulky guy, McGee just looks helpless.

You wait, someday this guy could be really, really good. And efficient, too.

Let's hope John Hollinger is around to enjoy it.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 5, 2009 8:34 PM

By the way, Manute Bol was a 'game changer'.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 5, 2009 8:35 PM

"You've made folks believe that 'efficient' is another word for 'good.'"

Thank you.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 5, 2009 8:49 PM

PT is the key to developing a big man. The majority of them (those that aren't immediate superstars, that is) in the NBA take several years to develop. Tyson Chandler took several years. Brad Miller almost dropped out of the league for good before he played enough to develop his game. Moral of the story: you gotta play your big men. Hopefully Tap will get with it the rest of the way, probably after the Feb. 15 deadline passes, when all hope of trading Songaila will be lost.

Posted by: dpclark | February 6, 2009 12:58 PM

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