Something to Ponder

The Wizards will start practice at noon today and I'll have a post-practice update then. But for the time being, I wanted to get your thoughts on something that went through my mind after Caron Butler hit that shot to win yesterday's game: Do you, as WIz fans, want this team to wins games right now? And if so, how many?

It's an interesting question and one potential lottery teams face every season at this point: You want to win because that is always the goal, but too many wins can hurt draft position and ultimately hurt you.

So what do you folks think?

By Ivan Carter |  February 9, 2009; 11:55 AM ET
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I hate to say this, but the more I watch Blake Griffin the more I start wanting the Wizards to lose. I hate myself, but what is a Wizards fan to do?

Posted by: 33dgriffin | February 9, 2009 12:16 PM

The Wiz should try to win as many games as possible. As I've said previously, given our track record, if the Wiz had the first lottery pick our choice would probably be the 2nd best player from the Polynesian Pygmy League.

Posted by: getabigboyoffense | February 9, 2009 12:19 PM

I want the team to win games, though NOT at any cost. That means, not playing Jamison & Butler 45 mins/game, would prefer on them playing 35-38 in a tight game, but once a game is out of reach, play them 30-35. That would keep them sharp.

In addition, without necessarily tanking games, give solid PT to Crittenton, McGee, Young, & McGuire by consistently giving each at least 20 mins/game in key situations (starts, first subs off the bench, etc.). I know Young & McGee can score against the likes of Johan(n) Petro, Rolando Balkman, Maurice Ager & Chris Douglas-Roberts. I have the scarlet letters (ticket stubs) to prove it. I want to see these kids (sink or swim) play against the top 8 of others, every game...

Posted by: -CN- | February 9, 2009 12:30 PM

If the Wizards continue to lose and get the three or better pick, would they do what is needed to secure that pick?

They must take a cap/tax hit to secure it and they must convince three players to accept a buyout to make room for him.

According to the conventional wisdom of some on this board, they will never make that economic decision.

So, if they will not make that decision, then they should try to win as many games as possible, develop the entire Team so they can see what they have going forward when BH and GA comes back.

And what a lot of people do not realize is if the Wizards are not willing to take a cap/tax hit they will have to trade the pick for future draft picks, because they do not have any slots for any new players.

I would love for them to convince DSON, ETAN, Mike James to accept buyouts, which frees up one spot and if they release Juan Dixon, thats two spots, even though I think Juan has some value with this Team.

However, those two spots give us the opportunity to sign two big mean touch guys.

Again, will they pay the money i.e. cap/tax hit?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 9, 2009 12:43 PM

Pollin is not stupid. He isn't selling tickets right now. Even if his priority #1 was making money, trading away the top pick is the last thing he would want to do. All that would guarantee is the continued disappointment of fans and the continued inability to fill the arena. At that point, paying the lux tax would be an investment for Pollin, because at least then his team could have the promise of bringing fans back to the games.

Posted by: psps23 | February 9, 2009 12:48 PM

I'd much rather see the Wizards make strides for consistancy on defense, develop the young guys who can then contribute more next year, and see some nice individual stats but still lose games close. I don't necessarily want to see them go up big and then collapse, i'd rather see a close game throughout where the Wiz come up short. If they work on defense and develop Critt, McGee and NY, i'd be fine with the losses. Wins at this point--and with this record--are meaningless long term. Obviously, you have to consider whether all the losing will affect some more than others on this team. This seems like it will end up as an extremely weak draft and the number 1 pick is the only real impact player I see in this draft. Would be a shame to finish with the 3rd or 4th worst record and end up with a 4 or 5 pick.

Posted by: superwilks | February 9, 2009 12:54 PM

I happened to be glancing at the halftime repeat from yesterday and this is what Tapscott said.

He is happy now that the Wizards found a Tempo that they are/he is happy with.

Then Chenier say jokingly but also seriously, if you can't stop them from scoring, you might as well join them.

Come on guys, you know I been saying this is a UpTemPo team from day one. Why did it take Tapscott so long to realize this?

Surely Tapscott cannot be that dumb. Surely he was just indicating some form design that we are not aware of.

But then, what design does he have for this Team?

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 9, 2009 12:55 PM

3) pay extra time and attention developing the "right" young players.

The Wiz need to identify their list of high potential young players. For example, I wouldn't put McGuire and Pech on that list. Crit probably doesn't make the list, but he deserves a chance (given his lack of college and pro experience).

McGee, Blatche and Young (in that order) are my high potential candidates.

BTW, the team most likely is win is Crit, Young, Jamison, Butler and McGee (not James, Butler, McGuire, Jamison and Songolia).

Developing the right young players this year doesn't imply more losses by the end of the year.

Posted by: Izman | February 9, 2009 12:55 PM

Why does it have to be either or? Why can't we play a nice mix of young players and still try to win?
Based on what I saw last night, Critt is the best pg option we have right now. NY is the best scoring option at the 2. Yes, he's better scoring at the 2 than CB. CB went to the all star game at the 3 last year. Aj was an all star at the 4 last year and is playing well offensively this year.

Both Jm and DSong have a lot of weaknesses and strengths. We don't need scoring from the 5 with three other guys all able to score. We need rebounding and, interior defense/shotblocking, Songaila provide non of the above. He is a physical presence in man defense but not help D. He'll hit an open shot but is poor rebounding.

JM is an average rebounder at this point because of hs lack of strength. He provides an occasional scare for opposing small men but he's weak and gets pushed around easily.

JM is the better of the two at his point because his height at least deters sometimes while DSong is a green light. Play 'em both if you have to.

Posted by: original_mark | February 9, 2009 1:05 PM

Correction, above I meant to say two big mean tough guys, not "touch".

Also, when you are developing your Team, your goals must be to Win, and not just to give them playing time, or just work on defense. You see, along with developing winning players you must teach the whole philosophy and not just part of it.

You can teach defense all you want but if you donot incorporate that into winning, you might end up with good defensive players, but you will never win anything. Take Utah as an example.

The bottom line is, and its true, you are either tanking by design or lack of knowledge, or you are about winning 24/7.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 9, 2009 1:08 PM

"Should the Wizards keep trying to win games?"

I wish I was convinced it would make that much of a difference.

They're losing not because they want to, but because they're not good enough to beat most NBA teams.

They played well last night, and managed a win on a last-second jumper. Could have easily been a loss.

And that was without Dunleavy, who seems to help the Pacers quite a bit when he's in there.

If I ask my head instead of my heart, I conclude that this is one of the five worst teams in the NBA. Not talking in terms of potential, now -- in terms of actual play.

They're worse than Minnesota, which is mediocre at best. They're not as solid as Memphis, which is below average. As so many have pointed out, the Wiz have two solid NBA players, several decent reserves, and bunch of kids who may or may not pan out.

Many of the fans, meanwhile, seem preoccupied with the trees -- substitution patterns, coaching decisions, playing time, etc. -- instead of the forest: the team's not very good.

Maybe last year was the aberration, more than this season.

To turn it around, my head tells me we'd need a health Arenas, Haywood, Butler, and Jamison, plus solid play from the vets and maybe one or two of the young'uns.

Even then, we're a first round playoff exit.

Blake Griffin looks like an outstanding player, but maybe more along the lines of Kenyon Martin than a superstar. Ricky Rubio can run a team (a big Wiz need) but probably ain't coming out. James Harden looks terrific against college players. We don't really need Hasheem Thabeet.

Anyway, I'm going to retire my head for a while. It's starting to hurt.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 9, 2009 1:20 PM

(channeling my inner Herm Edwards)

YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!!!!

Posted by: CBell29 | February 9, 2009 1:24 PM

I would love for them to convince DSON, ETAN, Mike James to accept buyouts, which frees up one spot and if they release Juan Dixon, thats two spots, even though I think Juan has some value with this Team.

However, those two spots give us the opportunity to sign two big mean touch guys.

Again, will they pay the money i.e. cap/tax hit?

Larry,

I'm not sure how you're reasoning that we need to clear three roster spaces to add one player. You can have 15 players on your roster. If you have 15, you must subtract one to add one.

we could do nothing and have two roster spaces available (Juan Dixon and Dee Brown come off the books)

We will have more roster space than that this offseason. That's more than likely given that we have some very desirable expiring contracts on our roster (about $20M worth). They are valuable to any team lining up for the 2010 free agency sweepstakes (which is half of them). We could come out of this next offseason with a nicely tooled up roster (including our high draft pick) by making the right trade(s). There's also a chance that the pick gets packaged in a trade that nets us a marquee player.

Nobody is accepting a buyout. It just doesn't make sense for the players or the team.

The question is not 'will they pay the lux tax?' We all know the answer to that one. The question is: how much salivating has Ernie Grunfeld been doing while waiting for this offseason to come?

Posted by: jones-y | February 9, 2009 1:26 PM

I agree with Caron. This team doesn't need another young player. This team needs to get healthy before making any evaluations.

Posted by: CBell29 | February 9, 2009 1:28 PM

Samson151, take a look at Crittenden. I really think he could run a team with a little more experience. He's a willing passer at the pg position and that's huge if you're looking for a pass first guy. He's also a very good ballhandler and doesn't turn it over much. He has pretty good vision and quickness, too.
I think that right now he is better than this years version of AD. If we keep giving him pt, by next year he could be pretty good.

Posted by: original_mark | February 9, 2009 1:28 PM

I’m getting tired of having this argument. To suggest the Wizards have room for another guy who takes 15 shots a game is plain bologna. Blake Griffin is not going to fit in in Dc as long as Gilbert Arenas is running the show. He needs to go to a team with a true PG. I often wonder how successful Amare would be w/o Nash. Seriously. Guys like that need a real PG. Both of you seem to think that Blake Grififn is somehow going to be just as good in the NBA as he is at OK. Sure, he’s no defensive slouch, nut he will not scare anyone. The Wizards do not need a Blake Griffin. I think he is a good player, just not what this team needs.

Posted by: cj658 | February 9, 2009 1:43 PM

originalmark: "Samson151, take a look at Crittenden. I really think he could run a team with a little more experience."

He's very promising, isn't he? A tall PG who can run has a real advantage. But I think it would take more than a little time -- maybe another season -- for him to get near the consistency that the position requires.

Still, there are some hopeful signs in the youth movement.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 9, 2009 1:45 PM

Sorry, wrong post. I didn't mean to post that in this section.

Posted by: cj658 | February 9, 2009 1:46 PM

Samson151

Said it best....

They're losing not because they want to, but because they're not good enough to beat most NBA teams.

Larry,

They have 14 players under contract for next year and there is NO WAY CHEAP ABE will go over the luxury cap.

WE NEED A NEW OWNER!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 9, 2009 2:00 PM

What should the Wizards do?

* Tell these dudes who are getting paid millions of dollars to go ahead and take an early vacation and just call it a season because (heaven forbid) they're not meeting expectations or...

* Tell these dudes who are getting paid millions of dollars to get their behinds out on the court and show some semblance of being the professionals that they are rumored to be.

I don't know that's a tough choice
(sarcasm)

Posted by: blackman1 | February 9, 2009 2:06 PM

"They're losing not because they want to, but because they're not good enough to beat most NBA teams. "

Exactly. I think it's fair to assume that they haven't been losing by design, so there's no reason to think they'll consciously stop trying to win.

The real question is whether it's in the team's long-term interests to win more games. But even that question is moot to a degree, because it implies they're capable of winning more than they have been, and there's no real reason to think that.

"Blake Griffin looks like an outstanding player, but maybe more along the lines of Kenyon Martin than a superstar."

Yes and no. I agree that Griffin probably won't be a franchise changing player.But, unlike Martin (who, IMO, has long been one of the most overrated players in the NBA), Griffin has legit, low post size and skill, which the Wiz desperately need.

As for Crittenton, of all of the Wiz kids he's the one with the brightest light right now. He does things at the PG position that you can't teach. His ability to push the ball, penetrate into the seams, and see the floor are all quite good, esp. given that he only played 1 year of college ball and has only seen limited spot action in the NBA. He needs to develop a jumper ( a mid-range pull up more than a 3 pointer) and, as Tapscott has suggested, learn to vary the speed of his attack. But he's got the goods.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 2:10 PM

"we could do nothing and have two roster spaces available (Juan Dixon and Dee Brown come off the books)"

Dee Brown's salary will come off the books, but his roster spot has already been filled. The expiration of his deal won't create an opening on the roster.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 2:13 PM

And, again, there's no way Songaila, James, or Thomas (or their agents) would agree to buyouts. It's not in any way in the players' best financial interests to do so.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 2:15 PM

"I’m getting tired of having this argument."

Feel free to stop.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 2:21 PM

Kenyon Martin is a career 14.7 ppg, & 7.2 rpg player. Pretty MARGINAL right? I would say so. Yet I recall engaging in a debate a few days ago how 14 & 8 were not “middle of the pack numbers”, and “not marginal by any means”. I even recall an anonymous person giving examples of how 14 & 8 are all-star caliber numbers. But now all of a sudden people are talking about how Kmart is one of the most overrated ever, and not that good. I’m confused lol.

Posted by: cj658 | February 9, 2009 2:33 PM

To suggest Martin is a "marginal" player is nonsense. By any standard he's a good NBA player. He's simply not as good as his big ego (and big mouth) and constant on-court flexing and woofing give the impression he is. He's a solid, unspectacular NBA player. Nothing wrong with that.

"I’m confused "

Yeah, well you should probably be used to it by now. Clearly, it happens a lot.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 2:39 PM

Oh, and I forgot to add, he's grossly overpaid (which only adds to the overrated tag).

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 2:42 PM

Oh, and since you brought it up:

Martin was an All-Star in 03-04, at 16 ppg and 9 rpg.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 2:54 PM

Assuming the wiz have been trying to win all year, we don't seem to be all that capable of doing so, therefore giving up isn't even necessary, but if lowering caron and aj's minutes is giving up then yes we should give up

Posted by: bford1kb | February 9, 2009 2:58 PM

But you’re the one saying that he’s the one of the most overrated player in the league. That’s a stretch buddy. You yourself said , “By any standard he's a good NBA player”, this right after you said he’s one of the most overrated in the league. Then you try to defend your statement by saying he’s not as good as his ego. What NBA player is as good as his ego? I can only think of a few.

In the poll of NBA players, the ones who received the most votes for thinking to highly of themselves were: Kendrick Perkins, DeShawn Stevenson, Rashad McCants, Dahntay Jones, & Damon Jones. Do yourself a favor and look at all of their career stats compared to Kmart’s. Yet it sure seems like you would feel Kmart belongs on this list (You said it yourself). But these are just NBA players, who actually play the game, what do they know? Surely not as much as yourself.

Generally, when one would suggest that a “player is one of the most overrated in the league”, one would assume that the aforementioned player is not all that good. But according to your logic, Kmart is good player. You talk an awfully powerful game, but when it comes down to it, you spend entirely too much time trying to sound smart.

Make up your mind. And you wonder why I’m confused??

Posted by: cj658 | February 9, 2009 3:05 PM

Just because a player's good in no way, shape or form precludes him from being overrated.

K-Mart is a good player. But between the hype surrounding his entry into the NBA, his own constant jawing, and his salary, he has the trappings of a great player, which he's not. He's a good player who's paid, talked about, and treated like a great one, but doesn't produce like a great one.

That's the very definition of overrated.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 3:35 PM

"And you wonder why I’m confused?? "

Not really. You're clearly not very bright. That tends to be one of the leading causes of confusion.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 3:37 PM

"you spend entirely too much time trying to sound smart."

Clearly a problem you've never had. Bravo.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 3:39 PM

How long did it take you to generate that response? You obviously know that you were dead wrong on the K-Mart issue. Kmart has not got the press/recognition of an elite NBA Star since his first 2 years in the league, if ever. He does jaws a lot, sure, but most players do. To call a player overrated because he “talks trash” is pure bull sh!t, and you know it. And as far as his contract (that was the only point you were even remotely close to being right about), that is called being overpaid, not overrated. There’s a difference between the two. But you are far too ignorant to admit you were wrong. Yet, you still try, miserably, to find some form of reason to back up your pitiful argument. You yourself pointed out that he was an all-star.

You’re clever, ill-witted, shots at me are duly noted. If it makes you feel as if you’ve “won” an argument by taking cheap jabs at my intelligence, so be it. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

Posted by: cj658 | February 9, 2009 3:51 PM

'If it makes you feel as if you’ve “won” an argument by taking cheap jabs at my intelligence, so be it."

Pretty funny (to say nothing off wildly hypocritical) coming from the author of this:

"You talk an awfully powerful game, but when it comes down to it, you spend entirely too much time trying to sound smart."

Pot and kettle, old chum.

As for everything else . . your attempts at spin and semantics, as usual, fall short off either making or refuting any meaningful point. Martin is a good NBA player who gets credit on any several levels for bringing more to a team than he does. Thus, he's overrated. Really, it's just that simple.

As for this piece of "logic":

"And as far as his contract (that was the only point you were even remotely close to being right about), that is called being overpaid, not overrated."

And how does a player get to be as overpaid as Martin? (Wait for it . . .) Why, by having his value overrated at contract time, of course.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 3:56 PM

"You obviously know that you were dead wrong on the K-Mart issue. "

Ahhhh . . . the old "You know I'm right so just admit it, dammit!" line of argumentation. Always a classic.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2009 4:09 PM

My whole point is this, according to your one-sided, blind logic, 50% of the NBA is overrated.

- You say he is overpaid (ie paid more than his skill level would indicate he is worth), same can be said for over half the NBA.

-You say he “jaws” and “talks trash”, same can be said for, oh let’s say, 90% of the NBA.

-You say his ego is bigger than it should be, based on his skill set and production, same can be said for 90% (again) of the NBA.

The examples you give are total garbage, and you have done absolutely nothing to support your original quote that Kmart is “one of the most overrated players in the NBA”. Not just “overrated”, but one of the “most overrated” LOL!! If he is one of the most overrated, than Deshawn, Perkins, Damon Jones, must be High Schoolers posing as NBA players.

Point is, your reasoning does nothing to prove that he is one of the most overrated. All your reasoning does is provide more questions than answers. Every reason you gave for him being overrated, same can be said for 50% of the NBA. But, hey, maybe you honestly think that over half the league is overrated??? Well, you’ve done it again Dilbert.

Posted by: cj658 | February 9, 2009 4:14 PM

well, the team with the worst record in the nba has not won the draft lottery that often. so, id rather them win some games and get next to the worst record....just judging by the past as teams start to tank it, they dont end up with the # 1 pick.

Posted by: mddad97 | February 9, 2009 4:25 PM

Yeah, I know BulletsFan78, you and Kalo_rama, already schooled me on the slots, the contracts, and the buyouts.

I'm just hoping that Mr. Polin and Ernie might miraculously realize that if they could strongarm a few of these players and their agents and spend the money now they would be way ahead of the game.

Highly unlikely, true, but the current situation of the Team will require at the very least a tax or cap hit to sign the top pick.

I also believe that by keeping ETAN, DSON, and Mike James on the team retards the growth. They do not fit. So, buying them out is my way of praying for a miracle for this Team.

I know, wishful thinking, false hope, but you never know, miracles do happen.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 9, 2009 5:18 PM

mddad97: "well, the team with the worst record in the nba has not won the draft lottery that often."

Good point. So even if the Wiz went out of their way to lose a few extra games, they'd probably just jinx the toss and end up at #5 anyway.

Life is rigged.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 9, 2009 5:19 PM

Jones_y,

The reason I keep saying buy out 3 slots is because I am looking at getting rid of dead weight under contract and adding one or two players with Jaun's slot that would be counted in the 12 active players.

Getting rid of DSON, ETAN, and Mike James now takes away the horrendous strategy of incorporating them into our playing philosophy.

Without buying them out which Kalo_rama and BulletsFan78 says won't happen and they are right, we can only replace Juan's slot next year on the 15 man roster.

GA, BH, CB, AJ, AB, JC, JM, NY, DStev, DoM, Pech, DSON, ETAN, MJ, and JD is 15.

This means that of the 14 left, three of these guys have to go on the inactive list next year. I saying, buy three and add back one of those and JD's slot makes two.

That gives you two open slots, but as BulletsFan78 and Kalo_rama say and are probably right about; It ain't going to happen.

Carrying those buy out contracts for two years along with paying the top pick will be a huge cap/tax hit. But imagine if it could be done, the Wizards hit the ground running.

In fact, with the right two players now added to the mix next year without those three dead weight guys would have Red Auerbach smiling in his grave.

LarryInClintonMD.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | February 9, 2009 6:22 PM

I've said this many times on this blog and I'll say it again:

Idiot fans who come up with reasons NOT to root for their team are not really fans. Simply put: If you are now rooting for the wizards to lose, you are not a Wizards fan.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 9, 2009 6:28 PM

Who tha' H--- want's to spend money to see a team that's laying down? And what kind of habits are being taught to the management and players. What's next - shaving points?

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 9, 2009 9:47 PM

I think they should cut Caron's and Antawn's minutes to about 25 per game, and limit them down the 4th quarter stretch as well. Play the puppies, giving them upwards of 20 minutes per game giving them experience and let the chips fall where they may lottery-wise. Does it really matter how much if the vets play 38-40 minutes? They are still top 3 in ping pong balls. So if Antawn gets upset about it, so what. The record speaks for itself. The season is tanked, nobody who gets the most minutes.

Posted by: G-Man11 | February 10, 2009 8:04 AM

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