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Wizards start season with tough 15 games

The Wizards got out of practice later than usual on Sunday, with the team making its final preparations for the regular season debut Tuesday in Dallas. The preseason ended with the Wizards going 4-4 and showing that despite the upgrades in talent and depth, it takes time for everything to come together.

It didn't really help that Brendan Haywood went down with an ankle injury in the second preseason game, Antawn Jamison went down in the fifth game with a shoulder injury and Mike Miller and Gilbert Arenas missed two games because of the flu. Chemistry will take time to develop, but Coach Flip Saunders said that isn't one of his major concerns going into the season.

"Chemistry is something that grows. That character grows through time," Saunders said. "You have character-type people, when have those type of people, they rise."

The Wizards know that they will be without Jamison for about the first two or three weeks of the regular season, but the team faces an uphill battle to start the season, even if it had Jamison in uniform. Ten of Washington's first 15 games are against playoff teams from last season, with three of their first four coming on the road against Dallas, Atlanta and Cleveland -- teams that made some significant improvements in the offseason.

The Wizards have home games against Miami, Detroit, Cleveland and Philadelphia and road games against San Antonio and Miami (twice). The games against the non-playoff teams are at home against New Jersey, Phoenix and Charlotte and road games against Indiana and Oklahoma City (where the Wizards have yet to win, against the Thunder or the Hornets after Hurricane Katrina forced them to spend two seasons away from New Orleans).

See any easy ones there?

"That's pretty much how it always starts in this piece," Caron Butler said after practice on Sunday. "I'm looking forward to that. Right out the gate, you find out where you're at."

The Wizards have gotten off to poor starts in each of the past four seasons, but Saunders's teams usually get off to fast starts. "Let's hope the coach has more influence than the players," Saunders joked. "We've got a tough schedule to start with. We've got a challenge, right out the box. But it'll be a good judge to see where we're at, good and bad."

Saunders said he could tell from Sunday's practice that his team has entered another gear. "I just think your adrenaline goes up another level, from when you're playing summer time, to preseason to regular season, regular season to playoffs. it's more intense. Our guys get excited because they know now everything is for real. There's no holding back."

Saunders also said that he has pretty much settled on his regular rotation, although he has yet to select a starting shooting guard. Miller finally got to start with Arenas on Friday and it didn't turn out too well with Miller picking up four fouls in just over 15 minutes, while matched up against Chicago's John Salmons. I still think it comes down to him or Stevenson, with the decision based mostly on matchups.

With Jamison out, I would lean more toward Miller because there would just be too much pressure on Arenas and Butler to score if they are on the floor with Oberto, Stevenson and Haywood. If I had to pick Saunders's top nine guys based on his preseason rotation, I'd have to go with Arenas, Jamison, Butler, Haywood, Miller, Randy Foye, Andray Blatche, Fabricio Oberto and DeShawn Stevenson. You'll see JaVale McGee and Nick Young sprinkled in here and there, with Dominic McGuire getting a little burn in a pinch.

The young guys have had their moments throughout training camp, but they were unable to sustain that effort over the long haul. There is the possibility for a surprise, but I think Saunders is pretty set. "I think the guys understand, if they aren't playing the minutes they think they should be playing, I think they understand now," Saunders said. "They know what they need to do in order to play the minutes that they might want to play."


By Michael Lee  |  October 25, 2009; 6:58 PM ET
 
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Comments

First!

Posted by: SteveBuckhantz | October 25, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Nick Young is a better matchup vs Jason Terry on Tuesday than DeBrick.

In many ways the best defense is a good offense. Nick has a better chance of making Terry work than Stevenson.

Posted by: elfreako | October 25, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Saunders said he could tell from Sunday's practice that his team has entered another gear.

Flip it's easy to enter another gear when you practice against guys who don't play any defense, can’t shoot and have no chemistry.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 25, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I'd start Stevenson and put him in Kidd's face early on, and let Miller and Foye bomb away after that. Young might get in, but only if our main guys aren't hitting their shots, or stopping the Mavs. Can our front court stop Nowitski and Marion? That's the question.

Posted by: zinger1 | October 25, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Based on Lee we will see the same old players and the same old results. Isn't that a sign of insanity. I hope I'm wrong but the Wiz didn't get very far with the big 3 and 1/2 (Gil, Jamison, Butler,Haywood) when they were healthy. The young guys will be put on the back burner and continue to not get developed. Blatche should start with McGee backing him and Haywood up. Young should start with Foyer backing he and Gil. Butler should start with Miller backing him up. McGuire should see time at he 3 and 4. Anything other than this will be a disaster.

Posted by: rnbrown4 | October 25, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

"I'd start Stevenson and put him in Kidd's face early on, and let Miller and Foye bomb away after that. Young might get in, but only if our main guys aren't hitting their shots, or stopping the Mavs. Can our front court stop Nowitski and Marion? That's the question.

Posted by: zinger1 | October 25, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse "

Don't forget they'll have to deal with Josh "True American" Howard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BqG9kjknVw

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3592734

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q65KZIqay4E

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 25, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Larry,

The Wizards wouldn't want Ty Lawson he actually plays a position.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 24, 2009 10:33 AM

BF78

The Wizs could not make Ty a viable option from where we stood at draft time. Though Ernie did a little dealing, he would have to have been a lot more creative.

Your evaluation of the Wizards not being a "Position Team" unwittingly points out why I feel that Crit could be an invaluable piece to the success of the Team.

Crit is a true point and a tall one. I think he is good enough to get time with Gil, which would give the Wizs a more formidiable attack.

I have also posted that AJ should be pushed to the three by improved deserved play of Blatche at the Four.

Your breakdown shows clearly why this Team still has some heavy lifting to accomplish.

However, Mike Miller, I think is going to be the surprise story of this Team this year. Mike Miller is so much more than a shooter. He has an all around game that will elevate him to the fraternity of one of the top players in the NBA.

He is probably, the guy that will fill the void of AJ being out at the start of the seaon.

Your assessment that this will not be a 50-win Team has real merit.

But, if I read correctly that flexibility and adaptivity are strong points for Flip Saunders, unlike our previous two coaches, I still say it is very possible for a 50-win season.

You and I see the value in a player like Ty Lawson. Ty Lawson is what you call a money player. His value will be evident this year.

This position flaw of the Wizards will not keep them, however, from becoming a top force in the East, this year.

Can they compete for the Eastern Crown?

The answer is still, YES!

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 25, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

"Can they compete for the Eastern Crown?

The answer is still, YES!

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 25, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse "

Too bad not even management thinks so.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 25, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Ernie got an established vet, still in his prime, Miller, and a young-talented VET, not in his prime yet in Foye. That was the best he could do becuase the wizards can't give the mid-level away to declining superstars.


Posted by: G-Man11 | October 25, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Please don't forget that unlike baseball, there is a salary cap in this league. GRUNFELD is working under a severe handicap $$$$-wise. Those long-term deals for ARENAS and JAMISON burn a LOT of cap space.

Posted by: glawrence007 | October 25, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

"Can they compete for the Eastern Crown?

The answer is still, YES!

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 25, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse "

No kool-aide for me please. I'll be happy seeing them make the play-offs.

Posted by: glawrence007 | October 25, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

"Can they compete for the Eastern Crown?

The answer is still, YES!

LarryInClintonMD.

Larry,

I guess that's the difference between Tar Heel fans and us locals who are Terp fans.

Tar Heel fans expect them to make it to the final four since they always have 5 McDonald all americans and terp fans realize it's hard to win when you don't have the best talent.

The Wizards fall into the latter category.

I did say Critt and Haywood were the only players on this team that were true position players.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 25, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Flip it's easy to enter another gear when you practice against guys who don't play any defense, can’t shoot and have no chemistry.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 25, 2009 9:18 PM

No Defense. Can't Shoot. No Chemistry.

Really.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 26, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

I guess that's the difference between Tar Heel fans and us locals who are Terp fans.

Tar Heel fans expect them to make it to the final four since they always have 5 McDonald all americans and terp fans realize it's hard to win when you don't have the best talent.

The Wizards fall into the latter category.

I did say Critt and Haywood were the only players on this team that were true position players.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 25, 2009 11:55 PM

Yeah, I didn't miss your point on Crit and Haywood. In fact, I think you hit all your points quite well.

Your Terps haven't always been devoid of talent. But isn't it ironic though that John Lucas maybe the best Terp or one of the best is from Durham, NC. John might have ended up at Carolina to, but John and Phil Ford were rivals in high school and Dean Smith choose Ford over John.

Dean Smith coveted the best players back then way before other major institutions got into it full swing.

He personally recruited his players, and I can still see him sitting watching Phil and John go at it while chain smoking in the gym.

Dean Smith built that legacy at Carolina of going after the best players and he still is largely responsible for their recruitment success.

You see at Carolina and at UCLA under Wooden, there were times when they had great position players and times when they did not. But, they still won.

There is a unquestioned philosophy and attitude to be the best. Flip Saunders, I think, brings that winning intangible, that undercurrent of success, that belief, that you can compete to win it all.

It is something to be excited about and I think his players have bought into the excitement.

Get ready BulletsFan78, I can feel it, This Team is headed in the right direction.

This Team won't be Dem' Ole' Wizards we are used to seeing.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 26, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

By the way BulletsFan78, I have heard that the Marylands football coach is a lousy recruiter.

Maybe Gary Williams is not much better. It might explain why Ty Lawson ended up at Carolina instead of Maryland. You do know that Ty Lawson is from Clinton.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 26, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Len Bias was far and away the most talented player to ever play for Maryland.

I went to Lefty's b-ball camp when I was a teenager and John Lucas was the coach of our squad. He is a super nice guy, shame he had such trouble with the substance abuse.

Love the optimisim Larry, I would be giddy happy if at the end of the year we could all say, "Larry in Clinton called it from day one!"

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | October 26, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Larry,

I've been to Clinton, so I don't blame Ty for wanting to go to chapel hill instead of college park could you?

That's why it's so hard for Gary to get great players to come to MD.

Be honest Larry are you one of the 3% who voted the Wizards are going to 13-15 of their first 15 games?

I voted 6-9.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 26, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Larry,

I understand great coaches can win and can convience their players to believe it themselves at the college level because they are moulding young minds.

I think when you are talking about NBA players who make more money than the coach and know they aren't going to get benched because the owners won't allow it, it gives the players a lot more leverage and some player refuse to change their game no matter who the coach is.

AI and Larry Brown?

Flip at Detroit?

How many times in the NBA has a team won just becasue they got a new coach? They say it's easier to fire the coach than the players.

It will take a few years but I believe the fans will finally realize the core players Ernie has out together just won't make it over the top.

Larry,

If you're right and the Wizards get out of the first round I will owe you an apology and I am with The_Shadow_Knows I hope you are right.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 26, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

So, Mike, are you saying we fanz should be patient through the first fifteen games and avoid either getting too high after a victory or falling too low after a defeat? Or succumbing to the idiotz on both sides?

Naaahhh... you can't possibly mean that...

Posted by: Samson151 | October 26, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Samson151

He is telling you the same thing the organization has been telling the fans for over 30 years.

Support your team, don't question anything, ignore the fans who know something about basketball, and most of all send Abe your money.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 26, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

No Defense. Can't Shoot. No Chemistry.

Really.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 26, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Larry,

This team made the current Bulls look like the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls when they won 72 games?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 26, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

There's no way we can go with Oberto, DeShawn and BTh starting together. With Gil playing his 'I wont shoot and I'll just pass to Caron for three quarters' role, we'll be lucky to get to 70 points per game with that starting squad.
For all of the things that Oberto does well, he's a SEVER offensive liability. I saw him pass up an open lane and refuse to drive 7 feet for a layup or dunk. Ppl leave him WIDE open and dbl the other threats. We can't win playing 4 on 5 on offense.
Miller, OTOH, is a better rebounder than Oberto even and is a threat to shoot. If I have my druthers, AB would be starting at PF but if we HAVE to start Oberto, then MM is the only choice.
Once AJ gets back, then perhaps DS can start. I'd hate to do that even because then we're back at 2006...hoping that old lineup can win. I'd rather see some change.

Posted by: original_mark | October 26, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I like the optimism around here. I challenge all these glass half-empty so-called wizards fans would be willing to bet the house and pick 1 team to win the championship. bulletsfan78, dcman88, who are you willing to bet will win the ring. You can only take 1 team. You can't say one of the Lakers, Spurs, Cavs, Magic, or Celtics will win it.

All y'all want to say is the wizards will not compete for nothing. But ain't but 1 team gonna win it. All other teams will be losers. So all this gambling on Shaq, or Vince, or Rasheed Wallace, or Artest, or McDyess, or Jefferson, could be for naught. But you just want to sit back and say that the Wizards won't like you are experts. People like LarryUpInClinton and myself, we aren't saying anybody will win in particular but give the wizards a chance too.

Me, line them all up and let them play a healthy wizard team and we'll see. I ain't got no punk in me. Do you?

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 26, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

This is pure nonsense about the Wizards' deficiency in lacking "position players", e.g., Arenas not being a true point guard, Jamison somewhere between a 3 & 4, etc. The biggest superstars in the league are not "position players". There's Kobe (a 2 or 3 with some 1 in him), Lebron (1, 2, 3, and maybe even a 4), Dwyane Wade (an undersized 2 with a lot of 1 in him)? The 2008/09 Magic went to the NBA finals with players like Turkgolu, Rashard Lewis and Michael Pietras who all are not "position" players".

The Wizards undoubtedly are somewhat short of greatness at this point but lack of "position players" is not the reason.

Posted by: phil27 | October 26, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I think Flip is going to be the biggest difference for this team. I see between 47-50 wins, assuming reasonable health (meaning Antawn is back sometime in November, and we don't lose any key players for more than a week or two).

The Wiz have more depth than at any time in the last couple of decades. When you've got guys like Young, Foye, McGee, McGuire and Oberto coming off the bench, you can compete with most benches in the league.

And they'll play better defense under Flip, who does know how to coach it. With the firepower they have, and average defense, 50 wins isn't some kind of pipe dream.

Posted by: keithward64 | October 26, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping Oberto is more effective at the 4 than he would be at 5, although you can argue he was really playing 4 in SA.

yeah, no way you can have oberto and debrick on the floor for heavy minutes. Miller will see heavy minutes. He is 6'8" or so?

I wouldnt mind occasionally seeing:

Arenas
Foye
Butler
Miller
Haywood

yes, i know that's an unconventional spot for Miller and he would be overmatched defensively....but on some nights the matchup is there. I want to see Gil and Foye on the floor together a lot

Posted by: divi3 | October 26, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

G-Man11

The Lakers, Spurs, Cavs, Magic, and/or Celtics all do have a chance to win it all.

Every year there are always top tier teams, marginal playoff teams and lottery teams.

That's what the offseason is all about, positioning your team so they have a chance to compete for a championship.

By your standards the Sacramento Kings have a chance to win the championship this year?

I can’t talk for anyone else on here but in my opinion the Wizards fall into the category of teams that will make the playoffs but have no chance of winning a championship.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 26, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

bulletsfan78, if the zards get to either:

1)the confernece semis and lose in 7

or

2)the conf Finals and lose

what will be your opinion of ernie and his moves then?

Posted by: divi3 | October 26, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

BF78,

I voted for the 14% crowd. 10-12 wins.

About Marylands campus. It isn't appealing, so I agree, you cannot fault Lawson for choosing Carolina Blue.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 26, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

phil27

Kobe is a 2 guard, he may not be a stand and shoot shooting guard but you don't ever see him playing small forward.

Lebron is a 3 that's why the Cav's spent the money to resign Anderson Varejao.

Wade is a 2 that's why they drafted Chalmers.

Did you see the moves Orlando made this off season? Getting Carter a real 2, signing Bass who can man the 4 spot…they realized they weren’t going to win a championship with that roster and made the changes they believe that will help them accomplish that goal.

Are you old enough to remember the 04 Olympics’? That team had more talent than any of the other teams, but since it wasn’t put together the right way, they only won a bronze medal.

Magic played center win Kareem went down against the sixers on year. Does that mean he’s a center?

When I talk about the Wizards it’s my opinion they don’t have the right guys in the right positions to compete for the gold (an NBA Championship).

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 26, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

divi3

If the Wizards exceed my expectations (a 2nd round loss) I will admit Ernie did a good job.

If they don't get pass the 1st or 2nd round what will be your opinion of ernie and his moves then?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 26, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

If we're fully healthy and lose in the 1st round I'll call for major changes, and thankfully we are setup to go in that direction if necessary by not re-upping haywood, miller, or foye.

If we lose a key player or 2 for the season I will shrug my shoulders and say "curse of les boullez"

Posted by: divi3 | October 26, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"Lebron is a 3 that's why the Cav's spent the money to resign Anderson Varejao."

A 3 that brings the ball up court 80% of the time?

Posted by: divi3 | October 26, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Anybody still thinks the Wizards are a shoo-in for the 4th spot??? The East is so tight that the team can go as high as 3rd and may also drop to as low as 8th seed.

Posted by: Dave381 | October 26, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"I think when you are talking about NBA players who make more money than the coach and know they aren't going to get benched because the owners won't allow it, it gives the players a lot more leverage and some player refuse to change their game no matter who the coach is."

BulletsFan78,

That is a strong and true statement and when we have seen players that don't buy in for the good of the Team, they are not as successful.

Iverson actually did buy in with Brown and they went to the League Championship.

It was moreso Iverson not having help than not buying in, why he gets a bad rap with Brown.

Not buying in will not be an issue for this Team. Flip was not given enough time in Detroit. However, it is not going to take a year or two for this Team to buy in.

The old saying 'Love at first site' applies.

The dynamics of this Team begs for courtship of a suitor that knows a thing a two about winning.

Now Flip doesn't have a Ring yet, but he does have a damn nice suit of clothes. He is a proven coach and stubborness from these players will not be a worry for him at all.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 26, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"Lebron is a 3 that's why the Cav's spent the money to resign Anderson Varejao."

A 3 that brings the ball up court 80% of the time?

Posted by: divi3 | October 26, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Maybe that's one of the reason's they haven't won a championship. You didn't see him bringing the ball up during the Olympics and they won the gold.

He's young and he still need to learn how to play the game the right way. He still thinks (since he could in high school) he can win the game all by himself?

But he's still a 3 which means he can shoot the ball from the outside and is quick enough to drive to the rim.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 26, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The Lakers, Spurs, Cavs, Magic, and/or Celtics all do have a chance to win it all.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 26, 2009 9:42 AM

Yes those teams do have a chance at winning it all. I asked that you pick 1 team.

Do the wizards have a chance, yes, though the odds are lower than those teams. But, there are question marks on those teams too. And all but 1 will end up losing there last game. In my opinion, this is the best team the wizards would have put on the floor in decades. I think Ernie should be commended for what he is doing, vs what he didn't do because what he isn't capable of doing is signing aging all-stars on the cheap that want to chase a ring by prostituting themselves. If the wizards were healthy and established themselves as a threat last year, maybe the wizards can get a bargain, now, all they can get is the Oberto's of the world.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 26, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"If the wizards were healthy and established themselves as a threat last year, maybe the wizards can get a bargain, now, all they can get is the Oberto's of the world."

bingo!
-sherm lewis

Posted by: divi3 | October 26, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

When I talk about the Wizards it’s my opinion they don’t have the right guys in the right positions to compete for the gold (an NBA Championship).

Posted by: bulletsfan78

They have the guys, but will they step and take those positions? That is the question.

Phil27 cannot be totally discounted though for believing that not having position players is an automatic disqualifier to winning a championship.

Does AJ excell at the power forward position? You have to say yes.

Did that power forward guy who plays center win a championship? Yes, and the one I am referring to is Ben Wallace.

Not having the right position players is a factor, but it is the performance that really counts in the end.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 26, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

And by the way, besides Michael Jordan being the dominant factor for those Bull's Rings, Scottie Pippen was also a major factor as well.

Scottie Pippen, BulletsFan78, IMO was the most successful point guard on that Team.

Though he never was listed as a PG, but he often controlled the flow of the ball time after time.

Scottie Pippen's versatility to play a point role, also like Larry Bird did for Boston, is a whole fly in the ointment of position player.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 26, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

bulletsfan78:

Me thinketh thou tryeth to hard to defend some ridiculous hypopthesis that versatile players who can play more than one position are liabilities. You say that "Did you see the moves Orlando made this off season? Getting Carter a real 2, signing Bass who can man the 4 spot…they realized they weren’t going to win a championship with that roster and made the changes they believe that will help them accomplish that goal."
I say that getting pure position players had nothing to do with the Magic choices. Their wise decision not to re-sign the overpriced Turkoglu freed-up the dollars to sign, among others, Vince Carter, who has played as much 3 as 2 in his career. I guess now that Carter has lost some of his vertical, by your standards, he has become a pure position player at the 2.

Posted by: phil27 | October 26, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

In my view, there is a way that the Wizards could ever contest the NBA championship, with all of these aligned:
1. With Dwayne Wade beside Gilbert Arenas
2. With a tough productive 7' center backing up Haywood (not Oberto, not Blatche, not McGee)able on defense and offense
3. With a tough shooting small forward backing up Butler, emphasis on the shooting
4. With a tough, big man backing up Jamison (not Blatche, not Oberto and certainly not McGee)able to intimidate and stop PFs or centers, and score as well.

There is a reason that will never happen:
The Wizards are meant to be a family, that is the culture that Pollin has maintained all these years. Fitting in, maintaining a hierarchy within the team, etc. will not allow for example what the Cavaliers or Celtics have done: hire bench guys who are just as good as the first unit and who will deliver when they come in. That means being able to compete against the other teams' starters. The Wizards management do not like heavy personnel turnover (unlike Cavs or Magic). Unfortunately, their personnel costs are just as high as the other teams that do move players without conscience or compunction.

The Wizards second unit is weak and will never dominate another team's first unit.

Posted by: rickgonz | October 26, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Disagree about the team's 2nd unit. Assuming Mike Miller is the starter, which makes the most sense with Jamison not playing, we have a bench that consists of the following:

Foye, PG
Young/Stevenson SG
Blatche PF
McGee Center

That's a pretty good 6 - 10 on any team except possibly LA, Boston, or Cleveland. If Blatche is the starter at PF at the beginning of the year and Miller comes off the bench at SG. Either way, this is a pretty deep team.

Yes, you'll always miss a 20-10 guy like Jamsion, but unlike in prior years, we actually have guys who can come off the bench and pick up the scoring slack. If Haywood is able to play major minutes and avoid foul trouble, the team defense should be much improved.

This is still a 45-50 win team assuming all of the pieces are in place and healthy.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 26, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

There is a reason that will never happen:
The Wizards are meant to be a family, that is the culture that Pollin has maintained all these years. Fitting in, maintaining a hierarchy within the team, etc. will not allow for example what the Cavaliers or Celtics have done: hire bench guys who are just as good as the first unit and who will deliver when they come in. That means being able to compete against the other teams' starters. The Wizards management do not like heavy personnel turnover (unlike Cavs or Magic). Unfortunately, their personnel costs are just as high as the other teams that do move players without conscience or compunction.

The Wizards second unit is weak and will never dominate another team's first unit.

Posted by: rickgonz | October 26, 2009 11:44 AM

Rickgonz,

Did you just have a long nap. This post is about a year too late.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 26, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

If this team makes it to the second round and competes hard before elimination, it'll be something of a moral victory. (It may also get Ernie Grunfeld fired.) If they make it further than that, it'll be a major accomplishment.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 26, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I like this team and they will be a top three in the NBA this year. they have the best bench in the NBA

Posted by: lostdogrwd1011 | October 26, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I knew NY wouldn't crack the starting lineup.

I'm gonna bite the bullet and say Stevenson is thier best choice at 2...can't believe I am saying that.

McGuire is the odd man out, and so is James(thank God).

Something tells me there is another trade in EG's arsenal before this season is done.

Otherwise, 48 wins and 4/5 in the East. The team will be fun to watch again.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | October 26, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Barring season-ending injuries to both LeBron James AND Shaq, the Wizards will not win the NBA East. Only the Celtics and the Magic have a realistic shot of overtaking Cleveland this year.

If Antawn Jamison returns to full strength and Caron Butler, Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood each play 70+ games, the Wizards should advance to the 2nd round of the playoffs.

Here's my reasoning:
The coaching has been upgraded.

Three point shooting has been improved with the additon of Miller.

The bench is as deep as any in the East.

The frontline of Blatche, McGee and Haywood is athletic as any team other than the Atlanta Hawks.

I know, I left Jamison out of that equation on purpose. But, Antawn is the best finesse forward on the planet.

Posted by: musicmanjr | October 26, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

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