From 29th to ... Eighth?

When the Wizards introduced Fabricio Oberto a few weeks ago, Ernie Grunfeld was asked about all of the additions that he made this summer and said, "We're probably as talented as we've been since we've been here, for sure."


We're moving on up. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Grunfeld went on to mention how, in addition to Mike Miller, Randy Foye and Oberto, the team is also going to add three injured players from last season (Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson). He also singled out the summer progressions of Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche. "By the way, we're talking about those nine players and we still haven't said anything about Caron [Butler] and Antawn [Jamison] -- and they're all-stars," Grunfeld said with a grin. "I think Flip [Saunders] is raising the bar for us. His addition is very important with the things he brings to the table. A lot of things are working out in our favor."

I've already made the case that this Wizards team is the deepest one this decade, given the talent and versatility on the roster. With Arenas drawing rave reviews for his summer workouts with Tim Grover in Chicago, there is plenty of reason for optimism after an awful 2008-09 campaign.

The thing about Grunfeld's tinkering this summer is that the moves he made weren't just motivated by a 19-63 season; he was looking at improving the previous three playoff teams which flamed out against Cleveland in the first round.

"There were a couple of things I thought needed improving," Grunfeld said. Versatility. Getting more size in the backcourt and getting a pop off the bench for us."

He addressed those concerns, but in other conversations with Grunfeld, he's told me that he also wanted to improve the Wizards' three-point shooting, after the team finished 29th in that category last season (and seriously, the Wizards haven't had a consistent knock down shooter, probably, since Tim Legler). He also got somewhat of an Arenas insurance policy with Foye and a Butler insurance policy with Miller. Arenas has missed most of the past two seasons with a left knee injury, but it should also be noted that Butler has missed 58 games the past three seasons. The Wizards might be able to hold on without one all-star, but certainly not two.

Now, it seems that at least one national writer believes that the Wizards are capable of making a gigantic leap up the NBA standings next season. In his summer power rankings, Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix has the Wizards as the eighth-best team in the NBA behind San Antonio, Cleveland, the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston, Orlando, Portland and Denver. He also has them ahead of Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta and Utah. Mannix writes:

Assuming Gilbert Arenas is healthy -- a big if for a player who has had three knee surgeries and appeared in only 15 games over the last two seasons -- the Wizards should rocket near the top of the East. New coach Flip Saunders will maximize the Wizards' offensive potential, which is bigger thanks to the additions of Mike Miller and Randy Foye. When Washington is clicking, few teams will be able to keep pace.

This is a projection based on the way things look today, but barring any major trades, no free agent signing between now and training camp will dramatically change the NBA landscape. But going from 29th to eighth is a huge improvement for a team that hasn't had home-court advantage in the first round since 1979. Is this finally the year?


By Michael Lee |  August 26, 2009; 2:04 PM ET
Previous: Big Gheorghe Muresan Also Going to China | Next: Lessons From Detroit Sparked Flip's Summer

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1st...

Posted by: Gooddad | August 26, 2009 2:55 PM

I'd like to go on record as saying that no matter how many injuries the Wiz have this season, they will not cancel any games. I'd stake my reputation on it -- such as it is.

So there.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 26, 2009 3:00 PM

Hopefully the Wiz will be as good as projected because most of us around here are going to need something to distract us from the miserable forthcoming Skins season.

Atlanta may be better than the Wiz. They've got everything a team could want except discipline. On the other hand, the Boston Celtics should be on the decline, but I'm not sure the Wiz are better at this stage.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | August 26, 2009 3:03 PM

6-12 sounds about right.

Does another 1st round playoff loss mean the team needs to start rebuilding?

The only thing us fans can do is wait and see?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 26, 2009 3:05 PM

It's a good thing that our rooks got lots of play-time during last years lost season under Tapscott. Oh-wait, that didn't happen.

I hope the new coaching staff can repair the damage from the Jordan/Tapscott era.

Posted by: closg | August 26, 2009 3:34 PM

Still drinking the kool-aid.

Most potent offense the NBA has seen since Phoenix 06-07 and 55+ wins.

Cleveland does not match up well with the Wiz.

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | August 26, 2009 3:37 PM

I have high hopes for the Wizards and hope Arenas comes up really big even though I've bashed him a few times. I might even attend a few games to feed the beast if they are on a winning run. I still believe the anchor of the Wizards is the duo of Butler and Jamison.

Go Wizards!

Posted by: johnmoran1 | August 26, 2009 3:45 PM

I rank them where they finished last year, 29th...thats where they are right now. The year the skins had Deion, Bruce Smith, and a host of other "pro bowlers" they tanked. Wiz look great on paper, but until a game is played, big shots are made, and 10-15 game win stikes are on hand, they remain 29th.

Posted by: Gooddad | August 26, 2009 4:14 PM

Size in the backcourt and 3-point shooting and insurance policies for Butler and Arenas are all well and good but at the end of the day the frontcourt looks fragile and limited to an extent. I may be going out on a limb by myself here but I honestly think the key to this season will not be Agent Zero's return or the additions of Foye and Miller or Flip Saunders - - - nope. Key to this season is Blatche and Haywood. Those two dudes need to protect the paint and need to be able to punish teams that try to double Antawn and Caron and Gil. If Brendan and Andray don't take it up a notch its another first round exit watch.

Posted by: blackman1 | August 26, 2009 4:14 PM

6-12 sounds about right.

Does another 1st round playoff loss mean the team needs to start rebuilding?

The only thing us fans can do is wait and see?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 26, 2009 3:05 PM
---------------

No, we can also b***h and moan about it on the internet. Like, constantly.

Posted by: IrenePollin | August 26, 2009 4:26 PM

blackman1: I totally agree with you (well, depending on who they play in the 1st round, but those two definitely have a chance to make a big difference).

Posted by: IrenePollin | August 26, 2009 4:29 PM

No, we can also b***h and moan about it on the internet. Like, constantly.


Posted by: IrenePollin | August 26, 2009 4:26 PM

I'm sorry I forgot...if you disagree with the front office that means you can't be a fan.

Who runs the PR for this organization? Karl Rove?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 26, 2009 4:48 PM

No, we can also b***h and moan about it on the internet. Like, constantly.


Posted by: IrenePollin | August 26, 2009 4:26 PM

Others along for the ride include.....Ed Tapscott, the team's director of player programs, and assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr.

This is as bad as George W. giving George Tenet the Presidential Medal of Freedom after saying Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

What's going on in the world where people who screw up get rewarded?

I know, it's the people who play their part and don't speak out against the organization who get rewarded.


Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 26, 2009 11:24 AM

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 26, 2009 4:50 PM

blackman1
I think it comes down to just Brendan and the development of Javale.
If Haywood goes down and there is no one to pick up the slack, then it won't be pretty.

Posted by: VBFan | August 26, 2009 4:51 PM

The old adage DEFENSE wins championships has not changed. I see no improvement in that area. The good news is that we shed some salaries and may have some flexibility in 2010 to add some defense. We should finish with the 5th or 6th seed (Atlanta is better in my opinion) but get knocked out in the first or second rounds. Will that make us fans happy????

Posted by: wizfanatic | August 26, 2009 5:21 PM

The only thing we can be sure that the Wiz will be lacking this year is player programs, whatever that is. Talk about cronyism.

Can we just leave Taps in China for recruitment?

Posted by: Izman | August 26, 2009 5:21 PM

I rank them where they finished last year, 29th...thats where they are right now. The year the skins had Deion, Bruce Smith, and a host of other "pro bowlers" they tanked. Wiz look great on paper, but until a game is played, big shots are made, and 10-15 game win stikes are on hand, they remain 29th.

Posted by: Gooddad | August 26, 2009 4:14 PM

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

I realize not everyone here can be a sports analyst, but you're not really even doing a good job of being an armchair analyst...there's not a single respectable source placing the Wizards anywhere near 29.

And there's not a whole lot of reasonable parallels between that redskins team and this wizards team...we haven't "bought" a team, we've been building one. Mike Miller and Randy Foye are a far cry from Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders.

I know last year sucked, but have a little optimism here...

Posted by: crs-one | August 26, 2009 5:21 PM

Yes, there is a huge amount of pressure on Brandan now that there is no clear backup if he goes down. The same could be said for most teams though. There's at least one or two cogs that are essential and who's injury would spell a huge drop in a team's potential.

One thing that isn't mentioned often, but I think is important when evaluating EG's moves this offseason, is the position he's put us in for next year. MM is only on the books this year. If NY comes along and can take over that spot.. we can just let MM walk and help our cap a ton. MJ comes off the books next year. If Foye works out then we extend him a contract and assume we're set at the 2 for years. If he isn't the answer then we let him walk. Brendon is in a contract year, so we're going to need to either spend a good bit to keep him OR find a suitable replacement. It's going to be tight, but EG has put us in position to not be in terrible trouble next year in terms of the cap.

We've got our top 3 guys tied up for several years and yet we're in for another interesting offseason next year. EG will have a new set of options.

Posted by: jon_quest | August 26, 2009 5:28 PM

Flip's track record speaks for itself, and there is plenty of talent on this roster. If Gil is 100%, you can argue we have the most talented roster (offensively) in the league.

And yeah, I know defense wins Championships.

But offense can win you 50+ games and get you into the Conf Finals, where anything can happen. And there's not a single wizards fan out there who shouldnt be thrilled with that prospect.

Posted by: divi3 | August 26, 2009 6:12 PM

Divi3,

Well said. I think your dead on and I also think that Flip will improve our defense somewhat to middle of the pack. If we lose in the conference finals or to a very good team in the semis after a seventh game, then I think we are still on track with the probable 2/3 year window with this core of players.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 26, 2009 7:04 PM

The old adage DEFENSE wins championships has not changed. I see no improvement in that area.

Posted by: wizfanatic | August 26, 2009 5:21 PM

Uh...they haven't played yet, not even in preseason, so it's too early for you to have "seen" anything. Though I don't think this is a team that will be noted for defense, I do expect it will play better defense than we've seen in the recent past, especially in the post-season.

Posted by: 7snider7 | August 26, 2009 7:35 PM

Again.....yes deep, deep in mediocrity.

Grunfeld wanted to improve the team, but didn't do anything to improve the defense.

I think Les BouleS will be a good team, but nowhere near a championship caliber team.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 26, 2009 7:42 PM

I find it strange that I haven't seen any comments this afternoon from the folks COMPLETELY BLASTING Grunfeld on draft night for passing on Rubio..

"Cheap", "[racist comment]", "stupid"

(crickets)

What a DISASTER that would have been, completely wasting this key year from a asset/draft perspective.

Posted by: kidbrosweets | August 26, 2009 8:05 PM

It is pretty easy to see and to say that these Wizards will make the playoffs this year if reasonable healthy, but how far they go after that is hard to determine.

I really think that how far they go depends on how much improvement they get from Blatche and McGee.

Posted by: cannontl | August 26, 2009 9:45 PM

If Arenas shows up to play, this team can reach new heights. Maybe even top 4 in the East. It's extremely important for Arenas to establish himself as a bonifide NBA superstar. That will help the Wizards in the tough games against the NBA's favorite TV teams. You know the ones!!! We all know this league is slanted towards the top stars and their teams. Can we say "Muppet Commercials??!!!!" With our own SUPERSTAR, it can neutralize and balance the playing field. I'm a hometown guy who supports ALL the hometown teams!!!! Go Wiz, Shins, Caps, Nats, United!!!!

Posted by: jpjohnjr65 | August 26, 2009 9:57 PM

jpjohn, do you really think that Arenas has to play at a "superstar" level? I'm not so sure he was ever a superstar to begin with, so I don't think it is reasonable to have that expectation. I am of the belief that he has to be willing to pass up shots that he would have taken in the past in order to get his teammates more involved. This is not to say that he should not be assertive at the end of the shot clock and during end of game situations.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | August 26, 2009 11:01 PM

They will finish 4th or 5th in the East, just like always.

Com'on Mike you know better then to post something like this. ;)

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | August 26, 2009 11:13 PM

The old adage DEFENSE wins championships has not changed. I see no improvement in that area. The good news is that we shed some salaries and may have some flexibility in 2010 to add some defense. We should finish with the 5th or 6th seed (Atlanta is better in my opinion) but get knocked out in the first or second rounds. Will that make us fans happy????

Posted by: wizfanatic | August 26, 2009 5:21 PM

__________________________________________

Ever heard of Brendan Haywood, Deshawn Stevenson, Javele McGee, Oberto, & Dominic McGuire, and possibly Blatche... There are a lot of defenders on this team. With the added offensive scoring off the bench, these players will be able to concentrate more on defense & not worry as much about scoring the ball... I just don't where they are going to find the minutes for all these players... somebody is not going to be happy.

Posted by: tony325 | August 26, 2009 11:55 PM

I find it strange that I haven't seen any comments this afternoon from the folks COMPLETELY BLASTING Grunfeld on draft night for passing on Rubio..

"Cheap", "[racist comment]", "stupid"


Posted by: kidbrosweets | August 26, 2009 8:05 PM

If they kept the 5th pick it doesn't mean they would have drafted Rubio.

I believe the reason they traded the pick was because it saved them money!

Only time will tell if Foye will be better than someone they could have gotten with the 5th pick.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 27, 2009 1:51 AM

Wiz will grab 50+ wins.

Who wants to bet.

Posted by: iamse7en | August 27, 2009 2:29 AM

The old adage DEFENSE wins championships has not changed. I see no improvement in that area. The good news is that we shed some salaries and may have some flexibility in 2010 to add some defense. We should finish with the 5th or 6th seed (Atlanta is better in my opinion) but get knocked out in the first or second rounds. Will that make us fans happy????

Posted by: wizfanatic | August 26, 2009 5:21 PM

I want to see a defense that can keep this wizard team using an efficient offense, from averaging 110 a game. The other team will have to be able to keep pace. LeBron can't play 48 minutes a game and average 60-70 points against more than 1 defender without wearing down like he did in Orlando. And he was averaging in the 30's against Orlando. And outside of DHoward and Pietrius, who are the defenders on Orlando? Yes, teams will score on the wizards but their starts gonna have to play long minutes to keep up.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 27, 2009 8:14 AM

I believe the reason they traded the pick was because it saved them money!

Picking up Foye and Miller actually costed more money than a rookie for this season and it will in the future if they keep Foye, Miller or both.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 27, 2009 8:15 AM

The reason they traded the 5th pick was so they would have a better chance of winning now while the big 3 is still in their primes.

Everything they have done this off season is about having a better chance of winning now.

If they would have kept the 5th pick, nobody would know for at least three years whether the pick would be better than Foye, if then. By then the Wiz would be a different team.

Posted by: cannontl | August 27, 2009 8:26 AM

The only way the trade "saved" the Wizards money would be in the future. That would occur if Grunfeld allowed both Foye and Miller to walk "AND" didn't use the Cap Space to find another player or player's.

If Grunfeld really wanted to have just cut costs he could have drafted Rubio and just not signed him. Then he could have bought out Thomas for the difference between his contract and the veteran min. and let him sign with OK City. That move in it's self would have saved him double the veteran min. when you factor the Luxury Tax.

8'er you've got to admit that the primary motivation for the trade was not cost cutting, there were other ways to have cut more costs. If Grunfeld lets Foye and Miller walk next summer and doesn't spend that cap space on a FA, I'll join you in screaming bloody murder.

But what if he let them walk, and made a couple of other moves and landed D.Wade?

It's entirely possible that Grunfeld could manuver himself into position to do a major FA signing with the flexibility that he's gained in this trade. So that's another route this move could be adding up to.

Boy, the more I read IrenePollin's posts the more I think that might really be Mrs. Pollin. That was a funny retort...

The potential difference between the Wizards and the league's elite team's still could be at the 4 and the 5. The jury's still out on the Wiz up front. Grunfeld and Suanders seem to be placing a lot of the team's future on Haywood, Jamison, McGee, and Blatche.

Suanders handling of playing time and rotations for those frontline players will be key this team's improving to elite status. If either Blatche or McGee break through and force their way into the starting lineup, or grab major minutes this team will be in position to be an elite playoff team.

Improving the defense starts in the lane, Blatche and McGee stepping up along with the return of Haywood and the addition of Oberto is the key to that improvement. But the key to elite status is riding on McGee or Blatche.

Oh, and "the other 8'er", that was a pretty mean spirited post about Big Gheorge yesterday. The big guy is one of the nicest men you'll ever meet. Takes a big body to hold a heart that big. There's not a Bullet/Wizard past, or present, that's done more charity work over the years then the big guy. They couldn't have picked a better man to send to China to represent the team.

And if he ever joined the Circus, they'd be better for it too...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 27, 2009 8:28 AM

I understand defense is important to win and all, but can anyone point to a story where some defensive stud begged to come to Washington and Ernie turned the guy down?

For a team like the Wizards, the first step is to make the franchise attractive to players.

Posted by: pryme54 | August 27, 2009 8:33 AM

"...and seriously, the Wizards haven't had a consistent knock down shooter, probably, since Tim Legler"

What is the definition of a 'knock down shooter'? Is it someone that provides nothing else offensively but jump shots? Because I'm pretty sure Gilbert Arenas is as close as you're going to get to a consistent shooter.

Posted by: psps23 | August 27, 2009 9:31 AM

How much defense do we need? This team is not designed to become a lock down, slog it out, grinding defensive team. So if that's what it will take to make some fans happy, they are destined for disappointment.

I just want to see us control the paint through the return of Haywood and the (hopeful) improvement of JM. Neither guy needs to score much (and neither does Mcguire), and if they just protect the rack within 6ft....we'll be fine, imho.

Posted by: divi3 | August 27, 2009 10:19 AM

What is the definition of a 'knock down shooter'? Is it someone that provides nothing else offensively but jump shots? Because I'm pretty sure Gilbert Arenas is as close as you're going to get to a consistent shooter.

Knock down shooter is someone that everytime they pull up...you think they're gonna drop it, hand in their face or not. Gil provided much more than jumpshots, maybe you forgot. Gil is an elite scorer, but I don't think he'll ever shoot the percentages that Mike Miller does.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 27, 2009 10:25 AM

........if they keep Foye, Miller or both.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 27, 2009 8:15 AM

sounds kinda like "if they sign their 1st rd pick". alot of us woulda been ok with the horrible 19 win season " if we got someone good in the draft. while the debate goes on about the actual game of foye and miller, i will admit that 2 "proven" players seem better than 1 "unproven"player. but at the same time, "what if" they don't sign back foye or miller? it's possible

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 27, 2009 10:25 AM

Because I don't know what Ernie is going to do. He may package them two and a youngster for someone else. I don't know what's gonna happen. It doesn;t sound anything like if they sound their first round pick to me, especially since you know how much a rookie is pretty much gonna get.

If they don't sign back Foye or Miller andn James leaves they will have money to re-sign Haywood and someone else.

If they let Haywood walk too they'll have even more space...but that means the season probably went to hell if they let Haywood walk, and then you'll probably see Caron leaving as well. The only contracts they are really tied to long term are Gilbert and Jamison.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 27, 2009 10:31 AM

'alot of us woulda been ok with the horrible 19 win season " if we got someone good in the draft.'

Was there anyone good enough at #5 for us to be ok with a 19 win season? I dont think so, and if it turns out there was, probably no way to have known that player would have worked out so well.

I was relieved when Rubio dropped to 5th, as I thought Tyreke Evans may have been the guy we regretted, but he was gone at 4

Posted by: divi3 | August 27, 2009 10:47 AM

the point of my post isn't to rehash who we shoulda drafted. i'm way over that by now. i'm saying that after enduring a 19 win season, all the fans had to look forward to was the draft. even when the lotto put us at 5 people were generally excited to see who the wiz would get. the trade has gotten mixed reviews from fans (most on here like it), but if we don't/can't sign back Miller AND Foye then what do we have to show for a 63 loss season and trading away our no 1 pick.

with both of them being FAs after this season it is possible (highly unlikely) they could both go back to minny with rubio coming to town next year. super unlikely scenario but possible nonetheless.
i'm sure a lot of us would like the cap room, but aside from that we could come away with nothing to show for all that's gone on in the past year with the team.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 27, 2009 11:09 AM

I guess because San Antonio passed on him, Oberto is considered a non factor in the big men line up on this post? He is a good defender, big body, positions himself well in the paint and has played alongside the best. Javale may learn to play smart but was always out of position. His game is attractive and above the rim, but behind Haywood we have a very smart big who will solidify the paint in Oberto and keep a defensive presence on the floor at all times. Blatche is a backup for Jamison.

Posted by: yankeevicar | August 27, 2009 11:44 AM

I'm saying it now, the only teams better than us this year will be LA and Boston. We're finishing second in the east to Boston. And I wouldn't be surprised to see us hoist the trophy. We're going to be legit.

Posted by: Matte | August 27, 2009 12:15 PM

@flohrtv:
the past 2 nba champs do not have dominant centers. Bynum is decent but not dominant on defense and a non-factor on offense, while Gasol is a major factor offensively. For Boston, Perkins is only adequate on defense and a non-factor on offense. KG is dominant on both ends.

My point, you don't need that lock down center to be elite. Haywood will be at least as good at protecting the rim as Bynum was 2 years ago. And Jamison/Blatche combined will give us as much offense as Gasol. Our back court is where we are going to positively kill people.

The Wiz will be elite this year. Period.

Posted by: Matte | August 27, 2009 12:26 PM

I can't believe some people are speculating about next offseason already.

As to the "what if MM and Foye are let go after the season, what did we get for a 5 pick?" comment - what we got is a markedly better team THIS SEASON. I want to have a team play for now, not a Knicks team just trying to muddle through until next offseason in the hopes of getting LeBron/Wade and/or Bosh.


By the way...I'd love to see Bosh in here, but if LeBron ever shows up in a Wizard uniform, I will quit being a fan of the team. Luckily, the only way that would happen is if he was so broke down, he needed $50 for crack.

Posted by: Blurred | August 27, 2009 12:31 PM

Chris Bosh is one of the most OVERRATED players in the league. Especially from a board where people hate on Antawn Jamison so much...look at the numbers. Bosh is a younger, more athletic Jamison. Shoots under 50% just like him too. I don't want any parts of Bosh here.

Just my opinion though.

Oh yeah, and Chris Webber wasn't that good either.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 27, 2009 12:38 PM

'I guess because San Antonio passed on him, Oberto is considered a non factor in the big men line up on this post?'

Oberto isnt a very good defender imho, really just takes charges and infuriates people. Which is a good skill, and more power to him...but I dont want to see Javale learning to fall down everytime he's touched. I want him at high altitude swatting shots!!

Posted by: divi3 | August 27, 2009 12:44 PM

the comment about next season was a response to a poster that "validated" his statement with "if the wiz keep foye, miller or both" i just went on to say that things always look good for the wiz with an "if" attatched to it.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 27, 2009 12:46 PM

...I like the Dick Motta camparison from the previous string.

All the Wiz need now is to fill their gaping hole down low, as Bobby D did at the SF position many years ago--but this time in the form of a big burly and/or really tall dude who can score consistently in the paint and play some strong D on the Elton Brand types at PF. If AB and/or McGee show they can not consistently fill this role by mid January, Ernie will need to make a midseason move to fill this obvious scoring/defending need in the post.

This should not be too hard to do, as by that point in January Ernie and Flip will know which of the talented Wiz backcourt players are expendable due to lack of available playing time. A package of the expendable Wiz back court player(s) combined with AB, plus MJames' expiring contract...should fetch a quality veteran big man from a nonplayoff bound team. Ernie now just needs to be patient, which he seems pretty good at so far.

With this midseason addition or dramatically improved consistent post play from Blatche and or McGee...the Wiz have a great oppty to be a top 4 team by playoff time. (Of coarse all I really want to see is the Wiz kick Cleveland's a** in the playoffs...anything else would be gravy!)

Posted by: oddjob1 | August 27, 2009 12:47 PM

Oberto is not a great individual defender. He doesn't have good lateral quickness or vertical lift. His primary value to the Spurs was that he could basically use his body as a battering ram/roadblock against the other team's biggest player earlier in the game, thus keeping the wear and tear off Duncan until late, when Timmy would take over that spot defensively.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 27, 2009 12:51 PM

the comment about next season was a response to a poster that "validated" his statement with "if the wiz keep foye, miller or both" i just went on to say that things always look good for the wiz with an "if" attatched to it.

I wasn't "validating" anything. I was saying they have options and cap flexibility to do some things in regards to Foye and Miller. I can't see the future or predict future moves, so I said "if" they keep them. I see Foye staying, especially since he's a RFA, Miller I would like to see stay but I don't know honestly. And it's not just for the Wizards EVERYTHING looks good with "if" attached.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 27, 2009 1:00 PM

His primary value to the Spurs was that he could basically use his body as a battering ram/roadblock against the other team's biggest player

I think we could use some of that, someone willing to throw their body around a little bit and not be so focused on scoring. Or saluting after meaningless dunks etc...

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 27, 2009 1:01 PM

There is plenty to be skeptical about with this franchise based on the past meaning post championship until EG. But, the ship has been righted and 1-10 this is the best roster I've seen since the championship years. Better than the Howard, Webber, Strickland team and better than the Arenas teams pre-injury. So, while many of you will jump on the mediocre Redskins bandwagon in two seconds, you mercilessly dog the Wizards. Don't get it. Money spent is not money wisely spent. I'll say it again, I see them as a virtual lock for the 4th seed and possibly better. Atlanta, to me, is just not quite as talented and as deep and lacks a certain maturity at this point although they will be our best competition for that seed.

Definition: A knock down shooter is generally a guy that feeds off the stars of the team to hit mostly open 3 pt shots and occasional open 2 ptrs. He gets the open shot and you think "oh no there's three" instead of "he's got an open look I hope he hits it this time" - Steve Kerr comes to mind. Arenas would definitely qualify for this title if not for the fact he is the star for whom we need the knock down shooter. He can't kick it out to himself although I'm sure he's thought of it.


Posted by: rphilli721 | August 27, 2009 1:18 PM

I agree with 721...People are so quick to praise other teams...even their weaknesses and disregard question marks...to bash this team. Let alone bash them for trading Webber or something that has nothing to do with now. It's crazy.

He can't kick it out to himself although I'm sure he's thought of it.

I would pay good money to see this....LOL

Posted by: SDMDTSU | August 27, 2009 1:41 PM

Agree that this team is the most talented in decades from players 1 through 10, but the season hinges on Arenas returning at close to his former self, remaining healthy, and being willing to involve the other talented scorers on the team. He no longer needs to put up 30+ points a game while forcing 3's, but be more of a consistent 20 point, 10 assist guy who sets the table for Butler, Jamison, Miller, Foye, and makes the players around him better. The big question is still on the defensive end.

Return of BTH is the key to improving our interior defense, but we'll also need to a do a lot better job of defending 3's than we have in past years. Hopefully, the additional depth will allow us to defend more agressively on the perimeter and to stop the dribble penetration that has killed us in recent years.

IF the Wiz stay healthy and benefit from the improved coaching from Flip and his staff, there is no reason for this team not to win 50+ games and be the 4th seed coming out of the East.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 27, 2009 1:42 PM

"IF the Wiz stay healthy and benefit from the improved coaching from Flip and his staff, there is no reason for this team not to win 50+ games and be the 4th seed coming out of the East."

The 4th seed (or better) is the important marker, and 50 games may not be enough to do it. Last year's 4th seed had 47 wins, and the top of the conference should be tougher this season.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 27, 2009 2:08 PM

"For Boston, Perkins is only adequate on defense and a non-factor on offense."

Not true on either count. Perkins is very good defensively inside and pretty good (and improving) on offense. He's developed into a guy you can throw the ball to on the post, get out of the way, and let him go to work to get a score or a trip to the line. He's not a go-to-every-play guy (and probably never will be) but he can definitely generate offense in the post with the ball in his hands, which is really what you need on a contending team. Doesn't have to be "dominant" (whatever that means) but there needs to be productivity. Perkins helps provide that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 27, 2009 2:45 PM

Agree with kalo_rama. I like Perkins in Boston. That is the type of player I thought we needed rather than someone like Miller.

Though I can't argue with the moves made, I would love for us to ship M. James and cash to someone for a Perkins type player if we are in the top 3/4 in the East come A.S break.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | August 27, 2009 3:42 PM

We have a Perkins type player. BTH. Who is Perkins' backup? Is he a clear upgrade over McGee/Oberto? Are we talking about Big "too short to play center" Baby Davis or Brian "completely lost on the court" Scalabrini?

Posted by: jon_quest | August 27, 2009 6:18 PM

Pereins is better than Haywood offensively. He has better hands, better lateral mobility, and makes quicker moves with the ball.

Oh, and his backup is Rasheed Wallace, so to answer your question: Yes.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 27, 2009 8:33 PM

I think Perkins will be Rasheed's back-up this season unless they're up against a Shaq or the like.

I also believe that BTH is a more effective scorer than Perkins. imo

Posted by: zxhoya | August 28, 2009 3:41 PM

Kalo, you're probably right. I suppose they'll use Rasheed at the 5 when Perkins isn't on the court since they really don't have a backup center.

I stand by my assertion that BTH is the best center on either team. I also believe it's preposterous to think that upgrading BTH is a simple task. There's not a huge amount of players out there who would be an upgrade and those are highly valued on the teams that have them.

Posted by: jon_quest | August 28, 2009 7:56 PM

Not to further an academic discussion, but BTH historically has less turnovers than Perkins. Perhaps his hands aren't the greatest, but he's less of a liability offensively than Perkins. Perkins probably will improve this year though.

A comparison with Blatche is perhaps more interesting given their similar ages. If Blatche gets even close to Perkins' production this year we're in for a big surprise.

Posted by: jon_quest | August 28, 2009 8:03 PM

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