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The Eight-Man Rotation Is Coming

Wizards Coach Flip Saunders began building relationships with his players even before the team officially hired him. It started with a few text messages with Gilbert Arenas to set the groundwork with the team's best player. Since he's been hired, Saunders has worked out individually with some of his players, offered personal instruction and traded text messages from time to time to give and receive updates. But in the past few weeks, Saunders has also started traveling to the hometowns of his players and hanging out for a few days with them.


I'm rolling with eight. Who's coming with me? (Photo by NBAE/Getty Images)

Saunders has already made it down to Atlanta to hang out with Javaris Crittenton and he's supposed to soon head to Charlotte, where he will spend time with both Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood. Saunders believes it is important to establish relationships with his players, and mutual trust will be a key, especially when Saunders inevitably decides on his rotation.

Sportsradiointerviews.com posted a recent interview that Saunders held with a Minnesota radio station. Saunders didn't say anything controversial, but he did mention that he plans on relying on an eight-man rotation in Washington. He spoke about how and why he trades text messages with his players, the influence he expects assistant coach Sam Cassell to have, the balance of power in the Eastern Conference and he compared Ricky Rubio to former Sacramento and Memphis point guard Jason Williams.

The funniest part of the interview came when Saunders started listed all of the players that the Wizards will be adding to their 19-win season from last year. He mentioned the returning injured players (Arenas, Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson) and the newly aqquired players from Minnesota (Mike Miller and Randy Foye) but he really stumbled while trying to pronounce the name of the soon-to-be free agent pickup, Fabricio Oberto. Saunders called him, "Fab Obricio." Saunders has time to learn his name. Plus, Oberto will sign either later this week or early next week.

But the quote that stood out to me is the one where he defended his eight-man rotation:

"When you start playing too many players, what happens is no one gets in to any kind of flow. My philosophy's always been you play eight players, nine and ten play when you have some foul trouble which you're always gonna usually have in a game. If you're eleven and twelve, you better be working to get to nine and ten."

I've already mentioned that this is the deepest team the Wizards have had this decade, but it appears that the depth may only matter if and when someone gets hurt. So, if Flip is only going to play eight guys, which eight do you see making the regular rotation? Saunders has only committed to four starters --- Arenas, Jamison, Haywood and Caron Butler, meaning that the shooting guard position is wide open.

Saunders also told the radio station that the Wizards made the trade with Minnesota with the expectation that Miller and Foye would be in their top six or seven. Nothing is guaranteed for those two, but you have to assume that they will be in the mix, leaving two guys to fill out the rotation. But that leaves eight players fighting to be among the next two. Will it be two big men? One big man and another guard? Two more guards?

Competition in training camp will be intense, especially in the backcourt, where the Wizards have an assortment of guards. You know someone's feelings are going to be hurt. That's why it's good that players have an understanding early, and that they can get to know Saunders on a more personal level right now.


By Michael Lee  |  August 4, 2009; 9:59 AM ET
 
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Comments

first!

Posted by: Goelez | August 4, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

second!

Posted by: Samuraise | August 4, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I think the deeper meaning is that we're going to spend another season listening to complaints from certain posters that Saunders isn't playing the right rotation, and there are young guys on the bench with superior PERs.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 4, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see the Wiz trade Jamison at some point during the season for a 1st round pick either next year or in 2011, and go with Blatche at PF until they can upgrade at the position through the draft. Then your top 8 becomes Arenas, Stevenson, Butler, Blatche, Haywood, Miller, Foye and McGee. Sorry Nick Young.

Posted by: gaholtzman | August 4, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

It'll be hard to upgrade the Jamison/Blatche combo at PF through the draft without a top 8 pick. Trading for a package that includes a pick during the middle of the year, in no way guarantees you that the pick will even be in the top 20, especially if you consider the fact that most teams willing to take on Jamison's contract will be those thinking he's the final piece to a championship. Charlotte may be the exception, but adding Jamison to that team is probably enough to keep them out of a top 15 pick.

Posted by: segastyle | August 4, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Samson, if you are refering to me, you're quite wrong. The time to win is now (not last year).

If you look at the poll, Blatche, McGee or Young are the obvious players that have to deliver this year for the Wiz to win(not McGuire). That was known last year. But neither Blatche, McGee or Young have been schooled or played enough to improve that much. Flip will have to work wonders (which is a probability with Young, a possibility with Blatche and unlikely with McGee given his current experience level).

Anyway, I'm predicting a 9 man rotation. The chemistry of the rotations will be key (+/- of the 5-man units), not individual PERs.

Posted by: Izman | August 4, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Clearly McGee and Young are going to complete the rotation. Oberto and Blatche are around for big man depth, Crittendon exists to be a 3rd PG in the likely case that Gilbert can't recover from his 2.5 year injury layoff. Stevenson, James, and D-Mac are going to struggle to get on the court.

Posted by: Dellis2 | August 4, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I think both the 9 and 10 spots will get a decent amount of court time, either because of injuries, foul trouble, or just plain garbage time at the end of games. So I'd say the last four in are Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Nick Young, Dominic McGuire. The last two out are DeShawn Stevenson and Javaris Crittenton. Guys who will only ever get in if we lose enough people via injury: Mike James and Fabricio Oberto.

I do think that Nick Young, Dominic McGuire, DeShawn Stevenson, and Javaris Crittenton will all rotate in and out of those 9 and 10 spots throughout the season based on good weeks of practice, specific matchups, and losing a starter for a number of games.

Posted by: segastyle | August 4, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Sorry McGee lovers. He aint going to be in the rotation this year. His game has far too many weaknesses to garner significant minutes. However, I don't think there is any way that we're looking at an 8 man rotation. Nick Young, Blatche and Oberto will play significant minutes. I believe that Oberto will back up Haywood, provided that the opponent is playing a traditional center; otherwise, Blatche will play the 5.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | August 4, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"I think the deeper meaning is that we're going to spend another season listening to complaints from certain posters that Saunders isn't playing the right rotation, and there are young guys on the bench with superior PERs."

Odds are we would have hear that regardless, just like how we heard last season that Tapscott didn't play Nick Young and Andray Blatche even while Tapscott was playing Nick Young and Andray Blatche.

The four starters are set. My guess is that Foye will probably be starter #5 with Miller the first wing off the bench. (Or vice versa.) That's six. Long athletic guys play well into Saunders zone defensive principles, so I'm thinking McGee (riding a wave of summer buzz) is the first big off the bench. That's seven.

The eighth spot will be up for grabs between Blatche, McGuire, and Crittenton. It may be a situation where a couple of them rotate in and out of the rotation depending on matchups, with a certain guy getting minutes against some teams/players and then sitting out several games in a row until his number comes up again.

Young, Stevenson, Oberto, and James on the outside looking in.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 4, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

There will be an 8 man rotation with others getting playing time due to matchups, foul problems, injuries. The core 8 will rotate, while others will get lesser minutes.
-------------------------------------------
And to anybody who wants to act like a child, please grow up. People should be grown enough to not get in their feelings because someone has a different opinion of something.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 4, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like somebody got his feelings hurt.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 4, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I think McGee has a ton of upside, but I also think that we should prepare ourselves for the likelihood that he will be player 9 or 10.

He will still get some run because frontcourt fouls are bound to occur, but I don't think people should be in such a rush to mark him down as one of the 8 regulars.

I do think that he will get enough PT to continue to develope and who knows what happens by the end of the season.

Posted by: SportzWiz | August 4, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

wrong again

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 4, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

fifteenth!

Posted by: SkinsDiesel | August 4, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

SportzWiz

I concur

JaVale still has to learn to play. Right now he is just a tall athlete with potential. Now on that alone, he can contribute a lil, but his overall game needs to be developed.

As a backup, he can play some but if Brendan gets hurt, ouch!

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 4, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

stevenson on the outside looking in huh? sounds about right to me i agree with james and oberto being bound to the bench as well. i just think that all the ofseason work to get NY to change his game figures him into that situational guy that get in the rotation, and maybe DOM comes. I just don't see flip not using NY, or maybe they'll trade him .

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | August 4, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Including Oberto, we will have 14 players. Saunders said 11th and 12th don't get to play, that means there will be 4 players that don't play. Care to name the 4?

Obviously, Mike James is leading the pack!

Posted by: sagaliba | August 4, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Most coaches want to get down to an 8 man rotation during a given game. Injuries, slumps, ineffectiveness, and a guy that's out of the rotation making a strong play in practice, have a way of changing rotations.

Young, McGuire, McGee, and Blatche will all be 7,8,9, & 10 but not always in that order. My quess is that if Gil's healthy, Foye gets the starting nod at the 2 with Miller the number one guy off the bench on the wing.

I think Young is going to earn his way into Flip's trust and be a regular off the bench with Foye sliding to point. Flip's going to closely monitor Gil's minutes for quite awhile. If Gil gets a night off, on a back to back w/ air travel in between, Critt's in the rotation that night.

Upfront, I'll wager McGee becomes the first big off the bench, and he gets some time at the 4 as well as backup center.

That leaves Blatche and McGuire really fighting for time upfront. And Stevenson,Oberto, and James, competing to model suits, or wave towels, to start the year.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | August 4, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

"When you start playing too many players, what happens is no one gets in to any kind of flow.

One thing Eddie Jordan never learned.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | August 4, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I think that, if healthy, Stevenson will start or be first off the bench. While I am not a big Deshawn fan he is a vet and when healthy puts out on both ends of the floor and plays well with GA.

Posted by: VBFan | August 4, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

"He will still get some run because frontcourt fouls are bound to occur, but I don't think people should be in such a rush to mark him down as one of the 8 regulars."

Well, it's not like there's overwhelming competition for him to beat. Someone has to be the backup C and right now McGee looks to be the best option among a less than stellar list of candidates. Is that damning with faint praise? Probably. but it is what it is. On a practical note, Saunders has had success in the past with long, athletic bigs, so I can see where McGee might be a more enticing prospect for him than Blatche or Oberto.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 4, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I think they will lean toward Nick instead of Miller. Miller may be hear 1 year and is not a part of the future in Washington. If Nick is not dependable, then they will play Miller.

Posted by: G-Man11 | August 4, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

'My philosophy's always been you play eight players, nine and ten play when you have some foul trouble which you're always gonna usually have in a game.'

So Flip is saying he goes with an 8 man rotation, aside from most nights when he uses 10. Gotcha.

Posted by: divi3 | August 4, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

izman: "The chemistry of the rotations will be key (+/- of the 5-man units), not individual PERs."

You hear that, people? Don't be bringing up the PERs as an argument for playing time.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 4, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"'My philosophy's always been you play eight players, nine and ten play when you have some foul trouble which you're always gonna usually have in a game.'
So Flip is saying he goes with an 8 man rotation, aside from most nights when he uses 10. Gotcha.
Posted by: divi3"

Means the ninth and tenth guys get off the bench only when somebody's in foul trouble. Means one of them gets extra minutes in a typical game. That doesn't mean you won't see others in garbage time situations.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 4, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"Sorry Nick Young."

I agree with this also and was just thinking the same thing. But instead of a pick I would like to see them getting a quality foward coming off of the bench.

I do think Nick is going to be the odd man out this year, especially with that trade. He's too inconsistent and can't play any D. Flip knows "win now" or he's gone, if nothing else he's been around the NBA block enough to know this. If Stevenson comes back, and does not start but comes off the bench, then Young is getting NO minutes.

"Sorry McGee lovers."

Yeah right. Coach couldn't even pronounce Oberto's name and McGee is practicing with USA Basketball. Blatche is going to see lots of minutes behind Brendan as well as behind AJ. McGee will get minutes when they move Blatche to the 4. You're prolly looking at 15 per game unless someone gets hurt then those will go up. Oberto is just going to take a spot on the bench until someone gets hurt, then he will see the court.

Blatche showed he could play the 4/5 pretty well last year, he's prolly looking at 20 minutes per game. Think about it, he has experience now and will be playing against back-ups. He should be good for 12-15 points per night and about 8 rebs coming off the bench. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Thank God we'll never see Mike James on the floor.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | August 4, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

NY is on a short leash I think. He's got to play exactly as Flip tells him and play well or he'll find himself buried on the bench by mid-December. Sounds like Stevenson is ready to come and hustle his way to PT, look out NY, step up or ye gone

Posted by: divi3 | August 4, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Never say never rmcazz. But I sure hope you're right!

Posted by: glawrence007 | August 4, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

If you watched what was going on in Vegas this summer, you will see that Nick Young was the focus along with McGhee...and in my opinion will be in the rotation. I don't see Oberto coming in and and bumping a young athletic (yet raw) center to the bench. Nick young needs to play. He can say 8 all he wants but the way a game unfolds (as many of you have mentioned) will determine that. fouls, slumps, flow, match-ups etc. The wizards aren't the yougest team in the league either and u can believe that the injury bug will hit us again (as it always does) which is the ultimate dictator to a rotation....McGhee was invited to play in the U.S. basketball program which leads me to believe he's viewed as up and coming....

Posted by: jwmartin_72 | August 4, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I find it somewhat interesting that the coach has to travel around the globe to visit the players.....why don't they live in the city where they play..and get their pay...Especially vets like jamison and haywood who have been here for several years....

Posted by: jwmartin_72 | August 4, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

'He can say 8 all he wants but the way a game unfolds (as many of you have mentioned) will determine that.'

yup. Nellie is the only guy who really means 8 when he says 8. To his own detriment

Posted by: divi3 | August 4, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Nobody is claiming that 9 or 10 won't play on a given night including Flip. That doesn't change the premise that only 8 guys are going to play regular mins at regular times with a sprinkling of others.

That being said, I don't see how Blatche is not a regular part of the rotation to begin the season. I think McGee is far behind even Blatche at this point in his career. Who else is playing backup PF on this team?

The players most likely to be buried deep on the bench are McGuire, Critt, McGee, James, and Oberto with MGee and Oberto receiving the most sprinkling of mins.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 4, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see the Wiz trade Jamison at some point during the season for a 1st round pick either next year or in 2011, and go with Blatche at PF until they can upgrade at the position through the draft. Then your top 8 becomes Arenas, Stevenson, Butler, Blatche, Haywood, Miller, Foye and McGee. Sorry Nick Young.

Posted by: gaholtzman | August 4, 2009 10:27 AM

Two reasons why this won't happen: 1. The Wizards are in "win now" mode, and going from Jamison to Blache, a perennial under-achiever, is a big down-grade; 2. In order to trade Jamison, the Wizards would have to get in return a player or players whose contract(s) come close to equaling Jamison's hefty salary. It seems unlikely to me that any team would trade such players AND a number one pick that is high enough to allow us to draft a quality starter for a 30-something defensively-challenged forward with a lot of miles on his odometer.

Posted by: rbpalmer | August 4, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Quote:
On a practical note, Saunders has had success in the past with long, athletic bigs, so I can see where McGee might be a more enticing prospect for him than Blatche or Oberto.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 4, 2009 11:42 AM
-------------------------------------------
Not all of Saunder's successes have come with "long' bigs. In fact, the center on his most successful Piston teams was the not very long 6'8" "Big" Ben Wallace.

Posted by: phil27 | August 4, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling it is going to be more of a 9 man rotation, with Nick Young, Andray Blatche, and JaVale McGee in the works. Because right now, Andray and JaVale HAVE to be in the rotation. We do not have another backup PF or C (other than Oberto who will prolly only get spot minutes). I think Miller and Foye will play a large part, and have a feeling Nick will be the last guy in the rotation.

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | August 4, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Why the rush to trade an all-star caliber player who is one of our most productive and consistent players even if he is somewhat defensively challenged? He is hardly a lone member in the defensively challenged club in the NBA.

And, there is no reason to believe that he won't be the same player throughout the length of this contract, which has 4 yrs left I do believe. He has never relied on crazy "hops", superior quickness, or athleticism, ever. Part of the reason he is not a great defender as well. He relies on craftiness more than anything to score and grab rebounds, which he does at a very high level. See no need for that to disappear into his mid 30's.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 4, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

...NY will not be in the 8-man rotation. He will spend the year learning how to play the game Flip's way.

...AB will be given a chance early but, he too needs to change his game or he will also be on the outside.

Posted by: oddjob1 | August 4, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The 8 man rotation is good.Situation will allow for every body to be included in the rotation.
who are the top 8 players?
I think there is no question about the 4 starters. The Sg starting gard position will go either to DS or foye.Stevenson is unlikely to be in the rotation if his health is not going to allow him to win his starting job, this might make it simple for this blog but I value him as the best role player and would like to see him to start as a SG.
6/ Mike miller: need to sare minutes from Cb and Ds, he need to play an average of 25-30 minutes to win the 6th man of the year.
7/foye: can pick minutes from GA and DS, he will have a potential to win a starting job at the 2.
8/ Blache will help both AJ and BH, he might fail his expectation and easily replaced by oberto.
9/ DM, his ball handling and his defensive contribution might put him in the 8 man rotation but he will pick regular minutes from 3,4 and even 2 when saunders is concerned about mach up.If his shooting improve and DS is out of question he might win starting at 2 and or would be on the regular rotation.
10/ JM will not get regular minutes but he will be allways needed for energy and foul sitiation at 5 or even 4
11/ NY: it is hard to see him here but I just can not see NY to win a starting position, his inconsistancy will justle him out of the 8 man rotation.It is very hard to win play time in a deep team like washington as a sigle minded player.He is just a shooter,he is still learning on being rip hamilton, no assist no rebound or defense
12/ Oberto will get 15-20 minutes with an expense of AB lauck of respect to the game and JM immaturity on his role, other wise if both are doing their job i do not see oberto to be active in the majority of the games.
13/JC and 14?MJ will be inactive in the majority of the games.
I think washington need to trade AB and NY or JC and MJ for a big man that could win the #7 for a perfect 8 man rotation.

Posted by: gtefferra | August 4, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Please lay off the poison mushrooms...If you guys don't think Nick won't be in the rotation, you really don't know basketball. He can flat out score/shoot and outside of Arenas is the only player on the team that can get his shot off without a play called. The guy can ball and under both coach Eddies, neither had an IQ for team defense, so everybody looked bad defensively, even Caron who is normally stellar in that regard. Flip and staff are working diligently with Nick and Blatche, as they will both be a major part of the rotation. McGee will get some burn as well. The zone defense will improve the overall team defense. Very few players can play solid one on one defense in this league because the offensive talent level of most players is too good.

Posted by: garrybrown | August 4, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Please lay off the poison mushrooms...If you guys don't think Nick won't be in the rotation, you really don't know basketball. He can flat out score/shoot and outside of Arenas is the only player on the team that can get his shot off without a play called. The guy can ball and under both coach Eddies, neither had an IQ for team defense, so everybody looked bad defensively, even Caron who is normally stellar in that regard. Flip and staff are working diligently with Nick and Blatche, as they will both be a major part of the rotation. McGee will get some burn as well. The zone defense will improve the overall team defense. Very few players can play solid one on one defense in this league because the offensive talent level of most players is too good.

Posted by: garrybrown | August 4, 2009 1:02 PM
_____

So I guess you've taken a magic pill that tells you NY is going to finally get a basketball IQ this season? I already said he will probably start the season in the rotation as it seems Flip might be enamored with his talents, but NY just might play his way out of the rotation as he has done his first two seasons.

Caron Butler stellar on defense? I think he is better than the average on this team, but not really stellar. He has never impressed me with his defensive intensity whatsoever. Perhaps he just fell in line with the rest of the team and Flip can change that for everyone. But, Butler stellar? Me thinks not!

And, Butler and Jamison can get their shots off as well along with Foye and Miller. I don't think that is a skill that is lacking on this team to the point that NY *has* to play. Making things easier for the rest of the team is a skill that may be somewhat in need (i.e. play maker), but NY only plays offense for NY.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 4, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

i think the last 3 to 4 players will vary on a nightly basis, depending on match ups. But the usual 8 i see playing is.....


haywood
jamison
butler
foye
arenas

miller
oberto
young

and from night to night depending on foul trouble n what not we will see the Mcghee's, the Mcguires, and maybe the crittentons...

mike james's lousy attitude will take him to the end of the bench, he already has one foot out the door, stevenson will not recover from surgery to be in the mix because we are way more athletic at the 2 gaurd spot, and Blatches lazy approach will put him in the dog house for sure.

Posted by: mrhney03 | August 4, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

After watching several of the summer games, I am more convinced than ever that McGee will be a 4.

Posted by: photoassign | August 4, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't see Oberto playing much at all unless Blatche and Mcgee are failing miserably. There's no upside to playing Kevin Sorbo much as he is a tested vet who will always be able to step in and do the little bit he does on call.

Meanwhile getting JM as many minutes as he can earn will be the difference between him being a trustable, effective player in the postseason. Or a lost gazelle you cant have on the floor in crunch

Posted by: divi3 | August 4, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

It wouldn't surprise me if Oberto entered the season as the primary backup big. McGee and Blatch would then have to earn minutes with consistent non-boneheaded play in practice and limited game time.

Posted by: cballer | August 4, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"While I am not a big Deshawn fan he is a vet and when healthy puts out on both ends of the floor..." - VBFan

Foye is also a vet and also plays on both ends on the floor, and I'd argue he's better at both.

You don't trade the 5th pick for 2 guys and not to start either one of them. That being said, I think it is an open competition, but one that is probably Foye's to lose. Even when Stevenson was 100% healthy, he was never the offensive player Foye is, and not a better defender either.


"...so everybody looked bad defensively, even Caron who is normally stellar in that regard."- garrybrown

Butler, in the pros, has never been anything more than an average defender, and even that, I think, is being gracious.

Posted by: segastyle | August 4, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

7. Blatche
8. Young
9. McGee
10. Crit

If you read between the lines on what Flip said in the interview, eight guys are guaranteed to step on the floor on any given night with one or two others playing depending on the situation. Clearly, McGee could play every night and still not be in the eight man rotation. As much as I believe in McGee's upside, if he's getting more burn than Blatche this year, count me among those who believe that Blatche is a lazy bum and has no future in the league. What I saw from Blatche in the summer league is a guy who should average 10 and 10 on a regular basis. If he's not smart enough to see that he has a chance to distinguish himself with this new regime, he'll never get it and won't be missed by at least this fan.

Posted by: Firuz1 | August 4, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

And, for some players, the defensive philosophy or lack thereof with the Wiz may have had a detrimental effect, but NY would stink under any coach defensively. It's why he went late in the first round and was not a lottery pick in his draft. The "book" on him was dead on in that draft! No defense, little basketball IQ, does not always play with intensity, but great offensive skills and great athleticism. Dead on!

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 4, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh, the Wizards schedule is out. Looks like they'll be starting on theroad again against Dallas and they'll have 8 national appearances: 7 ESPN and 1 TNT game.

Posted by: rxs85 | August 4, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I like McGee's upside, but the Wiz signed Oberto to be the backup center and are essentially paying him $4M to fill that role. McGee seems more likely to be the 9th or 10th man who will get playing time based on foul trouble, injuries, match ups and game flow. It's inevitable that Flip will end up using the 9th and 10th guys at least early in the season, but long-term he will settle into an 8-man rotation which has been his pattern in Minnesota and Detroit.

Regarding McGuire, he appears to be the odd man out due to the trade for Miller and Foye. His role appears to be as a defensive specialist at the 3 and 4 which means his minutes will be limited unless we suffer injuries. James, Stevenson, and Crittenton appear to be the guys will play limited or no minutes unless Flip decides to go deep into the bench or we suffer injuries like last season.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 4, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

First, Foye is not a SG. He will be the primary back up PG. Nick will see major minutes this season probably starter minutes (Sam Cassell will be riding his back the whole time too). Blatche will be the primary back up PF with Oberto/McGee battling for back up C. If McGee still looking lost look for Oberto to be the first off the bench. DeShawn will be the primary back up SG with Randy playing the PG against secound units. Mike Miller will have the SF backup spot and play major minutes when coach wants to go big and slide Caron to the SG spot. The Wizards are going to have a great year and NY will win most improved player. Blatche will have a good enough year for us to trade him with James for someone special that will take this team to the next level.

Posted by: lemekdivine | August 4, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

'I like McGee's upside, but the Wiz signed Oberto to be the backup center and are essentially paying him $4M to fill that role'

i think we're only paying $2mill of his salary this year, whether or not that factors into his pt is another matter tho

Posted by: divi3 | August 4, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

8 man rotation wont work here, we're too deep. He'll make a shift during training camp. We need fresh legs for the second and more important season... the playoffs. I think different games will bring different rotations to exploit the best matchups, but we're too deep and have too big a payroll to sit too many players. If thats the ca$e, I have a pretty good jump shot...I'd gladly ride the bench for $250,000. That's better than Mike James $6.4 Million.

Posted by: Gooddad | August 4, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I think the best thing that our "depth" will produce is a synergy that Flip can use to improve the team as a whole. "Hey, Nick, I just told you how to defend that play two times now and you did not play it right, sit down." And, he can do that without a dramatic drop off in talent level. That has not been the case in recent years!

And, I'm willing to bet that Blatche absolutely starts the season as a regular rotation guy much like NY, but both or either could play themselves out of it as well.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 4, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

lemekdivine,

Well, when Foye starts the season as our shooting guard then he will be. He is a combo guard with skills that match neither guard spot in the traditional sense. Much like GA is not a PG except that he is.

Posted by: rphilli721 | August 4, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

the difference between this year and last is that the two guard people were clamoring to bench in favor of nick was shooting 30% I doubt that happens again and songaila played center so unless oberto starts clocking thirty a night and flip goes all eddie on haywood, mcgee's perceived lack of time should no longer be an issue, with foye/miller and haywood, if nick and javale play the same way as last year the masses will understand the limited minutes

Posted by: bford1kb | August 4, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why Flip keeps saying that he wants an eight man rotation, and then everyone post what his nine man rotation is going to be? The first six spots are Arenas, Jamison, Butler, Haywood, Foye, Miller. Except for Haywood that is alot of offensive so I think the other two players in the mix will have to contribute on D. One will have to be a big with Blatche and possibly McGhee being the the one getting the minutes. If neither is getting the schemes or putting in the effort (Blatche) don't be shocked to see Oberto sending them to bench until they step it up. For the final contributer I think McGuires ability to D 1-3 and small 4s and to rotate the ball well will get him in the game. Stevenson might get healthy again and Nick Young might start playing D, but I doubt it.

Posted by: leland72 | August 4, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

There's no way he has an eight man rotation Please!!! come on dumb,dumb you've got at least ten players that qualify for legit minutes! they call him flipper,flipper, faster than lightning no one else is smarter than he,LOL!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 4, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Sixty

Posted by: ged0386 | August 4, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

dargregmag

Is that why he is the coach making millions and you are...........................

Posted by: ged0386 | August 4, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I see it as Arenas-Foye-Butler-Jamison-Haywood starting. (Foye is a combo guard and has skills that play well off of Arenas' skills; ie, 2 combo guards = a PG and a SG, plus Foye is solid defensively).

I see the 3-man bench rotation (in Flip's 8-man rotation) as Young, Miller, and Blatche. Foye would count as the primary PG backup to Arenas. So, Young could spell Gil, Foye, or Butler; Miller could spell Foye or Butler; and Blatche could spell Jamison and Haywood.

I see the 9th/10th men (for the injury or foul trouble nights) as Stevenson and McGee.

I see the bench warmers/inactives as James, Crittenton, McGuire, and Oberto.

If McGee is horrible (which I'd doubt), then Oberto could sub out for him. If Crittenton is stupendous (which I also somewhat doubt) then he'd sub in for Stevenson.

You guys always sleep on Blatche. He is actually a pretty darn good player right now. No one on this team could ever get the 25-15-5-5-5 he got in Tapscott's first game. I mean, shoot, he's still only about 14 years old - give him time to fully blossom. There is no way Blatche will ever sit on the bench, as some have suggested. He will get every opportunity, and even if he plays horrible (which is actually pretty unlikely given how protected he'll be in the lineup), he would still be great trade bait.

Posted by: Urnesto | August 4, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday I thought DS may have a chance and I still do. Looking at it today I see the 2 guard spot as still up for grabs. I think I see this:

1-Gil (he is still the key to this whole thing working)
2-Caron
3-Jamison
4-Brendon
5-Miller (or Stevenson, Young)

6-Stevenson (Miller or Young)
7-Blatche
8-Foye

9-McGee (or Roberto)
10-Dmac, (Young or Stevenson)

11-Roberto (or McGee)
12-Young (or Stevenson)
13-Crittendon
14-James

Young and DSteve had better have great camp to earn rotation minutes. I think Flip will learn quickly that he needs to have DS, DMac or McGee in there at times to sacrifice offense for defense. You gotta makes stops occasioanlly.

As I said yesterday what really interests me is who plays in crunch, not who starts. I think we should not underestimate the need for a defensive stopper on the floor down the stretch. (the 3 mentioned above depending on the matchup need).

It goes beyond saying that foul trouble is a variable. But even moreso is the injury factor. Camp this year could be quite competitive and physical. By the time camp ends we will see 1 or 2 on the 5 game DL. Then things will play out from there. Let's all just hope everybody stays relatively healthy this year.

The season is in some ways just like a particular game: Who starts the season is not as important as who is playing in the stretch - April and May...(and dare I say June??).

And I have a feeling that there will be some major re-shuffling in February.

BmoreRev

Posted by: stanlong23 | August 4, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

ged0386: He gets paid to coach and the blog is for opinions mines,yours and anyone else who cares to comment.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 4, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

lemekdivine,

Well, when Foye starts the season as our shooting guard then he will be. He is a combo guard with skills that match neither guard spot in the traditional sense. Much like GA is not a PG except that he is.

That the problem...before you had Larry Hughes who was a SG and The Deshawn that a defensive minded SG and both are at least 6'5". Foye is not built to be a starting SG. Nick Young is at 6'7". We have a coach that will make him better. For once.

Posted by: lemekdivine | August 4, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Flip saying he's gonna have an 8 man rotation is smart coaching at this point of the off season. Whether he means it or not.
You have:
Stevenson
Young
Miller
Foye
Critt
Blatch
Oberto
Magee
McGuire
James
all battling for 4 spots---1 starter & 3 to rotate off the bench. You need to impress the coaches NOW & come into camp ready to play. Any of these could be in that top 4 meaning that any could be in the bottom 6 -- where no one wants to be. There should be some good hard scrimmages.
That's a good coaching move Flip.

Posted by: VBFan | August 4, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"Not all of Saunder's successes have come with "long' bigs. In fact, the center on his most successful Piston teams was the not very long 6'8" "Big" Ben Wallace."

And as anyone who actually watched the games or followed the Pistons or understands bball well knows, the presence of the long, athletic Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince (and their ability to cover guys all over the floor one-on-one) played a huge part in Wallace being able to roam the interior on patrol.

How'd Big Ben do once he was playing without those guys in Chicago and Cleveland? Not so well, as I recall.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 4, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

To say nothing of the fact that Saunders only coached Wallace for one season in Detroit. He had Rasheed for three (very tumultuous) seasons.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 4, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

As has been mentioned, Suanders is committed to four starters (Haywood, Jamison, Butler and Arenas) and Foye and Miller will be part of the rotation as well. That gets us to 6.

I see Miller getting his minutes backing up Butler and also 10 or more minutes at shooting guard.

To start with I could see Young and Stevenson (if completely recovered) competing for one more spot in the guard rotation and Blatche and McGee competing for the third man in the big man rotation at PF and C. (I am not including McGuire because I do not see him typically playing center.)

If Blatche, McGee and/or Young still do not show enough consistency or development then the above scenario may need to be modified.

Posted by: cannontl | August 4, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Rphili
it is my second time to be impressed by your basketball in and out knowledge. the other 4 players in the court has to sleep and snor when NY is driving against 3 defenders for 23 seconds. He has no clue about looking for assist or pass the ball, he will rather air ball it.
This impression of mine on NY might change this year but i have a hard time to imagine.

Posted by: gtefferra | August 4, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

70th!!!

i think the last spot will go to either young or stevenson. personally, i like young more because he is a better scorer and has huge potential that we shouldnt be wasting. but, i think stevenson might be favored because he is a defensive-minded vet that adds that other dimension to an already offensive oriented line up. i hope both get playing time

Posted by: bullets8890 | August 4, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

"When you start playing too many players, what happens is no one gets in to any kind of flow. My philosophy's always been you play eight players, nine and ten play when you have some foul trouble which you're always gonna usually have in a game. If you're eleven and twelve, you better be working to get to nine and ten."

Questions is though, what is the right number for this Team based on flow and performance?

Ideally, you want to keep your starters at around 35 mpg. That is going to leave a lot of minutes for just 3 more players.

Thats 13 minutes per position. The only way 3 guys can cover 5 positions at 13 per is that, you will have to have starters playing major minutes again this year and those 3 guys will be playing multiple positions.

Thats not the right formula for this Team. I think Flip Saunders is going to find out that in order to max this squad for the long haul that 10 players will need to be used night in and night out and possibly not the same ones.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | August 4, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

rphilli721, Ben Gordon, not known for his defensive prowess has parlayed his great offensive skills into a new $58 million contract! He was in a system that allowed him to do what he does best and that is score. Many teams wanted his services when he became a FA. Nick is a skilled offensive talent. Flip has already recognized this and has taught Nick more in a summer(coming off the pick) than Eddie Jordan or Ed Tapscott did in 2 seasons under the "Princeton" offense.

Posted by: garrybrown | August 5, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Those 8 are going to be changing depending on who's performing. The original 8 for the first week, won't be the same 8 if a couple of them are waffling around.

So, to start the season, I predict the three who will fill out the top nine spots will be:

7. Andray Blatche (to start season)

8. Nick Young (Foye can get minutes behind Arenas at PG or Miller at SG, and Miller can get minutes behind Caron Butler at SF. This creates some opportunity for NY at SG)

Posted by: Independent11 | August 5, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

i agree w/most of you: i don't think an 8-man rotation will immediately fit our personnel. somebody mentioned 35 minutes as being 'optimum' for the starters. Q: do any of you REALLY wanna see gilbert getting those minutes btwn november and late february? i don't. even if he truly is 100% healed (which i doubt), let him get some rest while we evaluate late season and playoff minutes. we don't gotta do THAT right away. many coaches, when fairly sure to make the playoffs, let everybody play themselves into or out of the crunchtime and playoff lineup. this team has potential. coach needs to continue assessing strengths, weaknesses and situational substitution. let's not kill our legs trying to look good at xmas and in january, only to later lose key personnel because we tried too hard to make an early 'statement' to boston, cleveland, orlando and whomever else. chill. we gonna be there. and we need to know that this and this guy or combination will be successful doing this and that against him or them. chill. we have young talent that need consistency and knowledge. we have proven veterans as starters, and bodies to compete at every position. i'm betting we will find solutions to all these questions by mid-february. THEN see a consistent 9-man rotation. until then, let's just have some fun watching our bullets return to playoff competitiveness.

Posted by: dcjazzman | August 5, 2009 2:35 AM | Report abuse

"8. Nick Young (Foye can get minutes behind Arenas at PG or Miller at SG, and Miller can get minutes behind Caron Butler at SF. This creates some opportunity for NY at SG)"

I wonder if Nick's best chance is to become a designated scorer like JR Smith in Denver.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 5, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

"That the problem...before you had Larry Hughes who was a SG and The Deshawn that a defensive minded SG and both are at least 6'5". Foye is not built to be a starting SG. Nick Young is at 6'7". We have a coach that will make him better. For once.
Posted by: lemekdivine"

I think Foye is built to play SG, depending on the matchup. He's around 6'4" and a solid 215. He's not at a disadvantage against big players; he suffers against really fast players.

Nick Young's size is an advantage on offense. I don't know whether it's helpful on defense because I don't know I've seen him play any.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 5, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Gil is currernt the cornerstone of this configured team. Nick, McGee, Foye and Blatche are the future of this team. They may not start but will see good minutes this year. Miller will be gone next year and Oberto is an insurance policy. The rest can come or go.

Don't forget Haywood is in a contract year. He might be gone next year along with Jamison, James and Miller. Jamison should have been gone this year and maybethe Wiz would have had more money available.

Jamison says one thing about being a team but on the floor its totally different. It's all Jamison. Go backa and look at the Carolina team and tell me if those players (Jamison, Haywood, Carter ) won anything in college or in the pros. There are some major flaws in their games.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | August 5, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

"rphilli721, Ben Gordon, not known for his defensive prowess has parlayed his great offensive skills into a new $58 million contract! He was in a system that allowed him to do what he does best and that is score. Many teams wanted his services when he became a FA. Nick is a skilled offensive talent."

But he's not Ben Gordon. Gordon has a varied offensive game. He's a high-percentage 3 pt shooter, can shake his man off the dribble to create a shot, and can drive it to the basket and finish in traffic. And while no one would ever confuse him with a real PG, he's not averse to passing the ball when absolutely necessary. Young may have the physical tools to do all of those things, but he lacks the mental focus.

Posted by: kalo_rama | August 5, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

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