Poll: Play the Blame Game

We got some interesting responses to this question throughout the day. Here is a highly unscientific poll compiling the top answers:

By Alexa Steele |  April 16, 2009; 5:39 PM ET
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Young kids are not developing/maturing fast enough... especially Pecherov, Young, & Blatche.

Posted by: tony325 | April 16, 2009 6:14 PM

"With the expected hiring of Flip Saunders, Jamison also had a great quote while explaining that things will be different for the younger players next season. "I think the coaching staff is really going to have to get them. They've been in a nice bed and breakfast the last couple of seasons," Jamison said."

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And clearly, there is no doubt that the name "MeTawn" fits.

How about playing some defense, acting like a 4, and acting like a captain instead of pretending to be one?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 16, 2009 6:40 PM

This poll doesn't make any sense.

The Zards never had their starting five healthy and on the court together,including their best offensive player, Gil and best defender, Haywood.

How can you say "Aside from injuries..."?

That's like saying Aside from trading Chauncey Billups, what caused the downfall of the Pistons and the rise of the Nuggets?

Or, Aside from trading for Garnett and Ray Allen, what improved the Celtics?

Posted by: bozomoeman | April 16, 2009 6:50 PM

I think Kalorama has the answer. According to Kallie, stats don't matter. It's how the players look.

Given that each game's score is a stat (composed of the players' stats), then we can just ignore the game scores. Given Kallie's logic, we can then pretend that the Wiz really didn't lose 62 games.

Now I'm starting to understand why the color of the uniforms is so important. I think we now know what Kallie does for the organization - and why he/she occasionally masquerades as Irene.

Posted by: Izman | April 16, 2009 7:30 PM

There were not the right pieces/talent once Arenas and Haywood went down, but it was unquestionably the coaching.

Playing small/slow ball hurt. Playing Dixon at PG for the last 3 games cost the team 3 wins. The poor play from the young guys was from ALL of them, which is coaching not talent.

Bottom line, coaching above all else.

People are going to be surprised at how much good coaching and good health will help.

This team will contend for the Eastern Conference next season.

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | April 16, 2009 7:50 PM

Well tony325 if you knew anything about Basketball, it's the coaches job to develop young players. Clearly it was the coaching. Eddie Jordan didn't win a single big game without Gilbert bailing him out, the other big 2 (Butler and Jamison) are B players and can't carry a team or make them better, and finally Eddie Taspscot couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag but Grunfield knew he had to eat this season. And by by the way these so called young players were the 3rd and 4th leading scorers on the team minus the help from both Eddies.

Posted by: 0343 | April 16, 2009 8:09 PM

Too much youth combined with poor leadership and Grunfields decisions just about covers it. Jamsion and Butler like to point out the attitude of the young guys not being up to par, yet you are dancing around in a locker room when you just finished as the worst wizards team in NBA history -- now thats funny!

Posted by: wizfan305 | April 16, 2009 8:11 PM

Quick, both Les BouleS and Clips are tied at #2 with 19-63....who gets more lottery ping pong balls?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 16, 2009 8:31 PM

Same number of ping pong balls (17.75% for first pick each, I believe). Tiebreaker for rank in standings to be determined by drawing (at stake: worst case scenario 6th pick or 7th pick) - not sure when it happens.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | April 16, 2009 8:43 PM

dcman: "And clearly, there is no doubt that the name "MeTawn" fits."

Um, just saying something over and over doesn't make it any more sensible than the first time. It was nonsense then, and remains nonsense.

This ain't the Fox News Channel, y'know.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 16, 2009 8:54 PM

Mental errors in the defensive rotation, an inability to defend the high screen and roll, neglecting to close out on three-point shooters, and failure to find your man and box him out. That's why the loss of Haywood for most of the season hurt so much. It's not just that he's a good post defender and shot blocker. He's a talker out there, and he continually directs the other guys and gets them to do what they're supposed to be doing.

I actually liked some of what we saw from Nick Young on defense over the last few games. He's got the physical attributes and athleticism to be an excellent defender, if he puts his mind to it.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | April 16, 2009 8:55 PM

The Third leading scorer in the league played in 3 games.
The much-maligned center who had a career year in 2007-8 played in five games.
The Starting 2 guard, while no superstar, played the first month only.
Even C.Butler missed 24 games due to injury...

...what is this poll about again?

People are blaming coaching and Jamison? Why? Are you serious?


Yes, the young kids did NOT get it done this year and many of them will seriously need to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are ready to play serious in the grown-man NBA.

But this team had to start or give a TON of minutes to Journeymen and kids. Did we expect them to be THIS Bad? No. But they were not expected to GET THESE MINUTES all year.

This team, Healthy: Put Eddie Jordan as the East All star coach with the best record in the east 2007. Then the injuries started. That's it. It's not complicated.

Any questions?

Posted by: truesense | April 16, 2009 8:57 PM

izman: "{I think Kalorama has the answer. According to Kallie, stats don't matter. It's how the players look.Given that each game's score is a stat (composed of the players' stats), then we can just ignore the game scores. Given Kallie's logic, we can then pretend that the Wiz really didn't lose 62 games."

OK, this is just silliness, and I have to think it's willful. The argument isn't whether stats matter -- it's about the reliance on one particular stat over others (in this case, the PER). After all, a stat is just a term for a quantity derived from a data set. How valid is that quantity? And more importantly, what does it contribute to our understanding of how basketball is played?

Insults aside, it's clear that some here are less impressed with the PER than you are. No fair accusing them of being arrogant know-it-alls when they could legitimately accuse you of the same traits.
After all, you're professing certainty about your viewpoint, and holding up the PER as conclusive evidence.

It isn't. Science provides proof, not certainty. You could be right about McGee, you could be wrong. I don't know, and neither do you.


Posted by: Samson151 | April 16, 2009 9:09 PM


Definitely can't blame the coaches, either Eddie or Tap. Starts and ends with the players.

They lost lots of games in the fourth quarter, including the last one against Toronto. Games like that .. that accounts for about 10 losses this season. I know, even with 10 more wins they aren't making the playoffs. But the point is that they're a better team then 19 and 63.

Lack of closer type of defense in the fourth quarter and a closer attitude among the offensive oriented players.

Posted by: boblas | April 16, 2009 9:10 PM

Well, according to Izman, stats can be made up from whole cloth, extrapolated, and extended into the hypothetical ether based on things that didn't, couldn't and won't ever happen. Using his logic, we can just pretend the Wizards won 82 games by basing their win total on a statistically extrapolated season that last 352 games. Reality too hard to face? No problem. Just take the one or two things that you like, ignore all of the things you don't, and crunch some numbers until you create a numerically perfect Utopia where everything is positive, people are perfect, and there's no such thing as underachieving, shortcomings, or failure. In Izzyville, even the most middling NBA scrub is an All-Star in waiting and the only thing standing between that 12 mpg bench warmer and the promised land is the myopic idiot coach who foolishly judges players by what he observes them doing on the court, rather than on a computer-generated statistical model that doesn't even require them to muss themselves by breaking a sweat. It's perfection in a microchip.

Oh, and this goes without saying, but I'd be remiss other wise . . Izman is an idiot.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 16, 2009 9:13 PM

"Um, just saying something over and over doesn't make it any more sensible than the first time. It was nonsense then, and remains nonsense.

This ain't the Fox News Channel, y'know.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 16, 2009 8:54 PM "

Nonsense.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 16, 2009 9:40 PM

Quote:

"Oh, and this goes without saying, but I'd be remiss other wise . . Izman is an idiot."

A fitting end to the season for me. And, yes, Samsom, there is a kernel of knowledge somewhere out there in the universe.

Here's to an ignore button next year. Cheers>

Posted by: Izman | April 16, 2009 9:43 PM

Sorry Mike and Alexa, I agree the poll is pointless after "Aside from injuries." "Poor coaching" wasn't an issue; the lack of a coach was an issue. Until we know every decision Ernie made or failed to make -- and I seriously believe we learned little in that matter -- "Grunfeld's decisions" is just crowd-bait. "Too much youth" and "poor defense" are gimmes for sure, but they'll still get debated for the next few years. The season's gone. Despite the nonsense some folks post about Abe Pollin, he's still paying the bills, so there will be another in a few months. Let it go; "we" lost; "we" can improve. The game can be fun.

Posted by: dabing | April 16, 2009 9:47 PM

Anybody who wants to see Gilby this weekend...show up here....I know all you suck ups will click this link and will be there cheering:


http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2009/04/13/daily29.html?surround=lfn

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 16, 2009 10:13 PM

I think the question that needs to be answered is what if anything did we do well this year? Jamison going down mid-stride while walking makes you wonder again why he got way too many minutes and was the final blow in a bludgeoning of a season, oh wait crit went down last night, sweet. Here's to hoping that the poet and/or mike james hates money and wants a buyout

Posted by: bford1kb | April 16, 2009 10:13 PM

"Nonsense.Posted by: DC_MAN88"

That's what I said.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 16, 2009 10:21 PM

"That's what I said.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 16, 2009 10:21 PM "

That's what I also said about you.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 16, 2009 10:25 PM

"OK, this is just silliness, and I have to think it's willful. "

See, I don't think it is (willful, that is; it's clearly silliness). I honestly don't think he has any control over it. I'm guessing it's a congenital condition, although it could possibly be the result of environmental factors. In any case, it seems pretty clear that he has no choice in being a massive blatant and not particularly clever hypocrite.

"Here's to an ignore button next year."

Well, at last something we can agree on. I guess this season wasn't such a waste after all.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 16, 2009 11:13 PM

This poll doesn't make any sense.

The Zards never had their starting five healthy and on the court together,including their best offensive player, Gil and best defender, Haywood.

How can you say "Aside from injuries..."?

That's like saying Aside from trading Chauncey Billups, what caused the downfall of the Pistons and the rise of the Nuggets?

Or, Aside from trading for Garnett and Ray Allen, what improved the Celtics?

Posted by: bozomoeman | April 16, 2009 6:50 PM

Right. This is why given the choices, I said to much youth. We didn't have a center ready to start with Haywood out and we didn't have a PG ready to step in without GA or AD. AJ and CB are valuable vets and they fill valuable roster spots but neither is as complete a player as D Wade or Kobe. But even if they were, we still wouldn't get an above average team unless we had a center and pg.

Yeah we need to play better D. We needed a coach who has won in the playoffs so it is easier for the players to follow his lead. But the biggest problem is what you said, the injuries.

Posted by: hands11 | April 17, 2009 3:57 AM

I think we can all agree that based on their respective BERs (Bloviator Effectiveness Ratings), that the coaches should have forced IZMAN to come up with at least one new complaint this year instead of using the same one over and over, and DCMAN should have gone benched until he learns to play perimeter defense.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 17, 2009 4:02 AM

"aside from your leg being cut off, tell us why you can't run fast?"

Posted by: baileyindc | April 17, 2009 7:18 AM

If you can't vote on injuries, there is no blame. Without 3 starting vets, then you had to rely on youth that are still in verious stages of green-ness. None of the youth are ripe enough to operate outside of their roles and replace Gilbert, Brendan, and DeShawn. Nick wasn't ready. Blatche/McGee weren't ready, with McGee not expected to be ready. James was not the answer and Jarvis isn't ready yet. You may be able to get away with 1, but not 2, and definitely not 3.

Posted by: G-Man11 | April 17, 2009 7:57 AM

I think everyone here feels that this team is naturally sub-500 with the level of injury the Wizards sustained this year, but that the record we ended up with was well below that natural level, that the awfulness of this season was not accounted for simply by injury and the makeup of the roster, that there was another factor at play.
That factor was Ed Tapscott, whom I have extremely little sympathy for. The conventional wisdom is that when all else is lost, develop the young guys. Play the vets a little to keep them in the habit of playing, but the less minutes the better so that next season when games matter they will be healthy.
Instead Tap played Butler Jamison and James 40 mpg. Played Songaila 30 mpg. Oh and look Jamisons injured. Butler Songaila and James have also been injured at one point or another throughout the season. The more minutes, the more injury risk. 40 mpg, maximum injury risk.
Now we have Flip Saunders coming in and we still don't know what we have in Nick Young, Javale McGee, Javaris Crittenton, Andray Blatche, and Oleksiy Pecherov. Now they are going to have to try and develop in scarcer minutes in a season since the team will actually be competing for a playoff spot. GREAT!
Ed Tapscott, yes you were a man thrown into a situation where you were over your head. No, I don't feel sorry for you. When you're over your head, you follow the conventional wisdom. You bucked it, and made a fool out of yourself by failing to develop the young players even though you had 50-60 games to do so (yes, it was a foregone conclusion 20-30 games into the season that we were out of the playoff hunt).
I could go on and on, but in the interest of time and not upsetting the rest of the people on this blog by having an absurdly long post, let me sum up my sentiments in three words.
You suck balls!

Any classiness I had at the start of the season has been exhausted over the course of 82 games. Forgive me father, for I have sinned.

Posted by: emmet1 | April 17, 2009 8:24 AM

Everybody scratched the itch that is the burr under their respective saddles? Ah-h-h, that's better.

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 17, 2009 8:26 AM

There are 355 ping pong balls (of the total 1000) for 2nd and 3rd place combined. The Wizards and Clippers each get 177 balls, and then for a reason I haven't figured out, most lists show the Clippers with the extra ball (i.e. 17.8% to the Wiz 17.7%).

Posted by: PatM1 | April 17, 2009 9:31 AM

emmet: "I think everyone here feels that this team is naturally sub-500 with the level of injury the Wizards sustained this year, but that the record we ended up with was well below that natural level, that the awfulness of this season was not accounted for simply by injury and the makeup of the roster, that there was another factor at play."

Just for the record, I don't feel that way.

Well, you asked, right?

Posted by: Samson151 | April 17, 2009 9:55 AM

I voted the coaching. To me the most infuriating thing about this season, is the fact that we played Jamison, Songalia, and Butler waaaaaay too many minutes, and Javale McGee and Blatche not enough. Heck even Pech should have gotten some time. What about Nick Young for that matter.

We all knew once EJ was fired the season was over... but then we hire an interim coach who can't even tank the season properly.

I could stomach the losing if i was seeing the youngsters improving, knowing that we would be that much deeper next year. But instead we didn't even get that. We did get to see JC and Dominic McGuire, but that was only bc we had sooo many injuries Tapscott had no choice but to play them. And surprise surprise THEY GOT BETTER WITH ALL THIER PLAYING TIME.


Posted by: dante232 | April 17, 2009 10:12 AM

"Just for the record, I don't feel that way."

Same here. I think injury and the makeup of the roster (both of which went hand-in-hand) account pretty well for what happened this season.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 17, 2009 10:40 AM

It comes down to management. The GM put the team together. The team did not have the right parts to recover form the injuries.

Then when things started to go bad early in the season, the GM went to the owner to suggest a coaching change...

Remember, this is the same GM to run the Knicks in the 90's (playoffs... YES, advancement in the playoffs... NO)

I say it starts with the GM. Want to fire someone after this bad season ... it starts with the GM (gave Gilbert Kobe money; created a team of 'like parts' [ex: James, Young, Stevenson all shoot first guards; Blatch and Songala, both weak on the block and settle for the jumper to often... I could go on)

'WE NEED A NEW COOK IN THE KITCHEN!'

Posted by: fishin41 | April 17, 2009 11:13 AM

ITS THE COACHING STUPID. ITS THE COACHING. NOTHING MORE NOTHIN LESS.

The guestion is: Why were the Wizards so bad?

Defense, injuries, the GM, youth, are all contributable factors.

The one factor that outweighs them all, by a country mile is inept coaching.

I don't know what forest most of you folks looking at but ya' ain't seeing it for the trees.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 17, 2009 11:12 AM

And one more point about this Defense thing.

I think we can call agree that the Dertroit Bad Boys may be one of the best Defensive Teams in NBA history.

It wasn't because they had the best individual defensive players, it was because the coach and the organization demanded that they play tough Team Defense.

In fact they played it so tough that the NBA changed defensive rules so the Offense could breathe from the tactics they were using.

Now for those of you that don't know it, Adrian Dantley played on those teams and he clashed with Isaiah Thomas on playing Defense this way and this was the bottom line reason why Isaiah had Dantley traded from the Team.

There overall strategy was to guard there man off the ball man so fiercely as to limit any good offensive flow at all. Grabbing, holding, hitting, tripping, any means necessary.

My point is, Defense is a focus instituted by your coach. If your coach dosen't demand and institute a sound philosophy, the players on the floor cannot do it by themselves. It is a coaching responsibility.

Find yourself a truly good coach and defense will be the least of your worries.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 17, 2009 11:28 AM

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 17, 2009 11:35 AM

"aside from your leg being cut off, tell us why you can't run fast?"

Posted by: baileyindc | April 17, 2009 7:18 AM

This pretty much sums it up. Literally the dumbest poll question in human history. There was one reason why this team had 19 wins this year, one. Why try to blame it on something that isn't responsible?

Posted by: Barno1 | April 17, 2009 12:07 PM

"Remember, this is the same GM to run the Knicks in the 90's (playoffs... YES, advancement in the playoffs... NO)"

Since when is making it to four Conference finals and two NBA finals (including one in which the franchise HoF, 50 greatest ever C missed most of the playoffs) in 6 years not considered "advancing in the playoffs"?

Seriously, I'm asking. I really want to know. Since when?

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 17, 2009 12:16 PM

Well, I think the blame for this awful season falls squarely on the shoulders of --- Eddie Jordan, for deserting Ernie and Abe in their time of great need.

Shame on you for resigning, Ed.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 17, 2009 12:21 PM

just injuries..not more complicated than that

Posted by: cedric_lockhart | April 17, 2009 1:16 PM

I do not fault Ed Tapscott's coaching or the GM for this terrible season, except for not finding a way to hang onto Roger Mason. I do fault the organization for paying so MUCH to GA. That will hamper the club for the next few years. IF GA had settled for a little less, we could have held onto to Roger M. Losing two starters for the season and another for a long peroid of time hurt a lot. Remember, these players that we had to could on were not high draft picks. AB and DM were in the 2nd round and JD, NY, and JM were all in the 18th pick area. And JCrit had hardly played for his 2 previous teams, and he was given the point guard's responsibilies. All of these guys showed some potential. NY could be a great 3 point shooter given time to get a good look. JCrit needs a shot, but he can play some defense, hustles all the time, and rebounds well. AB needs to learn to play under better control. And JM, needs some bulk, and keep working on his foul shots and shots in the paint. He does have a good touch. I have always wondered what a different offense ( instead of the Princeton) might affect all of these guys play. Other teams get their players good looks especially behind the 3 point line.

Posted by: bailey5 | April 17, 2009 5:46 PM

Samson, Kalorama, thanks for the replies. I did make a blunder by assuming that everyone shared my opinion.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/wizardsinsider/2009/04/289_man-games_and_counting.html

Above is the link to the Wizards Insider article with the full breakdown of the injuries.

Arenas and Haywood missed the season and Stevenson and Thomas missed most of it. However, the whole rest of the roster was healthy at the same time for 46 games. I think with the right coaching that we should have won 19 games in those 46 games alone. Are we really not a .400 team without Arenas (out all of last year), Haywood, a marginal starter ( Stevenson), and another guy who was out all of last year (Thomas)?

Posted by: emmet1 | April 17, 2009 9:50 PM

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