Best Quotes From Saunders News Conference

From Michael Lee at Verizon Center:

ABE POLLIN


I want another ring. (AP Photo)

On his desire to win another championship:
"I want you to know, obviously, you see me in a wheelchair. I want you to know that in spite of the wheelchair, maybe because of the wheelchair, I'm more, belly in the button, I have more guts to win a championship again. That's what we're going to do. That's why we brought a winner here. I know you will be as impressed as I am, with our new coach."

ERNIE GRUNFELD


Flip's my guy. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

On why he hired Flip Saunders:
"The things that we were looking for was someone with credibility, an NBA background, with experience. A winner, not only in the regular season, but also in the playoffs. Flip has been in the conference finals four out of the past five years that he's coached in the NBA. That's what we want to get to and even higher than that."

More on Flip:
"I think he's a really good fit for our team right now, the type of the players that we have. He's an outstanding Xs and Os man, who pays attention to detail and is very underrated on the defensive end, which we all know we want to make improvements in."

FLIP SAUNDERS


Now who they want? Flip? Flip! Flip? Flip! (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

On working for Abe:
"Mr. Pollin didn't put any pressure on me. When we met, he said, 'Just don't let us down.' No pressure at all."

On why the Wizards struggled last season:
"Every team in this league is about one player away from being very average and [with] two injuries you're going to be pretty bad. In order to win, you have to be lucky in some aspects. But you can make your own luck, through hard work, through commitment."

On the potential of the players:
"The players that are here, they have a lot of potential, they just need somebody working with them. I think the young players have a lot of potential. I always say your potential determines what you're capable of doing, your motivation determines what you do and your character enhances how well you do it."

On Gilbert Arenas:
"I know Gilbert wants to win. In the converstations that we've had the main thing that we talked about [was] what it is being a leader, and the responsibility that goes with it. I really believe that he's ready to take the step in order to do that."

On how losing in the conference finals motivates him:
"It makes you thirsty to want to get there. There's a lot of great players in the league that have never won a championship. That's the only thing they ever talk about, not what they've accomplished. It's the same way with a coach."

By Alexa Steele |  April 23, 2009; 5:33 PM ET
Previous: 'The Process Starts Today' | Next: Who Will Assist Flip?

Comments

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The last time Abe was impressed, he hired Gar Heard.

Enough said.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 23, 2009 6:45 PM

I think we all know Flip is no Gar Heard.

Say what you want about Abe, and how he's gone about doing it, but he really does want to win another championship. Let's hope the ping pong balls bounce the Wiz's way and that everyone stays healthy.

Posted by: tigerquoll | April 23, 2009 7:40 PM

R.I.P. Princeton Offense

Posted by: SammyT1 | April 23, 2009 8:16 PM

Flip is a bad mamma jamma

Posted by: squammy | April 23, 2009 9:16 PM

Hopefully, FLip will get Gil and everyone else(besides Caron) to play good defense. its been a long time since the Wizards played good defense

Posted by: time1 | April 23, 2009 9:23 PM

"Say what you want about Abe, and how he's gone about doing it, but he really does want to win another championship. Let's hope the ping pong balls bounce the Wiz's way and that everyone stays healthy.

Posted by: tigerquoll | April 23, 2009 7:40 PM "

Who doesn't want to win a championship?

Duh.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 23, 2009 9:26 PM

I think flip can be effective for 3 years before the players start taking advantage of his laid-backness. That's what happened in Detroit where the players started doing their own thing. Maybe this time around he will be a little more authoritative and maintain the respect of his players.

Posted by: Samuraise | April 23, 2009 9:30 PM

The Pistons' players were "doing their own thing" before Flip ever got there. Why do you think they're on their 4th coach in eight years? After they won the title, the players got it into their heads that they could coach themselves and started tuning out anyone who wasn't a player on that title team. They got swelled heads and started tuning everyone out. Given the attitude issues and the fact that the team he inherited wasn't actually as good as the one that won the title (they lost some key bench players from that team that were never replaced), Flip got as much out of that team as anyone could have.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 23, 2009 9:59 PM

"Watched the news conference, one difference I see right away, Flip's not afraid to state what he expects from players up front."

It's one thing for Flip to flip out. It's another thing if he has the backing of EG when he wants to walk the walk. Go ask EJ.

"I don't really agree with the window closing on the Wizards idea. Jamison is the only Vet in the plans with any real age. And he's not playing old. If Suanders can get production out of the young group, the Wizards window could just be opening."

MeTawn isn't playing old because he isn't playing any D.

How old is Gilby, a 27 year old with 3 knee surgeries?

BTW, how is Flip going "to get production out of the young group" when the little 3 are returning and they play heavy minutes, and BTH is the rock in the middle?

"Add another core young player like Griffin, or Thabeet, and there could be a core that could be here for quite awhile together."

BTH and CB will be free agents soon. I seroiusly doubt if Abe will go over the cap for both of these guys....and both will get paid handsomely.

"I like the idea of having a guy like Cassell to work with Young and Crittenton, those two could be real keys to this team's improvement. I see the potential for a deadly three guard rotation along with a healthy Arenas."

A deadly 3 guard rotation where none play defense.

"Flip will teach guys the right way to defend and he will get defensive effort out of them. Critt reminds me in ways of a young Larry Hughes, back in the days when Hughes was more of a slasher when he first came to the Wiz."

What's the right way to defend that Randy Ayers couldn't teach?

JCritt a slasher? Surely you jest.

"I haven't even given up on Pecherov under a good coach. If Suanders can win starting some of the big stiffs he had in Minn. He can sure find a role for Opec."

Surely you jest.

"Washington needs to get out of the "window is closing" and "We've got to win now" mode, and settle down and learn how to build a winner. Win now teams always think they're just one move away, and they're useally one move away from disaster."

Go talk to Abe...he wants to win now.

Posted by: flohrtv | April 23, 2009 5:00 PM "

Ever the gullible optimist...GM he be.

I doubt you'll be buying season tickets.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 23, 2009 10:40 PM

Anybody notice what Dallas did to the Spurs tonight? Man, that is homely. Hard to imagine those were the Spurs at all.

I like Saunders. Sure, he's an offensive coach, but isn't Phil Jackson? The head coach doesn't do the game plans anyway. He sets the direction and the tone, and fights off the predators from the local media, and reassures the owner that eventually, things will be OK. I liked Flip slipping a little reality into the press conference, noting that most teams are paper-thin and one or two significant injuries can sink a season in a heartbeat. Of course then he had to toe the party line and spin out some BS about making your own luck, but I appreciated the burst of honesty. Might be the only one we get for a while.

Welcome aboard, Flip. Like Abe said, don't let us down, OK? Because there are guys here who already hate your guts.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 23, 2009 10:45 PM

"Anybody notice what Dallas did to the Spurs tonight? Man, that is homely. Hard to imagine those were the Spurs at all.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 23, 2009 10:45 PM "

Speaking of noticing, I guess you didn't notice that Manu Ginobli isn't playing.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 23, 2009 10:49 PM

Here's one funny thing from the Spurs loss that many may or may not notice.

Kurt Thomas is on the Spurs team.

People here and on TV, including that moron Wilbon, always overhype that guy as being a great vet and solid contributor who is the missing element to take a team over the top.

All I've seen is that wherever he's gone, people considered him the missing piece of the puzzle, and every team that he's been on that's been close, well, they just didn't make it and KT didn't produce.

I'll be glad when this overrated dude retires...put him out to pasture.

He's no big shot Bob.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 23, 2009 10:54 PM

"Welcome aboard, Flip. Like Abe said, don't let us down, OK? Because there are guys here who already hate your guts.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 23, 2009 10:45 PM "

Nobody hates Flip.

What is ridiculous though is the hype on this blog over what they think he can do (ref. GM's stupid post).

If people think that Flip was in a no win situation in Detroit, then Flip should have noticed that and not accepted the job.

Flip could do good things here, but please people, let him at least run a practice as the head coach first before you heap praise on him.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 23, 2009 10:58 PM

Looks like Dallas is finally back to Offense first.

You know there is an old saying:

'The majority of people work all there lives at jobs they do not like.'

Point is if they worked at things they really liked they would be a whole lot more successful.

Translate that into Offense first for players that are prolific at scoring and they will do everything else better to include that little word call Defense.

I been tryin' ta' tell yawl.'

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 23, 2009 11:20 PM

"Speaking of noticing, I guess you didn't notice that Manu Ginobli isn't playing.
Posted by: DC_MAN88"

But I did notice. And I imagine that in San Antonio there's somebody on a blog using the handle SA_MAN99 calling for Popovich's ouster....

Posted by: Samson151 | April 23, 2009 11:28 PM

"Flip could do good things here, but please people, let him at least run a practice as the head coach first before you heap praise on him.Posted by: DC_MAN88"

Likewise for the bile, OK?

Posted by: Samson151 | April 23, 2009 11:29 PM

"But I did notice. And I imagine that in San Antonio there's somebody on a blog using the handle SA_MAN99 calling for Popovich's ouster....

Posted by: Samson151 | April 23, 2009 11:28 PM "

If you indeed noticed, then you shouldn't have been surprised that they aren't doing so well and wouldn't have compared them to the Spurs of old.

You're a moron talking about Pop's ouster.

How many rings does he have vs. how many rings do the current and last bunch of coaches of Les BouleS (ETap, EJ, Dougie Collins, Leo Hamilton, Gar Heard, etc.) total as coaches?

Maybe someone in San Antonio named Assamson151 made a dumb statement also about being "hard to imagine those were the Spurs at all."

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 23, 2009 11:35 PM

"Likewise for the bile, OK?

Posted by: Samson151 | April 23, 2009 11:29 PM "

The only bile is the mush between your ears in thinking that I've blasted Flip in any way. The only thing I responded to was GM's absurd rave about Flip and Les BouleS's bright future.

Let the man prove his ability to coach and manage the personnel here first.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 23, 2009 11:37 PM

San Antonio out in the first round. Ha! Ha! That really mixes up the West.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 23, 2009 11:40 PM

San Antonio is down 2-1 in a best of 7 series. They're not even close to being out yet.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 23, 2009 11:51 PM

"Looks like Dallas is finally back to Offense first."

Yeah, the Mavs were a real offensive juggernaut with their whopping 88 points. Meanwhile, their defense held the Spurs to a franchise record low for a playoff game.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 23, 2009 11:59 PM

"The only bile is the mush between your ears in thinking that I've blasted Flip in any way. The only thing I responded to was GM's absurd rave about Flip and Les BouleS's bright future."

Well, and also that little spew about mush, too. You probably don't even recognize it anymore.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 24, 2009 5:04 AM

Kalorama: "Yeah, the Mavs were a real offensive juggernaut with their whopping 88 points. Meanwhile, their defense held the Spurs to a franchise record low for a playoff game."

Yes, apparently the Spurs were down 30 or so at the break? And Popovich decided to rest his starters from sometime in the 3rd quarter on.

Interesting strategy -- concede the game. I'm trying to think of the last time I saw a coach do that against a traditional rival, or in the playoffs. I'm not coming up with an example.

So Ginobili's only played, what, forty-some games this season? And Duncan has been limping off and on for weeks. Wiz fans know about THAT problem.

Still, the Spurs are as dangerous a team as there is. Dallas is playing well, but they remain no one's idea of the old Detroit Pistons defense. San Antonio could come back strong.

After all, they'll be rested.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 24, 2009 5:22 AM

dcman: "What is ridiculous though is the hype on this blog over what they think he can do"

Hype's always ridiculous, that's why they call it hype. No reason to be especially optimistic at this point, but no reason for unrelenting negativity, either.

Look at it as the glass is half-full, versus the glass is bereft of moisture, it's Martian desert dry, was there ever even a sliver of ice on the surface...

Posted by: Samson151 | April 24, 2009 5:51 AM

A solid coaching hire by Ernie. A veteran guy that's taken teams to the conference finals. Accomplished, yet still hungery.

Flip could have waited and gone anywhere he wanted, but he choose to come here. The guy wants to win a title, and you would think a smart veteran coach that's sat out a year, would be evaulating situations and trying to land in the best possible place to be. He choose to come here.

That says a lot about his evauluation of the Wizards roster and it's upside. Flip could have waited, there's other jobs opening up. Philly hasn't taken the interim label off of their coach, so he could have possibly walked into a young playoff roster. But he came here.

Flip has developed talent in this league before. He's the one who talked about the young talent on this roster and it's potential. And he choose to come here and coach it.

I'd trust his evaulation of talent a wee bit more then the resident moaner and complainer. He chooses to come here and whine and complain.

Didn't here Flip talking about the need to come in with a broom. Did hear him say that he'll be talking to each player about what he expects them to work on to improve this summer. Sounds like a guy that's been watching and evauluating since last fall.
Watched the 19 win season and then he took the job.

I like some of the young talent on this roster, I especially like the deal to get Crittenton last fall. He needs someone to take a summer to work with his jumpshot, but the kid could be a real find. Im looking forward to watching these young guys under an accomplished NBA coach who wants to be here.

I'd bet on Ernie and Flip's evauluation of NBA talent and their combined track record of NBA success. Don't think I'd go crazy and bet a lot of money that I don't have, and lose a bet that I couldn't afford or anything. But that's just me...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | April 24, 2009 7:28 AM

I can't think of another available coach I would have wanted the Wiz to hire more. I'm excited about the Flip era.

It's interesting to compare the Wiz to the Skins. Danny falls in love with new players and coaches every 10 minutes, and scraps system after system, QB after QB, overpriced FA after overpriced FA, in search of some magic formula that will win him a Superbowl.

He doesn't realize that building a winner takes time, patience and the realization that you hire real football people and get out of the way. Abe understands this.

Yeah, the Wiz had a horrible year. They also played almost all year without 3/5 of their starting lineup, and a significant amount of games without 4/5 of that lineup. But Abe didn't panic and blow up the building. He hired a basketball-wise GM and lets him run the show.

Certainly Ernie realizes that if the injury bug hits again this year with Gil and (to a much lesser extent) Caron, that blow-up time has arrived. But he at least has a plan, and has built something in a slow, deliberate way. I think it will pay off this coming season.

However, even if it doesn't work, and we find out that Gil is damaged beyond repair, I'll take the patient Wiz approach over the throw-more-spaghetti-against-the-wall approach of Danny and Vinny any day and twice on Sunday.

Posted by: keithward64 | April 24, 2009 8:59 AM

keithward64,
Combining a General Manager with a proven track record with a coach that took his team to the Conference finals, 4 out of the last 5 years he coached, has to be a step in the right direction.

What impresses me the most is, Saunders had to be spending this entire year scouting teams with openings, and making up his mind which team afforded him the best opportunity to get over the hump and play for the title.

He looked at the current roster, the lottery pick, and the expiring contracts that Ernie has in place, and decided this is where he wants to make a run a the ring.

I think he was pretty clear in his news conference, that's what he's coaching for at this point.

I'd trust his judgement to come here, and Ernie's to hire him. I'd agree if the big three don't work out next year, Ernie may need to move in another direction. But there is a young core in place to start building around.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | April 24, 2009 9:36 AM

"Look at it as the glass is half-full, versus the glass is bereft of moisture, it's Martian desert dry, was there ever even a sliver of ice on the surface...

Posted by: Samson151 | April 24, 2009 5:51 AM "

Unfortunately, the glass has been half full from the optimist point of view for the past 30 years.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 24, 2009 1:48 PM

"Flip could have waited and gone anywhere he wanted, but he choose to come here. The guy wants to win a title, and you would think a smart veteran coach that's sat out a year, would be evaulating situations and trying to land in the best possible place to be. He choose to come here.

That says a lot about his evauluation of the Wizards roster and it's upside. Flip could have waited, there's other jobs opening up. Philly hasn't taken the interim label off of their coach, so he could have possibly walked into a young playoff roster. But he came here.

Flip has developed talent in this league before. He's the one who talked about the young talent on this roster and it's potential. And he choose to come here and coach it.

I'd trust his evaulation of talent a wee bit more then the resident moaner and complainer. He chooses to come here and whine and complain.

Didn't here Flip talking about the need to come in with a broom. Did hear him say that he'll be talking to each player about what he expects them to work on to improve this summer. Sounds like a guy that's been watching and evauluating since last fall.
Watched the 19 win season and then he took the job.

I like some of the young talent on this roster, I especially like the deal to get Crittenton last fall. He needs someone to take a summer to work with his jumpshot, but the kid could be a real find. Im looking forward to watching these young guys under an accomplished NBA coach who wants to be here.

I'd bet on Ernie and Flip's evauluation of NBA talent and their combined track record of NBA success. Don't think I'd go crazy and bet a lot of money that I don't have, and lose a bet that I couldn't afford or anything. But that's just me...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | April 24, 2009 7:28 AM "

Hmmmm...

"wait and go anywhere" or sign on the dotted line for 18 mil over 4 years.

In this economy, you go with the money on the table.

Also, please GM, I'm surprised you get so easily ga ga over boilerplate statements from seasoned basketball people.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 24, 2009 1:50 PM

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