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You Asked, I'll Answer (Part I)

I want to thank everyone for submitting their Wizards-related questions on Monday. I won't be able to get to all of them, but I figured that I would answer one or two a day over the next few days.

Before I get started, truth about it asked me a question yesterday that I'm sure is in reference to my Twitter account. truth wanted to know if I remember watching Ernie Grunfeld play for the Kansas City Kings when I was a kid. No, I'm not that old. Grunfeld played with the Kings from 1979-82, which means that I was 5 when he played his final game at the old Kemper Arena. I really became a fan of the NBA about a year or so later. I remember rooting for Reggie Theus and Larry Drew.


No way would Michael remember me playing in Kansas City. (sportsmemorabilia.com)

Grunfeld played during the "glory years," when the Kings made a surprising run to the Western Conference finals in 1981. The Kings that I loved were terrible. I was crushed when the Kings skipped town because some clowns thought that indoor soccer was going to be the future of professional sports in America. Yep, I'm still bitter.

You want to hear an interesting story about the Kings? A few months ago, I read a chapter of Sports Illustrated college basketball writer Seth Davis's book, "When March Went Mad" that nearly made me pass out. Davis wrote that Earvin "Magic" Johnson (my all-time favorite player) considered leaving Michigan State after his freshman season to play for the Kings but the two sides couldn't agree on a contract. Kansas City's General Manager Joe Axelson refused to offer Johnson more than $225,000 a year and Johnson went back to school to lead the Spartans to an NCAA title over Larry Bird's Indiana State Sycamores. How much different would the NBA have been if Magic played in Kansas City instead of Los Angeles and the Bird-Magic rivalry had never began in the 1979 NCAA Final?

Okay, enough Kings. Back to the Wizards. Let's go:

Question No. 1, From disgruntledfan:
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.

Answer: The phrase "win-now" is really a relative term.

I remember having dinner with an NBA executive who told me once that there are only four or five teams that are seriously trying to win a championship each season. You rarely see "surprise" teams sneak up and win a championship, especially since the arrival of Magic and Bird. Surprise teams can get to the conference finals and possibly reach the Finals (i.e. the 2008-09 Magic), but they don't sneak up on the league and walk away with a ring.

If I had to pick five teams that are really looking to win a championship this season, I'd have to go with the Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, Cavaliers and Orlando. Everybody else is either playing for respect, for the summer of 2010 or to simply stay in business.


Are we serious championship contenders? Not yet. (NBA Media Ventures, LLC)

I'd classify the Wizards as a team that is playing for respect. "Win-now" for Washington means winning 46 or more games, getting back to the playoffs and getting out of the first round at a minimum. You have to take into consideration that the Wizards haven't had much postseason success the past 30 years. That doesn't guarantee that the struggles will continue this season, but it should temper the expectations a little.

I think the Wizards have a bunch of really good players, which makes them a serious threat to get out of the first round. Right now, it would take some seriously good fortune for the Wizards to defeat either Boston, Cleveland or Orlando in the second round. Since Magic and Bird (we're back on them again) ushered in the superstar era, the 2004 Detroit Pistons are the only team to win a championship without a truly transcendent talent. That sort of talent has yet to emerge in Washington. Gilbert Arenas is the Wizards' most talented player, but even before having three knee surgeries, the best he has been able to do is take the franchise to a second-round sweep in 2005.

The Wizards' best players also have to make the necessary commitment to defense in order for the team to meet championship aspirations (the Pistons' stifling defense helped them crash the superstar party five years ago).

Now, for your question about Grunfeld making a trade to upgrade the frontcourt -- I wouldn't put anything past him. Historically, Grunfeld has been someone to make his big moves in the offseason. He signed Allan Houston and Chris Childs and traded for Larry Johnson in the summer of 1996; he traded for Marcus Camby and Latrell Sprewell prior to the lockout-shortened season in 1999; and you already know that he got Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler in consecutive summers from 2003-05, and this summer he got Mike Miller and Randy Foye.

That being said, if the Wizards are playing well at the trade deadline but the young frontcourt is coming up short, I can definitely see him making a trade to upgrade the team. I can also see him moving a popular player to get a deal done. After all, he did trade two of the most popular Knicks (Charles Oakley and John Starks) and lost his job . . . before those moves resulted in New York reaching the NBA Finals.

By Michael Lee  |  September 1, 2009; 9:11 AM ET
 
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Next: You Asked, I'll Answer (Part II)

Comments

Mike,

I'd have to go with the Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, Cavaliers and Orlando. Everybody else is either playing for respect, for the summer of 2010 or to simply stay in business.

I'd classify the Wizards as a team that is playing for respect. "Win-now" for Washington means winning 46 or more games, getting back to the playoffs and getting out of the first round at a minimum.

Thanks for keeping it real, I've been on here telling everyong Abe isn't willing to go out and play ball with the owners who want to win a championship, but like you said considering how bad this team has been in the past most of the fans will settle for a 2nd round playoff win.

I prefer the old man sell the team to the Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti. At least he has shown that he is willing to go all in to win.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 1, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Mike, when the Washington Bullets won the NBA Championship, I would consider them a surprise champion.

These Wizards can I believe repeat the feat like Orlando did last year. I really believe they can be that good.

And also, if they play well, it should be a 50/50 even 'stevens' chance of winning a 2nd round series.

As I have posted before, the usual championship suspects are not as dominant surefire locks as in years past.

The time is ripe for a surprise champion.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 1, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

What if the Wizards could steal the two seed? It's possible. Cleveland is the only Team in th East that I think will repeat there win totals from last year.

Boston and Orlando will be good but could struggle to maintain the winning numbers from last year.

I am really high on the Wizards winning games this year. I just do not see many Teams defensing them consistantly.

The mental approach of Gilbert and the Vets is seriously underated by way to many.

So Mike, I am all in for Win Now, and I believe this Team is capable of deciding the East Championship.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 1, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"I've been on here telling everyong Abe isn't willing to go out and play ball with the owners who want to win a championship."

You're just a miserable little person, aren't you? Please just go away.

Posted by: bryc3 | September 1, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

In what way has Bisciotti shown that he is willing to "go all in to win"? Actually, maybe a better question is, how has he even shown that he is more willing than Abe to sacrifice for winning? Bisciotti has just been more successful in the short term of his ownership. Besides, the NFL is much different; it really is apples to oranges when comparing the ownership strategies. I am willing to bet that Bisciotti would say that he wouldn't touch the NBA with a 10 foot pole 1)because he doesn't know enough about it, and 2) because it is much more difficult to win a championship.

I don't think Abe is "settling" for a 2nd round playoff win or respect. He is just being reasonable. It would take an unreasonable stretch of money and luck for the wiz to win a championship this season.

Do some simple cost-risk analysis to see why it is reasonable for the wiz to take a moare conservative (conservative relative only to going "all in") approach now. Think about a move that the Wiz could possibly make to give them a realistic shot at the championship. Now think about what that move would cost. Realizing that a championship is still far from guaranteed at that cost, the price paid for the increase in the probability of a championship is still prohibitive right now. If anyone things Abe or anyone really has enough money to “buy” the Wiz a championship, you are delusional. Besides, would you want the franchise to follow that kind of Yankee model? Yuck.

If things fall into place this season as we all hope, and the wiz can prove that they are close to being a contender, they will have a better shot at pulling veterans like the Cavs did Shaq. Also, with so many dramatic changes this season, it will be better to have a year to take stock of what kind of team the organization has on its hands, then they can take a more pragmatic and less costly risk to make the next step.

Posted by: kbates1 | September 1, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I know the team is trying to win now, but there is a lot of young talent on the squad. 3 years from now, only Jamison should be significantly declined.

Posted by: Dellis2 | September 1, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

One question?! That's it for Part 1?

Booo.

I could read this Q&A stuff all day long. Thanks for, at least, the tease. :)

Posted by: iamse7en | September 1, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The 1978 Bullets' NBA championship was a little bit of surprise in that they only won about 44 games during the regular season and then really caught fire in the playoffs.

Before that in the 1970's, I believe the Bullets had been to the finals twice, of course losing both times. Their regular season record in the 70's was probably among the best 3-4 teams in the league.

That 1978 team certainly had a better recent track record than our current Wizards do. However, I am not sure just how good this team can be.

I am also not sure that the so called best teams in the East (Boston, Orlando and Cleveland) are as good as some people think.

Posted by: cannontl | September 1, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Mike, I think you should try to cover more than one question a post.

Posted by: cannontl | September 1, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

You're just a miserable little person, aren't you? Please just go away.

Posted by: bryc3 | September 1, 2009 10:00 AM

I'm sorry I see things for what they really are but just for you....

The 09 Wizards are the greatest team in NBA history. Gil will make Kobe look like Jeff Malone this year, AJ is a hall of famer 20/10 guy and will step up his "D" and shut down guys like Duncan and Garnett. CB will show us all he really is an all-star and Foye will score his 20 every night and play shut down "D" against Kobe and Pierce while BH will become the next Bill Russell. MM will win the 6th man award and they will make a 7th man award this year because of the way AB gets his 20/10 every night. I see this team scoring 140 points a night and holding it's opponents to 80, they win 66 games and never lose a playoff game and win Abe his 2nd championship!

Is that better?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 1, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I have 2 suggestions.

1) I would like to echo the other posters from yesterday who requested a discussion of the Wizards' medical staff. It wouldn't necessarily have to be a hit piece. You could potentially expand it into a long story about medical decision-making league-wide. Are some teams perceived to have an edge over others in terms of the medical advice they get?

2) I would like to get a rough ranking or at least a general sense of how attractive each Wizards player's contract is to other GMs across the league. I think most of us understand by now that if a player is signed for a long time and isn't performing as well as you would expect, then it would be a burden to take on that player and have his contract eat up cap space. In that sense, certain players have "positive" trade value and others have "negative" trade value, i.e., an opposing team would have to be incentivized with something else in order to take on the contract. Who has positive trade value and who has negative trade value on the Wizards?

In particular, I am not clear on the general perception of Andray Blatche and Nick Young around the league. They are both signed for a few years at reasonable salaries. Are they still considered to have enough potential to be attractive to other teams? In other words, do they have positive trade value?

Here are what I understand to be the most desirable Wizards contracts. Maybe I'm wrong, though:

1) Butler: A steal at $10 million. At 29, still in his prime for a few more years.
2) Haywood: $6 million is good value for a a high-quality defensive center. Last year of his contract, so no long-term risk. In '07-'08, Arenas was out and Haywood played and the Wizards were .500. In '08-'09, Arenas and Haywood were out and the Wizards were terrible. Obviously, there were other factors, but that was good circumstantial evidence of Haywood's value.
3) McGee: He is far from a consistently effective performer as of yet, but I get the impression that the combination of his upside and a long rookie contract makes him desirable.

Posted by: joe_sill | September 1, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the 70's version of the Wiz, they had three superstars in Elvin Hayes, Wes Unseld, and Phil Chenier (the Big E and Unseld are in the HOF, but Chenier's career was shortened by a back injury). The team went to the NBA finals in 1970, 1972, 1975, 1978 and 1979, and were perenially in the hunt for the NBA championship. Except for the presence of the Knicks in the Eastern Conference and facing Lew Alcindor's Bucks in 1970, it's likely they would have won another couple of championships in the early-seventies.

By 1977-1978, the team's window was closing and they signed Bob Dandridge as the final piece in the puzzle to replace the retiring Mike Riordan and Tom Henderson was acquired to replace the retired Dave Bing (poor trade of Kevin Porter for Bing after being upset in the 1975 championship by Golden State was a bad move.) The 1977-78 team was hit by a rash of injuries during the season, but weathered the storm and ended up upsetting favored Philly and San Antonio teams on there way to the NBA Championship where they beat Seattle.

The Bullets of the seventies were a near dynasty who went deep in the playoffs every year and were coached by veteran coaches such as Gene Shue, K.C. Jones, and Dick Motta. Comparing the current version of the Wizards who are just looking to get back into the playoffs and making it out of the 2nd round is comparing apples and oranges. This year's squad figures to exciting, high-scoring, and will win 45-50 games. It isn't constructed to compete for a championship like LA, Boston, Cleveland, San Antonio, and possibly Orlando.

Posted by: wizfan89 | September 1, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Man, lets play some games before we say how much we "WON'T" do. We owned the Celtics 2 years ago without Arenas. Cleveland is a wash, we'll probably split for the reg season. The only teams that will truly give us fits are Orlando, San Antonio, and the lakers. Sure we will lose games but we are much better than most teams. Our upside is tremendous! compared to many others. The heat, hawk, raptors, philly and the rest will be us winning 2 of 3 from them, not the other way around. Count that, 49 wins at least!

Posted by: BurgwithaU | September 1, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"The Bullets of the seventies were a near dynasty who went deep in the playoffs every year and were coached by veteran coaches such as Gene Shue, K.C. Jones, and Dick Motta."

A team that only won one title isn't anywhere close to a "dynasty" no matter how many playoff appearances they make.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 1, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

bulletsfan78: The point, dumb-dumb, isn't just that you're a pessimist, it's that you have this sick idea that the reason the Wizards aren't an elite team is because Abe Pollin doesn't care about fielding a winner, and you won't f-ing shut up about it, no matter how many facts come your way or how little evidence you have to back up your obnoxious assertions. You're fixated, and it detracts from any worthwhile, intelligent discussion that might go on here. Nothing you can say or do is going to make Abe Pollin sell the team, so shut up about it already.

Posted by: IrenePollin | September 1, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"Mike, when the Washington Bullets won the NBA Championship, I would consider them a surprise champion.Larryinclinton"

I guess they were. They had a ton of talent but hadn't played that well in the regular season.

They weren't nearly IMO as big a surprise as the Golden State team that won in '74-75 -- that team was so far out of the picture that the Coliseum rented itself out during the playoffs and they had to move their 'home' games to the Cow Palace.

As for the old KC Kings -- I remember watching Tiny race up and down the court, and Scott Wedman drain 3 pointers.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 1, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Good solid write-up. Thanks, Mike.

Posted by: Izman | September 1, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The idea that Arenas is not an elite player and that his past playoff success (or lack thereof) is indicative of as much is beyond silly.

Arenas is 27. He got to the second round at 24 and has only played in 1 playoff series since.

Michael Jordan (yes, MJ) didn't make it out of the 1st round of the playoffs until he turned 24 and did not win a title until he was ....27.

No way the Wiz win less than 50.

Posted by: UltimateFootballNetwork | September 1, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Espn has us at 8th this upcoming year and only winning 39 games. If that's true,(which I highly doubt) I think that would be a failure in my eyes.

Posted by: CBell29 | September 1, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

ESPN Experts Pick Eddie Jordan’s New Team To Best His Old One

http://www.truthaboutit.net/2009/09/espn-experts-pick-eddie-jordans-new-team-to-best-his-old-one.html
I don't think I could take this.
If we only have a 39 win season. I'm gonna need drugs. I survived last year but don't think I'll make it thru another one like that.

Posted by: VBFan | September 1, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Nothing you can say or do is going to make Abe Pollin sell the team, so shut up about it already.

Posted by: IrenePollin | September 1, 2009 1:27 PM

It worked in Philly the fans (by not showing up) forced Katz to sell the team to Comcast!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 1, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

IrenePollin,

I'm the Rosa Parks of the Wizards!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 1, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I could see the Sixers finishing ahead of the Wiz. Even if everything clicks for both teams, the Sixers will have an advantage the Wiz don't: A big-time, potentially dominating interior presence. On a good team, that can make a major difference.

The Sixers won 41 games last season, while the Wiz won 19. So even if Philly doesn't improve one bit, the Wiz would still have to be better than twice as good as last season to finish ahead of them. That's a tall order.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 1, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

IrenePollin,

I'm the Rosa Parks of the Wizards!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 1, 2009 2:47 PM

You're not even Cherokee Parks.

Posted by: IrenePollin | September 1, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Nate "Tiny" Archibald. There was nothing small about that man's game. Pound for pound one of the best players to ever play the game. Funny to see him and Kevin Porter mentioned in the same post, I used to say KP was a poor man's Tiny Archibald.

Interesting discussions the last two days, how do the Wiz make the step up to elite status?
(1) Arenas's return to health. Reports this summer indicate that's no pipe dream. He's been out so long people tend to forget just how good he is.

If Gil takes the next step up in his game, which I think he can, he can be even more effective then in the past. More scoring options on the team should mean better scoring efficency. Shots per game should go down, assists go up, and shooting percentage should increase.

(2) Blatche or McGee need to breakout and play to their potential. Blatche gets skewered on this site on a daily basis, but his stats have improved every year he's been in the league. His improvement to 12 pts and 7-8 rebounds shouldn't be a stretch if he can get most of his minutes at the 4 where he belongs.

McGee, I know it was summer league, but that kid blew up in the last couple of games. He seriously outplayed Griffin and earned an invitation to USA Basketball. He also appeared to have increased his upper body strength since the season was over.

McGee could be the key to the team's ability to step up to the next level, and it sure appears that Ernie's doing ever thing he can to win, but also clearing out the frontcourt so these two guys can play.

Oberto brings that tough physical presence to toughen the kids up and camp and be the guy on call if the team needs to get tough down low. Also brings 6 extra fouls(all hard)to the table. And a couple of flops, they're a lot more fun when one of our guys are doing it.
(3)Nick Young & Crittenton, if those guys plays to their potential, the Wiz would have solid four guards without James, Stevenson, and Miller.

Combining Miller and James's expiring deals could look real attractive to a team out of the race and looking for cap relief.

Not likely that all the pcs. fall into place. Not nearly a over the top impossible as 8'er makes it sound.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 1, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

IrenePollin,
You're cracking me up!

When did the basketball writers at ESPN ever get anything right?

Kal, I wouldn't go so far as to call the Bullets a dynasty in the 70's either. From 69' to 79' they were in the hunt every year and played in some of the great playoff series in league history.

Not a dynasty, but nothing to turn your nose up at either.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 1, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't turning my nose up at them. They were a good, solid playoff team that won a title. But there's a huge difference between that and a dynasty.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 1, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Or even a "near dynasty."

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 1, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

In the interest of accuracy, we should keep the history... "accurate."

- The Bullets only made the Championship in 71, 75, 78, and 79; not in 70 or 72
- They lost 0-4 the first 2 times and 1-4 the last, and won 4-3 for a Finals record of 5-15
- Milwaukee with Kareem crushed them once, but was not really their nemesis
- NY was also not much of a rivalry, because we traded our second best player (Monroe) to them for scrubs in the time between NY's only 2 championships
- Shue and KC Jones were regularly derided as simple coaches who simply "rolled out the ball"; Motta, however, was considered a solid vetran coach.
- And I have to agree with Kalo_rama that the 70's Bullets - while good - were no dynasty at all. In fact, the 70's was the NBA's dark ages with no dominant teams and few dynamic players (and lots of coke and afros)
- Actually, I think the 70's Bullets were like the 2000's Pistons: one championship that was a surprise, several very good years when they were one of the favorites to win it but didn't, lots of very good players but no superstars, undersized passionate center (Unseld/B.Wallace), dynamic power forward who seemed like he would be better but his head got in the way (Elvin/R.Wallace), small forward who was so "underrated" that he became overrated (Dandridge/Prince), etc

Posted by: Urnesto | September 1, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

We owned the Celtics 2 years ago without Arenas.
Posted by: BurgwithaU | September 1, 2009 11:57 AM

The champs?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | September 1, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

am i wrong for reading the article and getting the feeling that Mike Lee is saying that the wiz are playing for respect and shouldn't be considered a real contender? just asking, b/c he mentioned 5 teams that were trying to win it all this year (don't worry about the FA moves of those hot 5 Cheap Abe, no relationship b/w those moves and being seen as win now teams) and the wiz weren't included. I'm hearing reports of 39-46 wins, eight in the east. my question is if we don't win it this year, what happens next year, b/c i'm not certain or roster or cap is set up to make us a contender in 2010 if we really aren't in 09.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | September 1, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

unreal, Wilbon just ripped the Twolves GM on PTI for drafting Rubio, calling it a disaster "Dumb move" "Squandered pick" etc etc

So will he now write a WPost article saying how wrong he was, and that Ernie knew best afterall?

Posted by: divi3 | September 1, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

oh, and Mike, great work on this blog.

But you are dead wrong about the Zards needing such good fortune to defeat Boston when it counts. That team is on the precipice of the abyss, with KG, Ray-Ray, PP, and Rasheed all at or near AARP membership.

Posted by: divi3 | September 1, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

just cuz it was wrong fer minny don't mean it'd benn wrong fer us. if McCain won would we still have the same health care debate? if the confederacy won would our country be the same? what's good fer the goose ain't always good fer the gander and vice versa. sux fer minny though, then again it doesn't reallt suck that bad, 2 out of 3 1st rounders, al jeff back from injury and last but not least my main man Stewie, Pech is gonna kill for minny.LMAO

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | September 1, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

oh, and Mike, great work on this blog.

But you are dead wrong about the Zards needing such good fortune to defeat Boston when it counts. That team is on the precipice of the abyss, with KG, Ray-Ray, PP, and Rasheed all at or near AARP membership.

Posted by: divi3 | September 1, 2009 5:42 PM

coming off a 19 win season i think anyone can say what they want about the wiz til they prove different.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | September 1, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

am i wrong for reading the article and getting the feeling that Mike Lee is saying that the wiz are playing for respect and shouldn't be considered a real contender?Posted by: lilhollywood10

That's what the man said. Can you really see anybody on this team other than Caron starting on a championship squad? That's why trading the #5 pick is ultimately a disappointment. It makes good business sense, especially after last year, but even healthy this team has a limit on how far it can go.

Posted by: djnnnou | September 1, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Well guys look at it this way, if you think about last year and how the season went, im pretty sure you seen that even without Gil, Caron, BH,and everybody else down, we still competed, and if you didnt realize the team was in at least every game last season except until the 4th quater. Look at Boston, they have a similar core to what the wizards have considering the big 3. But lets just happen to say that pierce, KG, Big Baby, go down with the injury bug for a good month. How many games do you think Celtics will win that month? Not very many right? Cmon now lets be real, and just admit that a Succesful Coach in Flip Saunders, a healthy GA, Haywood, Stevenson, Butler, and Twan could not compete for a championship? Of Course they can!! Remember December and January of 2006-2007? WIZARDS NUMBER 1 SEED IN THE EAST? COACH EDDIE JORDAN SELECTED TO ALLSTAR COACHING? ARENAS AND BUTLER ALLSTARS?

We will see how this all plays out in the end. Thanks Mike

Posted by: hawksbest08 | September 1, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

We cheered when the 1978 Bullets won. They had a "good" team and almost repeated the next year with a league high 54-28 record.
Unfortunately, the win was tainted. Remember BILL WALTON?

Posted by: lrmc623 | September 1, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I see this team scoring 140 points a night and holding it's opponents to 80, they win 66 games and never lose a playoff game and win Abe his 2nd championship!

Is that better?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 1, 2009 10:39 AM

I dunno, 78, you're quite the optimist. I fear you'll lose any credibility you might have had here. But I admire the positive waves.

Irony? What's that?

Posted by: 7snider7 | September 1, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

- Actually, I think the 70's Bullets were like the 2000's Pistons: one championship that was a surprise, several very good years when they were one of the favorites to win it but didn't, lots of very good players but no superstars, undersized passionate center (Unseld/B.Wallace), dynamic power forward who seemed like he would be better but his head got in the way (Elvin/R.Wallace), small forward who was so "underrated" that he became overrated (Dandridge/Prince), etc

Posted by: Urnesto | September 1, 2009 4:06 PM

Have to disagree on the "no superstar" part. Both Hayes and Unseld were named among the 50 best players in the NBA's first 50 years. To me, that says "superstar."

Posted by: rbpalmer | September 1, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Unreal, Wilbon just ripped the Twolves GM on PTI for drafting Rubio, calling it a disaster "Dumb move" "Squandered pick" etc etc

So will he now write a WPost article saying how wrong he was, and that Ernie knew best afterall?

Posted by: divi3 | September 1, 2009 5:39 PM
____

Completely caught that myself. He torched the Wiz for not drafting Rubio and now torches the Wolves for drafting Rubio bc he is now not coming to the NBA anytime soon. Me thinks Mr. Wilbon has some explaining to do on this one and I'm a big fan of his. A lot of Monday morning quarterbacking on this one by him. Thank god EG had more foresight than he did.

Kal, keep harping on a 19 win season as if you don't know why that occurred. You want to make a bet that the Wiz finish ahead of Philly? A healthy squad and it's a damn near lock. You sure as hell have too much respect for a player (Brand) that has not done much in the NBA in a few years. One that averaged 14pts and 8 rebounds a game last year. Not even in the league with AJ with those stats. What an inside terror he is. Plus, you got Louis Williams as a newbie at starting PG. Good luck with that one Philly. At least they got Royal Ivey backing him up or is it Kareem Rush? Scary. Lol, you can't be serious. Philly is going to miss Miller big time. One of the most underrated PG's in the league. Finally, do I have to even bring up their coach? Mr. 44% career winning percentage.

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 2, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

I think the ESPN prediction, which I have yet to see, is based upon a lack of respect nationally that the Wiz franchise faces yearly. Thus, as stated by Michael, we are playing for respect this year. And, I almost guarantee that prediction is wrong with all the usual caveats.

1) Boston
2) Cleveland
3) Orlando
4) Washington
5) Atlanta
6) Philadelphia
7) Chicago
8) Toronto

That's how I see the season shaping up.

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

Hello Mike I do have a diffrent out look for this team.
The moves are so clasic,It improves all the problems of the team for the last 5 years.
Arenas advance the team in 2005 with the help of jarvis hayes, JJ,thomas and the less experianced BHW. This team right now have its 5 starters atleast 4 of them to be considered the best starters and two additinal starters(MM and AF).If my hypotetical big man is added on time i have a great feeling that neither boston nor orlando will win more games than the wiz.
I think there are a lot of talents both in the roster and coaching staff.
There is also an opportunity for the owner to take an advantage, by the end of nov, a lot of teams will start to unload salary in this taff economic season.Mr. pollen has done it for 30 years, he should pull the triger.

Posted by: gtefferra | September 2, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

You're not even Cherokee Parks.

'Post of the Year' candidate !

Posted by: original_mark | September 2, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

You're not even Cherokee Parks.

'Post of the Year' candidate !

Posted by: original_mark | September 2, 2009 7:22 AM

original_mark

Since Cheap Abe wouldn't allow Ernie to spend the full MLE this year, Ernie had to go out and sign Oberto (who will be about as good as Cherokee Parks when he played for the Wizards), which proves my point, Cheap Abe won't take the risks it takes to win a championship.

If Oberto is as good as some people on here think, why wouldn't Pops bring him back to SA after the Pistons cut him? Pops went out and signed McDyess and Ratliff to man the C spot this year.

Pops has more championships than Ernie and Cheap Abe combined!


Posted by: bulletsfan78 | September 2, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

bulletsfan78

mcdyess or ratliff would not have brought us closer to a championship. few that would have taken the MLE and would have chosen us would have helped us in that regard...if any.

it seems that with flip's tight rotation, we would have been spending the MLE to bury someone on the bench.

Posted by: crs-one | September 2, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Have to disagree on the "no superstar" part. Both Hayes and Unseld were named among the 50 best players in the NBA's first 50 years. To me, that says "superstar."

Posted by: rbpalmer | September 1, 2009 11:06 PM

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

were they considered superstars in their time?

superstar usually means someone transcendant and prolific. i've usually heard it said that bird/magic brought in the superstar era.

i agree that the two of them deserve 50 best mention. but some people are using different criteria for defining superstar

Posted by: crs-one | September 2, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

As 2009 is the 30th anniversary of the lone Bullets/wizards NBA Championship, I would like to see the team retire at least one more number from the golden age of the 70s... Phil Chenier. Want to start the campaign, Mike?

Posted by: khrabb | September 2, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Pops has more championships than Ernie and Cheap Abe combined!

Yeah and don't think for a second that the whole Spurs dynasty had nothing to do with David Robinson getting hurt and allowing Tim Duncan to come to a already playoff caliber team. That changed everything for the Spurs.

Imagine if Kobe got hurt and the Lakers lucked up and got Blake Griffin. Kinda like what DIDN'T happen for us. LOL

Posted by: SDMDTSU | September 2, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

One point that many are missing about Philly, the Princeton seems to have a learning curve to it. Teams have often gotten off to slow starts running it.

Wilbon, what can you say? The guy made his living in DC for many years. Now that he's a "national" figure he trashes DC teams every chance he gets. I quess he figures that he shouldn't look like a homer.

But at the same time he still fawns over the Bulls. Mike, "like Mike's" in Charlotte, oh, I forgot he's running the team from Chicago. Down south they had a word for people like that, Carpetbaggers. Every 4 to 8 years DC gets a new batch of em'.

They take up all the good seats, arrive late,come to their seats during play, stand up and wave a lot, and talk on their Cell Phones, the whole time they're at the game.

No great teams in the 70's? Chamberlain and Jerry West's Laker's team that had the victory record until the Bulls broke it doesn't qualify? The Reed, Bradley, DeBushurre, Frazier, Monroe(for the second title) Knicks don't make it either?

Another point about the old Bullets, in the 10 year period from 69' to 79' when they made the Finals 4 times, I think they went to the Conference finals 2 or 3 more times and I think they were 2nd in wins for that 10 year period.

Not a dynasty, but they played at a degree of excellence over a 10 year period that few teams have matched. It was a pretty nice run, and they did it while playing in three different "homes".

They did what the present day Pistons did, but over a 10 year period. Not a dynasty, but one of the league's great teams for a decade.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 2, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

were they considered superstars in their time?

superstar usually means someone transcendant and prolific. i've usually heard it said that bird/magic brought in the superstar era.

i agree that the two of them deserve 50 best mention. but some people are using different criteria for defining superstar

Posted by: crs-one | September 2, 2009 8:54 AM

Were they considered "superstars" by whom? That's the problem when you're dealing with almost totally subjective terms; different people have different definitions. If you're talking about the amount of acclaim that the two received during their careers, you'd have to give the edge to "The Big E." Hayes came into the league with more notoriety from his two nationally-televised confrontations with Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and the UCLA Bruins, one in that famous game in the Astrodome before 50,000+, and the second in that year's NCAA Tournament. If you're talking transcendence and productivity, I would argue that both qualify. Hayes was a perennial 20-10 guy who had an unstoppable low post move (the turnaround jumper), and was also the Bullets' primary shot-blocker. He was, IMO, one of the most dominant players of his time. Unseld wasn't a scorer, but he was a force on the boards, and used his strength and bulk effectively on defense to "body" his man out of position and clog up the lane. he was also the best at triggering the fast break with great outlet passes, which is a lost art in today's game. Both players were among the "50 Best," and both players are in the Hall of Fame, which means that the voters considered them to be among the best to ever play the game. If they aren't both superstars, i don't know who would be.

Posted by: rbpalmer | September 2, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

We cheered when the 1978 Bullets won. They had a "good" team and almost repeated the next year with a league high 54-28 record.
Unfortunately, the win was tainted. Remember BILL WALTON?

Posted by: lrmc623 | September 1, 2009 8:38 PM

I assume that you're referring to Walton's injury and inferring that if he had been healthy, the 'Blazers would have won the title. Nonsense. First of all, injuries are a part of the game. Every team has them, in varying degrees, every year, and the fact that one guy from one team got hurt doesn't diminish the accomplishments of another. Second, we don't know for sure what would have happened if Walton hadn't gotten hurt. Maybe they, and not the Sonics, would have lost to the Bullets. Maybe they would have lost before the finals. Or maybe not, we just don't know.

Posted by: rbpalmer | September 2, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"Kal, keep harping on a 19 win season as if you don't know why that occurred. You want to make a bet that the Wiz finish ahead of Philly? A healthy squad and it's a damn near lock. You sure as hell have too much respect for a player (Brand) that has not done much in the NBA in a few years. One that averaged 14pts and 8 rebounds a game last year. Not even in the league with AJ with those stats."

Wow. What a complete load of pure homer-based nonsense.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 2, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

The only guy out there who signed for the MLE that could have really made a difference this year would have been "Sheed" Wallace.

He could have been the number one big off the bench at center and power forward. He could have provided scoring, rebounding and defense.

Considering Sheed's history with Flip, it probably never had a chance to happen.

It was a signing that could of also blown up in the Wizard's face, and then they could have been stuck with a malcontent. Just because you have the MLE it doesn't always benefit the team to go out and spend it. Dallas has done that for years and it hasn't bought them a title yet.

Ernie and Flip seem deterimined to see what Blatche and McGee have got. If they can't cut it, I'd say a deadline deal could happen.

I'd second the "you're not even Cherokee Parks" for the post of the year...

Phil Chenier does need to be honored by the Wizards/Bullets. He had one of the pure sweetest jumpers I've ever seen.

And about the 70's, I remember the Fro's, and that Coke you were refering to, was that the original Coke? You know, before they came out with the New Coke, Coke Classic, Coke Zero, Diet Coke...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 2, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Playoff seeds:
1. Cleveland
2. Wiz
3. Miami
4. Boston
5. NY Knicks
6. Atlanta
7. New Jersey
8. Toronto

Posted by: stevek_ffx | September 2, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The Big E's got to be in any discussion of all time great power forwards.

Wes played in an era when he went up against some of the great centers of all time. And to a man they all talk about Wes being one of the toughest matchups they ever faced. He deserves to be one of the50 greatest.

I've never seen another player that could throw that outlet pass like Wes. KP, Earl the Pearl, Archie Clark, "Mad Dog" Carter, can all thank Wes for padding their scoring average.

The guy was a beast on the boards and set some of the meanest picks in basketball. He also developed a very nice jumper from the top of the key, and had a nice little jump hook.

One reason he didn't score more was that once the Wizards had Hayes, Wes worked in the high post quite a bit, which reduced his lowpost scoring chances.

And we didn't call anybody SuperStars back then. That was a term that was coined from the Rock Opera. It was reserved for Jesus Christ until Bird,Magic, and Dr. J came along.

And when people talk about great players Dr. J is a guy that never gets quite the attention he should. When he was a young guy on the old Virginia Squires he did things with a basketball I've never seen anybody else do.

Could have helped that the old ABA ball was slightly smaller and easier to grip then the NBA ball.
GM


Posted by: flohrtv | September 2, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse


I think Mike is right teams like the Lakers, Cavs, Celtics, Spurs, and Magic all are well balanced team mixed with young and old players committed to a championship. The Wizards right now, are not as experienced enough nor has the balanced to be considered a serious championship contenders. With Orlando last season, everything sort of fell into place. If Turkeglo missed that 3 pointer in the Sixers series it would be different, The Celtics lost KG for the year and they couldn't miss from the outside in the Cavs series, those are very rare occasions in the NBA.

I think if the Wizards get 50 plus wins this season, then you can say there is a possibility but with the teams history of injuries are how young the teams bench is, I don't see them competing this season for a ring. There is a chance of them making it to the second round and possibly making it to the eastern conference finals but any further would be a stretch.

Posted by: rcnasa | September 2, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The goal, for every team, every season, should be winning a championship. Yes, teams need to rebuild from scratch sometimes - which takes time - and sometimes they need to hold a mediocre team together in the hope that a winning formula will emerge with a couple personnel moves. But this idea that a team can only aspire towards 'respect', and be content with it, is nuts.

Boston and the Lakers (and to a lesser extent San Antonio and Detroit) aspire towards championships, always, and sometimes get them. While the coaches and stars that made them have moved on, they've left a culture and thirst for success (as well as the knowledge of personnel, sacrifice, cost, standards of professionalism etc. it takes to get one).

My problem with Grunfeld is that he always (also with New York and Milwaukee) seems to be on an Achilles and the Tortoise trajectory of always improving incrementally, yet never reaching his destination (championship). That takes big, broad personnel strokes, risk and getting the transcendent players (the right ones) needed to push us into contention. Our best players play on the perimeter, mirror each other's skills and, with the exception of Butler, play well on only one side of the court. Grunfeld has improved the secondary players (again, on the perimeter) this year, but that is no championship endgame. I don't think the team is cheap, I just think it has been poorly run for a long time and Grunfeld has managed to make it aspire towards respectability (as a 30-year Wiz fan, believe me, that's no mean feat). But I think someone else is needed to push it into the next level of elitism. That won't happen with Grunfeld.

Posted by: SammyT1 | September 2, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Sammy,

What a load of crap. Grunfeld's Knick team went to the Finals the year after he was fired. Think that wasn't his team? Then he actually made Milwaukee relevant, which is a bigger feat in this league than making the Wiz relevant.

Yeah, do we need a transcendent player? Sure. Gilbert is as close to that as I've seen in the 30 years I've been a fan. Then he got injured. Guess that is Grunfeld's fault? That aside, it takes luck more than anything to get those type of players - the year we finally got a number one pick the best possible player we could have drafted was Pau Gasol. Good, definitely not transcendent.

So, I guess we fire Grunfeld and someone is going to come in and make some bold move and then we are in the Finals. Wow, I believe in the tooth fairy too!

Kal, no acting like Brand is Howard is complete nonsense. Seems you don't like your odds. Going to be fun riding you when I end up being correct. My analysis is based on roster talent 1-10 and no more. That and we got a bona fide top tier coach and Philly got our retread.

Remember the discussion about which frontcourt player we would sign this summer? Well, I said it was going to be Oberto about 2/3 months before he was signed. I also correctly predicted we were definitely trading the pick if it was not Griffin. I'm on a roll!

Posted by: rphilli721 | September 3, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

rphilli721,

With the Knicks, Grunfeld had the advantage of a dominant inside player by the name of Patrick Ewing who was already on the team before he became GM. That he couldn't surround him with the players needed to win a championship is further evidence of his good, albeit not premier stewardship.

"someone is going to come in and make some bold move and then we are in the Finals. Wow, I believe in the tooth fairy too!"

Well, the Celtics did exactly that recently. The Lakers, too, with their brazen pilfering of Pau Gasol for chump change (and btw, Gasol is an elite player). Had the team not lost Len Bias and Reggie Lewis, the Celtics might have continued its dynasty into the noughts. The L.A. Lakers, with the exception of a couple seasons, have been a great team since the 1970s. The team understands that it needs transcendent players to win titles, and always manages to find them (Abdul-Jabbar, Magic, Worthy, Shaq, Kobe, etc.) despite perennially having winning records and rarely drafting high. Tooth fairy? No. Just the right approach.

Gilbert, as good as he is, does not match up with any of those players (except maybe Worthy), nor does any other player we've had since the dawn of the 1980s.

And while Grunfeld could not predict Gilbert would get injured, he did sign him to a long-term, team-crippling deal AFTER he was injured and lost nearly two full seasons. He also put the team's money in an elite offensive-minded guard which, while entertaining, has never been a position crucial to championship contention, with the exception, of course, of the 6'9 guard/forward/center Magic Johnson.

I hope Arenas comes back and that the time off has given him a new perspective on what it takes to be a leader and play team ball. He has the skills, intelligence and intangibles to be even better than he's been... with the right approach, even if he has lost a quarter step. Certainly the team will be more entertaining this year. But the point remains, Grunfeld is building a perimeter, non-championship team.

Posted by: SammyT1 | September 3, 2009 4:24 AM | Report abuse

"Kal, no acting like Brand is Howard is complete nonsense"

It would be if I'd done that. Of course it goes without saying that I didn't. I did, however, act like Brand was a guy who averaged 20 and 10 pretty much every year like clockwork until he the last couple years when he was injured. If he can return to full health, there's no reason to think he won't return to something close to that form, which would make him a formidable weapon of the kind that the Wiz lack. You will, of course, argue that injuries have taken away any chance of his returning to anything close to that form. To which any reasonably intelligent, aware person only has one response:

Gilbert Arenas.

To assume that Arenas will return to form after years off with serious injury while conversely assuming that Brand can't is not only purblind homerism and utter nonsense, it's also blatant hypocrisy. But then, since you're a nonsensical, hypocritical, purblind homer, that really doesn't shock anyone.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 3, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

C'mon folks. Some of us are talking about last year's 19-win aberration as though they are a perennial 19-win team. We have gotten used to winning over the past few years, and we are ready to take the next. Sorry to disagree, but when healthy, we are NOT a 19-win team, or anything close to it. Factor in a perennial 50-win coach, and it is easy to daydream about what we are capable of.

As I have preached on this board, it is all about health. If we can stay healthy, then with the new maturation of the team's core players, as well as a coach who has been a bridesmaid, we are capable of pushing the beasts of the east.

I believe the only thing that separates us from true championship aspirations would be our penchant for trying to be too pretty. Let's forget about SportsCenter, and just make plays. Coaching staff should be preaching that an ugly make is much more effective than a pretty miss. Forget the spectacular, and just make plays baby, just make plays.

Posted by: bpybay | September 3, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

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