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30 Years After Bullets, Wizards Are Going Back to China

The final details are still being ironed out, but it appears that the Washington Wizards are about to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Bullets' groundbreaking journey to China by making a return to the country in early September. The Sports Business Journal first reported the event in late June, when most of us were caught up in the trade with Minnesota and free agency.


Let's do it again. (AP File Photo)

The 10-day trip will include current Wizards and former Bullets players who participated in the original trip in 1979. I've heard that Caron Butler, Randy Foye and Big Wes Unseld will be part of the caravan, as well as other Wizards executives and officials. The Bullets were the first NBA team to travel to China, when leader Deng Xiaoping invited owner Abe Pollin shortly after Deng had normalized relations with President Jimmy Carter.

While in China, the Wizards will host a series of basketball clinics and engage in other philanthropic activities. It won't compare to the grand diplomatic efforts in 1979, when the defending champion Bullets played in a couple of exhibition games. I spoke with Pollin about that trip two years ago and he shared with me a hilarious story (to me, at least) about Elvin Hayes and Dave Corzine refused to get off the bus at the Great Wall of China:

As players and their wives poured off a bus to take in the splendor of the Great Wall, Elvin Hayes and Dave Corzine refused to budge.
Pollin peered back and asked Hayes if he was coming. "I've seen a big wall before, Mr. Pollin," Hayes told him. Wes Unseld tried to persuade Hayes by telling him the wall was the only man-made structure that can be seen from outer space. To which Hayes responded, "I'm never going into outer space."

Pollin swore to never take his teams on international trips after that. The Wizards finally went overseas last season, when the team played the New Orleans Hornets in Barcelona and Berlin. But nothing compares to that first trip to the Far East.



By Michael Lee  |  August 20, 2009; 10:09 AM ET
 
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Comments

How about this:

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=mzbaj3

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 19, 2009 11:42 PM

----

I don't often find myself agreeing with you, 88, but I like the idea of James for Collison, a lot. I don't think the Thunder would do it (they would be guard heavy and PF light then), unless they want James' expiring contract...

Interesting.

Posted by: psdfx | August 20, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The Thunder are already about $9 mill under the cap, most or all of which will go towards re-upping Durant and Green next summer (which means that even if they did trade Collison for an expiring, they still wouldn't have the cap space to be big FA bidders). Collison is the best big man on their roster right now. I can't see much chance or reason for them to give him away without something concrete in return.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 20, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"(Great) wall was the only man-made structure that can be seen from outer space." -- urban legend.

Posted by: sagaliba | August 20, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

There is no reason for Thunder to make that trade, does zilch for them.

EG wont do anything else until well into the season, after assessing what the team needs based on how AB/JM develop (or don't). He's not going to undercut Blatche with another player at 4 before giving AB all the opportunity possible to establish himself

Posted by: divi3 | August 20, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I found a 20 year old Washington Bullets belt buckle in Colorado the other day. That was cool, and obscure.

Posted by: MikeNelmsReturns | August 20, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Agreed about the unlikelihood of prying Collison away from the Thunder however I'm not sure he's "The best big man on their roster right now."
Nenad Krstic isn't exactly chopped liver. OK picked up ET in trade and Serge Ibaka, a raw but athletic project in the draft. Though they don't have an abundance of big men Krstic will probably be their center and Jeff Green their PF. Collison would likely be the back up to them, n'est pas?

Posted by: midlevex | August 20, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

That is a great story about Hayes. I agree with you Michael, it is funny, and as a parent of a young child I feel the frustration of Mr. Pollin.

Posted by: hock1 | August 20, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"Nenad Krstic isn't exactly chopped liver."

No one said he was. But Collison is a better player. He's also more of a physical inside player while Kristic is more of a face up shooter who doesn't rebound much.

"OK picked up ET in trade"

Collison, on his worst day, is better than Etan.

"and Serge Ibaka, a raw but athletic project in the draft."

Collison's not a raw project, he's a proven NBA vet who can defend, bang, work the boards, and score some. Given that Ibaka hasn't played a nanosecond of NBA ball, there's no basis on which a conclusion can be made that he's a better NBA player than Collison, esp. if the best words that describe him are "raw" and "project."

Green is a combo forward who swings between both spots. Collison is a C/PF banger. Green is certainly a better overall player than Collison, but he's not a true Big, in terms of style of play. Collison is.

To repeat: "Collison is the best big man on their roster right now."

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 20, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Elvin probably wanted to get a bonus to get off the bus and get his picture taken at the Great Wall.

Collison is one of those guys the team says they have replacements for every summer. Come Feb. he's playing.

The type of guy that teams would be more likely to give up for an expiring contract would be one with 3 to 4 yrs left on a deal. Kaman from the Clippers would be a guy that could fit that discription.

I'd agree with some of the sentiment from the last post, Ernie's going to give McGee and Blatche 25-40 games to play their way in or out of the rotation, then I think he'll determine what if any moves to make.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 20, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I just wrote a long response, nothing off color or even argumentative, but making the points that (a) I know OKC probably wouldn't do it; and (b) regardless, that is precisely the kind of deal that we need to look for--get rid of James for an experienced big who (if all goes well) wouldn't have to play much for us, but who would provide insurance and depth at our weakest spot: the 4.

However, the response I got was something like "the post will be submitted to the forum owner for review". This happened once before to me, and (again a non-controversial or inflammatory post) the post never appeared. Why is this? Does anyone know?

Posted by: psdfx | August 20, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Too bad about Elvin. I've walked on the Great Wall. Priceless. The kids still love Americans.

Posted by: Izman | August 20, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

psdfx - there must have a been a word or phrase or something that couldn't clear the filter. The only one I had that happen with was when I called lebron Le-*****bag. I assumed that was what did it.

I love the fact that even in 1979, when the team was the champ, the flew coach to China! I know the seats were bigger then, but I can barely stand a flight to LAX in coach now and I'm only 6'2." I can't imagine flying 17 hours in coach and being 6'8" or 6'10"

Posted by: Blurred | August 20, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"(a) I know OKC probably wouldn't do it; and (b) regardless, that is precisely the kind of deal that we need to look for--get rid of James for an experienced big who (if all goes well) wouldn't have to play much for us, but who would provide insurance and depth at our weakest spot: the 4."

If all you want is an insurance policy, Collison's not the guy you go for. You don't spend $13+ mill over two years for a guy you don't want/expect to play much. That's what minimum salary guys like Oberto or Joe Smith are for.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 20, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm something of a Collison fan, beginning with his time at Kansas. Nothing fancy about him, but no fatal weaknesses, either. He's too small to match up defensively against many centers in the league, but he somehow manages to outrebound most of his opponents and to score as much as his team can reasonably expect. Skilled blue-collar types on losing teams don't get much respect in the NBA, but the coaches appreciate them.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 20, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Collison is too good to be had for an expriring contract, say goodbye to Nick Young or Deshawn if you want a player of that caliber.

Posted by: divi3 | August 20, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"However, the response I got was something like "the post will be submitted to the forum owner for review". This happened once before to me, and (again a non-controversial or inflammatory post) the post never appeared. Why is this? Does anyone know?Posted by: psdfx"

It's length. You'll probably never see it again. Shorten it and repost.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 20, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I've been mentioning Collison on this blog since last season as being an ideal fit as our backup 4/5, but the Wiz have made the decision to give AB and JM those minutes. Collison would have been the first bigman off the bench for the Wiz, and the Thunder would likely want a player of the calibre of Nick Young along with James' expiring contract to even consider a trade.

Given that Kristic is more of a finesse player and Green isn't a true PF, agree with Kal's assessment that Collison is the Thunder's best big man on their roster. I doubt the Thunder would consider trading him until the last year of his contract when he'd bring more value.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 20, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"To repeat: 'Collison is the best big man on their roster right now.'" -Kalorama

Hard to really disagree with your preference for Collison; though if Krstic's knee injuries hadn't hobbled his career, I might try to insist but he's lost some of his game and knees being knees, there are unanswered questions about his regaining mobility and vertical leap. Krtic is still only 26 years old, his knees are probably another story.

Posted by: midlevex | August 20, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Man, kalo_bitter, you are one defensive dude. Just let it go. You don't HAVE to disect it to death and find weird, minor caveats every time someone has a contrary opinion. The guy wasn't even attacking you; he was just offering his counter opinion, and you have to write a huge disortation taking each word apart?? I mean, we're talking Collison and Kristic, not Unseld and Hayes. They both are not too good. There's just absolutely no reason to get that defensive and take apart each sentence of a random comment. Just be cool, man.

Posted by: Urnesto | August 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Agreed about the unlikelihood of prying Collison away from the Thunder however I'm not sure he's "The best big man on their roster right now."
Nenad Krstic isn't exactly chopped liver. OK picked up ET in trade and Serge Ibaka, a raw but athletic project in the draft.

Posted by: midlevex | August 20, 2009 1:22 PM

Maybe we could trade mike james for etan thomas.

Posted by: crs-one | August 20, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The only one I had that happen with was when I called lebron Le-*****bag. I assumed that was what did it.

Posted by: Blurred | August 20, 2009 2:56 PM

it would be a great prank by the Post if, on april 1, they made it so every post that mentioned lebron was censored...

Posted by: crs-one | August 20, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Funny, that a guy with the name "Unresto" is doling out advice to people about being laid back. Beyond that, nothing you said means anything (I'll pretend not to be shocked) because it doesn't reflect anything that resembles actual fact, either in your opinion of Collison or Kristic (both of whom are, in fact, good (but not great) players) or my response to midlevex (who, you'll note, agreed with my assessment).

The next time you decide to get outraged and righteously indignant on someone else's behalf, you might want to make sure they're on board with you.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 20, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Okay, Freudian slip on the name thing, but the rest still stands.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 20, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Thw Wiz will keep the James contract on the books for the entire season, because next year he comes off the books and they will need some more $$(flexibility) to re-sign Haywwood who becomes an unrestricted FA. Say what you want about Haywood, but he is a decent NBA center who can defend, block shots and rebound and other teams will definitely bid on his services for the 2010-2011 season. Otherwise the Wiz will be left with only Blatche and McGee as big men on the roster,(Oberto is only signed for 1 year).

Posted by: garrybrown | August 20, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

'Say what you want about Haywood, but he is a decent NBA center'

That's about the most you can say in his favor, but no team has all-stars at every position. And there's no denying what a huge impact his absence had on this past debacle, er i mean, season.

I'll never understand why he doesnt rebound better, but he does inexplicably give KG and DHoward fits at times and can bang with anyone in league not named Shaq.

He's integral to team's success, for sure.

Posted by: divi3 | August 20, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Who is LeBronny James ?

Maryland Basketball will finish with a 15-16 record

No NCAA bid

No NIT bid

Maryland will finish with a 2-10 record.

Maryland's defensive line and linebacker corps are a joke --- no pass rush whatsoever and give up a ton of long yardage plays.

I have seen harder hitting teams in powder puff leagues.

The only hard hits the Terps make - are out of bound plays - which cost them an additional 15 yards - which are quite frequent.

California's running back - Best - will gain 296 yards in the opening game

I love it, when Maryland constantly gets embarrassed on national TV.

Prediction:

California -- 56
Maryland -- 10

It's hilarious to see Maryland win a game - and the very next week get clobbered by a Virginia Tech - Boston College.

It is great to see Maryland go down to a crushing defeat on the football recruiting front (the kids they have received commitments from - are a joke! - taking the bottom of the barrel)

Carolina Blue - Carolina WHITE - Go Tar Heels - Let's go Tar Heels !

Posted by: hclark1 | August 20, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Muh-muh-muh-my nam iz hclark1 an me is not two brite*. Me not ever go to tha carolina univercity but, but, but me big fan beecus they r a gud teem. Me-me-me not have enytheeng elze to saye acept that the-the-the mar-marieland univercity is-is-is nott gud.

Posted by: Barno1 | August 20, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I just wrote a long response, nothing off color or even argumentative,....

PSDFX, I found out a long time ago that on Saturday Mournings when I used to get long winded in postings, they would get held. I was pissed and wondered what was going on and becried to the Blogmaster, but nothing came of my posts.

PSDFX, I found out of my own accord that it was nothing wrong with my posts except they were too long. As you have coincidently written above a "long response" will not go through on this blog for being just to long.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 20, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Butler and Foye need to train for next season. Going to China is not the best interest of the team.

Posted by: Michael52 | August 20, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

We don't need Collison, so why even invent a case for him. We're better off divesting Mike James' contract without any dividends, except for the $6.5 million off the books.

C'mon October. Let's get on with the games. I think this team goes deep into the playoffs, maybe beyond. We don't need much ... just a few breaks.

Posted by: zinger1 | August 20, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I'll never understand why he doesnt rebound better, but he does inexplicably give KG and DHoward fits at times and can bang with anyone in league not named Shaq.

The main reason why Haywood does not rebound more is for two main reasons.

1) The first most important reason is he plays Team Center instead of Individual Center. Team center means that he might night always get the rebound but one of his Teammates might. This sight has poked fun at the fact that AJ is better defensely w/Haywood in the game, but it is true. Haywood's Team center play makes it easier for the players around him to rebound whilst he neutralizes the center play of the offending Team.

2) You got to remember that he has only averaged playing less than half a game in all the seasons he has been here. He has never been given the consistent game on the line playing time to increase his rebounding numbers.

This year he might average around 30-35 mpg which is a significant increase for him and thus we might see a better picture of what he really can do.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 20, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if all goes well for the Wizards and Haywood and Jamison played major roles and they are kicking in the door to the Eastern Championship, will Michael Jordon show up to root for the Wizards?

Would Abe let him have a SkyBox to check things out?

Wouldn't that be grand? Be grand?

Gosh sounds like the Last Poets.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 20, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

what is it with this franchise? they sit on their thumbs for 3 years and don't do sh*t when the Eastern Conf. was emphatically weaker than the west. they made a good showing against the Bulls & Cavs (travelgate). You would think the franchise would be more attractive to prospective free agents and trades because they were in the playoffs. The roster they had contained M. Ruffin(appreciated his hustle but not his lame game) and Bowie as frontline depth. Please! you might as well have had some D league big men on the court. They knew they did not have enough fire power as well but sat there and did not have a back up for Agent Zero. The latest crime for this organization is letting Kleiza go to the Euroleague without an offer. If you've seen him play you know that this guy can ball, however he played the same spot as the Melo fellow in Denver. He is instant offense and burnt many opposing teams when he got to play. He stands 6'9" and will go to the hole and shoot three's with the best of them. The Wizards have watched as most teams in the NBA East have gotten significantly better. I say this because playoff seeds are very important if your team does not strike fear in an opponent. The Wizards have the best talent and most healthy roster they have ever had (in my opinion) and Kleiza would have given them that consistent shot and drive threat to bolster the depth of the team. WHAT A WASTE!

Posted by: jenksredskins | August 21, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

jenksredskins,

Glad you spotted such a huge mistake on behalf of the franchise. I don't know how they could let Kleiza go to Europe.

Give me a break!

Haywood is fine. He is actually a better than average offensive rebounder least we forget and if he wasn't playing weak side defender all the time he might be in a better position to be a better defensive rebounder. Instead he helps Antawn and gets out of position and then Antawn gets the rebound...lol. That being said, defensive rebounding and general defense are the two areas where we must improve to be contenders. Come on Flip!

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 21, 2009 4:47 AM | Report abuse

Kalo wrote: If all you want is an insurance policy, Collison's not the guy you go for.

--

I see that. Let me rephrase: we could really, really use a guy like NC. We are solid at every position, other than 4. Excellent depth, flexibility, youth and experience at 1 and 2. We are fine at 5 (can't have all-stars everywhere). Oberto was the perfect signing there because we absolutely don't need him to play much if we stay healthy. At 3, we're solid: CB, MM, and DMac (please don't try to sell me on DMac at 4).

Our problem is at 4. Jamison's offensive game is fine, but not a power game and he doesn't match up well with true PFs. His rebounding STATS are good, but many of his rebounds happen far below the rim (some even at shoulder level) because of his quick hands. I love AJ, don't get me wrong, but as a tweener, he would be best as a high-scoring 6th man. And we all know how frustrating it can be to watch AB: SO much potential which only appears in sporadic flashes. But he IS still very young, and I know I was still maturing at 22, so I still have hope.

Bottom line, we SHOULD give AB every opportunity to succeed. But if something happens to either AJ or AB, or if AB continues to frustrate, we are frighteningly thin at 4. NC's no-nonsense, blue collar excellence (and ability to bang AND score) would be perfect for this team. If his salary is equal to James', I think (OKC's probable lack of interest in this notwithstanding) he would be PERFECT for this team. I think it would fill the only hole that concerns me. (For the record, I *LOVE* what EG has done with the resources he's had available to build this team.)

Of course, if Garry is right that Haywood is an unrestricted FA at the end of the year (I don't remember and don't feel like looking it up), he is likely right that the team will let James walk to get the cap help.

Posted by: psdfx | August 21, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Our problem is at 4. Jamison's offensive game is fine, but not a power game and he doesn't match up well with true PFs. His rebounding STATS are good, but many of his rebounds happen far below the rim (some even at shoulder level) because of his quick hands.

Funny. I wonder if Jamison would start in Cleveland, Orlando, Chicago,Indiana, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, New York, or New Jersey? Yes, Rashard Lewis in Orlando is similar, but Jamison is a much better rebounder. Neither is a defender but I might give a slight edge to Lewis, but not much in that area. No, Jamison is not a great defender, but at least he is durable and plays more than Elton Brand up in Philly.

No he wouldn't start in Boston, Toronto, or Philly(if Brand is healthy). But damn, people sure undervalue/underappreciate Jamison around here

And a rebound is a rebound. If he averages near 10 a game, which leads the team, why does it matter if it comes below the rim or above it? Did the best rebounder in Bullets/Wizard history get his rebounds above the rim?

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 21, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Here we go trying to fill out the back end of our roster right now. Unless somebody gets hurt, the Wiz appear set. They didn't even want their second round choice. Maybe they unload Mike James or Stevenson, but outside of that, this is the Wiz team going into next season.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 21, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

"The latest crime for this organization is letting Kleiza go to the Euroleague without an offer."

In that case, it must be a conspiracy, because none of the 29 other teams made him one either.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 21, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I haven't seen the stats on it recently, but for a number of years the percentage of rebounds that were taken with the player not jumping averaged somewhere around 75-85%.

Guys that are leaping through the roof for rebounds are doing so because they failed to establish position an lockup their man on the boards.

The reason for Haywood's low defensive rebounding totals is pretty simple. When you step off your man to help, you loose defensive rebounding position. Haywood is the only real lane presence the Wiz have, that's why people were driving the lane on the Wiz like they were in the fast lane on I95 last season.

Why does Jamison average nearly 10 rebounds per game? He's good at lane positioning and he's not much of a threat when he steps off his man, so he often maintains positioning and hopes the guy misses.

I'd agree with the notion that Jamison would start for every team in the east except Boston and Toronto right now. Brand might be better if healthy, which he hasn't been in two years. But even if Brand were healthy Eddie Jordan would take Jamison for his offense over Brand.

I look for Brand to be a guy that could well end up on the block unless Eddie decides he's using him at center in his small ball sets. Otherwise he clogs up one side of the lane for the cutters in the Princeton.

Not sure Elton and Eddie will see eye to eye.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 21, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

flohr: "I look for Brand to be a guy that could well end up on the block unless Eddie decides he's using him at center in his small ball sets"

If DiLeo had stayed, I would have thought Brand would be trade bait. He's a very skilled guy, but the team seemed to play better without him. But Ed Jordan? He might actually figure out how to use Elton. It's not exactly rocket science. Jordan doesn't necessarily have to feed Brand enough that he averages 20 points, either. In the playoffs, when the game slows down, his scoring could be ramped up.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 21, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

If Jordan installs his modified Princeton-based offense in Philly, Brand should fit right in. He's just what that offense needs: A big man who can draw double teams and is adept at passing out of the post and can also score facing up to mid-range. Now, if the Sixers continue with the run and gun offense they've used the last couple years under Cheeks and DiLeo then Brand would probably continue to be a square peg in a round hole, but I don't see much reason for or logic in them doing that, since all it's gotten them so far is a a low playoff seed and a first round exit.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 21, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

About rebounding: one of the best rebounders I saw was Clyde Lee of the Warriors, who stood 6'8", lacked recognizable muscle definition, and couldn't hurdle a paper clip. He didn't have any choice but to focus on positioning. His approach was to establish an area on one side of the basket and simply refuse to let anyone else move him more than a foot either direction. He was careful to keep his hands up and do all the pushing and shoving with his hips and butt. He didn't mind when somebody outjumped him for a ball because he figured it would make them overconfident. He was expert at protecting the ball and getting it out to a guard.

He was exactly the sort of efficient player that many folks on this blog would be insisting the Wizards get rid of in exchange for some oversized acrobat.

Basketball's a game of skill. If you're a terrific athlete, more power to you. But the higher you go, the more important those skills become.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 21, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

It's great the Wizards are going to celebrate our nation's reaching out to China. I hope they get a nice cultural, political and economic briefing before they go over. Oh yeah the tourist sights like the Great Wall are still there, but the cities they will be visiting look totally different, even from ten years ago let alone thirty years.
Also, there is no longer any need to convince the Chinese people to play basketball. They have a professional league of their own. They even hire Americans to play on their teams.

It would be wise if the visiting Wizards would reflect on the following while they are over there: every consumer item we purchase nowadays is manufactured in China from LCD TVs, to PCs, MACs, cellphones, slippers, shoes, food mixers, coffee makers, clothes, scooters, etc. Pretty soon that long list will include cars. More and more Chinese banks and companies are making use of their hoard of American dollars to buy up American companies, land, and industrial equipment from moribund manufacturing companies (ex. Rubbermaid).

So let's celebrate 30 years of Basketball Diplomacy and see what we can learn from the Chinese people this time around.

Posted by: rickgonz | August 21, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Charles Oakley couldn't leap over a phone book and Buck Williams wasn't likely to win any high jump contests, but they were outstanding rebounders in their primes.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 21, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

rickgonz: "It would be wise if the visiting Wizards would reflect on the following while they are over there: every consumer item we purchase nowadays is manufactured in China from LCD TVs, to PCs, MACs, cellphones, slippers, shoes, food mixers, coffee makers, clothes, scooters, etc. Pretty soon that long list will include cars. More and more Chinese banks and companies are making use of their hoard of American dollars to buy up American companies, land, and industrial equipment from moribund manufacturing companies (ex. Rubbermaid)."

Remember when the Japanese had that massive trade advantage and were coming to the US and buying property and companies and seemed set to take over the world?

Posted by: Samson151 | August 21, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Charles Oakley couldn't leap over a phone book and Buck Williams wasn't likely to win any high jump contests, but they were outstanding rebounders in their primes.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 21, 2009 12:18 PM

No doubt, Kal. Why i've always loved Oakley. Otis thorpe comes to mind, too, although I believe he could actually jump in his early days and Popeye Jones, too. I just wish any one of those three played for Washington when they were worth a damn.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Posted by: Blurred | August 21, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes...the story about hayes not interested in the Wall is a good reminder that while these guys make a gazillion dollars, some of them aren't all that urbane.

Anyone know if theere is any truth to the ABA player that wouldn't fly across the time line because he "ain't getting in any time machine."?

Or how about Shackleford (I think that is right) claiming that "coach says I'm amphibious."

Posted by: Blurred | August 21, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

BORRRINNGGGG....this thread is borrrring..

Posted by: wizRjizz | August 21, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone else realized that if the Bullets went to China in 1979 as the "defending NBA champions", they must have gone early in the year, before the Seattle Supersonics were crowned champions in June, 1979. But that would have meant traveling there during the 1978-1979 season. Impossible!!

Posted by: paulstutz14 | August 21, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

lmao too bad cheap Abe still pays spends 1978-79 dollars. for such a savvy slumlord you'd think he wud know that a couple mil in luxury tax dollars, adjusted for inflation, aint that much nowadays. this team needs to be overhauled, starting with the old ass man, EG, Rasclot, Unseld Jr. and the rest of the sycophants.

Posted by: prescrunk | August 21, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

'But damn, people sure undervalue/underappreciate Jamison around here'

preach it! Seems like 85% of last season, Antawn was the only player who cared if we won or lost. Most professional guy on the team, brings it every night, durable, and throwing up damn near 20/10 for us every season.

Whatever issues the roster has, Jamison aint one of them.

Posted by: divi3 | August 21, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to Randy Foye for representing a team he hasn't even played a game for. That shows a lot of professionalism. For a free trip to China you would think one of the young guys could of stepped up though.

Posted by: djnnnou | August 21, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

borrrrrrrrrring

Posted by: wizRjizz | August 21, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to Randy Foye for representing a team he hasn't even played a game for. That shows a lot of professionalism. For a free trip to China you would think one of the young guys could of stepped up though.

Posted by: djnnnou | August 21, 2009 3:40 PM

Exactly the point of my previous post about sophistication.

Just need about 10 more weeks for the season to start.

Posted by: Blurred | August 21, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Charles and Buck had a sturdy lower body to keep their position/box out, knack of were the ball is going and desire to get the rebound. Funny how some of the best rebounders are not known leapers. Rodman, Sir Charles, even the great Larry was among the best rebounder in his playing days.

Posted by: Dave381 | August 21, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Rodman, Sir Charles, even the great Larry was among the best rebounder in his playing days.

Posted by: Dave381 | August 21, 2009 5:48 PM

I think Larry said that rebounding ain't about getting to where the ball is but getting to where the ball is gonna be.

Posted by: VBFan | August 21, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

All of this talk about our big men not knowing how to rebound, you would think the Wizards would have learned that too and went out and got a good big man coach. I guess they expect Oberto to handle that job since he isn't going to play?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 21, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

"I don't often find myself agreeing with you, 88, but I like the idea of James for Collison, a lot. I don't think the Thunder would do it (they would be guard heavy and PF light then), unless they want James' expiring contract...

Interesting.

Posted by: psdfx | August 20, 2009 11:08 AM "

I think the young Thunder need a veteran point guard, and of course, Les BouleS need a solid guy at the 4 who's not finesse.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 21, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Again. Agree with 88. People took issue with my one line about AJ's below-the-rim rebounds. OK, so rebounding is about position and desire. But the facts remain: We get KILLED on the boards against big teams. Even Cleveland manhandled us on the boards the last couple of years.

Oakley and BuckW were raised as examples as non-jumping rebounders. But Oakley played tough under the boards. We need a physical presence, a non-flashy guy... a 4 who wouldn't rather be outside shooting the 3.

Again, I'm a huge fan of AJ, but nobody really responded to my contention that we are thin at the 4 position.

Posted by: psdfx | August 21, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

"Again, I'm a huge fan of AJ, but nobody really responded to my contention that we are thin at the 4 position.

Posted by: psdfx | August 21, 2009 10:36 PM "

MeTawn is a stats guy. He will get his numbers win or lose.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/stats?playerId=385

Also, he's not good at being a leader and getting the young guys on track. How can you be a leader when you don't play defense and the team needs to pick it up on defense?

I'm sure he's tickled silly right now. BTH is back and will be playing defense for him.

That's another reason why BTH doesn't get more rebounds. He's busy helping out people like MeTawn and Gilby when they do their "Olay" defense.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 21, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

"Pollin peered back and asked Hayes if he was coming. "I've seen a big wall before, Mr. Pollin," Hayes told him. Wes Unseld tried to persuade Hayes by telling him the wall was the only man-made structure that can be seen from outer space. To which Hayes responded, "I'm never going into outer space.""

Elvin Hayes. Pure ignorance.

Mike Lee, is Abe going on this year's trip too?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 21, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

"MJames is a point guard, not SG unless you want a 6 2" inconsistent shooter who is a defensive liability playing that position off the bench.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 21, 2009 1:25 PM "

Everything you described about Mike James also applies for Gilby.

Both are defensive liabilities.

MJ shoots .421 with .378 from 3. He also has a FT% of .805.

Gilby shoots .427 with .358 from 3. He also has a FT% of .809.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?playerId=1051

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?playerId=0974

MJ averages 9.2 shots/game, while Gilby averages 17.2 shots/game.

MJ averages 1.6 TO's/game, while Gilby averages 3.3 TO's/game.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 21, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

good point dcman...we should trade gil and keep mj.

Posted by: wizRjizz | August 22, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"good point dcman...we should trade gil and keep mj.

Posted by: wizRjizz | August 22, 2009 11:44 AM "

First of all, Gilby is not tradeable based on his max money contract.

Second of all, nobody said that MJ should be kept and Gilby should be traded. I can only wish, but it won't happen, that Gilby will be traded.

It's people like you who go off on a tangent with ridiculous comments, but can't dispute the facts that I present.

Finally, the most important point is that everything that wizfan89 accused MJ of, well, Gilby has the same issues.

Deal with it.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 22, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"We need a physical presence, a non-flashy guy... a 4 who wouldn't rather be outside shooting the 3.

Again, I'm a huge fan of AJ, but nobody really responded to my contention that we are thin at the 4 position."

Because you didn't say anything that (A) we didn't already know, (B) hasn't been discussed before, or that (B) actually stood as a viable solution to the problem.

Yes, Collison would be a good fit as the Wizards backup PF. But the fact remains that there's no way the Thunder would make that trade and little chance the Wizards would either. The reasons why have already been addressed multiple times.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 22, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

kalo_rama
(A)This time of year everyone has already said everything several times.(B) you can only use (B) once.

Posted by: VBFan | August 22, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

'Again, I'm a huge fan of AJ, but nobody really responded to my contention that we are thin at the 4 position.'

I think if Blatche doesnt step up, Javale could end up with minutes at 4. I would love to see some Twin Tower lineups with JM and BH controlling the paint, while 1-3 do the heavy scoring

Posted by: divi3 | August 22, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I may be remembering this incorrectly, but I do believe the T'Wolves were not a great rebounding team either bc the matchup zone Flip employed helped with FG%, but not with guys sneaking in to grab offensive rebounds. I'll take a nice improvement over our horrendous 3 pt defense and overall FG% though.

What is with the outcry for a big man coach? Just bc a guy is 7 foot doesn't mean he can coach and, likewise, if a coach is only guard size it doesn't mean he can't teach the bigs anything. The only players than need to learn the nuances of being a big are Blatche and McGee. I think Flip and his staff can handle teaching them where they need to be and what kind of shots he wants to see them take. In McGee's case that should include only dunks for another season as I doubt his repertoire has improved much after one summer. His turn around fadeaways were a sight to behold only with your eyes closed.

Besides, who is the big man guru that we're passing up? And, it's not like we have a wealth of successful former bigs in the franchise's history. Unless, of course, dare I mention, Wes Unseld...lol.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 22, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

rphilli721

Bill Laimbeer

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/otl/columns/story?columnist=voepel_mechelle&id=4396428

he's the man we need to teach the young guys how to play

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 22, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

"I think if Blatche doesnt step up, Javale could end up with minutes at 4. I would love to see some Twin Tower lineups with JM and BH controlling the paint, while 1-3 do the heavy scoring

Posted by: divi3 | August 22, 2009 6:31 PM "

Besides catching and dunking, JaTravel has very little offensive ability. AB is clearly a better scorer and passer and has really good basketball instincts.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 23, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Mike James is still living off of 1 good season on a bad team in his career. When given an opportunity to start last year and step up, he failed miserably. To even go to a stats argument between he and Arenas fails miserably. James is a nice guy and a professional but is not a starter in this league.

Posted by: ptp23 | August 23, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

I see no similarities in Mike James and Gilbert Arenas at all.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 23, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert gets to the FT line 5x or 6x as often as Mike James.

Posted by: yop32 | August 23, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Comparing Mike James to Gilbert Arenas. Apples & oranges.
MJ gets a lot of flak here but he is a nice backup PG. Not an AI or Kidd but he is what he is ---a journyman backup PG.

Posted by: VBFan | August 23, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

DC_MAN88, why bother posting as bulletsfan78 also?

Whatever floats your boat I guess.

Bill Laimbeer has a toxic personality, doubt Flip wants him around and certainly doesnt need him on the staff.

Posted by: divi3 | August 23, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Since Flip Suanders has never had any experience working with a promising young big man, who's green as grass and thinks he's going to be the league's first 7' guard, the Wizard's are in desperate need of a big man coach.

Oh, wait! Didn't he coach some guy named Garnett? So I quess I'd defer to Flip's judgement there. There's been no mention that Flip was limited in any way in bringing in assistant coaches.

There's just no basis to compare Arenas and James. James has been a very good reserve at times in this league, who other then one season has never been able to translate that success when given starter's minutes.

The comparison of his free throw shooting attempts to Gil's "tell the tale", Gil can get to the rack, James can't.

McGee and Blatche both showed some nice post moves in summer league, they both appeared to have been hard at work on their down low offensive game.

Anybody that's ever really watched the game can tell you that a zone makes it harder to defensive rebound. Flip's flex zones used man to man matchup principals inside to try an overcome that problem. It takes a lot of practice and communication to make a zone work on D. But he did have some success cutting down on open 3's.

John Thompson made a great point on his show when he had Oberto on. On offense the guards are in position to see everything on the floor, they set and run the offense. Defensively it's just the opposite, Centers and power forwards are in position to see the whole floor and direct the defense.

Thompson was making the point of how important that he thought the return of Haywood was, and how important having another veteran like Oberto was to the Wiz defense. Haywood is the "quarterback" of the D. Oberto gives the Wiz a veteran guy to come off the bench and quarterback the D,teach the young guys, and act as a sounding board to the starter.

Haywood needs another "defensive guy" on the roster to feel like he's not alone. Oberto is that veteran guy that brings his defensive mindset to the huddle, kind of like Collins does for the Redskins.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 23, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

GM

Hopefully you weren't comparing AB and JM to Garnett?

I still think the Wizards need a big man coach, someome who can work with these guys day in and day out and let Flip worry about being a head coach.

Is that the reason they brought in Oberto? Is it his job to coach the young guys?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | August 23, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Let me say this about Javale. Maybe being so happy to see some Bullets/Wizards alley oops, I was blinded by other things he had to work on. But I watched and/or attended just about every game last season, and I cannot remember the last Wiz/Bullets player with that much coordination and hand speed on the alley oops. He has given us more in one season than others have combined for in the past 10 years. And they are darned entertaining ones at that. Ok, that doesn't win games and some might even say it is counter-productive. But regardless of his need for growth, I mark him as a A1 prospect, because he can dunk over all sorts of NBA caliber defenders already. However, defenders won't let him sneak up on them as easily this season. Note how all our big men have been two handed (small handed) dunkers in the last 10 years. It's nice to have some flash on our own team for a change. Our passers also have to be thrilled to have a big man to pass to without watching the ball be bumbled away.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | August 23, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Well actually 8'er what I said about Oberto was that his role was somewhat similar to Collins on the Redskins. He's to be the second team "defensive" quarterback on the team. That veteran guy on the backline that can stabilize the defense when needed. But he doesn't need a lot "snaps" to stay sharp.

He's also to be there as a veteran stablizing voice on the bench and in the huddle. Where his role is a little different then Collins is that he's there to mix it up with the kids in training camp and practice. I don't think Collins is going to smack Chase or Colt around in practice. Oberto will mix it up with Blatche and McGee, and they'll be better for it.

John Thompson seems to understand his role perfectly, and it has nothing to do with "coaching". Bringing a guy in to mentor the young guys as a veteran player is a role that many NBA vets are asked to fill along with their contribution on the floor. And Oberto will make contributions on the floor too.

Ah! The "Next Garnett" comparison. If you're one of those guys that believe that "Garnett" came out of High School and didn't need any coaching, and he was playing at an Allstar level from year one. Then. God No, I'd never compare anybody to that guy, because good God, he was an NBA HOF'er when he entered the league. You can't compare anybody to a guy like that.

But I watched Garnett at 19, he sure wasn't the same player that he was a few years later. Like anybody, no matter how talented, he needed coaching, he "WAS GREEN AS GRASS" when he entered the NBA.

The comparison I made was that Flip has worked with talented young big men before that needed coaching to develop. If you read my comments regularly, I'm the guy that keeps saying everyone should dump the "next Garnett" talk.

It's about as useful as, the next Russell, next Shaq, etc. There is no next anybody.

About McGee, I'll say this, I've never seen a guy with his height and wingspan that has that kind of hops. Ever...

How that translates to the court is still to be determined. He entered the league last year nearly clueless to footwork, positioning, and leverage in the lane. What he needs now is coaching and some mentoring from some wiley veteran bigs.
Time will tell, maybe in 10-12 yrs people will be talking about the "next McGee".
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 23, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"DC_MAN88, why bother posting as bulletsfan78 also?

Whatever floats your boat I guess.

Bill Laimbeer has a toxic personality, doubt Flip wants him around and certainly doesnt need him on the staff.

Posted by: divi3 | August 23, 2009 11:34 AM "

You must be on crack or stupid if you think I post with another handle.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 23, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

"Mike James is still living off of 1 good season on a bad team in his career. When given an opportunity to start last year and step up, he failed miserably. To even go to a stats argument between he and Arenas fails miserably. James is a nice guy and a professional but is not a starter in this league.

Posted by: ptp23 | August 23, 2009 12:59 AM "

Gilby is clearly a good offensive player in this league....much better than MJ.

What is also clear is that he's a defensive liability and his FG percentage is mediocre, and his high scoring comes from the large volume of shots he takes.

If anyone took anything beyond what I just wrote above, then that's your issue.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 23, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Javale is going into his second season.......
He is raw but you gotta notice that he runs the floor, intimidates, has few TO's, has good form on his jumper, makes most of his FT's and is trying. You gotta love a guy that works that hard. You know that if he doesn't go all S. Marburish that he will become a good, maybe great, contributor.
I think Flip & Sam C. are the kind of coaches that can push young players to the next level. If they can get thru to NY, AB, JM, Critt & DM our bench could be the best in the NBA.

Posted by: VBFan | August 23, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

JaTravel is nice, but I can't think of any players in the league that came in as thin, athletic, defensive forces and somehow develop an offensive game where they are seen as a consistent threat.

Holding out for Greg Monroe for next year's lottery. Let's hope EG can pull a rabbit out of his hat and trade some of the team for a pick that ends up in the lottery.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 23, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I gotta say I am starting to get excited about this season. The more I look at this team the more I like. That Miller/Foye deal is looking pretty good. The pickup of Oberto is solid and essentially replaces Songaila.

I'm liking a basis 7 man rotation of Haywood, Jamison, Butler, Miller and Arenas with Blatche and Foye. Miller can handle, pass and nail the 3, spreads the floor, has size and rebounds, and should be an excellent compliment to Arenas, Butler and Jamison.

Foye replaces Daniels and can come in and change the tempo. He can come in for Arenas, Miller or Butler (with Miller sliding to SF). Blatche brings size and versatility off the bench in our front court and can come in for Haywood, Jamison or Butler (with Jamison sliding to SF).

Young and McGee look to be the 8th and 9th guys to fill out the rotation with Oberto, McGuire, Stevenson, James and Crittenton rounding out the bench.

Posted by: Darnell1 | August 23, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the idea of Oberto as veteran mentor is that, despite his age, he's only got 4 years in the NBA and has never been anything more than a marginal role player. Players pay attention to production, numbers, and stats just like fans. A 34-year old with only 4 NBA seasons under his belt and career averages of 4 and 4 isn't likely to carry much weight in the ears and heads of most young players, esp. ones whose talent potential well outstrips his. And they aren't likely to know or care about what he did overseas.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 23, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

If HAYWOOD goes down again this year, say a prayer because McGEE and OBERTO are the back-ups.

Posted by: glawrence007 | August 23, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you Darnell. I think the team is deep, and while I have just a small worry about injuries like many people mention, I actually have one greater concern...that is if one of the key players has a really cold hand that goes multiple games. We need everyone hitting on all cylinders to go far. I was getting frustrated with Stevenson's cold streak last season until I realized he was injured. I rooted for Jarvis Hayes as a Wizard but those slightly off jumpers caused pain after a while. There are a few others who came here as veterans and just seemed to stay cold. If Miller and Foye play here as they are capable, then lookout! Please, just no slumps, especially from Miller.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | August 23, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

"He is raw but you gotta notice that he runs the floor, intimidates, has few TO's, has good form on his jumper, makes most of his FT's and is trying."

I doubt anyone is really intimidated by McGee, if only because he hasn't played enough for anyone to have the time to become afraid of anything he does on the floor. He averaged a little over 2 TO's which, given his limited minutes, how few FG attempts he took, and how little he had the ball in his hands unless it was being lobbed to him for an alley-oop, isn't good. He shot 66% on FTs last season which, while technically "most" is still pretty bad.

That being said, he has the raw materials to be a good player, but little of what he showed on the floor last season gave much indication of those materials being molded into any kind of shape. The reports from preseason and the U.S.A. camp were promising, but don't necessarily mean much when the games start to matter. It's wait and see (and hope) time.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 23, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jasonma1 | August 23, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

LMAO!

Les BouleS considered "Vastly Improved" but still projected to make the lottery as the 9th team in the EAST?!?!?!

http://hoopshype.com/previews/washington.htm

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 23, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

LMAO!

Les BouleS considered "Vastly Improved" but still projected to make the lottery as the 9th team in the EAST?!?!?!

http://hoopshype.com/previews/washington.htm

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | August 23, 2009 10:52 PM
-----------------------

Is that funny because it's such a poor prediction? or because you think it's true?

Posted by: crs-one | August 24, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

"The problem with the idea of Oberto as veteran mentor is that, despite his age, he's only got 4 years in the NBA and has never been anything more than a marginal role player." - Kalorama

A veteran role player who hasn't done much in the NBA but win a championship, playing on one of the best recent teams in the NBA alongside one of the great big men of the past decade. That might catch the younger players' attention, if they've got any smarts at all; though I'm not overly optimistic, a lot also depends on Oberto's willingness and qualities as a mentor.

Posted by: midlevex | August 24, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Four years in the NBA hardly qualifies as "veteran" status. And simply being on a team that won a title isn't the same as being a championship player. Mike James and Darko Milicic were on teams that won titles too. Given Blatche's apparent reluctance to accept veteran advice from Jamison, it's highly unlikely he take it from a guy who came into the league the same year he did.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 24, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse


I'm sure your aware of Oberto's skill set but to make the point I'm excerpting a review from Draftexpress. They offer this assessment of Oberto including the fact that he has, "Had a well decorated career overseas. Won just about everywhere he went."
The accomplishments of a player with that kind of experience and success may translate into respect in the gym and we might expect McGee and Blatche to enhance their game just being around, "A gritty power forward who uses his feel for the game to make an impact as a complimentary post player...Fights for position to maximize his physical assets...Makes a living by using his basketball IQ to be in the right place at the right time...Always manages to get open around the rim. Good passer. Plays hard on the defensive end. Gives smart fouls. Smart player."
And finally, " Sets great screens. Great offensive rebounder. Very fundamentally sound. Excellent passer. Minimizes mistakes. Really competes...A very savvy defensive player who doesn’t make a lot of plays, but is extremely sound. Has the lateral quickness to defend the high post, but it is his low post defense that is truly impressive. Does a tremendous job going straight up and getting in the way of his man’s moves. Doesn’t fall for fakes or get caught out of position."
Jamison for all his offensive skills lacks some areas Oberto excells in; pre-season and during the season, Blatche and McGee, as GM suggests, will be dozy-doed around the court in practice and we may expect Oberto's skills will rub off.
McGee's learning curve at this point is an unknown, Blatche on the other hand has not shown us much on that front. If Blatche, with all his promise, is unable to show marked improvement by January, he well might become part of a James or Stephenson package to land the Wizards a legitimate low post player.

Posted by: midlevex | August 24, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

it's gonna be a culture shock for oberto in the wiz locker room. look at the team he left versus the team he's coming to. SA was a team with a lot of vets who carried themselves professionally. i've never heard of them having a seating chart for their locker room. TD was the leader and there might have been some noise from Tony or Manu, but Oberto was probably been behind big shot rob as far as leadership goes. i wouldn't be surprised if the players got better from playing against such a "gritty,grissled, tough" player in practice, however they probably won't like him very much for all the flops,hard screens, and sharp bows they end up catchin from the "old white guy at the Y" who takes it too serious.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 24, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I doubt anyone is really intimidated by McGee---kalo_rama

I think anybody driving the lane with JM in the vicinity is at least thinking about him or will be the next time they go inside.

Posted by: VBFan | August 24, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

With 46 playoff games (25 games as a starter) and 800+ playoff minutes. Yes, I think the young players will learn a thing or 2 from Oberto on how to play (real) playoff basketball....IF, the Wizards are really playoff bound.

Posted by: Dave381 | August 24, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"I'm sure your aware of Oberto's skill set but to make the point I'm excerpting a review from Draftexpress. They offer this assessment of Oberto including the fact that he has, "Had a well decorated career overseas. Won just about everywhere he went."

And I will repeat my earlier assessment: Young NBA players (or even most vets, for that matter) don't know or care about what players did overseas.

"Jamison for all his offensive skills lacks some areas Oberto excells in; pre-season and during the season, Blatche and McGee, as GM suggests, will be dozy-doed around the court in practice and we may expect Oberto's skills will rub off."

Why would you expect that? Blatche has been here for 4 years and hasn't shown any signs of being an eager, impressionable student. The idea that he'd be so taken by Oberto's presence that all of a sudden he'd be an attentive little puppy is a major stretch. And Blatche's problem isn't skill. He has plenty of that. His problem is attitude. And if he didn't pay any attention to to Jamison's directed attempts to get him to act, practice, and perform like a professional, there's nothing (other than blind hope) to suggest that he'll pick it up through osmosis from the likes of Oberto.

None of which to say Oberto was a bad acquisition. But any expectation that he's going to come in and be the drill sergeant that whips the youngsters into shape is more than a little bit of wishful thinking.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 24, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Lil puts an interesting spin on Oberto's fit into the Wizard puzzle. It's all a guessing game at this point but Saunders and Cassels will add some seriousness and stature to the locker room chemistry; Jamison and Butler are determined, all-star veterans; Oberto's presence along with Foye and Miller might add something to that foundation of professionalism. Agent Zero gravitas remains a question mark on many fronts; blinding talent but a mixed bag as far as team play and locker room persona, he may have matured as he worked through two years of rehab from injuries, watching the league move on without him from the sidelines. I'm very curious to see if GA's approach to the game has evolved in 2009-10.
As for annoyance and dislike for Oberto's flying 'bows in practice, it's unclear whether he'll be sharpening them for practice and how Blathce and McGee react should he start swinging them, though I suppose Haywood might take a swing at him. Oberto's flopping thespian act, may not be wasted in a practice session.

Posted by: midlevex | August 24, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Oberto is the only player on the team with the experience of beating LeBron in an elimination game. Once to win an NBA championship, once on the way to a gold medal in the Olympics.

Posted by: yop32 | August 24, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"Blatche has been here for 4 years and hasn't shown any signs of being an eager, impressionable student. The idea that he'd be so taken by Oberto's presence that all of a sudden he'd be an attentive little puppy is a major stretch."

After four years he showed up for another summer league, that's an indication of something; a reluctant puppy with a growing awareness of his decision-making shortcomings perhaps. I think we're largely on the same page as far as Blatche; for whatever reason, it's his basketball IQ that is suspect. At this point the multi-talented Blatche has to learn to play within the role defined for him; his skills are so prolific, he is constantly tempted to move outside the parameters of his role and that's when he goes off the tracks. Oberto on the other hand offers the example of a player who maximizes his game contained within role and skill set. The ability to do so is a skill that Blatche lacks. He may bump up against the efficiencies of Oberto's method and learn something, or not.

"And Blatche's problem isn't skill. He has plenty of that. His problem is attitude."

Agreed, as I suggested previously, Blatche hasn't shown us much on that front.

Posted by: midlevex | August 24, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"After four years he showed up for another summer league, that's an indication of something;"

It wasn't an indication of anything the last 3 years he showed up at Summer League only to fail to make the leap in his attitude, game sense, or professionalism everyone expected of him once the season started.

Like Jamison has previously pointed out: We've heard Blatche talk the talk before in preseason. But he always comes up short when it's time to get walking once the real action starts. There's nothing yet that suggests this year will be different. Which is not to say that it won't/can't, but there are no clues to any definite change to be found in his showing up at Summer League. And the arrival of Oberto does nothing to suggest and inevitable tipping of the scales.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 24, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The best way to get someone's attention is to make them think they've got something to lose by not paying attention. I've always thought that a big part of Blatche's problem is that he's never really been challenged to fight for his role on the team. There's never been another talented young player (or even veteran) coming up behind him who threatened to beat him out of PT if he didn't step it up. I seriously doubt Oberto will be that guy this season. (McGuire might be if he makes some improvements in his shooting and Flip decides to run him at PF, but that remains to be seen.)

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 24, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Blatche is at his least effective when he starts playing like Antawn. Long jumpers, off balance flip shots, giving up ground when defending the post, ugh.

If Blatche starts playing like Oberto, on the other hand, we could have something special. Smart, sneaky, borderline dirty. Hopefully, he can learn to put a little extra pop into his picks, learn how to grab, hold, and irritate without getting called for a foul, etc. Those are the kinds of subtle veteran things that Blatche could learn that would make him much more effective and help compensate for the fact that he is probably never going to be super strong or athletic.

Antawn preaches to work harder. Oberto teaches how to play sneakier. I think there could be some real appeal there for Andray.

Posted by: yop32 | August 24, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"It wasn't an indication of anything the last 3 years he showed up at Summer League only to fail to make the leap in his attitude, game sense, or professionalism everyone expected of him once the season started...but there are no clues to any definite change to be found in his showing up at Summer League."

I regard it a clue of sorts when a player, heading into his fourth year, shows up with the rookies and wannabes for summer league.
Granted there were reports he was duped into it by Arenas's calling and suggesting he would be attending too. Doh!
Oft repeated but still relevant, Blatche just turned twenty three on August 22.

Still I'm not overly optimistic regarding Blatche's wising-up this season; if he doesn't show improvement by January, I think a Christmas package with him James or Stevenson, before the shine is entirely off his potential, might be considered.

Posted by: midlevex | August 24, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: djnnnou | August 24, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"Antawn preaches to work harder. Oberto teaches how to play sneakier. I think there could be some real appeal there for Andray."

There's no evidence that Oberto teaches anything. He's spent his entire NBA career on the oldest team in the NBA where he was the low man on the totem pole. Not a whole lot of opportunity for mentoring when you're playing with Tim Duncan, Robert Horry, and Kurt Thomas.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 24, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Oft repeated but still relevant, Blatche just turned twenty three on August 22."

Oft repeated but even more relevant: Going into his 5th NBA season, age ceases to be much of an excuse.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 24, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"Going into his 5th NBA season..."
Time apparently passes quickly when you're getting one and dunned. Perhaps Andray will deliver his end of the bargain this year and the Wizards can crash the party.

Posted by: midlevex | August 24, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Kalorama's never been "schooled" in the lane.

When a guy puts you on your ass a couple of times, you'll pay attention real quick. Believe me I've seen Oberto do it to NBA vets, so doing it to Blatche and McGee is going to be a peice of cake.

And when you've played with NBA vets like Duncan, Horry, & Thomas. If you've got half a brain you've been absorbing all that knowledge like a sponge. Not one thing in Oberto's background and makeup to indicate that he's not a bright guy with a sharp mind for basketball and that he hasn't been learning those lessons well.

Not one thing to indicate that he won't take to a veteran's mentoring role.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 24, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"When a guy puts you on your ass a couple of times, you'll pay attention real quick."

And in his 4 years with the Wiz, do you really think that Haywood, Thomas, Ruffin, or Songaila had never put Blatche "on his ass" in practice? Doesn't seem to have done much good, has it?

And when you've played with NBA vets like Duncan, Horry, & Thomas. If you've got half a brain you've been absorbing all that knowledge like a sponge. Not one thing in Oberto's background and makeup to indicate that he's not a bright guy with a sharp mind for basketball and that he hasn't been learning those lessons well."

Didn't say there was. But it takes more than accumulated knowledge and experience to be a good teacher. It takes a certain kind of attitude and mindset. Does Oberto have that? Again, there's no way to know because he's never, in his 4 years in the NBA, been in a position where he was called upon to fill such a role. Also, doesn't matter how good a teacher is if the student isn't willing to listen and learn, two things that Blatche has shown little proclivity for in his 4 years in the NBA.

"Not one thing to indicate that he won't take to a veteran's mentoring role."

Maybe, maybe not. But the fact remains that he never has, and that he's never been in a position where he was called upon to do so in the NBA. So simply assuming he will is a shot in the dark.

Conversely, there's not one thing to indicate that he will (or can) take a mentoring role, or that Blatche will pay him any attention if he does.

Again, other than wishful thinking.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 24, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

To be clear:

I'm not saying Oberto is inherently incapable of taking on that role. I'm simply pointing out that all the certainty over the presumption that he will is premature in the extreme. People are talking like it's a foregone conclusion, when it's nothing even close to such.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 24, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Alright, I can't argue the points being made too much, but there is a bit too much much melodrama installed (don't take offense, because I know there is pretty sound reasoning behind it). But come on, most teams have young underacheivers. Blatche has improved statistics over each of the 4 seasons. There are all sorts of nuances - last season's stats would have looked good on a winning team, but not so good on a bad team with plenty of opportunity. I can't argue he is a slow learner, because it does seem to be low interest rather than confusion. But I am a big Blatche supporter still. He is hanging in there, seems to be finding more clarity, has the occasional strong games, and coach has been a big supporter this summer (unless that is just a mind game). so I'm going with the argument that it's not a complete crapshoot. There are some indicators, just not as strong as we all would wish. I'm still betting that things click better for Blatch this season; about the tempo of 6 boards and 14 points avg, although 12 points would not surprise me with all the competing fire power. I'd like to see more bench minutes and more bench production, yielding better rested starters for the 4th seed or better, home court advantage, second round appearance, and we'll see what happens.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | August 24, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

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