Five Things We Learned in Richmond

The Wizards left Richmond late Tuesday night and returned to Washington after beating Memphis, 101-92. The game marked the conclusion of Flip Saunders's training camp and set the team on the course toward turning around a 19-win season. NBA.com released its annual general manager survey on Tuesday and 48.3 percent of those who responded picked the Wizards to be the most improved team in the league next season.

After a week that included nine practices, one shootaround and one game, the Wizards still have plenty of areas in which they have to improve. Last night's game also revealed the need for these guys to play more to develop a better rhythm and chemistry with each other. At times, the players seemed so focused on running the offense and being too unselfish, which took much of the natural flow out of the game. Those things take time. But the first week in Richmond did reveal at least five things that, if they continue, should bode well for the upcoming season.

1. Gilbert Arenas's Knee Is Fine
Arenas had 10 assists while playing a surprising 24 minutes on Tuesday, which said a lot about how good he feels about his surgically repaired left knee and also how hard it will be for the Wizards to hold him back. Arenas clearly has no desire to ease back, but Saunders said he doesn't want to wear him down, which made Arenas's left finger injury a blessing in disguise last week. It forced him to sit. But no matter how many scorer's tables Arenas hurdles, the Wizards should procede with caution this preseason. No need to rush him at this stage.

2. Randy Foye & Mike Miller Fit Nicely
Ernie Grunfeld's major offseason move already looks like it will work out for the Wizards. Foye was one of the most consistent players in camp, spending most of his time as Arenas's backup. Foye always aims to please his coaches, but he's really at his best when they let him go. He's already spending a lot of time with Arenas, picking his brain, and they appear to be hitting it off. Miller was picked as the most underrated player acquisition by 7.1 percent of the general managers surveyed by NBA.com. He was hailed as the shooter the Wizards have been missing, and while Miller has a great jumper, he's so much more of an all-around game. He rebounds, makes good passes and tries to get his teammates involved.

3. The Players Are Responding to Flip
Saunders walked into a great situation because he found a team that is receptive to someone who can help them win games. He has helped deliver his message through different means --- putting his playbook in video and diagram form on iPods, bringing in a hypnotist and getting the team loose with footballs. Offensive-minded players like Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler are already talking about taking more pride in defense, the younger players are talking about being more serious, and every player is saying all the right things about the importance of winning, no matter how many minutes they play.

4. Young, Blatche & McGuire Are Growing Up
Nick Young got the first start against Memphis, Andray Blatche was consistent throughout training camp and McGuire showed that he has a midrange jump shot to go with his tenacious defense. McGuire ditched playing around last season and got more serious with his career. Young and Blatche got refocused following a coaching change. So much of last season was focused on young and old, but Young and Blatche have approached camp with more respect for the game and their careers. This is early. Consistency has been a problem in the past. But it is a nice start. JaVale McGee still has a way to go in terms of consistency and grasp of the Saunders's system. He also says he came up five pounds short of his goal of being 250 pounds. He still looks really light.

5. Depth Will Only Make Them Better
Saunders arrived telling his players that only eight or nine guys were going to play for him. His players responded by raising their games this offseason and making his decision especially hard. Jamison said that he had reached a point where he got complacent about his role. He knew he was the starting power forward and play in the high 30s each night. But Saunders is hoping to reduce the time of his starters this season. By opening up the shooting guard spot to all comers, he has created a highly competitive situation. Eventually, there will be some hurt feelings, as a rotation begins to take shape. But for right now, players are pushing each other on the court. Better players have yielded better practices. If you're caught slipping, someone else could pass you by.

By Michael Lee |  October 7, 2009; 10:54 AM ET
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Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 7, 2009 11:02 AM

how did MCgee play? he had 8 pts and a few rebs but how did his game look overall? the lack of coverage regarding Javale makes me worry about his development. miller 1-7 shooting, i guess we gotta wait for him to warm up, but bear in mind , last year was one of his worst offensive years. MeTawn givin u that usual. how was haywood and McGuire?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 7, 2009 11:05 AM

I know minutes are important but Flip needs to expand the bench by just a player or two the more depth the more effective the starters become.

Posted by: dargregmag | October 7, 2009 11:08 AM

and there you have it:

Your 2009-2010 Washington Wizards! way to go gentlemen!

Posted by: mrhney03 | October 7, 2009 11:30 AM

I wonder when Flip will commit to a starting five. And whether it hold through the early part of the season.

Posted by: jweber1 | October 7, 2009 11:49 AM

how did 52% not pick the wizards. being the most improved team should be a no brainer. even if they go .500 it's still about a 25 win improvement.

Posted by: PindarPushkin | October 7, 2009 11:51 AM

Is Kal actually Ivan Carter???

Wonder if he remembers me from Louie's 2 Sundays ago, talkin all that smack. What kind of Vikings fan sings the Bears fight song??

ha!
Posted by: divi3 | October 7, 2009 11:10 AM

u didnt know that?? he eats thanksgiving dinner with EJ every year

Posted by: prescrunk | October 7, 2009 12:00 PM

Peter Ryan, more likely. Ivan's not as good a writer.

Posted by: Izman | October 7, 2009 12:12 PM

dargregmag

Where do you put the Sixer's this year?

Posted by: Izman | October 7, 2009 12:13 PM

lilhollywood - after all I had been reading and hearing about Mcgee getting dropped to 3rd string, I was surprised at how much better he looked on the floor than last year. Now last year he was 98% lost, so being 60% is a big improvement, but not good enough.

he seems on track for a 21 yo and if he has good coaching, I think he'll be fine. Oberto should be good for him. Oberto knows where to be and how to play, but has limited physical abilities. If McGee can keep learning from him (and not haywood), he can be a monster with his physical abilities.

Haywood got boards, mainly as a result of being the biggest dude on the court, but he was out of position a lot and was way out played by Gasol (Remember Marc- not Pau!!!) he made a bunch of really bad shot choices and general play choices.

McGuire was McGuire - worked hard and got it down with little flash.

Posted by: Blurred | October 7, 2009 12:25 PM

Still tend to beleive one more deal could be in the works.

Even without James this team is heavy at the point and wings.

Still could use some toughness up front.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 7, 2009 12:56 PM

scrunk, I wonder how you blame 'that old man' considering all of the money he's spent lately. I think he USED to be the problem but isnt and hasnt been in a while.
You didn't exactly go out on a limb with your prediction considering Abe is 98.

Posted by: original_mark | October 7, 2009 1:10 PM

GM-flohrtv, I agree it would be nice to move a guard(s) and get some greater physicality at the forward spot. Trouble is, EG has refused to do that. Remember when Eddie Jordan was fired and he did that first interview I think it was with Comcast. He said his #1 personnel disagreement with EG was that Eddie wanted--and requested--a defensive stopper at the PF spot but EG refused to do it. I'm kind of surprised given EG's Knick teams but that's been the experience so far.

Posted by: jweber1 | October 7, 2009 1:16 PM

I would trade from the surplus 2-guards for a post defending power forward(Blatche is a shot blocker but questionable defending the post), but to do so is easier said than done.

If you want to question Ernie, give an example that is a win-win for both teams.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 7, 2009 1:55 PM

I know its only preseason but Dujuan Blair had 16 and 19 in 22 minutes last night. I think we have a solid team but it was beyond stupid to pass on a guy like that in the 2nd round. Exactly the type of player this team needed.

Posted by: beas13 | October 7, 2009 2:35 PM

how did MCgee play? he had 8 pts and a few rebs but how did his game look overall? the lack of coverage regarding Javale makes me worry about his development. miller 1-7 shooting, i guess we gotta wait for him to warm up, but bear in mind , last year was one of his worst offensive years. MeTawn givin u that usual. how was haywood and McGuire?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 7, 2009 11:05 AM


To add to Blurred report on McGee, this is what I saw out of McGee last night:

I was impressed with him last night. He went head-to-head against Thabeet who was clearly bigger and taller than McGee but he held his own battling under the boards.
Thabeet definitely had him in the strength department but he battled and he protected the rim well last night.

He seemed to put himself in better position offensively on the dribble drives by the guards and was ready to catch and shoot, (or should I say ferociously dunk) and he did just that.

Conditioning is the main issue with him as he was clearly fatigued about halfway through the 4th quarter but he fought through. Flip gave him props in a post game interview so he will be fine and will contribute this year.

Posted by: zxhoya | October 7, 2009 2:35 PM

I know its only preseason but Dujuan Blair had 16 and 19 in 22 minutes last night. I think we have a solid team but it was beyond stupid to pass on a guy like that in the 2nd round. Exactly the type of player this team needed.

Posted by: beas13 | October 7, 2009 2:35 PM


Sam Young was awesome last night as well. He's a freakin linebacker out there with explosive athletic ability and show an improved jumper and was getting by his man at will.

He will be starting for that team soon.

Posted by: zxhoya | October 7, 2009 2:38 PM

IZZMAN: Nice, very nice I'll get back to you on that question, babysitting my grandson right now.

Posted by: dargregmag | October 7, 2009 2:42 PM

flip is being foolish not having Mcgee part of the mix. Oberto has been awful the last couple of years and I see no reason to think he'll be anything more than a light rebounding wanna be tough guy who gets mauled by more athletic bigmen. Mcgee needs to be a part of the mix more heavily he adds the contrast from Haywood as a reserve. A 2nd unit with Blache and mcgeee could work with Young and Foye and Miller pushing the ball and playing faster.

Not that big on Mcguire either, he's physical but really isn't that good a man defender he looks the part but he's no stopper. offensively he's not horrible he can handle and make passes his shot is spotty but can run the floor and get to the hole. How he fits I'm not sure.

between Miler, Young DSteve, and mcguire someone isn't gonna play that much.

It appears to me that Flip clearly likes Miller and is always speaking about young so that leaves DSteve and Mcguire and D Steve has the experience.

Posted by: jrwalkerivory | October 7, 2009 2:45 PM

The Wizards need to get rid of DeShawn Stevenson, and young McGee is already good enough to split time with Haywood at the five. McGee is raw, but his speed and athleticm overrides his youth

Posted by: SC771 | October 7, 2009 2:46 PM

Hate to break it to you, but there is a reason McGee is not going to play much.

He is consistently out of position on defense, does not quite grasp the team defense approach and he is an awful rebounder.

Last season he provided some sweet highlights on fastbreaks, but that was because he would cheat on rebounding assignments to get an outlet pass.

Until he shows he has learned how to play D and rebound, he will not play too much.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | October 7, 2009 3:02 PM

mcgee's rebounds per minute were highest on the squad last year so I don't think you can call him a bad rebounder, this is coming in a rookie season where he lacked much concept of where to be and was deathly thin, seems to me he's actually a very talented rebounder who needs to absorb all the tricks of the trade that his athleticism and size allowed him to forgo in nevada

Posted by: bford1kb | October 7, 2009 3:28 PM

McGee's strength is in his lower body. Not much up top, which creates problems inside. Still, I think his future is bright if he can continue to develop. Somebody compared him to Camby, and that seems right to me.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 7, 2009 3:56 PM

Hate to break it to you, but there is a reason McGee is not going to play much.

He is consistently out of position on defense, does not quite grasp the team defense approach and he is an awful rebounder.

Last season he provided some sweet highlights on fastbreaks, but that was because he would cheat on rebounding assignments to get an outlet pass.

Until he shows he has learned how to play D and rebound, he will not play too much.
Posted by: m1ke3i6

mike3i6, way to break it to us! Come on 'widit'! You're dead on with your assessment of McGee. Luv the guy greatly, but he must learn the team game.All the Hpye is about his individual talent right now. It is refreshing to read someone posting what appears to be the obvious, rather than just posting our heart. Love 'dem' Wizards too, but we got to keep it real ya'!

Posted by: bazteal | October 7, 2009 4:07 PM

Hate to break it to you, but there is a reason McGee is not going to play much.

He is consistently out of position on defense, does not quite grasp the team defense approach and he is an awful rebounder.

Last season he provided some sweet highlights on fastbreaks, but that was because he would cheat on rebounding assignments to get an outlet pass.

Until he shows he has learned how to play D and rebound, he will not play too much.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | October 7, 2009 3:02 PM

Your impression of McGee is outdated. You can't make judgements about a developing player based on 5 months ago.

He was much better last night as far as being a basketball player on a team than he was last season. I know...only one night, but judged by last night he is making good progress. he needs 4 things...a bit more muscle; a good coach, some experience and some time to do all these things. He's only 21, right?

He's got the coach (although I still think a big man coach would be good for him) and has added about half the muscle he needed at the end of last year. that means he needs to play this season and based on what I saw from haywood last night, he should get as many minutes as he can physically take.

he still doesn't have a great feel for the floor, but he was much better than last year.

Posted by: Blurred | October 7, 2009 4:09 PM

The Wizards need to get rid of DeShawn Stevenson, and young McGee is already good enough to split time with Haywood

Posted by: SC771 | October 7, 2009 2:46 PM

rofl we already dont play defense. u think we should get rid of the best defender on the team and slash the minutes of our only center for JaTravel?? try watching a wiz game before you post GUY.

Posted by: prescrunk | October 7, 2009 4:12 PM

And lastly...he is not afraid to mix it up inside.

he had two monster dunks and had another drive rejected by three guys...Got hit HARD!!!

very next play he was the one doing the rejecting.

Meanwhile Haywood was shooting from 15 ft.

haywood is about to play himself out of millions if he doesn't come hard this season.

Posted by: Blurred | October 7, 2009 4:13 PM

"Oberto has been awful the last couple of years and I see no reason to think he'll be anything more than a light rebounding wanna be tough guy who gets mauled by more athletic bigmen."

This is exactly why Javale will see plenty of time this year. Maybe not tommorow, and maybe not in the 1st month of the season, but he'll play. Oberto has been so-so at his very best, playing next to TimVP and before having heart surgery. Last I checked, Dunacn aint walkin through that door! So Javale will play

Posted by: divi3 | October 7, 2009 4:20 PM

Oberto has been so-so at his very best, playing next to TimVP and before having heart surgery. Last I checked, Dunacn aint walkin through that door! So Javale will play
Posted by: divi3 | October 7, 2009 4:20 PM

last time I checked, Oberto had two rings which is two more than anyone on the Wiz. at least he is a wannabe tough guy. JeTravel is a wannabe video game character! so Oberto will play

Posted by: prescrunk | October 7, 2009 4:28 PM

Darko Milicic has a ring too, for whatever that's worth.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 7, 2009 4:45 PM

McGee was clueless as clueless gets last season. Last I checked, however, last season ended a while ago. Reportedly he was working hard over the summer and got good pub from people at the USA camp. Is it possible he'll be the same-old same-old when the season starts? Sure. But it's equally possible he'll be a helluva lot better. We won't know until we see.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 7, 2009 4:47 PM

RE: McGee

Even if McGee is a lot better than last season, he is still miles away from being someone I feel comfortable being on the floor for considerable minutes.

Yes, dude is only 21 and has loads of potential and could be an amazing player. However, I am not sold on the kid until he matures mentally (team defense, staying home on rebounding, no blown assignments, develop some sort of low post move) and physically (add at least 10-15 pounds of muscle).

I hope we see fewer youtube beat box skits this season and more muscle on the kid. That would be a start.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | October 7, 2009 4:56 PM

"Even if McGee is a lot better than last season, he is still miles away from being someone I feel comfortable being on the floor for considerable minutes."

Unless you've actually seen him play enough to judge how much better he is (and no one here has) then there's no meaningful basis for determining that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 7, 2009 4:59 PM

Kalo- you are 100 % right.

As I said, in his 10 minutes or whatever last night, he was better than I expected, but that isn't enough to make a judgement on. Once we get to watch him over the course of a few eeks, we'll know better.

Posted by: Blurred | October 7, 2009 5:06 PM

The biggest challenge facing McGee is Saunders playbook. It is going to take him longer than anyone on the team to learn it and Flip will not give any player significant minutes if they dont know the playbook inside and out.

McGee's biggest contribution will come in the playoffs.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | October 7, 2009 5:10 PM

Kal, but there is also no reason to think he isnt the same player as last year.

By no means am I a hater on McGee. I think he has talent and could be a nice player for us, just not so much this season.

I just think expectations with him should be tempered. He was labeled a project when we took him, we should remember that.

We will all have a better idea of how hes doing after Friday nights game.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | October 7, 2009 5:23 PM

"Kal, but there is also no reason to think he isnt the same player as last year. "

Sure there is.

Players tend to get better as time progresses and they get older. Time has progressed. Players tend to get better through work and practice. McGee reportedly put in a lot of work over the summer. We heard some very positive reports on his game from the USA BBall camp, including some from Jerry Colangelo, who some people think is a pretty good judge of basketball. Do any of these things guarantee that he's gotten better? Of course not. But, at the very least, they're certainly legitimate reasons to think that he has, at least until he gets out on the court for long enough to prove otherwise.

Now if your skepticism were directed at Blatche I might be more inclined to agree. Blatche has a track record, going back a few years, of talking the preseason talk and not walking the regular season walk. McGee doesn't. At this point he hasn't done anything to rob him of the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 7, 2009 5:33 PM

McGee was clueless as clueless gets last season. Last I checked, however, last season ended a while ago. Reportedly he was working hard over the summer and got good pub from people at the USA camp. Is it possible he'll be the same-old same-old when the season starts? Sure. But it's equally possible he'll be a helluva lot better. We won't know until we see.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 7, 2009 4:47 PM
_________________________________

That's what practice is for... When McGee shows in practice that he gets it, then he might steal a few mins or get playing time in blowouts. Oberto provides some veteran leadership who has been on a championship team. Let McGee grow up slowly & learn this season. I don't see him as a contributor in the playoffs at this point.

Posted by: tony325 | October 7, 2009 6:36 PM

There's more evidence to suggest that McGee has improved since the end of last season than there is to suggest that Oberto will provide any kind of leadership.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 7, 2009 6:40 PM

Agree about DeJuan Blair, I'm still mad we didn't draft him in the 2nd round. Doesn't really make any sense.

Posted by: Darnell1 | October 7, 2009 8:56 PM

1 - 5 are cool. Here's 6 - 10.

6. NY will not be the starting 2 when the regular season starts.
7. EG is starting believe he needs a quality veteran 4 sooner than later.
8. I almost cant believe it, but DSteve really is in the running for the starting 2 spot.
9. Its going to take a good while for both BTH and GA to get their timing back and legs back after missing so much time.
10. Eddie who?

Posted by: oddjob1 | October 7, 2009 10:32 PM

Blair was a projected lottery pick, and he fell further than anyone else in the draft. It was due to medical reports that his knees did not have ACLs. He's signed for a guaranteed 900,000 a year for 3 years. It will be intersting to see how his knees hold up with an 82 game season over the long run

Posted by: ptp23 | October 7, 2009 11:00 PM

His best assist came when he zipped a no-look pass to a cutting Jamison for a one-handed dunk.
-http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/06/AR2009100604120.html

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

jamison dunked? it really is good to have arenas back:)

Posted by: crs-one | October 7, 2009 11:23 PM

Darko Milicic has a ring too, for whatever that's worth.
Posted by: kalo_rama | October 7, 2009 4:45 PM

look at Darko's mpg vs oberto's in their respective championship seasons:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/gamelog?playerId=2171&year=2004

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/gamelog?playerId=2805&year=2007

no comparison. not only that kal but Oberto started for popovich. my only point, before u butted in, was that for someone to suggest that Oberto will never play bc jeavale is better is nonsense.

Posted by: prescrunk | October 7, 2009 11:37 PM

7.1% of NBA general managers is the same thing as two general managers. So two NBA general managers think the Miller acquisition is the most underrated acquisition of the off season.

More interesting, to me at least, is that two NBA General Managers think the Wizards are going to win the Southeast Division.

Posted by: ZachMorris | October 7, 2009 11:44 PM

First, I love all the projections after one preseason game. Haywood stunk. So what, it's the first preseason game after his missing virtually an entire season. McGee looked pretty good. So what, he is still young and raw and will not see many minutes this year unless he takes a gigantic leap in his development and that has not been reported. In fact, he looks lost with the playbook and is still pretty rail thin is what has been reported.

Then there is Dejuan Blair's stats. Like I said get back to me if he is producing in the regular season. Ever seen all the preseason heroes in football who never see the field in the regular season. Plus, as someone pointed out, he fell bc he is missing ACL's in his knees, which does not bode well for a basketball career even if he does start off well. Of course, I think Hines Ward has a similar condition and we know what kind of career he has had. That being said, I think it might hamper an overweight basketball player a little more than a super fit NFL wide receiver. We'll see. But, it was a risk a lot of teams would not take including the Wiz.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 8, 2009 3:31 AM

Edit: Ever see...

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 8, 2009 3:36 AM

The whole Blair/McGee discussion really boils down to one point, if this is a team that's gunning to play inthe conference finals, is either a guy that you want on the court at crunch time?

I really like McGee, and I tend to think that he's got a bright future in this league. Last night I caught the NBA Basketball at the Wizards Camp, interesting segment where McGee and Brendan were working over and over in the post while they were talking about McGee.
As lost as he looked on the floor on defense last year, he really did put up some good stats for a rookie.

But up front the Wiz are pretty razor thin, particularly anybody goes down. They don't have a veteran banger if Oberto isn't fully healthy as a change of pace guy. Blatche maybe ready to take another step forward, but he's not a banger.

I tend to agree with the guys that thought Blair was worth a second rd pick. But I see the logic in not commiting that roster spot to any second rounder with the large group of young guys here now. Would any second rounder be ready for primetime this year?

Some veterans might become available as the preseason wers on. I would imagine Grunfeld will be looking around for matches to James's expiring deal if possible.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 8, 2009 7:59 AM

Oberto averaged 17 mpg that season. I'm sure everyone will agree that he's not the reason they kissed the cup in '07.
It boils down to whether you want to develop a young guy by giving him minutes he may or may not have really earned or go with a vet who has no upside but wont make a lot of silly mistakes.

If you look at stats only, JM outplayed Oberto even last year in a rookie season where his minutes were sporadic and he was learning on the fly.

JM - 6.5ppg. 4rpg, 75 blocks, 33st, 61to
FO - 5 ppg 5rpg, 20 blocks, 37st, 51to


I'd rather have the rookie with the upside than the vet who, at his best, is below average.

BTW, Oberto played 20 mpg while JM played 15. To be fair, JM played a lot in blowouts against inferior competition while Oberto faced starters.

Posted by: original_mark | October 8, 2009 7:59 AM

GM,
I believe that there are some skills that transcend youth and lack of experience. If you can really rebound, then it carries over into the pro level because half of rebounding is mental. I remember seeing guys like Buck Williams come into the league and immediately become valuable because they were natural rebounders or just because they had the body to do it. To answer your question..I believe the special rebounders like Blair will be able to contribute immediately on the boards. Now whether he can stop anyone is another story since he's only 6'5".

Posted by: original_mark | October 8, 2009 8:05 AM

And here we go -- one pre-season game in, and the Wizards are playoff bound. Some of you idiots here are unbelievable; I, for one, will not ride on the 'crazy train' with you; Saunders will be a flop (or is that a 'Flip'), and by game 20 of this season, everyone around town will be tearing their hair out -- saying the players are 'soft' on defense (duh!), and too stupid to execute the plays, and blah, blah, blah -- You stupid, bigoted, d.c. sports fans are getting just what you deserve in these lousy teams you boost. And next season, it'll be even better (for me); the Deadskins will have to find some (white) QB to blame for what ails them, and the Wizards will be doing a marvelous tap-dance routine trying to explain why they went with this bum - Saunders, (who NOBODY wanted, and who will likely 'lead' the Wizards back to the lottery) instead of Avery Johnson (who Big-Nose Ernie was apparently intimidated by). I can't wait for the games to begin.

Posted by: guisher | October 8, 2009 8:12 AM

To be fair, JM played a lot in blowouts against inferior competition while Oberto faced starters.
Posted by: delusional_mark | October 8, 2009 7:59 AM

lmao i think ur confused, as usual.

Posted by: prescrunk | October 8, 2009 8:15 AM

Aside from being a poor defender who doesnt block shots, rebound, or score- Oberto is truly a great player.

Posted by: divi3 | October 8, 2009 8:43 AM

I'm hoping Haywood gets his game together, but to be honest, his history is one of being a weak player. he is usually close to being the biggest dude on the floor, but he tries to play like he is a 3.

he is a crybaby (how about earning your minutes instead of sulking that you were not given them) who couldn't beat out Etan Thomas (ETAN THOMAS!!!???!!!) for more than about 25 minutes a game.

I think Javale will be a good replacement for him someday, but that will be our weak spot this year.

Posted by: Blurred | October 8, 2009 9:04 AM

And by "replacement" I mean will actually be a really good C; not a make do cuz we spent all our money elsewhere space filler, like Haywood.

Posted by: Blurred | October 8, 2009 9:05 AM

Aside from being a poor defender who doesnt block shots, rebound, or score- Oberto is truly a great player.

Spot on !

Posted by: original_mark | October 8, 2009 9:21 AM

Yes Oberto has more experience. But to be fair to McGee, he did start for awhile when Brendan was hurt. After that, he was a reserve. And he did get some minutes playing against Shaq and Dwight to name to of the so-called inferior opponents.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 8, 2009 9:23 AM

Blurred, If you're talking offense, I agree that BTH is the weakest starting link. On defense, though, he is probably the biggest asset we have (literally and figuratively). He may have had a bad game but over the course of his career, he usually isnt one to take too many bad shots...the occasional fadeaway notwithstanding.

I'll chalk it up to rust. As far as the Etan thing goes...that was all Eddie Jordan.

Posted by: original_mark | October 8, 2009 9:24 AM

Brendon seemed all too pleased with last seasons' defensive lousiness when interviewed by comcast the other day. Exuded a "now you all know how good I am" vibe and spoke of previously not getting enough credit for his play.

Dangerous territory for a guy like him, any level of complacency and he's back to being Brenda.

but yeah, let's call it rust for now and hope he reestablishes his play of 2 seasons ago

Posted by: divi3 | October 8, 2009 9:35 AM

Foster from Indy is the kind of guy that could come available this year. Indy is bleeding money and Bird seems to want to see if his young guys can play.

He's a hard nosed rebounder, with a limited game, but he's tough as nails down low. And he could live with limited minutes without upsetting the apple cart.

Collison at OK City could be another guy that would fit in the same mould. Tough, physical guy that can swing between the 4 & 5 on a team that seems to have brought in other options. Collison is a little better offensively, Foster is nearly a pure rebounder.

Not sure how attractive James would look to either team, but they both could save 6-7m of salary that are commited to these two in their second year, so that should start to get their attention in a down economy.

I didn't predict a playoff spot, I said this team aspires to be in the Conference Finals. If they think they are truely good enough to battle deep into the playoffs, the Wiz need to consider how to matchup against the frontlines of Boston and Cleveland.

To do that I think they're going to need at least one more tough body up front for depth.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 8, 2009 10:18 AM

Brendan, the weakest starting link???

I guess it depends on how you look at it.

If you are saying the Center position is the weakest link on the Team, that might be a arguable point.

I would argue against that point however. For all the negatives that can be surmised about Brendan, when judging NBA centers, you must consider the fact that Centers are different than any other position.

Different in that at any other position you can find a plethera of players throughout the League that are very good.

At the Center position, they are few and far in between.

If you started counting from the top Brendan is in the top echelon of the League.

So in my opinion, if you look at NBA centers you cannot make the claim that Brendan is a weak link.

If you compare him to other position players and the ones on this Team, I agree that you can make that claim.

But, is that claim really a detriment to this Team or even to Brendan?

I would answer, No. No, because NBA centers are scarce, Brendan is a good NBA center, and who could you get better than him. No Team in the NBA is going to giving up a center better than he.

If Javale McGee and Fabricio Oberto pan out to be what we want as Centers, then it would be in the Wizards best interest to keep all three, for hardly any Team in the NBA would be able to match that.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 8, 2009 10:19 AM

"..the Wiz need to consider how to matchup against the frontlines of Boston and Cleveland.

To do that I think they're going to need at least one more tough body up front for depth."

i agree with this, however the league seems more and more guard oriented every season which plays right into our strengths.

Posted by: divi3 | October 8, 2009 10:26 AM

Against Boston, It's quite possible to run them into the ground. To do that the Wiz frontline has got to at least rebound well.

Cleveland, it all depends which Shaq shows up, he's devoted a lot of off season time to TV and personal appearances. Is he going to be in the relatively good shape of the past few years? Or, will he revert to his form of the last year in Miami?

If the Wiz could pry a guy like Foster away from Indy and only have to give up James from the current roster, I'd consider it a real upgrade to the roster. I'd think the Wiz could consider sending along a pick or Veeremenko's rights to sweeten the pot for Larry(Bird, not from our Larry from Clinton).
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 8, 2009 10:43 AM

Let's hope PsychoT gets healthy and productive and Hibbert less oafish, so the Pacers have more incentive to trade Foster. He would be perfect for us.

Posted by: divi3 | October 8, 2009 11:02 AM

It is hilarious how quickly people turn on you. It seems like 5 minutes ago that Brendan was touted in these boards as the second most valuable wizard and the key to the team. What happened to his being injured being the main factor resulting in 19 wins last year? I didn't believe he was the main factor, but it was popular around here that he was. Now, after 1 pre-season game, they back to calling him Brenda and undervalueing him.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 8, 2009 11:19 AM

If you look at stats only, JM outplayed Oberto even last year in a rookie season where his minutes were sporadic and he was learning on the fly.

JM - 6.5ppg. 4rpg, 75 blocks, 33st, 61to
FO - 5 ppg 5rpg, 20 blocks, 37st, 51to


I'd rather have the rookie with the upside than the vet who, at his best, is below average.

BTW, Oberto played 20 mpg while JM played 15. To be fair, JM played a lot in blowouts against inferior competition while Oberto faced starters.

Posted by: original_mark | October 8, 2009 7:59 AM
______

Come on. You can't be serious. You think McGee would get any playing time with the Spurs with all the mistakes he makes on the court. Hell no! A classic case where stats don't tell the whole story. Not even half the story. But, keep believing in your nonsense.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 8, 2009 1:49 PM

You can tell a lot of people on blogs don't know anything about basketball. McGee will be a star on this team. He's young and learning how to play the pro game because he sure didn't have a teacher last year. Even with that if he and Haywood played the same minutes his numbers would be better than Haywoods. Haywood has never avg. 10 and 10 and no one is intimidated going to he hoop on Haywood. With McGee there's the threat of him blocking a shot plus McGee adds excitement. He has to play to get comfortable with the game. I hope Flip don't have him doing that stupid set a pick at the 3pt line and hope for a alleyoop. Put him in the post. Teach him a post game Cassell.

I would love to see a practice with Haywood and McGee going head to head. How long is it going to be before Haywood want to puch him out because he's getting his butt kicked on the court. With McGee playing at least Gil will have someone to pass to when he penetrates to the hoop not butter fingers Haywoood. I can see it now Gil coming down the lane and saying go get it big fella. The Wiz haven't had that type of player since Weber.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | October 8, 2009 9:30 PM

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