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Instant Analysis On Arenas

This is a must-read column for any Wizards fans. TNT analyst David Aldridge attended the game last night and offered a pretty good assessment of the Wizards and the dilemma of building a team around Gilbert Arenas. Aldridge even dips into the upcoming coaching search, asking the Detroit Pistons about Flip Saunders. Aldridge seems to think that the Wizards should think really hard about getting Avery Johnson as coach next season. Check it out and feel free to comment.

By Michael Lee  |  March 29, 2009; 11:34 AM ET
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He mentions moving those "young knuckleheads" in the summer...

Posted by: RobotDC | March 29, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Words cannot express how bad I feel the idea is to bring in Avery Johnson. For one, anyone with any brain cells who has watched Arenas and Johnson knows that the two of them will not work out. No way, no ifs or buts about it. The whole "ride my point guard till I alienate him and kill his spirit" didn't work with Jason Kidd and its definitely not going to work with Arenas. The team does need to play better defense but Im sick of hearing all these people talk about how this team isn't a contender.

The fact is that with Arenas, Jamison, Haywood and Butler healthy this is a very good team. A team that CAN contend in the East and if the chips fell right they COULD win a title. That is a GREAT place to be in. We are not going to have LeBron fall in our laps in the draft lottery, we are not going to fleece a team into giving us Garnett, we cant collude to get Shaq and Kobe and there is no Tim Duncan in the draft this year. Quit acting like champions come from anyplace other than being in the right place at the right time. Ill take a good, possibly great team any day of the week in DC. Quit forgetting how bad we were for like 20 years before Gilbert got here. Gilbert IS a star player and the team looked like a real NBA team for the first time this year and it was his first start and he didn't play very well.

Bringing in Avery Johnson is flat out the dumbest thing I have heard suggested about this team. There is no evidence that he is a great coach, none. He couldn't make Dallas a good defensive team and he wore Kidd and Dirk crazy. We don't need that crap here. We have a lot of young guys who need to be brought up to speed and we absolutely need someone who can co-exist with Gilbert. Avery is not that guy.

Posted by: | March 29, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Not sure what Aldridge is talking about with regards to "moving a couple of the young knuckleheads." From all accounts there are 2 knuckleheads -- NYoung and Blatche. Blatche has an extremely friendly contract and NYoung is still on his rookie deal so moving them for a solid veteran would be almost impossible. McGee may be a knucklehead but he is just a rookie. McGuire has shown great improvement and is a very cheap player so he won't be moved.

As for Arenas and criticizing his on the ball pressure and saying that lead to Rip Hamilton getting open jumpers -- seriously? That has more to do with the picks being set and Hamilton has been running off picks and getting open jumpers since he has been in Detroit, so that seems a little nit picky to me. And to criticized the play with 5 secons left, Detroit had decided to foul him instead of letting him shoot a three, he was not getting open on that play with an opportunity to dribble and hit a 3. Again, nit picky.

Posted by: Chad32 | March 29, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if there's a dilemma of building a team around Gil, or more of an issue of building a team around a big three that's allergic to defense. Gil gives this team something it desperately needs. A #1 option that can put pressure on opposing defenses and draw fouls. Without him, we truly live and die with contested jumpshots.

That's why I'm not a huge fan of Jamison. He gets his numbers but defensively he's as bad as it gets yet he always seems to get a pass with fans and media. At his age he's the guy in my mind, that we need to look at replacing. I'd be willing to sacrifice some of those nice numbers Jamison gets for someone who'll prevent opposing PFs from putting up big numbers.

Also Flip is not the answer, he's more of the same. Haven't we had enough of these offensive geniuses? With Gil, Caron, Twan and whoever we draft, we've got enough offense. How bout someone who can install solid defensive principles & demand execution of them? How bout Tom T., the Celtics assistant? How bout Bill Laimbeer whose done a great job in the WNBA?

Posted by: Dat2U | March 29, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

There needs to be at least a 50% turnover in this roster before next season if this team is going to make the playoffs and actually do something there. Their overall team speed is pathetic,the main reason they are last in the league in giving up threes, and the answer to this is not found on the current roster even when healthy. I think Blake Griffin would be a bust if he was drafted by the Wizards. He dominates in college because of his size but will he will be just another K. Brown in the pros? The Wizards need slashers and passers not more Wes Unseld type players if they want to move ahead fast while Arenas is in his prime.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | March 29, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Rip kept on being open in the corner 3...since they were in the 3-4, it was the responsibility of I believe McGuire, not Arenas. This team has the chance to be something special next year.NY in the past month has been dropping 15 off the bench and Andray/McGee will generally improve w/ natural progression. Add the 1 round pick talent, we have a very nice 2nd unit next year

Posted by: merajc86 | March 29, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Aldridge's comment about young Knuckle heads seems more attuned to the thinking of Jamison then that of Grunfeld.

Not to say that it appears Grunfeld wouldn't be open to the idea of including Young or Blatche in a package to get an attractive veteran.

One of the guys that fit that discription was on full display last night.

It's no secret around the league that Dumars is now in a remodeling mode in Detroit. Hamilton's deal is one that he'd like to get off the books so that he can get fully engaged in the summer of 2010 FA derby.

Rip likes to play well against his old team, but did he want to show the DC fans what they're missing, or what they could have back?

Bundling Young, and James in a package to Detroit with other assets could work out for both teams. Young, Arenas, and Crittenton could make the core of a potent three guard rotation. But Replacing Young with Hamilton could make a great three guard rotation.

Hamilton has become a wiley defender over the years, playing with Gil or Critt would give him the spot ups the guy lives off of.
Gil could also run with Critt to give him those off the ball minutes that made him so effective when he ran with Daniels or Hughes.

In the draft the Wiz need a space eating big man to fill the lane. Blake Griffin is the best player out there, a 6'8 or 9" guy with his explosive quickness, strength and speed is rare. If the lottery balls fall the Wizards' way he's the guy to pick.
But he's not a defensive force at this point, another guy a new coach will have to teach to defend.

Early on I was convinced if the Wiz got that pick it would be smart to trade down for a package. Now I'm conviced that he maybe a really special package. One that you don't trade.

But the thing to remember is even with the worst record there's only a 16% chance of getting that pick. Grunfeld's got to be looking two completely different scenario's over the coming months.

One would build around a core including Griffin, the other would take a whole different direction. But one thig's for sure, they still have one of the best guards in the game to work with...

Posted by: flohrtv | March 29, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse


I think you are 100% correct about Avery Johnson. People seem to forget that when Avery took over Dallas, Don Nelson had that Team right at the championship door.

Critics kept saying they can't win it because they don't play Defense. Nelson gets released and in comes Avery and when he was released the Team was not better and not on the door of the championship anymore, either.

Avery Johnson took a well oiled Team and and rusted it for the sake of Defense. Thats why Dallas showed him the door.

A lot of people mistake what Defense is. Defense is an attitude, it's a philosophy, it's intelligence, it's a by product of scoring. The only reason to play any Defense at all is because you want to outscore your opponent.

So, you can never sacrifise Offense for Defense. Why?

Because if you do, that means you got to play more and more defense. Defense ain't crap without scoring.

I've said this before, Once you figure out how to score well, you jus' may as well discovered your Defense.

Ask Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Ervin Johnson, Bill Russell, Dennis Rodman, Bill Laimbeer, Oscar Robertson, what defense is if you ain't scoring tha' Ball.'

People look at rough guys, individual stats, and say thats defense, we need that guy, ecetera, ecetera.

But if it ain't incorporated into an overall philosophy of outscoring your opponent as a unit, as an organization, a Team, that kind of Defense don't mean crap.

I feel that the best coach for this Team is Mark Jackson. I know he would bring in an experienced staff, discipline, and coach to the abilities of his players like all CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS DO!

David Aldrige's analyis of Gilbert was off base. His analysis of the Organization was fine, but he is incorrect in his opinion of Gilbert Arenas.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 29, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"""All you "fans" who are incapable of grasping reality, but instead, enjoy your local team spending big bucks on people who don't deserve it and 3 consecutive seasons of one and done and another lottery season coming up as the worst team in the league need to shut up and get a life.

You all should want better for your team as opposed to the current cast of clowns running the court and the front office and ownership.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 29, 2009 11:10 AM"""

I wonder what kind of clowns you gonna' call them, when they start kickin' butts and takin names.'

What kind of clowns you gonna' call them if Abe is serious when he says he's gonna spend the money to win next year.

What kind of clowns you gonna call them when time verifies that Gilbert is really a superstar.

Oh! Oh! Oh! I know. You'll probably be like Kolby and say, 'They just lucky.'

Instead of saying, I AM A STUPID PERSON.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 29, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Arenas plus the youngsters (whether they are knuckleheaded or not) would beat the other cherished vets -- if they ever could stay healthy enough to play.

Aldrige ought to follow Taps to the doghouse for the inability to see the forest for the trees.

The Wiz reporters ought to look up the definition of a coach before demeaning the young players. Both succeed or both fail. The coaches, reporters and players are too immature to figure this out. That's problem #1 given the roster.

Posted by: Izman | March 29, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

If Avery didn't take the Memphis head coaching job at $5 mill a year,Why would he come here?Avery Johnson is too religious for this squad.

Posted by: jeremydvid | March 29, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The team looked much better with Gilbert, especially those easy points by Blache and Dom early on. As for defense, we forget that Jamison even said that Haywood really helped with his verbal direction and hopefully after Stevenson heals, he will be back to more of his lockdown defense from last year when he was called locksmith, or something like that. I dont think Avery would work out either.
Great to see Gilbert back!

Posted by: washwiz | March 29, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

One more thing, the younger players have looked much better these last few games. Maybe the fact that they are getting more minutes...or the emotional lift of Gilbert's return, something to build on. The injury to both Haywood and Gilbert at the beginning of the season affected the team emotionally i believe, along with Stevenson and Daniel's injuries/non contributions.

Posted by: washwiz | March 29, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"How bout someone who can install solid defensive principles & demand execution of them? How bout Tom T., the Celtics assistant? How bout Bill Laimbeer whose done a great job in the WNBA?Posted by: Dat2U"

Would Laimbeer bring a couple of those big girls with him?

Posted by: Samson151 | March 29, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure where Aldridge gets his info, but I seriously doubt the Wizards are looking to move any "young knuckleheads" this summer. McGuire probably is going to be remain a starter next year, and Blatche and Young both showed significant improvement. Besides, as another poster noted, these guys all have cheap contracts (where are you going to find another big man with Blatche's skills for $3 million a year?)McGee still is a project, but he's clearly developing into something. Javaris Crittenton may not have a jump shot, but he plays hard at both ends and has a gift for getting into the paint. Pecherov is the only young player who's clearly a disappointment, but even then, if you're going to have a 12th player, he might as well be a 7-footer who can shoot.

Mike James and Etan are the guys with $6 million contracts that Ernie needs to move. I'm not sure how he'll pull that off, though, unless he packages them with the high draft pick.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | March 29, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

If the Wizards are going to start playing defense, they need a defensive minded big man in the paint -- period. Coaches can change, Gilbert can shoot all he wants, but until this team has a legit big man to go toe to toe with the Howards, KG's, and soon to be Horfords of the world -- nothing is changing. Antawn Jamison can fill a stat sheet up, but so can his counterpart on the other team. Blatche will wow you with the jumper, but he'll bite on a simple head fake. A player who can defend someone over 6'8, as well as make a driving guard think twice about shooting will push the Wizards to the next series. Instead of signing Juan Dixon, or trading for Mike James... find another Dominic Mcguire next time around.

Posted by: wizfan305 | March 29, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Surprised that Gilbert traveled with the team to Indiana, from their website. Sure he will just sit on the bench, hopefully.

Posted by: washwiz | March 29, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse


Good posts. Like seeing that. There is a lot of you out there that know how to bring it to the page.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 29, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not sure where Aldridge gets his info, but I seriously doubt the Wizards are looking to move any "young knuckleheads" this summer."

I posted this earlier this season, but now that Aldridge seems to feel the same way, I'll re-hash it.

I don't care where the Wizards end up in the lottery, I don't think there's any chance the Wizards trade their draft pick. What's going to happen, if anything, is one of either Nick Young or Andre Blatche gets packaged with Etan Thomas or Mike James for a veteran that can help. It will not be the draft pick that gets traded away. I'd bet the house on it.

Not sure if Aldridge is purely speculating on what he thinks the Wizards should do or if he has actual information that the team is looking in that direction, but if there is going to be moves made this offseason, it will not be the draft pick that gets traded.

Posted by: psps23 | March 29, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

For those of you that know I bleed Carolina Blue, heres the matchup we been waiting on.

Playa' of Year last year, Hansbrough against Playa' of Year this year, Griffin.

Offense against Defense, but don't fool yourself, 'cause contrare' to popular opinion, them Tarheels know a thang or two about Defense too.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 29, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Man, if ALDRIDGE's article doesn't make a dead dog stink nothing does. Talk about reality. "ARENAS' got the franchise in his hands." Exactly what I've been sayin' all along. Time to change that reality. Everyone's better in this division except the WIZARDS.

They're still runnin' that offense first shytt. When it brings back-to-back NBA championships to the D.C. club I'll be first in line for some crow pie. 'Till then count me out.

BIG BEN knew what its all about. DAVE ROBBINS taught him what winning b-ball was - defense. No wonder he wanted out of WASHINGTON.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 29, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Arenas plus the youngsters (whether they are knuckleheaded or not) would beat the other cherished vets -- if they ever could stay healthy enough to play.

Aldrige ought to follow Taps to the doghouse for the inability to see the forest for the trees.

The Wiz reporters ought to look up the definition of a coach before demeaning the young players. Both succeed or both fail. The coaches, reporters and players are too immature to figure this out. That's problem #1 given the roster.

Posted by: Izman | March 29, 2009 2:11 PM

Thanks, I guess Aldridge has been to the Charles Barkley School of Just Say what You Feel. I was at the game last night and Rip Hamillton was scoring off downsceens from both forwards, Arenas was no where in the play. Secondly, Arenas on ball defense in thew second half was better than I have ever seen for him and gives me reason for hope.

But the last point is about moving the "knuckleheads" is plin STUPID. I think being young and immatute is clearly different than being a knucklehead. I can't recall any off court transgressions this year that would claaify eithrr Young, McGee or Blatche in that category. If this cat knew anything about this squad and ball in general other than the party line, he would know that the Wizards value system has been placed on veteran preference who have played the bulk of the minutes. Keep the squad in tact, with a solid coaching staff, and then make the determination about moving people. The last time this franchise moved young "knucleheads" tehy all wnet on to have big time NBA careers i.e. Rasheed Wallace, Chris Webber, Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace.

This sounds like hids boy Tapscott was Aldridge's chief source for this article.

Posted by: NewManagement | March 29, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

To the person who said the Wiz could probably get Rip from Detroit, keep dreaming. Detroit gave him a 3-year extension after the Billups trade. So even thought they want cap space this summer, they have no intentions of spinning off Hamilton. He is one of Dumars' favorites, and isnt going anywhere. Especially not for a knucklehead like Nick Young.

Also, I hope Aldridge's sources are correct about Blatch and/or Young being shopped this summer. This team needs to dump them, and get guys in here who are serious about the game, have a strong mental capacity, and are motivated. They dont need these young guys who are more concerned about joking around all the time and how big their offensive stats are.

Posted by: Roman5 | March 29, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree that it would help the team if they can package Blatche and/or Young with Thomas and/or James. Get rid of at least one knucklehead while they can!

BTW, Aldridge was a student at AU when "Tap" was coach. I'm assuming he covered the bball team for the school paper. Not that it really matters.

Posted by: rbelleisle | March 29, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Iffin ya watchin that Carolina Oklahoma game.

Can you see now why I say Offense first.

Can you see why Defense is the imbodiment of institution, courage, and intelligence.

Iffin ya can't score, defense means nothing.

Can you see why now how important coaching and institutional success is.

Its why I been sayin all year that the Wizards players cannot win games and overcome terrible incompetent coaching at the same time.

Can you see now why I keep and kept sayin that these players and the Team is nowhere as bad as they look.

And all you bloggers that keep thinkin that the players is responsible for this crap of a season do not have a clue.

BulletsFan78 knows this, Kalo_rama knows this, and many others on this blog.

Did any of you believe that them Carolina Tarheels would do this to them Oklahoma Sooners?

Did of you believe a Blake Griffin led team would fair this poorly against the Heels and Tyler Hansbrough?

You see this is the result of good players, good coaching, and a winning system.

The Wizards have good players, they lack in the other two departments.

Iffin ya don't know ya better ask somebody.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 29, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

the wiz have a gimpy shoot first point guard that can't play a lick of defense...oh yeah for 6 more years.


Posted by: | March 29, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards are a jump shooting team and as long as they shoot those long jumpers all game long they will not be a very good ball club even with Arenas returning. We have to have more of a inside game. We watch game after game as opposing teams drive to the basket with layups, dunks and short range jumpers and we go back down court and jack up a long jumper. This goes on the whole game and the coaching staff can't seem to do anything about it.

Posted by: mdondon300 | March 30, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

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