Road Trip: One Down, Three to Go

Given the 9 p.m. tipoff and the fact the Wizards fell behind by 10 in the first quarter and never really made a run, if you watched last night, you get the Wizards Insider Die-Hard Fan Award.

Given that you could've been following George Mason's thrilling finish at Penn State, or LeBron James' 43-point, 12-rebound, eight-assist game against the Magic, if you still went the distance with the Wiz, you get our medal of honor.

I don't know that there was a whole lot to take from this, as Caron Butler's hamstring kept him out for the second straight game and the Wizards did what they were expected to do, and frankly, what a lot of fans want them to do. Wednesday night against the 16-50 Clippers, another loss for the 16-52 Wiz might not be so automatic.

The Wizards go to Denver Friday and Phoenix Saturday before coming home, so 1-3 is a realistic expectation for the trip. That would put them at 17 wins and needing to get two from Charlotte, at Indiana, at Memphis and a home-and-home with Toronto to avoid the franchise mark for futility. Three would put them at 20 wins, which at least makes this not the worst Wizards team of the decade.

The blowout opened up 18 minutes of court time for forward-center Oleksiy Pecherov, who'd played in just five of the Wizards' previous 15 games. Pecherov's 13 points were his most since a Feb. 4 loss to New Jersey, and the minutes were the most since he played 22 in a Feb. 6 loss to Denver.

Probably doesn't mean much, but Pech minutes are always fun, aren't they?

If you missed Ivan's chat on Tuesday, the transcript is archived here.

The third of Ivan's Wizards' report cards (Juan Dixon and Darius Songaila were up earlier) is up, covering Etan Thomas.

By Keith McMillan |  March 18, 2009; 1:17 AM ET
Previous: Wizards Report Card: Etan Thomas | Next: Race to the Bottom (14 Games Left)


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Anyone who has been here for the last 2 months is a diehard, and I went into this game knowing that the Wizards had no chance of winning.

Crittenton was terrible. No excuse for a PG turning the ball over like that...but he should have been allowed to play through it. Playing time for Dixon? Really?

Blatche is a totally different player when he wants to rebound. He shot poorly, but sure looked like a 15/10/5/2/2 player to me when properly motivated. The next coachs ability to motivate players is key. If Blatche fulfills his promise the Wizards are an immediate contender even if Arenas is 80% of his former self.

Was it really necessary to put Antawn back in with 9 minutes remaining down 22 points? That the perfect example of not understanding the bigger picture. Butler is sitting because he is playing too many minutes. Antawn is leading the entire frickin NBA in minutes played and the game was more out of reach than the 22 point spread glad McGee got some rest....

I havent seen too much I like about Pecherov so far, but it sure does seem like the guy can score and rebound. If the Wiz do not play Pecherov at least 10 minutes per game from here on out and either fish or cut bait than they are crazier than I already think...

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | March 18, 2009 2:25 AM

This place is dead, wake us up when the lottery draft happens.

Posted by: closg | March 18, 2009 5:52 AM

UltimateFootballNetwork, Pech CAN rebound and score. He just can't do it for us because he hasn't had an opportunity.

Whose idea was it to put some of these games on non HD channels? They need to be fired. Those games are unwatchable. It's bad enough that I'm watching a lousy team. Lousy and blurry is just too much.

Posted by: original_mark | March 18, 2009 6:35 AM

Remember when you were a kid, and right about this time of year, after a long, cold winter, there would be a really warm day, and all the kids in the neighborhood would be out playing, and you would put shorts on and run outside and have the time of your life?

Isn't that the way we all feel when we see Pech check into a game?

Posted by: disgruntledfan | March 18, 2009 7:20 AM

I watched the whole game just because I knew it was gonna get ugly and needed my Pech fix!!!!! Seriously, I know all he does is spot up and shoot 3's, but at least they go in. Give him some designated shooter minutes!

Posted by: CBell29 | March 18, 2009 7:25 AM

Wait until the next coach gets a hold of this team - it's going to prove how TERRIBLE of a coach Tap is. WHO HIRES A CAREER LOSING COACH? TAP STINKS AT COACHING AND PLAYER DEVELOPMENT. People are blinded by his law degree. Who cares - lots of idiots have law degrees. Let him go practice law, I'm sure he'll stink at that too. GRUNFELD SHOULD BE FIRED FOR HIRING THIS BUM WHO WON'T PLAY THE YOUNG PLAYERS. FIRE UNSELD! FIRE UNSELD!

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | March 18, 2009 7:54 AM

ultimate: "Blatche is a totally different player when he wants to rebound. He shot poorly, but sure looked like a 15/10/5/2/2 player to me when properly motivated. The next coachs ability to motivate players is key. If Blatche fulfills his promise the Wizards are an immediate contender even if Arenas is 80% of his former self."

Problem is, Blatche's picture is in Webster's under 'inconsistent'. Dwight Howard one night, Dwight Eisenhower the next (and on a ball court, that's not good.) What you're saying is that if the hard-working, skilled Blatche shows up every game next season, the Wiz have filled a big hole. My point would be: that's also true for Crittenton, McGee, and Young.

What are the odds?

This reminds me a little of the Celts a couple seasons ago, when they'd stockpiled all this young talent (Jefferson, Green, Telfair, et al). The fans were going on about how great the team would be when the youngsters finally learned to play.

Then Danny Ainge traded them all away and they went on to win a title.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 18, 2009 8:00 AM

Free Pech.

Posted by: original_mark | March 18, 2009 9:04 AM

I agree with Samson151. Sometimes a team can't wait for all these young talents to develop. Who knows how many of them will even become great players? Maybe Ernie can package most of them for veterans that can help us.

Posted by: tundey | March 18, 2009 9:56 AM

Fire Unseld, it never gets old. Why does Pech have to shoot threes? Why not a turnaround 15 foot jumper?

Posted by: bj2000 | March 18, 2009 12:02 PM

Exactly, tundey. By re-signing Jamison and Arenas and not trading Butler, the Wizards have sent a pretty clear message they're looking for results in the near-term, which puts the kids on a short leash. They don't have the luxury of waiting around for the Wiz kids to get it. My guess is that several of them will be on the block over the summer to try and get someone in who can make a difference right away.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 18, 2009 12:26 PM

I put up with that joke of a team to watch Pech "make some buckets". I'm crossing my fingers that he'll play tonight.

Posted by: Fontana1 | March 18, 2009 12:47 PM

A couple of thoughts about the above posts. First, I'll state upfront that I have only seen 3 Wiz games from start to finish all year, lots of highlights (there have been a few), and I review the box scores, blog here, and different stories about the games from different sources. Pech may be limited in many ways, but he does put up some points when he's in (might be garbage time), and he does get rebounds (not a monster but he hustles), and Taps even says he is impressed with how hard he works. Now, who wants to bet that he hardly sees the court tonight after a productive outing last night? Even if he does, it is probably because the Clips are handing it to us. House of good play my butt!

Second point, so many of you talk about trading all of the rooks for a vet that can help. Makes some sense, but aren't we being a bit too hasty in pulling the trade trigger? Hasn't letting young players go via FA or trade gotten us in trouble enough? Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton, Chris Webber, Rasheed Wallace, Roger Mason, Steve Blake, etc., ring a bell? I believe there is young talent on this team. They're inconsistent..yeah..that's what most young players are! They need good coaching, structure, patience, positive reinforcement, veteran leadership to help them grow, and close supervision. Anyone ever managed a bunch of young employees right out of college or high school? The same applies, and these guys have the microscope of the media and us on them. All I'm saying is that we all agree that Taps is an awful coach, bad at players development, and that a new coach will hopefully be much, MUCH better in those areas. If the past has taught us anything, don't give up too soon on the young players, especially with a bad coach in a horrible season, and EG has proven over the years that he has an eye for talent (2 2nd rounders on our own team have good potential to be solid or above average NBA players).

Be patient my friends..let's endure the rest of this season, think about new coaches, pray that our vets can play a full season a high level next season, and hope for a little bounce that lands us Mr. Griffin..and oh, that someone can be conned into taking the ET or MJ contracts for next season. Worst case, we keep the dead wood on the bench next season, and we have some cash to go shopping in summer 2010. We won't get DWade or leBron, but a lot of good players will be available who could really help us.


Posted by: faninAlex | March 18, 2009 1:16 PM

Even if they don't trade Thomas and James and let Haywood walk, the Wizards won't have any cash to go shopping in 2010. They still likely won't fall far enough under the cap to have more than the equivalent of the MLE to spend. And if the salary cap goes down, as has been predicted, they could have significantly less than than that.

The only way they can leverage their expiring contracts as assets is to trade them for guaranteed contracts prior to next season's deadline.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 18, 2009 2:10 PM

If the Wizards could leverage James and Thomas into a productive rotation player the pressure on the youngsters to produce right away would be reduced.

Two guys that could fit that bill would be Rip Hamilton and Micheal Redd. Both teams would likely take a package that includes expiring contracts in order to dump their contracts.

But I wouldn't jump on the trade young talent for vets bandwagon. The Wizards have done that so often and have gotten robbed so badly. Ron listed a few, don't go down that road. We might have to give up a guy like Young in a Redd or Hamilton package. But don't go shipping out young talent for has beens like the Wiz have in the past.

There will be a top 5 pick to build this young talent around. Building a good team takes time.

I'd like to see a guy like Hamilton brought back because he's been deep in the playoffs numerous times, he could bring this team some leadership from a vet who's really been there.

Posted by: flohrtv | March 18, 2009 4:21 PM

The Pistons aren't going to trade Hamilton. There's a reason they made a point of signing him to an extension before announcing the Billups trade. He's still in his prime and they've already got the cap space to sign one, maybe two, big time FAs after Wallace and Iverson come off their books this summer. Dumars will be keeping Rip, Stuckey, and Prince as the core and looking to add. if he were going to move any of those guys, it wouldn't be in a deal where cap space is the main attraction.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 18, 2009 6:42 PM

And I'm pretty sure no one is advocating giving away players for broken down has-beens. Obviously the goal is to get quality players who can have an impact.

Actually, I'm not even sure most people have been advocating anything. For the most part the talk about trading the young guys for vets hasn't been a suggested plan, just a recognition of the likely path the team is going to have to take if they plan on getting a return on their investment in the big three while there's still a chance of it paying off (however slight that chance may be.)

At least that's my take/position.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 18, 2009 6:49 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company