Young Starts, Iverson Sits

Flip Saunders finally announced his starter for the preseason opener and it's (drum roll, please) Nick Young. Saunders selected Young over veterans DeShawn Stevenson and Mike Miller, among others. He will open the game with Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison.

Young emerged from the morning shootaround flashing a humongous grin and Andray Blatche playfully snatched his baseball cap as he prepared to talk to reporters. When asked about his immediate reaction, Young said, "I was excited." But Arenas wouldn't let Young's head swell.

"Gil was talking trash," Young said. "[Arenas said,] 'Just as fast as they say Nick Young, they gon' say Nick Young's sub if you mess up.' I got to deal with that all night."

Young isn't necessarily the opening day starter, but has played well in training camp. He's been one of the most consistent players all week, running around screens, knocking down shots and keeping the game simple.

"I just think our veteran players, DeShawn and Mike and those guys have been through a lot of these," Saunders said. "It's a good opportunity for him and to bring those other guys a little bit slower."

Young has talked openly all training camp about taking the starting job and he has shown what the right attitude and focus will do for him. "I'm happy. I've been working hard and it's starting to show a little bit," he said. "I played good. They seen some good things in me. They just testing me, so I'm just going to go out there and play harder today."

Saunders said he will likely play Arenas about eight-to-10 minutes and rest him. "We'll see from Gil. I might give him a good blow early and that might be it," Saunders said. "He's gone nine practices, 10 practices now, in seven days. He did some things this morning and he was on his feet a lot and I don't want to keep yo-yoing him at this point."

Fabricio Oberto will be a game-time decision, Saunders said.

The game tonight sold out this morning, with long lines outside the Siegel Center all morning, but I'm sure a lot of the fans will be disappointed. It seems that the Wizards won't be the first team to see Allen Iverson in a Memphis Grizzlies uniform. Iverson will miss tonight's game with a left hamstring strain and have an MRI on Wednesday in Memphis.

Iverson didn't practice yesterday or participate in the Grizzlies' morning shootaround. As he walked out of the Siegel Center this morning, Iverson was rocking a doo-rag, an old California Angels baseball and singing a Michael Jackson tune.

Asked if he's upset about Iverson being out, Young said, "Nah, nah. He's got his braids back."

Young will have the opportunity to play against fellow USC alum, O.J. Mayo, who joined the Trojans right after Young entered the NBA. "We've been playing against each other all summer. I'm just trying to get a win," Young said.

If you want to catch the Wizards game on radio tonight, remember they moved over to WJFK, 106.7 The Fan, which will carry all preseason, regular season and playoff games this season.

By Michael Lee |  October 6, 2009; 1:26 PM ET
Previous: Stevenson Not Backing Down | Next: Preseason Is Here; Grizzlies (0-0) at Wizards (0-0)


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Posted by: Gooddad | October 6, 2009 1:38 PM

Good for Nick, I'd like to see all the candidates rotate as stater to find the best fit. Don't sleep on McGuire! Is the game televised?

Posted by: Gooddad | October 6, 2009 1:42 PM

I told you dudes. Nick is going to be a key to this team this year and taking us to the next level.

Posted by: lemekdivine | October 6, 2009 1:48 PM

Does anyone know where I can watch the game instead of paying to watch it on NBATV?

Posted by: demonj21 | October 6, 2009 2:07 PM

The key will be bench depth. I say (after the first 20 games) they won't skip a beat thru the first 8-9 guys. They will be able to win thru the occasional injury and will wear teams down for a change.

Posted by: shanks1 | October 6, 2009 2:36 PM

here is a link for the tonight's game... just click on the link when the game starts. good luck

Posted by: adisli | October 6, 2009 2:37 PM

I think starting Nick is a great move. In fact, he should start two-three preseason games in a row. If he doesn't cut it as a starter, it will be easier starting DeShawn or Miller later on, than the other way around. I also like the idea of making the other #2 guard, typically a big scorer, expend a lot of energy covering our guy.

Posted by: jweber1 | October 6, 2009 2:51 PM

This game will not be televised. The next games when the Wizs and Mavs play will be televised.

Posted by: rcnasa | October 6, 2009 2:53 PM

Don't you have to graduate to be an 'Alum'?

Posted by: JBaker76 | October 6, 2009 2:56 PM

4 hours til I get to see my Wiz play.

And at the risk of getting in trouble: *&^% that criminal Iverson. I hope he never plays again.

Posted by: Blurred | October 6, 2009 3:09 PM

Just saw this. Yahoo's "Ball Don't Lie" has Flip at #5 for top ten coaches of the past decade.;_ylt=Al0YZfHLiYgFuYw.bLN1Llu8vLYF?urn=nba,193972

Posted by: Blurred | October 6, 2009 3:20 PM

Good to see Flip rewarding what was apparently a good offseason's work by Young. He's carried that effort into training camp, and he's made the changes that Flip's asked him to make. Just hope the kid doesn't revert to his dribble, dribble, dribble, fade away game...

Sounds like that for now Foye's going to get a lot of work at the point while they ramp Gil up slow. Miller isn't a guy that's going to need a lot of minutes in preseason to get ready. I'd imagine he's going to work at both the 2 & 3, but there's probably still be some time for McGuire.

Blatche is the other guy that I'm going to be watching in preseason. Now's the time for the young vet to make a move. He should be ready and the opportunity is there.

Just hope the kid really bears down and gets it this season. If Young and Blatche really step up this could be a fun year to watch...

Posted by: flohrtv | October 6, 2009 3:25 PM

Glad to see the wizards now turning the ship as a franchise. Developing young players finally, and sticking to one plan. Not trading or bringing in big names. Just sticking to the plan. I am one of the highly optimistic fans in this area, and i know that the wiz have finally turned the corner as a franchise. A draft pick of ours actually starting and will have a chance to contribute to our team. Thanks Ernie for sticking it out with those guys, and im expecting big things from the wiz!

Posted by: mrhney03 | October 6, 2009 3:28 PM

Don't know if its a precaution or just a chance to break him in slow, but it sounds like Gil is going to be playing a limited number of minutes early in the year. I'm guessing 25-30 a night max with Foye playing the point the rest of the minutes. On back to backs, I could see Arenas playing very little or even given the night off in certain instances. The Wiz have too much invested in him not to take a cautious approach and they have a quality backup in Foye.

It's put up or shut up time for NY. He either shows he's ready to play in the league as an all-around player or he'll be gone after the season. I'm happy to see the confidence Saunders is showing in Young in giving him a chance to start in the preseason games. I don't see NY being as big a factor coming off the bench as Miller who has a better all around game.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 6, 2009 3:35 PM

Very interesting that NY is starting cause I watched NBATV last night and they showed day 6 Wizards traing camp, 2 hours and it appeared that Miller was with the starters and looked good. It doesn't really matter. Miller won the 6th man of the year before so he's proven he can come off the bench. The key also to NY's game will be on the defensive end of the court. He still seems a little lost at that end from what I could see.

Posted by: chillwill1 | October 6, 2009 3:50 PM

Watched the NBATV thing last night...or at least the first hour of it. The invitee Paul whatshisname had energy, was in the right spot and seemed to always be in the middle of the play. I know...30 minutes of practice is not a season of games, but maybbe we should consider holding on to him for a while.

Posted by: Blurred | October 6, 2009 4:10 PM

NY starting tonite could be a really positive thing for the Wizzies.
Maybe he's getting it.

Posted by: VBFan | October 6, 2009 4:32 PM

"And at the risk of getting in trouble: *&^% that criminal Iverson. I hope he never plays again."

Be sure not watch the Grizz at Verizon, 'cause AI will get plenty of cheers. As well he should!

Posted by: divi3 | October 6, 2009 5:00 PM

Nick Young sucks, he's by far one opf the most inconsistent players on the team.

He's another one of the those players with "potential" who has yet to live up to his billing.

He won't start the season, I guarantee it.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | October 6, 2009 5:24 PM

4 hours til I get to see my Wiz play.

And at the risk of getting in trouble: *&^% that criminal Iverson. I hope he never plays again.

Posted by: Blurred

Iverson heard about your blog, and he was real upset. So upset that while taking the time to read your blog that he almost crashed his nice ride while going to his nice home. You know, the one you wish you had but dont. He wants to know why you hate him so. But first he wants to know who the hell are you and why should he give a shiiiit what you think of him?

Posted by: ged0386 | October 6, 2009 6:10 PM

Nick Young sucks, he's by far one opf the most inconsistent players on the team.

He's another one of the those players with "potential" who has yet to live up to his billing.

He won't start the season, I guarantee it.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz

Yes, Nick sucks soo much that he is a member of an NBA team, signed under a lucrative contract, making more per week than you make in a year, while you on the other hand are on an internet blog with no game to speak of talking about his game. No who really sucks? Your life.

Posted by: ged0386 | October 6, 2009 6:13 PM

I've never been a particular fan of Iverson's but I always respected him as a great player. It's really a bit sad to see see him now. He's at the stage of his career where a lot of players put their egos aside for a chance to be part of something successful, but he really doesn't seem to get it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 6, 2009 6:34 PM

I've never been a particular fan of Iverson's...

You could have probably just stopped there.

Posted by: chinatown | October 6, 2009 6:43 PM

Did anyone ever get this
to work?????

Posted by: VBFan | October 6, 2009 7:12 PM

its working for the caps and baseball but not the wiz

Posted by: bford1kb | October 6, 2009 7:20 PM

Thanks bford1kb

Posted by: VBFan | October 6, 2009 7:24 PM

it is on the radio at 106.7, and you can listen online

Posted by: bford1kb | October 6, 2009 7:26 PM

I like one thing that Glen Consor said last night: that this was an offense that attacked quickly, versus the Princeton office that starts with a "weave" near half court and doesn't get people shots until deep in the shot-clock. There was an article on about Eddie Jordan instilling the Princeton offense in Philadelphia, and how they were all struggling with it. Yes, we put up a lot a points, but I'm glad that's gone, it was getting stale. With this personnel we should attack the basket and push the ball. I think that's Flip's philosophy.

Posted by: jweber1 | October 7, 2009 7:57 AM

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