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Trade with Minnesota looking good so far


We told you, you'd like this deal. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


Did you realize that Mike Miller is leading the Wizards in rebounding? I was looking at the stats after the first three games and noticed that Miller has a team-high 29 rebounds, with 21 coming in the past two games. The Wizards were aware when they acquired Miller that he brought more to the game than just perimeter shooting. Coach Flip Saunders likes to remind people that Miller led all shooting guards with 6.6 rebounds per game last season.

"We knew that he had the ability," Saunders said about Miller's rebounding prowess. "They list him at 6-8, but he's probably taller than Antawn [Jamison]. He goes after the ball. He gets a lot of those little things. But I don't want him to forget one of things he does best -- and that's shoot the ball."

Miller has been doing his best to fit in since joining the team, which may explain why he has taken only 15 shots this season. But since he's made eight of those shots and gone 4 of 6 from beyond the three-point line (66.7 percent), Miller might want to start asserting himself a little more on the offensive end.

The Wizards won't have much of a problem telling Randy Foye to get more aggressive offensively. Foye showed on opening night that he wasn't afraid to take and make shots with the game hanging in the balance. The combo guard is third on the team in scoring, averaging 15 points per game, but he has also been a competent distributor as he has handed out 15 assists while turning the ball over just five times.

"Randy is strong," Saunders said. "He's in a tough spot having to play both the two and the one. He's coming into a new situation. He almost has it a little bit tougher because his mentality has to change when he moves over to the two and the one position. He's picked up things pretty well."

Miller started the season at shooting guard, but Foye has played more minutes overall -- and at the 2-guard position -- and is already looking like a solid backcourt running mate for Gilbert Arenas. The only reason Saunders probably can't make Foye his starting shooting guard is because the Wizards would have to rely on DeShawn Stevenson as the primary backup at point guard, since it doesn't appear Saunders has any confidence in Mike James and Javaris Crittenton is galaxies behind with his left ankle injury.

It will be interesting to see how Saunders uses Miller and Foye when Caron Butler and Jamison return, but having to divvy up time between talented players is a great problem to have. Sure beats the alternative (limited options). Either way, the trade with Minnesota is looking pretty good early on, and Arenas expected it to be like this.

"You got two people who catch and shoot, especially in a different offense where there is more room for people to actually make moves and get to the basket," Arenas, who is averaging 6.7 assists. "Once I seen the trade, I knew my assists were going to go up."


By Michael Lee  |  November 2, 2009; 12:02 PM ET
 
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Next: Foye is fine about not getting an extension

Comments

First

Posted by: jefferu | November 2, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

This looks to be a fun season! After three games, there seems to be hustle, great ball movement, and team defense. Opponents also have to pay the price when driving the lane. What a deep bench as well!

Posted by: 1of9000 | November 2, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Foye was an absolute steal..similiar to the Butler trade - getting a solid, if not flashy up and comer who contributes in several ways, can play off another star or can take over a game himself in spots; plays with confidence and is mature.

Great work Ernie.

Posted by: sunnyman1 | November 2, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Arenas and Foye should start and play 24 minutes per game together.

Foye can move to the one and play with Miller (or DS in spots) when Arenas is out for 12 minutes.

Arenas can play with Miller when Foye is out.

Miller can also back up Butler.

Blatche to back up Jamison.

McGee/Oberto to back up Haywood.

It would nice to trade Young for a good back-up point guard like Sebastian. Young would blossom back in LA, and help with attendance and scoring.

Even without a trade, the team is stocked with at least 7 above average players, including one superstar. The balance seems very good. The only exposable weakness is Jamison's defense.

Too bad we don't have a full crew for Cleveland, particularly given that it's on the road.

Posted by: Izman | November 2, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Foye and Blatche need to be 6th men (I know you can't have 2). They provide such a spark off the bench, and Miller can give you so much. Bottom line, this team is deep. This is such a good problem to have. If they could sure up the 5 spot a little bit they'd be elite.

Posted by: TheBobby | November 2, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

instantly once the trade was made, i knew from the start it was a major steal. a top 5 pick who isnt going to play in the NBA anytime soon, and a couple of role players for a potential all-star in Randy Foye, and then a proven veteran in Mike Miller. that is a fantastic trade that doesnt make the headlines. All people talk about if a fat shaq to cleveland, an old wallace to an already old boston team, and vince cartter to orlando.

the wizards are off the radar due to the dismal season last year, and we can remain so until mid-season. I like our chances in the east, and all we need to do is remain healthy, confident, and work hard...we have more than a fighting chance coming out the eastern conference.

oh yea by the way..being .500 or below isnt getting you in the eastern conference playoffs anymore. when you have teams like:

boston
orlando
cleveland
washington
atlanta
chicago
philly
miami

and teams like the pistons and pacers pushing the bottom third of that 8 to get in...i like an eastern conference team winning the finals.

Posted by: mrhney03 | November 2, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I may get some flack for this comment but I think Foye & Miller should start & have A. Jamison coming off the bench for Miller. My starting 5....Gil, Foye, Butler, Miller & Haywood.

Posted by: cevans1019 | November 2, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I like Miller as the starter because he spreads the floor better for Gil and the others (when they get back). And with Foye coming off the bench and Dray playing the way he's playing, there shouldn't be a drop in offense when the starters sit.

Posted by: CBell29 | November 2, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I may get some flack for this comment but I think Foye & Miller should start & have A. Jamison coming off the bench for Miller. My starting 5....Gil, Foye, Butler, Miller & Haywood.

Posted by: cevans1019 | November 2, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I may get some flack for this comment but I think Foye & Miller should start & have A. Jamison coming off the bench for Miller. My starting 5....Gil, Foye, Butler, Miller & Haywood.

Posted by: cevans1019 | November 2, 2009 1:22 PM


You wouldn't get flack. A few laughs? Yes. But not any flack. Miller is too small (as is AJ) to play the 4 on a consistent basis. And besides, AJ is the team captain and "the leader" of this team. We all know is D is the weak link but Brendan has his back.

Posted by: CBell29 | November 2, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Miller brings better 3 point percentage, better defense and better rebounding than Foye. He's gotta start and play the bulk of the minutes with Arenas.

All I'm saying is remember when Stevenson was Mr. 50? Maybe Miller will be Mr. 60. You just gotta catch and shoot with Gil. He'll do all the hard work. Miller will be much less effective offensively playing with the second unit. Whereas Foye, who can create his own shot, will still go off playing against the other teams bench.

I think the two of them should split minutes pretty evenly. Both getting time to play with Gil. And those 3 should be your guard rotation. That's it.

Nick Young? I like him. I think he has potential. But he's still lost too much on the defensive end and too inconsistent on the offensive end.

And from what I've seen so far this season, Stevenson needs to go. Maybe he'll work back into it as his back heals up. I mean, he's only 6 months from surgery. But so far he's less than reliable on both ends of the floor.

Posted by: Matte | November 2, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

There are ways to make it work with both Arenas and Foye starting, but I think bringing Foye off the bench makes more sense (when the team is at full strength).

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 2, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"And from what I've seen so far this season, Stevenson needs to go. Maybe he'll work back into it as his back heals up. I mean, he's only 6 months from surgery. But so far he's less than reliable on both ends of the floor."

Are you sure you weren't watching reruns of last season's games?

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 2, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

It would nice to trade Young for a good back-up point guard like Sebastian. Young would blossom back in LA, and help with attendance and scoring.

Posted by: Izman | November 2, 2009 1:03 PM


Trading Nick would be a terrible mistake. I'm sure that if Flip wanted to use a pg, he would use Mike James or just wait for Javaris to return from his injury. Also, the future ramifications would be fatal. Lets not forget that Foye (and Miller for that matter) is a free agent at the end of the year. Lets say we do trade Nick for Telfair straight up, and Foye goes elswhere. Now we have 3 pg's again (Gil, Telfair and Crit...James comes off the books) and back to Deshawn as our only option at the 2.

Nick will get his time. I think he needs to understand that he's finally on a team that he actually has to compete for pt and not just get on the court because the fans want to see him dunk. Once he realizes that, he'll be fine.

Posted by: CBell29 | November 2, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@ Kal

I agree with you. I'm a notorius Deshawn hater but he has shown me that he really is a good (not great) one on one defender. And he is still making his wide open 3's. No complaints from me on him so far(except for that damn hand waving)

Posted by: CBell29 | November 2, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Jamison played what one or two games in the preseason?? None in the regular season so we don't know what kind of defense he will be playing. Just like the rest of the team picked up on defense I expect the same from Jamison. If I am not mistaken, he pulled his shoulder trying to block a shot which if I can remember is playing a defense. Damn! Dude can't buy a break. Give it a few games before you break a brotha down for not playing defense. He may just surprise you.

GO WIZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Posted by: ivyleague | November 2, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"And from what I've seen so far this season, Stevenson needs to go. Maybe he'll work back into it as his back heals up. I mean, he's only 6 months from surgery. But so far he's less than reliable on both ends of the floor"

____

He took a total of 2 shots in the first game. He is not required to shoot at all this season and he plays good enough defense. Nick Young on the other hand needs to sit. His air ball in the atlanta game was pathetic.

Posted by: jamalnasir_2000 | November 2, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

On the season, Stevenson is shooting 56% from the field, 40% from 3 pt range, and pulling down 4 rpg in just under 20 mpg, all while playing good defense. He's pretty much doing exactly the job they need him to. Frankly, I'm pretty surprised at how well he's played, given that I thought the back surgery might be the death knell for his career.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 2, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Foye and Blatche need to be 6th men (I know you can't have 2). They provide such a spark off the bench, and Miller can give you so much. Bottom line, this team is deep. This is such a good problem to have. If they could sure up the 5 spot a little bit they'd be elite.

Posted by: TheBobby | November 2, 2009 1:08 PM


YES! Your statement, I agree with 100%

Everyone is stuck on who's starting but it's about chemistry and flow of the game. Foye will see starters minutes and will prob finish most games with Arenas unless Miller is hot or based on the match-ups. What a great problem to have.

A starting line up of:
Arenas
Miller
Butler
Jamison
Haywood
is a very formidable line up that will pose a serious threat to many opponents this year, exciting indeed.

Posted by: zxhoya | November 2, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree deshawn has pretty much exceeded my expectations for his return to the floor and no jamison will not all of the sudden be playing good defense the question is whether or not the improved d around him will hide his flaws and to some extent of course it will, but lets remember that blatche and oberto are both far better defenders, blatche adds an element protecting the paint that neither aj or fo can provide

Posted by: bford1kb | November 2, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

It's getting difficult for all the H8r's here.
Can't rag on AJ---he's not playing.
Certainly can't H8 AB so far.
DS is playing his role (I also wish he'd give up the face wave).
Brendan is clogging the middle on D and playing strong when he gets the ball.
CB, RF, & MM all playing great.
Gil-------nothing to say about him.
So look out Nick Young----you better get Andray to tell you how to turn this around. If you don't shape up this board will have to have a special thread for just you.
After all the H8R's need someone and it looks like it's gonna be you. Sorry.

Posted by: VBFan | November 2, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that Miller is comfortable with his team mates so far. He has only averaged 5 shots a game. That's just feeling like he's not at ease with his role on offense yet. I don't think that he has accepted the Wizzies as his team. In interviews he seems to be a little distant. Like he's just a loaner and he's waiting for the season to be over so he can go to his real team.
I hope he gets over this soon and accepts his role here. He's just the type of player we need. It's gonna be fun when AJ comes back and see the 2 of them playing together and fighting over rebounds. They should average at least 16-18 a game.
Now it doesn't show up as much for Foye as he sets up the plays and can create off the dribble. But Mike needs to get used to the other players & the other players need to get used to him. This will probbly take several more games but I think when it happens we'll see much more point production from Mike M.

Posted by: VBFan | November 2, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Seeing DS hitting open 3's reminds me why the guy started so many games in a row for us.

Remember, 2 years ago he was one of the most vital players on our team.

I think the main starting 5 once Jamison returns will be:
Haywood
AJ
Butler
Miller
Arenas

first off bench:
foye (20-25 min)
DS (15-20 min)
blatche (20-25 min)
oberto (20 min)
mcguire
mcgee
young
james (blow outs only)
critt
davis

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | November 2, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think that Miller is comfortable with his team mates so far. He has only averaged 5 shots a game. That's just feeling like he's not at ease with his role on offense yet. I don't think that he has accepted the Wizzies as his team. In interviews he seems to be a little distant. Like he's just a loaner and he's waiting for the season to be over so he can go to his real team."

I couldn't disagree more.

Would I like to see him be more aggressive offensively? Yes, I've said so before. But the idea that his unselfishness in passing the ball and keeping the offense flowing is a sign of him not fitting in seems to be the exact opposite of the truth. If anything, he's trying too hard to fit in and adapt/defer to the guys around him. Now if he came out shooting every time he touched the ball without any regard for whether it was a good or bad shot or rather there was someone else open with a better shot, that would be a sure sign of a guy out for himself, trying to play for his next contract.

There's always going to be an adjustment phase when a guy changes teams, but I've seen nothing to suggest that Miller is focused in on trying to help the Wiz win, even to the detriment of his own numbers. Just the opposite, really.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 2, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to second (third?) the defense of Stevenson, who has been excellent so far and even if he's more good than great on D, I love the zero-cushion attitude he has been bringing.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | November 2, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

VBFan,

Nick Young can run, shoot, dribble, jump and dunk.

The only thing he can't do is play basketball.

Posted by: Firuz1 | November 2, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think that Miller is comfortable with his team mates so far."

I disagree.

I think he is VERY smart and it seems like everytime he's on the floor with Gil he knows to get Gil the ball.

Foye and Miller actually hit thier open shots, this is why I am so excited this year. The both know how to come off picks, they both play good defense.

Add Oberto's defense and passing and I think the Wiz had a truly incredible offseason. Now I can see why everyone was buzzing on TV about the Wiz after the draft/trades.

I knew Miller was good, but I never got to see him since he was in Minnesota. He's VERY good.

The Wiz added an awful lot this past offseason. Now Gil is back playing like he was before the injury, you add a healthy Haywood, Blatche playing strong, and McGee making the most of his time.

It's not hard to get excited about this Wiz team. And Jamison has yet to hit to floor...wow.

The Wiz seem to finally have the perfect blend of stars and role players. I even like Flips rotations.

AS to the comment about Nick Young above....I think he sucks and can't grip what the rest of the team is trying to do and that's why he struggles. He has a good shot, but it's like he thinks himself out of the flow of the game or something and gets rattled.

Maybe he just isn't smart enough, after all he always has that goofy look on his face. ;)

The Wiz are very focused....win NOW! I like it!

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 2, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"Nick Young can run, shoot, dribble, jump and dunk.

The only thing he can't do is play basketball."

GREAT comment.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 2, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow, 50% to 49%, too close to call! :)

I think mix-and-match works pretty well, i.e., sometimes you have Arenas and Roy on the court together and sometimes you have one of them with a bigger SG.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 2, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I think both Miller and Foye were great additions. Both are capable of playing 2 positions legitimately. Both share the ball. Both can score. Both and help out in other areas like defense and rebounding.

It'll be interesting to see which of our 5 man units performs the best. 3 games isn't enough to know yet, but my gut feeling is that Arenas, Foye, Miller, Blatche, and Haywood are a good mix.

As far as the new guys fitting in, I think that's no more difficult than Butler and Jamison having to fit in now that Arenas and Haywood are back. Butler was the go-to-guy the last few years when the clock would be winding down. He also initiated a lot of offense as he was our best all-around player who could 'handle' the ball at all. But now with Arenas back and Foye on the team, the offense is not going to be run through Butler.

I think that showed some in the first game, where he shot a 35% from the floor, and I remember seeing a few contested, early-in-the-clock 20-ft jumpers. He picked up his rebounding to make up for it though.

I just hope management makes smart decisions this next summer. I'd hate to lose both Miller and Foye.

Posted by: segastyle | November 2, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"My starting 5....Gil, Foye, Butler, Miller & Haywood."

If you replace Haywood with Jamison, it would be EJ's ideal "samll ball." :)

Posted by: sagaliba | November 2, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"If anything, he's trying too hard to fit in and adapt/defer to the guys around him."

Yeah, I have the same feeling about Miller too.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 2, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what the t-wolves were thinking when they decided to let Foye leave!

Posted by: rachel216 | November 2, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, didn't finish my sentence, clicked "submit" too fast.

"If anything, he's trying too hard to fit in and adapt/defer to the guys around him."

Yeah, I have the same feeling about Miller too, as he often was the first one to pick up his teamates (esp. Gil) when they were on the ground.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 2, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

" . . .as he often was the first one to pick up his teamates (esp. Gil) when they were on the ground."

I think that's just a sign of a guy being a good teammate (a good thing). I think his focusing more on passing and moving the ball to the exclusion of looking for his own shot is a sign of him showing too much deference to the other guys, but I think that'll balance itself out eventually.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 2, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I like both Foye and Miller a lot, but Miller really is doing a great job of making up for Jamison on the defensive boards. MM really has a gift for being in the right place and for boxing out. He's always been one of my favorite NBA players and I'm really thrilled that the Wizards were able to get him.

Nick Young is in a slump right now, but he'll come around. I think he's making an effort to become a better defensive player.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | November 2, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse


I wonder what happened to the person who always said Thabeet was the best player..lol

I'm sure he is in hiding.

I hope Caron can play Tuesday kick the Cavs while their down. The team has a lot of depth and has played very well. There is some questions with their defense, rebounding and three point shooting but when Caron and Jamison returns, the those won't be really big concerns.

I'm looking forward for when the team plays guys like the Celtics, Magic, Lakers just to see where they stack up and how far they are from being an elite team (I might be drinking the kool-aid).

Posted by: rcnasa | November 2, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I also disagree about Miller. I think he's a flow-oriented player who might not see the need to shoot pull-up threes when Haywood, Blatche and Arenas are playing like they were in games 1 and 3.

I would love to see a shot-chart of the first three games.

Posted by: WilliamCarr | November 2, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

VBFan,

I think that Miller is very comfortable with his new teammates. He said during training camp that he was very happy to finally be with a group that had a chance to win some games. The low shooting attempts might just be a holdover froom Minnesota ( gotta get back in the habit of looking for his shot). Doesn't he also actually live in DC ... and think its a pretty cool city. Miller is doing a lot of good things, and as the season unfolds, he is going to be more and more aggressive, just watch.

I have to admit, I was hoping for Stephon Curry with the 5th pick, not Rubio, and I was ambivalent about the trade. I'm loving it now. Miller and Foye are exactly what the wiz needed. I can't see too many low level energy nights (like we had so often in the past) with this infusion of talent.

Posted by: original2cents | November 2, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Miller has been playing a really good floor game and as pointed out defers often to his teammates. The only thing that bugs me slightly is he did the same thing in MN last year where he was a top 3 player on the team. Not hating on the guy, but maybe he has lost enough of his athleticism that he no longer feels like he can get off his own shot anytime he wants. Therefore, he waits for those 3-5 times a game where he gets an open look, which thankfully is almost automatic. Just saying. I hope I am completely wrong and, if I am not, he is still a nice addition.

Miller's size compared to Jamison's is not *the* reason he gets so many rebounds. Besides flat out hustle and want to, he reads the ball coming off the rim about as well as any player in the NBA. Watch him and while the ball is in the air, he will reposition himself to where he thinks the ball will end up. He is right more often than not. Rodman was also a player that had those same instincts.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 2, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards are much improved, Foye and Miller bring spirit and hustle to the team and both have earned a lot of playing time. Jamison time should be cut and let Blanche play more minutes so he can continue to develop. One difference I see from last years team is our players are driving to the basket, not like last years team that took long jump shots all game long.

Posted by: mdondon300 | November 2, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

When DeBrick Stevenson shows up he will be riding the pine. But right now he seems to be playing pretty well. It's good to have depth AND a coach who runs an NBA offense.

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | November 2, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

NBA Basketball is a 48 minute game... and the Wizards have the players to go full speed the entire time. In the past, Arenas, Butler and Jamison had to play too many minutes because the bench was too thin. Now there is little drop off when the Wizards sub. It also gives Sanders the ability to match up well against other teams. The additions also add good chemistry to the team. They know how to play and recognize their roles. What a difference a year makes.

Posted by: RWLowry | November 3, 2009 7:14 AM | Report abuse

I liked the trade at the time and I like it even better now. This is one of the most versatile teams in the league. They can play so many different combinations and the scoring runs deep. Foye is a young and improving guard and I think he alone gives you as much as you would have gotten with anyone available at the 5th pick. I remember Wilbon saying instead of the trade they should have picked Rubio. I wonder what he thinks now.

Posted by: drfunknsoul | November 3, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I see great ball movement, confidence, and most of all rebounding. Last year we were hurt by offensive rebounding. No one so far have dominated us on the boards. The race to he finish line is on. Lookout NBA, THE FAT LADY WILL SING AGAIN IN WASHINGTON.

Posted by: lloyddiggs56 | November 3, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

drfunknsoul said, "I remember Wilbon saying instead of the trade they should have picked Rubio. I wonder what he thinks now."

I'll bet that if you confronted Wibon with having said that, he would find some way to say, Oh yeah, what I said was ... blah blah blah ... and I always thought they were good additions to the Wizards.

He always finds a way to make it seem like he was right, even when he is wrong.

Posted by: original2cents | November 3, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

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