Weekend Mini-Update

Yesterday was a travel day for me since I'll be in Denver covering the Western Conference Finals, but I wanted to give you guys something to hold you over for the long weekend. Steve Yanda, who has been covering the Wizards' workouts the past couple of days, told me last night that former Coach Ed Tapscott will in charge of college and international scouting, as well as player programs.

I told you guys yesterday not to get too alarmed over the JaVale McGee rumor on ESPN.com. I spoke to someone in the know who told me that there was "absolutely nothing at all" to infer from Chad Ford's item that Oklahoma City and the Wizards discussed a swap of the No. 3 pick for the No. 5 pick and McGee. It's understandable that teams would be interested in McGee, with his long arms, highlight reel dunks and oodles of potential. It's also not unusual for teams to make inquiries about the availability of players this time of year. But the Wizards aren't looking to move McGee. They are still high on him, encouraged by his potential and upside, and expect him to blossom into a star with this organization. So you JaVale Junkies can relax - for now.

I'm still in shock over LeBron James's game-winning three-pointer against Orlando last night. That was truly unbelievable, because you could see how the Cavaliers' fans emotions swung so rapidly from despair to delirium -- all on one shot with one second left. Orlando came real close to sending ABC execs into a panic, but James makes a truly amazing (some might say lucky) shot that keeps alive the chances of the dream NBA Finals. But the Magic should feel pretty good that it got a split and Cleveland needed a contested, fallaway, three-pointer at home to win. And, it's not like Orlando hasn't already overcome disheartening, last-second shots against Philadelphia (twice) and Boston already this postseason.

By Michael Lee |  May 23, 2009; 11:53 AM ET
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"James makes a truly amazing (some might say lucky) shot..."
Not an easy shot for anyone but not a lucky shot for LJ.
Lucky was the Mo Williams shot the game before from inside the 3 point line, the Magic's three point line.

Posted by: midlevex | May 23, 2009 1:06 PM

That's a great comment, Michael, because it overlooks the hysteria of the moment in favor of the series view. Now, if Orlando could just begin the games with some energy and savvy so they don't have to catch up from so far behind!

Posted by: joe2chase | May 23, 2009 2:09 PM

lebron was set, not falling away, he went straight up and then leaned back to give himself a couple extra inches, no where near as desperate as orlando should have made a three a attempt, after the game the tnt guys said it best when they knocked rahsard for being soft on the ball, he is 9 inches taller than mo and he should have been able to force a more difficult pass and catch. It was a very tough shot but still it was a very good look for the circumstance.

Posted by: bford1kb | May 23, 2009 2:46 PM

lebron was set, not falling away, he went straight up and then leaned back to give himself a couple extra inches, no where near as desperate as orlando should have made a three a attempt, after the game the tnt guys said it best when they knocked rahsard for being soft on the ball, he is 9 inches taller than mo and he should have been able to force a more difficult pass and catch. It was a very tough shot but still it was a very good look for the circumstance.

Posted by: bford1kb | May 23, 2009 2:46 PM

Rashard Lewis wasn't on the ball. It was Anthony Johnson. TNT analysts were saying that someone taller should've been on the ball, like Lewis.

Posted by: CBell29 | May 23, 2009 6:25 PM

Either way Cleveland looked very much like the team that lost to the Wiz near the end of the season. Seems like Orlando has found weak spots and exploited them. One is obviously the Cavs' sudden inability to hit 3 pointers -- 30$ in the first game, 26% in the second. And that was at home.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 23, 2009 8:16 PM

It was a great shot by a great player but I expect him to miss many more of those than he makes. He's one of the best players if not the best in the game but when it comes to clutch shots, he's no Kobe or Horry. He's not even in Gil's class.

I can't call it luck because he was trying to make the shot but in that situation, there are quite a few player's I'd take over James.

Posted by: original_mark | May 23, 2009 9:12 PM

"Either way Cleveland looked very much like the team that lost to the Wiz near the end of the season. Seems like Orlando has found weak spots and exploited them. One is obviously the Cavs' sudden inability to hit 3 pointers -- 30$ in the first game, 26% in the second. And that was at home.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 23, 2009 8:16 PM "

I wouldn't worry too much.

Mo Will averaged almost 44% during the season.

Del West at 40%.

Sash P. at 41%

Wally World at 41%.

In contrast, the best 3 pt. shooter for Les BouleS last season was Mike James at 37.5%. DMac shot 50%, but with only 4 attempts.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 23, 2009 9:13 PM

You don't want to use the Wiz as a role model for 3 point success.

But Cleveland looks to have shot a very respectable .393 for the season, and dropped to .333 in the playoffs. I guess they were winning by such margins that it didn't seem all that important.

Obviously it was.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 23, 2009 9:19 PM

"You don't want to use the Wiz as a role model for 3 point success.

But Cleveland looks to have shot a very respectable .393 for the season, and dropped to .333 in the playoffs. I guess they were winning by such margins that it didn't seem all that important.

Obviously it was.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 23, 2009 9:19 PM "

I guess, despite some people's perspective on this blog (PG Larry), that defense is actually ramped up during the playoffs.

Having the defensive player of the year man the paint allows the rest of the team to man up on the opponent's long bombers.

Must be nice.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 23, 2009 9:55 PM

Count me as one of the ones who call the shot lucky.

Not because I actually believe it was. i just enjoy the petty begrudging of lebron's success...

Posted by: crs-one | May 23, 2009 10:39 PM

"Having the defensive player of the year man the paint allows the rest of the team to man up on the opponent's long bombers."

Except the problems seemed to have started early in the Detroit series, and continued against Atlanta. Just in those four Hawks games, for instance, they ranged from as high as 55% all the way down to 16%. The consistency that marked their regular season 3 point shooting seemed to have disappeared.

And being at home didn't appear to make a huge difference, as it had all season.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 23, 2009 10:46 PM

"Except the problems seemed to have started early in the Detroit series, and continued against Atlanta. Just in those four Hawks games, for instance, they ranged from as high as 55% all the way down to 16%. The consistency that marked their regular season 3 point shooting seemed to have disappeared.

And being at home didn't appear to make a huge difference, as it had all season.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 23, 2009 10:46 PM "

It's easy to see that the 3 pt. shooting didn't matter as both Detroit and Atlanta got swept in games that weren't even close.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 23, 2009 10:56 PM

It was a great shot and a lucky shot. I love what Pietrus has done against Lebron this series - would have liked to see him get the cover on the last play. Wiz need one of those. McGuire? Or you guys think we need to try to bring somebody in?

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | May 24, 2009 12:11 AM

When you're blowing teams out the way the Cavs were against the Pistons and the Hawks, the fans don't notice things like a six percentage point drop in your 3 point shooting. But it looks to me like more than any single factor, that's what has bedeviled Cleveland in these first two games against Orlando.

The Madge, who shot around 36% from outside during the season, hit 45% and 43.5% in the first two contests in Cleveland.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 24, 2009 7:16 AM

"Mikeal Pietrus... Wiz need one of those. McGuire? Or you guys think we need to try to bring somebody in?Posted by: GshawnJohnson"

He's been effective. A couple inches shorter than McGuire but older and stronger, which helps when you're dealing with James. They're similar players, though Pietrus is adding 10-13 points to the box score in this series.

The first game was all Dwight Howard, but did you notice Turkoglu had 14 assists? In the second game Hedo was down to 4, along with the PG and Howard.

I thought it was confusing when Magic Johnson made that comment to Wilbon about who the Washington PG would be. Since the Bird and Jordan teams, there've been plenty of examples of teams operating without a traditional PG. Hedo plays that role for Orlando since Nelson went out, and it's a key to their success.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 24, 2009 7:30 AM

Yes, I agree, that was sort of a dubious comment. Not sure why Wilbon believes so strongly that the best players have the smartest analysis. So many examples where that hasn't been the case.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | May 24, 2009 11:27 AM

I think Gilbert would say it was not a lucky shot.

I was told that when Kolby accused Gilbert of being lucky when Gilbert torched the Lakers in LA some years back that Gilbert's response was that if you do it in practice it ain't lucky when you do it in the Game.

I did not know that Gilbert had said that, but, it was also said that Lebron hearing of that actually took note of it and started to elevate his shot making repertoire in practice.

So that game winning shot was probably a result of what great players do in gametime and practice.

However, isn't it ironic that Lebron has taken insight to improve his game from something Gilbert said and does.

I've said it before and only Time can be the Truth Teller. Gilbert Arenas is a NBA Superstar.

Get ready Wizard Fans, Championship participation is closer than we might think.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 24, 2009 12:11 PM

"However, isn't it ironic that Lebron has taken insight to improve his game from something Gilbert said and does.

I've said it before and only Time can be the Truth Teller. Gilbert Arenas is a NBA Superstar.

Get ready Wizard Fans, Championship participation is closer than we might think.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 24, 2009 12:11 PM "

Larry, the crack must be freshly cut in PG today.

Get real, my brotha.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 24, 2009 12:30 PM

"I guess, despite some people's perspective on this blog (PG Larry), that defense is actually ramped up during the playoffs.

Having the defensive player of the year man the paint allows the rest of the team to man up on the opponent's long bombers."

Everything gets ramped up in the playoffs. The playoffs really measures whether what you thought were your strong points really are.

I picked Orlando to beat Cleveland, because they match up better and are better defensively. That being said, Offense still has to be superior.

For as the Iceman George Gervin says, Good Offense beats Good Defense Anyday.

Game two was a prime example of Orlando's Offense not really being good, but there Defense holding up. If Orlando's Offense was better, Cleveland would have much less of a chance.

A game thrilling Offensive shot at the end of the Game won it for Cleveland. Dwight Howard only had two Offensive touches in the whole 4th Quarter. It's good that he Rebounds, Blocks shots, and Controlls the point, but if Orlando was a bit more prolific Offensively, Cleveland would be down on the mat 0-2.

All that being said Orlando still wins the series.

Defense is good, but if your Offense fails you, it negates your good Defense. Ask DWIGHT HOWARD.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 24, 2009 12:39 PM

Lakers, Nuggets, Caveliers, and the Majic are four Teams playing great playoff ball.

At this point, there is not a clearcut favorite, for all 4 get as much support as any other.

I daresay that this will be characteristic and the rule of playoffs to come. Although, the Lakers have tradition, they are all looking to prove themselves. Kolby is still trying to win one without SHAQ.

Should Denver and Orlando prevail, it will be a tremendous shot across the bow for other Teams not steeped in Championship Lure' to prove themselves as Champions as well.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 24, 2009 1:06 PM

Here's an idea. Instead of covering LeBron one-on-one and letting him catch the inbounds pass and face up for an open look, how about double-teaming him and forcing him to run away from the 3-point line to catch the ball? I think Orlando really blew the game.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | May 24, 2009 2:44 PM

Should Denver and Orlando prevail, it will be a tremendous shot across the bow for other Teams not steeped in Championship Lure' to prove themselves as Champions as well.

LarryInClintonMD

Larry, this is basketball not the Cuban missile crisis.

What do you think, will EG pull the trigger on a deal and get Ty Lawson with a later draft pick?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 24, 2009 6:50 PM

Here's what the Wizards should do with their 1st round pick:

1st option. Find a way to move up to draft Thabeet from UConn. UConn is an NBA all-star factory (Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Caron Butler, Emeka Okafor, etc.)
2nd option. Find a way to move down to draft Dejuan Blair, 6'9 PF from Pitt. He looks like a Barkley prototype which is exactly what the Wizards need and he played in the toughest conference in the NCAA last year and held his own, leading Pitt to a high national ranking. In the process, they can unload one of their hefty contracts (Thomas, Pecherov, Blatche) and possibly pick up a back-up center for Haywood. Adding Blair and a backup center in exchange for the #5 and one of their expendable players will help them a lot going into next season.

Posted by: yoseltzer | May 24, 2009 7:47 PM

yoseltzer: "Find a way to move down to draft Dejuan Blair, 6'9 PF from Pitt. He looks like a Barkley prototype which is exactly what the Wizards need and he played in the toughest conference in the NCAA last year and held his own..."

Barkley was about 6'4" and a half and once he shed some weight, very much a small forward in terms of quickness and jumping ability. Blair's a skilled college player who's closer to 6'7" than 6'9" and weighs in at 280+. He anchors low and uses his long arms to fight for rebounds. He was very effective against Thabeet because Hasheem has no offensive game.

I suspect Blair will perform in the pros in the manner of, say, Udonis Haslem, not Charles Barkley.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 24, 2009 8:27 PM

"For as the Iceman George Gervin says, Good Offense beats Good Defense Anyday.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 24, 2009 12:39 PM "

And how many rings did Iceman win, Maverick?

Hint: You can count them with no hands.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 24, 2009 9:19 PM

Blair has more... something than an Udonis Haslem. He lacks Barkley's deftness and all around skills, but he's tougher than Haslem, will be more polished offensively and has a vaguely Rodman-like nose for the ball. He's always 'there', in the middle of the action, and is an exceptional offensive rebounder... a huge asset for a jump shooting-reliant team such as ours. I'd have no problem trading down to get him, provided we can dump a contract and/or somehow move up from the early second into the late first round. This draft seems to have three obvious players at the top, with the next eight or so players being of relative equal value. After that, it is a crap shoot from pick 12 to the end of round one. Moving up into the late first could yield a Patrick Mills or Wayne Ellington, even perhaps Hansborough. I wouldn't be surprised if what we do with our high second ends up having more impact on our team than who we get at number five. This draft is weak in terms of immediate stars, but deep through the beginning of round two in solid prospects. Our 32nd pick certainly has trade value to young teams such as Oklahoma, which is building a young core, and may be enough in itself, along with our five, to nudge us up a couple spots for one of the top three picks.

Posted by: SammyT1 | May 24, 2009 10:10 PM

And how many rings did Iceman win, Maverick?

Hint: You can count them with no hands.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 24, 2009 9:19 PM

Oh, you don't say Ole' Chap', but the Iceman never had any support atall. Especially defense.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 25, 2009 1:18 AM

sammyt1: "This draft seems to have three obvious players at the top..."

Interesting thoughts. I keep hearing Thabeet drops, possibly all the way to six or seven. Okla City supposedly plans to go with Nenad Krstic, Nick Collison, and Robert Swift at center... surprise me if he drops that far, but it's possible.

"with the next eight or so players being of relative equal value. After that, it is a crap shoot from pick 12 to the end of round one."

I'm trying to think of a recent draft when that hasn't been the case. History suggests that one or two of those first rounders will turn out to be potential All-Stars, but we can't tell which ones.

"Moving up into the late first could yield a Patrick Mills or Wayne Ellington, even perhaps Hansborough."

I wonder if Mills and Ellington won't go before Tyler.

"Our 32nd pick certainly has trade value to young teams such as Oklahoma, which is building a young core, and may be enough in itself, along with our five, to nudge us up a couple spots for one of the top three picks."

Boy, I do not see that. I could see the 32nd being a throw-in. A team like OKC is already young and doesn't need to get younger.

Nobody would trade the 3 for the 5 and the 32nd alone.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 25, 2009 8:22 AM

What do you all think about this, and do you think it's possible??


Wizards trade with Suns:

#5 pick with Etan, James, Blatche for Amare.

Suns get 5th pick which could possibly be Rubio, or local stars Hardin or Hill. Blatche a young PF with skills that fit their style. Etan and James are big salary dump expiring contracts.


Wizards trade with Warriors:

Stevenson, Songaila, Pecherov, 2nd round pick for Crawford.

GS wants to move Crawford... he gives Wizards vet SG alongside Gil.


New roster:

Center:
Haywood, McGee

Forwards:
Stoudamire, Jamison, McGuire, Butler

Guards:
Young, Crawford, Crittenton, Arenas


That's a solid top ten, and roster can be filled out bringing in PF Veremeenko, maybe bring back Dixon. We'd still have our midlevel to sign a FA like a Matt Barnes type, or bring in some young FA to battle for a spot or 2 in training camp.

Posted by: Darnell1 | May 25, 2009 11:11 AM

"Oh, you don't say Ole' Chap', but the Iceman never had any support atall. Especially defense.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 25, 2009 1:18 AM "

The point you missed was that your mention of the Iceman flapping his gums about offense over defense means nothing.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 25, 2009 11:30 AM

Larry, this is basketball not the Cuban missile crisis.

What do you think, will EG pull the trigger on a deal and get Ty Lawson with a later draft pick?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | May 24, 2009 6:50 PM

78, The CMC, thats too much history.

Anyhow, I'm really at a quandry as to whether EG believes he can go for a championship now and also set the Team up for the future.

I believe he can do both by crafting a deal that makes use of his expiring contracts to free a spot for the 2nd pick along with the first. If he trades down, then Ty might be an option, buts thats if they decide to play Gill at the two.

You see I still believe that JCrit is going to push himself to major minutes on this Team allowing Gil to play the 2.

Also, if they are deciding on trading up for Thabeet, then Lawson will be off the board for them to get in the 2nd round.

Bottom line is, as I have suggested, Ernie Grunfield has to come up with his best Red Auerbach imitation to make this draft work for both there 1st and 2nd round picks.

And speaking of the Cuban Missile Crisis, some hard balling serious negotiations is gonna' hafta' ta' be goins' on.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | May 25, 2009 11:52 AM

McGee and #5 for Rubio is a no-brainer. Rubio, by all accounts, is likely to be one of the top PGs in the league between 2011 and 2023. Harden is a below-average athlete at a position loaded with athletes. McGee is thin as a rail, and is a liability on both offense and defense. Yes, he has potential. So did Blatche a couple years ago. Rubio has superstar potential though, a rarified court vision that only comes along once every few years (Magic, Kidd, Lebron).

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