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Saunders Back in the Saddle

Flip Saunders will not coach the Wizards summer league team in Las Vegas, but he has been running practice and working hard to implement his new system throughout mini-camp. To understand how seriously Saunders takes every step of the process of changing the fortunes of this franchise, all you need to know is that he has created a mini-playbook for his players this week.

Now, it's not as thick as the textbook-thick playbook that he has been known to haul around, but still. This is summer league -- a series of exhibitions when many players are either trying to establish their niche or prove that they belong in the NBA.

"It's something probably not a lot of people have done before," Saunders said, chuckling.

Saunders had been out of the game for a full season after the Detroit Pistons relieved him of his duties last summer. The Pistons are now on their second coach since Saunders left, with Joe Dumars replacing Michael Curry with former George Washington coach and Cleveland assistant John Kuester last week. The Pistons went from the Eastern Conference finals to a first round exit without Saunders.

His former team, Minnesota, has gone from perennial playoff team to perennially spending May in Secaucus, N.J. since Saunders left in 2005. Saunders was asked if he had more confidence in his system watching those programs go south without him.

"As a coach, I knew what I got out of guys was as much as I could get out of them at the time," Saunders said. "There is always a window of opportunity for teams, as far as where you're at, and sometimes that window can change depending on what happens with other teams in the league. For us, unfortunately in Detroit, we got two teams that got on unbelievable rolls in Miami and Boston and they ended up winning championships. It's not like we got beat by bad teams.

"I think what happened in the past, as far as when I leave, I been in two situations and both situations haven't been real good whether it's because I left or a combination of things, who knows? I don't think it has anything to do with what's going to happen here," Saunders said.

Saunders has been working with players individually at Verizon Center all summer and said he felt a rush leading this summer league roster over the weekend. "I think if you consider yourself a teacher and coach, when you step on the floor, no matter whether I'm talking to 12-year-old kids at a basketball camp or with 23-, 24-, 25-year old men that are trying to get in the NBA, you get into it with enthusiasm because you enjoy doing it," Saunders said.

By Michael Lee  |  July 13, 2009; 10:15 AM ET
 
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Comments

Samson151 ,

Understood, drug history may affect Birdman's contract. But I think it is the other more direct factor, the fact that he is playing as a backup and not as a starter is the main reason why he's not getting the starter level salary. (After all, this is a salary cap era, a team cannot afford to shell out that many big contracts.)

My point is this, I would be happy to see McGee patterns after Birdman, and provides energy off the bench next season. But if McGee wants to be a starter someday, patterning after Birdman is not enough. Birdman is a backup; to be a starter, you need to be bigger and stronger.

Posted by: sagaliba | July 13, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The Wiz are shopping the bargain basement for a big man. 2 million doesn't get you much. They may as well save their money if they plan to get any of the players that have been mentioned. For a million more than that and a million more in luxury tax, Drew Gooden may be available. If the Wiz are unwilling to spend an extra 2 million dollars, they really don't want to win. We will take that into consideration when injuries and fouls occur and they are trying to explain their bad luck. Injuries occur and the preparation to counteract that is to have good players in reserve. Those players are not in the bargain basement.

Posted by: JoeC2 | July 13, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"My point is this, I would be happy to see McGee patterns after Birdman, and provides energy off the bench next season. But if McGee wants to be a starter someday, patterning after Birdman is not enough. Birdman is a backup; to be a starter, you need to be bigger and stronger.Posted by: sagaliba"

Here's my point: No NBA team would hitch its wagon to Anderson without second thoughts. That's because of his history, not his talent.

It's a business. You can't afford too many risks. We all root for Anderson while realizing he could flame out again. Nene is more predictable.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 13, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

IMO, Flip's comments reflect the coaches' dilemma: he gets too much credit when the team wins, and too much blame when it loses. Miami and Boston were indeed hot clubs when they beat Detroit, but I imagine the fans were demanding to know how come the Pistons weren't hot, too? And deciding it was the coach's fault, because he's the leader, and the leader's job is to inspire his players, yadda, yadda... ultimately, it's a no-win situation for most coaches. The Phil Jacksons being the exception.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 13, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"Stunningly, I found myself agreeing with DCMan's earlier comments about "it's all talk.""

Of course it's all talk until it's put into action. But the fact that both McGee and Saunders are talking about the same things is a sign that the coach and player are on the same page, which is a good place to start.""""

It's all talk is a nice line, but essentially, it is not really accurate.

It would be more appropriate to say:

The Wizards right now are an immensely better Team.

To say that it is just talk, does not really recognize, the coaching change/changes, the attitudes and off season preparation by the players and the return of health.

Oh no, it is quite a bit more than just all talk.

There is quite a bit of substance and positiveness realized with this Team.

Its All Talk, HUMMM', I see a lot going on than just Talk.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | July 13, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Yes Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, there is more that Just Talk Goin's on's Round's here.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | July 13, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"As a coach, I knew what I got out of guys was as much as I could get out of them at the time," Saunders said. "There is always a window of opportunity for teams, as far as where you're at, and sometimes that window can change depending on what happens with other teams in the league."

This has been my view of his tenure in Detroit all along. The people who make the claim that he failed as a coach because the Pistons did not win a title with him at the helm fail to see the differences between the team that won in '03-04 and the one he took over in '05-06. Quite simply, the team he took over was older, not as deep and, quite frankly, had gotten fat, happy, and full of themselves. They didn't win the title on talent alone, they won it on talent and attitude and hunger. But after they won they lost the last two elements. They thought all they had to do to win was show up, and it cost them.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Coaches win because they have better players than the other team. Phil Jackson would not have many more than 19 last year coaching the Wizzies. Eddie Tap would have gotten the Lakers to the West finals last year and maybe the championship.
Flip's a good coach but how many points/game do coaches score?
Most losing coaches mantra is "I coached good they played bad".

Posted by: VBFan | July 13, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The Wiz have 4 NBA roster players playing in this summer league. Given that the future is uncertain for each of them and the team's success is dependent on their improvement, I would hope they and the coaches take these games seriously.

In other words, Flip's approach is on point.

The writer's should also take this team seriously and ditch all of the old cliches about the Wizards.

New team, new coach, new season.

Posted by: Izman | July 13, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: VBFan | July 13, 2009 11:45 AM
'scuse me, did u say taps coulda coached the lakers to the title last year?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | July 13, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

how long til blair's knees give out guys? he looks good in these "meaningless" summer games.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | July 13, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"But if McGee wants to be a starter someday, patterning after Birdman is not enough. Birdman is a backup; to be a starter, you need to be bigger and stronger."

Andersen is a backup in Denver because they have another big man who has a different skillset that better fits their starting lineup. There is nothing that says, unilaterally, that he's not good enough to be a starter because he's not a big banging bruiser. He could and would be a starter on a number of NBA teams.

And, by extension, there's no logical reason to suggest that McGee, if he maximizes the potential of his natural physical talent (which is significantly higher than Andersen's), couldn't also be a productive NBA starter. There are a number of starting big men who rely more on athleticism and quickness than brute strength, and a number of physical bangers coming off the bench. There's no rule that says one style makes you a starter and the other makes you a backup.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Marcus Camby, who many here seem to covet, has been a starter in the NBA for more than a decade. I'm pretty sure the words "bigger" and "stronger" don't show up much in discussion of his strengths as a player.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Saunders sounds like he knows what he talking about far better than Tapscott ever did.

Posted by: charley42 | July 13, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse


More two word combos:
Sean May
Oliver Miller
Michael Sweetney

yet more:

first rounders
9th pick
13th pick
22nd pick
guaranteed money

All of those guys were higher risk because they were drafted in the first round. Blair wasnt.

Posted by: original_mark | July 13, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I can't say it was Saunders fault that Detroit did not win again either.

But you sit back and you armchair analyze and two things jump out at me other than the obvious thing that Kal points out.

1) Ben Wallace was integral to the success of the Detroit team when they won the Championship. Somehow, under Saunders Wallace's role was not as important.

2) When they acquired Chris Webber, Chris Webber's role was subordinated for the play of Antonio McDyess. I remember sitting back and watching Webber being subbed for McDyess when it was clear that with Webber on the floor the Pistons appeared to be better. I think the thinking was that with McDyess's overall atheletic ability that he was a better fit with the game on the line in the 4th Q and the playoffs. It did not work. Webber was better, even with his limited abilities.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | July 13, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Michael can you talk about what Flip Saunders system is. Does it feature a point guard to truly run the offense vs. the Princeton "we don't have a true point guard" anarchy?

Posted by: junkmail0153 | July 13, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

uh, i fully expect mcgee to be pushing haywood for minutes by the end of next year. I will be disappointed if Mcgee ends up no better than Birdman, that is way too low a ceiling for a kid with such obvious physical talent and the apparent desire to maximize.

It took Haywood YEARS to finally start playing with authority and a little dog. Mcgee has that already, and he will naturally fill out as he ages.

We should all have very high hopes for javale, at some point our draft picks need to pan out for this team to move forward

Posted by: divi3 | July 13, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Coaches win because they have better players than the other team. Phil Jackson would not have many more than 19 last year coaching the Wizzies. Eddie Tap would have gotten the Lakers to the West finals last year and maybe the championship.
Flip's a good coach but how many points/game do coaches score?
Most losing coaches mantra is "I coached good they played bad".


Posted by: VBFan | July 13, 2009 11:45 AM

VBFAN, I know you don't mean that. You haven't had your wheaties and your coffee yet have you. Essentially, you are saying that coaching means little to the success of a Team. I BEG TO DIFFER.

Coaching means everything to the success of a Team even with bad and good players. Eddie Tap would have never been hired by the Lakers as a coach and Phil Jackson may not have considered this Wizard Team last year, but I assure you as coach this Team hits around 500 ball with Jackson as coach. The first time Taps would have come up with some of the manuevers he tried last year, Kobe would have fired him.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | July 13, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Larry I know you're optimistic and all...but I don't see the Wizards as a .500 team last season. Not even with Jesus Christ himself coaching.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse


not even as a player-coach.

Posted by: djnnnou | July 13, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"All of those guys were higher risk because they were drafted in the first round. Blair wasnt."

So? Just because a risk is low doesn't automatically mean it's a risk worth taking. The Wizards already have a quota of "big" men who are undersized or play like they are. They have no particular need of another. They have two primary needs in a big man: the ability to defend other legit bigs and (more importantly, I think) the ability to score in the post. Blair does neither.

Even if he turns out to be the rebounding machine you dream of . . . so what? Remember Danny Fortson? A very similar player, about the same size, who was a solid rebounder despite his height disadvantage. He was also a defensive sieve who gave up way more points because of his inability to defend any position than his rebounds came close to making up for, and a liability on offense whose presence on the floor was an open invitation for the opponent to double team someone else who was actually an offensive threat, which is part of the reason why he spent the majority of his career playing on lousy teams.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

vbfan: "Coaches win because they have better players than the other team."

I might modify that to read, 'coaches win because they have a better team than their opponents.' It's not just the talent, unfortunately.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 13, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Danny Fortson averaged 9 rpg in his final year in college. He was not tied for 2nd as the College Basketball POY. He DID average 8 points and 7 rebounds in 20 mpg as a pro.
Blair avgd 12 rpg in college. Big difference.

Also, Fortson was a #10 pick. The definition of 'Draft' may as well be 'risk'. The whole point of all pro drafts is to choose the player with the least risk of being a bust. A low risk player is EXACTLY the type of player to take, IMO.

Posted by: original_mark | July 13, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Even if he turns out to be the rebounding machine you dream of . . . so what? Remember Danny Fortson? A very similar player, about the same size, who was a solid rebounder despite his height disadvantage. He was also a defensive sieve who gave up way more points because of his inability to defend any position than his rebounds came close to making up for, and a liability on offense whose presence on the floor was an open invitation for the opponent to double team someone else who was actually an offensive threat, which is part of the reason why he spent the majority of his career playing on lousy teams.

Couldn't say it better myself. He's what 6'5? 6'6''? Are you serious?!! With two bad knees? Unless he has a 52 inch vertical he may have problems. No matter how well he used his body in college.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The writer's should also take this team seriously and ditch all of the old cliches about the Wizards.

New team, new coach, new season.

Posted by: Izman | July 13, 2009 11:45 AM


I beg to differ on the "new team" point. IMO, this team has not fundamentally changed since 2004.

I have yet to hear one single cogent legitimate reason as to why we should expect this team to get past the 2nd round.

...by the way stuff like - "Mike Miller can shoot!" and "Foye is a great backup in case Arenas can't go!" and "Ernie did the best he could with the #5!" are not reasons to expect us to advance in the playoffs.

Posted by: p1funk | July 13, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Even though he wouldve been a decent low-risk 2nd round pick. I trust Ernie. He really didnt fit what we needed.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Even if he turns out to be the rebounding machine you dream of . . . so what?

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 12:34 PM


Ummm, yeah...who needs a rebounding machine on their team at the price tage of $175K??

Posted by: p1funk | July 13, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

LarryInClintonMD,
I enjoy reading your comments because most of the time, you are on point and make plenty of sense.
Watch out Michael Lee!

Anyway, I really do look to see major improvement with this Wizards team (Version 1.0)under Flip.
No matter what people say about Gil, he HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE!
You know what you are going to get from Jamison. Butler must stay healthy and when he is, you know what he is going to give you. BTH, is going to continue to bring it now that he is "The Man In the Middle".
The 2 guard position will be a suprise to us all just because of the players available to play that spot.
I am not asking for Flip to make this team into the T-Wolves from Garnett days or Pistons of a few years ago. I am looking for this team to realize that they have a real coach that can coach and will coach them to the promised land only if they play up to their potential.
There is not any pressure on the Wiz to make the Finals. The pressure is on teams like Cleveland, Boston and Orlando.

One thing I will say, front office will sometime soon, have to pay $$ to get players that will fit into where the Wiz want to go.

Watch for improved play from D-McGuire and J-Critt. Nick Young must mature as a player on both ends before he can get to that next level of play. McGee, will not disappoint!

Posted by: Doobie_Sparks | July 13, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"The whole point of all pro drafts is to choose the player with the least risk of being a bust. A low risk player is EXACTLY the type of player to take, IMO.Posted by: original_mark"

Isn't it also to choose the player with the best chance to become truly excellent? I thought you were balancing risk and reward, trying to tip toward reward. Blair went in the second round, for instance, because that's where one team felt the potential reward outweighed the risk.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 13, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Even though he wouldve been a decent low-risk 2nd round pick. I trust Ernie. He really didnt fit what we needed.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 1:07 PM


What Ernie "needed" was to not spend any $$, b/c he's got all the money tied up on a half-dozen guards and small forwards.

THe scrubby F/C that we end up scraping off the bottom of the FA barrel for a mill bucks is also not going to fit what we "need".

Posted by: p1funk | July 13, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

'Marcus Camby, who many here seem to covet, has been a starter in the NBA for more than a decade. I'm pretty sure the words "bigger" and "stronger" don't show up much in discussion of his strengths as a player."

Yes, but his history of injuries also has been attributed to the fact that he is not "bigger" and "stronger."

P.S. Birdman averaged 6 points and 6 rebounds in 21 minutes last season (as one of his best seasons). Given the fact that you consider Haywood to be just a time-shared starting center, I am surprised to hear that you consider Birdman as a "staring center."


Posted by: sagaliba | July 13, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

pt1: "I have yet to hear one single cogent legitimate reason as to why we should expect this team to get past the 2nd round.
...by the way stuff like - "Mike Miller can shoot!" and "Foye is a great backup in case Arenas can't go!" and "Ernie did the best he could with the #5!" are not reasons to expect us to advance in the playoffs"

True enough, but there are only a few teams you can say with confidence will make it beyond the second round. Partly because there's been so much significant veteran player movement in the off-season. Partly because so few teams project as significantly helped by the recent draft.

If you're not discussing one of those sure contenders, then the reliability of predictions falls off a cliff.

Could the Wiz make the second round? Yes. They've got most of the pieces. Could they miss the playoffs altogether? Again, yes. They've got some holes. I won't point them out, because so many here already have, and repeatedly.

I guess IMO what difference does it make what we think will happen 82 games in the future? Unless we're placing a bet, I mean. We'll all get to see how it turns out.


Posted by: Samson151 | July 13, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

sounds like Al Saunders

Posted by: merajc86 | July 13, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

What Ernie "needed" was to not spend any $$, b/c he's got all the money tied up on a half-dozen guards and small forwards.

The scrubby F/C that we end up scraping off the bottom of the FA barrel for a mill bucks is also not going to fit what we "need".


You don't know what he's going to do. If we get Gooden. I think we would all agree he's better than Blair. You don't know what Blair is going to do more than you know what Josh Heyvelt, Blake Griffin, Rubio, Harold Miner, or Donyell Marshall would have done. James still has an expiring contract and we have too many guards. Something is going to change. You act like the Wizards have a damn game tomorrow. Relax and wait until you see the final roster.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

LarryInClintonMD
Near 500 with Phil?????
Sounds like your breakfast was lacking. You need a Grand Slam to get your brain working. Do you think that Mike Brown is COY without LeBron?
I'm not saying that coaches don't make a difference but if they don't have the horses then they ain't gonna win much. Their biggest challenge is to get the players to buy into the coaches philosophy and play as a team.

Posted by: VBFan | July 13, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, but his history of injuries also has been attributed to the fact that he is not "bigger" and "stronger.""

That may or may not be accurate (lots of guys who are bigger and stronger also have injury issues and some guys who aren't, don't. There's no inherent, automatic correlation between the two) but it's not really the point. You said McGee needed to be "bigger and stronger" in order to be a consistent starter. Camby has been a consistent starter (and DPOY) without being "bigger and stronger).

Moreover, your entire line of reasoning ignores one of the main points of the article. Namely, McGee is bigger and stronger than he was last season. It says he's put on weight/muscle and is up close to 250 lbs. That is bigger and stronger than he was last season. Only time and experience will tell whether that's big and strong enough.

"Given the fact that you consider Haywood to be just a time-shared starting center, I am surprised to hear that you consider Birdman as a "staring center."

Nice try, but no dice.

(A) The fact is that Haywood is a starter and would be for other teams as well. Is he the kind off starting C that would play 40 mpg on a good team? Nope. But he's a starter and Andersen would be on a number of teams as well (although not necessarily at C).

(B) If You expand Andersen's numbers to 28 mpg (what Haywood played in his much ballyhooed "career year") he'd put up about 9 pts and 9 reb/gm, better than the 10 and 6 Haywood put up in his "career year." So if Haywood is a starter (even if only just) then there's no reason Andersen wouldn't be.

Of course, none of this has anything whatsoever to do with McGee.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"He's what 6'5? 6'6''? Are you serious?!! With two bad knees?"

Don't forget the weight problems.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

True enough, but there are only a few teams you can say with confidence will make it beyond the second round. Partly because there's been so much significant veteran player movement in the off-season. Partly because so few teams project as significantly helped by the recent draft.

If you're not discussing one of those sure contenders, then the reliability of predictions falls off a cliff.

Could the Wiz make the second round? Yes. They've got most of the pieces. Could they miss the playoffs altogether? Again, yes. They've got some holes. I won't point them out, because so many here already have, and repeatedly.

I guess IMO what difference does it make what we think will happen 82 games in the future? Unless we're placing a bet, I mean. We'll all get to see how it turns out.


Posted by: Samson151 | July 13, 2009 1:20 PM


I'm not talking about high probabilities or anything like that. I'm simply talking about a common sense assessment that says "This team can make a serious run to the finals".

For instance, I would say the Hawks are better positioned than we are. They have a veteran floor leader in Bibby. Joe Johnson can create the kind of mismatches that make scheming the team difficult. Jama Crawford can shoot and stretch the defense. Josh Smith/Pachulia/Al Horford provide a nice solid blend of interior scoring, defense, rebounding and shot-blocking.

If the Bulls do end up adding Carlos Boozer, there are similar reasons to believe that they can get past the 2nd round.

Then there are the obvious ones in Orlando, Celtics, Cavs.

But when it comes to the Wizards, what kind of faith do we reasonably put in the big-man rotation of BTH/AJ/McGee/Blatche/McGuire/FA Scrub?? Even our "ace" in Haywood has yet to show he can do more than play well in a time-sharing center role, and he's certainly not a post-scorer. AJ and Blatche are power forwards who play like shooting guards. McGuire and McGee are too green to reasonably expect much of anything besides some decent 5-10 minute stretches where they don't bury the team in a hole.

We have jump shooters, but who is our "mismatch". It used to be Arenas, but how much faith can we reasonably put in that knee 3 surgeries later? Caron will give us what he gives us, and AJ will give us 20 and 9 while playing no defense.

Posted by: p1funk | July 13, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"The whole point of all pro drafts is to choose the player with the least risk of being a bust. "

Wrong. In fact, couldn't possibly be more wrong.

The whole point of the draft, really the only point of the draft, is to find players that will help your team win. Period. There are many reasons (all well and frequently discussed) why the Wizards (and every other team in the NBA, most of them twice) decided that Blair was not that player.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, yeah...who needs a rebounding machine on their team at the price tage of $175K??

That's the way I see it. Looking at it another way, would you rather have Heytvelt (who will probably make the team strictly based on his height) or Blair? I would have gone for the higher risk/reward since it's a 2nd rounder.

Isn't it also to choose the player with the best chance to become truly excellent? I thought you were balancing risk and reward, trying to tip toward reward. Blair went in the second round, for instance, because that's where one team felt the potential reward outweighed the risk.

And I just happen to be of the same mind. This point is moot, of course. Also, who we pick up for that last 'big' spot will really determine whether it was the right move strategically or not. I would argue, though, that the player that gets that last spot has a lesser chance to become excellent...particularly if it's a retread veteran.

If we wind up choosing a rookie (like Heytvelt, for example) then it's fair to compare his college career to Blair's and then wonder why the more accomplished player was not picked up.

Again, I realize it's moot but this dead horse is gonna take a beating at least until our summer league games start.

Posted by: original_mark | July 13, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"Blair went in the second round, for instance, because that's where one team felt the potential reward outweighed the risk."

Moreover, he was taken by a team that, because of its personnel and position in the NBA hierarchy, is among the best positioned to absorb such a risk. If he blossoms, he could help them, if he doesn't it won't really hurt them, given that they aren't going into the season actually depending on him to do anything of significance.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Without a legit banger/bruiser who can provide an inside presence off the bench at the 4, this is a 45 win team that will luck to get through one round of the playoffs. The Wiz will score a lot of points, play exciting ball, but will stop no one on defense. There's simply not enough good defensive players on this team to ever really contend against better teams in the playoffs. I certainly hope that EG's 'bottom of the barrel' approach to acquiring a big man doesn't net us another Calvin Booth or Michael Ruffin.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 13, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

You don't know what he's going to do. If we get Gooden. I think we would all agree he's better than Blair. You don't know what Blair is going to do more than you know what Josh Heyvelt, Blake Griffin, Rubio, Harold Miner, or Donyell Marshall would have done. James still has an expiring contract and we have too many guards. Something is going to change. You act like the Wizards have a damn game tomorrow. Relax and wait until you see the final roster.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 1:38 PM


Fine. Let's play it out. Does Drew Gooden put this team in the NBA Finals? Is he the X-factor that gets us past Celtics, Cavs and/or Magic??

And what in the world do we think we are going to get for Mike James expiring contract that is going to be so precious on this team?

If Ernie can get Boozer in exchange for that contract, I'll stand outside Verizon Center and read love poetry to him.

I'm being realistic. The core of this team is in place. What can Mike James contract and a "scrubby-F/C-to-be-named-later" seriously do to this roster to put it in the Finals??

Posted by: p1funk | July 13, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Blair's weight "problems" are way overblown. He played at that weight in college, and dominated much ballyhooed, taller, and more athletic "bigs" in the process. It's not like he stopped playing and his weight ballooned out of control. He actually lost weight in the draft process. If anything, teams should be worried that his loss of weight may affect his main positive attribute - his center of gravity (aka core strength, balance, etc.).

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I forgot to add that at 28 mpg, Andersen would block about 3 and a half shots (versus Haywood's 2.5 in his "career year").

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

The whole point of the draft, really the only point of the draft, is to find players that will help your team win. Period.

You're living in a vacuum. From a GM perspective, there are different reasons for selections based on the rounds (guaranteed money). We all know the draft is a crapshoot. Most GMs want to choose players that wind up being productive in the 1st round.
The 2nd rounders are not judged as harshly (because the owner doesnt have to dole out money on a 2nd rounder). Teams in that round look for high reward players. How many 2nd round players have you heard called a bust? Probably none because not much is expected from them. If we were to choose a complete bum in the 2nd round, who would remember and criticize Ernie for that? No one. So why not take a flyer on a guy that was extremely productive in college?
I watched the game with Blair and saw him get his shot spike on the low post by a bigger player. Chances are it could happen a lot. He could be a complete bust.
It's noticeable, though, that the guy considered to be the best GM in basketball DID choose him.

Posted by: original_mark | July 13, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Atlanta? I don't really worry about them too much. Maybe it's just me. Jamal Crawford is another one of those guys that you just don't win with. He can shoot you in...but usually right out of a game.

Every team that added pieces has the potential to seriously damage their team. So nobody knows whats going to happen.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"You're living in a vacuum. From a GM perspective, there are different reasons for selections based on the rounds (guaranteed money)."

You're living in a dream world. There are different reasons why GMs take one player over another, or take one player at a certain spot in the draft. But the bottom line reason for selecting ANY player in ANY draft is because they think that player will help them win games.

"It's noticeable, though, that the guy considered to be the best GM in basketball DID choose him."

Not as noticeable as the fact that he was still there at the bottom of the second round, available to be taken.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Fine. Let's play it out. Does Drew Gooden put this team in the NBA Finals? Is he the X-factor that gets us past Celtics, Cavs and/or Magic??

And what in the world do we think we are going to get for Mike James expiring contract that is going to be so precious on this team?

If Ernie can get Boozer in exchange for that contract, I'll stand outside Verizon Center and read love poetry to him.

I'm being realistic. The core of this team is in place. What can Mike James contract and a "scrubby-F/C-to-be-named-later" seriously do to this roster to put it in the Finals??

And I'll say this. What the hell was Dejuan Blair gonna do? Or Ricky Rubio?
The core is set. What makes Cleveland, Orlando and Boston the teams to beat this year? They all made big changes so nobody knows how it's going to work.

Any team that needs to sign one of their own FAs and needs cap space will be after Mike James or another expiring contract. So who knows? Especially since they're going to need MORE cap space since the salary cap is going down for the 2010 FA class. Nobody knows until the games start getting played.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"So why not take a flyer on a guy that was extremely productive in college? "

Because after scouting him they determined that he would not be comparably productive in the NBA and didn't see any reason to waste time, money, or a roster spot on a guy they didn't think would help them win games.

"So nobody knows whats going to happen."

I agree (to an extent). Aside from giving the defending champs their due, there don't appear to be any clear favorites or unbeatable powerhouses going into next season. Things will be really up for grabs.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"He played at that weight in college, and dominated much ballyhooed, taller, and more athletic "bigs" in the process. "

Like who? Thabeet? Big whoop. Thabeet has long been pegged as a guy who wilts under physical pressure. Most of the "big" men he played against in college were not NBA quality.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I think the wizards have a great chance to win the title this year. Agent zero will have a breakout year and put up kobe like numbers, Caron will dominate on both sides of the floor, AJ will average close to a triple double, and Brenda will probably make first team all nba.

WIZ FO LIFE
LOVIN YO WIFE

Posted by: wizRjizz | July 13, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't think they had confidence Blair's knees would hold up. Just like Leon Powe who had acl injuries to both knees before college, Blair is a risk, so much so, that he fell and fell and fell to the second round. You see how long Powe held up. It is a gamble.

Posted by: G-Man11 | July 13, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Not as noticeable as the fact that he was still there at the bottom of the second round, available to be taken.

As were players like Michael Redd, Brian Cardinal, Mehmet Okur, Dominic McGuire, Boobie Gibson, Paul Millsap, Amir Johnson, Rony Turiaf, Trevor Ariza, Mo Williams, Kyle Korver,Carlos Boozer, Darius Songaila, Luis Scola, and others. They were all chosen in the mid 30's to 40's yet they have all had varying degrees of success.

Posted by: original_mark | July 13, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

In consecutive years he's also outplayed Roy Hibbert, Greg Monroe, and Dajuan Summers.

Nobody is saying the guy's a lock to be anything in the NBA, but absolutely has the pedigree to take a chance on. The Wizards, on the other hand, would rather make a play for cash considerations, despite having open roster spots and a need for big men.

Then the Wizards parlay that cash considerations into playing it "low-key" during free agency.

And people wonder why there are complaints regarding the fiscal methodology this team uses...

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Third highest payroll but you're mad they didn't pick a 6'5'' PF? I bet you can count the number of successful PF's at that hand on one hand after losing some fingers in Vietnam. Charles Barkley being one. And as sof t as they've made the game you can't be physical anymore so that's out the window. The issue with the Wizards is that they lack an inside defensive presence. Maybe some consistent low post scoring. Blair I don't believe could supply very much of either. Yeah the guy 2 inches taller than our starting PG was going to dominate the post.

It's college...didn't Quentin Richardson play PF? And get like 10 boards a game? I know Wade was around 7 per game....IT'S NOT THE SAME.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"Blair's weight "problems" are way overblown. He played at that weight in college, and dominated much ballyhooed, taller, and more athletic "bigs" in the process. It's not like he stopped playing and his weight ballooned out of control. He actually lost weight in the draft process. If anything, teams should be worried that his loss of weight may affect his main positive attribute - his center of gravity (aka core strength, balance, etc.). Posted by: psps23"

Except if you've got weakness in your ACL or MCL. Then extra weight is a risk factor. I'm guessing that's what scared the team docs.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 13, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"As were players like Michael Redd, Brian Cardinal, Mehmet Okur, Dominic McGuire, Boobie Gibson, Paul Millsap, Amir Johnson, Rony Turiaf, Trevor Ariza, Mo Williams, Kyle Korver,Carlos Boozer, Darius Songaila, Luis Scola, and others. They were all chosen in the mid 30's to 40's yet they have all had varying degrees of success.Posted by: original_m"

Don't intend to be argumentative, but the issue isn't where they went in the second round, it's why they went there. You ask the same questions about DaJuan Blair as you do about other guys who fell, like DaJuan Summers, Jeff Pendergraph, and Chase Budinger. And the media post-mortem suggests that in Blair's case, it was injury.

Not height, not intensity, not character, not even (primarily) weight. Risk. Medical risk.

A very different situation from Summer, Pendergraph, and Budinger.

The scouts complained that medical officers for their respective teams are too cautious. But think of the investment in these guys. Blair was talented enough to go in the first, and didn't. Outside of a current felony charge, I can think of only one reason for it: a medical report.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 13, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"Third highest payroll but you're mad they didn't pick a 6'5'' PF?"

So wait, you're asking me if I'm mad that they opted to sell their opportunity at a co-Big East Player of the Year, First Team All-American PF at a 2nd round, non-guaranteed contract? And then are being fiscally reluctant to spend said money on anything of value to their basketball success?

Ummm...in a word -- Yes.

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"In consecutive years he's also outplayed Roy Hibbert, Greg Monroe, and Dajuan Summers. "

So now you've gone from "dominated" to "outplayed"? Quite a drop, huh? To say nothing of the fact that while Hibbert may have been more "ballyhooed" than Blair, he was by no means exceptionally athletic and was not esp. physical. And Summers is a classic example of a college "big" who'll end up being a perimeter player in the NBA.

"It's college...didn't Quentin Richardson play PF?"

So did Jerry Stackhouse. Tayshaun Prince was a PF and C.

"It's not like he stopped playing and his weight ballooned out of control. He actually lost weight in the draft process."

And why did he do that? Because it was the general consensus that his college playing weight was too heavy and would impede him in the NBA. Which is another issue. In a least a couple of predraft profiles it was openly questioned why he waited until draft prep to start getting in shape. To some it called into question his commitment and work ethic. In other words, would he put in all the work to look good for potential employers, then backslide when the contract was inked and the check was cashed?

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Blair, evaluated in the only context we've seen him in, college hoops competition, may seem tempting but clearly the Wizards need a PF/C with some pro experience, not another three year project. The window is this season for the Wizards and it is reasonable to assume they will have been better served to have picked up the cash for the draft pick and when the free agency dust has settled, then take a chance on some one as questionable as Sean May, roughly equivalent to Blair in size and muscle but more experienced.
It is also likely that they will make some move when the time is right to trade some of the surplus guard position for PF/C help and Blair would just be in the way.

Can't help but speculate on recent NBA history; extracting Garnett from Minnie, which could never get over the hump with KG, and adding him into the mix in Boston made world champs out of the sorry Celts. Is it unreasonable to believe that the addition of a player of that caliber to the mix of talent the Wiz have would result in a similar success? How far could the talent level dilute from the KG level and still push the Wizards into elite territory? How much would that success balance managements bottom line for the price they would have to pay for the talent?

Posted by: midlevex | July 13, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"They were all chosen in the mid 30's to 40's yet they have all had varying degrees of success."

Yeah. So? What does that have to do with Blair?

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Moreover, your entire line of reasoning ignores one of the main points of the article. Namely, McGee is bigger and stronger than he was last season. It says he's put on weight/muscle and is up close to 250 lbs. That is bigger and stronger than he was last season. Only time and experience will tell whether that's big and strong enough.

Posted by: kalo_rama
-------------------------------------------

Here you go again. All I am saying is that "patterning after Birdman" is not enough. Don't know which line of my post prompted you to believe that I ignore the fact that he has put on weight and muscle. Like you, I do not know whether or not it is enough, so I hope he doesn't abandon the path (within reason).

Posted by: sagaliba | July 13, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Blair was also heavily discounted because of past weight issues. He was rumored to have been as high as 350lbs. He's done an excellent job of getting his weight under control.

But the past history of guys that have fought a battle with weight prior to the NBA isn't real good once they start to live on hotel food 8 months out of a year.

I thought Blair would go mid to late lottery, when a guy starts to tumble there is always that point when the fall becomes a free fall.

Teams haven't worked the player out, 4 or 5 guys sitting in a room start to hash over things and past mole hills become mountains. Everybody beleives that somebody knows something that they don't, rumors become fact. Ask Warren Sapp about it.

Will Blair go on to have a decent NBA career? It's very likely. Will he be an impact player this year? Most likely, Nope!

Does Heytvelt have a chance to be just as good of a player? Yep. And he'll fill a more traditional role. A coach is going to have to get creative to use Blair's talents in the NBA.

Just what is all the fuss about? It's summer and the Nationals REALLY stink. To bad to even think about. So there's nothing much else to get in a tizzy about in DC...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | July 13, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

i think the wizards should make a trade for either tim duncan or penny hardaway

Posted by: wizRjizz | July 13, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"To say nothing of the fact that while Hibbert may have been more "ballyhooed" than Blair, he was by no means exceptionally athletic and was not esp. physical."

Yet he's a legit starting NBA center. And Blair more than showed his worth against him. You're judging Blair on two different levels right now. It seems that you're saying that he either has to be able to dominate the best of the best, the most physically gifted in the league, or won't help at all. And of course that's not true.

And at the price of a 2nd round, non-guaranteed contract, he's more than worth the risk.

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"Here you go again. All I am saying is that "patterning after Birdman" is not enough."

And, based on what you've previously written, your only rationale for that is that Andersen is a backup to Nene, which is irrelevant to both McGee and the Wizards since (A) McGee clearly has more natural physical talent and size than Andersen, so even if he plays the same style as Andersen, that does not automatically mean he can only ever be as good as Andersen, and (B) the Wizards don't have a big man on their roster who's anywhere near as good as Nene.

"Don't know which line of my post prompted you to believe that I ignore the fact that he has put on weight and muscle."

Gee, I don't know, maybe the one where you make a big deal out of his need to get "bigger and stronger" in order to be a consistent starter. Gosh, don't know how I could have gotten that idea.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

we should have drafted tony blair

Posted by: wizRjizz | July 13, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

what happend to that boy
brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Posted by: wizRjizz | July 13, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"The window is this season for the Wizards and it is reasonable to assume they will have been better served to have picked up the cash for the draft pick and when the free agency dust has settled, then take a chance on some one as questionable as Sean May, roughly equivalent to Blair in size and muscle but more experienced."

There is nothing reasonable about assuming that the Wizards could not have done their supposed prospective free agency foray AND picked up Blair (or any second rounder) at the same time. Nothing about a non-guaranteed second round selection precludes them from adding any free agent they may be interested in at this point.

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"Yet he's a legit starting NBA center."

He started about 40 games and averaged in the neighborhood of 7 points and 4 rebounds. That's stretching "legit."

"It seems that you're saying that he either has to be able to dominate the best of the best, the most physically gifted in the league, or won't help at all. And of course that's not true."

And, of course, that's not what I said. Even the 2nd tier Cs in the NBA are, as a class, big and/or stronger and/or more athletic than most of the guys Blair faced in college. (Seriously, DuJuan Summers?)

"And at the price of a 2nd round, non-guaranteed contract, he's more than worth the risk."

And every GM in the NBA disagrees (most of them twice).

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"There is nothing reasonable about assuming that the Wizards could not have done their supposed prospective free agency foray AND picked up Blair (or any second rounder) at the same time. Nothing about a non-guaranteed second round selection precludes them from adding any free agent they may be interested in at this point."

I think it's basically a money thing, particularly the 2.5 mil they picked up on draft night for the pick.

Posted by: midlevex | July 13, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

why is everyone hating on the zards for selling blair?

if someone offered you 2.5 million dollars for a stanky fat pf you woulndt take it? its all profit baby

Posted by: wizRjizz | July 13, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The fact is that Haywood is a starter and would be for other teams as well. Is he the kind off starting C that would play 40 mpg on a good team? Nope. But he's a starter and Andersen would be on a number of teams as well (although not necessarily at C).

Posted by: kalo_rama
-------------------------------------------

I've always thought you do not consider Haywood as a "starting center" on other teams, so if I am mistaken, I am glad to hear that.

I've never advocate 40 minutes for Haywood. I've always complained that Wiz played Big3 too many minutes, so certainly I do not believe Haywood should play that many minutes. To me he should play 30-32 minutes, that's more like "starters" on other teams get.

BTW, lots of rounding issues in your stats. (esp. how 7.2 rebounds becomes "6"?)

Anyway, if you worry so much about Haywood's so-called "career year" skewed the numbers, we can use their two best seasons for comparison (the numbers also combined nicely without much rounding issues):

Birdman's two best seasons (04-05 and 08-09): 7/6 in 21 minutes.
Haywood's two best seasons (04-05 and 07-08): 10/7 in 28 minutes.

When you convert Birdman's stats into 28 minutes, it is more like 9/8. Not "better" than Haywood's. In fact, over the career, Haywood's two best seasons are less skewed that Anderson's.

Posted by: sagaliba | July 13, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"Even the 2nd tier Cs in the NBA are, as a class, big and/or stronger and/or more athletic than most of the guys Blair faced in college."

And Blair has performed against comparable said talents, including Hibbert (among other prospective big men). Thus, his size problem needs to be taken in context -- that he's already outperformed bigger and more athletic players, including NBA level players (and very highly touted prospects).

"And every GM in the NBA disagrees (most of them twice)." [regarding whether he's worth a non-guaranteed second round contract]

Says who? Only 4 GMs passed on him in the second round (Houston and Portland twice, Detroit, and Memphis). That's not even remotely close to every GM in the NBA.

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"I think it's basically a money thing, particularly the 2.5 mil they picked up on draft night for the pick.

Posted by: midlevex"

Which is exactly my problem. The franchise is more interested in the business aspect than the product on the court. Is it wrong? No. But there's no way you'll see me applauding it.

(On a related note, I think it's downright shameful that players are able to be sold for cash. The point of the draft is to create parity by giving the worst teams a competitive advantage heading into the future. That doesn't occur when you pawn off prospects like they're advertising rights.)

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Gosh, don't know how I could have gotten that idea."

Maybe your imagination just run wild when you heard something about "bigger and stronger." :)

Posted by: sagaliba | July 13, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"Only 4 GMs passed on him in the second round (Houston and Portland twice, Detroit, and Memphis)"

Seven GMs if you count the teams that sold/traded their selections to Portland/Houston.

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"Which is exactly my problem. The franchise is more interested in the business aspect than the product on the court. Is it wrong? No. But there's no way you'll see me applauding it."

I agree but ultimately it's a blend of interests since both factors impact on each other, a balance needs to be calculated between cost of talent, results - both winning percentage and revenue (both dependent on one another but necessarily a straight forward function of one another, and return on investment.

Finally it comes down to limited resources and the Wizards I think made the best move for where they are and what they needed.

Posted by: midlevex | July 13, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"Finally it comes down to limited resources and the Wizards I think made the best move for where they are and what they needed.

Posted by: midlevex"

Or so we hope...

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Man, the lack of interest in this blog is obvious.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | July 13, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

So we're all in agreement? Drafting DeJuan Blair is the key to a dynasty?

Sure.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"When you convert Birdman's stats into 28 minutes, it is more like 9/8. Not "better" than Haywood's. "

It is when you factor in blocks and take into account the fact that Andersen shot a better percentage. Also, if you extend Andersen's minutes to Haywood's 28, he's getting his 9 ppg game on a lot fewer FG attempts than Haywood took to get his 10 ppg.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Pecherov clocked in with a double-double today as the T-Pups starting center (15 pts, 10 reb).

Minny ended up losing to the DLeague all-stars.

Posted by: elfreako | July 13, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"And Blair has performed against comparable said talents, including Hibbert (among other prospective big men). Thus, his size problem needs to be taken in context -- that he's already outperformed bigger and more athletic players, including NBA level players (and very highly touted prospects)."

First of all, as already noted, Hibbert's not "more athletic" than anybody. Second, the ability to outplay a guy in college who averaged 7 and 4 in his first year in the pros (or a guy who will be a wing player in the pros) isn't exactly a resume stuffer if you're applying for the job of low-post beast. Third, last I checked hype and playing ability didn't always go hand in hand, so this "highly-touted" stuff is just window dressing and irrelevant to the issue.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Blair got 10 boards in a summer game! We just let the Russian Charles Baarkley go!

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Relax and wait until you see the final roster.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 1:38 PM

I agree. Although it's beginning to seem like we might have to wait longer than that.

I don't think he's looking for the bottom of the barrel. He's looking at midseason, just staying in the hunt for most of the season and then seeing where our biggest need comes up...also, which teams are realizing that their strategies aren't playing out and are more willing to dump salaries.

It looks like EG isn't looking to dominate all season...just looking to stay in contention, then make a move and be the dark horse in the playoffs. I think it's a better strategy than taking any of the free agents that were available to us.

Posted by: crs-one | July 13, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Do you think that Mike Brown is COY without LeBron?
I'm not saying that coaches don't make a difference but if they don't have the horses then they ain't gonna win much. Their biggest challenge is to get the players to buy into the coaches philosophy and play as a team.

Posted by: VBFan | July 13, 2009 1:41 PM

Of course Mike Brown isn't COY without Lebron.

But to bring Mike Brown into the discussion implies a comparison between him and Jackson, which is a difficult comparison. It's hypothetical, of course, but I think Jackson would have fared much better with the Cavs than Brown did. Coaches are very capable of bringing a major contribution.

Granted, .500 ball may have been a bit of hyperbole, but I agree, better coaching would have made a significant difference.

Posted by: crs-one | July 13, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

The whole Blair debate seems pretty silly. Would he make much of a difference this year? If the Wiz stay healthy this year and don't perform well then the team will be faced with major decisions about going forward. BTH will be a free agent, Jaimison will be another year older and the team will be way over the salary/luxury tax limit (which will be going down again next year). As long as the team remains injured, EG can remain in denial about the fact that this team probably isn't really built (even if healthy) to win a championship.

If they stay healthy and flop then EG will be forced to break up the team. At that point, who cares what back of the bench rookie the team has this year?

Posted by: thinker11 | July 13, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree. Although it's beginning to seem like we might have to wait longer than that.

I don't think he's looking for the bottom of the barrel. He's looking at midseason, just staying in the hunt for most of the season and then seeing where our biggest need comes up...also, which teams are realizing that their strategies aren't playing out and are more willing to dump salaries.

It looks like EG isn't looking to dominate all season...just looking to stay in contention, then make a move and be the dark horse in the playoffs. I think it's a better strategy than taking any of the free agents that were available to us.

Posted by: crs-one | July 13, 2009 5:33 PM

I agree.
Ernie has to see what GA, BH, Deshawn, the 2 new guys and the old young guys can do for 20 or so games and "IF" he needs to make a move then, he'll have a better idea of what his needs are. Right now I think he's done dealing.
But with such a long time til they start playing the games for real we need to have something to chew on.

So getting Blair wouldn't a been worth the gamble. Trading the 5th was a good move. Flip will be COY. We'll regret not giving Pech a chance. NY will be most improved Wizzie.

Posted by: VBFan | July 13, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

One more thing about Blair outperforming "more ballyhooed" players . . .

Aside from being irrelevant, it's not even true, since, as his posse love to point out, Blair was the one who won all of the college player awards. He was Big East Player of the Year and First Team All-American. Doesn't get much more "ballyhooed" than that. None of the guys he "dominated" (Or is it "outplayed?" Or "outperformed?" Y'know it's hard to kick a field goal, what with the goal post moving all over the field like that) were nearly as "ballyhooed" as he was in college. He was the man in college. He was supposed to be better than those guys at the college level.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I guess the Wiz know better than the Magic about quality big men:

The Orlando Magic have exercised its right of first refusal and retained restricted free agent center Marcin Gortat, General Manager Otis Smith officially announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed. Several media outlets had reported that the deal was for five years, $34 million. Orlando had seven days to match an offer sheet made to Gortat by Dallas on July 8. “Having quality big men is an absolute must in our league, and Marcin (Gortat) has worked very hard to fit into that category,” said Smith. “He provides tremendous depth to our frontcourt and we’re happy to bring him back.” InsideHoops.com

The Wiz still have time to do the right thing.

Posted by: JoeC2 | July 13, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

psps: "Which is exactly my problem. The franchise is more interested in the business aspect than the product on the court. Is it wrong? No. But there's no way you'll see me applauding it."

Really, I don't follow this argument. If the Wiz were run like a traditional (or even nontraditional) business, they'd make more money than they do. Nobody who was primarily concerned with the bottom line would have permitted Grunfeld to ink those contracts with his stars, would they? We're all gobsmacked at what Gilbert got, for a reason.

Are there any franchises run on sound conventional business practices? At one point I might have said the Redskins, but that was mostly Jack Cooke. Ted Leonsis? Sure didn't start out that way.

psps: "(On a related note, I think it's downright shameful that players are able to be sold for cash. The point of the draft is to create parity by giving the worst teams a competitive advantage heading into the future. That doesn't occur when you pawn off prospects like they're advertising rights.)"

THe counter-argument would be that it's a silly waste of time and money to force teams to take on players they don't want or need. Apparently that's the situation the Lakers found themselves in this year. I suppose they could stockpile picks the way Minnesota did, but that works best if you're targeting two or three seasons ahead. The outright sale of a draft pick seems odd to us, but it's actually not so different from the sale of a stake in, say, a joint venture. From a strictly business standpoint, it makes some sense.

I'm sure DaJuan Blair will turn out to be a fine player, maybe nothing like a star, but quite acceptable -- provided he stays healthy. If I was a GM, would I have pulled that trigger and taken him? Maybe. You san see that San Antonio isn't counting on him, based on who else they signed.

But it's great fodder for their fan blogz, which is of some value. The current issue of Washingtonian has an article on the fan blog phenomenon and its effect on sports.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 13, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Mark my words...We will regret letting Pech go. He was cheap, big and a pretty good rebounder.

So now we're gonna roll the dice with a scrub vet or a rookie.

As I've been saying for a while now (mainly by myself)..

Pech can play. Hopefully now he'll get a chance.

Posted by: original_mark | July 13, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Would Pech have helped the Wiz this year? Would he have helped more than Foye and Miller will?

Posted by: cannontl | July 13, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm unsure ultimately how I would rate trading Pech. But let me tell those of you who never attend games because of your various complaints on tickets...Pech would warm up with jumpers before the start and before the half, and they would fall and keep on falling. It was stunning. He probably had the highest team percentage in pre-game warm-ups. Obviously, that was not game conditions, but no one can ever say he couldn't shoot standing still. Anyone not attending the games live could never see the man shoot like those attending the games and paying attention. Whether that will ever make him an NBA player is another matter.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | July 13, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

"One more thing about Blair outperforming 'more ballyhooed' players . . ."

Not once in any of my posts did I use the term more ballyhooed. What I actually said was "much ballyhooed, taller, and more athletic." Not once did I compare Blair's pedigree to any other player. For a stickler of semantics, you should probably make sure to get the quotation correct before posting a response like that.

"(Or is it "outplayed?" Or "outperformed?" Y'know it's hard to kick a field goal, what with the goal post moving all over the field like that)"

Actually, it's all 3. He dominated Hasheem Thabeet, a much ballyhooed, taller, and more athletic big. He also dominated Greg Monroe, a much ballyhooed, taller, and more athletic big than he. And he outplayed Roy Hibbert, a much ballyhooed, taller, and much bigger big man than he. Sorry, it doesn't have to be a choice between one description or the other, considering he played more than one game in college.

"He was supposed to be better than those guys at the college level."

Not supposed to be. They were supposed to be better, considering they were taller and/or more athletic and/or more talented, and given his weight problems, lack of athleticism, and 6'6 frame, there's no way he should've logged 22 pts and 23 rebounds against a 7'3 DPOY center, right? I mean there's only so much that positioning can help when a guy stands 9 inches taller and can jump higher than you, right?

He was not supposed to be better, but he was better, and that's why he won those awards.

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

"Not once did I compare Blair's pedigree to any other player. "

Wow, you're slinging the B.S. with both hands today. Of course, that's absurd nonsense. You were quite clearly comparing Blair's pedigree to those other players. If you weren't there'd be no reason to bring it up. If they were all equally "ballyhooed" then the ballyhoo would be obviously irrelevant to your point.

"He dominated Hasheem Thabeet, a much ballyhooed, taller, and more athletic big. He also dominated Greg Monroe, a much ballyhooed, taller, and more athletic big than he. And he outplayed Roy Hibbert, a much ballyhooed, taller, and much bigger big man than he. Sorry, it doesn't have to be a choice between one description or the other, considering he played more than one game in college."

So he dominated a guy who, deservedly or not, has a rep for backing down from physical play, dominated a raw freshman, and outplayed a guy who so far has proven to be an underwhelming NBA prospect (and, even in college, was never known for his toughness; to say nothing of the fact that the Princeton offense often resulted in him playing out on the floor, away from the basket). Well, based on that, how could someone not assume he would dominate the boards in the NBA? It's so clear, now.

"He was not supposed to be better, but he was better, and that's why he won those awards. "

He was better in college and that's why he won those awards. Guess what? He ain't in college anymore. And, unless there's some weird scheduling quirk I don't know about, odds are he won't be playing 82 games against Hasheem Thabeet, Greg Monroe, and Roy Hibbert.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

In actual bball news, the Magic matched the Mavs offer sheet for Gortat and the Hawks resigned Bibby and Pahulia.

So the Magic loose Turkoglu and Lee, get Carter and Bass and keep Gortat. Looks like a pretty solid offseason for them.

Posted by: kalo_rama | July 13, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"From a strictly business standpoint, it makes some sense."

And that's exactly the point I was making. It's strictly a business move. It adds no value to the on-court product and competition, especially considering it was a 19-win team giving up its draft selection to a playoff team.

What happens, hypothetically, if a really struggling franchise (both financially and on the court) ends up selling a lottery selection just to end up cutting costs/make a profit? Business-wise, it may make sense for the owner, but that certainly isn't what you want from a competitive standpoint.

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

"You were quite clearly comparing Blair's pedigree to those other players. If you weren't there'd be no reason to bring it up. If they were all equally "ballyhooed" then the ballyhoo would be obviously irrelevant to your point."

Then you obviously misunderstood the purpose of that term. The prevalent argument that seems to have been tossed around is that he won't be successful against NBA players, nearly all of whom will be taller and more athletic. The point of the term "much ballyhooed" was to identify the actual NBA prospects (and in Hibbert's case, NBA player) that Blair has already competed against. It had nothing to do with comparing their pedigrees.

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

psps: "It's strictly a business move. It adds no value to the on-court product and competition, especially considering it was a 19-win team giving up its draft selection to a playoff team.What happens, hypothetically, if a really struggling franchise (both financially and on the court) ends up selling a lottery selection just to end up cutting costs/make a profit? Business-wise, it may make sense for the owner, but that certainly isn't what you want from a competitive standpoint."

Certainly you wouldn't want a lottery team selling its pick to a contender, and I imagine the NBA would step in, but how likely is that scenario? The seller would have to be on the edge of bankruptcy. Far more likely (it happened this season) is a strong club simply not wanting to use the pick because they had no place to put the player. I suppose they could have taken a future choice in exchange, but they decided not to. The standard there would be whether it presented a hazard to the general welfare of the league itself.

I think Blair's unexpected availability distracted some from the issue. If the Wiz had selected some Ukrainian seven footer, figuring to stash him for two years, nobody would have noticed. The case for Abe's penury rests on the fact that the Wiz FO took the cash. Two things to remember: 1) it was a lot of cash -- far more than Bill Walker brought; and 2) they didn't see another player they thought they could use. Using Occam's Razor, why not just accept the explanation that they didn't want Blair? They just didn't like him as a player, or they thought his health was too unpredictable. In that view, the cash just made the decision a lot easier for them.

Selling a late first or early second round pick doesn't threaten to alter the balance of power in the NBA. If it did, I expect David Stern would have been all over it. As it is, I imagine he's keeping a close eye.

Back to my original conclusion: nobody who suffered from native stinginess would have signed those ginormous contracts with a few stars. But once done, they cast a shadow over future dealings. Maybe the Wiz are like a university that built a huge new stadium and is now seriously concerned about how they're going to pay for it.

Posted by: Samson151 | July 13, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

If you get a bonus at work or win $400 in the lottery, aren't you more likely to get that somewhat needed repair or buy new tires during the good cash flow period? Money is always good to make that upgrade.

But also, if you already have four good tires and a spare, does getting another 2 or 3 tires do you any good? You might need tires in future years, but then again the means to get them later always arise.

If you have a good set of tires to start the season, but could use a good spare, would you buy a brand new tire, or would you buy a good used tire for reserve and bank the money for later urgencies or luxuries?

yes, this posting is about basketball, especially for those who just can't get over the fact that Ernie knows more about the basketball market than they do.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | July 13, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree with ragtop4spd. Ernie has been very smart, and I know Flip must be happy about it.

He just added two prime-time players, a former rookie of the year, former sixth man of the year, and a lottery draft choice who's just coming into his own at either guard position.

Yeah, sure, Haywood still has to prove to a lot of us that he has shed his "Brenda" label, but I like what he did on the court last year, coming in with nothing to prove, just to play.

Blatche and McGee can spell Haywood, and they'll probably get some help as the free agents start listing to the best situations. There are a LOT of athletes on this team who really don't need a position.

So, I'm very excited about the season, and the Las Vegas Summer League, and watching people like p1funk and DCMAN_88 eat their words.

Posted by: zinger1 | July 13, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

So we're all in agreement? Drafting DeJuan Blair is the key to a dynasty?

Sure.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | July 13, 2009 5:16 PM


Not at all. Obviously the key to a dynasty is building a team with a dozen guards and SFs...and then adding a scrubby F/C at the end of free agency...

Posted by: p1funk | July 13, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

So, I'm very excited about the season, and the Las Vegas Summer League, and watching people like p1funk and DCMAN_88 eat their words.

Posted by: zinger1 | July 13, 2009 8:40 PM


Oh yeah, I'm real excited about the season and Summer League too. It'll be fun.

Of course this team is supposed to make a run at a championship. This is Ernie's version of a "win-now" team. So the questions is this: How excited are you about the post-season? How excited are you about matchups against the C's, Magic and/or Cavs in a 7-game playoff series?

Posted by: p1funk | July 13, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Then you obviously misunderstood the purpose of that term. The prevalent argument that seems to have been tossed around is that he won't be successful against NBA players, nearly all of whom will be taller and more athletic. The point of the term "much ballyhooed" was to identify the actual NBA prospects (and in Hibbert's case, NBA player) that Blair has already competed against. It had nothing to do with comparing their pedigrees.

Posted by: psps23 | July 13, 2009 8:04 PM


psps,

Don't bother with Kal, bro. His schtick is to attack your opinion as baseless illogical speculation and then post his own opinion as encyclopedic fact. When he's clearly wrong he goes to plan B, which is to re-interpret your opinion in his own way to cover his own wrong-headed take. When he's not doing one of those 2 things, he feeds us the official Wizards FO talking points.

Posted by: p1funk | July 13, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

The biggest worry for the Wizards this year isn't going to be whether they can successfully incorporate the new players, or how well Javale McGee plays, or how many minutes Jamison is carrying, etc. The biggest worry is whether they can banish the mentality that comes from being a 19-win team.

Later in the 08-09 season, the Wizards had a tendency to phone it in in the 4th quarter.. I think they expected to lose. Part of the losing mentality is to throw up your hands and say "not my fault", to pass the blame and look out for your own numbers. The Wizards won't succeed if they carry that losing mentality into the upcoming season. Losing is corrosive, it destroys team cohesion, generates petty rivalries, distracts from team goals. Let's hope they can win a few at the beginning, and that winning may have the opposite effect.

Posted by: satchmore | July 13, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty excited about the whole shebang, p1funk. Always am, going all the way back to Wes's rookie season, when he was also the MVP of the league. And before that, too.

This new edition could be the best yet, if they're health and Ernie pulls out one more little trade, disposing of Mike James and his contract in return for a decent big who can run the floor and finish. That could be Heytvelt, who knows.

I like Randy Wittman. I like Sam I Am. I like Flip and I love Honest Abe. I just want Gilbert and the rest of the guys to rise to the occasion, that's what we need.

Posted by: zinger1 | July 13, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Of course this team is supposed to make a run at a championship. This is Ernie's version of a "win-now" team. So the questions is this: How excited are you about the post-season? How excited are you about matchups against the C's, Magic and/or Cavs in a 7-game playoff series?

Posted by: p1funk | July 13, 2009 9:20 PM

Those questions are dependent on the assumption that this is ernie's version of a win now team.

he has from now until the trade deadline to make his version of a win now team.

Posted by: crs-one | July 13, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

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