Flip on Gilbert, Wizards, Summer Mingling


I'm sure Fab will agree -- if Gilbert is healthy, we're going to be pretty good. (AP Photo)


Wizards Coach Flip Saunders made a lot of interesting comments on Wednesday about his team and, of course, the franchise player, Gilbert Arenas.

Let's start with Arenas, since DeShawn Stevenson has already stated that this whole team revolves around the guy. Saunders watched Arenas lift, train and play basketball last week in Chicago, where several players, including Dwyane Wade, O.J. Mayo, Tracy McGrady and Jermaine O'Neal have been working with famed trainer Tim Grover at Attack Athletics gym. Saunders said he realizes that a healthy Arenas makes the Wizards a markedly improved team.

"No question, a player of his talent, when he's playing, he puts us from a team that's competing for the playoffs to a team that's an elite team in the playoffs. When you walk in the gym right now, you wouldn't think that he's hurt," Saunders said. "If he's at that ability when our season starts, we're going to be an elite team in this league."

Saunders added that Arenas has regained his confidence, quickness and scoring touch but he also intimated that while the three-time all-star has made progress, there is still the potential for a setback. With the additions of Randy Foye and Mike Miller, however, the Wizards suddenly have the depth to endure any short-term absence by Arenas.

"I think the basis of how we play, you hope you can always withstand a guy not being at 100 percent and not being able to play at times," Saunders said. "I think what we've done by picking up Randy and Mike and the other guys and then Javaris [Crittenton], how he's picked up; we've given ourselves a situation if [Arenas is] sore, he can sit out. He doesn't have to play every game. Before, if one of those [all-star caliber] guys sat out, it put the team in a big hole. We were really struggling and it was tough to win without those guys playing. I think in the short term, we can withstand some of that."

Without making a prediction, Saunders really has some high hopes for this team, especially with a lineup that has "no duplicate players."

I asked Saunders if he still plans on using an eight-man rotation with this roster. Saunders didn't close the door on giving several players the opportunity to contribute. "I'll be honest," he said. "In the past, we played eight, nine man rotation because that's the players that were able to play at the level that we needed them to do it ... When you look at our roster right now, we're solid at every spot. Some people say, 'How are you going to play them all?' That's up for me to decide, actually up to them to decide how we play."

As I stated earlier, Saunders has been making the rounds this summer, getting to know his players on a more personal level, seeing what makes them tick, letting them know what makes him tick. Saunders has already visited several players this offseason, including Blatche during individual workouts here; Arenas and Caron Butler in Chicago; Crittenton in Atlanta; Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller and Mike James in Las Vegas; and plans to soon visit Jamison and Haywood in North Carolina.

He also has assigned his assistant coaches to carry out his message and work with players. Saunders said Sam Cassell is in Los Angeles to meet with Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Dominic McGuire. "We've had as good a summer as you can have, as far as the commitment from the players," Saunders said. "We're in this together. It's going to make the tradition that much easier, because I think there are so many things these guys can do, I want to get a head start on it."

The Wizards have three former all-stars who have all had seasons in which they have averaged 20 or more points. I asked Saunders if Arenas, Butler and Jamison expressed a willingness to sacrifice high-scoring numbers in order to win under his spread-the-wealth system. Saunders had a pretty good comeback: "They want to win. All they want to do is win. Team success beats individual glory. Individual glory doesn't mean team success. I know this, I know what happened last year winning 19 games, so scoring 20 points don't matter. I think they understand, what really it's all about."

Saunders is doing his part to sell this team to the masses. "We have higher expectations than a lot of other people because we know the type of players we have," Saunders said. "Our players have put in as much time or more than anybody else. The year that we had last year stung and they want to make up for that."

By Michael Lee |  August 13, 2009; 8:52 AM ET
Previous: Oberto Intro, Arenas Update | Next: LeBron James Debuts Film, Disses Wizards 'Rivalry'

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Swagdagger is back!!!

Posted by: flohrtv | August 13, 2009 9:06 AM

sounds good let's hope they can make it happen.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 13, 2009 9:12 AM

Honestly. Talking on this board lately has me more excited than any season than I can remember. I looked at the rosters we got into the playoffs with and were actually somewhat competitive with and THIS one...blows them all out of the water. With a little luck and consistency the sky is the limit.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 9:21 AM

I second that SDMDTSU. I am really starting to drink the cool-ade. I even went to the Wiz homepage to look at some partial season ticket packages. Saunders could really end up being a difference maker so long as the team doesn't suffer any serious injuries.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | August 13, 2009 9:25 AM

I'm gonna miss being able to go to Verizon Center right before tip-off and getting 2 tickets in the lower bowl for $40 though. I did that a few times last season.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 9:32 AM

Count me in as a Kool-Aid drinker. This is the first time ever I'm more looking forward to a Wizards season than a Redskins campaign.

I love the confidence Flip is displaying, and it's not bravado, the guy is hugely successful. He fully expects to compete for the #1 spot in the East, and knows EXACTLY what it takes to win it.

Winning attitude like we've never had before. Awesome

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2009 10:20 AM

"If he's at that ability when our season starts, we're going to be an elite team in this league."

Lends some credence to all the rumors of Gil being a dominant player at this chi-town summer league. Sure, Flip is going to always spin the team as well as he can. But if Gil didnt look great, hard to envision Flip would make that statement.

Of course, last season it all changed the day after season ticket deposits were due!

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2009 10:25 AM

"If Gil's at that ability when our season starts, we're going to be an elite team in this league."

With the additions of Randy Foye and Mike Miller, however, the Wizards suddenly have the depth to endure any short-term absence by Arenas.

Saunders is doing his part to sell this team to the masses.

Sounds like Flip would make a great used car salesman if this gig doesn't work out for him.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 13, 2009 10:38 AM

Team success beats individual glory. Individual glory doesn't mean team success. I know this, I know what happened last year winning 19 games, so scoring 20 points don't matter. I think they understand, what really it's all about."

I said the success of this team is two sided 1) Health 2) The ability for Flip to get AJ, CB, and Gil to understand their is no "I" in team.

Can you teach old dogs new tricks?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 13, 2009 10:42 AM

flip is having me believe 50 wins is a definite possibility. now if they could just do something about those jerseys. then i'd really be excited.

Posted by: d_skillz | August 13, 2009 10:43 AM

Okay, let's keep track of the naysayers so we can mark the day when they see the light or disappear from the board:

DCMAN
Kalorama
Bullets78
Samson (not sure about this one)?
Derang (the guy who loves EJ)
anyone else?

Posted by: Izman | August 13, 2009 10:47 AM

Izman

The day the Wizards win a chapionship I will be the first one on here giving them praise.

I am not the type of person who settles for 2nd place.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 13, 2009 10:50 AM

"Okay, let's keep track of the naysayers so we can mark the day when they see the light or disappear from the board:
DCMAN
Kalorama
Bullets78
Samson (not sure about this one)?
Derang (the guy who loves EJ)
anyone else?
Posted by: Izman"

What? I'm a notorious optimist. Heck, I predict we win 200 games this season. And Gilbert has a PER of over 60.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2009 10:56 AM

When Grunfeld insists he needs a good veteran big man to give the team ten or twelve minutes a game as a backup, why do people keep insisting he sign guys like Drew Gooden or Hakeem Warrick? Neither of those players would be happy in that role. Oberto is what he's looking for.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2009 10:59 AM

Kal actually comes off like a fan to me, Samson as well pretty much basing opinions on logic.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 11:02 AM

I don't think Samson and Kal belong on your list. Don't recall "Derang."

@78: Nothing wrong with criticism and wanting to win it all, but you would withhold praise from any team short of the champion? BS.

Even so, this is a team that. could. go. all. the. way!

Posted by: 7snider7 | August 13, 2009 11:05 AM

I don't think any of us want to come in second but to be honest as a coach is my team wins 19 games thew pervious year and then gets to the eastern conf. champion ship or even finals without winning I have to look at that as remarkable improvement. Something EJ couldnt do when he had everyone healthy (I do like him though). It's something that makes the players hungrier hopefully and makes some of the younger ones realize it is truy a possibility and do their part.

As a coach I have had a team predicted to sweep championships in post season and with that one weakminded mentality that one athlete had of "who cares" or "I'll just do it this once" it brought down the whole dynamics of the team. So as long as they are all on the same page, give up the "I" for "we" and work hard I think they will be in good shape to set themselves up for a championship.

Note : I am NOT unpatriotic but I liked how Oberto was wearing our USA players out in international play and was not backing down. If he brings that mentality here and ruffs up Shaq and Howard a little it will add a lot of toughness to our inside game..He has six fouls might as well use them. Especially on those two who dnt shoot free throws the greatest.

Posted by: SkinzFan4lyfe | August 13, 2009 11:16 AM

Wow excuse all the spelling errors, I just got in from running and must be a little off!

Posted by: SkinzFan4lyfe | August 13, 2009 11:17 AM

Yes, I like Oberto because he's one of those really annoying defenders. The sort that doesn't pick up a lot of fouls but has a knack for getting the opposing player thinking about taking a swing at Oberto rather than putting the ball in the basket. I like those guys.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2009 11:31 AM

I like this team. I hope they make me have to get the NBA package this year.

Posted by: lavar609 | August 13, 2009 11:37 AM

Don't expect much from Oberto. Even when he "started" for the champion Spurs in '07, he averaged only 4.8 pts and 5.2 rebounds. His career 57% FG doesn't mean much either since he scored so little. Had his FG% dropped to a poor 33%, the outcome would only differ by 1 point! In addition, he is not a good FT shooter (60%), so opponents can just foul him when he is about to score.

I think he is just an insurance. If McGee plays well, Oberto will not be off the bench. Hopefully, he is a good influence in the locker room.

Posted by: sagaliba | August 13, 2009 11:39 AM

Interesting when you read Flip's comments, He talks about Gil,then he mentions adding Foye and Miller and next mentions the improvement of Critt as the first other player he talks about.

Larry and I have been telling you, don't sleep on Critt. The guy's working hard and he's got the talent to be a factor before the year's out.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 13, 2009 11:51 AM

I like what Flip is saying & doing. Traveling to meet with the players and Mentioning Critt's progress. All good team building tactics. Cassell's involvement will show the young guys how to play & act in the NBA.
Looking forward to that 50+ season.
Don't put me on that list of naysayers.

Posted by: VBFan | August 13, 2009 12:02 PM

Another day, another example of what an idiot Izman is.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 12:06 PM

"Kal actually comes off like a fan to me, Samson as well pretty much basing opinions on logic."

Logic is like kryptonite to some people. It leaves them crumpled in a heap, gasping for breath, babbling incoherently as they're overcome by waves of agony.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 12:08 PM

I was impressed by what Crittenton showed going back to last season, but I wouldn't make too much from Saunders making reference to him here. He was, after all, talking specifically about guard depth in case Arenas wasn't 100%, so the fact that he listed the three guys best suited to handle the ball and run the offense if Arenas is out just makes sense.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 12:14 PM

This is the year.....Skins, Wiz and Caps all in the playoffs. That's right, I said it.

Posted by: wizfan4 | August 13, 2009 12:20 PM

"I think he is just an insurance. If McGee plays well, Oberto will not be off the bench. Hopefully, he is a good influence in the locker room.
Posted by: sagaliba"

LOL -- you think Grunfeld was lying when he said he wanted Oberto for ten minutes or so a game?

Posted by: Samson151 | August 13, 2009 12:28 PM

This is the year.....Skins, Wiz and Caps all in the playoffs. That's right, I said it.

Maybe I should make my name Skinsfan78 and post on the Redskins Insider....because I'm always skeptical of them.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 12:49 PM

Good to see Flip is open to increasing the # in his rotation. That should mean minutes for Dm and Critt perhaps.

Also good to see that he recognizes that you have to rest guys. If Gil's knee is sore, rest him. We dont want to take any chances. The same rule should apply to Aj and CB. This is a playoff team. Let's allocate regular season minutes as if we intend to get to the playoffs and do some damage. We can still do that and win 50.

Posted by: original_mark | August 13, 2009 1:02 PM

It's worth noting that last season, 50 wins would have gotten them 4th seed. Not bad, as things go, but not exactly a big triumph, either. The number of wins isn't the real measure, it's where they finish relative to the pack going into the playoffs.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 1:15 PM

I think with all this backcourt depth we have the most important player to our success is now Jamison. If he for some reason is out for an extended period of time...we are SCREWED.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 1:22 PM

I thought DCMAN and Bullets78 were the same hater, er i mean, poster.

Oberto isnt a good defender so much as he's a master flopper. I hate that crap, but maybe my tune will change once those calls are going our way.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2009 1:30 PM

It's hard for me to see the wiz finish above Boston, Orlando, and Cleveland without a healthy Arenas.

If he is healthy and everyone follows Flips lead, then maybe we'll have a shot. We shall see...

Posted by: razorsharp1 | August 13, 2009 1:30 PM

Most recent scouting report on Oberto I could find:

2007-08 season: Though he turned 33 in March, Oberto showed he's still getting the hang of this NBA thing by improving his numbers for a third straight season. He hit 60.8 percent of his shots from the floor and sharply improved his assist and turnover numbers, and was a major force on the boards. Though he rarely shot -- only two power forwards had lower usage rates -- he was fourth at his position in TS%, fifth in assist ratio, seventh in offensive rebound rate and seventh in pure point rating.

He also received an Academy Award and two Emmy nominations. Oberto is a shameless flopper who drew 33 offensive fouls last season; in his case, most of them aren't the traditional let-a-guard-run-into-you offensive foul but rather the result of hand fighting and other Jedi tricks off the ball. Oberto loves to grab an opponent's arm and then snap his head back violently when he gets a response, and officials take the bait surprisingly often. In one early-season game, he got L.A.'s Andrew Bynum so upset with this tactic that Bynum was ejected.

Scouting report: Oberto almost never attempts to score one-on-one and rarely shoots from outside. Instead, his game is about cutting off the ball to receive a pass at the basket. He's very good at reading openings when opponents double-team Tim Duncan or help against Manu Ginobili and catching a dish for a layup, and gets nearly all his baskets this way. He's mediocre at best as a shooter and doesn't elevate well near the rim, but he's very good at tapping out offensive rebounds.

Defensively, Oberto does a decent job throwing his weight around and helps out on the boards, but he doesn't block shots and isn't a particularly good weakside defender. His main attribute is frustrating opposing post players with his grabby style.

2008-09 outlook: Oberto will be in a time-share with Kurt Thomas at the "center" spot for San Antonio, and while it's unlikely he'll hit 60 percent from the floor again he should still be a high-percentage opportunist who takes advantage of the openings created by Duncan and Ginobili. Though there has to be concern about a 33-year-old role player suddenly losing it, in Oberto's case he's not depending on his leaping or quickness in the first place so there shouldn't be too much of a drop-off.

Most similar at age: Otis Thorpe

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 1:33 PM

just because oberto is argentinian doesn't make him a flopper. He's come across as a pretty tough, hard-nosed defender, as I recall. I haven't seen a bunch of San Antonio games (I've tried but I fall asleep), so please correct me if I'm wrong.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | August 13, 2009 1:39 PM

Funny how some of you people claim to be relying on "logic" as you predict the future. Since some of you guys have trashed virtually every player on the team as being lazy bums and/or talentless hacks, does that mean if the Wiz make a deep run in the playoffs, you'll be exposed as logic-challenged morons who don't know jack about basketball?

Or (more likely) will you compensate for your stupidity with personal attacks, name-calling, and willful amnesia as you board the Wiz bandwagon, braying loudly about how much smarter you are than everyone else?

I'm excited about this team, the national media is excited about this team, and I look forward to a fun and successful season. In particular, I look forward to watching Flip get quality production out of the talented bunch on our roster--proving once and for all that EJ mishandled the team and deserved to be canned. Some of you guys clearly expect (maybe even hope?) that the team fails (after all, you've painted yourselves into a corner, so Wiz sucess equates to you looking like a know-nothing idiot). Not sure I'd call that being a "fan".

Posted by: Plix | August 13, 2009 1:40 PM

Like the signing of Oberto who clearly is a team player as demonstrated during his team in San Antonio. Like DSong, he'll do a lot of the dirty work in setting picks and screens off the ball to free up our our shooters for open shots. He's also a legit 6 10" with some quickness and is a good interior defender. The fact that he's willing to come here knowing he may only play 10-12 minutes a night shows he wants to win.

I see this Wiz roster as having more depth of any team they've fielded this decade. Although the team's ability to go far in the playoffs depends on how close Agent Zero is to 100%, there is enough quality veteran depth for the team to withstand the usual nicks and minor injuries that crop up during the season. Also, Flip will have the luxury of limiting the playing time of Arenas, Butler, and Jamison so they are more effective in the 4th quarter and later in the season. This was always a problem under Eddie when we played those guys 40+ minutes a night because they was a lack of reliable bench players.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 13, 2009 1:51 PM

The number of wins isn't the real measure, it's where they finish relative to the pack going into the playoffs.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 1:15 PM

Wrong again it have far they go in the playoffs. Who cares if they finish 1st in the eastern conference and lose in the first round?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 13, 2009 1:54 PM

What's the ceiling for this team when all pieces are healthy? I think 55 wins is possible.

Posted by: t-train | August 13, 2009 1:56 PM

"Funny how some of you people claim to be relying on "logic" as you predict the future."

As opposed to those of you who attempt to predict the future based on blind subjective emotion?

"In particular, I look forward to watching Flip get quality production out of the talented bunch on our roster--proving once and for all that EJ mishandled the team and deserved to be canned."

Case in point . . . Jordan's supposed "mishandling" of the team resulted in 4 straight postseason appearances, something the franchise had not done in two decades (at least). And whatever Saunders does with this team has utterly no relevance to what Jordan did, because the team Saunders has isn't the same one Jordan had.

Predict the future? You can't even seem to properly predict the past.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 1:57 PM

"Who cares if they finish 1st in the eastern conference and lose in the first round?"

No one, which is, of course, exactly my point. The goal is playoff success. And seeding (i.e., their relative position compared to the other teams in the conference) will have a much bigger determining effect than a randomly assigned number of regular season victories.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 2:01 PM

As an avowed homer, I still think it's possible to understand what you are looking at. There's nobody here touting every player on the roster as God's gift.

Myself- sky high on healthy Gil, Caron, 'Tawn, Foye, and Skinny.

Satisfied with '07 Haywood

Optimistic about Critt and Javale

Fine with Deshawn as long as he doesnt shoot much.

Not holdin my breath over AB or NY

dont care either way about Oberto

and

Who is mike james?

Quite possible to be a pumped up homer AND a realist!

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2009 2:05 PM

Who's "Skinny"?

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 2:08 PM

Mike Miller's nickname at Florida was 'Skinny'...not sure anyone calls him that now tho

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2009 2:11 PM

Yeah, now that you mention it, he was kind of a beanpole coming into the NBA.

I think this team has the potential to be very good, but potential and actuality are two towns separated by a long hard stretch of road.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 2:19 PM

Unfortunately no matter how I spin it to myself...more is riding on Blatche's development than I would like. My personal opinion is he doesnt have what it takes and never will, but boy do I hope I'm wrong.

Still, if this team is relatively healthy, the turnaround from a 19 win season to 2nd round of playoffs (let's say) in Flip's very first season would have to be considered a success. With much more expected to follow.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2009 2:27 PM

I can predict the future with a 50% rate of accuracy.

To show you how good I am I will make a sample prediction: Tomorrow Kalorama will become involved in a fight with another poster. During the fight Kal will once again impress all with his superior intellect,and manage to demean and diminish the inferior intellcect of the other poster.

The only way this prediction will fail to come true if Kal decides not to visit the site.

If that happens I predict we'll all have a much more pleasant day...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 13, 2009 2:36 PM

Flip will have the luxury of limiting the playing time of Arenas, Butler, and Jamison so they are more effective in the 4th quarter and later in the season. This was always a problem under Eddie when we played those guys 40+ minutes a night because they was a lack of reliable bench players.

I couldn't agree more. If we can get their minutes down and keep them fresh, hopefully the hamstring and strain injuries won't be so frequent.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 2:38 PM

I half agree with you on Blatche. He's given me little reason to be optimistic about his chances or give him the benefit of the doubt. But if all of the other pieces fall into place, I can see them succeeding with a big contribution from him. The big difference between this season and previous ones is that if Blatche pulls up lame, the coach has other options at his disposal.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 2:39 PM

Make that: "I can see them succeeding without a big contribution from him (Blatche)."

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 2:41 PM

Ahhh! I love the smell of fresh hypocrisy in the morning.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 2:42 PM

I'm holding out for this season with Blatche. He's still young and was terribly immature. I expect to see major progress this year and a big breakthrough next season.

Hopefully he will still be here when and if it happens.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 2:48 PM

As a long suffering season ticket holder I am cautiously optimistic. Certainly the depth at the 1-2-3 positions is excellent and can rank with any team. However I am still concerned about the interior defense, rebounding and general toughness at the 4 & 5. Haywood exceeded everyone's expectations in 07-08 and his absence last year was catastrophic to the overall defense. But he has never been a 10 rpg guy. Antawn is terrific at what he does but defense is obviously not his strength. I feel it will be the continued development of Blatche, JaVale and Dominic that will determine whether this team can go deep into the playoffs. Remember playoff time is half court defensive basketball and while I feel Oberto will help and was a very worthwhile signing, the Wiz are still vulnerable on the boards unless Blatche and JaVale make significant progress.

Posted by: camlot2822 | August 13, 2009 2:55 PM

There should be no shortage of options for Flip depending on how these guys do or dont develop. Team is so heavy with guards who can score, you'd like to think a 2nd unit showing Mcgee/AB in the frontcourt could still be effective...even if Mcgee still cant score and Blatche is his usual self.

AB could do his best John Salley imitation and be very productive for what we need this season...if Flips tells him to and he buys in

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2009 3:01 PM

Kal will once again impress all with his superior intellect

GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 13, 2009 2:36 PM

GM,

The only problem is the guy knows nothing about basketball.

There are fans on here who root for the team but don't understand the concepts of matchups, chemistry, playing "D' and it's not just getting 20 pts a night.

Espn has ruined sports because the players today only care about making the highlights and not enough about winning.

It took Kobe a couple of years to learn he wasn't going to win a championship by trying to make the Lakers all about him.

Hopefully Flip can teach the players how the game is supposed to be played.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 13, 2009 3:06 PM

I actually think McGee could be a factor on offense in Saunders' system. His length, quickness, and athleticism could be a big asset in allowing him to get the ball off movement going to the rim. With Arenas back, Miller and Foye on-board, and the development of Crittenton, they have guards who can and will look to move the ball. It's up to the bigs to work themselves into position where they can catch and finish, because I still don't see any low post, back-to-the basket, dump down guys on this roster.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 3:06 PM

Well, I think kalo_rama is a very clever writer so I do enjoy the repartee, even though he clearly loathes most of us heathens on this board. So I hope he doesn't go post elsewhere.

Old 78 and 88, though, they just don't make any sense. They should start their own blog for haters.

I've got to believe that Ernie eventually will shop Mike James and his expiring contract to some team for a future second-rounder. I'd like to see Stevenson come back strong, but I don't see him getting many minutes in this mix.

I also am excited for this season. Oberto is the perfect final piece for a deep team with a lot of potential. If we stay healthy, we will be very hard to beat in Flip's uptempo transition game.

Posted by: zinger1 | August 13, 2009 3:07 PM

'I feel it will be the continued development of Blatche, JaVale and Dominic that will determine whether this team can go deep into the playoffs.'

With all the buzz on new players, I keep forgetting mcguire! Kid did yeoman's work last year, he put Young and Blatche to shame in terms of professionalism and earned his PT.

He can at least guard the 4spot if AB doesnt step up like we need him.

With almost no scoring burden, Mcguire should be able to thrive just defending, rebounding, and hustling.

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2009 3:09 PM

Don't forget that Saunders has Sam presently working with McGuire,Young and McGuire which can only work to the advantage of the Wizards. I think having Sam as an assistant is going to play huge dividends in terms of younger player developement. He worked with Young over the summer and you could see the different level of play displayed by Young. I'm very encouraged by what I have seen thus far.

Posted by: ivyleague | August 13, 2009 3:11 PM

"There are fans on here who root for the team but don't understand the concepts of matchups, chemistry, playing "D' and it's not just getting 20 pts a night."

And with that, '78 conclusively proves that in addition to lacking sense both basketball and common, he also lacks any sense of irony as well.

Please, regale us again with tales of how they should have spent $12 mill (including lux tax penalty) on Big Baby Davis. Or better yet, tell us more about how a guy who broke down in tears on the bench during a playoff game because the team leader scolded him for not hustling hard enough would be perfect to provide the Wiz with "toughness on the front line."

You can't pay someone to write this stuff.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 3:13 PM

Fatty Davis and Drew Gooden sobbing uncontrollably at midcourt while collecting plus sized paychecks screams of Les Curse, would have been a likely scenario circa 1998.

But no more!

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2009 3:23 PM

And with that, '78 conclusively proves that in addition to lacking sense both basketball and common, he also lacks any sense of irony as well.

Please, regale us again with tales of how they should have spent $12 mill (including lux tax penalty) on Big Baby Davis. Or better yet, tell us more about how a guy who broke down in tears on the bench during a playoff game because the team leader scolded him for not hustling hard enough would be perfect to provide the Wiz with "toughness on the front line."

You can't pay someone to write this stuff.

I swear you beat me to it. LMAO

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 3:26 PM

...reading between the lines, I think was Flip was also saying is the players the Wiz now have will no longer be asked to play positions and do things they are really the best at doing. Case in point CB will no longer have to pretend he is a 2 and be exposed, DMac can be put in a position just to rebound and D 15 feet and in, and AB never has to put the ball on the floor 20 feet from the rim. It looks they have enough talent now to win big with each guy just playing within his extreme comfort zone. And they clearly now have a coach who is already showing more leadership and interpersonal communications skills than they have ever saw under EJ.

Posted by: oddjob1 | August 13, 2009 3:35 PM

"Ahh, I love the smell of fresh hypocrisy in the morning" Kal 2:42 PM

Ahh,,,Gee, Kal, living in your own little world, with your own time zone. Time to wake up and smell the coffee...

78' I can always tell the posters on here that have a wit of court sense. B Rev, Darnell, and Larry keep it real around here.

Kal, he's just real...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 13, 2009 3:48 PM

"Ahh,,,Gee, Kal, living in your own little world, with your own time zone. Time to wake up and smell the coffee..."

Or, conversely, it might be time for you to pull your head out of the sand (or wherever you're keeping it) long enough to make a passing enough acquaintance with the outside world to recognize a play on a widely famous movie quote. I know you love to try and milk sympathy out of your being a broken down old shut-in, but there's this thing called netflix that will deliver movies right to your house.

Something to think about.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 3:54 PM

I don't think anyone is going to stop AB from putting the ball on the floor ... but maybe someone will get him to LOOK first! He's really a very clever ball handler and passer, but he's downright stupid in the decision-making department.

I think Flip will want him to grab the rebound and initiate the break ... but he should keep his head up and pass rather than dribble into trouble.

I would just like to see him work harder on defense and rebounding, then everything else will come.

Posted by: zinger1 | August 13, 2009 4:14 PM

Wow...Didn't even have to wait til tomorrow...

Got to get back to work now, no more time for poking a stick at Kal.

Oh, and Kal, out here in the Boonies we have this thing called Direct TV. Us old shut in's, we's just have to push a button on the Radio Control for our TV machine and out pops a movie.

We'ins don't even have to saddle up the mule and ride down to Mail Box for that ole fashion'd Netflix...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 13, 2009 4:17 PM

Poster: "Look how blue the sky is today. I'm confident the Wiz will get the luck of a blue bird this season".

Kalorama: "You are obviously confused. The sky is composed of gases and a few other materials, which have no color.

The blue color you see is due to Rayleigh scattering. The sky is not blue.

And there is no such thing as a blue bird in basketball, or elsewhere. The Wiz will suffer as usual, and AB will be arrested for indecent exposure and JM will quit the Wiz to pursue a career in video broadcasting".

Who said this guy wasn't negative???

Posted by: Izman | August 13, 2009 4:31 PM

"Ahh,,,Gee, Kal, living in your own little world, with your own time zone. Time to wake up and smell the coffee..." -GM

GM,
It would have been more apt if Kal, who later alludes to the actual source, had used the verbatim, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" being that he is the most quotable flamer on this blog.
Blog flaming is I think, accepted decorum for blogs and Kal's piquant barbs are nicely composed, which is a saving grace and they are, by my reckoning, soundly based in hoops fact and reality as well; often not the case with other posters.

"AB never has to put the ball on the floor 20 feet from the rim. It looks they have enough talent now to win big with each guy just playing within his extreme comfort zone." -oddjob1

Whether AB wants to bring the ball up court is more a question of Blatche's judgment than circumstantial necessity. The team apparently now has a pool of diverse and complementary talent, perhaps only lacking that low post, back to the basket presence that many have cited. Whether the players and coaches can combine the components into a sum greater than the parts is the question.

Arenas' health and recovery are certainly central to the Wizards' chances but equally so whether he can, like Blatche, as you suggest, "play within himself" or within his capabilities. We know Arenas can light up for 60 points but does he have the wisdom to recognize and utilize the talent around him?

Now that he's got the supporting cast, he's going to have to make that leap for the Wizard's to move beyond the one and done syndrome.

Posted by: midlevex | August 13, 2009 4:46 PM

As I said before, EJ got fired for almost the same thing MeShawn said.

MeShawn is basically giving himself and his highly paid teammates a first class ticket to the lottery this season if Gilby goes out.

Excuses like that should not be acceptable, and that is why MeShawn is not good for this team.

Stop using Gilby's injury as a crutch.

As many know, two seasons ago, they went to the playoffs without him.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 13, 2009 5:49 PM

Eight hours later. Izman still appears to be no less an idiot than he was this morning. in a world of turmoil, there's something to be said for consistency.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 6:09 PM

,i>"I don't think anyone is going to stop AB from putting the ball on the floor ... but maybe someone will get him to LOOK first! He's really a very clever ball handler and passer, but he's downright stupid in the decision-making department."

"Whether AB wants to bring the ball up court is more a question of Blatche's judgment than circumstantial necessity."

Which is exactly the problem. It isn't a question of what he's capable of doing, it's a question if what he's willing to do. And he continually shows no willingness to learn from his mistakes.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 13, 2009 6:12 PM

The day the Wizards win a chapionship I will be the first one on here giving them praise.

I am not the type of person who settles for 2nd place.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 13, 2009 10:50 AM

NOW WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE! YOU'RE LEBRON JAMES!

Posted by: kevin_22879 | August 13, 2009 6:15 PM

EJ got fired because he wasnt ernie's guy, openly questioned the talent level of the players ernie assembled, and instituted bizarro-world rotations that seemed more based on punishing goof-offs than seeing what kind of players we had.

That said, I liked him and think ol'Red himself couldnt have gotten this past years squad 35 wins.

EJ was part of bringing the franchise back to respectability and consistent postseason appearances after years in the wastelands. Doff of the cap.

Now Flip his here though, and his past accomplishments are on an entirely other level to what we've done before. Time for the franchise to take leap forward into serious contention for the East. Maybe not this season, but most certainly thereafter

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2009 6:18 PM

bingo on AB. It's not that he doesnt know better than to try and go coast-to-coast only to dribble off his shoe...it's that he WANTS to do it. For whatever reason, he sees himself as capable of anything and everything- as evidenced in the often ridiculously difficult reverses and spins he executes around the rim, when a dunk would have sufficed.

Flip's gotta drive it into his head to develop a go-to move in the paint, rebound, defend...then watch success come his way

Posted by: divi3 | August 13, 2009 6:22 PM

I think with all this backcourt depth we have the most important player to our success is now Jamison. If he for some reason is out for an extended period of time...we are SCREWED.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 1:22 PM
______

I have to absolutely disagree with this post. As currently constructed, the player we can least afford to lose any significant time ala last season is BTH. The season is done if that happens. McGee and Oberto playing major mins at center would be a disaster. Without Jamison, there is AB, McGuire, some McGee and Oberto. So, while that does not replace Jamison there is enough scoring on the team already and other things we actually gain if he is out like size.

Speaking of Oberto, I love all the "don't expect much from him" and then the listing of stats. First, nobody is expecting "much" of him. Second, even though he is basically insurance and an option at backup center based on match-ups, he is a very solid player. More so than his stats would suggest. There are things like size, IQ, positioning, and toughness that don't show up on the stat sheet. Most of those traits are sorely missed from our young front court players.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 13, 2009 6:57 PM

47 days.... Cant wait till training camp opens.

Posted by: jeremydvid | August 13, 2009 7:02 PM

I have to absolutely disagree with this post. As currently constructed, the player we can least afford to lose any significant time ala last season is BTH. The season is done if that happens. McGee and Oberto playing major mins at center would be a disaster. Without Jamison, there is AB, McGuire, some McGee and Oberto. So, while that does not replace Jamison there is enough scoring on the team already and other things we actually gain if he is out like size.

Understandable...but honestly I'm more comfortable with Blatche playing C with Haywood missing time. As I type this I'm remembering last season now...Geez I just hope we're healthy.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 7:19 PM

We know what we'll get from GA,BH, AJ, DS,CB, Foye, Miller, Oberto & McGuire.

Young, Blatche & McGee are the keys to the success of this season. If they come out and show that they are grown up and ready to play NBA level ball every game then the sky's the limit. Flip has his work to do.
Mike nice job.

Posted by: VBFan | August 13, 2009 7:57 PM

Understandable...but honestly I'm more comfortable with Blatche playing C with Haywood missing time. As I type this I'm remembering last season now...Geez I just hope we're healthy.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 13, 2009 7:19 PM
______

lol...exactly. Big gaping hole in the middle without BTH. Although I think Oberto is a better stop gap option than anybody we had last year. Relying on McGee for anything other than flashes of good play and erratic mins is asking too much of him still, IMO. He is still probably 2 years away from being a consistent player. He is what all of 20 years old still.

I do, however, expect to see some good things out of Blatche. For as much flak as Blatche gets in here and most of it deserved, he *has* improved every year. Maybe not as most would like, but even his consistency has improved ever so slightly. So, this year with a coach he seems to respect/like and other options available to limit his mins if he does not produce, I think he may just live up to his potential more than he has thus far. One can hope!

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 13, 2009 9:10 PM

Rphill721, what was that big rowe about we had way back. I don't remember. But, 721, even though I don't remember what it was, I have always checked your post since then and I must say you are pretty damn good.

We were going back and forth late in the night and someone said to us to knock it off, because we were both level headed posters or something to that effect.

I apologized but I don't think you ever did, but I must admit, I think I got you a bit hot.

But, no apology is required. Keep up the good postings. (and others of course)

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 14, 2009 12:55 AM

lol, Larry....I can't recall, but it's probably true. Don't know that I've ever gotten "hot" from anything in here even when called names. The way I see it if you have someone calling you names in a freaking blog thread then you've probably won that argument. But, it's not my style and I don't hold grudges ever. However, there are a couple posters in here that are quite annoying and have nothing much of interest to say ever.

I think my last post I was trying to break the record for use of the word "still". Ooops...just reread it and it sounds stupid. Apologies!

By the way, thx for the compliment, Larry.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 14, 2009 1:35 AM

We know what we'll get from GA,BH, AJ, DS,CB, Foye, Miller, Oberto & McGuire.

Young, Blatche & McGee are the keys to the success of this season. If they come out and show that they are grown up and ready to play NBA level ball every game then the sky's the limit. Flip has his work to do.
Mike nice job.

Posted by: VBFan | August 13, 2009 7:57 PM
_______

Depends on what your definition of "success" is? Based on what we already know, which is nice play in spurts from those 3, we will be successful. Now, if your talking about being in the mix for a championship, then we probably need one of them to step up their game. And as currently constructed, the team would benefit most if that player were AB. If he is a consistent 22 min 12 pt 6 rb guy every night who maintains focus and hustle, look out! Surprised he shot 47% from the field last year when looking at his stats. Not bad.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 14, 2009 1:56 AM

Since Blatche managed to put up 10 pts. and about 5 1/2 rebounds last year, and was playing out of position a majority of his minutes, another incremental improvement in his game is to be expected.

What shouldn't be expected, and is nearly laughable, is all the next "Garnett" talk. Garnett's don't last until the second round, even if when NBA scouts were trying to evaluate HS players.

There's not many surprises or late bloomers amoung the near 7' club. Who was the last big man to come out of no where?

HS, College, AAU, and any guy that wants to find a hidden talent, are searching the world for these guys. Every kid that puts on a sudden growth spurt, and looks like he might be taller then normal, gets a ball thurst in their hands by age 14 at the latest.

There are just no 7' surprises, Stu Vetter finds them all.

Blatche has the ability to become a decent NBA starter. He's a completely different type of big man, but his upside is a whole lot closer to Perkins from Boston then Garnett.

Blatche is a longer,leaner, more finesess type of player, he's not the physical banger like Perkins. But Blatche has the ability, and has been slowly moving toward being a solid NBA player. But like Perkins, he's no Garnett. And shouldn't be expected to be.

Blatche and Butler were two guys that played completely out of their comfort level last year to try and help the team. Songaila was the guy that was put into a role he was completely unequipped to handle.

I think Flip is determined to not ask guys to play heavy minutes out of the role that their talents dictate.

Oberto is here to fill a very specific role, if Haywood is healthy, and McGee and Blatche get out of the gate well, we may see very little of him the first half of the season.

But down the stretch when the games get rougher, Oberto will be there to mix it up down low. Until then, he'll do his most important work in practice, the guy has great footwork in the lane, where every thing is about gaining leverage. And he has the strength to take advantage of a guy once he gets him where he wants him.

I can't think of a better guy for the Wiz to have brought in to work on McGee and Blatche in camp. Sometimes the best "Big Man" coach is that vet that will make a young guy have work harder in practice.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 14, 2009 8:11 AM

Relying on McGee for anything other than flashes of good play and erratic mins is asking too much of him still, IMO. He is still probably 2 years away from being a consistent player. He is what all of 20 years old still.

I do, however, expect to see some good things out of Blatche. For as much flak as Blatche gets in here and most of it deserved, he *has* improved every year. Maybe not as most would like, but even his consistency has improved ever so slightly. So, this year with a coach he seems to respect/like and other options available to limit his mins if he does not produce, I think he may just live up to his potential more than he has thus far. One can hope!

I agree 115% especially on McGee. I think he'll improve but he's not even done growing yet...and he's still learning how to play the position. The consistency will come in a couple years. Blatche is still 22! He has a modest contract and is getting better, maybe not as fast as some would like but when it clicks...it's gonna be nice.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 14, 2009 8:32 AM

If Mcgee starts flopping I will start a "Cut Oberto" petition.

Sorry, cant stands flopping.

Posted by: divi3 | August 14, 2009 8:44 AM

If Mcgee starts flopping I will start a "Cut Oberto" petition.

Sorry, cant stands flopping.

But if he gets under D12's skin, gets him ejected or in foul trouble. I will sell my soul to the devil and begin liking it. LOL

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 14, 2009 9:14 AM

Without Haywood, the wizards can make the playoffs. Without Arenas, they won't make it past the first round. I don't want to hear that crap that they made it without Arenas the year before. The reason they missed it last year was not Haywood being injured, it was because BOTH Arenas and Haywood were injured.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 14, 2009 9:57 AM

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