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Agent ego?

I wasn't able to completely delve into the rising dissension in the Wizards' locker room, but I decided to use this forum to go a little deeper than what I could in the newspaper. You already know by now that Brendan Haywood and Gilbert Arenas made some interesting comments after the team suffered a 22-point loss in San Antonio.

Haywood talked about how "ego" is standing in the way of the Wizards' success this season. He didn't single out anyone, but he spoke of the need for the players to humble themselves, stop worrying about statistics and glory and play basketball. "Check your ego at the door. Let's try and win," Haywood said. "I watch the Celtics, and that's what they do. Paul Pierce can have 12 in the fourth quarter if they're up, he don't care. That's what we gotta do. Check your ego at the door, move the ball, play some defense."

But immediately after Haywood was done talking to reporters, Arenas emerged from the shower and basically said that he was going to start going for his if the situation doesn't get better. It was a rather bizarre because Haywood intentionally yelled his answers so that everyone in the room could hear them. Arenas actually walked in from the shower while Haywood was talking, then returned until Haywood was finished.

Arenas then began talking as if he was going to save the team and that the individual agendas of the Wizards' eight free agents have been the reason for the team's failures. I'll get to his comments about the free agents a little later, but first I want to look deeper into what else he said. He explained why he might have to go on a similar tear as three years ago, when the Wizards started the season 4-9 and had the best record in the Eastern Conference before February.

"I guess you start losing everyone wants to start pointing fingers everywhere else," Arenas said. "I converted my game to try to get people involved, but at the end of the day, to be honest, this is the same team since three years ago. We added a couple of pieces. You had Roger Mason, now you have Randy Foye. But Dray is Dray, Caron's Caron, Antawn's Antawn. It's basically the same thing, so I'm sitting here thinking, 'Do I have to go into attack mode like I was two years ago to get us over the hump?' I hope not. I hope we're strong enough mentally that we can get over this."

Arenas cannot honestly believe that this current team -- on paper at least -- is not better than the one three years ago. And, with the ball in his hands more than it was then, he has had opportunities to take over games but either didn't (he took just 10 shots in Indiana) or couldn't (he took 27 shots, missing 18, in a loss to Miami, and could never provide the closing touch in that home loss to Detroit). Since that opening win in Dallas, the Wizards' best fourth-quarter performance came last week against Cleveland, with Arenas on the bench.

Still, Arenas believes that he has had to scale back his game for the betterment of the team. "I think the only person who actually had to sacrifice was me. Everybody else can just play their game," Arenas said.

Arenas is averaging 19.3 shot attempts, which leads the team, but has the worst field goal percentage of the starters at 39 percent. Through three quarters on Saturday, he had taken 18 shots -- the same as Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison combined. "Before, I would've taken 27 shots on a night like this to keep us in the game," Arenas said. "But I'm not trying to revert to that. Before, I'd look at Eddie and he'd say, 'Take over the game.' But I've got trust in these guys that eventually Randy's going to start hitting shots. He's coming off of injury. That Caron's going to start catching and shooting, that we'll start getting production out of Dray again."

"Like I told Twan, couple more games before I just say, 'Hey, I'm going to have to carry you guys on my back,' " Arenas said.

As I wrote in my story for the paper, it's debatable whether Arenas is still capable of a similar performance when he is still trying to regain his form and confidence after missing nearly two seasons after three left knee surgeries. He clearly has some rust to work out before he is back to what he once was. But the part of Arenas's interview that was truly strange was when he spoke about the "hidden agendas" on the team.

"Everybody needs to get on the same level, that's all. Everyone's got their own individual goals, I guess. Hidden agendas. You can't win like that," he said. "I've never been on a team where you have eight free agents next year. I've never played on a team like that. I've never seen it turn out well. Sometimes it works out for the best because everybody's hungry and everybody's fighting. Sometimes it works out for the worst when everybody's out for their own."

Huh? The eight free agents have hidden agendas?

Haywood is the only free agent who has played every game this season, but it's not like rebounding and blocking shots is a disruption. Mike Miller has been playing with one arm because he's a competitor. Randy Foye has been hurt and received limited minutes of late. Fabricio Oberto is the ultimate team player, so much so that Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich said the guy is going to heaven when he dies. Earl Boykins has played three games. Dominic McGuire doesn't play. And Mike James and Javaris Crittenton are both out injured.

I'll admit that having several players looking for contracts could be a distraction, but I have a hard time seeing any of those guys as the problem right now. It's not like any of them resurrected old nicknames, are trying to get a million followers on Twitter or just established Web sites to promote their all-star campaigns.

Look, Arenas is free to market himself in whatever manner he pleases -- as Angry Gil, Silent Gil, Agent Zero, Hibachi, etc. -- but the timing of all this seems pretty bad with the season slipping. He really needs to just play basketball and stop worrying about the ancillary stuff. Three and nine should lead to a change in priorities. Ultimate stardom comes with wins.


By Michael Lee  |  November 22, 2009; 10:25 PM ET
 | Tags: Agent Zero, Brendan Haywood, Gilbert Arenas, NBA, Washington Wizards, ego  
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Comments

Arenas is unbelievably arrogant and immature.
Is he oblivious to the way he's been playing?

Posted by: and_1 | November 22, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

What do you think is the primary reason for the Wizards' problems?

O Ernie Grunfeld

Posted by: SammyT1 | November 22, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

The parallels you can draw between the Redskins and Wizards is scary....Overpriced, ego inflated stars who talk of championships and don't deliver.

DC has simply become the home of Paper Champions.

Posted by: wizardsextreme1 | November 23, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

SammyT1,

May I add

O Ernie Grunfeld
a. He put together a team where none of the starters are known for playing defense?
b. Put the ball into the hands of a guy who likes every shot he sees, since he never drafted a point guard (OP over Rondo in 06).
c. Built a team where 4 of the starters aren't true position players.
d. Other than Blatche which draft choice has Ernie made that even sees any playing time? (Blatche looked like the same old Blatche now AJ is back and he knows he's only going to see 12 mins a game).

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 23, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

I know the hungry masses are going to pile on Arenas, but there's some valid points in what he says. It's a proven fact that guys in contract years tend to be concerned about their numbers, because it affects how they'll get paid. And, at the end of the day, it is a business. You can make a case for or against any individual guy and how much it factors in, but with the tam off to a slow start, no reasonable argument can be made that it isn't a factor, to some degree, to the guys whose livelihood may hang in the balance.

"Haywood is the only free agent who has played every game this season, but it's not like rebounding and blocking shots is a disruption."

No, but his off-balance 15 foot jumpers and clock-killing attempts at posting up are. If he can go two games without either, then we'll talk. But on a team that's been struggling all season with sustained offense, having a guy with a shooting range of about 6 feet taking 10 shots/gm and shooting under 50% isn't helping.

Certainly that's not the only, or even the biggest problem, but it's one of the many. And that's the bottom line. Right now, there are too many guys trying to do too much or too much of the wrong thing. The players aren't on the same page, for whatever reason, and right now nobody in that locker room, not Arenas, Haywood, or anyone else, has any business pointing fingers--directly or indirectly--at anyone else.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 23, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

The problem with the team is CARON BUTLER!! He is playing totally for self right now. Every time the team has something going good count on Caron to make a totally selfish play to kill momentum....Please trade dude for Tayshaun Prince or Have him come off the bench and start Dray.

Posted by: lemekdivine | November 23, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

"Something else" on the poll question.

Gilbert is recovering from an injury, still doesn't have his range, touch, or timing. But he's struggling to show he's back. Two years gone, he's desperate to regain his game, searching for answers the only way he knows how, by playing.

Meanwhile he's trying to learn to play as a true point guard, though his only metric for this is how many assists he has, a numbers game which distracts from the mission of winning. He's trying to convince guys on message boards, and quite frankly, his Dad (biggest booster and toughest critic) that he can play this role.

Flip's system has made more than a few attacking-Point Guards look mighty good. But no team instantly adjusts from two fairly different offensive philosophies. Chemistry and continuity go out the window.

Eddie's system allowed a few tweeners to use their offensive gifts as positive mismatches (even when it exposed their deficits on the defensive end). Threats came from all over, and the uptempo system allowed for players to get their shots off early and often, hitting the benchmark numbers that players see in box scores.

Flip's system is more traditional: put the ball in the hands of a talented point guard. And a ball movement system tends to slow the pace. His teams commonly are among the slower paced in the entire league. The numbers might not look as flashy.

What's comforting is that the defense is better. Caron and Gil are a not inconsiderable part of that. Cynics might point towards Jamison's absence (and no question Oberto is a defensive upgrade, even if he racks a string of zeros in the boxscore). But even Jamsion hasn't been a liability on that end.

But it's a system based on timing. Sturdy smart screens. Ball movement and player movement, short passes more than dribble hand-offs. And Flip has to convert a few players to his system.

Posted by: doclinkin | November 23, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse


Caron for instance has never been the catch and shoot expert. But hey, nor was Latrell. Flip had to alter his playbook to suit Spree in part. And you can't tell me that Flip wouldn't have developed a few new sets featuring Caron's skills back when he was developing that playbook coaching in the CBA.

Fact is Caron is best with the ball in his hands. That's been a truism since UConn, shoot since prep school in Maine (about as far back as I followed him). Jim Calhoun played him as a point forward. Power forward that is. He's best when he's a one or two dribble move away from the basket. Or leastways he was best then, before he lost the weight.

I suspect Caron and Gil would both benefit if Flip developed a couple sets where Caron was the initiator and Gil could run off the ball, attack as soon as the ball hit his hands. Caron has always had good feel and timing for the right pass.

Posted by: doclinkin | November 23, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

As for Gil, I'm not worried. Hell I want him to shoot more, from even longer range, I don't care. In part he may need to get a ton of gametime shots up until he finds that touch again. For that reason I wasn't among the critics who said he shouldn't have played at Barry Farms or in the CHiTown Pro-Am.

The more shots he clanks, even from HIbachi range, the sooner they start dropping again eventually. I'll take a few losses now, so long as everyone remembers how to play loose and have fun.

Flip's gripping a bit. But this squad has good character, yes the primary strength Eddie Jordan showed was an unflappable nature (even when quite frankly he should have flapped a bit). Players fought hard for him in this regard. Flip may be a little less patient.

As fans though, understood, we'd love an instant winner, but I'm looking more for development, improvement, not instant success. WE keep putting together a few great quarters a few great runs. If Flip is breaking down film he can see instances of ball movement, timing, etc.

We had a string of injuries, that will tend to hobble you in terms of developing chemsitry. But gentlemen, it'll come. Relax. Enjoy the process.

My only thing: the only way youngsters become veterans is if they get playtime. Phil Jackson is the master of developing his end of the bench guys by throwing them into the fire throughout the year. Let McGee get some run, play though mistakes. Try Nick an extra few minutes even when he hasn't earned it. Give backpats and lemonade and jelly sandwiches for all the little leaguers. We'll take a deficit here or there. The good times will come.

And if not, heck, we're Bullets fans: there's always the lottery... Woo Blake Griffin -- I mean, John Wall here we come!

Posted by: doclinkin | November 23, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

The Wiz's biggest problem is that they can not defend. Players like Wade, Durant, Parker, Kevin Johnson, Ben Gordon, and many other big scorers kill them in the clutch. The only way that they can win is to out score the other teams. Right now their offense is not working so they have no chance. The best thay can do is win 35 games total this year. They will not make the playoffs.

Posted by: freeflyr61 | November 23, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

The problem is that for the last 3 or 4 years, these guys have been feeding at the trough of "wait until we're healthy." They (and some of you) drank the kool-aid that once they got all their guys back on the court that they could just roll out and join the top of the Eastern Conference standings. But it's not that easy. They showed up expecting to dance to the front of the line and instead of a dance a fight broke out, and they're not dressed for it. Do they have the talent to be good? Sure. But so do the Clippers.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 23, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

"The Wiz's biggest problem is that they can not defend. Players like Wade, Durant, Parker, Kevin Johnson, Ben Gordon, and many other big scorers kill them in the clutch."

That is a problem, considering that Kevin Johnson retired years ago and is now the Mayor of Sacramento.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 23, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

let Gil take 25-30 shots for a stretch! whatever it takes to regain his previous form is priority #1 for this team. The sooner he gets closer to his old self (even if never all the way back), the sooner wins will start coming.

and dont be fooled by haywood's comments, he has as big an ego about himself as anybody on the team including Arenas.

Posted by: divi3 | November 23, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

1) I think it's pretty understandable that Gilbert's frustrated.

2) Caron's played worse than Gilbert.

3) I like you better when you're objective.

Posted by: IrenePollin | November 23, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Not to be the barometer of the media, but this is going to be big on truehoop tomorrow. They always seem to be struggling to find controversy and I bet they are going to hop all over this as a bona fide dust-up. And unlike the Mr. Lee, they are going to gloss-over the concept that the 8 free agents are not important. This has the makings of a good little media frenzy!

Posted by: chinatown | November 23, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Also, if you were Gilbert Arenas, would you want to give interviews to someone who came up with a poll like that? I sure as hell wouldn't.

Posted by: IrenePollin | November 23, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

"I think the only person who actually had to sacrifice was me. Everybody else can just play their game," Arenas said.

I liked Gil better when he wasn't talking.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 23, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

It easy to blame Gilbert, but he did not make the decision to become the point guard.

It was all of you that said that in order for this team to be better that Gilbert needed to run the offense and look to get everybody else into the game and be a 20-10 guy.

And the new coach Flip Saunders bought into that philosophy too.

It ain't working, so Flip Saunders has to be the blame for buying into you guys failed phylosophy.

Just because the players ain't making it work, it is easy to blame them, but I like starting with the coach, and he hasn't made enough adjustments in my book for the blame to be on the players just yet.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 23, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Basically all NBA players have egos, that's half of the reason why they made it to the NBA. The NBA is a tough physical and mental league. The Wizards problem is not egos, it's not being capable of playing NBA level basketball. NBA basketball involves properly executing the plan devised by the coach mentally, and having the physical capability to carry that plan out. Unfortunately, the Wizards are not executing well and their individual skill sets have deminished. Sadly, it is just a matter of time before dessension and injury wreaks havoc on this team. Hopefully, this won't occur, because I would like to see the Wizards make the playoffs.

Posted by: Theone9 | November 23, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Larry,

This team couldn't win with Phil Jackson as their head coach and Dean Smith, Coach K and Pops as the Assistants.

It starts with the players.

Just think what a guy like Lawson would have done for this team?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 23, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert and Haywood are both right. Gilbert should be flat out trying to score 30 points a game and shooting more.

He should not be trying to facilitate the whole offense. That is not his game.

Haywood is right for saying the ball should be passed around and egos should be checked. Thats why you play offense by committee and not just one guy (Gilbert).

All five players should be responsible for getting the ball up the floor to the open guy, quickly and not depending on Gilbert to do it. Gilbert can score his 30, but there will still be plenty of ball to go around as long as all five players are responsible for moving it up the floor to the open guy. Right now only Gilbert is and that is why the Offense is flawed.

And don't tell me it cannot be done. There are teams right now with good point guard play that are doing it.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 23, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

If Arenas was averaging 50% from the field with 10 free throw attempts a game and an 80 percent FT shooting percentage, he could probably begin to justify taking 20 shots a game.

Problem is, he isn't.

This team will take the next step if can master Flip's offense and make opponents work on both sides of the court.

Posted by: JPRS | November 23, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Arenas is a handicap right now. Who didn't see that coming? I guess his return to form will be a bigger part of Saunder's job than anyone other than he and Grunfeld could have predicted.

Clearly Jamison came back ready to play. Likewise Haywood. Unfortunately, the mix 'em, match 'em game finally seems to have caught up with Butler, who should be the primary 3 until he loses the job. As much as I like or dislike some of the others, the ones who earn minutes are the ones who should get them. (Hint: you won't see minutes being earned exclusively on Comcast.)

Given the first few games, I thought we had a chance to cruise. Now, I'm thinking it will be a struggle to make the playoffs, but that we'll do it, and that we'll be stronger for the effort.

Oh, and as a former New Yorker, I think that anyone believing that we've seen the starting playoff team is probably naive.

Posted by: WilliamCarr | November 23, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Larry,

This team couldn't win with Phil Jackson as their head coach and Dean Smith, Coach K and Pops as the Assistants.

It starts with the players.

Just think what a guy like Lawson would have done for this team?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 23, 2009 1:18 AM

BulletsFan78,

That would be so incorrect. Lawson would not have done nearly as much for this team as in Denver, for I am sure now that Flip would not have given him enough playing time to do it.

Do you still think that the reason that the Wizards did not select a 2nd rounder was only because Abe wanted to save a few dollars?

I would think it was more along the lines of Ernie consulting with his new coach (Flip Saunders) and him wanting to coach veterans instead.

Phil Jackson would make a tremendous difference with this Team.

Phil has a system, a philosophy, that gets his players to use their unique talents to win.

He is not hell bent on system first and player second. To him system and player have to fit together and not system first at all cost.

The Team talent here would be sufficient enough for him to be extremely more successful than Eddie Jordan ever was.

If you are indicating that it is the players then Flip Saunders must really be a sorry arse coach.

LaryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 23, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert going through a hard time with his fiance, maybe it's affecting him. None of his comments make particular sense.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | November 23, 2009 1:49 AM | Report abuse

When you look at this Wizards Team it is obvious to me that they are not playing to there talents, but rather they are trying to play to a system.

For instance, is it not an obvious obsevation that Javale dosen't get major minutes because the way he plays dosen't fit what Flip wants on the court now.

On the other hand if Flip wanted fast athletic guys moving up and down the court, would not Javale be a good fit.

Would not Blatche be a better fit. Even Haywood.

But Flip wants a controlled game where the point guard controls the flow of the game and facilitates the offense.

Chauncey Billips can run the ball if he needs to but he is also adept at half court tempo basketball.

Flip wants a point guard controlled game, the way Chauncey does it, which right now dosen't fit his players.

Why? Because he dosen't have a point guard playing now that can do this.

Flip would be better off going to a offense that looks to push/pass the ball up the floor by any number of players.

This team has any number of players that can pass or push the ball themselves without always looking for the point guard.

Just think about this, if you always have to find the point guard to run your offense then your offense might be seriously handicapped.

Why? Because if your point guard is not fast enough to push the ball to the talents of his teammates because he is recovering from major knee surgery and oh, by the way, he is not really a point guard in the mode of Chauncey Billips, but really a two guard that can't play the point, then, your offense is handicapped.

So, Flip better change his style of play or he better find himself a point guard.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 23, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Part of the problem is that Arenas can't take over like he used to. We have seen his attempts to do that already and they have failed miserably. To win in the NBA, you have to be able to make shots consistently. The games we have we have won. We either don't have someone willing to take the volume of shots necessary (Miller) or people willing that are producing turnovers and missed shots at too high a clip (Butler/Arenas).

The gripping is a very bad sign. First, Butler and Arenas, which you dismissed Michael. Now, Haywood and Arenas. Hmmm....there is a common denominator.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 23, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

LarryinClintonMD wrote:
"When you look at this Wizards Team it is obvious to me that they are not playing to there talents, but rather they are trying to play to a system."

What you mean is that the Wizards are not playing to your unrealistic view of their talents.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | November 23, 2009 3:16 AM | Report abuse

So far I have enjoyed everyone's comments, especially LarryInClintonMD. Larry keep up the good work. Here is my take. KG made an interesting comment on the way two winning the championship 2 years ago. He said and I quote "The Washington Wizards are a better team without Gilbert Arenas." It was a waist of time for Ernie Grunfield to spend all that money on GA. Scorers come in the league a dime a dozen. What you can't find are true point guards and as long as Gilbert is running the Wizards offense they will be a sorry team. The Wizards must trade Gilbert fast or this ship will sink with Gilbert at the helm. Flip should not change his style of play to please one player. This is why Caron can't get his shots. Arenas thinks he is still the same player 2 years ago. His shot selection is horrible and he doesn't know how to be a true point guard that is why he is leading the league in turnovers. For all that Sam Cassell might as well come out of retirement at least he will do a better job. The Wizards have no identity. They will not make the playoffs and will be a lottery team. U better trade Arenas now while u can. If u don't that team will continue to have problems. Check your egos at the door gentlemen!

Posted by: paulelucas2 | November 23, 2009 3:25 AM | Report abuse

"Like I told Twan, couple more games before I just say, 'Hey, I'm going to have to carry you guys on my back,' " Arenas said.

Before Gil starts 'carrying' any team on his back, he may want to decide to hold on to the BALL and cut down on his turn-overs!

It has become apparent that EG has assembled a team that should be able to compete in the NBA, but no one informed ‘Agent Zero’ he would have to share the basketball. Dude is definitely appears to be worrying about his status in the league as oppose to earning his 111 million dollars that this team has given him.

Gil, some good advice: SHUT UP AND JUST SHOW WHAT YOU CAN DO ON THE COURT! Still love you, just bring it!

Posted by: bazteal | November 23, 2009 3:55 AM | Report abuse

well where do I start about this team, let's start with ms hayworthless the ultimate team player (I going to get my 30 min agame) does he every give any help to the younger player, ie mcgee about the little pointer about playing center (no according to his answer previously, he's a professional I'm not going out my way to help him) true team player. Metwain never seen a shot or angle that he couldn't or wouldn't shoot from, definitely a meteam player, assits yeah just got one to myself, Caron ryhmes with caroom off his leg out of play ill time shot selections and Mr. i know that I've been away for 2 years but I'm still the man agent sh==t. Do anyone truely believe that any team can complete with the same stay pat core player groug of secound rate player that never won or played any defense can actually win a championship against teams that added more depth of quality players with the desire and talent, lets get real, this this is not going to win 30 games, but you truely diehard can say yeah but they improve from the year before 19 wins. yea............

Posted by: getagripped | November 23, 2009 6:59 AM | Report abuse

When you look at this Wizards Team it is obvious to me that they are not playing to there talents, but rather they are trying to play to a system.

For instance, is it not an obvious obsevation that Javale dosen't get major minutes because the way he plays dosen't fit what Flip wants on the court now.

On the other hand if Flip wanted fast athletic guys moving up and down the court, would not Javale be a good fit.

Would not Blatche be a better fit. Even Haywood.

But Flip wants a controlled game where the point guard controls the flow of the game and facilitates the offense.

Chauncey Billips can run the ball if he needs to but he is also adept at half court tempo basketball.

Flip wants a point guard controlled game, the way Chauncey does it, which right now dosen't fit his players.

Why? Because he dosen't have a point guard playing now that can do this.

Flip would be better off going to a offense that looks to push/pass the ball up the floor by any number of players.

This team has any number of players that can pass or push the ball themselves without always looking for the point guard.

Just think about this, if you always have to find the point guard to run your offense then your offense might be seriously handicapped.

Why? Because if your point guard is not fast enough to push the ball to the talents of his teammates because he is recovering from major knee surgery and oh, by the way, he is not really a point guard in the mode of Chauncey Billips, but really a two guard that can't play the point, then, your offense is handicapped.

So, Flip better change his style of play or he better find himself a point guard.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 23, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Now THAT was a great post, Larry. Great points! Gil is a great player, but simply is not playing the position best suited for him. Let him focus on what he does best and take the responsibility for running the offense (a responsibility he clearly is not suited for) away from him. I've said this a million times already, I don't believe it's an ego thing with Gil. He simply DOES NOT KNOW HOW to run an offense. But boy, does he know how to score!!! LET HIM FOCUS ON THAT. I have NO DOUBT he will be MUCH more effective if they let him play his game. Let your system benefit the team, not the other way around. After 12 games, this has become much clearer.

Posted by: bpybay | November 23, 2009 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Well if this article didn't clearly define the problems on this team nothing will convince you. The day ARENAS threw down the gauntlet regarding JAMISON is the day he could have filed for free-agency as far as I'm concerned. From that day, ABE POLLIN gutted any chance ERNIE GRUNFELD had of building the WIZARDS into a perennial power in the league. And make no mistake. Signing JAMISON and ARENAS were POLLIN's decisions not GRUNFELD's, IMHO of course. But that's what I see and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: glawrence007 | November 23, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

BTH is having a career year. To suggest that he is a problem is ridiculous and indicates a complete lack of understanding of the game.
He's a career .525 shooter and this year he's at .480.

The problem is that we have guys in a new offense and it takes time to gel. Gil is shooting poorly both because he's been away and because he's the point man in a system that's foreign to him. Caron is also struggling to find his game in this offense. Perhaps starting AB at the 4, moving AJ to the 3, CB to the 2 and actually playing Jm as the backup C and NY as the backup 2 would help. I know Cb and Aj would struggle playing man at these spots but a matchup zone should help cover their footspeed issues.

Getting the spark off the bench is definitely necessary right now. NY emulated Rip and Reggie during the offseason an looked good. Now's the time to show it.

Posted by: original_mark | November 23, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

followup on BTH..

In 3 October games, BTH averaged:

12 ppg, 9 rpg, 1 bpg,
.438 from the field and .667 from the line.

In 9 November games, he's at:
10 ppg, 12 rpg, 3 bpg
.500 from the field and .710 from the line.

He's shooting less. making more, getting more rebounds and blocks and shooting a higher % from the ft line. That's improvement.

Posted by: original_mark | November 23, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Because if your point guard is not fast enough to push the ball to the talents of his teammates because he is recovering from major knee surgery...

Larry, I respect your opinion but I disagree wholeheartedly with this statement. Gil is not fast enough because he's recovering? I would say wrong and wrong. He's finished recovering and he's plenty fast. He's just been told not to run, probably.

As far as Flip changing what he does, that aint happening. Flip has been successful doing what he does and it'd be farfetched to assume that he will change what has worked for him to accommodate the players.
Pat Riley went from Showtime to a slower paced game with the Knicks/Heat but I cant see many other coaches changing their style and maintaining success.

Posted by: original_mark | November 23, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Last year the Wizards went 19 - 63. Come lottery time they end up with WORST possible scenario and get the 5th pick instead of one or two.

Four years ago Gilbert begins to show he may be one of the best players in the league. Of course he gets hurt and doenn't play for two years and is still a work in progress.

Mike Miller, may not be walking the All-Star break. ( why do they keep playing him when his arm is pinned to his side and in obvious pain?)

Every new/young player they get can't fit in or get the job done or learn the scheme, WHAT THE F... EVER!

Chemistry issues? Locker room beef?
There is no one thing or person to place the blame on.

We get a new GM and then what?
It doesn't matter! Nothing works here!

I didn't want to go here but I guess all you can do is play it out and after this year go back to drafting the best players you can until you get combination that works. I'm not going to keep buying this disdain for developing players if you can't win with whatever your philosophy is!

Posted by: millineumman | November 23, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Is arenas still angry?
Is he trying to damage the wizard?
Why he pick BH who is the only player doing his job?
The best solution s to give a couple of months day off to arenas and continue to work on the defenssive end and ball movment.The team will be in playoff with out him.If he was playing against cavs in the 4th quarter the game would have been diffrent.We need to get rid of him.

Posted by: gtefferra | November 23, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

One thing I noticed in the Spurs game is that Mike Miller was initiating the offense. Unfortunately...Mike went down early so that was the end of that. I was actually looking forward to seeing how that would work.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 23, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Good question for the poll.

Grunfeld ought to hire an interviewer to ask that question to each player and each coach.

The interviewer ought to summarize the findings and present it to the whole group.

Then the team as a whole including the coaching staff ought to come up with a solution that they all agreed to and buy into.

Posted by: Izman | November 23, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Arenas is a defensless head case. Gil's Not in "attack mode"?, is that why your FG% stinks, #of Turnovers stink, and you play soft Defense?
Gil, just shut up, and play to your salary level.

Posted by: Max231 | November 23, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Here's my two cents:

What's the problem behind the 3-9 record?

The team lacks chemistry (no trust) and is inconsistent. Injuries are prevalent, but ignored.

One level down:

1) injury recognition and reporting. More than half the team is injured and at least partially impaired. Playing injured players isn't helping win games, and is prolonging the dysfunction.

2) forcing players to be who they aren't. Obviously, this applies to Gil and Nick. Who else? Caron (or is he injured)?

3) expectations were set way out of line. Had the Wiz finished strong last year and were playing well together, then 50 wins and being a top east contender would have been realistic. However, 12 games into the season, the team is still searching for an identity. Setting the bar too high leads to frustration, which is where we are at.

The coaching staff needs to get everybody's issues on the table and then address them so everybody feels like part of the solution.

Also, rather than forcing a cirle of players into a square, the coaching staff needs to determine the best system for the current circle of players. For example, is Arenas ready mentally and physically to lead the team and be a premier point guard in a 1/4 offense? (Answer: probably not).

Finally, once a workable approach is put into place, the front office needs to determine what pieces are missing and what pieces still don't fit in. After 20 or 30 games into the season, the Wiz ought to be pursuing a trade.

Posted by: Izman | November 23, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm somewhat confused though. Most people said the Wizards would struggle out of the gate. New coach, players, system, new role for players. They're 3-9...would everyone be on suicide watch if they were 5-7?

They're definitely struggling offensively. They just don't look cohesive. Almost like they're not sure what to do...and when that happens, someone turns the ball over or takes a bad jumper from 1 on 1 play.

They've shown flashes offensively and defensively, just haven't put it all together. Like I said...it's a long season. They have 70 games left. It's too early to make final judgments on what the Wizards are or are not yet.

I love the negativity though! Keep up the good work!

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 23, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Kalo, are you kidding about Haywood? He takes approx. 8-10 shots per game, and most of those are dunks or layups. He'll take an occasional fadeway or hookshot (they are gross), but to say that one or two bad shots by Haywood have anything to do with the problems with this team is ludicrous. Haywood has played solid D and rebounded exceptionally well, and in my mind, if the rest of the team were playing with his intensity and grit, they'd be better than .500.

The problem with this team is that they do not create easy shots for one another, whether it is Gil, Caron, or Jamison. Just about every possession ends with a contested jump shot, or worse, begins with a contested jump shot. This is and has been the identity of this team for the last 4 years. They've never had a floor leader who breaks down the D with the purpose of hitting an open man. Until Gil is willing or able to do this, this team will suffer.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | November 23, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

If Arenas implements his agenda to further dominate the ball he could soon achieve a "record-breaking" performance. His recent 12 turnovers against the Heat was only two below the NBA record. I'm sure a game with several more uncontrolled forays into the lane can get him "over the top". The one positive in his rantings is the indication that he apparently feels well enough physically to be as presumtuous to think he can play his pre-injury game. It's actually reassuring to me that apparently his current problems are more mental than physical. It may be his most challenging case yet, but perhaps Dr. Flip, who's dealt well with large egos in the past, can talk Agent Zero "off the ledge".

Posted by: phil27 | November 23, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

They're 3-9...would everyone be on suicide watch if they were 5-7?


Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 23, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

SDMDTSU,

It's mostly about how they lost those 9 games.

When the poll came out and asked how many games the Wizards would win out of the first 20 games, I checked next to 6-9 games but thought it would be about 6 and I thought the team had a chance to win 45-46 games before the season started.

When you start to hear players are bickering, watch the team play (one on one versus team ball), lack of help on defense (in the SA game Miller forced his guy baseline and Gil stood there and watched the guy dunk the ball instead of helping out and miller just shook his head) and remember how the vets turned on Flip in Detroit it makes you wonder.

It's called reality.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 23, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

What do you think is the primary reason for the Wizards' problems?

Ernie Grunfeld
----------------------
May I add

O Ernie Grunfeld
a. He put together a team where none of the starters are known for playing defense?
b. Put the ball into the hands of a guy who likes every shot he sees, since he never drafted a point guard (OP over Rondo in 06).
c. Built a team where 4 of the starters aren't true position players.
d. Other than Blatche which draft choice has Ernie made that even sees any playing time? (Blatche looked like the same old Blatche now AJ is back and he knows he's only going to see 12 mins a game).


-------------------
This team couldn't win with Phil Jackson as their head coach and Dean Smith, Coach K and Pops as the Assistants.
It starts with the 1 FRONT OFFICE- then the PLAYERS and finally the COACH... IN THAT ORDER!!!!

Posted by: notindc1 | November 23, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I think that is the scary part phil27. Arenas thinking he can play to his previous level when he actually can't (Haywood's ego check comment?). How many times has his jumper been blocked? How many times has he actually gotten by the defense and not been able to finish and when he has it is usually a very tough contested shot at the rim? His initial quick steps might be the same or close to the same, but his elevation is not. Probably why his jumper is just as erratic. He's shooting at the basket from a completely different plane.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 23, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

SDMDTSU,

It's mostly about how they lost those 9 games.

When the poll came out and asked how many games the Wizards would win out of the first 20 games, I checked next to 6-9 games but thought it would be about 6 and I thought the team had a chance to win 45-46 games before the season started.

When you start to hear players are bickering, watch the team play (one on one versus team ball), lack of help on defense (in the SA game Miller forced his guy baseline and Gil stood there and watched the guy dunk the ball instead of helping out and miller just shook his head) and remember how the vets turned on Flip in Detroit it makes you wonder.

It's called reality.

Honestly...it's been 12 games. I don't expect them all to be clicking yet. Turnovers come from confusion, they don't look like they know what to do sometimes. The issues they have are correctable.

I've seen the same thing with someone not helping out and leading to a dunk. I can think of two time specifically against Miami. DS played Wade solid pushed him to the middle of the defense when he should and Brendan just watched him dunk. It's no singular person. They can ALL play better. Brendan included. I made my prediction and I'm not going to back down from it or change it because they started slow. I expected as much. Would I like to see them play better? Absolutely. Do I think they can? Definitely.

And I wouldn't be overly excited if they came out 8-3 either. It's a long season.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 23, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

SDMDTSU, I'm with you. I think it's way too early (particularly considering the injury-forced lineup shuffling) to throw in the towel. New coach, new pg, new system...We are SUPPOSED to be struggling right now.
The fact that we are playing better defense is a very good sign. These players have proven that they could score but not that they could play defense. The scoring will come around. When that happens, we'll see some winning streaks to get the record back in line with our expectations.

Posted by: original_mark | November 23, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I did a terrible job formatting that last one...sorry guys. LOL

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 23, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

The Caron bashing is way beyond me! I don't see him as a problem at all. this IS about ego. But not the person you think it is. This is all Haywood. Here is my perspective.

Since Haywood has been in Washington, he has always been "the soundbite guy". He started taking jabs at Etan which blew up into an actual fight.

He took jabs at Gilbert even when they made the playoffs.

He took jabs at Caron the year Gilbert was injured and we got bounced in the first round.

He is now reupping his role as "jabber" on Gilbert because he can't catch a pass, he stands in the zone too long or he makes ill-advised shots when the clock is running down!

Haywood is becoming a disease in the locker room an it's rearing it's ugly head. I would not play this guy at all. So what he's amongst the leaders in blocks...I could care less. Let this be a Doc Rivers team. He would have been sat down a LONG time agon until he shows he's about the team.

You don't hear Garnett doing this crap...and he's never done it outright. He had complaints in Minnesota....and rightfully so. But calling people out when he's producing was not Kevin's thing. Kevin PRODUCED!

Haywood id SEDUCED into thinking he has the right to talk when he can't afford to talk about anyone right now.

He keeps this up and he's gone by February.

Gilbert just has to learn Flip's system like everyone else. But centers have the easiest jobs in the NBA. Fundamentals get you through ANY system. And so far, Haywood's fundamental is running off at his mouth.

Shut up and play ball dude!

Posted by: cbmuzik | November 23, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Saturday night was a complete embarrasment. It is good that the players are frustrated and trying to figure out what is wrong. But not good that they are not talking to one another but instead talking to reporters. This is a big time crisis and Flip better get a handle on it immediately. He has vowed to make changes. I am dying to see what he thinks can spark things: starting Foye or Boykin with Gil at the 2? Starting Blatche and AJ with Butler off the bench? Inserting Young, DMac or Javale for sparks? Wonder what he thinks we need to do?

I think the issues in this poor start are rather complex. It is not as simple as Glbert, or ego, or new system, or injuries. it is all of the above. That's why solving it is not a matter of one simple adjustment.

To me here are the 2 top factors:

1/ There is still individual offensive talent on this team. But before they could gel and really learn Flips system injuries began to mount.

2/ Gil's head is not right. Whether it is his personal problems as has been hinted (someone please fill us in on what that is all about because frankly many of us ignore the gossip columns) or his role confusion: trying to be the classic facilitator point guard while still being highest scorer on the team, he just isn't himself. To me his explosiveness seems like it is decreasing rather than escalating with each game. Is it the wear and tear on the knee?

One of my big questions about Gil is does he still practice as much as he used to or is he pulling back to protect his health? His shot just doesn't seem to be what it used to be.

Though our defense is improved it is still not what it needs to be. The OKC game was eye-opening. They reverted back to old patterns.

I am absolutely appalled that Miller is being allowed to play with his arm hanging down like that. Maybe his foot injury will force the quack trainers to now sit him down and heal.

BmoreRev

Posted by: stanlong23 | November 23, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

SDMDTSU, I'm with you. I think it's way too early (particularly considering the injury-forced lineup shuffling) to throw in the towel. New coach, new pg, new system...We are SUPPOSED to be struggling right now.
The fact that we are playing better defense is a very good sign. These players have proven that they could score but not that they could play defense. The scoring will come around. When that happens, we'll see some winning streaks to get the record back in line with our expectations.

That's how I feel. They have the ability to score. They're just trying to do it the way someone else wants it done. When they figure that out, they'll be okay.

Do you really think this team is going to be in the bottom 5 of scoring all season?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 23, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert, you are absolutely correct. Everyone else is on a hidden agenda to win and play team basketball except you. Get your 30+ per game and prove to the team that losing by 10 is always better than losing by 20. At least you can always say that you did your part...oops, that would be a "hidden" agenda then, right?!?

Posted by: JohnWWW | November 23, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Agent Nitwit!!

Posted by: tgif11 | November 23, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

November 23 2009... the day I gave up on the season and started reading online 2010 mock drafts. Not that the Wiz will ever draft the next Jennings anyway (why swing for the fences when you can parlay the pick into a couple serviceable perimeter veteran role players?), but it least makes things more bearable.

It sounds to me like Arenas is playing mind games with himself to improve. Talking big is his way of psyching a high bar for himself (as is feeling slighted by critics). Problem is, I'm not sure whether his body is up for the mind's task anymore, and such an approach may only hurt the team and lead to a crushing realization for Gil.

Truth is, this is Gil's moment to grow up, to start using his real name, to stop trying to get on the cover of Xboy NBA, to stop playing child games of respect/disrespect, to start being the leader 111m calls for and to stop trying to be what he was and do what any NBA veteran worth his salt does: perfect what he can be. His problem is that he has always been so athletically gifted that he never developed veteran savvy. With his athleticism diminished, he is surviving on the fumes of his ego and head games, and it's a mess. Man up Gilbert, focus your high IQ, rededicate yourself to the team, count your blessings, read some Buddhist texts, make good friends with your comrades-in-arms. You have to be a different player... start today.

Posted by: SammyT1 | November 23, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Everyone hasd played poorly, you can't win with 12 assist's. BH had a good point, peep the celtics..personal stats don't matter WINNING does. One person doesn't win a championship. During the spurs game Gilbert would take the ball up court and shoot...miss. Gil would bring the ball up court, pass to AJ..shoot..miss. What happended to attacking the basket? Taking charges?

Character is shown during times of adversity....c'mon wiz you're better than this.

Posted by: Gooddad | November 23, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I've said it many times: the core of this team is made of losers. Arenas,Jamison and Butler don't play D, don't make FT's and can't make big shots. Not to mention the injury problems. Blow it up and start over.

Posted by: bukaki23 | November 23, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Larry,

This team couldn't win with Phil Jackson as their head coach and Dean Smith, Coach K and Pops as the Assistants.

It starts with the players.

Just think what a guy like Lawson would have done for this team?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | November 23, 2009 1:18 AM

BulletsFan78,

That would be so incorrect. Lawson would not have done nearly as much for this team as in Denver, for I am sure now that Flip would not have given him enough playing time to do it.

Do you still think that the reason that the Wizards did not select a 2nd rounder was only because Abe wanted to save a few dollars?

I would think it was more along the lines of Ernie consulting with his new coach (Flip Saunders) and him wanting to coach veterans instead.

Phil Jackson would make a tremendous difference with this Team.

Phil has a system, a philosophy, that gets his players to use their unique talents to win.

He is not hell bent on system first and player second. To him system and player have to fit together and not system first at all cost.

The Team talent here would be sufficient enough for him to be extremely more successful than Eddie Jordan ever was.

If you are indicating that it is the players then Flip Saunders must really be a sorry arse coach.

LaryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 23, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

The current slow march up the court just wastes time and talent.
Speed the game up, attack and move around a lot without the ball. Sorry to say, but the Cavs move the ball around faster without hesitation, without those precious 2 seconds wasted.

Posted by: rickgonz | November 23, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The few athletes on the team(McGee, Nick, D-Mac). The vets aren't athletic(Arenas, Jamison, Butler, Jamison, Haywood)and appear to be passing their primes. Whose fault is it? Ernie has not helped with his draftpicks. He has missed to many times. And when he missed, he missed by a mile. Nick was not a huge miss. OPech was a huge miss when others were available. Re-signing Etan was a huge miss. Resigning Gil was a gamble on his health and I don't blame him for that. Yes there is depth, but are there any 2-way players on the team?

Also, people give Haywood credit, and I do too. He has improved and is playing better. But don't get it twisted. He is the interior version of DeShawn on offense. Opposing defenses don't respect him. It ain't like he commands a double team in the post. I think he thinks he is a lil better than he actually is. This team will not go far until they get a legitimate post threat.

Right now, nobody is dominant(at least offensively). People want to turn Gil into a point guard. What the wizards are missing is his ability to be dominant because Caron never was, Antawn neither. Haywood, please. The only one who has ever been dominant was Gil. Right now he can't be. I wonder if he ever will regain that.

Posted by: G-Man11 | November 23, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert is only a part of the problem. His game still hasn't come to him. He hasn't played in 3 years and it will take time for him to get to where he can take over games. It's a team sport and the most recent loss in San Antonio shows a team that can't compete. Not because of lack of talent. After Parker and Duncan we are much more talented but it looked like they were playing a Jr. High team. It's time for the Wizzies to man up. If they lose to Eddies 6ers they just might not be able to recover.

Posted by: VBFan | November 23, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I realize it is a "players league" but for years this franchise's coaches and front office have allowed Gilbert to say and do anything he wants, which frequently has included disrespecting his coaches and teammates. It's all good if they're winning and he's the hero, but when things go bad you can see they unravel quickly. The best teams are disciplined and have clear lines of authority and leadership. This team has neither.

Posted by: jweber1 | November 23, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

REPOST:

It easy to blame Gilbert, but he did not make the decision to become the point guard.

It was all of you that said that in order for this team to be better that Gilbert needed to run the offense and look to get everybody else into the game and be a 20-10 guy.

And the new coach Flip Saunders bought into that philosophy too.

It ain't working, so Flip Saunders has to be the blame for buying into you guys failed phylosophy.

Just because the players ain't making it work, it is easy to blame them, but I like starting with the coach, and he hasn't made enough adjustments in my book for the blame to be on the players just yet.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 23, 2009 1:12 AM

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 23, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Agent ShotCaller.

He's obviously running the entire organization over there. As coach, Flip holds the trump card: Gilbert's playing time. If he uses it you'll know that the front office has seized control of the team, control it should never have relinquished on any level.

Posted by: 2020doc | November 23, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Two reasons, one is Gil has not been Gil. The other is the offense. Princeton worked very well with this group because they were used to it. They are not yet comfortable with it yet. I think that is part of the reason that "Gil has not been Gil" in fact. I've watched every game this season and have seen so many balls just thrown away, like passed to an invisible man.

It's no coincidence that the offense tends to look better with guys that never were here before (Miller and Boykins). They don't carry that old baggage of doing it how it used to be done and all those expectations.

They're smart guys, I think they'll figure it out and get into a rhythm.

Posted by: boblas | November 23, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The best thing the wizards could do like this is bond together. I have all the wiz games on DVR and the difference in the win at dallas and the rest of the games played is the effort. I have to agree with brendan haywood that all the players are at fault. The Dallas game showed a consistant ballance of transition offense along with good ball movement when running a play. Now the wizards are thinking to much. Some plays they share the ball to much, passing up open shots. Other plays guys are rolling or poping befor they set a pick. I thought it was called pick n roll or pick n pop. Just my opinion i think we should STOP CALLING gilbert, caron, and antawn the BIG THREE. Three years ago it was cool because they were all we had and they would get the job done.
Now They NEED Andray, Mike, Randy,and Oberto to even be close to winning a single game. So in my eyes the big three is OVER. To my main man Gil: Coach asked you to be a leader and captain so its never about you doing it yourself. To Flip Saunders: a change in lineup would be good not because anybody is doing bad but a good way to match up againts other teams. Tell Randy to attack the basket then his jumper will fall players are forcing him to take contested jumpers. In the game againts dallas i thought Randy Foye was the second coming of Gilbert the way he attacked the basket. I dont want to put to much weight in the game againts Dallas but the total team effort was there.

Posted by: joe_eg98 | November 23, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

just signed on didn't take the time to read e'rybody's comments yet, isn'tCB a FA after this season?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 23, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

2 weeks ago everyone was excited about Gil... now it's all his fault. Skins don't win so Campbell sucks... get a grip..

if you pick out the one guy who isn't playing well it would be Butler. He makes absolutely ZERO quick decisions. He is out of sync even moreso than Gil who is just missing his jumpers. He holds the ball and stops the rhythm of the offense. If he's open and gets the ball he pump fakes and waits for the defender then takes a contested shot. Or holds the ball and dribbles around all day.. but you won't hear or see anyone talk about that becuase well, thats not very dramatic. The column and this blog entry were a waste of time. Gil simply isn't shooting well. When they start falling everyone will hop back on his jock...

when you are losing no one is happy in the locker room. Confidence is the biggest issue right now. The schedule has been pretty brutal. They just need to get a couple victories. Get up for every game, not just Cleveland... Everyone needs to move the ball. And isn't it obvious that they take too many Jumpshots? I mean shooting that many shots from 20 feet is a recipe for losses. they have no consistent threat in the post.. I mean there are bigger issues than free agents and egos... its all right there when you watch the game. we don't need this gossip reporting. sports has turned into just drama man. Enough with the soap opera plotlines.

Posted by: unkonchus | November 23, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

There are a lot of comments that EG is the blame for not drafting and or making trades, or signing players to non-deserved contracts. Thus, he is responsible for not having the right players on the Team.

Those of you that are of that opinion are also I bet, some of the biggest critics of the players and that it is there fault.

Well, you cannot have it both ways. Its either his fault and not the players and it cannot be both.

Lets assume it isn't his fault. That assumption being so and we can agree that we have a nucleus of players that should be able to compete and win games, it is amazing to me how we are so quick to skip over the coach as not being the problem.

I could care less about what Flip has done in the past. I only care about what he is doing now and I and we should not just automatically give him a pass and say it is the players fault.

For instance, Mike Miller I love, but he should not have been playing dragging his arm down the floor.

Javale McGee should be playing a important role on this Team and his green experience is just an excuse.

Andre Blatche's contribution should not be diminished because Jamison is healthy.

Force feeding Gilbert at the one and have him compromise what made him viable in this game is a move I have serious doubts should be further explored.

And maybe it is too early for Flip's system to have kicked in yet, but one thing is for sure and that is, saying it is the players fault is an easy cop out.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 23, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm searchin for those guys who were sayin that ORL,BOS, and CLE were gonna start off slower than the wiz b/c of the additions of older players that would slow down their formerly high powered teams (Shaq-CLE,SHEED-Bos Vinsanity-ORL). Good job fellas you sure can call it.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 23, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I think Flip's rotation is hot garbage. Dom and Javale are getting no minutes are logging DNPs.

Rick Adelman would have this team over .500. It's about finding out what players do best and let them do it. Stop trying to force guys into your system.

Ask Caron what some of his favorite plays are and RUN THEM. Player input is important. Did you see NBA TV today? Doc Rivers said Paul Pierce came up with the game winning call yesterday in NY.

Posted by: elfreako | November 23, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Yeah; Can't wait for Tuesday night when EJ and the Sixers come in to face team turmoil,If you think they're listening to this coaching staff think again,the biggest mistake this franchise has made other than the foolish contract for Gil was letting EJ go look say what you will but Grunfeld's stupidity has this franchise in trouble,just remember EJ got them to the playoff's without Gilbert, let's see what Flip can do.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 23, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

reading through these comments I think CBMuzik was correct. they are simply disjointed. caught in between 2 minds on the court. there is a lot of indecision.

blaming Gil b/c he is the best player is too simple and really just lazy. how many games have they played?? is the season really over? are we really making a judgment on this team at this point? This type of thing happens in locker rooms, in today's media it is for some reason noteworthy.

Guys need to go to the basket. Plain and simple. Gil does this semi-consistently. I've noticed that he isn't getting the same respect on the calls at the basket he did 2 years ago, but he still finishes and will get to the line even more as the season goes. But the ball is standing still too often and guys like Gil, Caron and Jamison are taking tough jumpers too often. those shots can wait until there is no time on the shot clock.

Its a process with the coach and players getting confortable with what they do. There is a lot of deferring at the wrong times and agression at the wrong times right now. Too much Yin and not enough Yang... every individual could be doing something better out there. Gil's shooting and slippery hands, Butlers decision making or lack of decision making, Foye and his indecision (also, this guy can't finish with the left hand, it huts his game), the rebounding the past few nights was horrendous, transition defense, etc etc etc... there are just lots of things to work on so making a poll about who to blame 12 frickin games in to the season seems ridiculous. again.. poor post.

I say they get this together by the all star break. Make the playoffs and see what happens. they don't have to be playing their best ball right now.

Posted by: unkonchus | November 23, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

good stuff larry, a lot of people were skeptical of flip coming from the beginning, his unceremonious ouster from DET, getting to the playoffs but never actually winning anything (Mike Brown's been to the conf finals),defense not being his forte, and his disdain for young players. Is there time to right the ship? for sure. will it happen without serious adjustments to flips rotation? i doubt it. and no I am not calling for NY. i just dunno that we got the right guy for this team. and yes i do think CB is a cancer to flips offense. CB got to go!

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 23, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

unkonchus thx for the foye All-Righty comment. i didn't know if i was trippin or whether i just didn't watch enough foye, but he does seem like he don't finish w the left even on the left. now u don't have to finish lefty on the left all the time, but it does look like a fundamental issue or a comfort issue that screws up fundamentals.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | November 23, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Agent ego. Thank you MICHAEL LEE. Really good stuff.

GIL gets a pass this year. Look how D. WADE played his first year back. NEXT year wil be Agent Zero's defining moment or moments(82+ hopefully).

That said, I go back to my personal premise that ownership has allowed this abortion of a "team" to exist by backing down from GILBERT's ultimatum in the spring of '07. He should have been gone then, and I'm betting he would have if EG had final say-so on a deal. But POLLIN wanted a team built around his talent. He puts fannies in the seats after all.

Unfortunately ABE was influenced by GIL's undoubted charisma and those $$$$ signs lurking behind it.

Not taken into account was an obsessive personality trait which I said here would surely push ARENAS into attempting a comeback before he was ready, with a re-injury occurring.

I said then that it reminded me of LAVAR ARRINGTON's injury, and how "Mr. LB" ruined his career by trying to prepare for play before the injury healed properly.

So we are left with the hope of full recovery by next season, and a center without a new contract for 2010-11 who's having a career year and appears to be issuing an ultimatum of his own, albeit in a much more indirect fashion than GILBERT's in 2007.

It's amazing how that stuff goes around once established as a modus operandi by a pro sports franchise. Thank you Mr. POLLIN for trying to be a genuinely good guy. Remember the old adage: Good guys finish. last.

Posted by: glawrence007 | November 23, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I think it's obvious Gil just hasn't learned how to play within Saunders system. It's a system that relies on timing, smart aggressive play, and knowing where to be on the court in certain situations. I don't know if Arenas is capable since it runs counter to his idea of basketball. I hope he is but my glass is half empty.

Posted by: richs91 | November 23, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that Gilbert not only hasn't completely bought into the system, but also doesn't have full faith in his teammates. If he did, he wouldn't be threatening to take over games and carry the team on his back. There is a reason Gil is struggling with his shot and assist numbers: he's trying to do too much and force things that aren't there. Someone said earlier that the Wiz need a true floor leader willing to do the things needed in order to get open shots for himself and his teammates. I agree. I say start Boykins and put Gil at the 2.

Posted by: jdwood84 | November 23, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Great post, Mr. Lee.

I can't believe how crappy of a person Gil is! This is just ridiculous. The guy must be dillusional if he thinks he can put anything on his back. This guy usually gets a free pass from the media (particularly from DC area writers), but this entry is honest and rather condemning of Gil.

I just can't get past Gil's quotes.... this guy really has no clue. What a waste of talent. Wiz fans, do yourselves a favor, start a petition to trade Gil... he's never going to a great team leader for a winner... He's like a geeky, non-tough version of Iverson

Posted by: Max_in_Missouri | November 23, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Haywood did take some ill-advised jumpers early. But that may be attributed to being passed the ball outside his (limited) range, and the clock is winding down. I remembered I wrote on this blog, "Miller needs to understand his teammates, and please don't pass the ball to Haywood when he is away from the basket even if he is open."

In the last 2 games, Haywood had shot 9 for 15, or 60%. So in no ways his shooting is the reason (not even "one of the reasons") they lost.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 23, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

This team is going to put it together. There is too much talent here for them not to. Gilbert's knee might not be 100%, but it is good enough for him to play, and attack like Agent Zero if he has to. The only question is, will the damage in the locker room already have been done by the time this team gets back on its feet? The Wizards can come back from this, but down the road, if they're a playoff team, will the fractures in the locker room resurface at the most inopportune time?

Posted by: NWDC3 | November 23, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

It seems that Arenas has forced things in hopes of drawing fouls at the end of close games (Miami and Detroit at home) and isn't comfortable in the offense. He looked like he didn't have his legs in the 3rd quarter of the Cleveland game and yet kept shooting 3's. It looked like he and Foye would be able to work interchangably after the first couple of games, but now the chemistry is not there.

I think it's more important that Arenas get players like Butler and Haywood going early ing games ala D. Wade in Miami. Taking more shots isn't going to help the team play better and it's obvious from Haywood's comments that he's frustrated with the selfishness on the team.

Posted by: wizfan89 | November 23, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"Gilbert is recovering from an injury, still doesn't have his range, touch, or timing."

I agree with Doc, even with wanting Gil to shoot farther out...except on one tiny thing. Gil is not a leader and he's not worth that 100 mil they paid him.

He needs to move to the 2 and be happy. I don't think it's a coincidense that two guys are playing the point better then he is(Boykins, Foye).

He just needs to suck it up and play.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 23, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Overall, I feel the Big 3 just haven't played as a unit enough to get a feel for each other. One or two of these guys have always been injured at any given time over the past 3 years or so. Saying that, they are used to "taking over" the game when needbe, and not really having to trust each other or any sort of system. It's obvious that this will take time.

But not only that, i'm tired of the undisciplined nature of this team. I thought this was a "veteran" team? Veteran teams don't panic and revert to one-on-one ball just because the other team goes on a 7-0 run in the 2nd quarter. Things won't change until there is trust and cohesiveness in that locker room.

Posted by: jdwood84 | November 23, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I recall this exchange on ESPN before the season started, regarding Les Wizards.

Magic Johnson: Who's your point guard?
Kornheiser: Gilbert Arenas?
Magic Johnson: I repeat, who's your point guard?

Some folks saw this coming.

Posted by: RIP-21 | November 23, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

arenas is talking like a utter fool. he can't carry the team right now; he can't even carry his own weight. that's not his fault, but he should keep his fat mouth shut tight. he's the main problem. his teammates are obviously playing their hearts out.

i would agree however, that butler is playing selfishly, or maybe just stupidly. he's taking a lot of bad shots, and often trying to dribble thru the entire oppostion. he's not that good. saunders needs to find a place of him on the bench until he decides to play right.

Posted by: stevie2 | November 23, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I post here what I essentially emailed Michael Lee:

The evidence presented in the hard news article to support his assertion that "the team is fractured" and the players are "drifting apart" is flimsy at best. It seems all of his evidence is based on 2 things: 1) Brendan Haywood singing a popular Beyonce song. 2) Gilbert Arenas making some wacky comments.

And this is all Michael Lee has to back up such a serious accusation like the team is fractured? Sure, controveresy sells, but at the expense of fairness to this team and its players--well, that's beyond the pale in my opinion.

I've come to expect more from Lee. I just hope we aren't witnessing the beginning to a new trend of agenda-driven coverage.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 23, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert, at this time you need to do more playmaking and less shooting. Why? Because:

1) your shot's not falling (39%)
2) you're missing free throws
3) you're turning the ball over (4pg)
4) you're very sporadic in getting your teamates involved in the offense, and
5) your patented "A.D.D." defense is as terrible as ever. (Where's my man? Oops, there he is, the guy taking the wide open 3, or driving uncontested to the hoop.)

Gil, you doing more of the above is not the solution. And please, see if you can refrain from the childish pouting episodes we've seen from you in the past when people have pointed out to you that your out-of-control ego is a problem.

B/t/w, Caron, I really enjoy watching you play for the most part, but you're not a good ballhandler in traffic. When you go on any kind of extended one-on-one move, you turn the ball over too much. Give that part of your game up. It hurts the team. Same thing goes for Andray, who is looking much better this year.

Randy Foye, you look like a selfish gunner a lot so far. Get your teamates involved. This ain't the Timberwolves (yet.)

Flip, stop putting the ball only in Gilbert's hands in at the end of the quarters. It ain't working. Any decent strategist in most any field of competition will tell you that the element of surprise is a tremendous advantage, and vice-versa.

It's a crying shame that Miller's going to be out for a while. His team-oriented, hustling, basketball smart kind of play will be sorely missed by this team.

Ernie G, maybe YOU need to call Gilbert into your office and try to straighten him out (to some degree.) Otherwise, you'd better start looking for takers because this team will never win anything significant with a guy with that screwed up of an attitude in charge of the ball.

Posted by: clfrdj | November 23, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I guess Gilby conveniently forgot that this team has gotten just as far into the playoffs with him lighting it up as compared to when he was out and they got in with Caron, MeTawn, and BTH.

Sounds like it's going to get even more ugly...if that's even possible.

It'll be funny though.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 23, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert is too worried about who his babys mama is sleeping with. That has got to be a major distraction right now, and i'm afraid it's showing on the court.

Posted by: frankjomama | November 23, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

As I recall earlier in the decade Washington was fortunate to end up with two skilled combo guards when, as usual, we had a guard problem. Of the two, Arenas looked more like a point guard, so he inherited the role. (And I think he said he wanted it.) Blame whom you want, but post-Hughes we never had an abundance of skilled guards of any type, and we never had any skilled traditional point guards. Until health became the big problem again, I thought this year's busload of guards might lead to something positive. I think Gilbert can rehab; I don't think he can run Saunder's offense. That's a big problem Grunfeld and Saunders obviously knew they had to face. I'd watch closely.

Posted by: WilliamCarr | November 23, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I was blaming Caron, too, before this came out...
The ball does stop when he gets it. Wasnt sure if he just not good at catch and shoot and just has an iso game.

But the fact Jamison basically backs up Haywood doesnt look good.
At best, Caron looks disinterested, like he wants to get traded...


But, clearly the problem is Arenas.
Which is sad. He must be hanging with Clinton portis.

He sounds like he's 8 years old about sacrificing his game.
Mike Miller,usually just a 3pt guy, is playing his A$$ off, and Gil thinks this is the same team??
Andre is finally playing great, and he disses him,too?

Hey, GIL: Look at Allen Iverson, dude.
His career is done.
Gils a much, much, MUCH Better percantage shooter, I liked the old Gil leading the charge, but...
You pass much better than he does, if you play point guard, you need to distribute the ball. Period.
But he clearly has gotten bitter during his injury.

Very sad.

Posted by: kreator6996 | November 23, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Arenas basketball life has been one of great success until his injury. This injury can make him better than before and can also make him humble. Arenas should let his play speak for him. He is not instantly going back to the player he was. I think that eventually he will be better than he was. His frustration at the Wizards loses and his play is showing. It is not time and it is never time to blame others for this situation because that won't make things better. Some of the other players, Haywood, Jamison, and Butler are right. Look at what you yourself can do better. Be humble play hard, play together, and eventually all the players, fans, management, and ownership will be happy.

Posted by: JoeC2 | November 23, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

It's obvious whose to blame for the Wizards poor showings-coach Eddie Jordon. Oh, wait, he's no longer the coach! Must be Tony's "Curse O' Le Bullet!"

Posted by: slackmack | November 23, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Lasy year the Wizards were hurt! and we were told to wait until all the guys came back, well there back and so far we SUCK! not sure if in time they will get better.I am hoping we will,But each evening there on T.V.I Look foward to watching them,but I will not watch much longer,I am getting older and wasting my time is not and option anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: littlebilly13 | November 24, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Anyone making a cursory effort to watch the Wizards can see Gilbert is the problem. They rolled in that fourth quarter with him on the bench -- no coincidence, please. He is about HIMself. He appears insecure because he has not come back from his injuries well, and his ego has been unleashed in overreacting self-defense. This is not a mature, reflective adult at work. He makes everybody miserable because his public comments always elevate him above the team in importance and ability. The numbers -- team and individual -- prove otherwise. If you sit him, you have a personnel problem. If you play him, he ruins the team chemistry on the floor by wanting to be the hero.
I think the Wizards are ready to win RIGHT NOW. They have a superb, balanced team with great depth right down to the guys that don't play. They are trapped by Gilbert's salary, one I said he never should have gotten after the second injury. It's the lone mistake in the building of the club, and it is a dagger in the heart of the season.

Posted by: bckstrtch | November 24, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

While I do believe that 'Agent Zero' or whatever he may be called anymore is a prime target for the problems that the team is encountering, I also believe that Flip Saunders needs to step up and deflate his ego alot more than he has been doing. When Arenas goes out there and is shooting a poor 37 percent and it is clear that his shot selection is not good then he should be sat on the bench and another, more capable guard, at least for the night, should be put in. There is no argument, no drama, just whats best for the team. This is the Washington Wizards, not the Gilbert Arenas team and I feel that if i could keep any three players on the team, he would not be among them.

Posted by: amanthey | November 25, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

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