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From First Pitch to Beyond the First Round?

For Caron Butler, it was just the beginning, the first step of many that he hopes will conclude with him and the Washington Wizards still playing basketball this time next season (as in the second round of the playoffs, at least). He threw a baseball across the plate at Nationals Park on Tuesday, putting behind an embarrassing piece of his past that had been eating at him for two years.


I never played baseball. I need a game with a "k" and a "t." (Reuters Photo)

"I want to be playing basketball now, but it starts with the baby steps. And one of the things I really wanted to do was get back on the baseball field and redeem myself," Butler said yesterday after successfully throwing the ceremonial first pitch, an accomplishment he celebrated with a cap toss most MLB pitchers reserve for a no-hitter or a World Series clincher. "Now the next step is getting in the gym and working hard on my craft and redeeming ourselves from last season."

Before making his redemptive toss, Butler traveled to Las Vegas to watch Manny Pacquiao destroy Ricky Hatton in the second round on Saturday with that powerful left hook. Butler is a serious boxing fan, and while many observers have proclaimed the super lightweight title champ Pacquiao the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, Butler isn't ready to go there. If Floyd Mayweather comes out of retirement to fight Pacquiao, Butler is siding with Mayweather.

"Pacquiao is a monster, but Floyd Mayweather is still the best fighter," Butler said. "Ricky Hatton had a long layoff. He hadn't been fighting fighters of that caliber. Mayweather did a great job because he's a thinker out there. He's a natural boxer, fights smart, and I think he would beat Pacquiao."

Butler said he's been doing light workouts at home since the Wizards' season ended three weeks ago. But he will pick up the intensity next week, when he plans on traveling to Los Angeles to start strength and conditioning drills and hang out with his former teammate Kobe Bryant.

Butler said he flew down to Miami last week to spend time with with another former teammate, Dwyane Wade, and watch Game 3 of the Heat's first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks. He also sent a congratulatory text message to the new league's most valuable player LeBron James, another player Butler said he plans on working out with this summer. "I'm trying to stay in contact with all the people I need to, so I can be ready," Butler said.

Another person Butler has been exchanging text messages with in recent weeks is new Wizards Coach Flip Saunders. Butler said he and Saunders sometimes communicate "at 1, 2 in the morning." On Monday, Butler said he sat down with Saunders, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld and Vice President of Player Personnel Milt Newton for an hour-long discussion about the upcoming season.

"Everybody is on the same page -- we want to get a championship," Butler said. "It's going to be a redemption year for the Wizards organization. I'm just happy to be a part of it. I'm not thinking nothing less than a championship. That's my goal, a championship."

Butler supported Grunfeld's decision to hire Saunders, who has reached the conference finals four times and has seven 50-win seasons. "He's a wonderful coach," Butler said. "He's got a great history. You look at his body of work, what's he's done in Minnesota and obviously what he did with the Detroit Pistons. All of his teams have been to the [conference] finals. All we want is the opportunity to get there and anything is possible."

By Michael Lee  |  May 6, 2009; 10:10 AM ET
 
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Next: Chippy Days Are Here Again

Comments

Championship? Sounds nice, but I'd be happy if they'd just beat the Cavs in a playoff series

Posted by: BillEmm | May 6, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

as a team they have to improve their focus. with the big three, they developed an approach that they each could individually carry the team. butler shot way too much last year, and shot instead of passing quite a few times. We know arenas will get to points of jacking his 20-shots, not to mention jamison's threes. They need to develop a more team and structured offense focus.

Posted by: oknow1 | May 6, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Championship? Sounds nice, but I'd be happy if they'd just beat the Cavs in a playoff series

Posted by: BillEmm | May 6, 2009 10:52 AM

I agree,,,but you would think if they beat the Cavs in the playoffs they would be playing Championship caliber ball.

Posted by: cedric_lockhart | May 6, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Now I know why Michael doesn't post on the weekends, his second job is CB's PR agent?

Tell Caron if he wants to win a championship stay at home and practice his jump shot, ball handling skills and three point shooting. The best chance this team has to make it out of the first round is if CB plays the 2 spot.

That's the problem with the Wizards; I have yet to see any improvement out of any of the players. They all just play "ME BALL" and worry about the box score when they need to be watching the teams that are still in the playoffs and see why they make it past the first round.

Can Obama pass a law that will lock this team up in a hotel together and make them watch the playoffs together and maybe they will learn how to play team basketball?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 6, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Can Obama pass a law that will lock this team up in a hotel together and make them watch the playoffs together and maybe they will learn how to play team basketball?


Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 6, 2009 11:49 AM

And what team in the playoffs are playing team ball? Cause all I see is the same thing every year. Half court basketball with a superstar getting all the calls late.

Posted by: CBell29 | May 6, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Team ball is predicated on having players who want to be team first guys...not sure if Agent Zero is truly committed to being a team player who will sacrifice stats to make the team better. It's apparent that Butler and Jamison are not capable of carrying a team on their own so Wiz fans can only pray for a return to form by Agent Zero, the No. 1 pick, and a year of good health.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 6, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey Caron! I'd like to see less shot-jacking and less one-on-one play from you next year, I hope Flip puts an end to that kind of play from you guys.

Posted by: closg | May 6, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Neither Caron, Stevenson or McGuire are good enough at the 2 to make the team a legit contender.

They will need to trade to get an all-around quality 2 guard.

Posted by: Izman | May 6, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Serious fight fan? Then why did he say Ricky Hatton had a long layoff when he last fought at the end of November. Mayweather has had an even longer layoff and he thinks Mayweather can beat Pacquiao? Sounds like an uninformed fight fan to me.

Posted by: terps011 | May 6, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

CBell29

I like the way Houston has been playing. I think they are a better team without Tracy McGrady! Sometimes there is an addition by subtraction (look at Denver) and it’s a shame because if the Wizards would have let Gil walk I think they too would be a better TEAM.

That’s why these players need to stay in college for 4 years to learn how to play the game the right way. Ask Larry how many great players learned how to play the game under Dean Smith.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 6, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Bulletsfan 78,

If we had let Gil walk we would be a better team? Perhaps you noticed that we managed to win 19 games without Gil this year. In one of the games he did play we blew out the best team in the league in the Cavs. Don't be an idiot.

Posted by: Berghead | May 6, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Wade, Kobe, LeBron...that sounds like star-gazing to me. Are these guys truly his close friends? Is hanging with these guys the best environment to work out and improve? What I'd like to hear is Caron and the other vets are working out with the younger Wiz players--and showing them how it's done in the off season.

Posted by: jweber1 | May 6, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Berghead

In one game? I would say the biggest problem this year was BTH being out. What did this team do last year without Gil and BTH?

A true "idiot" can only see the small picture. Did you take into consideration the cap space he takes up, the first round playoffs losses, his selfish play, and this organization cannot move forward till his contract is up. He is like AI nobody would want to come here and play with this guy knowing they will never touch the ball.

Do you know anything about how the game of basketball is supposed to be played?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 6, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the posted comments, and everyone realizes this...unless and until Arenas becomes a complete player in the sense of Jordan, Duncan, James, Bryant, Wade, etc. the Wizards will NEVER win a championship. I only hope his two year injury layoff made him realize what a selfish player he is. A player that DOES NOT make the other players around him better. Unless he changes, the Wizards would have been better letting him walk. Best example? Look at Iverson (a completely me first player) and he at least got his team to the NBA finals. The great ones realize this is a TEAM game and greatness is measured by championships. It drove Bird, Magic, Jordan and still drives Duncan, Shaq, Wade, Bryant, etc. James would walk on coals to get his first ring. Arenas would walk on coals just to get a laugh. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: skylinesva | May 6, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Berghead

I should have wrote

In 08 the Wizards made it as far in the playoffs without Gil as they did with him?

The difference this year was BTH getting hurt in preseason.

What happens when the Wizards cannot afford to resign BTH next year because of Gil's contract?

When the Wizards win a championship with Gil I will be the first to admit I know nothing about the game of basketball and Gil is the greatest player of all time!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 6, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Sure would be nice if he incorporated some 3 point shooting or driving to the hole into his game. Driving is one thing all of those guys (Bron, Wade, Kobe) excel at that he doesn't even attempt to do.

Sometimes the best D is a good O. By that, I mean we need to start getting opposing players into foul trouble and making them a little more tentative on offense because of it. It's one of the things that makes Gil special Right now, any one of us on this blog could guard Caron because we know he's gonna take a few dribbles back and forth between his legs and then pull up from 18. Hopefully he'll continue to work on his game and come back with some shiny new skills.

Posted by: original_mark | May 6, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

the wiz's success hinges on a knee.

ah thank you

Posted by: BurgwithaU | May 6, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

it's easy to hate on gil when he has played 10 games in the last two years, any analysis of his game is just speculation until we see who he is as a player now

Posted by: bford1kb | May 6, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

bulletsfan78 is the resident moron on this blog. The guy has admitted to not watching most Wizards games and yet comes in here and makes insanely idiotic declarations about the Wizards like he knows everything about the team. He has made very clear time and again he is not a real Wizards fan and yet for some reason has nothing better to do than to come on a Wizards blog and trash the team.

Do us all a favor and go root for the Cavs buddy.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 6, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

caron won't need any new skills he simply will be taking open jumpers instead of double teamed forced jumpers, before gil got hurt caron was a secondary option, flow of the offense guy, then he had to bite off more than he could chew with tap simply telling the team to pass to he and aj and get out of the way

Posted by: bford1kb | May 6, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I should have wrote

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 6, 2009 3:17 PM

"have wrote"? Please tell me English is not your first language.

Posted by: Barno1 | May 6, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Barno1

I should have written (is that better)?

Is this a blog or English 101?

I quit watching the games this year after Abe refused to go over the salary cap when the team was down to 8 players (like last year). It’s called protesting, which, if more people did, this country would not be in the shape it’s in. Let’s see according to you since I don’t drink the kool aid served at the Verizon Center and have my own opinion that means I am not a real Wizard fan? I thought I lived in America where we have freedom of speech? I have a friend who lives in San Diego and can only watch the Wizards when they are on national TV, does that mean he’s not a fan just because he can’t watch the games?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 6, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"I quit watching the games this year after Abe refused to go over the salary cap when the team was down to 8 players (like last year)."

The team is (and has been all season) about $13-14 mill over the salary cap.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 6, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

And they'll be even further over it next season if, as predicted, the cap goes down this summer.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 6, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

bulletsfan78 -- The freedom of speech angle only applies to action the government can take to impede your speech/expression. Another person or business can restrict your speech by not listening to you or telling you to STFU -- there is no violation of your rights.

Anyway, you are mad at the Wiz for not paying the luxury tax for a team that won 19 games? You are mad they did not sign some subpar free agent? I am protesting your complete and utter lack of economic sense. By staying under the luxury tax, the Wizards will bank a few million. In comparison, the Wiz could have signed a terrible free agent, maybe won a game or two more (MAYBE) and instead of banking a few million have to pay a million or so into the luxury tax pool. A net loss of approx -$4M. Brilliant strategy.

Posted by: Chad32 | May 6, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

kalo_rama -- the Wiz were under the luxury tax threshold this year. That is the important number.

Posted by: Chad32 | May 6, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"the Wiz were under the luxury tax threshold this year. "

Yes, I know.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 6, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Bulletfan78,Closg,Izman,Terps011: Layoff my boy CB he played hard this past season it wasn't his fault two of the starting five were injured and the dumb-azz GM didn't get he or AJ any help in the off season and they fired EJ in effect breaking up team continuity he'll be an all star next year and then you bandwagon fans will be right back on the bus.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 6, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Chad32

I'm not mad because of what the Wizards do or don’t do. With all of the problems going on in the world, it's just a stupid game.

I'm mad because it won't stop raining and I want to go out and play golf on a real course and not play in a swap.

If I were out playing I wouldn't be on here posting.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 6, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"Neither Caron, Stevenson or McGuire are good enough at the 2 to make the team a legit contender.They will need to trade to get an all-around quality 2 guard.Posted by: Izman"

Huh? Care to explain that? I'm not following that at all.

Oh wait -- it's probably something to do with their PER, right?

Never mind.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 6, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

THABEET will be ours come june.

Posted by: glawrence007 | May 6, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Boy, there are some on-point comments on here. Whoa! Whoa!

One thing I'd like to address. I understand the dynamics of being a Me First player. And those of you that described what a Me First player means for a Team are correct.

But, I am sure that time will tell PDQ that our boy, our superstar, our GILBERT AREANAS is not a Me First player.

Thats right, he is not a Me First player.

#1) Me first players do not work their asses off to become good/great players. Me first players almost always are very talented from the get go.

What we see in GILBERT ARENAS has been earned through hard work and personal dedication. Those are not the traits of a Me First player.

#2) Never underestimate the importance of coaching when it comes to good players that are very successful and might warrant the Me First tag.

Michael Jordan had to be taught the value of passing the ball in clutch situations to make the Team better instead of always taking the shot himself.

Kolby Bryant to some is still a Me First player, but PJ has also taught him the value of being a Team player.

Dwayne Wade does not have enough confidence in his Teammates to allow them to help him when he is having a bad night.

GILBERT ARENAS has done an outstanding job for this Franchise, but one crucial thing that he has never had with this Franchise is outstanding coaching.

Flip Saunders might not be considered an outstanding coach yet, or maybe he is, but one thing I know for sure is that, GILBERT ARENAS under his tutelage will disspell any question on whether he is a Me First player.

I respectfully beg to differ with you on this one BulletsFan78, but to you and others, GILBERT ARENAS in unfairly tagged as a Me First player.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 6, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Larry,

That is what I respect about you; we can disagree without taking personal shots at each other.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 7, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Larry,

That is what I respect about you; we can disagree without taking personal shots at each other.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 7, 2009 12:05 AM

--------------
And I respect that about both of you. You add A LOT to this blog.

Posted by: dabnjab | May 7, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

I have stated in the past that if I was Gilbert, I would only have passed the ball to Larry Hughes, Jamison, and Butler. Everybody else was below adequate. Inferior to what LeBron has now to pass to. Jared Jeffries, Jarvis Hayes, Michael Ruffin, Etan, Brendan before his dramatic improvement. They could only make wide open layups or dunks.

The Big 3 HAD to carry the offense. You can talk about his defense, true. But that will always be a weakness in Gil's game, just as Antawn.

How soon we forget how truly special Gil was and want to throw him under the bus. You bunch of frontrunners. Don't forget the Chicago series. Don't forget the first Wiz-Cav series where Gil was nearly matching LeBron, until he missed the free throws. The better team did not win that series because of biased refereeing.

That is not to say that Gil will be Agent0 again. His knee might not allow him. But, the supporting cast around the Big 3 is superior and the team will no longer have to be carried offensively by a Big 3.

Stop throwing Gil under the bus. He was Ovechkin to DC before Ovechkin! Don't forget.

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 7, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Pac-Man should beat up Caron Butler next.

Posted by: jercha | May 7, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

G-Man11, That's the point Gil wasn't going to rack up a lot of assists when he was passing to the likes of, Ruffin, Etan, Jump Shotless Jarvis Hayes, Jeffries, ETC.

The dirty little secret about the Wiz and Eddie Jordan's Princeton offense was; the Wiz had a decided lack of offensive firepower. It was a bit of a smoke and mirror thing, they moved the ball around in a motion offense, if they didn't get a layup off a backdoor cut the ball had to get back to Arenas, Hughes, or Jamison.

Or later it was Arenas, Daniels, Butler, and Jamison. I'd agree there is a far better supporting cast surrounding the big three now. Next year, Young, Blatche, and McGuire won't have that inexperienced youngster thing to fall back on. Flip will get the talent out of them and make them better players.

He has a track record of developing NBA players, Jordan doesn't. That will be Eddie's biggest impediment to getting a new job, he has no track record of working with and improving rookies. Most of the teams that have openings are going to be leaning heavily on young talent.

For the guys all up in Arenas face over an inability to improve his game, I'd suggest taking a close look at the two games the guy played this year. He was playing highly efficent Ball and he was apparently still not at 100%.

If he follows the path of other recent Microfractures such as Wade. Next fall is when he can be expected to return to fairly normal health.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 7, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Jordan might have a better track record of developing young players if Grunfeld hadn't waited until his last full season as coach to provide him with some young players worth developing. That being said, both Blatch and Mason improved markedly as players under Jordan's regime. And while I'm sure some would inevitably attempt to argue that they got better despite Jordan, just like the president and the economy, when things get better on his watch, the guy in the office gets the credit.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 7, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Caron butler can not be effective from 2 position, he can not run back for defense or can not stay with smaller and faster 2 gards, we have seen it severl times against Kobe.butler will shine in the 3 position, he can drive the ball and can dish it or take it to the rim. He will be the best rebounder, he need to improve his 3 point shooting as awing man.Yes we need a complete 2 gard like raja bell, rip hamilton, mano,kobe ,micheal redd but we are not in the position to get them, if we end up on the 4th and 5th pick we need to take harden. We will have three players to fight for the starting position on 2(young,stevenson and Harden)If arenas is healhy and play 82 games ,we will be back in our playoff run.Arenas should not be compered with AI, I have never seen Arenas to dribble a ball 360 degree to look for his shoot.He always pass the ball to some body and might demand it after if he think he is open.It was the decision of the coach to make all the plays to go to him since every body was unidiamentinal until we saw how haywood,mason and stevenson can contribute.Arenas might take a little excessive transitional out side shoots but with coaching and maturity we will not see them too much.He is one of the best gards to drive the ball to the rim, he used to be one of the top 3 gards to go to the charity lane and nock them over 85% of the time, please put a little trust on Arenas, his brain work a lot he came from zero to a superstar level performer.He used his cometative behavior and persistance in his work. He is not a gay who will say training?, that is not arenas.The only issue is his health.We are not a good defensive team, every body will improve if the coaching staff start to talk about defense.The formenr coach was talking about defense but it was after he down grade a defense 1st attitude on natinal TV, this does not help since defense need a lot of determination, willingness to perform it and loker room ledership.
By mid season we should use the 14 million to land an impact player.This summer we just need to be vigilant, no need to rush to trade the pick unless we got good players.All the free agents could be a good addition to our team but they are either too expensive or does not need to coast us our 1st round pick.I will make trades if we are able to get Bosh even with 1st pick,rip hamilton with 2nd pick, would keep the 7.3 gay and work on improving the back court.There is no need to trade 1st pick for a player who is not going to do better than jamison at 4 position.We have to look for an impact defenssive player like Raja bell, james posey to trade them with Blache and our second round pick and or the soon expiring contract.

Posted by: gtefferra | May 7, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I can agree with most of what is said here about the wizards. Butler, jamison, have proven they can not carry a team, they give it their all, no doubt about it, but it's just not good enough to take the Wizards to the promised land, lets go back to when Gil was healthy, the best they got was to the second round and that was barely, I would submit that even with Gil the wizards are not a championship team, at least with the old Gil. With a new Gil, a passing the ball Gil and a renewed dedication to team by all the Wizards they may be able to go deep into the playoffs. As they have proven in years past that when they play as a team they can play with anybody. They can not go back to standing around watching Gil try and make plays. They still need better bench play, it's about winning now, not down the road, you may need to move some of the younger players to get veteran help that can help you win now.

Posted by: aviator3 | May 7, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I am on the same page as Caron Butler. The game back with Gilbert against the Cavs, didn't prove much(Sike) but the Cavs only had 16 losses and they were against all the teams that made the playoffs this year and the only team that didn't was the Injured/Rookie Wizards, "the 3rd worst team in the NBA this year". It meant a lot, we saw the team(Gilbert Arenas,Caron Butler,Jamison,Haywood) that had the best record in the NBA 3 seasons a go with Eddie Jordan as Head Coach, on the floor again despite firing Jordan in hopes of getting an experienced winning coach Flip Saunders which we did, great move. In NBA Live this season was basically simulated. We now are in the Lottery and have a chance at landing one of the best Power Forwards Blake Griffin. No matter what this upcoming season the Wizards will be a top 3 team in the Eastern Conference and will advance to the Finals. But until then Im going to watch one of the best Playoffs in history.

Posted by: fam247 | May 7, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Mason is a a case of a player wiffing his first couple of times through the league. He then realized he didn't have "starters talent" and then went off and put in the hard work to make himself a valuable role player.

He's a good example of the kind of guy Jordan had a "coaches crush" on. Ruffin would be another. Jordan will give that kind of guy every opportunity possible, while giving a guy like Young terribly inconsistant minutes and mixed messages.

Jordan gets no credit for Mason's development, that's all from his own hard work and effort. And if you go back to his first year here, a solid effort would be followed by a batch of DNP coach's decision.

Blatche??? The guy that Jordan announced in his second year that he was shutting down for the year in something like Feb. Then when the Wiz had a rash of injuries he had to go back and start the guy. Great job Eddie! Way to instill confidence in a player you might, and then, did need.

Jordan's lack of an ability to work with a highly talented (very)young player like Blatche is one of the reasons I beleive he lost his job. You're right, Blatche has improved every year he's been in the league.

Eddie's inability to find a different approach then he used when Blatche was an 18 yr old clueless rookie is one reason he's history. Eddie is a coach that seems to have to have a whipping boy. That approach is as old as Bobby Knight, and it doesn't work with the High School to NBA guys. You brought up one of the Prime reasons Eddie is on the street

MJ's trade of a future #1 to get Haywood, and the Salary Cap mess the Wiz were in when Grunfeld took the job, did hamstring his ability to bring in young bench talent.

Pecherov's pick was in part because he could be stashed overseas for a year.

But there were guys that were brought in like Pops that have proven they can play in the NBA and Jordan couldn't see any use for them. Other guys like Jarvis Hayes spent critical development time playing out of position. A guard comes back from a major knee surgery and he sees fit to use him at power forward?

But he could find playing time for the likes of Ruffin every game. But of course he played out of position at center most of the time, while Haywood sat.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | May 7, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

All off which simply goes to prove the same point I've always made: ultimately the onus to get better is on the players. If a player isn't willing to work to improve, there's nothing the coach can do to make him better. If he's committed to getting better, he will, regardless of what the coach does.

The idea that Jordan was a failure at developing talent flies in the face of the fairly obvious fact that for most of the time he was here he had very little young talent with any real development potential. He had Young and McGuire for basically only their rookie year. Blatche and Mason did, in fact, get better under his watch (no matter how much spin some might want to put on the reasons why). After that, the cupboard was stripped to the wood bare in terms of young talent. Pech? Ramos? Lang? Hall? Taylor? Please.

The only thing Jordan failed to do was to give the young players an unlimited amount of slack to make mistakes, which is the exact same thing that pretty much every coach of a playoff team would have done.

"But there were guys that were brought in like Pops that have proven they can play in the NBA and Jordan couldn't see any use for them."

What, exactly, has Pops Mensah-Bonsu proven? That he can put up meaningless empty (and not esp. impressive) numbers in limited garbage time on a lottery team or in three games of end of season mopup duty as a late season D-League injury call up? Please. He has yet to prove he can do anything to actually help a team win. So the idea that Jordan somehow missed his obvious value is widely off the mark. And who are these "other guys like" him that Jordan missed on? Most of the "other guys" that Grunfeld brought in (like Ramos, Lang, Hall, and Taylor were out of the NBA once they left the Wiz.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 7, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

L_B_J is the "BEST PLAYER IN NBA" & the Washington WIZs are the Best players on our team, the way you guys help us each year by losing. The WIZs are the T-Macs of the east. Get out of the first round first. Cavs will "SeEk AnD dEsTrOy" the rest of the teams left in the playoffs. We might even invite the City of Washington to our parade after we win the crown from the L.A. Fakers. To add more INSULT, the city of washington has to honour ThE NEWLY CROWN NBA CHAMPS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. THE KING will celebrate in your city WIZ's Fans.(In the words of NELSON from the simpsons....HA HA!!!!)

Posted by: corwin26 | May 9, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Great posts all, although I would love to see less personal attacks and more respect for posts you don't necessarily agree with.

There is one element of "championship" basketball that it doesn't appear the Wizards are paying any attention to: the mental approach. There is no dearth of talent on ANY team in the NBA. However, the greatest "teams" in the NBA are all mentally tough. At this level it is the MENTAL game that separates the good and not-so-good teams from the great teams. Great teams come to work every night. Great teams are committed to winning, not to SportsCenter highlights. Great teams maximize every opportunity, both on offense and on defense.

I am going on record as saying the Wizards have the TALENT to be a championship contender right now. But they will never become a champion until they change their mental approach. They MUST commit themselves to playing the game the right way, which they don't right now. Players must buy into the coach's concept. Coach and players must be on the same page. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

I agree that it would be a very smart thing to watch the great teams during these playoffs, not so much for what they do physically, but for how they approach the adverse challenges that arise during the game from a mental standpoint (for example, when they have to pick up the defensive intensity, how they handle situations that would cause them to "lose it," how they play when they are hit with a 20-2 run that would cause other teams to hang their heads and basically give up).

The NBA has the top basketball players in the world, so every team has the "talent" to be a champion. It is the mental game that separates the men from the boys. The Wizard MUST develop that aspect of the game if they ever hope to advance to anything more than a "perennial playoff team," a "title" which has nothing to do with "champion."

Posted by: bpybay | May 10, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

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