Gut Feeling on Gilbert

As the Wizards continue winding down this brutal season, the two things on everyone's mind are Gilbert Arenas and the identity of the next head coach.

As for Gilbert, who is not on the four-game trip that wraps up Monday night in Minneapolis, I don't think he's going to play this season. In fact, players I've spoken with feel the same way. I have the same feeling -- call it intuition -- when it comes to Brendan Haywood, who is on the trip but hasn't practiced yet.

As for the next coach, all signs point to Flip Saunders. As I've reported before, Ernie Grunfeld is playing his cards close to the vest, but the chatter is that Saunders makes sense. I would agree.

Stay tuned.

By Ivan Carter |  March 9, 2009; 12:55 PM ET
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He wouldn't be my first choice, but I'd be pretty happy having Flip as coach. Brendan and Gil SHOULD stay out - like another commenter said, we're already doing a bad job of getting some of the youngsters minutes - no need to add two more players to the mix. Just suck it up and pray for Blake Griffin.

Posted by: tigerquoll | March 9, 2009 1:25 PM

For the next coach to work, if he's a big time name, there needs to be alignment among ownership, the front office and the coaches regarding which players stay, which ones go, and the personnel direction of the team. One reason EJ is gone, apparently, is because he differed with EG on who/what they needed to do in terms of personnel. Someone like Saunders shouldn't and won't take the job, unless be believes he can win big with Gilbert, CB, AJ and some role players, which is the strategy management seems committed to. That's one reason for GA to come back this year--to show a bluechip coach he still has it.

Posted by: jweber1 | March 9, 2009 1:30 PM


NOOOO NOT FLIP please don't let that happen Ivan. Flip will teach the team about defense but he can't take a team to the next level, look at the Pistons and Timberwolves. Whats the word on Avery Johnson coming back to coaching?

As for Gilbert, if he's not healthly to play don't play but I would like to see him this season to find out how long it will take before we see the "Hibachi"

Last, I'm tired of folks bad mouthing Jamison and praising players like McGuire or Caron. Jamison is the ONLY player who can stay healthy and puts up strong numbers in points and rebounds most night. No, he's not a great defender but he makes it up with his tough defensive rebounding ability. If Jamison can go another 3 to 5 more years with strong numbers, I believe he should be placed in the Hall of Fame when his career is over. Jamison played on some bad teams in his career so he didn't get the exposure he deserves but his numbers can compare to some of the forwards who are already in the HOF like Adrian Dantley.

Posted by: rcnasa | March 9, 2009 1:30 PM

I dont mind Flip, I also dont mind Gilbert sitting out. We need more PT for the young guys at this point so ill take it!

next season will be fun to watch so lets keep hope alive

http://www.wizardsextreme.com

Posted by: WizardsExtreme | March 9, 2009 1:33 PM

I've been saying, even as recently as two weeks ago, that Arenas should play, if he has been cleared to do so.

However, I now think he should just sit out. Not sure how I changed my mind, maybe it's been the demoralizing defeats. Perhaps, I just need to see more of Mike James, since I'm convinced I won't be seeing him wearing this team's uniform next year.

Flohr: Regarding the previous thread, I respect your assessment on Thabeet, in that he's not the #1 pick, but his strengths are this team's weaknesses. I have been floored by the arguments that Thabeet is a better prospect than Griffin (and others, for that matter)...

Posted by: -CN- | March 9, 2009 1:41 PM

Gilbert & Brendan why risk it?
What will that prove???
Rest up and recover 100%.
Come out next season hard and fast. Show your new coach what you got.
If they come back then we'll never see Pech on the floor again.
I think he might have some game but we'll never know until he's killing us on another team.

Posted by: VBFan | March 9, 2009 1:46 PM

If there was a qualified coach here I believe Areanas and Haywood would be back, but because they see what is happening, why risk another injury with a coach who doesn't have a clue and won't be there next year. Tapscott has done nothing to improve the team in any area! Probably made things worse....2 allstars and still only 14 wins. Absolutely atrocious!! As much as I did not like Jordan for not playing the young guys and his rotations, I believe he would have a better record to date. I just want a coach who will not see these guys as young players, but as players. "Coach'm up", as Spurrier used to say, and may the best players play. Not just the veteran players.

Posted by: garrybrown | March 9, 2009 1:55 PM

I think Flip is the best coach available. I'd be pissed if it was someone else...when i get pissed, I whip out that colon shank!

Posted by: PrisonBalls00 | March 9, 2009 2:14 PM

Gil should pay the Wizards approximately $14,653,466 for not playing this season after duping the organization. He should also buy a grotto with a pool for the upper level of Verizon Center. Can call it the "Gil's Pool on the Hill"

Posted by: RomulusBeatRemus | March 9, 2009 2:18 PM

continue to sit Gil and Brendan. root for Sacramento, Oklahoma City, the Clips, Minnesota, and Memphis!

Posted by: sargeantmofo | March 9, 2009 2:18 PM

Last, I'm tired of folks bad mouthing Jamison and praising players like McGuire or Caron. Jamison is the ONLY player who can stay healthy and puts up strong numbers in points and rebounds most night.
=====================================

couldn't agree more. complaining about his defense and ignoring everything else is ridiculous. it's like saying andy roddick is a bad tennis player because his backhand is weak.

Posted by: stevie2 | March 9, 2009 2:19 PM

Ivan, don't you think that if Arenas & Haywood do not return for a few games, that will make it hard to sell Season Tickets & hire a top coach, because we did not prove Gil is healthy??

Posted by: djnumb | March 9, 2009 2:21 PM

I thought you've repeatedly said that no one ever knows what Gilbert will do, even himself.

On the coaching siutation, who would work best given the Wiz personnel? I think an Avery-type would not work here, because Gilbert would ignore him. Similarly, given the lack of interest in defense until the last 5 minutes of a game, a defensive guru like Tom Tib. won't work.

It would be nice to get a review of who is available.

What does Flip think of young player development? We have 6 of them. And we don't have 6 quality vets so that he could avoid playing them.

Posted by: Izman | March 9, 2009 2:39 PM

Last, I'm tired of folks bad mouthing Jamison...

=====================================

couldn't agree more. complaining about his defense and ignoring everything else is ridiculous. it's like saying andy roddick is a bad tennis player because his backhand is weak.

Posted by: stevie2 | March 9, 2009 2:19 PM

Oh please! Do you realize that DEFENSE IS 50% OF THE GAME!!!!! Do realize that being a so-called "veteran leader" should entitle you to do you more than throw the young guys under the bus night after night and set a perfect example on how to give less than 100% on defense every night?

Jamison is the master of playing the media game as a good interview and a good teammate when in reality he's a selfish gunner who refuses to give even a marginal effort defensively. Jamison has always failed to rotate on D, close out on shooters and never sealed off the baseline from an opposing offensive player.

And guess what? That describes our team D in a nutshell. Maybe our team takes a cue defensively from its "great leader of men".

This year has proven without a shadow of doubt that Jamison is king of getting empty numbers. The stats may look great but it doesn't matter much win it comes to wins and losses because Jamison's matchup tends to get as many points & rebounds if not more.

Posted by: Dat2U | March 9, 2009 2:43 PM

Let's get Flip in NOW. Why waste the rest of the season on the interim guy, Taps? This way Flip can get a longer feel on this team and have something to say about who comes/goes and who is drafted. He needs to work directly with EG (who definitely could use the help since his picks have not been very good since he came except for McGee).

Posted by: fearturtle44 | March 9, 2009 2:45 PM

Why look somewhere else? Jim Zorn is already in town.

Posted by: iamdawalrus | March 9, 2009 2:45 PM

The word I heard when Flip was made h/c in Detroit was that he was offensive-minded. In fact,I read that this was the reason he was hired...to loosen the reins in Detroit. Is he a defensive guy or not? If not, who's to say we're better off with him than EJ? I still like Thibodeau.
Offense comes naturally for most players. I think it's harder to get offensive players to play defense than the other way around. That said, we need a defensive minded coach.

Posted by: original_mark | March 9, 2009 2:47 PM

As far as Ivan's gut is concerned, based on Ivan's reporting in the past, I'd fully expect Gil to suit up and be in uniform Wednesday for the New Orleans game.

I also sincerely hope Ivan is wrong about Flip Saunders b/c honestly, that's about as an uninspired choice as one could possibly imagine outside of Paul Silas or Sam Mitchell. Heh, in fact those are the other two that Ivan seemed to mention as candidates. Honestly Ivan, I think your being fed a bunch of poo by the organization.

My hunch is on Tom Thibodeau, the Celts well respected defensive minded assistant and assistant coach for one day in DC before Eddie Jordan scared him off. I've heard Ernie respects him alot and I'd suspect he's atop of the short list of EG's potential choices.

I'd love the Thibodeau selection and I'd love to see Bill Laimbeer get a shot at an interview as well. What he's done with the WNBA's Detroit Shock is nothing short of impressive. If it weren't for all the bridges he burned as a player back in the day, he'd already have an NBA gig by now.

Posted by: Dat2U | March 9, 2009 2:51 PM

Izman,

Any new coach will bring in his own personnel. My guess is everyone on the current team's coaching staff is gone. (Maybe the free throw coach will stay)

I don't know how you can find a list. Because retired players and coaching staff can become coaches, just like football. As for Gilbert, if he wants to win he'll have to learn how to play team defense, it's just that simple; not excuses. No team, can win a ring without making important defensive stops (even the Lakers how good they are will need to play defense come playoffs).

As far as player development of course Flip can develop young talent, look at Kevin Garnett, Flip coached him from rookie to league MVP so he can develop talent. Flip Saunders signature is his coaching style on defense. His teams do not score a lot but they play solid tough defense. But when it comes to playoffs and strategy Flip falls well short. Remember the western conference series with the Wolves and Lakers, Wolves should have won but they lacked the offensive fire power. Same with the Pistons in the eastern conference against the Celtics, Cavs and Heat. Anyone who agrees Flip should be the coach has not followed his career. I'd rather take sorry Mark Jackson and bring him in. Avery Johnson is a hard nosed coach, he was kicked out of Dallas because he didn't want to get with the program with Cuban and the Jason Kidd debacle.

Posted by: rcnasa | March 9, 2009 2:57 PM

Okay, First if Gilbert and Brendan can play let them play this season so everyone can make decisions for next season. Second, do not hire Flip Saunders, I'm sorry but, Flip destroyed a great Detroit Pistons team when he wanted to get rid of Ben Wallace (the anchor of their defense) and Detroit had the talent and couldn't win another big game with Flip. The Wizzards need a coach who stresses defense (Roger Mason Jr. is learning to play defense in San Antonio at this time because he definitely didn't learn any in Washington). Defense wins Championships and the Wizzards never play defense.

Posted by: michael1963 | March 9, 2009 2:58 PM

Well, whoever the coach is, he needs to be able to think on his feet, be savvy and quick. Too often, and under both Eddies, we put up a good first half and the opponent's coaching staff comes up with a halftime game-plan that pulls it all out from under us. We can then never recover and we play a losing game of catchup. When was the last time you can remember the Wiz out-smarting another team?

Posted by: lameotron | March 9, 2009 3:01 PM

Flip might squeeze 45-50 wins out of this bunch when healthy as opposed to EJ consistently getting 40-45 wins a year.

Flip is a solid coach but as been mentioned, he's a little to lax and too much of a player's coach to instill discipline or force his guys to be held accountable. Your not winning a championship with him. But of course, your not winning a championship with this roster as currently constructed so it may be a good fit afterall.

As far as this "placating Gil" nonsense pushed by Ivan, its kinda pathetic and an example of lazy journalism. Last time I checked, Gil was under contract for the next 5 years. There's no impending free agency where we'd have to pussyfoot around Gil in order to keep him happy. He needs to sh*t or get of the pot.

A few years back an SI article came out in which Gil's father mentioned that Gil responds better to a coach that practices tough love. He said Gil needs to be challenged and pushed. Instead the Wizards had a coach that coddled him and seemed intimidated by him. I think that was a huge mistake.

Posted by: Dat2U | March 9, 2009 3:02 PM

Gil should take this years salary and donate it to a worthwhile charity or if he decides to play this year then pro-rate the amount of games he plays against his salary and donate that balance,that would be a nice gesture given the current economic climate and think about the publicity, now it would probably not be popular with other pro athlete's but it would speak volumes about Agent Zero.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 9, 2009 3:02 PM

Posted by: original_mark | March 9, 2009 3:07 PM


Dat2U,

Can you say that about Paul Pierce? Pierce played on a poor team and put up all-star number year after year, until KG and Allen came into town, now people are saying he's the top 5 player when he was a top player before those guys arrive. It takes a team to play defense and and team to win games. Your point is poor and doesn't make any sense whatsoever. You just pointed about that the team defense is poor and I've already mentioned Jamison's defense is, or lack thereof is nothing to write home about pointing it out again you not supporting your argument.

As for putting people under the bus, hey if you suck you suck it's that simple. He doesn't bite his tongue and I respect that. And it's not like nobody else on the team is thinking that. Perfect example, Blatche makes more headlines off the court than on. When Jamison screws up he points it out (like the missed free throws in game 1 of the cavs game, he said "I blew it"). As far as self fish, grab 10 boards a game don't count as self fish. Most big don't pass the ball because there already in the post. i don't see Duncan, Howard dishing the ball to everyone on the floor. Your a classic example of, you can't please every Wizards fan.

Ask any scout on the team and they'll say Jamison is the only player on the team who has not given up.

Posted by: rcnasa | March 9, 2009 3:12 PM

Jamison's defense may not be great, but he receives disproportionate criticism on this board that doesn't make any sense.

Eddie Jordan complained about Butler's defense a few times over the years. He even benched him last year during a game when he was playing awful defense.

The Wizards are known as a poor defensive team. It's the total personnel, not just Jamison. This team was set up to be an exciting run and shoot team, not a good defensive team.

The focus on Jamison's shortcomings is myopic. This is a team of poor defenders.

Posted by: MeviousMan | March 9, 2009 3:17 PM

Gilbert Arenas will play Monday, March 23rd vs. Chicago at home. I wonder if there's a site taking bets on his return. I'd take the odds and put money on that date.

Posted by: psps23 | March 9, 2009 3:18 PM

Ivan:
This post exemplifies why I get frustrated with your reporting. You report conclusions instead of facts. You should have learned from that Gilbert's-not-practicing-the-DCExaminer-is-wrong episode that if you just report the facts you know about a situation ("sources told me such and such") instead of conclusively stating that something didn't happen when you weren't there to know that, you won't make such egregious errors.

Here, instead of referencing "signs" and "chatter" that point to Saunders, why not just tell us what those signs and chatter are? I'm sure, of course, that you may not be able to reveal certain sources, but certainly you can give us some factual information, detailed or generalized. All I know from this post is that you think Flip Saunders will be the next coach. That's not reporting.

And you do the same thing on the Gilbert and Haywood front. Do you think Bob Woodward ever cited his "intuition" in print as the basis for a story, or posted a story entitled, "My Gut Feel on Nixon"? On what facts are you basing your intuition? That's what I'd like to read.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | March 9, 2009 3:23 PM


If anyone is going to blast Jamison provide a better supporting argument than he is selfish or puts players under the bus. His performance on and off the court does not support any of that. Also, let's be realistic Jamison haters, who would you replace with? Howard, Stoudamire, D.Wade. None of those players will ever commit to this team. So why trade and all-star and not getting anyone in return

Posted by: rcnasa | March 9, 2009 3:25 PM

Flip Saunders is not a good coach. I'm not going to get behind that move. I'd same the same thing about Avery Johnson. We need somebody who knows how to win, and somebody who can mollycoddle a lunatic superstar. Can we wrestle Doc Rivers away from Boston?

With regard to Gil and Brenda, they gotta play at least 10 games this season. Assuming they are healthy. Bottom line, it's gonna take time to knock the rust off. They should start that this season instead of waiting till next fall. This spring there's no pressure to play extended minutes for either of them, because there's no incentive to win. So bring them back starting at about 20 minutes a night, coming off the bench. Run them through a week or so like that, and then try to run them full speed for the last 10 games heading into the off-season.

Posted by: Matte | March 9, 2009 3:33 PM

Flip Saunders is a fine coach and among the best options the Wizards could turn to. The notion that the Wiz need a "defensive coach" only works if they turn over the roster to get some "defensive players." Saunders can coach defense--the Pistons remained one of the best defensive teams in the NBA on his watch and using the zone he made the T'Wolves (when they were healthy and fully manned) one of the most efficient and effective defensive teams in the NBA for a couple of years. Given the makeup of this team, not getting a coach with some offensive creativity would be foolish.

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

A defensive minded coach is not going to work here.

Why?

First, our roster is full of guys who don't play a lick of it. Getting these guys to play any D is going to be like pulling teeth from alligators.

Second, the one guy who the franchise's success or failure is pinned to is one of those no-defense guys. Moreover, he is a certifiable nut-case. So if you try to FORCE him to play D, he's going to go off the reservation. You'll have a rift between the coach and our hero the zero, and another season down the tubes.

Not that I don't like Gil. I just think this team should be coached like what it is ... Phoenix Suns East. Let 'er rip.

Posted by: Matte | March 9, 2009 3:40 PM

"I'm sorry but, Flip destroyed a great Detroit Pistons team when he wanted to get rid of Ben Wallace (the anchor of their defense) and Detroit had the talent and couldn't win another big game with Flip."

Flat out untrue. Saunders didn't want to get rid of Wallace. Wallace wanted out. He pissed and moaned about not being part of the offense, despite the fact that he was only a 50/50 bet to score on an undefended layup. He started to believe his own hype and let it go to his head. It was Dumars, not Saunders, who held the door open for Big Ben because he wasn't willing to match the ridiculously over-valued contract Chicago offered him, a move which, given Wallace's swift subsequent decline, has proven to absolutely be the right one.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 3:42 PM


kalo_rama,

Flip could not get the Pistons (the best team in the east)into the finals the past 3 years. (Heat, Cavs and Celtics) so how do you expect him to get the Wizards out of the first round of the playoffs. I honestly don't have an idea who the Wizards could chose but picking Flip cannot be Ernie's only option. I'd say steal Nate MicMillian he is the ultimate player development coach look at the Blazers and the incredible job he did there. He was good with the Sonics. But Nate isn't leaving the West Coast and the Blazers aren't letting him go.

Posted by: rcnasa | March 9, 2009 3:55 PM

No sense in Arenas and Haywood coming back now - nothing can salvage this season and I'd rather have them back at 100% come next year then run the risk of further injury or deprive the younger guys on the squad like J.McGee and J.Crittendon of valuable experience. Let Gil and Brendan rehab and do their thing and let's pray we hit the #1 pick lottery and grab Blake Griffin.

As for new coaches - Flip Saunders is no genius but he's one of the better and more well respected coaches in the league so I think he'd bring a new enthusiasm to the locker room and inspire a better work ethic in the players so I think its a good fit.

Posted by: blackman1 | March 9, 2009 4:01 PM

CN, I've never been one of those guys that has said Thabeet is better then Griffin.

But the point I've been trying to make is if a team has a major weakness and a position of need, you need to take a long hard look at the best player at that position that fills those needs.

The line that Thabeet will fail in the pros simply because he's feasting on shorter competition just doesn't hold water.

I can't think off one 7' guy that came into the pro's averaging 13+ points and 10+ rebounds that turned out to be a bust.

Griffin would add one more power forward to a team that's played two power forwards at center all year. The Wizards' D should show that doesn't work.

If the Wiz draft Griffin, then Ernie better be able to deal a power forward for a defensive minded center. And there doesn't appear to be many of those on the market.

Flip Suanders does have a decent regular season coaching record. And has worked with young teams in the past. Flip didn't do so well with the veteran Pistons squad, but there's some interesting personalities in that lockerroom. Some guys in there would make Gil seem downright normal.

Flip's used a fair amount of zone in the past, I read that he came up with the idea to keep teams from pulling Garnett away from the rim so much. I wonder what he'd think of the prospect of having Thabeet & McGee guard the baselines?
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | March 9, 2009 4:03 PM

this team sux -- who cares?

Posted by: jwing14 | March 9, 2009 4:05 PM

My gut feeling on Arena is that he kicked back a considerable sum of money to Ernie Grunfeld.

Posted by: hz9604 | March 9, 2009 4:08 PM

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/chris_mannix/03/09/power.rankings/index.html?eref=T1

Washington Wizards (14-49)
Instead of entertaining the possibility of bringing Gilbert Arenas back this season, the Wizards might want to consider sending Arenas and GM Ernie Grunfeld out to Oklahoma. Why? Because one look at Sooners power forward Blake Griffin should convince both that the best move is to keep Arenas on the sideline. Washington, tied for the worst record in the NBA, could end up with the best chance to win the lottery and select Griffin, who is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft.

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

"Flip could not get the Pistons (the best team in the east)into the finals the past 3 years. (Heat, Cavs and Celtics) so how do you expect him to get the Wizards out of the first round of the playoffs."

What does one have to do with the other? Absolutely nothing.

That Pistons team had issues that went well beyond whoever the coach was, which is one of the reasons Dumars let Wallace walk and shipped Billups out.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 4:12 PM

Why not give someone else a shot at a head coaching job, instead of the same old, tired re-treads? How about giving a smart guy like Jim Cleamons a chance? He's a long-time assistant coach under Phil Jackson. He's a brilliant defense mind. Let's give someone else a chance.

Posted by: john24 | March 9, 2009 4:17 PM

Jim Cleamons had a chance. He was 28 and 70 as the coach of the Mavs from '96-'98

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 4:20 PM

couldn't agree more. complaining about his defense and ignoring everything else is ridiculous. it's like saying andy roddick is a bad tennis player because his backhand is weak.

Posted by: stevie2 | March 9, 2009 2:19 PM

The Roddick comparison is a good one, but disporves your point Stevie2. Just because Roddick has a big serve and powerful grounds strokes doesn't mean he's a good player. In fact, he is just an okay player. And just because Jamison consistently grabs rebounds and puts up points doesn't make him a great player. He is merely a good player, who is highly expendable.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | March 9, 2009 4:31 PM

We don't need another learn on the job coach. We have one right now, and that isn't working too well.

Posted by: lameotron | March 9, 2009 4:31 PM

"He is merely a good player, who is highly expendable."

Yes and no. No he's not a great player, although he is a very, very good one. And guys who give you 20/10 on a nightly basis (without giving you the added bonus of being a diva headcase) are only expendable if you have access to another player who can do the same thing. The Wiz do not.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 4:35 PM

How about John Thompson(just kidding!!)Flip's no better than EJ if you're going to bring him in then fire EG and bring back EJ(NOT GONNA HAPPEN).I'm almost on the Pat Ewing or Mark Jackson bandwagon, why bring in a retread? How about Bob McAdoo?(carrer asst.under Riley)I'd actually take a chance on Avery Johnson but there must be a reason dumb-dumb(EG) didn't hire him after canning EJ.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 9, 2009 4:45 PM

"Gilbert Arenas will play Monday, March 23rd vs. Chicago at home. I wonder if there's a site taking bets on his return. I'd take the odds and put money on that date." - psps23

I agree that Gil will play this year, but I believe that he will be back this Wednesday, March 11.

Management should be pushing him to get back on the court this year so that the 2009-2010 potential season ticket holders can see that he's ready.

Posted by: getabigboyoffense | March 9, 2009 4:46 PM

I don't see the Wizards paying Saunders the 6.5 mil he was making in Detroit. And I don't see him coming to a team like Wizards for much less.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 9, 2009 4:48 PM

The pistons also lacked star power. We have one, if healthy. They won the finals without a star but those opportunities are very small in the NBA. I think he'd do just fine. NO MORE EJ NO MORE EJ!!!

Posted by: BurgwithaU | March 9, 2009 4:48 PM

dargregmag - I'd like to see Ewing get the coaching job with Zo as his big man assistant coach. I do believe that we might see a big difference in our play around the basket with Zo kicking butt and taking names.

Posted by: getabigboyoffense | March 9, 2009 4:50 PM

Acting like jamison's numbers absolve him of any blame is ridiculous. He is a huge defensive liability, regardless of his savvy rebounding, he should be a bench scorer, he can't guard a 3 or a 4, but he can score, he won the 6th man award and had his best year with the mavs, i do not ever question his hustle or proclivity towards working hard, but being the captain of a team this heinously undisciplined should tell you something, if he wasn't quick to throw his teammates to the wolves maybe they'd listen when he criticized them, kind of like how the refs ignore his crying because they know it's coming the next time he touches the ball. Jamison is a productive offensive player but he shouldn't just be given a pass with criticism or given free reign to trash members of the team of which he is the supposed leader. My guess is with 17 shots at the pf spot blatche could be a 20 point scorer as well, and he already is a better defender and passer.

Posted by: bford1kb | March 9, 2009 4:56 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 not new news.

Posted by: cj658 | March 9, 2009 4:59 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 not new news.

Posted by: cj658 | March 9, 2009 5:00 PM

"But the point I've been trying to make is if a team has a major weakness and a position of need, you need to take a long hard look at the best player at that position that fills those needs.

The line that Thabeet will fail in the pros simply because he's feasting on shorter competition just doesn't hold water.

I can't think off one 7' guy that came into the pro's averaging 13+ points and 10+ rebounds that turned out to be a bust."

Ahh, a nice healthy doese of reality. It's good to read every once in a while.

Posted by: cj658 | March 9, 2009 5:04 PM

Who said Thabeet was going to be a bust? Saying that he won't be able to dominate physically at the NBA level (against bigger, stronger competition) like he did in college and that he won't have the same kind of intimidating impact in the NBA (which is what most people have been saying) isn't even close to the same thing as calling him a bust.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 5:08 PM

“Flip Saunders is a fine coach and among the best options the Wizards could turn to. The notion that the Wiz need a "defensive coach" only works if they turn over the roster to get some "defensive players." Saunders can coach defense--the Pistons remained one of the best defensive teams in the NBA on his watch and using the zone he made the T'Wolves (when they were healthy and fully manned) one of the most efficient and effective defensive teams in the NBA for a couple of years. Given the makeup of this team, not getting a coach with some offensive creativity would be foolish.”


This statement from this poster actually makes sense. Very well said, and actually, very true. Very few and far in between from this fan. Keep up the good work, slick.

Posted by: cj658 | March 9, 2009 5:09 PM

Yawn.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 5:12 PM

Dwight Howard relied EXCLUSIVELY on his superior athleticism and size in High School. He played against FAR WORSE competition than Thabeet. Dwight still relies on size and athleticism to be dominate. He was not, and is not, a “skilled big man”. Same can be said for Shaq. Skills have nothing to do with the success of big men. Darius Songaila is a “skilled big man”. I would actually go as far to say Songaila is more skilled than Shaq and Dwight. Why do Shaq and Dwight dominate and Songaila does not? SIZE AND ATHLETICISM.

Posted by: cj658 | March 9, 2009 5:14 PM

"createmore"

I'm pretty sure the only thing Tapscott's learned is that he made the right call avoiding coaching in the 20 years since he left AU.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 5:14 PM

"We don't need another learn on the job coach. We have one right now, and that isn't working too well."

I'm pretty sure the only thing Tapscott's learned is that he made the right call avoiding coaching in the 20 years since he left AU.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 5:15 PM

Thabeet has nowhere near Shaq's size nor does he have anywhere near Howard's athleticism.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 5:16 PM

- AJ is a solid pro and he deserves praise for bringing it day in and day out even this season. That being said, he is also awful on defense and his counterpart often gets numbers similar or better than his. So, I think both are true in his case. HoF, no chance!

- Flip Saunders a defensive coach? Ummm...no. He was brought to Detroit bc they already had the defensive mindset and needed more "creativity" on offense. He would be similar to EJ and not a very "outside the box" choice.

- This is an "Insider" thread so Ivan putting in "intuition" and "chatter" into the "Insider" is appropriate. It is advertised as such!


- GA and BH should absolutely try to get in a dozen games or so this season. Especially in GA's case bc he is going on 3 seasons now of very limited to no games played. If you think he is going to hit the ground running next year, that is more than wishful thinking. Haywood might be ok, but if you can shake off the rust this season and are absolutely medically ok, why not?

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 9, 2009 5:19 PM

"I'm pretty sure the only thing Tapscott's learned is that he made the right call avoiding coaching in the 20 years since he left AU."


This fan is on a roll today. Finally starting to develop some consistency, way to go sport.

It must be due to the fact that school is out for spring break? Or maybe the wonderful weather the DC area has experienced the past few days. Got to dust off the old kite huh? Again, keep up the good work, I’m sure it feels good to actually make sense for a change.


Posted by: cj658 | March 9, 2009 5:22 PM

- I agree Gil and Brendan should just sit out the rest of the season.

-The next coach has got to be Avery Johnson. Flip is a bumb who could never get it done. He had the best player in the NBA in Kevin Garnet and couldnt do anything. He then had the best team in the Eastern Conference and couldnt do anything. Please dont hire him.

Posted by: sjp879 | March 9, 2009 5:23 PM

rphilli721,

Playing a dozen games at the end of this season won't have any real bearing on whether Arenas can hit the ground running next season. Having not played in so long, that won't even be time enough for him to get into real bball shape. And unless he arranges a full schedule of full-speed 5-on-5 games over the summer to keep it up, whatever gains he makes at the end of this season won't carry over. He's still going to need training camp and the preseason to get into real shape like everyone else. If playing a full season doesn't give guys a leg up on the next one, playing a dozen games won't give Arenas one either.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 5:29 PM

"As for the next coach, all signs point to Flip Saunders."

Flip is perfect for the Wiz....if they don't want to win a championship.

Seems to be on par for the organization, may as well hire him.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | March 9, 2009 5:30 PM

Gee, what great investigative reporting you did Ivan...

when are you going to tell us something enlightning or interesting? I.e. What do they work on in practice? Anyone look good at practice but cant translate it to the game? Probability of the Wiz trading the draft pick depending on where they land? College players you feel will specifically help the Wiz and why? Any players on our roster drawing interst from other teams? Scouting report on current players (NY only drives, Songaila only picks and rolls, McGuire cant hit an outside shot to save his life...).

I got a gut feeling too - your reporting on the Wiz is beginning to look like that of Bram Weinstein's on the skins. look where he is now. ...

Posted by: ThatGuy2 | March 9, 2009 5:31 PM

Again, I live in Minneapolis. Flip Saunder's is not a defensive coach. He is slightly more well rounded than say EJ (not saying much), but calling him a defensive coach is ridiculous. And, he routinely got ridiculed in Minneapolis for being out coached both in the playoffs and out. He coached KG and then Detroit so his teams were decent to good defensively by default!

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 9, 2009 5:36 PM

rphilli721, I agree that Flip isn't a defensive coach per se, but he can coach defense. Subtle, but significant difference.

"He coached KG and then Detroit so his teams were decent to good defensively by default!"

Not true. The Wolves were a terrible defensive team before Flip installed the zone to help cover up their individual defensive weaknesses. In fact, they were a terrible team period before Flip showed up. The Pistons were a good defensive team under Larry Brown, but Flip installed different schemes at both ends of the floor, altering their style while still maintaining their defensive efficiency.

Just because a team was good at something under a previous coach doesn't automatically mean they'll be just as good under a new one. (The current Pistons team is a case in point.)

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 5:47 PM

Add one more vote to the "not Flip" poll...

Avery Johnson has done nothing but win... The Wizards management should at least have him in for a serious chemistry check.

If Jeff van Gundy wants back in, let's take a look at him too.

How could Sam Mitchell have gone so quickly from Coach of the Year to PNG in Toronto? He got a lot of effort out of the Raptors for a couple of years...

And yes, bring in some long-tme assistants to see what they might offer. As a player, Robert MacAdoo went from being a big time scorer with Buffalo to
to being a really savvy role player with a champion Laker team. Does that growth curve translate into head coaching potential. Let's talk to the man.

You think coaches don't make a difference, look what Larry Brown is doing with the Bobcats this year!

This is a big decision and should not be lightly made.

Posted by: khrabb | March 9, 2009 5:49 PM

Kal,

That may be true, but he has no chance of shaking any rust off in a meaningless real game if he does not. He may get in shape next preseason, but that's about it. He's also still getting paid this season so "if" he is medically fine I see no downside. Supposedly he's been practicing for a few weeks now, so that tells me he has been medically cleared.

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 9, 2009 5:54 PM

"Avery Johnson has done nothing but win..."

What, exactly, has he won? I think Johnson's a good coach (albeit not the right coach for the Wizards) but he doesn't have any rings earned from the coach's seat. He does, however, have the distinction of having occupied that seat when his team fell victim to one of the biggest Finals series collapses and possibly the biggest playoff upset in NBA history.

Knocking Flip Saunders for being unable to win big games and then jumping on the AJ bandwagon is more than a little hypocritical.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 5:56 PM

Twelve games at the end of a lost season won't be enough to shake off any significant amount of rust, given how long he's been out. And even if he does, it'll just build back up again over the summer. That's the whole point of training camp and preseason, to give guys time to work themselves into game shape and get their timing and chemistry back after a long layoff. Doesn't matter how many games he plays now, when camp opens in September, everybody will be starting out from scratch.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 6:00 PM

Kal,

That is why I put in the "more well rounded" caveat. Yes, he can coach some defense where EJ had/has no clue, but the players matter too and Flip had players that played defense on both teams. Minnesota's fortunes also turned with the drafting of KG and was in his prime while Flip was coach. KG is one of those rare players that does lift up his teammates particularly with their defensive intensity. The Wiz obviously don't have that whatsoever, but their schemes have got to improve. Being near last to dead last in 3 pt shooting defense for about 4/5 years running is just flat out unacceptable!

Anyway, I think the Wiz could choose someone worse than Flip, but maybe they could do better. I would love to see the "short list" of EG's.

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 9, 2009 6:12 PM

Yeah, Avery Johnson is not a good fit whatsoever!

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 9, 2009 6:15 PM

I am not necessarily disagreeing with your point Kal. I just don't see where it would hurt him either, for his own assessment and the team's (for about 15/20 mins a game) and keep Young's sorry butt on the bench...lol. Again, only if he is totally healthy, I'm not talking about the rush job that occurred last season.

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 9, 2009 6:24 PM

"Flip could not get the Pistons...into the Finals... so how do you expect him to get the Wizards out of the first round of the playoffs?"

With this team, I'd be happy if he could the Wizards INTO the first round of the playoffs.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 9, 2009 6:39 PM

I am a huge Wizards fan however I want to lose the remaining games so that we have a shot at BG I don't know if anyone else in this draft is even worth talking about. Our luck the year that draft SUCKS we are in it just like 01.

Posted by: svafai2000 | March 9, 2009 6:46 PM

Just my opinion, but I thought Avery Johnson wasn't ready to be a head coach when he started with Dallas. He had some of the same problems as Zorn with the Skins -- players who didn't fit his preferred scheme, a fan base wedded to a different playing style than Johnson's Spurs-based background... and a Dan Snider type owner.

Given all this, seems to me he did pretty well in Dallas. But it also looked to me like he lost that team. They stopped listening, and his departure was best for everyone. Overdue a little, even.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 9, 2009 6:46 PM

"This is a big decision and should not be lightly made.Posted by: khrabb"

Yes, indeedy. Ernie Grunfeld's future depends on it. He's not going to be able to throw this next guy under the bus without sucking down the carbon monoxide himself.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 9, 2009 6:49 PM

Any chance of us getting Larry back just like how it used to be with Gil/Hu/Car/Jam/Hay that could be nice

Posted by: svafai2000 | March 9, 2009 6:53 PM

Avery Johnson only coached for a year and a half and he got the Mavs to the NBA finals. Yes he choked away the Finals, but at least he was in the Finals. Flip cant even get out of his own conference/1st round. I know Wizards fans are used to bad coaches so that explains why some want Saunders, but trust me when I say, Wizards fans deserve better and we can get a better coach.

Posted by: sjp879 | March 9, 2009 7:22 PM

Samson,

I don't think it would be difficult whatsoever to get this team to the playoffs when healthy. The trick will be getting them past the first round.

If nothing else this season has given Blatche and McGuire valuable experience as they look to be the most advanced of the young guys with Crittenton not far behind. When they play with the second unit and against the other team's second unit as was intended, they should no longer be over matched.

It's also going to be nice to have a legit young talent at the PG position as a backup next season! If he improves his shot, and I believe he will, he could easily be a starter and a good one within the next couple of seasons!

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 9, 2009 7:23 PM

Flip would be perfect for the Wiz. For those on here bashing Flip because he didn't take the Pistons anywhere, that is a load of crap.

Detroit had a lot of problems, mainly guys like Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace not respecting Saunders, solely because he wasnt Larry Brown. The players would tune him out and not follow the game plan, which is why the had the playoff flame outs.

Also, look at what has happened to both Minnesota and Detroit after Flip left. Both teams went down the tubes. The man is a heck of a coach, and has some of the best plays/game plans of any coach around. He would be a great hire. Problem is, I wonder if he'll take a better job instead.

Posted by: Roman5 | March 9, 2009 7:26 PM

Gil should pay the Wizards approximately $14,653,466 for not playing this season after duping the organization. He should also buy a grotto with a pool for the upper level of Verizon Center. Can call it the "Gil's Pool on the Hill"

Posted by: RomulusBeatRemus | March 9, 2009 2:18 PM

If we didn't pay him that $14mil for not playing this season, GS would have.

Now if you would rather he left for GS, that's a different story...

Posted by: crs-one | March 9, 2009 7:28 PM

It would be nice to get a review of who is available.

Posted by: Izman | March 9, 2009 2:39 PM

Did you mean a complete list of every available coach, or the ones under consideration?

If you meant the latter...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/03/01/ST2009030102372.html

If you meant the former, you probably already saw the article

Posted by: crs-one | March 9, 2009 7:30 PM

Roman,

Maybe it was more Flip's fault than the team's particularly when Rip Hamilton was involved. He does not really have a coach killing reputation.

Also, Detroit's core was/is aging and on the downside and KG left soon after Flip so there are multiple reasons for each team's decline. Not some massive coaching void left by Flip Saunder's absence.

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 9, 2009 7:52 PM

Samson151,

No question that Johnson did a nice job in Dallas, but there's also no question that he, like Saunders, has flaws as a coach. It's silly for people to try and denigrate Saunders because he couldn't get past the conference finals while ignoring the fact that he got there 4 different times. And it's equally silly to give Johnson all the credit for being a "winner" for getting the Mavs to the Finals once while ignoring the facts that (A) the team averaged 50+ wins every year for 4 or 5 years before he took over, so it's not like he was working with nothing, (B) the team collapsed under pressure once they got to the Finals, choking away a 4-0 lead before losing the series, and (C) the year after getting to the Finals, they lost in the first round to a 42-40 8th seed, despite having the best record in the NBA regular season.

Both men are very good coaches, but the idea that Johnson has some titanic edge in winning over Saunders is pure rubbish.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 8:02 PM

rphilli721,

I'm a Detroit native and have followed the Pistons closely for decades. Trust me, it was the players. They basically got it into their heads that they could coach themselves and decided that they didn't need to listen to the guy with the clipboard. Why do you think that Detroit has been through 4 coaches in the last 8 years? They keep tuning them out in short order. Pistons fans have been complaining about their "light-switch" attitude for years.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 8:10 PM

To both points on this blog topic:

BORRRRRRRRRINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.............

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 9, 2009 8:24 PM

BTH has absolutely no reason to be sitting out as long as he's been.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 9, 2009 8:30 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 not new news.

Posted by: cj658 | March 9, 2009 5:00 PM

Because message board chatter qualifies as news.

I do enjoy imagining how long it took you to dredge up that quote. Unless you had it bookmarked, which would be equally entertaining.

Posted by: crs-one | March 9, 2009 8:30 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"

Butting heads with Gilby?

And why would that be?

Because he'll ask Gilby to play defense?

He'll ask Gilby to share the ball?

Nothing wrong with any of that.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 9, 2009 9:38 PM

Trust me, Flip Saunders is not a fit. His resume does not solve the needs of this Team.

I rather have Avery than Flip, but my choice is Mark. Avery and Flip miss the whole point of how defense wins.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 9, 2009 10:30 PM

The biggest problem with the 2009-10 Wiz will be the ROSTER. I'm not sure that if you could bring Red Auerbach back as a 45 year old that he could do that much with the team. I'm sure that there are folks out there that would like to be a head coach in the NBA "in the worst way." This may be it.
If I could choose a coach for this group, it would be either George Karl or Scott Skiles.
There are 13 guaranteed contracts (or player options) for 2009-10. The luxury tax will decrease, making it almost impossible to fill slots 14 and 15 (Juan and Dom) with D-league quality players. If Dom is your favorite player, buy his stuff now. They can't afford to sign him even to a third year minimum salary.
Perhaps they can convince OP to go home.
Since they won't be able to sign THE PICK, they should attempt to either package it with a toxic contract or trade it to the Clippers for their 2010 pick.
Note to those who knock Abe - Sterling has not been a sterling owner for the Clippers.

Posted by: lrmc623 | March 9, 2009 11:02 PM

"Note to those who knock Abe - Sterling has not been a sterling owner for the Clippers.

Posted by: lrmc623 | March 9, 2009 11:02 PM "

I don't think Sterling's failures make the Les BouleS/Abe debacle of a franchise any more palatable.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 9, 2009 11:11 PM

"the team collapsed under pressure once they got to the Finals, choking away a 4-0 lead before losing the series"

Of course, they choked away a 2-0 series lead, not 4-0.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 9, 2009 11:37 PM

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