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Q&A Time

These are some dead, dull times, so there isn't really much going on. That doesn't mean that there isn't anything to talk about. With training camp set to begin in four weeks, I'm sure you all have some questions about the team. I feel this is the best opportunity to open up the Wizards Insider to you all.

So, what I'd like to do is give you a chance to post a long comment or a question to me about whatever you are thinking about regarding the Wizards -- be it Arenas's comeback, the possibility for a dramatic turnaround, the development of the young guys, how the Wizards should feel about not drafting Ricky Rubio, past teams and players, etc. Fire away today and I'll post the best comment and answer the best questions throughout the week, here on Wizards Insider. This should be fun.

By the way, if you don't know already, you can now follow me on Twitter @MrMichaelLee. I just started last week and you'll quickly see my affinity for a certain NBA team from my youth. I'll try to keep you guys informed and offer regular updates throughout the upcoming season.

By Michael Lee  |  August 31, 2009; 9:57 AM ET
 
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Comments

Given that Flip Saunders likes to go with 8-9 players at most, do the Wizards actually have too much depth? There are going to be several players with no playing time on a (likely) extended basis. Will that cause resentment? Delay the development of some of the younger players? Hurt the team towards the end of the season if the starters and first guys off the bench have played a ton of minutes?

Posted by: tgoren71 | August 31, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

List your Wizards 8 man rotation. Your list can't be longer or shorter than 8!

My 8:

Gilbert
Caron
Antawn
Brendan
JaVale
Miller
Foye
Young

Posted by: mirlan | August 31, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Mike,

You have made the case that this is the deepest team that Washington has had in many years. So with that said, what happens if the Wizards fall short of expectations (and what are the expectations?)? Will Ernie continue to tinker? Or will he drop the hammer and have a fire sale?

Posted by: CBell29 | August 31, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Mike,
Under the best case scenario the Wizards will have great perimeter depth and scoring. My question is, even if McGee and Blatche and McGuire all improve, and Haywood has a comparable year to 07/08, does the team have the kind of interior defense and rebounding to succeed in the playoffs, which we all know requires halfcourt toughness? I know that was the thinking behind signing Oberto, but I am still concerned.

Posted by: camlot2822 | August 31, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I wanna know if you watched Grunfeld play when he was with the KC Kings and what you thought of his game.

Posted by: truthaboutit | August 31, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Any word on the medical staff changes this season? Or what coaches we have on the bench and how the Wiz compare to what other teams spend on development and medical treatment of players? You would think with all the ailments we suffered last season there would have been some movement in this area.

Posted by: lameotron | August 31, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Agree with lameotron -- the medical staff has never been scrutinized by the Post and I think it needs to be done. Michael, I think you need to be the first to really take a hard look at the medical staff, their relationship to Pollin, and their performance versus other teams. Are they preparing the Wizards players correctly? Are they diagnosing medical problems better, worse, or equally well as other teams? What areas can they improve, and what are they good at? What is their background? I think you need to speak with other medical professionals in the area to see what they think of the people that are employed by the Wizards.

Injuries happen and the public wants to know that our team getting the best medical staff possible.

Posted by: jimwest20 | August 31, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Thank you mike.
there is no concern about our depth in perimeter shooting.There is also a great expectation in significant improvment of perimeter defense with the zone much up system of flip.
i am still iching about a big man that could improve the interior defense and have some post touchs.The addition of this hypotetical man will put wiz as the top south east division team. what do you think?

Posted by: gtefferra | August 31, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

are we getting new uniforms?? what do the new alternates look like? (i believe they retired the gold). throwback jerseys?

Posted by: prescrunk | August 31, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Nick Young in competition for the starting 2 guard spot. He can learn more playing WITH Arenas than he can running with Foye or Critt.

This would allow Mike Miller to play next to McGuire and give the bench more versatility. No team in the NBA has a bench bunch quite like this:

PG Foye/Critt
SG Miller
SF McGuire
PF Blatche
C McGee/Oberto

Honestly, Flip needs to go 10 deep every night until Thanksgiving or so. This will keep the starters fresh and minutes down for the long haul. I don't want any starter averaging more than 35 minutes a game. Guys will break down come April... we've seen it before.

Posted by: elfreako | August 31, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Michael,

With such a disparity in the guards to forwards ratio, are we still planning on keeping all 7 guards on the squad? If FS only uses a rotation of 8-9 would this hurt any possibility of trade value? Or do they not plan on trading any of them at all?

Posted by: amavroukakis | August 31, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The 8 man rotation is impossible, because it depends on the match-ups and will change from game to game.

However: Mirlan's 8 has 3 guys whose primary position is SG, although MM can move up to SF and Foye can play down to PG some.

I think the "typical" 8 man rotation, at least for the first month or so, is more along the lines of:

Arenas
Foye
Butler
Jamison
Haywood
Miller
Blatche
McGee

With NY, Stevenson, Crittenton, D-mac & Oberto all getting spot duty and getting a chance to play themselves in or out of the rotation.

When we need extra D - Stevenson comes in at the 2. When we need an offensive spark - go with NY. Same at the 3 - D-Mac for D and Miller for 3's.

Oberto comes in when the other guys are either maxing on fouls or just not "getting it."

Crittenton is the top PG backup, but that only gets him about 6-10 minutes a game, with moving over to the 1 some, too. If he excells, he gets more minutes, especially if he can help the team hold a solid lead.

Posted by: Blurred | August 31, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Michael:
We know that the Wizards are in "win-now" mode. My question is to what extent? For example, if the Wizards' front court is suffering a bit this season, will Grunfeld trade any and all young players (and draft picks) for a veteran front court player? In other words, is Grunfeld willing to sacrifice the future of the team for the now? The fact that Grunfeld picked up a relatively young Randy Foye in the trade this summer suggests that Grunfeld hasn't gone all-in with nearly over the hill vets, but I'm not sure. Thanks.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | August 31, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Is there another trade coming?

Seems like Grunfeld has preserved roster flexibility by acquiring expiring contracts and keeping his young players... perhaps he's planning to evaluate the team at the deadline and then make another trade (dumping salary and vets for picks and youth if we're doing bad, and packaging players for another "star" if we're doing good)?

Thanks Mike

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | August 31, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Mike,
Could you talk about the defense? Why did we have the worst 3pt defense in the league last year? Are we going to have to sag into the paint to help AJ again this year, leaving 3 pt shooters wide open? Or is a healthy BH going to solve that problem? Is Mike Miller fast enough to defend starting twos on the perimeter? Is Foye tall enough? IS THERE ANY HOPE AT ALL?!?!?!? *sob*

Posted by: zonkerbrainless | August 31, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Mike,

I'm really happy with the offseason moves and that the team appears healthy. At this point my biggest concern is defense. We've never really been known for defense, and Saunders is an offensive minded coach (just as Eddie Jordan was). Has anything been done to address the issue, either Saunders modifying his strategy or an assistant coach that specializes on defense (someone like a Thibodeau) being brought in? The best teams in the East and the West all can defend and I just feel that the can't compete defensively as consistently as they will have to over the regular season and hopefully the playoffs.

Also, has an effort been made to get McGee a big-man coach like the Magic did with Patrick Ewing for Dwight Howard. I think McGee is going to be a beast as soon as he develops, but having somebody like Ewing would speed up the development and even increase McGee's ceiling.

Posted by: dcsports12 | August 31, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

So my question is: What is the plan to bring McGee along to be a dominant center?

By the way, I watched some classic NBA this weekend and was amazed at Artis Gilmore. Completely forgot he existed, but man he could play! And this was toward the end of his career ('84?). Could Javale get to that level, you think?

Posted by: Blurred | August 31, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Do you envision Deshawn Stevenson starting again? he is after-all our only lockdown defender and proven spot-up shooter (when healthy). How is Deshawn's back?

Posted by: prescrunk | August 31, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm really looking foward to this up coming season. But I did have 1 question If the Wiz become a 50 win team this season will they re-sign miller haywood, foye, or will the keep a few of thise guys and try to get bosh or stoudamire?

Posted by: Keith28dagger | August 31, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

when does training camp start exactly? and is it still in richmond VA at VCU?? i would really like to go this year,

Posted by: mrhney03 | August 31, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Okay, this question is about DEPTH CHARTS. More specifically, how you see the front court (Mike Miller included) play out.

First, what other sites are saying.

ESPN Depth Chart: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=was

CBSSports Depth Chart: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/teams/depth-chart/WAS

Yahoo! Depth Chart: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/teams/was/depthchart

A note: I find it interesting that ESPN has Deshawn a 3rd string shooting guard, but CBS and Yahoo! have him as a starter.

Where do you think Miller, Young, Foye, Deshawn even McGuire will end up on a Flip Saunder's depth chart? I guess this might be a more convoluted question about who will get what minutes.

Help shed light on this, there are a LOT of question marks.

Posted by: iamse7en | August 31, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

though Mike Miller gets all the press, I think Foye was the real cog in this trade. it will give Arenas another combo guard mate like Larry Hughes. That's teh beauty of this trade. Foye can play, but he was stuck in Minnesota.

Lastly, for all I read about him Randy whitman must be a horrible coach. he seems to be a good assistant with keeping folks focused and working on discipline. but it seems to many player improve AFTER he is removed. Does he realize he needs to change as a coach and adjust some of his philosophies?

Posted by: whomp1 | August 31, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mike,

Could you give details of the training camp this year at Siegal Center? IE - dates, times, when public can attend, etc..etc..

Gooooo Tiny Archibald!!

Posted by: jumpset10 | August 31, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Blurred I do agree with your 8 man rotation.

I did have Blatche rather than Young on my list. I "flippped" to Young (pun intended) because:

It sounded like Flip was using NY a bunch in summer league.

Flip seemed to run a guard heavy lineup in the past. It doesn't mean he'll do that here but our roster is guard heavy.

And lastly, wasn't Blatche's breakout season suppose to happen a couple of years ago?

In the end, I do believe Blatche will indeed break into Flip's rotation. But only because he's versatile as a big man.

I'm excited for this season and I know most of us posting here are. Regardless of roster, I predict that we'll have a great regular season.

Posted by: mirlan | August 31, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

First question: how can you not have a contract with the Post? Do you get paid?

Second question: on a scale of 1-10, who on the Wizards has been goofing off this summer and who's been working hard? (examples, in past years, Arenas would have been a 10 for hard work and Blatche would have been a 2). Where do each of the players stand since the end of last season? (The reason for the question is it shows intent for a turnaround, rather than just talk of a turnaround).

Posted by: Izman | August 31, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Please answer JimWest20 question. I feel it's a GREAT question & it has never been talked about.

Posted by: cevans1019 | August 31, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Michael,
Who coaches the big men for the Wizards? What has Blatche, McGee and McGuire been working on this summer? Why can’t Butler play the 2? If Butler played the 2, then you could move Antawn to the 3 and play Blatche at the 4. Butler had all summer to work on ball handling and shooting. I hope he’s made some improvements in those areas so he can play the 2 consistently.

Posted by: philipleslie | August 31, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Mirlan - I think there is at least a 60% chance that Blatche plays himself out of the normal rotation and into a trade. I've said it for two years: Blatche will probably be an incredible PF, I just don't think it will be with the Wizards.

I hope I am wrong.

Posted by: Blurred | August 31, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I see no mention of Oberto in the Wizards' 8-9 man rotation on the blog, but doubt the Wizards would have signed him to be a 3rd string center and pay the luxury tax to just have him on the roster. Does Oberto's playing time hinge on matchups vs. certain teams? Will Oberto's playing time come at the expense of McGee's development? Is there a possibility that Oberto will play with McGee at times on the 2nd unit?

Lot of interesting possibilities, but think it will be tough to squeeze in playing time for 3 big men (McGee, Oberto, Blatche) as reserves at the 4 and 5 positions. I guess that's why Flip is being paid the big bucks to figure out the best way to fit all of the pieces together in the puzzle.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 31, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Mike,

Why do the Wizards always play so many preseason games on the road? This came up a few weeks ago, so apologies if it has already been addressed.

I also second prescrunk's question about the uniforms. The Nationals are a lousy, poorly-run franchise with almost no presence in the community (I say this as a season ticket holder) and poor attendance. Yet the curly W hat is popular all over town. The Caps "updated" their look and the results have been fantastic. When will the Wizards get rid of that awful teal color, and get a logo that people actually want to wear?

Posted by: bryc3 | August 31, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

The keys to this season are:

1. can they stay healthy; especially Arenas. We need to give him 10-15 games to fully evaluate.

2. can they improve their defense by allowing 3-5 less points per game. Offense is no question as they will score with their players and the new offensive schemes.

Go Wizards.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | August 31, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Michael, my only question to Wizards management would be...

Last season, there were so many comments made by certain Wizards players regarding the “young players.” Most recently AJ made a comment at one of the Nevada summer league games referring to certain players on that team as the “young guys.” I’m sure all this young and old talk lead to an unhappy locker room last year. Flip Saunders is quoted as saying “"They're not going to talk young and old, they're going to talk team, and we're going to blend everybody together." How does the new coach make that happen?

Posted by: 33dgriffin | August 31, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Are you hearing anything about a potential Jared Jeffries for Mike James trade?

Posted by: elwyn | August 31, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Don't nobody want Jared Jeffries back on this team. He is no better than Mike James and I don't see where he has even contributed much to the Knicks!! Why in the world would we want him back here, he and Hughes wanted out so let them stay jus that....OUT! No to Jeffries. I say roll with what we have and wait and see.

Posted by: ivyleague | August 31, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Are we going to ever change the name and logo and uniform to something the represents washington, dc??

like, RED WHITE AND BLUE. Washington...

JUSTICE, or POWER...hell even the generals? It worked for the caps. Come on ABE!

Posted by: iastdon | August 31, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Mike,
Any talk about changing the name.
Wizard sounds like what you'd call taking a leak in a snow storm.
Also upgrading the uniforms at the same time would boost sales of team gear & Abe could use the extra $ to hire a real doctor to keep the team healthy.
That pukky teal and the brown throw backs should be thrown out.
Also I think that you should keep all the results of the polls that you posted and show the results at the end of the season to see how we did.
Any chance of getting an update on each Wizz's summer activities (basketball related)?
Good job catering to this bunch of loonies.

Posted by: VBFan | August 31, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Mike,
My first question is about Foye and Miller,
how does Flip Suanders plan to use them? Many talk about Miller as a starting two guard and that Foye is a backup point.

Or, does Suanders regard Foye as that combo guard who can run beside Arenas? And then does he use Miller in a 6th man role off the bench at either the two or the three?

Second Question,
Any thought of using Jamison off the bench at the 4? Having Jamison and Miller to anchor the bench unit behind a starting unit of Haywood, Blatche, Butler, Foye and Arenas, would give the Wizards one of the leagues' most explosive benches.

Jamison and Butler are probably the Wizards 2nd or 3rd best players. Butler would probably not be happy leading the second unit since he's playing for a contract.

Jamison is actually in position that such a move could extend his career and improve his effectiveness in the role of veteran bench leader and scorer.

Third Question, Nick Young, Where do you see him, and what's his role with this team? He seems to be the guy that could either be a starting two, or buried deep on the bench. What do you think happens with Nick? How does the new coaching staff regard him?

Posted by: flohrtv | August 31, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Do you really think that Vince Carter will fit in well with Orlando? Or will have trouble being the second, and possibly third, option on the team? And the same questions about Shaquille O'Neal and Cleveland.

Posted by: tgoren71 | August 31, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

So with that said, what happens if the Wizards fall short of expectations (and what are the expectations?)? Will Ernie continue to tinker? Or will he drop the hammer and have a fire sale?

Posted by: CBell29 | August 31, 2009 10:36 AM

After a 19 win season, I think that if the team falls short of expectations, the hammer will drop . . . on EG. I think that THAT, and Pollin's ill health and advanced years, are behind the "win now" moves that we've seen this off season.

Posted by: rbpalmer | August 31, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The question isn't whether the Wizards will win a championship this year.

The question is: "HOW MANY championships will the Wizards win this year?"

Any chance that the Wizards could become the first team to win TWO championships in one season?

Posted by: JPRS | August 31, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"After a 19 win season, I think that if the team falls short of expectations, the hammer will drop . . . on EG. I think that THAT, and Pollin's ill health and advanced years, are behind the "win now" moves that we've seen this off season."

Posted by: rbpalmer | August 31, 2009 2:39 PM

yep.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Second Question,
Any thought of using Jamison off the bench at the 4? Having Jamison and Miller to anchor the bench unit behind a starting unit of Haywood, Blatche, Butler, Foye and Arenas, would give the Wizards one of the leagues' most explosive benches.

I guess it could happen, but you don't become an all-star in pro sports without a decent amount of ego and I can't imagine jamison would be too happy to play 2nd string to Blatche who has in no way shown that he can:
A) Play at a consistantly professional level, much less starter level.
B) Play significant minutes day in and day out
C) be part of an effective unit, first or second.
D) Avoid racking up the fouls. Basically all an opponent has to do to get Blatche out of the game is drive on him. 80% of the time, he will foul.

If Blatche wants to start, let him earn it. The only upside I could see to this is that other teams wouldn't go at Blatche strong, cuz he would foul out and then they'd have to play a real NBA player, Jamison

Posted by: Blurred | August 31, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"Are you hearing anything about a potential Jared Jeffries for Mike James trade? "

Enough! Seriously. Just stop.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I would echo flohrtv's question re Nick Young but with respect to Deshawn Stevenson. Most of us have relegated him to the bench or to a trade, but a recent quote by Flip seemed to imply he's viewing D-Steve as integral to the team's turnaround over last year. What have you picked up in your travels around Flip and the staff?

Posted by: Prazak | August 31, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The NBA has become even more interesting over the last few years as the world's best players have achieved not just making the roster but being stars.
My question is simple, I think! Do the Wizards really have a good system to assess the talent the rest of the world is producing in the realm of basketball and are there anyways it could be improved upon in your judgement? It may still be that White Men can't Jump but some dang-on well can shoot! Disclosure white but think this game is wonderful in its reward for hard work and talent and only the best can achieve the NBA. I am white but proud of the fact that the NBA is so progressive on black players, coaches, and all but ownership but even some there also. Related to this does the NBA give out basketballs and hoops in developing countries and could it not encourage former players with coaching talent to take overseas "missions" for one or two years to help develop other nations prowress on the court! If soccer is the "beautiful game" then basketball is the "wonderful game! A wizards fan and hoping for a great season. Don't burn the stars out early for wins but focus on the team and developing mutual respect and competence and support of the players for each other. After all it is still a "team" game in my opinion and the best "team" will always beat the best individuals most of the time. A wonderful playoff round last year with some of the all time classic NBA games to watch over and over. And thanks NBA for helping with the WBA they are great players their and the game is fun to watch!

Posted by: Vacation4243 | August 31, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

As long as Pollin owns this team I don't see anything good happening. It's not that he's cheap. It's the 3rd highest payroll in the NBA. It's that he is POLLIN. 46 years with the Bullets; 26 years with the Caps; 13 years with the Mystics, and only 1 championships. 1 for 85 is a pretty telling yardstick of what will happen this year as well.

Posted by: larrypalma | August 31, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

It is clear that Miller and Foye are going to be members of the rotation. With Haywood, Jamison, Butler, Arenas, Miller, and Foye that leaves two spots left in an 8 man rotation. Many people are saying that McGee and Blatche will fill those final two spots. Is this realistic? Don't we need another guard coming off the bench, especially since Miller will be subbing in for Butler? Of course, if Miller is a backup 2 and a backup 3 it would maximize his 6th man role and keep him on the floor for 30 minutes a game.

Posted by: MeviousMan | August 31, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Do you think the Wizards seriously have enough potential to be able to beat the Celtics, Cavs or Magic in a playoff series? I feel like they have improved their roster, however I'm not sure if it was enough. Why didn't they make a move for a legitimate star in the front court? Oberto is a solid role player but they won't be able to compete with Shaq/Dwight Howard. I felt like the Wizards should have made a move for Marcus Camby from the Clips.

Posted by: Brianbethrockvillemd | August 31, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

First question:
I have heard that Gil may be a changed player this year in that he may be more willing to reduce his scoring and set up his teammates more. What is Flip's view on this or how does he intend to use him (if that is even possible)?

Second question:
What kind of defense(s) will Flip install this year for the Wiz. What does Flip expect from his players on defense or will he be more interested in just out scoring the opposition (considering the fire power he has)?

Third question:
In the past the big three have played 40+ minutes a night. What kind of minutes does Flip expect to give to his best players this year night in and night out?

Fourth question:
Who on the staff provides the coaching for the big men on the team? We know Sam Cassell is providing advice and knowledge to the guards.

Tim

Posted by: cannontl | August 31, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Prazak,That seems to be the roster problem that I see developing. If Flip uses Foye for 25 minutes a game at the 2 and he backs up Gil 10 minutes a game.

That gives him his playing time, and since I think he's really the center peice of the trade, I'd wager he's going to have to flop to not get his minutets.

But if Flip gives Foye nearly half the minutes at the two, he's got three other guys that have started at the two on the team, plus James.

Miller can get some minutes at the three, but if Stevenson's healthy, he and Young would seem to be in a real struggle for minutes at the two.

Blurred, The Wizards top three players are Arenas(if fully healthy)Jamison, and Butler. A true 6th man should be one of your top players. It won't be your best player, so Arenas is out. Butler's playing for a contract, so he's unlikely to be happy with the role. So Jamison is the logical guy to put in that role.

For Jamison, showing that he can convert to be an effective role player is going to be the key to his getting another major contract. Next signing will be based on his ability to convert to a veteran of the bench like a Robert Horry got to be.

Do you really think that McHale our Robert Parrish were the 6th best player when they were coming of the bench for the Celtics?
I'm not saying Jamison wouldn't like to start, but in the NBA it's really more about who plays down the stretch.

Coming in and playing in a 6th man role, would make it easier for Jamison to get his shots playing with the second unit.

I wouldn't just "give the starting role to Blatche if he wasn't playing well. This could be a transtion that takes a season to make. But I see that a Haywood/Blatche could be a good starting combo defensively and on the boards. And there wouldn't be a lack of firepower in the starting lineup with Arenas, Butler, and Foye.

Posted by: flohrtv | August 31, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"As long as Pollin owns this team I don't see anything good happening. It's not that he's cheap. It's the 3rd highest payroll in the NBA. It's that he is POLLIN. 46 years with the Bullets; 26 years with the Caps; 13 years with the Mystics, and only 1 championships. 1 for 85 is a pretty telling yardstick of what will happen this year as well."

Only 8 teams have won titles since 1980. Does that mean that the owners of of the other 22 teams are losers fated to fail?

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... my question: does anybody at the Wiz front office read this blog? And a suggestion: please tell the Wiz to make sure that Flip Saunders doesn't.

Because I'm here to attest that it can make you crazy.

On that same subject, what about the flurry of trades this past off-season? How many of those teams have actually improved as a result? And how many made the trades simply because they were afraid the other guy was getting ahead of them?

I'm not sure there was all that much to worry about. Vince Carter to Orlando -- they needed another jump shooter? Rasheed Wallace to Boston -- what if Garnett breaks down again?

San Antonio might actually have improved. Then again, they were falling behind fast.

The Wiz should be better, but I'm not ready to start worrying about whether they're prepared for the second round of the playoffs.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 31, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions!

My question is this --

To play devil's advocate here a little bit... let's say this years team doesn't work out. Call it the health bug again, or maybe players just don't pan out the way they are supposed to. If that happens, what gives with Grunfield? The injury card has already been used, and that's part of the game. This is his roster now, there are no more MJ era holdovers. Will the microscope shift a little his way?

Posted by: wizfan305 | August 31, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Mike,

How do you see the East stacking up this season. Given all the offseason deal-making, which teams helped themselves the most and least?

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

This is more of a statement, but it is question-like: Mike Miller and Randy Foye are one-year rentals. There is no chance the Wizards sign either of these guys and go further over the salary cap for next year. The same goes for Brendan Haywood. That is one money-oriented dude. There is no chance he gives the Wizards a discount of any type.

We have Arenas, Butler, Jamison for the next couple years, but the supporting cast is going to be a series of veteran cast-offs and rentals to meet the minimum roster requirement and little else. So, like it or not, this year is not a rebuilding year, or a comeback year, rather it is the only legit shot at a contender we are going to have for the next 2 or 3 years.

Posted by: chinatown | August 31, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

One, this is not a contract year for Butler as someone mentioned in here and I've seen in other recent threads.

Second, "that is one money-oriented dude" comment about BTH is completely unfounded and lacks credibility. What has ever suggested this is true? He is currently in an extremely cap friendly contract and has never griped about his contract to my knowledge even though he has outperformed it unlike say Etan Thomas. Plus, I've actually heard him comment about the realities of this economy etc.... BTH is actually very level headed and more intelligent when compared to a lot of athletes and that is part of the reason why I have grown to respect him. His younger more immature youth aside.

I see him resigning with us for $30 - $40 million over 3/4 years unless someone makes him a ridiculous offer, which I don't think is going to happen. I also think he likes the team, city, etc... Doubt he is going anywhere.
At the end of his career, he is going to go down as our most solid center since Unseld. Granted, there is not much competition there.

Michael,

My question is what does the team have to accomplish this season for the likes of EG, Pollin to consider it a successful season in your estimation? Obviously, the goal is a championship for any decent team, but would a 2nd round exit in 7 games be considered a nice building block in the approximately 3 year window with this core. Do they have to make the conference finals? While I think this is possible given the talent, I don't think it is realistic to go from 19 wins to a championship.
Either way, unless the season is a catastrophe without injury, I see no reason to blow up the team or fire EG.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 31, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Whoa! Interesting! Such quality questions and comments and no garbage. What caused this, i.e., what's the independent variable?

Posted by: 7snider7 | August 31, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"I see him resigning with us for $30 - $40 million over 3/4 years unless someone makes him a ridiculous offer, which I don't think is going to happen."

You mean more ridiculous than giving a 31-year-old, offensively-challenged, non-dominant C a multiyear deal for $10 mil/per?

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

"This is more of a statement, but it is question-like: Mike Miller and Randy Foye are one-year rentals. There is no chance the Wizards sign either of these guys and go further over the salary cap for next year."

I disagree. If the team has playoff success, I think at least one of them returns. If McGee really blossoms, he likely becomes the starting C next season and they let Haywood and Mike James walk to create cap space.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

First of all, one important thing everybody's forgetting is CHEMISTRY!! Coach Saunders is really smart about having himself communicate with all his players, and get to know them really well. If you look at Greg Pop and Tim Duncan, and their relationship with each other, and you look at the accomplishments they 've achieved over the years wouldn't you think that all started with CHEMISTRY!! Building a bond with other teamates just makes more team success. Look at Cleveland and their roster compared to the wizards.. Clevland has alot of role players, and only one allstar in LBJ23. As youve seen on tv and the clevland games, what do they do before pre-games? They act silly!!! Thats how strong thier chemistry is!! With all the good teams in the NBA, thier keys to winning are Patience, Chemistry, Everyones Accountable, and last but not least everyone has one goal, and ONLY ONE: NBA CHAMPIONSHIP.............

Paul G

Posted by: hawksbest08 | August 31, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

"how the Wizards should feel about not drafting Ricky Rubio"

Yahoo just reported that Rubio decided to stay in Spain until 2011! This makes the Wizards look like geniuses in terms of not falling for the "Rubio" hype!

Posted by: JohnWWW | August 31, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I think DS will start.

Posted by: gtefferra | August 31, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

with all due respect, everyone can save themselves a lot of trouble and fretting by dropping the 8 man rotation concept right now. Flip has used it only enough to inspire the younger players to work hard. He already gave the key hint that he would be willing to expand it for this team. The 2009/2010 wizards are not built for an eight man rotation. 8 men rotation teams have 2 or 3 players who just got their drivers licenses and 2 or 3 more who are ancient and getting paid the minimum, just for team security in case of injuries. The Wizards may go with a tight rotation based on mid-season injuries, or multiple 8 man rotations that keep changing based on streaking players and game by game match-ups, but I'll bet my last dollar that there will be no eight man rotation that sticks for multiple games in a row. Forget Flip's history, an 8 man rotation does not serve this team's purposes and only a robot would make the mistake of sticking to an eight player rotation under this particular set of circumstances.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | August 31, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I should have said, "Flip has referenced it here in DC only enough to inspire" since he has not "used" it at all yet.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | August 31, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey, this is a really cool idea. Here are two quick questions:

1) Do you think the Wizards' lack of defense is a problem with the system they were running before, or talent, or effort? Probably a combination, but what figures most?

2)Flip Saunders was ruthlessly called out by his players in the PLAYOFFS. How hard is it to command respect amongst players in the league after that? Or does a new team wipe the slate clean?

Posted by: dcball | August 31, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I've seen several times now people saying that Foye is a one-year rental but I think that's highly unlikely. Foye will be a restricted f.a. (Miller will be unrestricted and it's likely he'll leave for economic reasons, especially if Young and/or Foye come up enough to make him expendable.) But it is super-rare for restricted f.a.'s to leave. In fact, teams rarely even attempt to sign them. No one's even made David Lee an offer. Gortat's offer from the Mavs was rare - and got matched 10 days later, leaving the Mavs with 10 wasted days in the heart of the free agency period, and making it even more unlikely for teams to make offers to restricted free agents (same for Paul Milsap offer from Portland that was matched by Utah). I'd say there's a 99% chance Foye re-signs with the Wiz (even if he was horrible and mgmt's intention was to trade him). But I think he'll be good. For at least this year, he'll be Gilbert insurance, backing him up and ensuring that we have a similar style of play if Gil misses any time. Eventually, if Gil stays healthy, I think he'll carve out a more important role on the team.

Posted by: Urnesto | September 1, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

dcball,

I can answer those questions for you. 1) All of the above. Everyone on the team has the tools to be good defenders aside from Jamison. So it's more effort than anything with bad schemes/coaching a close second. 2) Flip was called out by Wallace mainly who has a reputation as a malcontent. Whatever happened there does not compromise his reputation as far as this team is concerned. He's a winner who has made the finals once and conference finals multiple times. How many coaches has the franchise had with his pedigree?

Kal, up to your usual nitpicking antics. His current contract was for 25 million I believe. You think he is not worth more now than before that contract was signed? 10 million a year may be slightly high, but there is a premium for centers who can walk and chew gum at the same time. Haywood is a legit NBA center who may not be dominant offensively, but is solid defensively, can rebound, block shots, protect the rim and is not clueless offensively. Dare I say, he has become somewhat of a team leader as well. As a point of reference, Chris Kaman is playing on a 5yr/55 million contract right now and I would rather have Haywood. Not that either is worth that contract. But, he is probably going to get 7 million a year minimum - 4 yr/30 million seems about right to me and a slighter better contract would not surprise me either. So, care to offer an prognostication of your own? Didn't think so.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 1, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

"This is more of a statement, but it is question-like: Mike Miller and Randy Foye are one-year rentals. There is no chance the Wizards sign either of these guys and go further over the salary cap for next year."

I disagree. If the team has playoff success, I think at least one of them returns. If McGee really blossoms, he likely becomes the starting C next season and they let Haywood and Mike James walk to create cap space.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 31, 2009 9:14 PM
_____

Ah, actually found one. One that is completely nuts. Either RF or MM will stay that much I agree. But, McGee "blossoming" to the point that they are willing to let Haywood walk is highly unlikely. That would be taking one step forward and two steps backwards. From clueless on the court and rail thin to starting C for a supposed "contender" in his 3rd season at the age of 22? Don't think so. Not very realistic. Didn't you see how raw he was in his rookie season? He'll be ready, if ever, about the time Haywood is done with his next contract and Jamison is done as a $10 million a year player or retired.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 1, 2009 2:03 AM | Report abuse

I don't doubt that with a healthy big 3 the Wizards win 45-55 games and make it into the second round. I think, like me, all Wizards optimists are on that bandwagon.

The question that interests me is where are the late game defensive stops going to come from if we have any hope or dream of getting through the finals? It's not AJ, I think we can agree on that. DS doesn't match up well. Caron and Brendan can carry their weight class, but who can slow down those 3 other (respects to Gil) MVP candidates KB, LJ and DW? I'm not optimistic enough to see that on this roster. Who can possibly step-up like Orlando's Michael Petrus did last year and what's his name from Boston the year before?

Posted by: EWE1 | September 1, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Ahhh, Rob, up to your usual spin doctoring, I see.

Haywood's current contract was for $25 mill over 5 years, an average of $5 mill per/yr. You proposed $30 or 40 mil over 3 or 4 years, an average of $10 mil/year (notwithstanding your obvious attempt at an after the fact backpedal by claiming the $30 mil would be spread out over 4 years after I called you on it; more on that in a moment). What has he done in the last 5 years to be twice as valuable now as he was then? Nothing. Now, a $7 mil/yr deal would actually be a pretty reasonable deal for him. But since he's heading into a year where he'll make $6.5 mill, a deal that averaged $7 mill/yr. would actually start off paying him less than he'll make in the last year of his current deal. No way in hell he signs for that.

As for Kaman: (A) Kaman is a much better player and (B) Just because someone else is overpaid doesn't justify overpaying Haywood. Apples and oranges.

As for McGee . . . Yeah, I saw him play last season. But guess what? Last season is over. Moreover, if you'd actually read what I wrote (clearly never a prerequisite when you respond) you'd have seen quite clearly that I wasn't actually predicting his ascension (thus the repeated use of the word "IF"). In any case, there's nothing that says he won't improve considerably over the course of this season. We won't know until the season is actually done. And since it hasn't even started yet, blanket pronouncements about his assured failure would seem to be rather asinine at this point.

Bottom line remains the same: Haywood is not a $10 mil/yr player (at least not on the Wizards). If that's what it takes to keep him, then letting him walk is a definite possibility.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 1, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

No backpedaling whatsoever. I didn't mean those numbers to be exact numbers just approximations of what to expect. You can take the high end of one range and the low end of the other or vice versa. Of course, you ran with the one that would make him a 10 million a year player. Go for it! It certainly is not out of the realm of possibilities as the Kaman contract shows. Personally, I wouldn't pay him that much either unless we get closer to winning a title than I expect this season and he performs well in the playoffs.

Kaman - Kaman is better than Haywood? Give me a break. Shoots better is about all. Too bad there are more skills involved in being a basketball player than just shooting. Besides, for this team BH is a better fit, but I would take Haywood over Kaman regardless at this point in their careers.

McGee - Made no pronouncements about his assured failure. Just made realistic assumptions about the rate of his growth as a player. Starting center for a theoretical contender in his 3rd season is a slightly absurd expectation and, thus, an enormous "if".
He was as raw as he was gifted athletically last season.

Haywood - What has he done to improve his contract value over the last 5 years? Wow, your slipping more and more. Where to start? He is now a solidified starting center for one. He has improved in almost all facets of the game. He has become a team leader. He is now credited as being the defensive quarterback on the team. In his absence last year, we had a complete abyss in the middle.

Finally, I agree last season is over. Thus, some of your commenting on the upcoming season with references to us only winning 19 games last season is stupid. Take your own advice.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 2, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

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