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Wizards' morning brew: Leonsis poll and MLK Day

Happy MLK Day, everyone. Sunday was a day of rest for the Wizards, who were coming off a stretch of four games in five days, on top of everything else that happened last week.

But now, the Wizards can look forward to plenty of home games (seven of the next eight, in fact), starting with Monday afternoon's game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland, already with its share of injury problems, could be without Brandon Roy.

Couple of leftovers from the weekend involving Gilbert Arenas...

Post columnist Mike Wise thinks back to a more fun time with Arenas. Was it really only three years ago he was capping off a 51-point performance on MLK Day with a buzzer beater? Down in Orlando, Magic General Manager Otis Smith says he has spoken with Arenas twice in recent weeks. Smith was part of the Golden State front office when Arenas was drafted by the Warriors. And speaking of Orlando, ESPN.com's Marc Stein speculated on Saturday that the Magic could be a logical destination for Arenas once the dust settles and he can play again.

Elsewhere off the court, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis faces a Wednesday deadline as he attempts to buy the Wizards and Verizon Center from the estate of Abe Pollin. Which leads right into today's poll:

And before we forget, highlights of Saturday night's Wizards-Kings game courtesy of NBA.com:

Around the League...

With it being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, nine of the NBA's 12 games are being played in the afternoon and TNT has a tripleheader nightcap in store. As mindful as the league has been about recognizing the holiday, Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times asks whether the league properly represents what Dr. King was all about.

Just two games Sunday, and NBA.com's Daily Zap gets you caught up:

By Ed Guzman  |  January 17, 2010; 11:15 PM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  | Tags: Washington Wizards; NBA; Abe Pollin; Gilbert Arenas; Antawn Jamison; Flip Saunders; Ted Leonsis  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tired Wizards look for bench help
Next: Trail Blazers (25-16) at Wizards (13-26)

Comments

First!

Posted by: MeviousMan | January 18, 2010 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Tough call with Leonsis.

Part of the equation with any pro sport boils down to dumb luck. How many Ovechkins or LeBron James's fall into a franchise's lap with the first overall pick? If the Wiz had the #1 overall in a draft featuring LeBron instead of Kwame Brown, my sense is that we're looking at a very different team right now.

What's pretty clear is that Leonsis is committed to winning and will try a variety of moves until he finds something that works.

He took some risks by assembling a high-payroll team of established stars with the Caps; he then broke that team up when they underperformed. He had the smarts to pick up Bruce Boudreau who has been a quality coach.

If a person grants that his success is due to smarts more than just dumb luck, the other side of the coin is: Are his skills with one sport transferable to another?

These are all open questions.

In the case of the Wizards, if the deal gets done, I'd be curious to hear what his vision for the franchise is. My own view is that the team has some pretty good parts right now. Also, in the case of Grunfeld, I think his track record in DC has had more hits than misses. His deal for Jamison and Butler were both solid. The Arenas acquisition looked like genius a few years ago. The signing of Antonio Daniels paid dividends for a season as did the Stevenson signing. Even the trade for Foye and Miller has shown some glimpses of being a good move. The biggest strike against Grunfeld is the mega-deal that he gave Arenas.

In the case of Saunders, it would seem like a pretty raw deal for him to be shown the door after less than a season. Of course that's the nature of professional sports.

If Leonsis has some aces up his sleeve and a different vision for the team, of course he's got to do what he's got to do. Regardless of what happens it's hard to see any easy overnight fixes.

Posted by: JPRS | January 18, 2010 2:37 AM | Report abuse

It would be nearly impossible to be a worse owner than Abe Pollin. I have been waiting for 3 decades for this team to transfer to a new owner. The man was very charitable and all that good stuff, but his teams had one decade of competitive basketball out of the five decades he owned the team. That is atrocious. Forty-seven years and one championship. That is true mediocrity.

Someone on here (I forget who) keeps saying that Ted Leonsis lucked out when he picked Ovechkin because he is the Lebron of the NHL. That may be true, but what about Carmello Anthony, Dwight Howard, and Kevin Durant? Other teams have true franchise players who may lead their teams to the championship one day.

Besides, the Capitals aren’t the only team that has built through the draft. Just look at the Penguins. They have not one, but two great players in Crosby and Malkin. So it’s not like landing an Ovechkin or a Lebron is a team’s only chance to win it all.

It’ll take awhile to rebuild, but there is no way Mr Leonsis can equal or surpass Mr. Pollin’s legacy of futility.


Posted by: MeviousMan | January 18, 2010 2:40 AM | Report abuse

Its old but it was on my front page on youtube and it was the 1st time I saw it. Its nothing really but it just stood out to me a little. Kinda funny

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4i2dlIc0n0&feature=rec-rn-1r-3-HM

Posted by: dlts20 | January 18, 2010 3:17 AM | Report abuse

MeviousMan,

Think about the NBA championship teams over the past 30 years -- how many of these teams DIDN'T find a cornerstone via a very high lottery pick in the draft?

Tim Duncan -- #1 overall.
Olajuwon -- #1 overall.
Magic Johnson -- #1 overall.
David Robinson -- #1 overall.
MJ -- #3 overall.
Bird -- #6 overall.

Unlike other Pro Sports where a team can build a championship team and find franchise cornerstones via low picks, trades, and free agency, so much of the success in the NBA seems almost pre-determined by whether or not a franchise lands a high pick in a year with a great player available.

The exceptions are very rare (e.g. a team like the Celtics building via trades; the Kobe falling to #13 and the Lakers making a move for him -- and also acquiring Shaq; the Pistons teams in the early 2000s).

Remember too -- if people were judging Abe based on just a few years of ownership he would have looked like a genius in his first decade of ownership of the Bullets.

My sense is that Leonsis probably will exceed Abe's Win-Loss record simply because the bar has become so low -- especially in light of the records during the 1980s and 1990s.

When it comes to success in the NBA it seems like luck via the draft is a bigger part of the equation than it is in other pro sport. There are very few truly visionary GMs who can manufacture championships without having a very high draft pick in a year when there is a great player available.

Posted by: JPRS | January 18, 2010 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Can the GM of the Magic just talk with other teams' players?

Posted by: nganassim | January 18, 2010 3:51 AM | Report abuse

"...as I was watching a 36 yo 6'9" Ben Wallace take the ball from brendan I couldn't help noticing that Haywood's arms looked like linguine comparatively. Always thought he played weak, but I like his effort level last night. Since he is not super mobile anyway, maybe he should bulk up this offseason."

You think Ben Wallace was really 6'9"? He was listed as 6'8" coming out of college, which usually means he was 6'7". Of course, back then he was a formidable athlete. Now he's more of the stationary bruiser type. Not much taller than the guy in Houston, if you think about it.

I don't know if Haywood is particularly strong, but he's soft around the edges. Always been that way. That softness is why he fell in the draft. We've seen this year that when he puts his mind to it, he's an effective defensive center and a decent rebounder. Is he the sort you can put in the middle of a potential contender -- say, Portland? It's a risk.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

@JPRS

I don't think we are in disagreement. If we rebuild from scratch then luck will certainly be involved. There is no doubt about that. I'm just saying that even as rare as a player like Lebron might be there are other franchise players in the league capable of leading their teams to championships.

Incidentally, one appeal that the Bullets/Wizards have never been able to capitalize on is the fact that so many NBA players come from the DC area. If we start having competitive teams instead of lousy teams they might want to come home when they become free agents.

Posted by: MeviousMan | January 18, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

"When it comes to success in the NBA it seems like luck via the draft is a bigger part of the equation than it is in other pro sport. There are very few truly visionary GMs who can manufacture championships without having a very high draft pick in a year when there is a great player available.Posted by: JPRS"

Maybe it's just that one great player can have so much more impact on an NBA team than say, in football or basketball. That's because only five guys are on the court for each team.

Aren't the Lakers and Celts in large part built around players they acquired in trades? Paul Pierce and Rondo being the exceptions.

Those two clubs seem to have a knack for robbing other clubs in trades, like the old Yankees did. Of course the Wiz were said to get the better of LA in the Caron Butler trade.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Problem #1 - Worst record in the NBA does NOT automatically end up in the first overall pick. Worst record can get you the 5th pick. So that "Ovechkin" isn't a guarantee.

Problem #2 - There is no minor league. There aren't "prospects" in the minors that need seasoning. When you draft them, they need to perform.

Question - Why does everyone act like Leonsis did all this stuff and picked the coach? The GM did that. The same GM that was there BEFORE Ted.

Fact - Pittsburgh built through the draft with 2 of the greatest players on the planet. Even Crosby was luck. Didn't they do a random draft that season? So anybody could've gotten him.

Problem #3 - Less draft picks. You get two rounds. I'm not sure how many rounds there are in the NHL but I know it's less than the NBA.

It's just two different games. The same strategy just isn't possible in the NBA.

I hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2010 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Talking about the draft--it seems like we never get lucky or else we're being outdrafted:

2003--Wiz took Jarvis Hayes over Travis Outlaw, Kendrick Perkins, David West, Leandro Barbosa and Josh Howard.

2006- Wiz took Oleksiy Pecherov over Rajon Rondo and Paul Milsap.

2007- Wiz took Nick Young over Rudy Fernandez, Aaron Brooks, Carl Landry and Marc Gasol

Etc..

Posted by: Delle | January 18, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

The 2008 class was supposed to be one of the strongest in several years. This year's class one of the weakest. And with Griffin hurt, Thabeet consigned to the bench, and Rubio in Spain -- possibly the three biggest names in the draft -- you'd expect to see little in the way of early success. But Harden, Evans, Flynn, Curry, and Jennings are all solid starters. No fair dissing them with the label of complementary players -- most of the top ten from 08 will wind up as complementary players.

Just goes to show you, the science of drafting isn't much of a science.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

My point exactly. There are always good players in every draft, but for every LeBron, there is a Darko. Teams pick Kwme and Tyson before Pau or Sam bowie before Jordan.

Last years' draft had few long term impact players...it is way early, so some folks could come around and some of the guys you mentioned (namely - Jennings) could fall apart. We won't know for a while.

Again, this is why you need to get a load of first rounders with every trade you can. We need picks now, but no harm in picking up 1st rounders for 2014 or beyond, because we will either need them then or can trade them then.

Just think of all the guys picked before Amare at #9 or tayshaun Prince at 23 in 2002.

Posted by: Blurred | January 18, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Samson - i just looked up his height and he is listed as 6'9". the point is, he is much older and shorter than Haywood, yet just manhandled haywood.

haywood has played well for the past few games, so I am giving him that, but he is just soft. in general.

I hope he continues to play as hard as he has the past week, though.

As far as Arenas goes, I hate to admit it,but I agree with DCMan...this team plays better without him on a game to game basis this season.

I am happy to see DeShawn coming around and getting his groove back. Maybe the effects of his back injury finally has is past.

Posted by: Blurred | January 18, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Under team control:

ARENAS, FOYE, STEVENSON, YOUNG, BUTLER, JAMISON, BLATCHE, McGEE.

Expiring contracts:

CRITTENTON, JAMES, BOYKINS, McGUIRE, MILLER, OBERTO, HAYWOOD.

CONTRACTS:

BUTLER needs an extension this summer if he's staying.

If ARENAS can be dealt, I certainly would. That is highly questionable. Why sign a guy whose contract is up in the air, and may become available as a free agent after the 26th of March? No telling what GM's think though.

McGUIRE should be resigned, and at a renewal in the 1.1 mill range that should be possible.

I don't see how HAYWOOD and MILLER get resigned with the WIZ over that cap. What is it this year - 69 million? And the team is like 79 million? Whew, tough spot. Everything depends on the GA contract.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 18, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

"Samson - i just looked up his height and he is listed as 6'9". the point is, he is much older and shorter than Haywood, yet just manhandled haywood.posted by blurred"

I'm saying the heights are usually inflated. I know what the listing says; I question its accuracy.

He did manhandle haywood, but lots of NBA centers have done that over the years. that's how you get a rep of being soft.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"Problem #3 - Less draft picks. You get two rounds. I'm not sure how many rounds there are in the NHL but I know it's less than the NBA." posted by SDM

You don't mean that, right? Last year's NHL entry draft selected 211 players.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I was not aware that a deal could be done this quickly.

A deal by Wednesday. My goodness.

If agreed to, my guess is that Mr. Leonsis would handle Gilberts situation entirely differently.

At this point that 80 million is somewhat of a liability. Ted, I am sure would want to turn that liability into an asset any way he could.

First by talking to Gilbert and then the League to resolve this situation as quickly as possible to the benifit of all concerned.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 18, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Just curious enough to take a look at how contenders are built. Skip the Celts and Lakers for the moment, because those are special cases. How do you get to be, for instance, the Atlanta Hawks? You draft three players high (Horford, Josh Smith, and Marvin Williams) and let them develop. The rest you acquire the remeainder through trades or FA.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

It's really pretty simple people...

This isn't a movie where fairy tales come true.

In the real world when an organization in run as badly as Abe ran the Bullets/Wizards this (Gil and his guns, 19 win seasons, nonproducing draft picks and bad free agent signings) is the right ending.

It’s time to move on.

Just like Abe didn’t want to refurbish the Cap Center Ted needs to tear this organization down to the ground (players, GM, Coach and medical staff) and rebuild.

With the “RIGHT” people and a little luck the Wizards at least can become a respectful team?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

"Samson - i just looked up his height and he is listed as 6'9". the point is, he is much older and shorter than Haywood, yet just manhandled haywood.posted by blurred"

I'm saying the heights are usually inflated. I know what the listing says; I question its accuracy.

He did manhandle haywood, but lots of NBA centers have done that over the years. that's how you get a rep of being soft.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 8:10 AM |

Haywood is soft and his power moves sucks. Power techniques can be taught though. The only thing the Wizards teach is throwing your butt on the bench when you make mistakes.

Development is not part of their organizational gameplan.

This organization leaves development to the whims of the players themselves. We see how good that approach is.

That being said Ben Wallace manhandles players all over the League. The fact that he manhandled Haywood says more for Wallace than a soft BH.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 18, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Just curious enough to take a look at how contenders are built. Skip the Celts and Lakers for the moment, because those are special cases. How do you get to be, for instance, the Atlanta Hawks? You draft three players high (Horford, Josh Smith, and Marvin Williams) and let them develop. The rest you acquire the remeainder through trades or FA.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Whya re you skipping the Lakers? They traded to get a guy few others were willing to take a chance on...Kobe. They didn't "luck" into him and they didn't use the "Laker Mystique" to attract him. They had the foresight to get a player in the draft that would bring them championships. Yes, he needed Shaq to get his first one, but the team has continued to find players (making the trade for Pau) to get there. They missed it trying to get Kwame to be that piece, but they didn't stand pat when that didn't work out.

Also, in talking about the Hawks (who still have won nothing) they also took an "all-in" bet on a guy (Joe Johnson) that made most people scratch their heads. It looks like it may be paying off for them, but we will see.

We made an "all-in" bet on what looks to be a losing hand with Gil, but if you asked 30 GM's 3 years ago who you'd rather have, Gil or Joe, I'd say at least 25 of them would have said Gil.

It's like when you get dealt an Ace and king in Hold'em and the other guy gets dealt a 7 and a Queen. you have the best hand out of the gate. They cards come down and a 7 and 2 queens fall. He has a full house and you have two high cards. Odds said you'd win from the start, and the good money is on you. but that's the luck part.

Posted by: Blurred | January 18, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

To remake the Capitals, Leonsis endured the ire of fans as he traded away high-priced stars so he could start from scratch with prospects and draft picks. It was a risky process that paid off.

Please Ted, do the same thing with the Wizards!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

My point was Wallace is huge and strong. just looking at Haywood next to him made him look like a gangly middle schooler.

Arguing over whether Wallace is 6'7" or 6'8" or whatever is moot. The point is he is significantly shorter.

And to Larry, the problem is that over 8 years, Haywood has been out muscled by virtually every Center. That is why Etan got PT...Haywood was "better" but Etan at least played with some beef.

Posted by: Blurred | January 18, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I definitely think the team will improve under Leonsis, although for the Wiz to improve "much like the Capitals" requires the team to strike gold like the Caps did with Ovechkin. That's not really something Leonsis can control.

My point is, this was a poorly constructed poll. And I love Leonsis.

Posted by: Tank2 | January 18, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

"Whya re you skipping the Lakers? They traded to get a guy few others were willing to take a chance on...Kobe. They didn't "luck" into him and they didn't use the "Laker Mystique" to attract him. They had the foresight to get a player in the draft that would bring them championships. Yes, he needed Shaq to get his first one, but the team has continued to find players (making the trade for Pau) to get there. They missed it trying to get Kwame to be that piece, but they didn't stand pat when that didn't work out."

I'm beginning to see how you got the name 'Blurred'.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Luck plays a big part in changing a franchises fortunes over night. If you're not lucky enough to get that, you can get closer to your goal with good management. I believe Leonsis would be more serious about running a succesful team/bussiness. In a few aspects I just felt the Pollins were out of there league.

Posted by: gmac78 | January 18, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I thinke Delle made a good point in regards to our recent drafts and Sampson in regards to how Atlanta has risen.

You always want a great player to fall into your lap, but if that does not happen you can't just abandon the draft as an ideal that doesn't work. Like Sampson said, Atlanta drafted the best available players for a few years and now the have a core.

When Ernie drafted O. Pecheirov I truly believe he would have rather not picked and drafted him with the intentions of stashing him overseas.

A TEAM DESPERATE FOR BIG MEN!

We needed him learning over here. That was a pick gone down the drain.

Posted by: gmac78 | January 18, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

gmac78

Ernie doesn't have a single draft pick on the Wizards roster that can play in the NBA.

I hope Ted knows that and Ernie is the first to go.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Samson...what are you talking about. Are you saying that the Lakers lucked into Kobe rather than made a concerted effort to get him?

Posted by: Blurred | January 18, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I don't see any reason to think that Leonsis would back off moving the big 3 and rebuilding the team. His tenure with the Caps has made it clear that he favors results over sentiment and has no qualms about showing franchise cornerstones and fan favorites the door in pursuit of building a winner. If Peter Bondra and Olie Kolzig didn't earn a reprieve, it's hard to see why Arenas would.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

"Are you saying that the Lakers lucked into Kobe rather than made a concerted effort to get him?Posted by: Blurred"

No. Happy MLK day.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

MeviousMan and Samson151, I think we're more or less in agreement on this one.

One x-factor that I haven't heard mentioned with respect to Leonsis: How much input did he have in management decisions when Abe was alive? Did Abe consult the minority ownership on decisions such as the hiring of a new GM and coach?

e.g. where did the idea to select Grunfeld originate?

It may be purely coincidental that this franchise started making a transition to winning soon after Leonsis's group bought a stake in the franchise. My sense is that Polin must have at a minimum informed his business partners about moves. He may have even solicited advice on big decisions from them.

Posted by: JPRS | January 18, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

First and Foremost: Happy MLK DAY to everyone for any of you who post on this site i would recommend that you read Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters it chronicles the civil rights' movement from the Montgomerey AL. to Memphis it is an excellent read.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 18, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

It would be nice if the Wizards make the playoffs. However, they won't, yet that is actually good because they will have a better draft position. Pollin was a great owner during the 70s. It's 2010, the computer age and things are quite different as opposed to the 70s. Leonis(who has his "finger on the pulse" of how to manage a business during this era)hopefully, and more than likely, will be successful like Pollin was during the 70s

Posted by: Theone9 | January 18, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"My point was Wallace is huge and strong. just looking at Haywood next to him made him look like a gangly middle schooler. "

Speaking of which:

http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2010/01/warrior_ben_wallace_impresses.html

"Haywood is soft and his power moves sucks. Power techniques can be taught though. The only thing the Wizards teach is throwing your butt on the bench when you make mistakes."

Can't teach someone who isn't willing to learn.

Aside from the 4 years he spent at one of the best college bball programs in the country, Haywood's had 9 years in the NBA to learn some power moves. The Wiz weren't offering? Well, there's nothing in the CBA that prohibits a player from hiring a personal trainer or coach to work with him in the offseason. Kobe Bryant, 4-time champion, 11 time all-star, 7 time all NBA first team, Finals MVP, League MVP, etc. spent the summer in Houston, learning post moves from Hakeem Olajuwon. After his rookie season, Deron Williams spent part of the summer working out with John Stockton. Players who want to be great seek out opportunities to get better; they don't sit on their fat asses and wait for everything to be handed to them. I'm sure someone in the alumni office of the vaunted Big Blue could have hooked Haywood up with Brad Daugherty's phone number sometime in the last decade, if he'd shown any interest at all in making the connection. Of course, it's much easier to sit on the bench pouting and staring daggers into the back of Etan Thomas' and Kwame Brown's heads, isn't it?

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Why are we so ready to get rid of Gil? I hope Ted can mend fences and retains Gil, unless we get a #1 and a player who can contribute right away, never mind blowing it up as a longtime fan(40 plus yrs.)i'm not interested in any more losing seasons and the draft guarantees nothing does any of you recall Kenny Green(Wake Forest). Here's hoping for a win today.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 18, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

If Leonsis takes over ownership and installs a new GM et cetera, why couldn't Arenas and this entirely new management start afresh next year?

Let's say Arenas is suspended for 40 games if not the year, by the time he's ready to play Leonsis could have his team in place - EG and everybody else is gone - and he could argue that it's in the best interest of everybody to start over again with a "chastened" Arenas.

We've seen crazier things happen.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 18, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

As a Caps season ticket holder, I want the sale to go through due to the revenue issues that the Caps have as being tenants. While the Caps are really good now, this has taken years, including the five year rebuild plan. If the sale goes through, always remember that Leonsis is a businessman and sometimes it comes across as the number of tickets and merchandise sold is much more important then team improvement. The Caps got Ovechkin because they were so bad and then got lucky in the lottery drawing with getting the number one pick. This is Ovie's fifth year in the league. For his first three years, management did not authorize the GM to spend money for other good players (NHL caliber, not AHL caliber) because we had to have patience and wait years for prospects (those drafted by the team) to develop so the team could build from within. Also, the Caps still have the same GM that they had when Pollin sold the team. So don't expect a miracle turn around. He'll initially probably do enough so attendance doesn't decrease. Since the NBA doesn't have the same player development system as the NHL, Leonsis won't be able to try to sell you on a five year redevelopment plan. It had to get really bad before the Mystics (also owned by Linciln Holdings) changed their GM.

Posted by: NovaCath1 | January 18, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

@dargregmag

1. Wiz can't win with Gil at PG.

2. I do recall Kenny Green. I also recall they drafted him over Karl Malone.
Who do you blame for that? Green or then GM Ferry?

Posted by: ArmChairQB | January 18, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

As a Caps season ticket holder, I want the sale to go through due to the revenue issues that the Caps have as being tenants. While the Caps are really good now, this has taken years, including the five year rebuild plan. If the sale goes through, always remember that Leonsis is a businessman and sometimes it comes across as the number of tickets and merchandise sold is much more important then team improvement. The Caps got Ovechkin because they were so bad and then got lucky in the lottery drawing with getting the number one pick. This is Ovie's fifth year in the league. For his first three years, management did not authorize the GM to spend money for other good players (NHL caliber, not AHL caliber) because we had to have patience and wait years for prospects (those drafted by the team) to develop so the team could build from within. Also, the Caps still have the same GM that they had when Pollin sold the team. So don't expect a miracle turn around. He'll initially probably do enough so attendance doesn't decrease. Since the NBA doesn't have the same player development system as the NHL, Leonsis won't be able to try to sell you on a five year redevelopment plan. It had to get really bad before the Mystics (also owned by Linciln Holdings) changed their GM.

Posted by: NovaCath1

------

Thanks. Very good info.

Posted by: nmik | January 18, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The NHL doesn't have a silly lottery system like the NBA. The Caps had the worst record that year and was able to pick Ovie who was the best player that year. The Wizards have been screwed for years by the NBA lottery. Changes need to be made but I'd be careful about blowing things up and thinking we can rebuild. We've blown things up in the past with other Wizards/Bullets teams and had to wait season after season for things to turn around. Except for the last 5 years for the most part the Wizards are always rebuilding.

Posted by: irw20 | January 18, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Quick question for all the Wiz fans here, what would you think if Leonsis renamed the team the Washington Senators? It could be a great way to bring back the red white and blue and tie in local sports history now that the Bullets is probably off the table.

Posted by: bigcountry22 | January 18, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I dont see Leonsis making any big difference. EG is exactly the GM he would have hired years ago, and the moves EG made are not somehow opposite of whatever Leonsis' supposed philosophy would be.

Let's not forget it was Arenas' injury that blew a hole in the ship. Up until that fateful moment, it looked like genius signing him from GSW.

Abe didnt spend much for a long time and thus the cheap rep came with all the losing. But in recent years he spent freely to the tune of one of highest payrolls in the league.

So what's Leonsis going to do other than that? Win the lotto the year Lebron 2.0 comes out?

For all we know he wont even care if the team sucks so long as owning it and the Verizon center helps his entire balance sheet.

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@dargregmag:

Good suggestion on Taylor Branch, but Parting The Waters only gets you from 1954 to 1963. To get from 1963 to 1968 you also need to read Branch's Pillar of Fire (1963-1965) and At Canaan's Edge (1965-1968). All three books in the King trilogy contain outstanding writing and make for excellent reading.

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | January 18, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

let's hope haywood goes for 18/25 today and entices the blazers to make a play for him.

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"Why are we so ready to get rid of Gil?"

Posted by: dargregmag | January 18, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Because of his horrific contract.

17.73 million for one player [ARENAS] in 2010-11 against a cap of what, a guesstimate of around 70-71 million? That leaves 53-54 million for everybody else. In 2010-11, JAMISON gets 13.36, BUTLER 10.56, BLATCHE 3.26, STEVENSON 4.15, YOUNG 2.63, McGEE 1.60, FOYE with an 80% scale offer at 4.78 = 40-41 million already accounted for with roughly 13 million left for seven players and expiring contracts on those players worth 27-28 million and BUTLER wanting an extension plus a big raise. With ARENAS' contract in the mix it just doesn't add up.

I want him gone [ARENAS] because 1 - he's a self-professed 'goof-ball' when he's paid to be a serious leader of this team. 2 - he's damaged the standing of this franchise with players who might other-wise want to come here. 3 - His contract.

But I will say this also. Whoever is responsible for that contract should be equally accountable. If that's on POLLIN and GRUNFELD, then ERNIE should be swept out with the trash on the clean-up by LEONSIS.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 18, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Who do you think EG would have picked in 2008-9 if we would have been # instade of #5? what was he going to do with the pick?
The reason i am asking this question is to to say that it is very difficult to make a retroactive evaluation in draft situation,Mj was not #1,so far no one is close to his performance.If you see it retroactively Evans was supposed to be #2 but 2 GM passed him.

Posted by: gtefferra | January 18, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious how BH plays today as the Blazers are a team that might be interested in acquiring him before the deadline in February. Maybe he'll show off his bone-crushing picks, rugged interior D, smooth back-his-man-down turnaround J or jump hook, and slick passing skills.

Posted by: mugsybol | January 18, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Negative to renaming team to Senators! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Posted by: irw20 | January 18, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

i think we should be looking for young PFs with the assumption NY and JM will be starters next season and CB/AB/BTH will be gone.

Move AJ for the right price, or move him to the 3 spot where we all know he can thrive

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Moggsybol - great name and hilarious post!

Posted by: Blurred | January 18, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Who do you think EG would have picked in 2008-9 if we would have been # instade of #5? what was he going to do with the pick?
The reason i am asking this question is to to say that it is very difficult to make a retroactive evaluation in draft situation,Mj was not #1,so far no one is close to his performance.If you see it retroactively Evans was supposed to be #2 but 2 GM passed him.

gtefferra: look back on every post imaginable on the wp, and me only being a season ticket holder,no gm experience was crying for Tyreke every since we lost out on the #1 pick. I do not believe it would have taken a major house cleaning of players to get # 2 or # 3 trading the #5 to get him. just saying......

Posted by: bossclifnpooh2 | January 18, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Why all the Haywood hating?
I think we'll see how much the rest of the NBA thinks of him this off season.
He's gonna get big $$$'s to play somewhere else.
Then the Wizzies will be centerless.

Posted by: VBFan | January 18, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

JCBCMB68: Thanks for correcting me on that and yes i have both books in my library my seventeen year old is reading Parting the Waters and she is stunned by what took place here in the south(we moved to Atl. 3 yrs ago from DC) My dad who passed about 6 years ago participated in the March on Washington(1963) and told my daughter about that historic day.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 18, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"Who do you think EG would have picked in 2008-9 if we would have been # instade of #5?"

Didn't Grunfeld say he wanted to pick Harden if he couldn't have Blake Griffin?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"me only being a season ticket holder,no gm experience was crying for Tyreke every since we lost out on the #1 pick."

i'm also a season ticket holder and was all aboard the Evans train from Day1. Couldnt believe anybody thought Rubio was worth the #5 and was relieved to see EG didnt fall for the hype AND evans went before we picked

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

So, is Michael Lee no longer providing Wizards Insider readers with starting lineups, point spreads, etc, before tip off?

Do your job!

Posted by: Barno1 | January 18, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Interesting analysis of Brandon Jennings' recent struggles:

http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=868&mode=print&nocache=1263837811

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

And from a writer at Basketball prospectus, something on Rodney Stuckey:

"1. The Pistons can't win with Rodney Stuckey playing the point. There is a school of thought within the league that the point guard position is largely becoming passe. This is obvious to a certain extent in that the old notion of needing a player who could capably bring the ball of the floor has fallen by the wayside. These days, the majority of NBA players are capable of bringing the ball down the floor against similarly-sized defenders and initiating the offense. In most offensive systems, however, point guard responsibilities are still essential to an efficient offense. Whether or not it's a player that fits the traditional mode of "point guard", offenses need a player that can distribute the ball and make key decisions on the floor. Defensively, you normally require a smaller player with the lateral foot speed to corral opposing quick guards and help to keep them out of the lane. In the Pistons' case, there are serious doubts that Rodney Stuckey can develop the traits needed to hold down the point guard spot in Detroit.

"...Stuckey has spent just 12 percent of his court time playing point guard. During that time, the Pistons average a paltry .88 points per possession. Worse, whereas Stuckey grades as solid defender at the two position, he rates as below-average to putrid when defending lead guards. The problem for John Kuester and Joe Dumars isn't what Stuckey has done this season ... it's what he might do in the future. Stuckey is a building block kind of player, with the ability to create his own offense and act as a physical presence in the backcourt. His perimeter game is still spotty, but he does an excellent job of getting into the lane and augmenting his middling midrange game with a good number of free-throw attempts. He is not a great distributor of the basketball, however, and tends to dominate the ball at times. Stuckey's inability to nail down the point guard role has led to Ben Gordon spending over half his time at the position. Playing the point is not what Ben Gordon was born to do, even if he has the body of a lead guard. The Pistons' most common lineup this season, which features a backcourt of Gordon and Stuckey, has more or less been hammered this season, to the tune of .03 points per possession. This doesn't bode well for Dumars' long-term plan, unless he foresees Gordon as a $58 million bench player."

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice if the Wizards make the playoffs. But that won't happen with this current roster. Watching the Wizards play has become a "win win" situation. If they win, okay fine. If they loose, great, it potentially places the earned 2010 lottery pick in a better position. The 2010 has been predicted to be a strong draft. With the exception of: Arenas, Butler, Jamison, and maybe Haywood, the top six future draft picks of 2010 are better(or will be)than all the other Wizards(mostly consisting of second round hopefulls that haven't materialized into legitimate NBA starters).

Posted by: Theone9 | January 18, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"It had to get really bad before the Mystics (also owned by Linciln Holdings) changed their GM."

The WIzards have the 8th highest payroll in the NBA, $22 mill over the cap, $10 mill over the luxury tax threshold and they're tied for the 4th worst record in the NBA.

It's already really bad.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz current roster can make the playoffs. Six games back with over half the season to play. It's a hurdle, but the Wiz have the talent to pull it off even without Arenas (e.g. a 7th or 8th seed).

The main question is whether ownership and the GM settle for that choice at this point, or whether they take a longer view and push for a championship.

Personally, I'd rather see the Wizards make a serious push for the playoffs this year than simply moving players to clear cap space. If they're going to make moves, at least get some long-term value in return.

Posted by: JPRS | January 18, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Quick clarification for you NBA folks not up to speed on the NHL draft:

There is still a lottery aspect to the NHL draft.

For example, when the Caps landed Ovechkin at the #1 pick, they actually had the 3rd best chance (14%) of getting the #1 pick.

Don't get me started on the lockout draft that had Crosby going to the Pens.

As for the original question: I don't know how much Ted-dog knows or needs to know about hoops, but he certainly deserves a shot and can do great things.

Posted by: CF11555 | January 18, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

how can you not like leonsis...

he is dedicated to his fan base and to building a winning organization...

he tried first by getting all the high priced super stars on the same team...something that works in NY (IE the yankees) from time to time but NEVER works down here in DC...he tried it...it didnt work...he recognized that and changed...

he sold the farm, stockpiled cash and draft picks and has built a winning team that WILL be good for a long time...

how can he not improve the bullets? they have bottomed out...they can only go up with a guy like ted in charge...

but if i had my way...id have teddy buy the redskins...true dan snyder is dedicated to building a winner and opening his checkbook...but he is not dedicated to his fan base...rather he attempts to rape them for all they are worth...

and instead of being dedicated to building a winner by putting the right people in charge, he does so by playing fantasy celebrity football...

Tedd Leonsis is good for washington sports and any washington team that is run under his leadership will prosper!!! hockey, basketball or whatever...

what have u got to lose having him take over the bullets??? maybe he'll bring back our colors...maybe our name...or maybe a new name...but you can bet he will bring in quality TEAM people and make it a quality and marketable product...

Posted by: deadskin | January 18, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

"Why are we so ready to get rid of Gil?"

Ok, that's simple.

Because he's not worth $100 mil and he straps your salary cap.

Ted Leonsis recently said in an interview that the guy who makes the most money on your team HAS to be THE leader and be your best player aka Alex Ovechkin.

Now saying that it's safe to assume the Arenas is NOT that player.

"As for the original question: I don't know how much Ted-dog knows or needs to know about hoops, but he certainly deserves a shot and can do great things."

In my mind Ted is a GREAT owner. Why? Because he hires people who know what they are doing and let's them do thier jobs. He is no Abe Polin, he is no Dan Snyder.

I think Ernie Grunfelds' days are numbered once this sale goes through.

"It's already really bad."

Yeah it is, and it seemingly get's worse all of the time.

Here's the thing though..let's say the Wiz keep the core of thier roster intact and let the guys go that they don't intend to keep. They resign Miller AND find a way to dump Arenas in the off season.

They get a nice pick in the draft and then they sign a free agent or two.

They are playing really hard right now. Foye and Miller is a nice combo in the back court, Caron is playing better without Gil around(no surprise there), and then they can squeeze another year from Jamison, call me stupid but they might not be so bad off next year.

You would still have NY and Blatche off the bench, maybe McGee improves. I dunno if I am so anxious to blow things up just yet.

Gil's contract is what is killing them right now...and maybe next year. :(

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 18, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"he sold the farm, stockpiled cash and draft picks and has built a winning team that WILL be good for a long time...

how can he not improve the bullets? they have bottomed out...they can only go up with a guy like ted in charge..."

In Ted I trust. ;)

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 18, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Who here remembers the David Polie and what he did with the Caps?

It always used to burn me up when big time FA's would spurn the Caps. Nobody wanted to come to Washington and they were very vocal about it.

Why?

Because they knew the team could not win a cup...and they were right. The Caps were good enough to lose in the first round of the playoffs every year. Sound familiar?

My oh my how times have changed.

I honestly think Ted Leonsis has to change the culture around here. He did it with the Caps, I am confident he will do it with the Wiz also.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 18, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Here's the thing though..let's say the Wiz keep the core of thier roster intact and let the guys go that they don't intend to keep. They resign Miller AND find a way to dump Arenas in the off season.

They get a nice pick in the draft and then they sign a free agent or two.

Let's say that Sisyphus gives that rock one really hard last push . . .

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

i guess the question all fans need to ask themselves is, losing acceptable. If mr. leonsis becomes the owner, he'll do one of two things. he'll keep the core of the team intact for at least one more year in order to really sit back and evaluate the situation he's in during the off season. the core of the team is not as bad as has been portrayed. it's nowhere near being a championship contender, but without the distraction of gil they seem to flow better. the losses will be there, but it won't be another 19 loss season. franchise centers come along once in a generation. brendan haywood isn't one of those, but he at least puts forth the effort to some extent. mj won championships with bill cartwright, there's not a lot of difference in how they play. it's not easy to give up a serviceable center and expect or hope to find the pot at the end of the rainbow. you don't have to like him, but you should appreciate the idea of having a center on your team. there are a lot of teams that don't have one.

the other thing he can do is blow it all up now and hope to free up cap space. if you think it's ugly now, you ain't seen nothing yet. then it would continue in that same vain thru next year as any new players arriving thru all the new draft picks will need time to grow. w/o brendan, javale would be the center. he has a couple of years under his belt, but not nearly enough experience to make a difference this year. time on the court would help for the future. free agents coming in with expiring contracts are going to be more into "me" than team play. good or bad for the the young guys left? probably not good. not good for winning games over-all. if you maintain status quo through next season you can decide what direction you want to take and maybe just maybe keep losing seasons during the rebuild to a minimum amount of years while working the plan as you see fit, plus you might win enough games to keep the fans interested. there is no exact science as to how to build a champion other than doing your homework and making good personnel decisions. to do that you need to take your time and evaluate what you have and what you need. there is no rush. wizards won't be a contender for 3 or 4 years anyway, so if thats what you are going to do, do it right.

Posted by: joerutgens72 | January 19, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

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