Tuesday Update: Dixon Out

The team got out of practice a short while ago but is in a meeting now. I can tell you that G Juan Dixon will be out after injuring his right arm last night. He left the game early in the fourth quarter and did not return. Dixon told me that his arm was hit and it made the nerve go numb. No word on how long he will be out.

- DeShawn Stevenson also did not practice and will likely be out again with that lower back problem. Plus, he had to go get a tooth pulled after practice. Along with Dixon's arm issue, that leaves the team with nine healthy bodies for tomorrow night's game against New Jersey.

- And, I can confirm a report on WJLA-TV that Nick Young and JaVale McGee were ticketed for reckless driving near Dulles Airport on Jan. 1. In case you are wondering, Young said they weren't racing and were just trying to get to the airport in time to catch the team flight to Boston for a game the following night. Young said that he has not yet gone to court.

Check back for more later....


By Ivan Carter |  February 3, 2009; 2:25 PM ET
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First. This season is just gonna be a wash for us, but I see no reason why the next one cant be great. We'll have a nice young crew, plus all our all stars and Brendan, plus a top 3 rookie. We're a good team, but we've had the absolute worst injury luck. It happens.

Posted by: mistaheffa | February 3, 2009 2:44 PM

Did I speak to soon on the arrest thing? Dang !!

Posted by: original_mark | February 3, 2009 3:02 PM

agree w/ mistaheffa. we should just start playing the young ones, and let them develop--take the clutch shots, play in difficult situations so they can do it next season. next year we'll have this same cast, PLUS arenas (when healthy a top 5 PG), Haywood (our best defender and double-double every night kinda guy), AND a lottery pick (hopefully top 3). add in the development of NY, DM, and McGee, and you all of a sudden have a quality DEEP bench with a starting 5 worthy of playing with anyone in the league. If anything, we should rest Jamison and Butler--more so Antawn so he can keep from adding unnecessary miles as he approaches the end of his career.

Posted by: kman2 | February 3, 2009 3:08 PM

lol.. well there goes the clean "character" reports

Posted by: sexypills03 | February 3, 2009 3:10 PM

Gilbert's baby mama Laura Mendoza-Govan got caught going 55 in a 25 zone recently in VA. It must be in the water.

Posted by: brooksan | February 3, 2009 3:17 PM

Along with Dixon's arm issue, that leaves the team with nine healthy bodies for tomorrow night's game against New Jersey.

I am taking bets that Cheap ABE will not go over the luxury cap and sign a player so the Wizards have enough players for practice.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 3, 2009 3:34 PM

cj658 - Looks like we are on the same page with everything except one thing. I still believe if that 3 1/2 step travel LaBron made in the first playoff series was called correctly we would have been in the 2nd round.

The LaTravel rules were also on full display in the 2nd year's playoff match although that was the year I believe EJ was dogging Haywood and was not playing him.

The third playoff matchup was a wash because of the injuries the Wiz incurred with CB and Gil.

So I only blame EJ on that second year's playoff matchup because better coaching might have got us past them. The first year I think Eddie did a nice job, but he could not do anything against the "LaTravel Rules".

As for the last year, Eddie didn't have enough firepower with all of the injuries so I don't blame that on him either.

Eddie was a nice coach and I wanted him to succeed because I too have been around since the "The Opera is not over until the Fat Lady Sings", Gus Williams and Cliff "S Curl" Robinson, The Beef Brothers with Jeff Ruland and Rick Mahorn, John "Hotplate" Williams from LSU, Ledell Eckles, Tom "The Goog's" Gogilia, Calbert Chaney, Pervis "Never Nervous" Ellison days and the list goes on and on.

It was finally nice to have a coach such as EJ come in and give us direction where now we did not have to watch college basketball every year to see who is going to be the top pick like we have to do this year.

With all of that said, I just think Eddie's tenture depended on him having a healthy Gilbert to be successful. We will never know if and when Gil is coming back so it looks like we might have needed to go in another direction anyway, But Tapscott is not what I call "another direction". This dude can not even be found by the best GPS system......

Posted by: BulletsFever | February 3, 2009 3:40 PM

I agree with a lot of cj658 's comments, too.

question for all of the posters, though...

If we get the top pick and sign Griffin (or whomever) does anyone really have confidence in this team's player development or coaching staff?

I don't think that anyone short of Ewing or Mourning would get a chance to start on this team and contribute.

Tap said himself that rookies typically develop consistency in their 3rd or 4th year. Just the fact that he let those words fall outta his mouth dooms us as long as he's calling shots.

That archaic line of thinking would have Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Kevin Durant and others on the bench right now. Durant struggled last year but look at him now. He improved because he learned on the job. It's safe to say that if he'd gotten 18 minutes per game last year, he'd not be the player he is right now.

Fire Tap.

Posted by: original_mark | February 3, 2009 4:31 PM

Original_Mark: It’s a pretty safe bet to assume that Tapps is gone next year. I still think Flip Saunders is going to be the guy. I think Avery Johnson would be a good choice too, but one would have to wonder about him butting heads with Gil. It could happen, but I honestly feel Ernie already has his guy, and he is just waiting until the season is over ot sign on the dotted line. That guy will be Flip Saunders.

Posted by: cj658 | February 3, 2009 4:38 PM

This is what I just read about Flip on Wikipedia...

"Saunders is known as an offensive guru, and because of this he was not welcomed in Detroit. His defensive schemes as a coach came into question, and thus his tenure as Pistons head coach was very much scrutinized."

I'm not sure he's the man we want here. It would kinda be like EJ2, wouldn't it?

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

Dixon's injury leaves the Wizards with a three man bench: Young, Crittenton, McGee. (Yes, I am ignoring Pecherov.)

Are the Wizards thinking about signing anybody else?

I keep thinking about Richard Hendrix.

Posted by: ajedwardsjr | February 3, 2009 5:07 PM

Yeah, he is an offensive guru, but the way this team is built, it is for offense. Abe would never have invested 160 million in Gil and AJ if he were trying to transform this team into a defense-minded team. Thing is, in Detroit, Defense was the name of the game. They didn’t have the firepower, and relied on defense for their success. But if you look at the overall stats when Saunders was there, they were never that bad defensively. But Joe Dumars wants to be in the top 3 in total D every year, and based on their personnel, that is their only shot of winning.

Posted by: cj658 | February 3, 2009 5:09 PM

Flip Saunders is a damn good coach. Not necessarily saying he's the right coach for the Wiz, but I sure as hell wouldn't discount him because of anything the Pistons players said about him on his way out the door. They tuned out three good coaches over the past 6 years and are hard at work on putting another one down. They're a notoriously tough team to coach because, due to their early success after the team was assembled, they've managed to convince themselves they don't need a coach.

As for Saunders' defensive philosophy . . . the reason the Pistons balked at it was because Saunders is a big proponent of zone defense, while the Pistons' players thought playing zone wasn't badass enough for them. But the fact is, Saunders had a lot of success with zone in Minnesota where, aside from Garnett, he had teams full of guys who weren't particularly big, fast, or athletic and wouldn't/didn't/couldn't play tough man-to-man defense.

Sound like any NBA team you know.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 3, 2009 5:30 PM

Unfortunately for us, we don't have a Garnett type. KG proved that even one guy could dramatically improve a defense. PP and Rondo are no slouches but that D revolves around KG, I believe.

Typically zone defenses are beaten by teams that swing the ball and can shoot threes. That's our Achilles heel. I'd think we'd be looking at a defensive head coach but at this point, anything is better than what we're working with right now.

Posted by: original_mark | February 3, 2009 6:19 PM

With Jameer Nelson possibly out for the season, and Orlando only having one other point guard on the roster, hey, you guys want Mike James??!!

A trade of Brian Cook (deal expires next season if he exercises a player option at the end of this season) and Keith Bogans (deal expires this season) works. Neither guy is playing much or at all for Orlando lately.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | February 3, 2009 6:33 PM

WHO CARES?!

Posted by: rachel216 | February 3, 2009 6:48 PM

cj658: "I honestly feel Ernie already has his guy, and he is just waiting until the season is over ot sign on the dotted line. That guy will be Flip Saunders."

Can't he sign Saunders now? I was under the impression Tapscott is designated an interim coach, implying no plans to continue next season.

Or maybe Saunders isn't his selection. Maybe it's somebody who's currently tied to another team.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 3, 2009 7:12 PM

You know what amazes me to no end LOL I was watching washington post live today on comcast and they had the phone lines open for questions on anything sports related and after all was said and done all the phone calls were about the Redskins and 1 about the Capitols and guess what not 1 single call for mike wise about the dear Wizards LMAO!!!! All these people on this blog saying ask mike wise this and that and not 1 single question for him on WPL GOOOOOOO FIGURE LOLOL

Posted by: rnorris6 | February 3, 2009 7:27 PM

Tom Thibidoe for head coach.

Draft Griffin. Trade Jamison. Trade Song. Let Etan and James contracts expire at end of next year. Add shot blocking and rebounding. Gil gets healthy.

Defense wins championships.

Posted by: wizfanatic | February 3, 2009 8:02 PM

To the people saying Abe is cheap for not signing another player this year: Arenas, Haywood, Jamison, Butler, Stevenson, Songaila, Thomas, Dixon, James, Crittenton, Young, McGuire, Blatche, McGee, Pecherov. That's 15 players or the maximum number of players you can have. The only way they can sign someone is to cut Dixon, which everyone here would scream bloody murder about cuz they can't seperate his great college career from his mediocre pro career. Is Abe cheap? The medical staff answers that. But don't make that argument over something that he actually did right this year (fielding a full roster vs leaving an open spot last year). 6 players being hurt at the same time is an anomaly. Who saw dixon, who plays once every 7 games and for ten minutes, getting hurt in that limited time?

Posted by: detox04 | February 3, 2009 8:41 PM

Well, Groundhog day was yesterday, but for Les BouleS, it's every day.

AB shouldn't have bought a house in PG County if he's flying out of Dulles.

"I can't feel my jaw" after the tooth pull....can these past two decades, never mind this season, be any more of a total debacle for a franchise?

The only way to turn this thing around is to move this franchise elsewhere, and put a new expansion team here.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | February 3, 2009 10:36 PM

I think the Wizards should make a play for Chris Bosh this offseason. Package Jamison and our first round pick for Bosh.

At this point as Wizards fans we should be cheering for the 1st overall pick. Blake Griffin is a stud, would love to have him. He is a slightly smaller Amare, but more explosive.

BLAKE GRIFFIN PLEASE!

Posted by: dominic10464 | February 3, 2009 11:11 PM

Is it just me or does anybody else check ESPN everyday hoping to see the headline: Interim Coach Ed Tapscott Fired

Posted by: t-train | February 4, 2009 12:27 AM


According to the link below, the most effective player on the Wiz is DomMcG. He has improved his free throw shooting quite a bit . . .


http://www.wagesofwins.com/AllTeamMid0809.html

Posted by: bj2000 | February 4, 2009 5:55 AM

A blurb on Blake Griffin:

"Player of the Week: Blake Griffin, F, Oklahoma

The 6-foot-10 sophomore makes a strong case to win this designation seemingly every week. Last week was no different as he picked up his 16th and 17th double-doubles of the season, scoring 20 points and grabbing 17 rebounds against Baylor and finishing with 26 and 19 against Oklahoma State. Griffin now has 10 games this season with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds, a Big 12 record and the most of any player in college basketball since the start of the 1996-97 season. He is averaging a Big 12-leading 22.3 points and also ranks first nationally, pulling down 14 rebounds per game."

Posted by: PostSubscriber | February 4, 2009 7:35 AM

Flip Saunders is another offense first coach. I'm not sure that this franchise doesn't need a strong willed, defensive minded coach.

One with the mindset of lock-em down defensively, and then lets push the ball down the court would suit our personell more then a plodding offensive pace guy.

Avery Johnson, Sam Mitchell, or Coach T from Boston would be more along those lines. Remember Grunfeld hired Coach T before, he lasted a day after him and Eddie Jordan met. Word was he left under good terms, which means he probably said,"I'll come back when you can that clown!"

I've watched Blake Griffin a lot in college, the guy has almost everything you'd want in a number one pick except he's not an excellent defender. You can argue that like a lot of guys he's expending most of his energy on offense carrying a team on his back. But his defensive game is lacking.

If the Wizards want to change the culture of a team that already has three scorers when Arenas is healthy, they might want to think about a defensive stopper. Thabeet is the closest thing I've seen to that playing college basketball today.

For people that don't think he's tough enough, they should've watched him rule the paint agianst the #7 Louisville team on their court. He's not a player with an offensive game at this point, but he's a space eater in the lane, blocks shots and uses his big body to sweep the glass at both ends of the court.

If you want defense, the Wizards need to draft and trade for some defensive first players. Blake Griffin is the best player in college basketball, he isn't the best defender.

Posted by: flohrtv | February 4, 2009 8:28 AM

flohr,

If the Wiz draft Thabeet, are you planning to eventually put JaVale at the 4? At least his mom thinks he can play there....

I'm with others who say that Thibodeau is first in line for the head coaching spot. I like Avery Johnson too, of course. Whoever it is, the head coach needs to be the motivator and master of strategery--the big picture guy. You can bring in an offensive (e.g., Tex Winter) or defensive (e.g., Thibodeau) guru to serve as assistant coach(es).

Posted by: Good2bOK | February 4, 2009 8:58 AM

Adding on from yesterday. Yes, Flip is a great coach, his track record proves it. A few people still feel that we need a “defensive-guru”, like TT or Avery. While I agree that they are good options, this team is simply not built for that. Again, Abe invested 160 million in 2 players who do not and cannot and will not play D. I don’t care who you’re coach is, those 2 guys are not defensive players. If Abe were trying to transform the Wizards into the “Pistons 2K10”, he never would have spent that kind of money on those 2 guys.

But I whole heartedly agree with flohr in regards to Thabeet. I am glad someone finally agrees with me on this topic. I have been singing his praises for quite some time, and he is BY FAR the best defensive player in the draft. Having a guy like that in the middle, can definitely help to offset some the lack of defense on the perimeter. Sure, his offensive game is not Blake Griffen, but he has far more potential. And once again, the Wiz do not need scoring. Assuming Gil is healthy next year, scoring should not be an issue. And I would not suggest moving Javale to the 4. All we need to do is dump BTH, dump Etan, and move AB to the 4 (where he belongs). Then we essentially have a two-headed monster at center for years to come. Literally have them split the time evenly. 24mpg for both of them. They are both young, and that will help them to both stay fresh, but still get the minutes needed.

Posted by: cj658 | February 4, 2009 9:19 AM

Re: Thabeet

If we don't land Grif, I can totally see a scenario where we draft Thabeet and let Haywood walk. We just won't be able to afford BTH & pay JM & Young when it comes time to pay-up for the rooks. Thabeet is not dominant, but he's more ready than McGee to play now.

Posted by: closg | February 4, 2009 9:28 AM

Griffin is no slouch on the defensive end. He's not an all-defensive team difference-maker like Kevin Garnett or Dwight Howard, but he's also not remotely close to a player that teams can attack at will the way Jamison is. He would improve both the offensive and defensive ends of the court for the Wizards.

Thabeet may be a nice back-up option, but there's no shot he's a better choice than Griffin.

Posted by: psps23 | February 4, 2009 9:50 AM

GM, you and I have the same concerns about Griffin. I think he'd be a good scorer and solid rebounder but defense might be a problem. He sounds a lot like a bigger stringer Beasley. Of course, having an interior presence offensively covers a lot of sins. I'd plug him in there and have Aj come off the bench in a heartbeat.

I have some issues with Thabeet. He seems to disappear in some big games. Also, he's a shotblocker and average rebounder but with BTH in the game, our problem is not with internal defense at the C position. Thabeet cannot guard the open shots we're giving up on the perimeter. He can't close out or cover up for 2 guys' mistakes. Our problem defensively lies with the forwards primarily, I think.
Even Hakeem and Alonzo wouldn't be able to fix our defensive problems alone. We need wholesale changes at at least 2 positions...maybe 3.

Posted by: original_mark | February 4, 2009 10:00 AM

McGee is a guy that could play the 4 for stretches and backup at center. I'd tend to bring Brendan back next year while the two youngsters cut their teeth at center, and then deal from a position of strength.
A healthy Haywood would have trade value.

With a backline of Thabeet, McGee, and Haywood, our perimeter defenders wouldn't have to spend so much time collapsing into the lane. So the Wizard's defense of the three automatically improves. Guys are not afraid to apply pressure and go for a steal because it's not an automatic layup. With perimeter guys like Crittenton and McGuire able to close out on guys the defense would step up quite a bit.

Blatche and Jamison also become better defenders on day one with a rotation of big guys behind them. McGee isn't a space eater yet, but Thabeet is the minute he walks on the court. Haywood or Thabeet would make Blatche or even McGee a weakside shotblocking threat at the 4. And Jamison and Thabeet could sweep the defensive glass. On the offensive end Thabeet helps everybody rebound because he has to be accounted every time the ball goes up.

Everybody was saying Jamison's defense improved last year, but he's a bum this year. good defense starts from the inside out. That's my beef with Songaila at the 5, he's one of the worst defenders in the league when playing center.

The return of Haywood and drafting Thabeet could mean a quick 5 pt a game improvement in defense if the Wiz coupled it with a good defensive minded coach. With the scoring the Wizards have on the perimeter, Thabeet would allow guys like Gil, Crittenton,Young, Butler and McGuire to get out and do damage in the open floor on the break.

John Thompson has always repeated one of the oldest adages in basketball,"You can't coach size." The guy's bigger and a better athelete then Hibbert. He's not a beanpole, he's a well muscled 260lbs that's only played 4 years of organized basketball. His team is number 1 for a reason. And he's one very big reason why.

And I'd look to bring Mutombo in as a "big man coach" to work with our young bigs. A guy like Walton would make a great camp quest instructor to bring in. From what I understand he's not intersted in the travel involved with being an assistant since he's had back problems.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | February 4, 2009 11:06 AM

Regardless of who we draft, he will be on rookie salary scale for 4 yrs (including team options). So unless Wizards trade away its 1st round draft (which no one is suggesting), the impact to the salary cap will be the same. One point of note, Jamison will be off the book after 4 yrs.

If Arenas is healthy next year, then this team is geared for the playoff run, and I am reluctant to have a rookie and a sophomore manning the middle. I will keep Haywood, and watch how youngsters develop and decide on whom to trade later.

Posted by: sagaliba | February 4, 2009 11:33 AM

@closg: "Thabeet is not dominant, but he's more ready than McGee to play now."

I can't let you get away with that one. Thabeet has only played organized ball for a few years, whereas McGee, even though he is young, has shown some real talent in the League and has a strong BB background thru his mother. We won't know anything about how Thabeet adjusts to the NBA until he gets there. I can name plenty of 7-footers who did not exactly have the impact that some expected after they were drafted.

Posted by: Good2bOK | February 4, 2009 11:43 AM

That said, Thabeet is a very interesting pick. It's true that you can't coach size, and having an athletic, 7'3" center changes the game, especially with a 7-footer (potentially) at the 4 (either McGee or Blatche). Thing is, none of those guys can play as well as Jamison. For all his defensive shortcomings, you want that guy on the floor.

Regardless, as others have said, what's most important is the coaching staff. This team, for whatever reason, does not play like a well-coached team. Like others, I am beginning to think that Eddie was more of an offensive technician--great as an assistant coach to nurture the motion offense (I refuse to name that school). While Eddie was not bad as a head coach, I think Ernie realizes that the team could do better.

Posted by: Good2bOK | February 4, 2009 11:48 AM

Unless they plan on moving McGee, drafting another long-term project big man makes no sense. This team needs players who are ready to produce immediately.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 4, 2009 12:59 PM

And that is the mode of thinking that keeps Washington sports franchises spinning their wheels for generations.

"This team needs a players who are ready to produce immediately."

Is the death of all pro sports franchises.

Even the Yankees and all of their money can't win with that method. Only time they did was when they went back to the farm and grew the players that they needed to build around. Then after it started to work they went back to trying to buy a title and that hasn't worked. Now the last of their homegrown parts have gotten old they've drained the farm system on win now trades and they have no choice but pay a bunch of hired guns to re-capture the Series.

The Wizards need defensive players to build around. Guess what! There are none to trade for! Blake Griffin is the best player in college basketball, but he doesn't appear to be a defensive stud at this point.

The Wizards can't win with a Yankees or Redskins type of approach. It appears even Snyder is ditching it too. The Wiz need to build a core to win with, one player won't do it. But one good defensive player is a step in the right direction.

Thabeet fits with a lot of the present parts and makes the team better. Picking Griffin would reguire a series of trades to improve the team.

As I said before if the Wiz get the #1 pick, picking Blake is a no brainer. But I'd strongly consider trading him for a package that would contain Thabeet.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | February 4, 2009 2:07 PM

I want Mark Jackson or Avery Johnson, when Gilbert comes back, both of these guys can teach Gilbert how to share the basketball and how to play defense.

I also agree with most that our top 5 pick probably won't get much PT next year, we will start the same old 5, including Stevenson and our young guys will get little minutes, unless they are on fire like Young, McGuire, Blatche, Crittenton and McGee do occasionally.

And as far as signings go, can't we find a C to back up McGee, i'm tired of seeing the 6'8 inch Songila guard 7' guys.

Posted by: avbanig | February 4, 2009 3:25 PM

This happened to me too. Big deal! I didn't realize they always have radar set up on the Dulles Access Road and I was late for a flight.

Now if I'm late I use the toll road. Apparently, if you are willing to pay the toll, you can speed with impunity. If you use the free road, they have radar set up to catch you.

The posted speed limit is 55. What a joke! I was going 80. I had to go to traffic school for like 4 Saturdays in a row and I got 9 points on my record. So I guess I am a bad character!

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | February 5, 2009 2:08 PM

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