Highlights From Saunders News Conference

From Zach Berman at Verizon Center:

Quick highlights from Flip Saunders's pre-training camp news conference...

- The dominant topic, as you'd expect, was star guard Gilbert Arenas's health and Saunders's relationship with Arenas. Saunders, who has been in frequent contact with Arenas and visited him this summer, said he does not see a difference between Arenas now and Arenas three seasons ago. Saunders said he's been honest with Arenas, which has helped the relationship.

"I've challenged him from the standpoint of not only being a leader, but also putting himself to be a mentor for some of the younger players at his position," Saunders said. "I give a lot of responsibility to the point guard, and they almost have to think like I think. We've had a lot of conversations, and I've told him I'll be harder on him than probably anyone else. Because I have higher expectations. He's like the quarterback on the team. He's got to get people in the right spots, they got to be there, and if they're not, he's the guy that's going to look bad as far as far as running the team."

Saunders said he will monitor Arenas during training camp like he does with most veteran players, which is simply observing them and getting a sense of how they are feeling. He will do the same with DeShawn Stevenson.

Saunders said Arenas's health had no bearing on his taking the job. He plans to play Arenas "strictly as a [point guard]." He wants Arenas to maintain his aggressiveness.

- Saunders has set the bar high for the Wizards, who finished with only 19 wins last season. Injuries were the team's downfall, but Saunders believes this group can make a deep playoff run.

"I think if we stay healthy, we should be able to compete in the east for a lead spot," Saunders said. "I think a lot's going to depend on us staying healthy. Boston's saying the same thing if they stay healthy. I think every elite team - Orlando's saying the same thing if Jameer Nelson comes back healthy, Cleveland's saying is Shaq going to stay - so every elite team, health is a big issue. You want to make sure you have depth in case you have some tweaks along the way. But I don't think there's any reason we shouldn't be able to compete with elite teams in the east - or in the league, for that matter. We got a lot of weapons. We got a lot of adaptability with our players. We got a lot of players who can play a lot of different positions. We can play fast, we can play big, we can play methodical in the half court if we need to. We'll find out in another week."

- Saunders was very pleased with Nick Young's summer, based on what Saunders saw in Las Vegas. He said Young has size and quickness, moves well without the basketball and is a good shooter. During the summer, Saunders saw Young make a conscious effort to play defense.

He expects to show Young game film of Rip Hamilton and Reggie Miller. He cited Kevin Garnett and Gilbert Arenas as players who learn from watching film of others.

"Players are like coaches - we steal from everybody," Saunders said. "And that's how you form your own philosophy. You take a little bit from everybody and form your own. Players to do that, too. They take a little from everybody and get who they really are."

- Saunders joked that he was thinking of determining the starting shooting guard spot with a reality television show, where they get voted in and out. Saunders provided levity because the position is crowded with options.

"It's going to be competitive," Saunders said. "My 2s and 3s are pretty much interchangeable, the way the offense runs. People will say 'there are two 2s' or 'there are two 3s'. That's the way it goes. Usually, what happens it's the guys who play the best together -- not the best player."

He said he wants his shooting guard to be able to shoot and defend his position.

- Saunders spent his season away from basketball waking for the University of Minnesota basketball practices at 7 a.m. He became an NBA fan and watched games and became "like the media. You're never wrong."

He said he became truer in his convictions about the way his teams play. Saunders never had any questions about whether he'd become a coach again. He considered the NBA and college and thought the Wizards presented the best opportunity.

- Saunders said in the past, he has remained with eight or nine-man rotations. That won't change with the Wizards despite the team's depth.

"I don't think you can go and start playing 12 guys every night, because then guys don't get in a rhythm," Saunders said. "If you're 10, 11, 12, you got to work to get in that top nine. Are there going to be times when that 10, 11 and 12 are playing? Yeah, because as I said, we have a team where players bring stuff to the table. Somebody as your 11th guy, he might be a better matchup and might play 24 minutes, 25 minutes because of the matchup. So, I think you have to be open along those lines and be able to adapt to your team. But the main guys have to know they're making the majority of the minutes."

As much depth as the Wizards seem to enter the season with, defense has been a past concern -- and remains a priority for Saunders.

"I've never had the weapons I've had on this team," Saunders said. "I'm even more excited because I think we can take a major step defensively and become a very solid defensive team. I think they'll see that when we start playing from day one."

By Alexa Steele |  September 22, 2009; 4:12 PM ET
Previous: Wizards Announce TV Schedule | Next: Grunfeld 'Excited' About New Season

Comments

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He's talking the right talk. Let's see if the players can back it up.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2009 4:21 PM

Love what I'm hearing. Now, *if* the players can stay healthy, and *if* they buy into the philosophy that defense is actually important...

Posted by: keithward64 | September 22, 2009 4:25 PM

Yada, Yada, Yada, blah, blah, blah...good post but I'm ready for the season to begin! I doubt my football team fares well this season!!

Posted by: Gooddad | September 22, 2009 5:28 PM

Alexa Steele....who?

Posted by: dfresh58 | September 22, 2009 6:00 PM

We're gonna be AWESOME! so pumped!

Posted by: bbachrac | September 22, 2009 6:08 PM

i recommend the primary source instead of this lmao recap by
Alexa Steele....who?
Posted by: dfresh58 | September 22, 2009 6:00 PM

http://www.nba.com/wizards/video/2009/09/22/saunders.preseason.media.1.wizards/index.html

over/under on whether Abe's final season will be commemorated with a banner for MOst Improved Season Ever when les boules are 41 - 41 ?

Posted by: prescrunk | September 22, 2009 7:10 PM

This will be the most important and competitive training camp (and pre-season) in years. Especially at the #2 guard. I wonder what kind of coverage Michael will be able to provide for that. I also hope Gilbert can control his need to show he's back on top and learn how to run the team.

Posted by: jweber1 | September 22, 2009 7:52 PM

We might struggle for a month or two while the team learn's Flip's system. People projecting 50 plus wins don't seem to be taking this into account. By the middle of the season we might be that caliber of a team, but with a shakey start 50 wins is too optimistic IMO.

But I can't wait for the season to start. This should be a very exciting and competative team.

Posted by: MeviousMan | September 22, 2009 8:20 PM

If Flip S. can make this team a solid defensive team as he is hoping, then he should be awarded coach of the year, and this will be a very dangerous team. I hope he can, but I obviously have my doubts.

Posted by: DrWho2 | September 22, 2009 9:21 PM

I'm starting to buy into a big improvement this year (compared to the last playoff years...last year was hopefully an anomoly), but I will also not get my hopes up too high, until they can play consistent D for two months in a row. Blatche and McGee will be huge factors in the success of this team. Bring on the season!

Posted by: h8paperdoll | September 22, 2009 9:30 PM

Why the push to make Gilby a leader when clearly he's a poor example for the young bucks to follow?

Mike, you need to get in EG's grill and ask him what he thinks about Gilby's ridiculous accusation that the franchise couldn't protect him from himself.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | September 22, 2009 10:20 PM

Amen...hallelujah!....just getting to the playoffs again isn't the goal...he's got the attitude of a winner...and he's getting in people's heads with it!

Posted by: azinat1 | September 23, 2009 12:58 AM

...zone defense may just be the ticket. Not sure EJ tried to impement it, but it sounds like the Wiz players should be able to utilize it effectively, if GA is willing to pressure the ball consistently, which I dont believe he has ever done. I did some research:

Match-up zone is a "combination" defense, combining elements of man-to-man defense (on ball), and zone defense (away from the ball). This is a zone defense that acts a lot like a good man-to-man defense. The on-ball defender closes-out and plays tight like in a man-to-man. The zone away from the ball resembles man-to-man "help-side" defense. Be sure to see the animation (which is much more detailed) and also this page: Complete 1-3-1 Match-up Zone".

A good man-to-man defense looks like a zone away from the ball (help-side defense)... see Basic Defense. The match-up zone resembles what we years ago called a "switching man-to-man", where defenders switch freely with one another, so that your defensive big men stay down low and your quick guards are on the perimeter.

This discussion also reminds us that "a good zone looks like a man-to-man, and a good man-to-man looks like a zone."

An advantage of the match-up defense is that it may confuse the opponent in trying to figure out what defense you are actually playing. Also, it may dictate or affect the offense's basic set and get them out of their usual comfortable set. With the match-up, you can show a 2-1-2 formation, which may force the offense to go with a 1-3-1 or a 3-out, 2-in set. If you show a 1-3-1 or a 1-2-2 match-up zone, the offense may change to a 2-1-2, or 2-3 set. So you may be able to put them into something they are less comfortable with. As in any aggressive man-to-man defense, pressure the ball at all times, front the low post, deny the passing lanes, and give help on inside penetration.


Posted by: oddjob1 | September 23, 2009 7:21 AM

Just in what way is Gil a bad influence on the young guys?

If you read Sally Jenkins peice in this morning's Post, Flip said he's never seen anyone with the "24/7 commitment of Gil". So it's not his work ethic that the young guys shouldn't look up to.

There's an old saying on the playgrounds, "if you can walk the walk, you can talk the talk."

I think what Suanders is trying to say that as long as Gil brings it in camp,in the training room, and on the floor, he's going to refrain from responding to every random comment to the media.

Gil has developed this whole random comment thing that they call "Gilbertology". Some reporters talk to Gil and then go to Jamison, Butler, or Stevenson to ask for a translation.

Gil's really just saying the same thing that many on this blog have wondered about. Is there a change needed in the way the Wizards training and medical staff work with the coaching staff to get and keep players healthy.

Difference is we're just armchair commentators, Gil's had to deal with it first hand with his career at stake. What I'd love Grunfeld to do is send one of the guys in a suit, that you sometimes wonder what he's getting paid for(Ed Tappscott, that would be you), to Arizona and figure out what the Suns are doing.

They managed to get Grant Hill and Shaq healthy again, something they're doing
is working. The Wiz should do what every other Pro team does when some one is successful, copy it.

Suanders will have the sense not to play Gil 40+ minutes on a back to back with a flight in between like he was on the first comeback attempt, so there's a good start in changing the guy on the bench.

Everybody knew Eddie couldn't give his big three the steady diet of minutes they were getting without effecting their health long term. Flip will have the depth to ease a guy off for a few games when he's getting leg weary, so he can keep them fresh.

One thing that people who are predicting a slow start aeren't taking into consideration, this team is full of guys that want no part of a losing season again. I worry they come out real strong, playing on an unsustainable emotional level and then have to nurse their way through a flat period.

But we'll see when they start playing for real...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 23, 2009 8:36 AM

Why the push to make Gilby a leader when clearly he's a poor example for the young bucks to follow?

Back from vacay and I see nothing has changed. A guy that doesn't get in legal trouble. Has an unquestioned work ethic, I think that's the example the young bucks need to follow. You act like he's gonna give them interview classes.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 23, 2009 8:46 AM

The knock on Gil has never been his work ethic or ability...just his mouth. Personally, I like a guy with a little personality...gives us all something to talk about here.

Besides that, let him show it on the floor. It's not like he's getting all LaBradford Smith on us.

I think we'll come out strong, surprise a few teams that somehow think they are playing the same ijury depleted 19 win team from last year, then hit a slow period around mid Nov and regroup in time to have the best record in the east, going into the All Star break.

After that is where I have questions. Managing minutes is what I believe will be key to our success. Keep the "big 3" below 36 minutes, get the shooters enough time to get a groove and get AB, JM and NY enough playing time to make a difference.

If our backups are playing well, I don't mind if Jamison, Butler and Gilbert sit out a game or two every now and then, if it protects their helth...That could keep them from sitting a out games at the same time due to injuries.

Posted by: Blurred | September 23, 2009 9:12 AM

It's all there, we just have to make it happen. Middle of the pack defensively and we can make the conference finals where anything can happen. Lower third and we'll have no better results than second round. Not like we have to be a shutdown team all of a sudden. Just adequate and we'll blow teams out many times during the season.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 23, 2009 9:24 AM

If I remember correctly, both Marbury and Chauncey Billups had reps for being shoot-first types and yet they played well under Saunders. I guess we'll have to see about Gilbert.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 23, 2009 9:56 AM

I think Flip's a smart guy who's learned some lessons from each stop along the way.
His experience from his stint in Detroit, where he seemed to try and give his vet's some leeway to go about things their own way, seems to be a factor in his approach this summer.

He'll run a tighter ship this time around with Wittman onboard, the nuts won't have free reign in the nut house. The vets will be expected to treat the young guys like teammates, and not glorified mascots. The young guys will be expected to act like veterans. They've been around enough to know the ropes, I'd expect a tighter group.

He's a very accomplished coach who still has a hunger for a title. I've got to wonder if Larry Brown still has that hunger. Other Guys, like Van Gundy, seem like they've gotten very comfortable with the perks of being in the booth and having a reduced travel and workload and still making great money.

Flip took that year off, still had the fire, and looked around for the best place to get back on top. You got to remember the guy was in the Wizards camp last year, so he had a pretty good idea of what the Wiz look like and what their work habits are.

He's also got a good insight into Foye since Wittman coached him before. So the guy really knows what he's getting into when the Wiz take the floor.

Flip's not an assistant that's getting his first head coaching job without interim attached to it. He knows this league and has coached a 50 win team more then a couple of times before.

There should be a high level of respect from the players on day one. This team should be able to get right down to the business of building a winner.

But if you expect not to get a Gilism now in then or that Young isn't still going to clown around and ham it up, you're going to be disappointed.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 23, 2009 10:56 AM

This team definitely has talent, and the coach knows his stuff, but the East is going to be tough. A lot of good (albeit not great) teams bumping up against each other trying to claw their way out of the pack. When all is said and done, I wouldn't be surprised if a couple of teams that looked really good on paper get squeezed out of the running by a slim margin. Should be interesting.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 23, 2009 11:38 AM

I too like the message that Flip is giving out. I also like the fact that he says his rotation will be 8-9 instead of just 8 or 7-8. And he indicates those first 9 are not set in stone.

I also feel that if the Team plays well, that 50 wins is very doable. Having to learn Flips system or starting fast and pewtering out should not be of issue.

As I was reading through this blog, why did I get this feeling that the first negative comment would come from DCMan88.

And no, it is not expected that we would get all positive reflections from Flip's comments.

There are probably others out there that might reflect negatively on Flip's comments, but why 88er' did you have to be first up.

Do you always have to be the Grim Reaper? Did somebody designate you as the permanent Scrouge?

Come on 88er', I know you must have a good comment about something that Flip said.

Come on 88er', lets have it. Come on Man.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 23, 2009 11:42 AM

Flohrtv, what's up with the lengthy entries? are you working on a book about the Wizards?

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | September 23, 2009 11:52 AM

DCMANN and Bullets78 are Laker fans (this season), dont expect positive comments about the Zards from them.

Posted by: divi3 | September 23, 2009 11:55 AM

"We might struggle for a month or two while the team learn's Flip's system. People projecting 50 plus wins don't seem to be taking this into account. By the middle of the season we might be that caliber of a team, but with a shakey start 50 wins is too optimistic IMO."

I totally agree. In fact, I have this same analysis weeks ago.

Barring any major injury the teams that are on the top tier are Magic, Cavaliers and the Celtics. Then there are 4/5 teams that are in the bottom. The rest, including the Wizards, are in the middle of the pack and will battle for the 4-8 spot.


Posted by: Dave381 | September 23, 2009 12:28 PM

Dont the Magic have to go through a big transition with Turk gone and ball hogging Vinsanity in his place?

Arent the Cs old as dirt now?

How huge will the transition be for us, when it amounts to Gil, Caron, Tawn, and Haywood as the starters (again) but just under a different coach?

Yes, there is going to be a big transition for us obviously...BUT, I suspect with at least the Big3+Brendon, they'll be playing very well together in Flip's system rather quickly

Posted by: divi3 | September 23, 2009 12:39 PM

Saunders is employing brilliant strategy, making this Arenas' team and holding him responsible. For a player of Arenas cailber and with his work ethic to be in this spot, it's the only way to reach the other 11. They will know "if coach asks it of Gilbert, then he'll ask it of me."

I'm getting the warm and fuzzies ...

Posted by: shanks1 | September 23, 2009 12:49 PM

referring to gilbert's blaming the team for not holding him back as a ridiculous accusation is just stupid, who knows more about gil's knee, doctors or gil? the team needs to do everything in its power to ensure the health of its players, but gilbert became such a big star that the bright lights kept everyone in the organization from seeing how far away from well he was, how many did he make it through the first time, 7 games and later 3 playoff appearances before having to shut it down, the team should be well aware they have to keep their players from themselves in that regard, of course he wanted to play but someone somewhere had to stand up and say no, and of course this is all hindsight but I don't blame gil for putting the truth out there even in its less than graceful deployment, i'm very interested to see how the minutes play out and who is chosen to lead the bench, more important than the starter at the 2 in my opinion

Posted by: bford1kb | September 23, 2009 1:21 PM

Me to shanks1! I am so looking to this season and I hope they prove all of these naysayers wrong. I like the fact that Flip has kept in touch with and abreast of the developments of all of the players. He learned from his mistakes in Detroit and is looking to not do the same things here. You gotta love it.

Posted by: ivyleague | September 23, 2009 1:22 PM

The day I realized it was pointless to "those 2" any attention was when it was said that Gil should be more like Kobe a good teammate who doesn't cause distractions. Kobe started passing after what 12 seasons in the league? When he was 30? And a rape trial is never a distraction...or throwing your teammates and GM under the bus on camera and acting like it didn't happen. After that I pretty much realized it made no sense to debate with them.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 23, 2009 2:04 PM

Dont the Magic have to go through a big transition with Turk gone and ball hogging Vinsanity in his place?

Not necessarily. I’m not a Carter fan, but it’s hard to see where they lose much of anything in the switch from Turkoglu. Their assists (both last year and career) are basically the same, so it’s not like Carter never passes the ball. But Carter’s a much better player at creating offense off the dribble than Turkoglu, which should open up the floor for everyone else.

Arent the Cs old as dirt now?

They were old when they won the title. There’s no age restrictions on winning. As long as they stay healthy, they’re an elite team in the East. (And if we're gonna start discounting their chances because of health concerns, then we have to do the same for the Wiz, who've had more health issues the past couple of seasons than Boston.)

How huge will the transition be for us, when it amounts to Gil, Caron, Tawn, and Haywood as the starters (again) but just under a different coach?

A new coach can be a major transition, esp. coming on the heels of one who was in place as long as Jordan. There are also the additions of Miller and Foye (who will play major roles) and the integration of whichever of the young guys makes it into the top rotation. There’s a lot of change facing the Wizards.

Yes, there is going to be a big transition for us obviously...BUT, I suspect with at least the Big3+Brendon, they'll be playing very well together in Flip's system rather quickly

Hope springs eternal, but the proof is in the doing. It remains to be seen.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 23, 2009 2:28 PM

Gil's problem was he'd never under the knife before and he apparently was pretty clueless about rehab. It is really hard to gauge your progress after surgery if you've never been there before, that's what rehab centers are for.

Seems the weakness may be in the Wizard's rehab program. If Gil's the team leader and he has questions about the team's rehab approach, maybe he felt he needed to air it in public.

After awhile you got to start to look at the inability of players to bounce back from injuries as a problem for this franchise that needs to be addressed. Year before last Butler had the hip injury that lingered on and on.

Starting a new year with a new coaching staff, now would be the time to express it instead of 6 months from now.

If you really think about it Gil was agreeing with 78& 88'er.

Abe needs to spend some money wisely to protect his investment in players. Gil brought it up, maybe the Post needs to follow the story a bit.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 23, 2009 3:53 PM

If the conventional wisdom is that a five assist per game average is good, then the statement:

"Kobe started passing after what 12 seasons in the league? When he was 30?"...

Is flawed and has no value whatsoever. Kobe has averages less than five assist per game once since 2001, sure he could have had more, but HELLO, he's the SHOOTING guard!

The only time he's been under 5 per was the '05-'06 season. The 81 season.

The Kobe hating has no base whatsoever.

His passing? After Shaq, who the hell was Kobe going to pass the ball to? Smush Parker?

The rape charge? The s**t had five different loads of jizz in her panties, not to mention her blabbing to friends that she was 'with' Kobe Bryant.

Just because you dislike Kobe, for whatever reason: that he's rich, he plays for the Lakers, he's arrogant, he's black -- whatever, does not mean that he raped that girl.

Try and gain an objectionable point of view, you know, one without the hate:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katelyn_Faber

Posted by: RedDMV | September 23, 2009 3:57 PM

The team doctors gave Arenas a rehab protocol to follow. He ignored it and them. It's not like they just tossed him out to fend for himself. They attempted to give him the very direction and instruction he claims to have wanted. He didn't take it. If someone gives advice and the receiver doesn't follow it, that's not the fault of the advice giver.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 23, 2009 4:15 PM

Officer: Did you rape that girl Mr.Bryant?
Kobe: Shaq keeps mistresses all over the country!

Kobe is a bitc* and disliked by most every player who knows him, but who cares? I dont.

The question was should Gil be more like Kobe and the answer is 'yes' in terms of defensive effort and a resounding "NO!" in all things personal, on and off the court

Posted by: divi3 | September 23, 2009 4:41 PM

Gilbertology as defined is acting like a dunce, a clown, and saying silly things.

When Gilby threw the team and management under the bus for not protecting him from himself though, that wasn't Gilbertology. That was a condemnation of the team and ownership that's writing the checks. That's being a selfish, me-first prick.

Gilby threatened to walk to another team for less money right after he opted out. EG had no choice but to handle Gilby with kid gloves because he didn't want Gilby to walk.

That's why the organization didn't mandate what he could and could not do. Even if they did, Gilby wouldn't have listened anyway. He's never listened.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/sep/16/arenas-to-return-for-wizards-camp/

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | September 23, 2009 5:48 PM

If the conventional wisdom is that a five assist per game average is good, then the statement:

"Kobe started passing after what 12 seasons in the league? When he was 30?"...

Is flawed and has no value whatsoever. Kobe has averages less than five assist per game once since 2001, sure he could have had more, but HELLO, he's the SHOOTING guard!

The only time he's been under 5 per was the '05-'06 season. The 81 season.

The Kobe hating has no base whatsoever.

His passing? After Shaq, who the hell was Kobe going to pass the ball to? Smush Parker?

The rape charge? The s**t had five different loads of jizz in her panties, not to mention her blabbing to friends that she was 'with' Kobe Bryant.

Just because you dislike Kobe, for whatever reason: that he's rich, he plays for the Lakers, he's arrogant, he's black -- whatever, does not mean that he raped that girl.

Try and gain an objectionable point of view, you know, one without the hate:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katelyn_Faber


If you can't accept the fact that Kobe hasn't been a good teammate through his career then I'm sorry. Go back and watch some Laker games and see how many times Kobe would take on 3 people by himself. Kobe even said he had to stop isolating himself from his teammates in order to be a leader. Kobe said it, Phil said it, Shaq said it. What else do you need? I didn't say Kobe raped the girl, I SAID HIS TRIAL WAS A DISTRACTION. Good point though...that's the way to be a good teammate...get caught cheating and say your other star player does it too! Way to set the example! So take the time out from doing pushups on top of your Kobe Bryant poster with your Kobe ankle socks on and accept facts...and I'm not rich at all, but black and arrogant? I got both of those under control.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 23, 2009 6:01 PM

The rape charge? The s**t had five different loads of jizz in her panties, not to mention her blabbing to friends that she was 'with' Kobe Bryant.

Just because you dislike Kobe, for whatever reason: that he's rich, he plays for the Lakers, he's arrogant, he's black -- whatever, does not mean that he raped that girl.

Try and gain an objectionable point of view, you know, one without the hate:

REDDMV
____


The only person injecting hate and race into this discussion is you you dunderhead.

As the object of your rant correctly rebutted, he was pointing out the trial as a distraction, which it was, in relation to GA's own distractions and antics. So try getting out of your paranoid laden cave.

On another topic, basketball, we are talking about basketball. This is not football. Starting the season off well should not be a problem. You got an experienced coach, experienced starting five who have been together for years, and a more experienced bench than in the past. Plus, the coaching staff has been working with the team during summer league etc... to implement the new schemes in advance of training camp. The only players who might have problems will be the likes of Blatche and McGee who have their issues with experience and/or basketball IQ. And, they are not relied upon heavily.

I expect them to get off to as good a start as we've seen in a long time and pretty much sustain it. Will they improve in the schemes as time passes? Sure. But, I don't put basketball in the same realm as say football when it comes to adjusting bc it simply is not as complicated a process - less players playing at the same time, fewer possibilities of what can be done etc.... It also helps to that I believe the strengths of this coach and the team are in perfect alignment. It's not like Rick Carlisle is our new coach or Avery Johnson.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 24, 2009 3:21 AM

...I think this guy has been team physician since 1975: Stephen S. Haas MD. Been around since Wes was playing. But was also National Basketball Association Physician of the Year 2007. Still it may be time for a change...

Posted by: oddjob1 | September 24, 2009 6:30 AM

I'm not saying that the problem the Wiz have is with the Doctor. Though he might be outdated in his thinking. What has seemed to be a problem that has stretched back over many years is players complaining about their rehab.

Weber was one that was very vocal about the Wizards medical staff/rehab staff. Former first round pick Jarvis Hayes missed a year with a broken knee cap, returned and rebroke it in just a few games, then had surgery and missed another year. Guy never recovered his jumper after the two year layoff.

Having a doctor give you "a plan" and working daily with rehab specialist are two totally different things. Handing a rehab plan to a "trainer" is almost as big of a waste of time.

There are rahab centers all over the greater Washington Area. Some are very highly respected, to the best of my knowledge the Wizards don't list team rehab specialist. Maybe they should consider having one.

It makes a difference after an injury if your doctor says, "here just follow this plan and check back with me in 6 weeks." Or, he prescribes rehab where you're monitored through the process by a trained, experienced, specialist.

I quess following the line of thinking that you're just given "a plan" to follow and if you choose to ignore it. Tough, it's your mistake! Would be ok, if it worked.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 24, 2009 7:35 AM

I agree about the rehab stuff. Has anyone noticed that when someone gets hurt and they're supposed to be out a week, it always turns out to be two? then three? Then they aren't right for the rest of the season. Remember Caron's hip? How do you miss a tear for that long? Jarvis Hayes and the knee...I'm not saying Gil is right, but there is a pattern.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 24, 2009 9:10 AM

To suggest that they just gave Arenas a piece of paper with a workout schedule and said "see ya in a few months" is silly (and typical). Of course the team has trainers and rehab facilities. But all the personnel and equipment in the world is useless if people won't get with the program when it comes time to use them.

A person can only be monitored by a "a trained, experienced, specialist" if they actually submit to and cooperate with said "trained, experienced, specialist" in said "monitoring." It's already been quite well established that Arenas didn't. He ignored the explicit directions of doctors and trainers and went off and did his own thing at his own pace, pushing himself too hard too soon and making things worse.

I guess following the line of thinking that everything would be fine if he just let the "professionals" take care of it would be OK if there wasn't a ton of documented evidence that he ignored all of the professionals at every turn and did his own thing without regard for what the "professionals" had to say.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 24, 2009 10:21 AM

In my opinion, rehab from major injury is not a player option. It is a organizational responsibility to protect their investment as best and adequately as possible to include player fines and/or loss of pay.

If you supposedly have medical staff on retainer and they know that certain injury will require specific must do rehab and the player blows it off, then as an organization if you do not address that directly you are not handling your business appropriately.

1) your medical staff keeps you informed.
2) your medical staff cannot have a history of botched rehabs.
3) the player must follow appropriate rehab guidelines even if by other qualified staff.
4) if the player and or staff are not following above, then it is incumbent upon the organization to act

In no way should the player be responsible for major rehab recovery. It is not an option.

If the medical staff offered Gilbert the appropriate rehab and he refused it then the staff should have made the Wizard organization aware of the consequences. Gilbert should have been told by the Wizards that his actions was not allowed and if he refused they should have fined him and/or took his pay appropriately.

I donot recall any reports where the organization or the medical staff reported that Gilberts actions was detrimental to his rehab and that he must start the appropriate rehab or suffer the consequence of not recovering to normal health.

This is all hindsight, but Gilberts only fault is for thinking he could rehab his leg himself.

It is the Wizards fault for not ensuring that it was done properly, especially since Gilbert did want his leg rehabbed.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 24, 2009 11:29 AM

On this, I may be actually agreeing with 78. I think the Wiz - and that starts and ends with Abe - need to hire a serious big man coach and a serious rehab team. Or atleast hire the big man coach and contract for the rehab team.

Both of them are pennies in a bucket compared the price of a lost $15 million season or even a guy like McGee not becoming the NBA powerhouse he could be.

Posted by: Blurred | September 24, 2009 2:18 PM

ANd I hate Kobe for exactly two reasons: he doesn't play for my team and he gives me no reason to like him.

Posted by: Blurred | September 24, 2009 2:20 PM

Lastly, I am going to be four rows from my Wizards in exactly 12 days, so why aren't the updates coming more often?

Posted by: Blurred | September 24, 2009 2:22 PM

^
While Michael Lee is on vacation, here is some Wiz-related reading material:
By Alexa Steele | September 17, 2009; 10:20 AM ET

mad annoying though

Posted by: prescrunk | September 24, 2009 3:32 PM

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