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Day 2, Evening Wrapup

Nick Young was the story of the first day of scrimmages on Tuesday night, but based on the games that reporters were allowed to watch, "Seven Day" Andray Blatche and Randy Foye were both quite impressive on the second day. Blatche scored with an assortment of mid-range jumpers, turnaround jumpers and finger rolls. Foye hit pull-up three points, drove to the hoop and completed strong drives with layups and floaters.


Look, ma. I'm getting serious. (Getty Images)

Flip Saunders switched up the lineups for his teams on Wednesday, with Antawn Jamison, Mike James, Young, Dominic McGuire and Brendan Haywood forming the white team; Blatche, Javaris Crittenton, Mike Miller, DeShawn Stevenson and Fabricio Oberto comprising the black team; and Foye, Caron Butler, Vincent Grier, Paul Davis and JaVale McGee forming the blue team. Gilbert Arenas was a spectator for the evening scrimmages that I saw. A team spokesman said it was nothing serious and that Arenas was given the games off to rest. Arenas did finish the running drill at the end of practice.

Asked about Arenas earlier in the day, Saunders said, "I thought he looked good. He's gone three practices in 24 hours and I don't see any ill effects. He exploded when he needed to explode and got where he wanted to go."

In my story today, I went over the backcourt battle for the starting shooting guard spot, but I didn't go all the way into how Young has taken a more serious approach to training camp this time around. His teammates and coaches have marveled about his new attitude. "He's showing a lot of growth and maturity and that's what you want from a third or fourth year player," Butler said. "It's time to show that."

Saunders has asked Young to be more of a catch-and-shoot player, giving him DVDs of Reggie Miller and Rip Hamilton to study. Young said that this style is different than when he was playing for former Coach Eddie Jordan, who wanted him to create plays for himself off-the-dribble. Although Saunders is asking him to do something new, Young said, "I got to do what I can to stay on the court."

Young said that he is motivated by a disappointing second season, when the team won just 19 games and injuries created an opportunity for him to succeed and earn minutes. "I didn't really get a chance to grasp it and take advantage of it," Young said, but now "It's right there for me, so I'm trying to be more focused."

He added that he wasn't upset when the Wizards made the trade for Miller and Foye. "I know I got confidence in myself, playing with great players like that," Young says. "I watched Mike playing with T-Mac in Orlando. That was my favorite team, so I was happy about playing with him. Foye is a great young player. But my minutes will still be there if I play the right way."

Blatche also appears to be playing with an enhanced hunger, which was on display on Tuesday, when knocked down Jamison to keep him from making a seemingly easy, breakaway layup. "No layups, no easy buckets," Blatche said. "That's my teammate. I'm not trying to hurt him, but it's a no layup rule."

Blatche said that he decided to change his style after having a conversation with his mother, Angela Oliver. "She told me, 'It seems like you're too lackadaisical, as if you're goofing around with some friends.' After a while, after I talked to about it, I said, 'You're right.' I figure, I needed to step my game up and get more focused. That's why I'm going out with a chip on my shoulder, going so hard. I'm going to kill myself going so hard."

Blatche admitted that he hasn't always had the best work ethic and attitude about his career. He again explained the reason for his number change from No. 32 to No. 7. "I respect the game a whole lot more. I'm in the gym seven days a week. If I'm not in the gym, I'm lifting weigths, I'm doing something to help my game out. if it's running, conditioning, just coming in late nights, shooting 500 shots. I'm always doing something to make my game better."

The Wizards are only having one practice this afternoon.

By Michael Lee  |  October 1, 2009; 7:06 AM ET
 
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Next: Day 3, Mini-Update

Comments

1st- Go Wiz!

Posted by: ptp23 | October 1, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

I think the battel is really between 3 guys: Young, Steveneson and Foye. At the end of the day, the 2 guard has to guard Dwayne Wade, Joe Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, anybody want Mike Miller guarding those guys?

Stevenson is more of a defensive player but a streaky shooter.

Young probably has the best offensive ability and athletic ability but will his defense be there and will he get the respect of the refs on defense.

Foye is probably the best of the two n terms of blending both offense and defense. I think it comes down to he and Young but Deshawn will see plenty of time if the team needs defense.

Miller will provide more of a back up for Caron.

Foye will probably team in the second unit as the first point guard with Deshawn, Miller, Blatch and Oberto/McGee. That's still pretty darn good.

Posted by: ptp23 | October 1, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Add Angela Oliver to the coaching staff.

I see Nick Young getting serious minutes off the bench at the expense of DeShawn. I see them using Miller some at the #3 with the second unit and having both Miller and Young on the floor at the same to really pressure the defense. Foye will play a lot of point guard, relieving Gil and being the glue between the first and second units. They'll mix in McGuire and McGee to bolster defense off the bench. Just how I see this unfolding...

Posted by: jweber1 | October 1, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I said all along that Blatche and Nick would show maturity once Gil gets healthy. The wizards are now playing for some lofty goals. Everybody on the wizards thinks the goals are somewhat attainable so nobody is playing, Gil, Nick, and Blatche are taking things more seriously.

LOOK OUT!!! It is OUR TIME!!!!

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 1, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

If Nick really becomes a credible catch and shoot guy and also keep his dribble shake to the basket game, breaking down defenses will be fun for him.

Especially when Teams leave open teammates to double him.

Why I am not a Nick Young kind of guy, his improvement and consistent production would be a huge asset that the Wizards are not really counting on. I think.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 1, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Two nice pieces today (including the one on the backcourt). You're on a roll.

A smaller issue that I'd like to see some analysis is the primary back-up to Arenas at the point. One could make the case for Foye, James or Crit. How's it shaking?

Posted by: Izman | October 1, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Angela Oliver for coach of the year. If momma can't get through to him, no one can. I think this team is gonna be special.

All of the rhetoric points to NY getting not only in the regular rotation but considerable minutes. Where's the DS news, Mike?
For all the news that we're reading, though, I still havent read much about NY's improved defensive attitude or willingness to pass. That's what will guarantee pt for him. We all have known that he can score so that's not really news.
What I want to know is whether he is actually willing to pass the ball to open teammates these days. For two years, he's been 'looking off the safety' and shooting jumpers rather than passing to open teammates. It cracks me up every time I see him dribble, look at his open teammate on the wing and shoot the J anyway.

Posted by: original_mark | October 1, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

jweber1,
The only reason I envision Miller starting is because we have a notoriously average rebounder at the C position and MM is a very good rebounder at the 2. We may have to rely on more of a team concept for rebounding but if we all hit the glass, we should be in good shape because all of our guys rebound pretty well for their positions besides BTH.

Posted by: original_mark | October 1, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I'll say it again, if DeShawn Stevenson ends up getting major minutes on the final roster, then the Wizards have not improved as much as they think they have. The Wizards don't need him and he takes minutes away from the guys who they do need. I see a possible trade in the works but then again they have tried that and no one wants or should I just say needs him.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | October 1, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Our time. Go Wiz.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | October 1, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

If Blatche is the 1st big off the bench, who is he coming in for? BTH or AJ? And where does that leave Mcgee if Flip sticks to a 8-9 man rotation?

Posted by: CBell29 | October 1, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Larry

Nick's offense will not be the problem. With his height, reflexes and athleticism, could allow him to develop into a defender as well. His defensive skillset if he tried, could be compared to McGuire and he is more athletic than Bruce Bowen.

Remember, a major reason Gil and Jamison are not great defenders is because they both are tweeners. Nick is not. He is a true shooting guard. Also, I think he has a bigger body frame than Reggie Miller and Rip Hamilton.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 1, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

"If Blatche is the 1st big off the bench, who is he coming in for? BTH or AJ? And where does that leave Mcgee if Flip sticks to a 8-9 man rotation?" Posted by: CBell29

I think it leaves McGee mostly "in the future." Unless he really embraces the Chris Anderson role they marked out for him this year and excels at defense and shot blocking, I think even Oberto will be ahead of him for minutes early on.

He's gonna play this season for sure, but I doubt he's Haywood's first backup right at the start. He's too green.

Posted by: dcball | October 1, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I'll say it again, if DeShawn Stevenson ends up getting major minutes on the final roster, then the Wizards have not improved as much as they think they have. The Wizards don't need him and he takes minutes away from the guys who they do need. I see a possible trade in the works but then again they have tried that and no one wants or should I just say needs him.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | October 1, 2009 8:52 AM

My sentiments EXACTLY!!! I've been saying this for years. He's nothing but a side show now. Tats on his neck and face, hand waving, that stupid beard, etc. Ernie tried to move him but Minnesota said no. I hope he tries again or just buy him out. There's no way that Nick or Randy should be buried behind him.

Posted by: CBell29 | October 1, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

At the end of the day, the 2 guard has to guard Dwayne Wade, Joe Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, anybody want Mike Miller guarding those guys?

Posted by: ptp23 | October 1, 2009 7:54 AM

ptp23

Maybe that's why Stevenson got the tattoo put on backwards. He hopes Dwayne Wade, Joe Johnson, Kobe Bryant, abd Ray Allen will be windering is that a P or what and it will throw their games off.

Blatche scored with an assortment of mid-range jumpers, turnaround jumpers and finger rolls?

Wasn't this guy sipposed to be working on his low post game or does anyone see an AJ clone?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 1, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm with dandyhuffman on Stevenson. He's filler now, and should be an end-of-the-bench guy. People talk about Young being one dimensional; if that's the case, so is Stevenson -- perimeter defense, and that's about it. If Young really works at defense, he's the ideal two-guard, and should be starting, with Foye/Miller as the backups (and Foye more of a backup for Gil).

Posted by: keithward64 | October 1, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

If DeShawn is back healthy he will be in the mix. He's a good defender and shooter and has shown he can play with the big 3. Who cares about tattoos and beards. If that's the reason you think he shouldn't get minutes...you should re-focus.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 1, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

As I told you dudes this summer Nick Young will start this year and will win most improved player. Watch it unfold.

Posted by: lemekdivine | October 1, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

People talk about Young being one dimensional; if that's the case, so is Stevenson -- perimeter defense, and that's about it. If Young really works at defense, he's the ideal two-guard

Stevenson can shoot when he doesn't need back surgery. All of a sudden you expect Nick to completely change his entire offensive game AND learn defense? I don't thing so. It'll take time. If Nicks dimension is scoring and DeShawn's is defense....which dimension do you think it's more important and lacking from the team overall? Scoring or defense?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 1, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

i wouldn't bench nick for DS just b/c of his defense. if that were the case why not bench any other starter (AJ) who's defense isn't on par with his backup. the team is built to score more than the other team defense is secondary with the makeup of this team. that being said, how many points has DS saved us? how many defensive POY awards? how many all defense teams? IF they're coaching NY up to play like Rip maybe he can pick up some D skills too.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 1, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I think DSS becomes a defensive specialist off the bench to cool off the other team's top scoring threat ala Bruce Bowen. Foye would seem to be a better fit next to Arenas as he's a better ballhandler than either Miller or Young. Young's strength is strictly as a scorer, not a defender. We already have 3 mediocre/poor defenders in the starting 5 with Jamison, Arenas, and Butler. Having Young in the lineup would mean that there was no defensive-minded player besides Haywood in the lineup.

To balance at the 1st and 2nd units, it would seem to make more sense to start Foye and bring Miller & Young off the bench to provide the scoring from the 2nd unit along with Blatche.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 1, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Original Mark, I take your point about Miller and rebounding. One reason I tend to give Antawn somewhat of a pass for his lousy D is at least he rebounds pretty well for an undersized PF. And he can rebound in a crowd, which is essential when a tight game is on the line. I agree with the view, too, that if DeShawn starts have we really haven't upgraded that much. He works as a starter when Gilbert is putting up 30 points a game. Otherwise his perimeter D is only exceptional when compared with the underperformers of this team. He works hard but doesn't have the length to neutralize the big, atheletic shooting guards in this league. Somehow McGuire needs to play the Bruce Bowen role on this team.

Posted by: jweber1 | October 1, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Would it work to have NY start games when the opponent's shooting guard is not an offensive threat and have Stevenson start when we need to shut down a potent offensive 2 guard on the other team?

Posted by: NickelsLuvsSkins | October 1, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

http://nba.fanhouse.com/2009/09/30/van-gundy-takes-vince-carter-to-task-defensively/

I don't think I patched the link in very well, but an interesting article on how an NBA coach publicly challenged his franchise-start to step up and play some D. I'm sticking to my view that whether it's Gilbert or Antawn or CB or whomever, if they're not playing D, there have to be called out this year--and early in the year.

Posted by: jweber1 | October 1, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

A lot can happen over the course of a season, including player improvement (at least some can improve). For example, Derrick Rose looked pretty good by playoff time last year. So, Saunders ought to consider that as well in settling in on a 8/9 man rotation.

Looking at the Wiz:

Above average players:

Arenas, Jamison, Butler

Average players:

Miller
Blatche (potential to be above average)
Haywood
Foye (potential to be above average)
Young (poential to be above average)

Below average players:

McGee (all-star potential)
McGuire (potential to be average)
Crit (potential to be average)
Umberto
Stevenson
James

So, if the above is directional correct, it's hard to justify minutes for Stevenson, James, McGuire and Crit in an 8/9 man rotation. Obviously, they could have spot assignments.

The biggest question is Umberto or McGee as the 9th player.

Posted by: Izman | October 1, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

At the end of the day, the 2 guard has to guard Dwayne Wade, Joe Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, anybody want Mike Miller guarding those guys?

My thought is that on defense, CB and MM switch. Cb guards 2's and MM handles 3's. That also puts Mm closer to the basket where his rebounding comes more into play.

Posted by: original_mark | October 1, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Wow, if Blatche and Young have really matured this team will be super deep and dangerous. I loved Eddie and respected what he did here, but you make coaching changes like these in order to change the culture and mindsets of the players. Sounds like Flip is doing that. I will keep my fingers crossed.

Posted by: lavar609 | October 1, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Izman,

Flip said he wasn't going to be playing the best players on the team instead he is going to put the players on the floor who play best together.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 1, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

One thing about Bowen is...he played a lot of minutes (over 30 per game) and wasn't asked to just come in and play 'spot defense'.I don't know if we can afford to have DS come in and do the same.
OTOH, with so many scorers on this team DS may be perfect for us assuming that he is healthy again.
Remember, he WAS Mr.50 a couple years ago. If he can hit an open J and play good defense, it could work.

Posted by: original_mark | October 1, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse


Hey Mike,

I might be tardy for the party, but I saw on Yahoo Sports that they ranked the top 10 PF's in the last decade and Jamison is ranked 6th. So ALL you Jamison haters need to recognize how valuable he has been for this team. Here is the link
=======================================================

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/The-top-10-power-forwards-of-the-last-decade;_ylt=AiW6uLUJssZmQEVx.52vWdO8vLYF?urn=nba,193073

====================================================

I'm looking forward to this season. If everyone can stay health, the team can be in the top 4 of the eastern conference, with teams like the Celtics and Cavs having an old squad there are chances for the Wizs to move up into the top 3.

Posted by: rcnasa | October 1, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Stevenson can shoot when he doesn't need back surgery. All of a sudden you expect Nick to completely change his entire offensive game AND learn defense? I don't thing so.

Stevenson was never a great shooter, even in his best years. He's a streak shooter, and has been on a bad streak for several years now.

And yeah, it's easier to learn to play defense than to develop an offensive arsenal -- significantly easier, I would argue. It's more desire than anything, and we'll see if Nick has that this year.

To me, Stevenson is clearly on the decline, while Young is ascending. We'll see how it works out.

Posted by: keithward64 | October 1, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Back when Arenas and Stevenson were playing in the same back court, the Wizards won whenever Stevenson was shooting well. Mike Miller is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league. You get better consistency with him -- which means more wins as long as Miller can be an adequate defender. This is the scouting report on Miller's defense, which indicates he would be good in the type of defense the Wiz will have under Saunders --

Bickerstaff: He's a good team-defensive player. He understands schemes really well. He's in the right position all the time. The way the rules are set up now, it's really hard to guard a guy 1-on-1. The best defensive teams are the ones that play team defense. You have to be ready to rotate, you have to be ready to step in and take a charge - and he understands schemes and understands where to be and how to be in the right position all the time.

Miller could be the starter, but he might be a better 6th man. Bottom line, I want him on the court at the end of the game. He has the experience to make the big shot if they double team Arenas.

Go Wizards!!!

Posted by: joyster8 | October 1, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention I think it's BS to consider Tim Duncan a Center instead of a PF. Time Duncan should be number 1 and KG at 2 but...I wanted to point out folks reconigze how talented Jamison is. it's just some of the people on this message board who either doesn't watch b-ball or just hate the wizards

Posted by: rcnasa | October 1, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Stevenson's bad shooting started when Gil first got injured. He no longer was left open. Gil is back and one of the things that I agree with Gil on is that Stevenson is a warrior. In my opinion, he is the toughest player on the roster, tougher than Tough-Juice. Toughness is something the squad needs. As much potential as Nick has to be an excellent 2-way shooting guard and the shooting guard of the future, he will NEVER be tough.

The shooting guard competition should be dynamite because Miller, Stevenson, and Nick all bring something different to the table and is valuable in their individual ways.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 1, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Blatche scored with an assortment of mid-range jumpers, turnaround jumpers and finger rolls?

Wasn't this guy sipposed to be working on his low post game or does anyone see an AJ clone?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 1, 2009 9:28 AM"

bulletsfan78 -


based on your username...I suspect you saw the Big "E", Chamberlain, Nate Thurmond, Cowens, etc play ball...

Chamberlains Signature move wAS the fingeroll, Hayes - the turnaround jumber, McAdoo - Mid-Range Jumper, Cowens - Jump-hook, .

These moves are all part of the classic lost post game..

Posted by: car_path_ian | October 1, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I guess we'll all agree to disagree. No team needs 4 20 point scorers on the floor at the same time...most run with 3 and2 guys that fill other roles. There is NEVER enough shots for 4 guys who get buckets. That's why Nick will be coming off the bench. You don't just "pick up" defense along the way. So a good defender has to have defensive POY awards and all-defense awards? Be serious. He's one of the best 2 or 3 defenders on THIS team. Okay Nick scores...how many does he give up?

Yeah DeShawn was streaky...but 40% on 3's is fine by me. He doesn't need to score. Play defense and hit the open shots created from the other 3 scorers.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 1, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Who said anything about "picking up" defense along the way? I said it takes desire and work to learn defense. If Nick has learned that, he can be a capable defender. And if he is, he's a much, much better option as the starter than Stevenson. He shoots better, moves better, finishes better; basically, does everything better.

Posted by: keithward64 | October 1, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Good point, car_path_ian. I think we'd all just like to see power moves from him more often. If he's working out and lifting weights as much as he says he is, maybe he'll have the strength to get to the rim and dunk it more often.
You can say a lot about BTH but one thing that can't be said is that he doesnt disaply power when he's close to the hoop. He dunks everything he can when he's in position.

On a side note, everyone should take a good look at BTH this year cuz he's probably outta here next year. I can't imagine him taking short money to stay when he could get at least medium money on the market...and Abe aint paying him a lot when he's already in Lux tax area.

Posted by: original_mark | October 1, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"You can say a lot about BTH but one thing that can't be said is that he doesnt disaply power when he's close to the hoop. He dunks everything he can when he's in position."

As long as there's no opposing player within 10 feet of him. He's always been notably lacking when it comes to going up strong in traffic.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

With Flip telling Crittenton to work on his on the ball defense and pushing tempo on offense, I see a possible combo of Critt,Young, and Miller working well on the second unit.

Pair them with Blatche and McGee and you've got a long rangy group that could have some luck trapping and pressuring the ball.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 1, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

If Stevenson is going to be in the rotation, he probably needs to start, because he needs the threat of the big 3 around him to open up the floor around him for his shooting. And he needs to take and make shots. Despite all of the accolades he gets in some parts, he's a good but hardly elite defender, not one of the kind who can have major positive impact simply by playing one end of the floor. If he's coming off the bench, he's playing mostly with guys he doesn't complement as well as the big 3, which reduces his effectiveness.

But, as I've said, I have my doubts about how physically able he'll be to play up to the level of a couple of years ago. I can easily see him being the odd man out.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

As long as there's no opposing player within 10 feet of him. He's (BTH) always been notably lacking when it comes to going up strong in traffic.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 11:59 AM

He has gotten stronger and goes up stronger than during his earlier wizard years. No he isn't Shaq, but he has improved in that area.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 1, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

He doesn't need to be Shaq. He just needs to do it well and consistently. And based on his play the last time he was fully healthy, he doesn't.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

kalo-rama

The better defenders in the league get away with murder. Bruce Bowen got away with a lot, that allowed him to be a top-level defender. Especially when playing the D-Wades, the LeBrons, the Kobe's, and others as he normally defends the #1 perimeter opponenent nightly that DeShawn defends, DeShawn is actually an excellent defender when you consider the wizards aren't allowed to breathe on those same players.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 1, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

BTH will never be coordinated enough to go into a legitimate power move and go up strong. He has to be fed the ball in a position for him to gather himself and go up strong. That is the area he improved in. He is what he is, they could do worse.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 1, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

As long as there's no opposing player within 10 feet of him. He's always been notably lacking when it comes to going up strong in traffic.

I'd say there are probably only a few who can power through opposing player hacks. Dwight Howard and Shaq are a couple. Most others need some breathing room. BTH holds the ball low, too. That certainly doesnt help. He's certainly the only dude on THIS team that has a shot at a dunk in traffic. Our other 2 beanpoles should stick to fadeaways and finger rolls for now.

Posted by: original_mark | October 1, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"I'd say there are probably only a few who can power through opposing player hacks."

Who said anything about "hacks"? I sure didn't. He has trouble powering through any kind of real contact or bumps around the basket.

"He's certainly the only dude on THIS team that has a shot at a dunk in traffic."

Which is solely a function of his height, so I wouldn't give him too much credit for that. And even with that, he still has trouble with it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"BTH will never be coordinated enough to go into a legitimate power move and go up strong."

It's not just a function of coordination. It's also about strength.

"He has to be fed the ball in a position for him to gather himself and go up strong."

Exactly my point. And because he has to go through a whole routine of steps, he's not able to go up with any real power when other players are around him. That's what I was saying all along.

"He is what he is, they could do worse."

Damning with faint praise.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Haywood is a strong dude, can hold his own with most every center in the league.

But as mentioned, he holds the ball too low and isnt particularly coordianted....we've all seen the results.

But just how much does he need to score for us to be successful? Not that much at all. His defensive presence is what was missed.

Posted by: divi3 | October 1, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I guess if it were up to you Kalo-rama, the wizards traded away the wrong center. They should have kept Etan and traded Brendan because Etan knows up strong. The problem is, there is more to the game than just going up strong.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 1, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"because Etan knows up strong."

I meant "because Etan goes up strong."

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 1, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm also seeing Deshawn as the odd man out, with Foye winning the start and NY off the bench.

However Deshawn's defensive effort in practice should rub off on NY, and if Young doesnt improve defensively maybe Stevenson will get more minutes.

Great to hear NY/AB are finally (so they claim) behaving like real pros. If it's true, this team has a very high ceiling

Posted by: divi3 | October 1, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Who said anything about "picking up" defense along the way?

IF they're coaching NY up to play like Rip maybe he can pick up some D skills too.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 1, 2009 10:08 AM

I wasn't even addressing you. I agree that defense is desire. Gil, and most of the Wizards have the physical attributes to be good defenders...they just haven't been. Jamison is kinda screwed, too slow to guard 3's, too small to guard power 4's. It just works out that 3's are too small and 4's are too slow to guard him...so he adds something for his deficiencies. Does it balance out into a push? I don't know.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 1, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Rotations worth trying -

1) 24 minutes a game:

Arenas/Foye/Butler/Jamison/Haywood

2) 10 minutes a game (rest the Big 4):

Foye/Young/Miller/Blatche/Umberto

3) 5 minutes a game

Arenas/Young/Miller/Jamison/Haywood (high offense set when behind)

4) 5 minutes a game

Arenas/Miller/Butler/Jamison/Umberto (high offense with some defensive rebounding)

5) 4 minutes a game (when winning in a blow-out)

Foye/Young/Miller/Blatche/McGee


Let's see what rotations Flip tests.

Posted by: Izman | October 1, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Mike Jones of the Washington Times twittered about being impressed from what he is seeing from Foye. This team will have super depth.

When the Wiz face the cavs, LeBron will not be able to freelance on defense. He will have to respect Nick, MM, Foye, Caron, on the offensive end, and be defended by other players too on occasion, like Stevenson and McGuire.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 1, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I think the addition of Mike Miller is HUGE...even when Stevenson was knocking down 40% of his 3's he wasn't a respected shooter that teams had to account for. He's one of the guys you say "I'll take that, if he beats us, cool." Mike Miller is not that guy. Mike Miller will keep defenders at home while Gil and Butler get to slash more again. Nobody was worried about that the last 2 years. Mike James? Nick? D-Mac?!? Nobody was a three point threat really, they backed off Caron and made him a jumpshooter. Now if he can slash...that cuts out so many jumpers and get help get more big men in foul trouble.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 1, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Original_Mark

If McGee shows any signs of actually being the center of the future then BTH is definitely leaving. We all know he doesn't like competing for minutes or coming off the bench.

So far I am not convinced McGee will necessarily be a starting center in this league, but there is potential.

If BTH doesn't feel threatend by McGee I think he might actually stay. Abe will have to come up with the money unless he wants another 19 win season. It's not that BTH is that great, but he is the only legitimate NBA center on the roster, unless you want to rely on Oberto.

Posted by: MeviousMan | October 1, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

SMDTSU

Yes, I agree with your assessment of the value of Miller. All the potential 2-guards on the wizards have value and should contribute.

I think the strength of the wizards is in the depth from 1 to however deep Flip wants to go.

The first unit will score and set an efficient pace that most teams will not be able to keep up with. The teams that do, they better keep pace but what happens when we go to the benches. The wiz bench should at bare minimum, maintain the lead but in most cases, extend it. Our depth may cause opponents to let there starters rest LESS. Then how much gas will opposing first units have down the stretch.

The wizards without depth averaged a lil above 100 pts per game. With this depth in the second unit and McGuire and Critt on the outside looking in, the wizards should average at least 112 points a game, while scoring with efficiency as other teams will find it hard to get stops, not playing a run-and-gun helter-skelter Paul Westhead style.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 1, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like there could be a problem with some of the playing time these players are going to get and/or not get? Flip sounds like a great guy but someone's not going to be happy sitting on the bench.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 1, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Ds is undermined due to his useless approch to the last playoff game against the cavs.If we are negative on him based on that and his last season performance I will agree with you all.My main problem is DS the SG who has a good season with arenas , he did shoot 50 behind the arc that season, he complemented arenas very well at both sides of the court.I have to give him the chance to show me his physican capablity after his back surgery.If he is 100% healthy and get the motivation none of the SG will bit him his starting job.I do not think it is nagative to the wiz.The main issue in this team with a lot of talent is to share minutes to unload the burden on the core players to preserve energy to march and april,may and june games.
I recommend for saunders to limit
arenas to 35 minutes, jamison 30 minutes, butler 32 minutes,BH 30 minutes.

Posted by: gtefferra | October 1, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Mike: This is a great insiders blog...always good and interesting content. As a CAPS fan (wiz as well) I wish we were getting this king of insight day to day on the CAPS.

Posted by: D87DG | October 1, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Remember, a major reason Gil and Jamison are not great defenders is because they both are tweeners. Nick is not. He is a true shooting guard. Also, I think he has a bigger body frame than Reggie Miller and Rip Hamilton.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 1, 2009 9:14 AM
_______

What? GA is not a tweener! He is a big and sickingly quick player for a PG, which is all the more reason he has no excuse for playing matador defense. Again, I've pointed this out before, when he was fighting for mins when he was with the Warriors his first two seasons he played great defense. Then he became Hibatchi and defense became an afterthought with him. Just watch him and his head is not even in the game on defense at times. That needs to change if we have contending aspirations.

As far as Haywood, Kal, I think you are talking about the younger version of Haywood. I don't know what you've been watching the last couple of seasons when he was healthy, but his improvement in getting garbage buckets in the paint and even points in set plays is part of the reason why he became *the* starting center. He has improved markedly in those areas including not bringing the ball down low and reloading as he did repeatedly in the past. I don't think he has forgotten those lessons/improvements in his one injured season. Also, he has been an extremely dependable player with last season as an exception.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 1, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

What? GA is not a tweener! He is a big and sickingly quick player for a PG, which is all the more reason he has no excuse for playing matador defense. Again, I've pointed this out before, when he was fighting for mins when he was with the Warriors his first two seasons he played great defense. Then he became Hibatchi and defense became an afterthought with him. Just watch him and his head is not even in the game on defense at times. That needs to change if we have contending aspirations.

I agree. He has the size and quickness and athleticism to be a nightmare on both sides of the court. He just needs to put a lot more effort into defense.

http://www.nba.com/wizards/multimedia/arenas_090915.html

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 1, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

One last Haywood comment:

There are only a couple of centers in the league with the potential to overpower Haywood at all. And they would be Howard and Shaq. (Who can't they potentially overpower?) Other than those two Haywood is as strong or stronger than his opponents. He can even hold his own vs those two players most of the time. So, implying Haywood is soft is simply not true. His grit, attitude, and overall play is simply not the same as his first 5 years or so in the league. I think McGee is going to have the same kind of learning curve. I don't expect McGee to be starter material for another 3 years or so, but I think the wait will be worth the payoff.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 1, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Big question with Stevenson is, was he able to regain that lower core flexibility and strength from his workout regimine after back surgery?

Defending takes alot out of your legs and works those low back muscles to the limit. Jump shooting requires fresh legs and strength in that lower back.

Most of you guys on here aeren't old enough to know what a sweet jump shooter Phil Chenier was back in his heyday. That guy could really bury em' back in the day when a 25' footer was just for two.

Phil was never the same kind of shooter after he had back problems. A bad back can destroy your jumper.

Stevenson is going to have an uphill battle, it's not only the playing, it's the travel. It's the going up to 30,000 ft on a night after using those muscles hard, then the swelling starts. I wish Stevenson the best, but I'm glad the Wizards have other options.

He might end up starting simply because once he gets loose it maybe hard to get his muscles ready again after sitting. He might be the most productive for a stretch in the first quarter as a starter, and in the third quarter after half time,

If he's in the rotation, he might be a 20-25 minute a night starter.

I personally think Foye and Young push him out of the rotation. Miller's going to get some time at the 2, as well as back up the 3.

There's just a talent level here at the 2 that wasn't here two seasons ago. Stevenson could easily end up modeling suits with James...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 1, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree. He has the size and quickness and athleticism to be a nightmare on both sides of the court. He just needs to put a lot more effort into defense.

http://www.nba.com/wizards/multimedia/arenas_090915.html

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 1, 2009 3:30 PM
____

Yep. For some reason, I remember watching TNT or something and catching a couple of Warriors games back then. One was a close game and GA was put in the game at the end strictly to guard the other teams perimeter player who was on fire. I remember this player GA, who I had no idea who he was at the time, being all over his guy. I thought, "man, if that guy can play defense like that he may have a future in the league." So, when I heard we signed him, I actually thought we were getting a very good defender who was improving his offense yearly. Little did I know what the actual outcome was going to be. Point being, GA is absolutely capable of not just playing defense, but playing very good defense.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 1, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

keithward: "Stevenson was never a great shooter, even in his best years. He's a streak shooter, and has been on a bad streak for several years now."

He's got one of the oddest shooting histories in the league, particularly from 3 point range. Some seasons he's fine, some seasons he's just terrible. Must be the back.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 1, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"But just how much does he need to score for us to be successful? Not that much at all."

I agree. Problem is, he doesn't. If he resigned himself to only scoring easy garbage points and looked to quickly kick the ball back out when he grabbed a board and had no clear, unobstructed path to the basket, things would be fine. But that's not what he does. He frequently tries to play like a guy who can create offense under the basket, and he really can't.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Haywood became "the" starting C because the team didn't have any better (or, really, other) options. Trying to paint it as a merit promotion is a bit of revisionist history.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

What's Jahidi White up to? I mean besides 360 lbs.

Posted by: Blurred | October 1, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

OK, I was kidding, but this from Wikipedia made me laugh:

In 2007, White appeared in the Sci Fi Channel original movie Alien vs. Alien, aka Showdown at Area 51, playing a hulking alien warrior intent on destroying all life on Earth. He had no spoken lines in this film.[1]

Nelly mentioned him at the end of his hit song St. Louie.

Posted by: Blurred | October 1, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

What's Jahidi White up to? I mean besides 360 lbs.

Posted by: Blurred | October 1, 2009 4:30 PM

I'm pretty sure 360 would actually be a downward shift for Jahidi.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

does anyone rem. that play in the playoffs vs. the bulls, when kirk hinrich stole the ball and gil chased him down and swatted the layup off the backboard...it was a hell of a defensive play and saved us that game....gil can play defense when he wantst to...the main issue is its tough to play excellent defense when you are the teams primary offense...this is why kobe gets so much respect around the league...it is really difficult as a guard to be the leader offensively and defensively

Posted by: jasonma1 | October 1, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Gil can defend, that's why I think that in the end pairing him with Foye might be the best over all.

When Gil was relied upon to be the primary scorer, and the point guard, how much energy would the guy have on the defensive end when he was logging 40+ minutes most nights?

Ragging on Haywood again? Last season's nearly complete defensive breakdown in the lane should have awoke even the most casual fan to Haywood's value.

This team goes deep in the playoffs, Haywood gets a nice contract here. I really don't see McGee as a minute eating lane defender by next year. Other then possibly Kaman, there's not many true centers on the market.

Kaman's only there because he's getting 10m a year for 2 or 3 more years. might as well sign Haywood.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 1, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Haywood never played a lot of minutes. He ain't gonna get too much more than 20-24 min/game. Compared to the "big 3" who averaged about 35-40 min/game.
That means that someone is gonna have to step up when he's out. It's a big opportunity for Javale. If he doesn't seize it then who will get BH's time?

Posted by: VBFan | October 1, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"Responding" without actually reading again? We were talking about rebounding and activity under the boards on the offensive end, so the "defensive breakdown" in his absence isn't really relevant to the topic at hand.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

To say nothing of the fact that they were one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA when Haywood was healthy.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Haywood's length in the lane is important at both ends of the court. He's a very good offensive rebounder, and he forces the opposition to account for him on the boards at both ends.

Runs the floor and follows the break reasonably well for a 7 footer. He has a decent post game that he's worked on quite a bit. He's no "go to" guy in the lane, but he was also ill-fitted to play center in the Princeton offense.

Eddie ran very few lowpost plays for anyone, he wanted guys to flash in the lane from the high post and score on a quick catch and shoot after forcing a switch from the highpost. Not many 7' guys have that as part of their game. Remember Motumbo in the Princeton?

Suanders will put Haywood in position to be far more productive on offense. But offense isn't why Haywood's on the floor.

I read just fine, point is, where are you finding a better center then Haywood? And at what cost?

He's got some excellent strengths and has developed into a decent starting center in this league. He's worked hard to minimize his weaknesses. Productive 7 footers don't fall off trees, the Wiz could do A LOT worse.

Songaila at the five should of convinced anybody that even knows a little basketball of that...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 1, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I hope Blatche mother smacked the taste out his mouth too!

it's a shame that it takes his mother's critique of his game to wake up. Every fan so him play with a lax attitude for 4 years now.

Posted by: oknow1 | October 1, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

"point is, where are you finding a better center then Haywood? And at what cost?"

That may be your point, but it wasn't mine, because I never said anything about getting rid of him.

"We could do worse" doesn't exactly stand as high praise.

Haywood is a serviceable C who, when he's playing his best decently fills his role. And there's nothing wrong with that. But that's all he is and, on the eve of turning 30, he's not likely to ever be more than that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 1, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz are gonna be good for the simple reason they have a coach who is a leader... Jody the pig, as my fiance would say, or Eddie Jordan... although he was good at x's & o's didn't get along with all his players and called them out. This will not happen with Flip Saunders, he like all great coaches knows how to motivate each individual to perform at his best.

He didn't have half the talent that his KG teams had in MN, and they were consistently in the playoffs, although they didn't perform well due to a lack of talent. These guys are gonna fight for this guy... You'll see!

Posted by: tony325 | October 1, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

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