Lessons From Detroit Sparked Flip's Summer

Flip Saunders has talked a lot this summer about building relationships with his players and spending time with guys in Atlanta, Chicago and Las Vegas. He's already met with Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Mike Miller and Javaris Crittenton.


This probably isn't the best time to ask you out to dinner, huh? (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

Saunders explained the importance of laying the foundation and seeing what makes them tick in their own environment but he recently told my friend Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports the reason for his jet-setting summer -- the failings of his last run with the Detroit Pistons.

Saunders said that since the Pistons hired him late in the summer of 2005, he never had the opportunity to build relationships with the veteran-laden team, which eventually led to his undoing after he clashed with Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace and later lost most of the team:

Saunders didn't forge a similar relationship with the Pistons. Despite helping guide Detroit to three consecutive Eastern Conference finals, Saunders never won much locker-room support. He quickly lost favor with Ben Wallace(notes) and Rasheed Wallace(notes) because the pair thought Saunders was emphasizing offense at the expense of defense - the foundation of the Pistons' success when they won the 2004 championship under previous coach Larry Brown.
Saunders also wasn't as strong a disciplinarian as Brown. When he tried to get tougher in his third season, it was too late. Early in the 2007-08 season, Rip Hamilton lashed out at Saunders from the bench without any rebuke from the coach. TNT analyst Chris Webber(notes), who played for Detroit during the 2006-07 season, said during the 2008 playoffs that the Pistons didn't listen to Saunders. Saunders was then fired after Detroit lost to Boston in the East finals.
"It was not an easy job for Flip to come in and fill, especially coming off two trips to the [NBA] Finals," Pistons president Joe Dumars said during a news conference for Saunders' firing. "It wasn't going to be an easy job for anybody."
Said Saunders: "Detroit was entrenched in who they were. There was not a lot of changing."

Since the Wizards hired him in April, Saunders has worked to avoid those pitfalls and has had plenty of time to communicate with his players, especially Gilbert Arenas, who will be the key to the success of the team. That relationship began even before Saunders officially signed with Washington.

From my conversations with people around the league before the Wizards hired Saunders, I know that Saunders wasn't one for conflict and confrontations in Detroit, and often relied on players and assistants to get through to disruptive Pistons. His prior relationship with Chauncey Billups from their days in Minnesota could only go so far.

On the day he was introduced in Washington, Saunders said that he wasn't a yeller but argued that he wasn't a pushover, either. "I can be jerky at times. Sometime you have to be tough on [your players]," Saunders said. "I live by the golden rule, 'Treat people how you want to be treated.' You can't treat everybody the same, but you treat everybody fair. You have to find the temperament of your team. Some players aren't motivated by [screaming]."

He also said something else that supports his summer project. "I love my players. When the players believe you care about them, they're going to start caring about you."

I'm not in Washington, so I wasn't able to attend the reception to promote the Wizards' 10-day tour through China in a few weeks, but Caron Butler told Mike Jones of the Washington Times that he plans on working out with Arenas and trainer Tim Grover in Chicago when he returns from Asia. Butler added that he resisted Saunders's invitation to attend Vikings training camp in Minnesota because he's a Redskins fan (After growing up 75 miles from Chicago? Or 140 miles from Green Bay? No Bears or Packers? Oh well.). Butler has also lost about 12 pounds after an offseason program that included the elimination of Mountain Dew.

By Michael Lee |  August 27, 2009; 12:51 PM ET
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Comments

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1st...

Please hold your applause.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 27, 2009 1:18 PM

2nd

Posted by: billy12 | August 27, 2009 1:33 PM

...please stop the 1st and 2nd crap. this is not the bonehead posters' redskins insiders page. unless you are 12 years old, who cares.

Posted by: oddjob1 | August 27, 2009 2:07 PM

4th

Posted by: bj2000 | August 27, 2009 2:12 PM

1st to the 5th spot.

Posted by: The_Brown_Vice_President | August 27, 2009 2:15 PM

4th...just kidding.

SDMDTSU - As to your response to my mention of liking Bosh - I have never bashed Jamison and actually have praised him when others have. Therefore, your mentioning that Bosh is a younger Jamison makes me want Bosh even more!

I'd say younger, taller Jamison, though.

Doesn't matter, because the only Bosh would come here is for $15m/yr for 7 years AND the chance at a championship. The only way he'd think we were on track for a championship is if we played in the finals. If we play in the finals, its going to be because Miller and Foye helped this team tremendously and then we'll have to keep them.

Posted by: Blurred | August 27, 2009 2:16 PM

5th

Posted by: tommycat | August 27, 2009 2:17 PM

5th and a half

Posted by: tommycat | August 27, 2009 2:19 PM

...please stop the 1st and 2nd crap. this is not the bonehead posters' redskins insiders page. unless you are 12 years old, who cares.

Posted by: oddjob1


You're right, it isn't, because over at Redskins Insider we gets it crackin' over there. But I could've sworn I seen your screen name over at RI before...

And please, this is tumbleweedville... You must have came with some dumb ass wack stuff and got your odd ass booted.

Over at RI, you can get like 75 entries in one hour, maybe more on game day, or in the midst of football season. You can go a whole week and won't get 75 post on a SINGLE thread here on Wiz Insider.

Don't hate. Step your logic up...

Posted by: RedDMV | August 27, 2009 2:52 PM

SDMDTSU - As to your response to my mention of liking Bosh - I have never bashed Jamison and actually have praised him when others have. Therefore, your mentioning that Bosh is a younger Jamison makes me want Bosh even more!

I wasn't speaking on you in particular, just the climate of the board in general. It's always he doesn't play defense, he shoots too many jumpers, shoots a low percentage...yadda yadda....

but then they say they want Chris Bosh. It confuses me everytime.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 27, 2009 2:58 PM

"It was not an easy job for Flip to come in and fill, especially coming off two trips to the [NBA] Finals," Pistons president Joe Dumars said during a news conference for Saunders' firing.

At least Flip doesn't have that problem here!

Saunders never won much locker-room support. He quickly lost favor with Ben Wallace(notes) and Rasheed Wallace(notes) because the pair thought Saunders was emphasizing offense at the expense of defense -

He won't have that problem either since none of the players want to play defense!

TNT analyst Chris Webber(notes), who played for Detroit during the 2006-07 season, said during the 2008 playoffs that the Pistons didn't listen to Saunders.

Like Gil, CB, or AJ are going to listen to him and change their games? They all are about scoring their points.

As I have said before hopefully Flip is OZ and he can give Gil a brain, AJ some courage and CB some heart.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 27, 2009 3:17 PM

133rd

Posted by: lanka124 | August 27, 2009 3:40 PM

"Over at RI, you can get like 75 entries in one hour, maybe more on game day, or in the midst of football season. You can go a whole week and won't get 75 post on a SINGLE thread here on Wiz Insider."

Posted by: RedDMV

----------------------

Basically, you're saying Skins fans are bigger slackers than Wiz fans.

So you've got THAT going for you...

Posted by: The_Brown_Vice_President | August 27, 2009 4:21 PM

Yep - I can't understand why you would want to bash a perennial 20/9 guy. there are what, like 6 of them in any year in the NBA? I see Nowitzki, Howard and Duncan on that list from last year...Lebron not too far off. Anyone else?

It would be great if he played some hardcore D too, but people have little room to complain about his performances.

Posted by: Blurred | August 27, 2009 4:28 PM

Oh yes...and Bosh

Posted by: Blurred | August 27, 2009 4:31 PM

and almost Pau Gasol

Posted by: Blurred | August 27, 2009 4:33 PM

reddmv: "Over at RI, you can get like 75 entries in one hour, maybe more on game day, or in the midst of football season. You can go a whole week and won't get 75 post on a SINGLE thread here on Wiz Insider."

That's true, but the Skins are much more popular than the Wiz with the casual as well as the hardcore fan. Plus, I haven't found the posts at RI to be particularly inspiring. There are some very smart folks over there. But also a lot of ranters and ravers like those guys that feel they have to capitalize everything or nobody will pay attention. And plenty of posts that are, well, just plain dumb.

Not that this board doesn't have some of the same, but jeez... the percentages are better.

I like the description of the Internet as a great raging torrent of misinformation with the occasional silver salmon of enlightenment.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 27, 2009 5:07 PM

18th!

Posted by: bullets8890 | August 27, 2009 6:08 PM

It would be great if he played some hardcore D too, but people have little room to complain about his performances.

Posted by: Blurred | August 27, 2009 4:28 PM

I'm not complaining I just want the guy to play some "D" and if Flip (OZ) can give him some courage to play some....wouldn't that be great.

If Flip could give Gil a brain maybe he can learn one person (Kobe) couldn't win a championship by himself. It takes a team effort and sometimes that means getting other players BH, Foye into the game before you do, so they don't fall asleep watching the offense go through the big 3. Hopefully you know at the end of the game you can turn it on and takeover if needed.

If Flip could transplant DM's desire into CB he would be an all star.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 27, 2009 6:51 PM

One bit in the Spears column jumps out:

"Saunders believes Washington can become a “scary team” that can challenge in the East – provided it works hard defensively and Arenas, center Brendan Haywood and guard DeShawn Stevenson can stay relatively healthy."

If that is truly Saunders thinking it runs counter to what most of us on this board have been thinking re the starting SG.

Posted by: Prazak | August 27, 2009 7:02 PM

Saunders is a "good" NBA coach, there's no denying that.

The thing is, is he can't get over the hump with any team he has coached. Now saying that, Detriot was on thier way down already and I am betting there was frustration with the vets that was there. Minnesota was a "good" team, never championship caliber.

We'll see, but until proven otherwise I think Saunders will be just another coach. The best thing about the Wizards is there are no real knukleheads on this team and they are willing to listen. Arenas has the biggest ego, beyond that there are a bunch of good guys on this team.

47 wins and 4th/5th in the East this year.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | August 27, 2009 7:15 PM

Posted by: VBFan | August 27, 2009 8:56 PM

I love it when a fella can admit he made some mistakes and takes positive action not to repeat them.

That might just indicate that, the fella has a some wisdom and knows a thing or two.

That fella, Flip Saunders, that is, in case ya' didn't know might be settling a few things come this upcoming season.

BulletsFan78, I have a feeling ole' Flip might have ole' Abe smilin' pretty damn good.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 27, 2009 9:52 PM

Regardless of any one time initial visit by a coach, the true relationship and degree of player coach respect will be determined over the season, not just by some initial meeting.

Posted by: Theone9 | August 27, 2009 10:56 PM

I don't know about "scary," but Washington should be very interesting. This is a team that can put 5 scorers in at the end of a game. If they play as a team, this gives them an advantage that few teams have. Any double team will leave a good scorer open.

Their depth gives them flexibility that few teams have. They can go big; they can go small -- depending on the situation.

They don't have a superstar of the caliber of James, but they could overcome that with superior depth in scoring talent (defense -- not so much).

That means the ability of Saunders to coach is critical. If they play as a team, they could go very far. If they don't, forget it.

Posted by: joyster8 | August 28, 2009 8:32 AM

bulletsfan78: Caron has more heart then all but a handful of NBA players.

Aj def. needs courage though.

Posted by: NFeKPo | August 28, 2009 9:10 AM

78 - great posts recently. I like you better when you are cautiously optimistic rather than dreadfully pessimistic.

You know, what you are saying about Arenas needing to get some other guys in the game first makes a ton of sense.

Eric Maynor at VCU did that the second half of last season. The team struggled through its first 10 games when he came out blazing. Then all of a sudden he would go into the half with 5, 6 or 8 pts and teams thought they had VCU beat. He would get everyone else in the game and then have 20 pts in the final 8 minutes cuz the other team would be worn out from playing real d on the entire team and he hadn't been getting hacked all game.

Anyway, VCU only had one other 'real' player, but imagine that idea with 7 other scorers!

Can't we start the season next month instead of 8 weeks from now?

Posted by: Blurred | August 28, 2009 10:06 AM

This is great because everyone can yap and yap since the season hasn't started.

Saunders is a good fit because this squad will be offensively entertaining at the least and he hasn't ticked anyone off (yet). It's a little cool-aid fest right now. Bosh or Jamison is just about a toss up with the rest of the crew thrown in (and healthy).

I think the Zards are going to blow through the first 10 games and probably be 9-1 because they're chomping at the bit and have something to prove. I'm more concerned about mid to late season, what team will they be then? We'll see.

Posted by: boblas | August 28, 2009 10:43 AM

Boblas - On the contrary I'm predicting the team to struggle the first weeks (up to a month) since they have a bunch of new players, a new coach, a new system and 2 players in their starting 5 that are coming out of a season long injuries. By December they should be running smoothly already. That is also the reason why I'm not sold that the team is locked as the 4th seed.

Posted by: Dave381 | August 28, 2009 11:11 AM

They don't have a superstar of the caliber of James, but they could overcome that with superior depth in scoring talent (defense -- not so much).

Posted by: joyster8 | August 28, 2009 8:32 AM

I Beg To Differ. Say what you want about Gilbert Arenas, but he is a NBA Superstar, like James, like Kobe, and any other NBA Superstar you want to name in the League.

Don't be sucked in by all the negative bashing of Gilbert on this site.

In case you did not know it, Gilbert Arenas is a legitimate NBA Superstar and the only thing that will change it is his future play.

Don't let the trees in forest rounds' here fool you.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 28, 2009 11:19 AM

Boblas - On the contrary I'm predicting the team to struggle the first weeks (up to a month) since they have a bunch of new players, a new coach, a new system and 2 players in their starting 5 that are coming out of a season long injuries. By December they should be running smoothly already. That is also the reason why I'm not sold that the team is locked as the 4th seed.

Posted by: Dave381 | August 28, 2009 11:11 AM

Dave381, I agree more with Boblas. I expect the Wiz to start fast as an emotional cohesion can be achieved from the offseason and preseason. The true measure will come as the season progresses as Bob indicates.

However, your assertion that they should be better as the season progresses is also true, but this does not mean they will struggle from the outset.

All the reasons you might think the Wiz should struggle, also applies to any other Team in the League also. Pratically all the Teams have issues they need to mesh as well. When you consider that with this Wizards Team our issues may not be huge at all. We could start a five that has already played together before in BH,AJ,CB,DS,&GA.

That Five will not struggle out the gate. In fact, if this Team struggles, even with any other starting Five, I would be hugely surprised.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 28, 2009 11:59 AM

Larry - I see your point but you also have to agree that the Wizs will take time to jell since they have a new coach and a new O-D system. It will take more than a few practice and pre-season game for them to really get together as a team. Something that lets say Atlanta, Cavs and few other team won't have problems with.

Posted by: Dave381 | August 28, 2009 12:18 PM

...prefer quality over quantity. on RI i find it is impossible to wade thru all the idiots to find the very few gems. plus the beat reporter sucks.

Posted by: oddjob1 | August 28, 2009 12:50 PM

Larry - I see your point but you also have to agree that the Wizs will take time to jell since they have a new coach and a new O-D system. It will take more than a few practice and pre-season game for them to really get together as a team. Something that lets say Atlanta, Cavs and few other team won't have problems with.

You think Cleveland doesn't have to adjust to Shaq being on the team? The completely changes the dynamic of the team from give it to LeBron and watch and wait for a pass to something completely different.

Atlanta added Jamal Crawford...a serial loser and complete gunner. That may not go over to well either. Everybody has questions.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 28, 2009 1:55 PM

"Everybody has questions."

True. But until the season gets underway or unless you're randomly doling out benefit of the doubt, we can't know how questions are going to be answered (and they won't be answered. The Cavs and the Hawks made it to the playoffs and got out of the first round last season. The Wizards won 19 games. They have much bigger questions than the other teams at the top of the East.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 28, 2009 2:23 PM

True. But until the season gets underway or unless you're randomly doling out benefit of the doubt, we can't know how questions are going to be answered (and they won't be answered. The Cavs and the Hawks made it to the playoffs and got out of the first round last season. The Wizards won 19 games. They have much bigger questions than the other teams at the top of the East.

I agree completely. I'm just not willing to disregard the questions of other teams just because they went to the playoffs last season. Issues are issues for all teams.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 28, 2009 2:52 PM

"I'm just not willing to disregard the questions of other teams just because they went to the playoffs last season."

You don't have to disregard them. But the fact remains that, given the unanswered questions for all teams, the only credit teams get going into the new season is what they earned at the end of the last one. The Wizards didn't earn any credit last season. So until they start playing games and prove something, it's perfectly reasonable to put them behind the teams from the top of the draw last season, questions and all.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 28, 2009 3:04 PM

Now you're confusing me. We're saying the same thing. I'm not putting the Wizards ahead of anybody yet. I was just saying that the Wizards have adjustments to make and so do other teams.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 28, 2009 3:18 PM

but the wiz have more adjustments to make to get to the playoofs than teams that have been to the playoffs and improved. the wiz questions are bigger than cleve,atl,orl,bos questions.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 28, 2009 3:25 PM

HA HA! Michael Lee is on Twitter now! I am follower

Posted by: jeremydvid | August 28, 2009 3:26 PM

I have confidence in this team. Confidence that they will be a 50 game winner and come out strong.

I may be wrong, though, cuz you just never can tell.

Actually, I am predicting a 56 win season for the Wiz and a trip to the conference finals, but part of that is just that I am homer.

I have trouble taking Atlanta seriously. I think Boston is way too old to be conference champs. I hate Cleveland and LeBron too much think great things of them. I honestly believe Orlando screwed up a good thing by losing Turk.

So, I am biased. And Hopeful. But I think it is silly to disregard the Wizards as an unproven team. An unproven team is one that has several new draftees and has a slew of 2nd stringers starting. Not a team that added 2 proven NBA players and 3 starters BACK into the mix.

The unproven parts of the wiz are basically JM, AB and NY - nonstarters we hope will play 8th, 9th or 10th man roles, maybe moving up to 6th man roles if we are super duper lucky.

We pretty well know what we are getting with the rest of the team, besides Arenas knee, on which we get more info every week or so. We know we are going to get:

at least high teens in scoring and around 10 rebounds from AJ

at least high teens ppg, 5 rbg and 5 apg with 2 steals and a 3 turnovers from CB.

8 boards, 2 blocks and 11 ppg from BH

12 ppg, 6 apg and 5 rbg from DS - plus some decent D

Foye will give us mid teens in scoring and decent d and 4-5 assists.

Miller will give us 9-12 ppg and spread the floor, plus a few boards and assists.

The there's Arenas with somewhere between 18 and 28 ppg, somewhere between 4 and 14 apg and somewhere between good and absolutely amazing every game.

Posted by: Blurred | August 28, 2009 4:09 PM

So that should work out to somewhere around 100 ppg we can feel comfortable with...with DM, JM, NY and AB's contributions eating into that a little and adding to it, too.

Posted by: Blurred | August 28, 2009 4:16 PM

bulletsfan78: Caron has more heart then all but a handful of NBA players.

Posted by: NFeKPo | August 28, 2009 9:10 AM

I agree but I would like to see him have the heart of a Kobe who played with torn ligaments in his finger, Willis Reed playing on his sprained ankle and others who are willing to play through the pain if the injury isn't going to get worse. I just want to see him play 80 ganes this year since he will be playing less mins.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 28, 2009 4:36 PM

but the wiz have more adjustments to make to get to the playoofs than teams that have been to the playoffs and improved. the wiz questions are bigger than cleve,atl,orl,bos questions.

That's the thing. Nobody knows if they actually improved until the season starts. Whether it be age with Boston. Completely new look for Orlando and Cleveland or Atlanta just pretty much being the same and added another gunner.

Wizards included...nobody knows. I still feel good about the Wizards this year.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 28, 2009 5:08 PM

bulletsfan78: I would like to see him have the heart of a Kobe who played with torn ligaments in his finger, Willis Reed playing on his sprained ankle and others who are willing to play through the pain if the injury isn't going to get worse.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

If Caron did that so he can be considered as a player with a heart and he winds up hurting himself even more, then next you would say he needs a brain. No?

Posted by: Bullzards80 | August 28, 2009 10:53 PM

Boblas - On the contrary I'm predicting the team to struggle the first weeks (up to a month) since they have a bunch of new players, a new coach, a new system and 2 players in their starting 5 that are coming out of a season long injuries. By December they should be running smoothly already. That is also the reason why I'm not sold that the team is locked as the 4th seed.

Posted by: Dave381 | August 28, 2009 11:11 AM
_______

This isn't football where changing coaches etc... is a huge adjustment.

Will there be some adjustment? Sure. But nothing that will keep them from starting strong. The starting unit has been together for a few years now so it's not like they are strangers on the court regardless of new schemes. The second unit is where there will be some adjustments and new faces, but, then again, it's the second unit. 4th seed!

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 29, 2009 1:43 AM

In the Princeton offense you don't need a traditional point guard, but Saunders' offenses have always needed great point guard play. It will be interesting to see how this team transitions from one system to another.

My thoughts are that as great as Gil is, if we are to become legitimate title contenders, he will have the biggest adjustments to make. Will he make them? I think we've all learned from Gilbert's history to NEVER count him out of ANYTHING.

I think 50 wins is a reasonable objective IF they can stay healthy. They will NOT win a title this year though. I do believe, however, that they will (finally) mature mentally and come to understand what it takes to do so.

Next year . . . .

BTW, Flip took over a defensive powerhouse in Detroit after they won the title. Does anyone have the statistics on how Detroit's defenses did in the years after he took over, compared to the championship season? I'd be willing to bet his defenses declined each year after he took over.

Posted by: bpybay | August 29, 2009 8:31 AM

...how is AJ's ankle? We havent heard anything about AJ working out anywhere. Are he and BTH going at it down in NC?

...how is DSteve's back? How did his rehab go and his he back to full speed, sans conditioning?

Posted by: oddjob1 | August 29, 2009 9:04 AM

Gil has fantastic skills and is a super talent, but he is not Bryant or James. Those guys elevate everyone around them. They will do anything to win and have taken their teams past their potential. They have the eye of the tiger and more heart than most of the Wiz put together. So far, Gil has shown he's and NBA star but nothing more. It's about his ego first, and his personality off the court. I hope he gains the maturity and role model status that he is capable of, but I think the Wiz will not get out of the first round unless it's a team effort. Gil needs to do a lot less twittering and partying.. keep your shirt on, keep your shoes on , and let's get her done!

Posted by: lk11 | August 29, 2009 9:34 AM

lk11: "[Bryant and James] elevate everyone around them. They will do anything to win and have taken their teams past their potential. They have the eye of the tiger..."

Ironic then that Kobe was for years accused of being a selfish player who didn't get his teammates involved in the offense. LeBron is the new kid on the block, but you're already reading the same sort of stuff about him -- that in crunch time, the other players just stand around and watch because they know where the ball is going, and it isn't to them.

It's the way of the sports world -- once you win big, people start coming up with imaginary explanations for your success. Haven't heard 'eye of the tiger' in quite a while. Very Eighties. Or maybe Seventies.

I recall Jay Bilas' comment how that national championship would impact Gary Williams' career at Maryland. Bilas said that now people would go back and revise history so that what had looked like failures were deemed important steps on the road to success.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 10:10 AM

Bilas said that now people would go back and revise history so that what had looked like failures were deemed important steps on the road to success.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 10:10 AM

Well the Wizzies have got a lot of steps down. Now it's time to climb them.

Posted by: VBFan | August 29, 2009 10:44 AM

i love lunchlady deloras

Posted by: wizRjizz | August 29, 2009 11:00 AM

"LeBron is the new kid on the block, but you're already reading the same sort of stuff about him -- that in crunch time, the other players just stand around and watch because they know where the ball is going, and it isn't to them." -Samson151

A couple of years back, crunch time in a playoff game, Lebron drove on the basket and kicked back to a team mate. The guy missed the shot, the Cavs lost and the media went on a rant, criticizing Lebron for not being a player that wants the ball in game-on-the-line situations; over-analyzed as a player that was too pass oriented and willing to defer to an open team mate instead of taking the big play for himself.
Since then he tends to take those shots. Gilbert on the other hand, until his brief reappearance, last few games of last season, when he displayed an admirable ability to share the ball, has had a propensity to shoot first, last and foremost; he has, of course, done this rather brilliantly.

Posted by: midlevex | August 29, 2009 11:13 AM

Ironic then that Kobe was for years accused of being a selfish player who didn't get his teammates involved in the offense....that in crunch time, the other players just stand around and watch because they know where the ball is going, and it isn't to them.


Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 10:10 AM

Did you see Derek Fisher knocking down 3's against Orlando?

Great players learn if you get the other players involved at the beginning of the game than when the time comes someone needs to scroce if the other team double and sometimes triple teams the star he knows when he kicks it out the other player can hit the shot.

It doesn't work if your team mates stand around the whole game and don't get into the flow of things.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 29, 2009 11:22 AM

midlev: "Gilbert on the other hand, until his brief reappearance, last few games of last season, when he displayed an admirable ability to share the ball, has had a propensity to shoot first, last and foremost;"

Yes, he has. Maybe this time we'll see a turnaround in his approach. The Wiz would be better for it. I go back to Shaq's confession that he didn't really bother learning to play basketball until his physical gifts began to fade a little.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 11:26 AM

How long has Kobe been in the league? And now people wanna use him as the example of a good teammate? LMAO

Yeah learn how to pass at age 32. How long was Kobe in the league before he learned that? Give Gil time to grow up.

That whole get your teammates involved sure is a lot easier when you're passing to guys who can actually finish.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 29, 2009 12:33 PM

"BTW, Flip took over a defensive powerhouse in Detroit after they won the title. Does anyone have the statistics on how Detroit's defenses did in the years after he took over, compared to the championship season? I'd be willing to bet his defenses declined each year after he took over."

You'd lose that bet. In Brown's last season (04-05) the Pistons were 2nd in ppg allowed and 5th in opponent's FG%. In Saunders last season in Detroit (07-08) they were 1st in ppg allowed and 3rd in opponent's FG%. And this is even with the loss of Ben Wallace and the decline/aging of Rasheed Wallace.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 29, 2009 3:08 PM

"Ironic then that Kobe was for years accused of being a selfish player who didn't get his teammates involved in the offense....that in crunch time, the other players just stand around and watch because they know where the ball is going, and it isn't to them.Posted by: Samson151" posted by bulletsfan78"

Wow. I don't think I'm overly sensitive, but I haven't seen a hatchet job like that on a piece of text in quite a whiled.

Let me guess: you do edits for Bill O'Reilly, am I right?

Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 3:39 PM

You'd lose that bet. In Brown's last season (04-05) the Pistons were 2nd in ppg allowed and 5th in opponent's FG%. In Saunders last season in Detroit (07-08) they were 1st in ppg allowed and 3rd in opponent's FG%. And this is even with the loss of Ben Wallace and the decline/aging of Rasheed Wallace.

Nice info Kal. I wanted to look it up myself but I was too lazy. I bet they didn't expect this...lol

Gil needs to do a lot less twittering and partying...

Really? Gil has been completely silent..and he threw one big party, he's nowhere in the league of Andray in the partying department...

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 29, 2009 3:41 PM

BulletsFan78, your assessment of Gilbert appears to be tongue in cheek. Is there really sarcasm in your eval or is those comments of Gilbert your sincere opinions?

Shoot first might necessarily be a bad thing, but needing a brain totally does not fit.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 29, 2009 5:13 PM

When people say gil isnt kobe or lebron....well who is, really?

Putting the bar on Gil at "be the best player in the nba" is just a setup for continued hating no matter how well he plays or what the team does.

Posted by: divi3 | August 29, 2009 6:04 PM

"When people say gil isnt kobe or lebron....well who is, really?"

Why, Kobe and LeBron, of course.

And you thought we weren't paying attention.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 6:26 PM

I'm sure the offers are coming from every GM in the league now that he wants out, but lets make our opening offer MJ & NY for Capt. Jack. Flip will figure out the best way to get him in the rotation.

Posted by: izaballa | August 29, 2009 6:47 PM

Capt. Jack?????

Posted by: VBFan | August 29, 2009 8:41 PM

Capt. Jack = Stephen Jackson

We definitely don't need another perimiter player.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 29, 2009 9:31 PM

Capt. Jack = Stephen Jackson

We definitely don't need another perimiter player.

Posted by: SDMDTSU

I would only say that if you think we have too many perimeter players then look at it from this angle, If you are moving NY and MJ you are ridding yourself of two perimeter players, one who will be lucky to suit up at all and another who has yet to learn the game, for a proven shut down defender on the wing. He has experience and has a ring from his SA days where he was a key contributor. He also gives us extra backup at the SF if CB goes down again. I'd ask you who after MM is really capable of playing SF on this team? Lastly the salaries almost match up dollar for dollar although SJ will have two more years remaining on his contract after this season. Nellie probably will get better offers but as GSW are clearly in rebuilding mode NY might be the type of player they are looking for to go with a Monta and Stephen Curry.

Posted by: izaballa | August 29, 2009 10:24 PM

I would only say that if you think we have too many perimeter players then look at it from this angle, If you are moving NY and MJ you are ridding yourself of two perimeter players, one who will be lucky to suit up at all and another who has yet to learn the game, for a proven shut down defender on the wing. He has experience and has a ring from his SA days where he was a key contributor. He also gives us extra backup at the SF if CB goes down again. I'd ask you who after MM is really capable of playing SF on this team? Lastly the salaries almost match up dollar for dollar although SJ will have two more years remaining on his contract after this season. Nellie probably will get better offers but as GSW are clearly in rebuilding mode NY might be the type of player they are looking for to go with a Monta and Stephen Curry.

So doing that...how do you plan on re-signing Brendan Haywood next season? Dominic McGuire did a pretty good job last season. Not as big of a scorer but does everything that matters on the court and works hard.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 29, 2009 11:08 PM

Larry,

It was a joke about Flip being the OZ of the Wizards.

I think Gil has too much AI in him and I would like to see him play more like Tony Parker.

Gil has the skills to be one of the best point guards in the NBA but does he have the desire and smarts to take his game to the next level?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 29, 2009 11:56 PM

"Larry,

It was a joke about Flip being the OZ of the Wizards.

I think Gil has too much AI in him and I would like to see him play more like Tony Parker.

Gil has the skills to be one of the best point guards in the NBA but does he have the desire and smarts to take his game to the next level?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 29, 2009 11:56 PM "

The reality is that AI gets the max money contract, not Tony P. Flash and hype pays more.

Having the passing ability of a JKidd, CP, and Nash is a gift from God. It doesn't matter how athletic, skillful, or smart the player is. In the heat of the moment, they will always trust their instincts.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 30, 2009 12:23 AM

I have to contend that GA absolutely makes those around him better on the court. He draws a lot of attention so that others get easier more open opportunities etc.... Ask Caron Butler. But, where he doesn't make the team better is contributing to the goofy unprofessional antics in the locker room. We don't need the scowling exhortations of Kobe from GA, but he needs to be a leader in cutting down the shenanigans anywhere near the arena. Just be professional for 4 hrs a day. Most of the rest of the world is for 8+ hours a day.

I hope Flip controls that as well bc the Eddies apparently didn't whatsoever. 19 win season and stories come out about how we have the goofiest locker room in the league. That's got to stop if they want to be contenders. And those are the things I'll be looking at to start the season - demeanor/approach - bc I am hoping Flip has a major positive impact in that regard.

By the way, MJ is not going anywhere. He's the cap space to resign BTH next year or at least part of it. Don't know why people don't see that.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 30, 2009 6:00 AM

"BTW, Flip took over a defensive powerhouse in Detroit after they won the title. Does anyone have the statistics on how Detroit's defenses did in the years after he took over, compared to the championship season? I'd be willing to bet his defenses declined each year after he took over."

You'd lose that bet. In Brown's last season (04-05) the Pistons were 2nd in ppg allowed and 5th in opponent's FG%. In Saunders last season in Detroit (07-08) they were 1st in ppg allowed and 3rd in opponent's FG%. And this is even with the loss of Ben Wallace and the decline/aging of Rasheed Wallace.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 29, 2009 3:08 PM

Thanks for the info kalo. Very happy to know I would have lost that bet.

Do we really need any more reasons to be hopeful than the front office has given us so far this year. I would have been pleased as punch just to make the playoffs before the draft, and now we have some folks talking conference finals, and legitimately so. It seems we will finally have a coaching staff that knows how to coach defense, and contrary to popular opinion on this board, I believe we have defensive-minded players on this team who would buy in to a team defense concept.

As much as I enjoyed watching the EJ-coached teams from an offensive standpoint, I don't any serious Wiz fan would doubt that his coaching staff had no clue how to play team defense. I hope that will be different with Flip, and apparently there is reason for optimism.

Posted by: bpybay | August 30, 2009 8:53 AM

"I don't any serious Wiz fan would doubt that his coaching staff had no clue how to play team defense."

Sentence should read, "I don't 'think' any serious Wiz fan would doubt . . . ."

My bad.

Posted by: bpybay | August 30, 2009 9:01 AM

Dunno how much we can learn about the Wizards under Flip based on his tenure in Detroit. The Pistons were a very good defensive club under Brown that actually seemed to improve some when Saunders arrived, despite some handicaps. The Wiz haven't been a real good defensive team in quite a while. They have had some good defenders, but as a whole, have mostly outscored people until last year, when the whole thing collapsed.

I know Saunders is a seriously good coach. Beyond that, I don't know much.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 30, 2009 10:10 AM

"We don't need the scowling exhortations of Kobe from GA, but he needs to be a leader in cutting down the shenanigans anywhere near the arena. Just be professional for 4 hrs a day. Most of the rest of the world is for 8+ hours a day.

I hope Flip controls that as well bc the Eddies apparently didn't whatsoever. 19 win season and stories come out about how we have the goofiest locker room in the league. That's got to stop if they want to be contenders."

The aforementioned comments are why I have always put a tremendous responsibility on the coaching.

Coaching is Leadership in my opinion and neither Ed really understood that. The really good coaches know that good coaching embodies leadership and when we see a Team like described above, then we know that leadership is lacking.

This new coaching staff will demand good leadership qualities from the entire Team because I believe they are Good Leaders themselves.

Good Leaders do not allow foolishness to go on rounds them. It is an oxy-moron to do so.

Thats not saying they don't have fun, but foolishness and idiotic portrayals are a thing of the past.

Good leadership traits are always a part of a successful Coach and the more successful he is, the better he is at passing those traits to the Team.

I think Flip Saunders will do an extremely better job at this than any coach the Wizards have had in awhile

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 30, 2009 11:05 AM

MICHAEL LEE:

"....ARENAS will be the key...." I have to disagree with a caveat. HAYWOOD AND ARENAS together will be the two keys to this season coming up just as they were last season. Positions one and five are the most important ones in any NBA
championship caliber team IMO. All others play roles in support.

Posted by: glawrence007 | August 30, 2009 12:35 PM

Some stuff I didn't know, from SI.com:

Kevin Garnett is approached 40,000 minutes of career NBA court time. Not many make it that far. May have something to do with his health problems.

Al Jefferson of Minnesota was playing at around 290 pounds last season before he got hurt. He's listed at 265 in the program.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 30, 2009 1:15 PM

Kevin Garnett is approached 40,000 minutes of career NBA court time. Not many make it that far. May have something to do with his health problems.

That's why when I said Boston may have a hard fall, I meant it. KG is what 32? But he's an old 32. That knee injury that was supposed to be a week or two ended his season. Boston's chances are GREATLY diminished with KG out or even in great decline. Even with Rasheed. Allen is getting up there and disappearing, and Pierce has already been in a wheelchair once...it's only so long until it's permanent. LOL

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 30, 2009 3:33 PM

Boston will be in the mix this year and this year only bc of experience, but will still be ripe to lose in the playoffs. Father time has caught up to them. I saw Pierce go from arguably the best player in the NBA during the playoffs when they won the championship two years ago to probably not even a top 15 player last year. Definitely not top 10. So, the miles are starting to show on all of them. Adding Wallace while helpful, would be more beneficial to a younger contender as he just adds more tread on their tires. Boston also has to be careful that Wallace does not mess up team chemistry. He has never been an all out effort guy and having him on the same team with Garnett could be tricky. It could also work out just fine, but there is some potential for trouble there. TO light.

Larry, let's hope so. The goofiness has to stop and I think Flip is aware of our rep. Already got on NY for his cool almost lazy demeanor on the court with all his laughing. Sorry, but that is not a winning have an edge on your opponent demeanor. Damn, when I played/play pickup up games, I have a lot of fun, but I'm all business bc it's the only way to compete properly. I hate losing. And, that's what I don't see in him. He plays for a flashy fadeaway jumper or pretty drive/dunk move so he can show his swagger. He should play to win the game as Herm Edwards once said. NY plays mostly to please himself. At least, thus far he has. That is why if he does not change this year I have no qualms seeing him leave. Talent or no talent. Even Blatche with all his inconsistency and immaturity shows more of a team first approach.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 30, 2009 4:12 PM

i know gilbert was supposed to play in the asu vs ua alumni game today. does anyone know how he did?

Posted by: ianc117 | August 30, 2009 9:32 PM

Posted by: ManuteBogues | August 30, 2009 10:40 PM

rambis adds laimbeer and theus to minny coaching staff

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 30, 2009 11:47 PM

rambis adds laimbeer and theus to minny coaching staff

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 30, 2009 11:47 PM

lilhollywood10,

Laimbeer will turn OP into a monster.

But we got Wes Unseld Jr?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 31, 2009 12:18 AM

KG's nearly 40,000 regular season minutes is a lot. For comparison, Antawn has less than 30,000.

Shaq also has nearly 40k. Ray Allen, Rasheed Wallace, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan are all in the mid 30k's. Vince Carter and Paul Pierce have similar tallies to Antawn, around 30k.

That's regular season minutes only. Most of those players have also put in a ton of playoff minutes as well.

Posted by: yop32 | August 31, 2009 6:20 AM

Posted by BulletsFan78

I think Gil has too much AI in him and I would like to see him play more like Tony Parker.

------------------------------------------
How do you recommend Gil be Tony?

Gil is playing as the best player on the Wizards. Tony Parker is not the best player on the Spurs.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 31, 2009 8:18 AM

How do you recommend Gil be Tony?

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 31, 2009 8:18 AM

I recommend Gil gets the ball to AJ, BTH, foye, and CB at the start of the games. When he drives the ball to the basket, how about kicking it out for a 3 every now and then, instead of trying to get fouled and get free throws.

Play some "D" so the other players see you really want to win and you're not just about scoring point and throwing your jersey into the stands like a fool.

Have a little class and lead your team by example, I've never heard any BS rumors about Parker and he is a better player with a higher profile than Gil.

I didn't say more talented....there is a difference. That's the problem with Gil he and AI both ego's are bigger than their desire to win a championship. To them it's all about ME!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 31, 2009 9:37 AM

Laimbeer will turn OP into a monster.

But we got Wes Unseld Jr?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 31, 2009 12:18 AM

Something to think about: NOBODY gave Laimbeer a coaching job. Probably for a reason. The team he won championships with and his own teammate is the GM of wouldn't put him on the bench. They told him to coach the ladies. Wes Unseld is not the big man coach. I wish you would get off of that. How many teams actually have a big man coach?

Gil can't be Tony Parker as Tony Parker can't be Gil. Tony Parker is not a pure scorer. Besides TP has a Hall of Fame big man to dump it into and play off of. BIG DIFFERENCE.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 31, 2009 9:47 AM

"Shaq also has nearly 40k. Ray Allen, Rasheed Wallace, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan are all in the mid 30k's. Vince Carter and Paul Pierce have similar tallies to Antawn, around 30k.That's regular season minutes only. Most of those players have also put in a ton of playoff minutes as well.Posted by: yop32"

And if I'm remembering correctly, most have spent a lot more time hurt than Garnett has, up til this past season.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 31, 2009 9:48 AM

I recommend Gil gets the ball to AJ, BTH, foye, and CB at the start of the games. When he drives the ball to the basket, how about kicking it out for a 3 every now and then, instead of trying to get fouled and get free throws.

If I remember correctly, AJ and Caron all averaged 20 points when they played together and him getting to the line softens up other frontcourts by putting them in foul trouble...since we don't have a big man that can do that.

Have a little class and lead your team by example, I've never heard any BS rumors about Parker and he is a better player with a higher profile than Gil.

Tony Parker is not the leader of his team and I don't think he's a better player. What BS rumors?

I didn't say more talented....there is a difference. That's the problem with Gil he and AI both ego's are bigger than their desire to win a championship. To them it's all about ME!

Sure.


Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 31, 2009 9:55 AM

"Something to think about: NOBODY gave Laimbeer a coaching job. Probably for a reason. The team he won championships with and his own teammate is the GM of wouldn't put him on the bench."

Exactly. Laimbeer wants to be a head coach in the NBA. He's made that clear for years. The only reason he took over the Shock was because no one would give him a head coaching job in the NBA and he didn't want to be an assistant. He only took the T-Wolves job because he finally realized that no one is going to just hand him the first chair. (The fact that Isiah (when he was running the Knicks) or Joe D. wouldn't give him a job is a telling sign.) He's basically been isolated from the NBA proper since he retired as a player 15 years ago. He's got no first hand experience working with or relating to today's NBA players, which is going to be an issue because the NBA landscape is a lot different today than it was when he played, and vastly different from the WNBA. All of that yelling and screaming and criticizing he did with the Shock isn't going to fly with NBA players, esp. from an assistant.

It'll be interesting to see how he does, but any predictions of him being an immediate difference maker are wildly premature.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 10:04 AM

"Have a little class and lead your team by example, I've never heard any BS rumors about Parker and he is a better player with a higher profile than Gil."

If the B.S. rumors about Arenas are (A) rumors and (B) B.S . . . how is that his fault, exactly?

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 10:07 AM

And not that there's any chance of it happening, but HELL no on Stephen Jackson.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 10:15 AM

LOL...way to summarize all the weekends postings at once Kal. LOL

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 31, 2009 10:22 AM

Bill Laimbeer would foul out in the 1st quarter of an nba game nowadays, the rules have changed that much since his day.

Lamenting the zards not hiring a guy who the entire nba has passed on multiple times is just silly.

Posted by: divi3 | August 31, 2009 11:09 AM

Lamenting the zards not hiring a guy who the entire nba has passed on multiple times is just silly.

Actually...from some of the stuff I've seen on this board...it makes perfect sense.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 31, 2009 11:12 AM

SDMDTSU

Nobody drafted Willie Parker and now he is a big time player for the Steelers, so just because other teams don't do something doesn't mean it's always right.

kalo_rama

The only thing you hear about gil is him talking about his swimming pool, the parties, goofing off in the locker room with NY, and/or his blog.

I never hear the things about him like I do with real winners. Tiger Woods would watch replays of the masters to see how other champions played the course and Tony Parker (when he was in France) would record NBA playoff games and watch the other point guards.

Everybody says the difference is TP plays with Duncan, but they would be the same people who rant about AJ being a 20 and 10 guy so wouldn't that mean Gil has the same type of player?

The real difference is the way they play the game. TP plays on a team and Gil plays for himself. I hope Flip can convince him that's not how a team wins a championship.


Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 31, 2009 11:30 AM

'Laimbeer will turn OP into a monster.'

Gamma radiation is the only thing that could turn Pech into a monster.

Posted by: divi3 | August 31, 2009 11:31 AM

'The only thing you hear about gil is him talking about his swimming pool, the parties, goofing off in the locker room with NY, and/or his blog.'

You must not be listening, because it's known league wide Gil is the consummate gym rat who practices as much or more than anyone else in the league.

I agree 110% his re-injury of the knee was stupid, but let's not forget it came from him pushing himself too hard. Not goofing and being lazy.

Question Gil's style of play all you want, but there is zero question about his work ethic.

Posted by: divi3 | August 31, 2009 11:38 AM

The only thing you hear about gil is him talking about his swimming pool, the parties, goofing off in the locker room with NY, and/or his blog.'

You must not be listening, because it's known league wide Gil is the consummate gym rat who practices as much or more than anyone else in the league.

I agree 110% his re-injury of the knee was stupid, but let's not forget it came from him pushing himself too hard. Not goofing and being lazy.

Question Gil's style of play all you want, but there is zero question about his work ethic.

Posted by: divi3 | August 31, 2009 11:38 AM


Thank you. Gil is one of the most accessible stars in the league. Fan friendly, you can't be mad at that. No legal issues or anything. Work ethic is completely unquestioned. I don't think Gil will have a problem being a better defender. It's not that he can't, it just was never emphasized with Eddie. I don't think we're going to be the Pistons...but we can be a top 5 scoring team and middle of the pack defensively.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 31, 2009 11:44 AM

"Gamma radiation is the only thing that could turn Pech into a monster."

Nice!

"The only thing you hear about gil is him talking about his swimming pool, the parties, goofing off in the locker room with NY, and/or his blog."

Well, maybe you should get more of your sports info from credible news sources and less of it from DCMan's posts.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 11:47 AM

Nobody drafted Willie Parker and now he is a big time player for the Steelers, so just because other teams don't do something doesn't mean it's always right.

Players and coaches are two different things. A player has to perform. A coach has to manage, communicate and everything in between. Besides, it's not the 80's. What is he going to teach Blatche or McGee?

I never hear the things about him like I do with real winners. Tiger Woods would watch replays of the masters to see how other champions played the course and Tony Parker (when he was in France) would record NBA playoff games and watch the other point guards.

Everybody says the difference is TP plays with Duncan, but they would be the same people who rant about AJ being a 20 and 10 guy so wouldn't that mean Gil has the same type of player?

The real difference is the way they play the game. TP plays on a team and Gil plays for himself. I hope Flip can convince him that's not how a team wins a championship.

TP probably had to tape the games. He's from France. Just kidding...but you're talking about what you hear. Why don't you hear about Gilber playing his way from 2nd round pick to all-star or them having to give him a key to the Verizon Center because he always wants to practice.

Honestly 20/10 means nothing in type of player or their signifigance to a team. Zach Randolph can get you 20/10. Jamison is not a HOF player. He's consistent. He is not one of the top 10 big men of all time. Jamison is a SF playing PF while Duncan is a legitimate dominating force offensively and defensively. So yes, TP has it easier.

Sure Gil plays for himself, coming from someone who says they want CB to be more like Kobe. Why don't we just get Eric Snow or Brevin Knight? That's guaranteed to bring a championship.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 31, 2009 12:46 PM

Also, it doesn't help Laimbeer that half of the teams in the NBA seemed to be run by guys he played against in the 80s and 90s, who still hate his guts.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 1:17 PM

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