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Guess Who's Back?

Nope, this entry is not about the highly-anticipated return of Gilbert Arenas. It's about my return to the Washington Wizards beat. You may have noticed that there is no longer some dude grinning in a picture next to me anymore.

Well, unless you've been under a rock the past two weeks -- or didn't decide to pay attention to the Wizards until Arenas announced his return -- Ivan Carter resigned from the Washington Post to become the host of Washington Post Live on Comcast. He's a TV star now. I'll wish him luck and give him a round of applause for covering this team the past four years. His last two stories for the paper ran today. You can read them here and here.

With Ivan gone, I've left my post as the National NBA writer to get back into the grind of covering the Wizards once again. I know I'm not a stranger to any of you, but for those of you who may not know, I actually covered the Wizards during the 2004-05 season. That was a long time ago, when the Wizards ended an eight-year playoff drought and advanced to the conference semifinals (yes, people, Gilbert Arenas has taken a team out of the first round!). That was a fun ride, with Arenas and Larry Hughes forming a lethal backcourt and Antawn Jamison providing inspirational leadership for a young, up-and-coming team.

Things are a little different now. Since then, LeBron James has kept the Wizards from advancing beyond the first round and this has been one of the worst seasons in franchise history. With nine games left, I promise that you won't get a drop-off in coverage of the Wizards. I won't offer as much NBA coverage over the next few weeks, but I will still give you "The Other Side" and "Monday Morning Point Guard" in addition to the daily updates on the Wizards. I will also travel with the team the rest of the season and chronicle every step Arenas makes throughout his long-awaited comeback.

When I heard that Arenas was going to come back Saturday against Detroit, I was a little thrilled that I'll be a part of what should be a great night at Verizon Center (The fans needed to get excited about something other than the Chipotle burrito toss). No matter now you may feel about it, Arenas's return adds some buzz to the end of a forgettable season.

The Wizards Insider was much easier as a two-man operation, but you'll no longer have to wonder who was the author of any blog post. I hope that you guys and gals will enjoy riding with me through the next few months as the team searches for a new coach, figures out what it will do with a high draft pick, and begins the recovery from being the worst team in the Eastern Conference. We're going to have some fun.

By Michael Lee  |  March 28, 2009; 8:23 AM ET
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Next: Mike James Done For Season


I know you'll never get scooped on any wizards news!

Posted by: LVLV | March 28, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Need a helpful intern to pick up some of the slack in Ivan's absence? I'm your man.

Posted by: thedude1 | March 28, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Mike, you offer good solid analysis, backed up by reality or the facts. That's a treat in today's world of overheated and unsuppported rhetoric. Stick with your proven approach.

We can surmise that Arenas has been practicing with the young guys against the vets. And we know that Taps likes playing only the vets. But can the fans get to see Arenas play with the young guys for at least 5 minutes?

Posted by: Izman | March 28, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully you can bring back some 04-05 mojo.

I agree completely with Izman's comments about you. What diehard Wizards fans want is as much information about the team as we can get, not cherry-picked info that supports a writer's favorites. Everyone has strengths and flaws, positives and negatives, and rather than reporting only the positives on your "faves," and the negatives on the others, how about just reporting all that you observe and your analysis? That would be a nice change.

One question for you, Michael. Sally Jenkins has written a book about Lance Armstrong, Wilbon wrote one for Barkley, and I believe it was Michael Leahy who wrote one about MJ's years in DC. Why wouldn't a Wizards beat writer use all his access to develop the information needed to write a book about Gilbert? It sure would be a compelling, crazy read.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | March 28, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Michael, welcome back full time. While we'll miss Ivan, you are certainly more than qualified to give us our daily fix. I hope you enjoy the job and that your coverage reflects the joy. Good luck.

Posted by: joe2chase | March 28, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Need a helpful intern to pick up some of the slack in Ivan's absence? I'm your man.

Posted by: thedude1 | March 28, 2009 8:56 AM

LOL. You beat me to the punch.

Posted by: CBell29 | March 28, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Arenas's Remarks Bother Teammates

At least they heard it now they have to do something about it.

Posted by: VBFan | March 28, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | March 28, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Particularly in this lottery-bound season, there is no coverage of the Wizards in the sports press. That's a problem for us obsessive Wizards-GMs out here in the blogosphere. You'll be our best friend if you give us the Wizards scoop. We go to ESPN, etc. for the general NBA stuff. Good luck Mike

Posted by: emmet1 | March 28, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and give us whatever you got, it doesn't even have to be particularly newsworthy, any info about the Wizards is of interest to the diehards. And I think all Wizards nation would like to find out some more about the mystery wrapped in a riddle wrapped in an enigma that is OPEC.

Posted by: emmet1 | March 28, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

What a sad commentary on a franchise gone to seed. Since ABE's "SON" is taking on the responsibility to mold the new generation of playa's why not install him as head coach? That vacancy appears within GILBERT's abilities, at least, it seems so when reading WISE's column. The circus atmosphere and the cancer both continue to grow as the LIZARDS regress from the atmosphere a successful NBA franchise needs to foster. New ownership is necessary or this club will soon be no more relevant than "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT.".

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 28, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't it MJ that was ripping KWAME BROWN's work ethic a few years back? It seems I've heard this record before.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 28, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse


It shows that you are a class guy and has some clue of how things are to be done. Even though you were here already, you made no assumptions and came out and introed' yourself like a gentlemen.

A Run' and Gun' salute to you sir.

I like that you said "the next few months as the team searches for a new coach."

I hope there is wisdom/foreboding in, Searches for a new coach, for that tells me that the next coach will not be one of them that we already have.

I donot think that anyone on this staff is capable of coaching a Gilbert led Team.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 28, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back to the beat. Ivan set a high standard, so best of luck.

Posted by: djnumb | March 28, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

So some of Gilberts comments rankled some of his teammates. Work ethic and development is the bone of contention.

Like I've blogged several times before, work ethic and development are institutional traits of successful organizations.

Gilbert should not have to comment on that, but he did because he knows in order to be successful those traits are a must for everyone.

Good organizations demand it. Good for Gilbert in speaking up and putting all parties on notice.

In any player does not understand that, then you donot want him on your Team.

If the right coach is selected, then the players want have to hear it from Gilbert.

You see Gilbert already knows what work ethic and development gets you and a winning coach will to and also demand it.

Eddie Jordan and Ed Tapscott left that responsibility to each individual. Not smart, not even smart at all.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 28, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Only one face looking out at us today, reminds me of how the Soviets used to edit fallen Comrades out of pictures of folks in the reviewing stand at the May Day Parade ... Anyway, I guess that means that now you have to do the work of two reporters, Michael ... Hope you got a raise :-)

I am glad Gilbert made his remarks about many projects making a 'hood. Not only was it accurate but is was almost literary, the man has a rare talent with words and hopefully still with the basketball.

If Andray does not get over his pout, then trade him with our draft pick and an expiring contract to get us some real help next year. (Tho' I hope it simply motivates him to play up to his potential!)

Posted by: khrabb | March 28, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Mike, welcome back to the grind. Your last stint as a beat guy was pre-blog, though a few of the more hilarious and interesting peeks into the locker room were through your eyes/voice.

I'll be interested to catch your insights as you follow the team from an even closer perspective.

I'm rarely posting on here and reading the comments (tend to be at wizards forum or occasionally bulletsforever) in part because the frootloop quotient on here is high, but suffice to say whether we comment or not all hella wizfans check this space as a first or second reference for all 'Zards news.

Thanks in advance, and if the wiz start catching a good bounce or two, well hey, you're our good luck charm and Ivan was the problem...

(Of course if 'you' manage to win us completely out of the Blake Griffin sweepstakes, you know, it's entirely your fault and we'll never forgive you).

Still, bringing back Gil is a nice start. At least it can be said you have excellent timing.

Posted by: doclinkin | March 28, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

LOL at the Chipotle burrito toss comment! NOTHING generates more excitement inside of the Phone Booth than the Chipotle burrito tosses. Gotta see it to believe it...

Posted by: MEssex | March 28, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I've found that Michael has been much more willing to engage in conversation with his readers than Ivan, much more willing to man up to mistakes than Ivan, and quite frankly, has been a better writer, if not reporter.

Welcome back to the full time Wiz beat, Mike. Pretty cool your first game is the return of Agent Zero.

I'm stoked.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 28, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

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