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Wizards' Morning Brew: The Heat comes to town, and Crittenton

The Wizards' homestand continues with the Miami Heat in town Friday night. In the Post, Michael Lee takes stock of the Wizards at the midway point of the 82-game schedule. We already know all that the team has dealt with this season, but Coach Flip Saunders put it best when he said in the story that the first 41 games actually felt like "one hundred and 41." Saunders also got off a good line in the Miami Herald's preview story, when he was asked about the Wizards' defensive strategy against Dwyane Wade: "We might even throw in a box-in-one. Put four guys on Wade and have a one-man zone."

Elsewhere, Howard Beck of The New York Times profiles Javaris Crittenton, the other key player in the Arenas gun incident. And ESPN.com's Lester Munson says Gilbert Arenas seems to be in good position to keep his contract, though his freedom could be another matter entirely.

Around the League...

Only two games Thursday, but one of them happened to be Cavaliers-Lakers, with Cleveland prevailing late, 93-87. LeBron James scored 37, including 12 straight down the stretch, while Kobe Bryant had 31, though he shot only 4 of 15 in the second half.

Highlights courtesy of NBA.com's Daily Zap below:

By Ed Guzman  |  January 22, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  | Tags: Washington Wizards; NBA; Abe Pollin; Gilbert Arenas; Antawn Jamison; Flip Saunders; Ted Leonsis; Caron Butler  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Foye was supposed to get final shot
Next: Jamison and the All-Star Game

Comments

TGIF!

Posted by: closg | January 22, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Here's a 2 guard comparison by starts this season.

Nick Young
12 starts
10.4 ppg
2.4 rbp
36% 3's

DeShawn Stevenson
10 starts
3.0 ppg
1.8 rbg
20% 3's

Last 2 losses to Bulls and Mavs by 3 TOTAL points. Why is Flip messing around with Stevenson. Isn't it obvious that this team needs consistent backcourt scoring?

I'm not saying NY doesn't have his ups and downs but he is quite capable of picking up the slack when Jamison or Butler is off on a given night. DeShawn just isn't and ain't gonna be.

Frankly, I don't even think DSteve is that great of a defender. He has a good crouch and that's about it.

No steals
No boards
No blocks

What is the big freakin' deal?

Posted by: elfreako | January 22, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

cavaliers swept the lakers. Tell kobe merry christmas and a happy new year

Posted by: jefferu | January 22, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the freak. Nick should be out there instead of dsteve. I still think that we would be better off with mike james than boykins

Posted by: DMoney28 | January 22, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

the best rotation we've had all season (whatever that's worth), was with NY starting alongside Gil.

lame mind games going on or whatever, there's no reason NY shouldnt see more PT

Posted by: divi3 | January 22, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Coach Flip Saunders put it best when he said in the story that the first 41 games actually felt like "one hundred and 41."

If there were 141 games this team might get to the 45 win total I thought they would have before the season started?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 22, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

divi3 i thought Gil and mike miller was a really good lineup but i agree NY should get mins even if he doesn't start.

Also I wish there was a way you can see effective field goal percentage with dsteve on the floor versus off the floor to see if he really does make an effect on the floor defensively.

Posted by: jefferu | January 22, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

ESPN.com's Lester Munson says Gilbert Arenas seems to be in good position to keep his contract, though his freedom could be another matter entirely.

+++++++++++++++

Wiz still have an argument to make to void the contract.

The language of the NBA constitution limits the punishment that the "commissioner" may impose on Gil, but that provision is mute with regards to what the team can do, and a Wiz lawyer should argue the distinction between the 2.

Wiz lawyer will argue that Arenas did more than simply violate the "no guns" clause of his NBA contract, but he is a felon in DC. If Gil is unavailable to practice/play for the Wiz b/c of incarceration, then that only gives the Wiz more fuel for their fire.

Posted by: p1funk | January 22, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

So, it is being reported that Crittenton's past conduct was exemplary and now there is indication that his conduct questionable.

That indicates to me that whilst he has left that environment and now has more control of his decisions as a NBA player he might not be making the best decisions.

Thereby, indicating as I have been saying all along, that Organizations and their coaches are hugely important for the success and development of their players.

They must impart great influence on the players it brings in. They cannot leave good conduct, professionalism, individual development, excertera, solely to the whims of player.

Whether they are bringing in rookies, young players, or seasoned veterans, the success on the court comes largely from the organization and coaching.

The organization and coaching has to be hugely more competent than the players. The Wizards for too long and a lot of bloggers here put too much stock in the players being the most responsible.

Players years ago had bad conduct issues and some showed lack of initiative in their own player development, but todays game is a bit different, for it is a lot harder now to throw a good team together and win.

Organizations must micro-manage their assets 24/7 and those that leave a huge part of player success/development to the players will look like the Wizards.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 22, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

You've heard of the bucket list. Well this
is the brick list:

Fewest PPG among guards this season
(Minimum 10 starts)

D. Stevenson wsh 3.0
C. Arroyo mia 5.2
K. Bogans sa 5.4
T. Sefolosha oks 5.9
C. Atkins det 6.5

You've all heard of the phrase take to make right? It's the notion whereby a player takes more shots to average more points; Shooting pct. be damned!

DeBrick is already shooting 29% from the floor and can't average 4 points a game!

In my heart of hearts, I think Sam Cassell and Wes Unseld Jr. would be better options at this point.

Posted by: elfreako | January 22, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

ESPN.com's Lester Munson says Gilbert Arenas seems to be in good position to keep his contract, though his freedom could be another matter entirely.

+++++++++++++++

Wiz still have an argument to make to void the contract.

The language of the NBA constitution limits the punishment that the "commissioner" may impose on Gil, but that provision is mute with regards to what the team can do, and a Wiz lawyer should argue the distinction between the 2.

Wiz lawyer will argue that Arenas did more than simply violate the "no guns" clause of his NBA contract, but he is a felon in DC. If Gil is unavailable to practice/play for the Wiz b/c of incarceration, then that only gives the Wiz more fuel for their fire.

Posted by: p1funk | January 22, 2010 9:49 AM

No P1funk,

While your analogy is good reason for the Wizards to try and void Gilbert's contract, the Wizard's argument does not legally rise above what the League can do.

The reason why the League has the CBA is so that Teams cannot arbitrarily trample the rights of it's players.

So, if the League according to CBA by-laws does not appear to have the grounds to void, as prevailing opinion seems to indicate, the Wizards has even less of a chance to do so.

IMO, the only sticking point in all this whole mess is whether Gilbert get's time and how much.

Lets say Gilbert doesn't get any time, I feel that his current suspension and loss of pay might be determined to be excessive in arbitration.

The Wizards and the League should be IMO on their knees each night praying that Gilbert gets the ugly striped suit, for if he doesn't, they might have went to far already in their punishment of him.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 22, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Lost in all the hubub on Butler's final shot was the defensive strategy employed on the Mavs final possession. What was the strategy. Looked like the Wiz were content to let the Mavs run the game clock down to 3 seconds. Does this make any sense? Anyone hear anything on this?

Posted by: dovelevine | January 22, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Good point, p1 funk.

The Wiz and Arenas signed a contract, which Lester argues carries no weight on punishment. But he doesn't point to any language that says the contract provisions are superceded by the NBA's (essentially an association's) rules. The NBA's rules govern the NBA's actions and penalties, not a team's penalties unless specifically spelled out.

If Lester were correct, why have any provisions in the contract between the team and the player.

The Wiz have a rock solid case against Arenas, with or without a severe sentence. The buy-out should be limited to $10M.

Posted by: Izman | January 22, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

3 seconds inbounding from half court is enough to get off a shot. Even a three pointer.

I would rather not put Dirk on the free throw line.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 22, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I think GA's contract will be bought out or voided pending sentencing.

Here's my depth chart:

C BTH/Mcgee
F AJ/Blatche
SF CB/Mcguire
SG MM/NY
PG Foye/Boykins

Posted by: Realness1 | January 22, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

No P1funk,

While your analogy is good reason for the Wizards to try and void Gilbert's contract, the Wizard's argument does not legally rise above what the League can do.

The reason why the League has the CBA is so that Teams cannot arbitrarily trample the rights of it's players.

So, if the League according to CBA by-laws does not appear to have the grounds to void, as prevailing opinion seems to indicate, the Wizards has even less of a chance to do so.

IMO, the only sticking point in all this whole mess is whether Gilbert get's time and how much.

Lets say Gilbert doesn't get any time, I feel that his current suspension and loss of pay might be determined to be excessive in arbitration.

The Wizards and the League should be IMO on their knees each night praying that Gilbert gets the ugly striped suit, for if he doesn't, they might have went to far already in their punishment of him.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 22, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse


The moral turpitude language of the player's contract gives the team a stated reason to void the contract. It's not "arbitrary", the language in the contract affords the team the right to try to enforce it.

What the League can do to Arenas in terms of punishment and what the Wizards can decide with regards to their contractual relationship with Arenas are 2 different things.

The NBA Constitution gives the Commissioner a soft boundary to punish Gil for violating the "no-guns" clause. Whether Gil is a Wizard or gets traded to the Knicks or is otherwise a player in the NBA, the commish will be bound to that limitation/language. And the Wizards cannot supersede that ASSUMING HE REMAINS UNDER CONTRACT with the team. And neither can any other team that he might end up with.

For instance, the team can't decide to add another suspension or add another fine over/above what the commish can.

But whether the team will continue its contractual relationship with Gil under the moral turpitude clause is a different issue and different argument.

It is true that the Wiz cannot stand up and say "because you violated the no-guns clause of the CBA, we are terminating your contract".

But it's a different argument to stand up and say "you have violated the moral trupitude clause of the contract."

Remember in some jurisdictions, someone can carry a gun around (like Gil did) and it is not illegal. But it would still be a violation of the NBA/CBA's no-guns clause if they carried it into the arena.

The Wiz's argument is different. Not only did Gil violate the NBA/CBA's no-guns clause, but what he did was a FELONY and he's serving JAIL TIME for it.

In the first case, there is no moral turpitude issue at play -nothing criminal took place.

In the Wiz's case, the argument is there.

Posted by: p1funk | January 22, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

P1funk,

In fact, the more I think about this, it might be better for the League to reinstate Gilbert if they are aligned with the Wizards in wanting the contract voided.

Why? Because, then the Wizards could simply not play Gilbert based on the fact that he is awaiting felony sentencing and also argue that he isn't readily available for play moral reasons, conduct unbecoming, excetera.

Then lets say he gets a stiff probation, a fine, and ten days, or something light thereto.

The the Wizards and the League could argue that Gilberts own conduct caused him not to be available for play, he broke the CBA by-laws yadayadayada. This argument would have great weight to void.

However, since he is already suspended, they can't argue that he isn't available for play, a voidable offense, and not being available for play would carry the most weight.

The fact that he is technically already being punished/suspended by the League on an open matter by both the League and the courts mitigates arbitration in Gilberts favor, because they can't argue that he wasn't available for play.

Remember, the felony itself did not cause Gilbert to be suspended, he still was allowed to play. The commisioner suspended him because of his conduct thereafter.

Hence the strongest argument to void, not being available for play thus not honoring the contract, is now moot because the League already has suspended him.

This suspension by the League has compromised or weakened the argument to void.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 22, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

>>3 seconds inbounding from half court is enough to get off a shot. Even a three pointer. I would rather not put Dirk on the free throw line. Posted by: SDMDTSU

That doesn't make any sense. If all you want is a 3-point shot, why not give yourself 20 seconds to shoot it rather than 1 second. The Mavs were up by 1. If that's your strategy then foul and the worst that can happen is you're down by 3 with plenty of time left for the long shot rather than a hail mary. It really doesn't make sense what the Wizards did. Don't get it.

Posted by: dovelevine | January 22, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 22, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

If he gets jail time and that causes him to miss official time with the team, then it doesn't matter what they are doing with him now.

If it turns out in March that he's going to get 1 year in prison, then the Wiz can argue that he's going to miss that time and be unavailable to the team as a result of his own criminal conduct.

The Wizards and NBA are under no obligation to make Arenas's suspension "convenient" for him.

They can suspend him now, and then lift the suspension on the first day of his jail sentence.

Even though he would officially not be suspended by the NBA he still wouldn't be able to play. And though Gil and Co would cry "foul", the Commish's response would be simple:

It's not our fault you are in jail, and we are under no obligation to make your suspension and your jail sentence concurrent.

Posted by: p1funk | January 22, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

But whether the team will continue its contractual relationship with Gil under the moral turpitude clause is a different issue and different argument.

It is true that the Wiz cannot stand up and say "because you violated the no-guns clause of the CBA, we are terminating your contract".

But it's a different argument to stand up and say "you have violated the moral trupitude clause of the contract."

P1funk,

Agreed. They are two separate arguments but they are also inseparable. The moral's clause in the contract has to go to substance. "What did Gilbert actually do?"

So to determine whether it is voidable by the Wizards, they have to prove that the conduct in and of itself is a voidable offense.

It will be an extremely high bar to clear, when the CBA addresses felonies, and other gun incidents are available to compare.

Different arguments, yes, but if the Wizard does seek to void they will become one and the same.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 22, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

It's not our fault you are in jail, and we are under no obligation to make your suspension and your jail sentence concurrent.

Posted by: p1funk | January 22, 2010 11:03 AM

So you do agree that whether he is suspended or not may have some relevancy.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 22, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

the best way for the wiz and stern to void gil's deal is to let him play now and then if he gets any significant jail time the team can say he's not fullfilling his obligations blah blah

if lil'hitler lifts the suspension the day arenas is sentenced so that it aids in voiding his deal, the player's union should and will cry foul

Posted by: divi3 | January 22, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

If he gets jail time and that causes him to miss official time with the team, then it doesn't matter what they are doing with him now.

If it turns out in March that he's going to get 1 year in prison, then the Wiz can argue that he's going to miss that time and be unavailable to the team as a result of his own criminal conduct.

P1funk,

As I stated, getting jail time is the only sticking point left in the issue to void.

If he gets sufficient ugly striped suit time, then the validity to void becomes easier.

However, when March rolls around there is a chance that Gilbert will not get any time.

When the Court system looks at the severity of this particular felony they might want to turn this into their favor.

The Gun Laws of DC are under intense scrutiny as you know and there might be things at play here to warrant no ugly striped suit time for Gilbert.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 22, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

On the League's role in the Arenas case: I'm told the CBA gives the NBA responsibility for disciplinary action, and he's already suspended. The argument that a jail term throws him in violation of his contract (because he can't play) is pretty weak. The court could simply decide that Gil shouldn't be paid for the period he's unavailable -- and that's already occurring. There are all sorts of intermediate steps before it would become necessary to void the contract, and Gilbert's attorneys would argue that the club should avail itself of them.

IMO it still smells like a negotiated settlement is on the horizon.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 22, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

That doesn't make any sense. If all you want is a 3-point shot, why not give yourself 20 seconds to shoot it rather than 1 second. The Mavs were up by 1. If that's your strategy then foul and the worst that can happen is you're down by 3 with plenty of time left for the long shot rather than a hail mary. It really doesn't make sense what the Wizards did. Don't get it.

Because they didn't NEED a 3 point shot. If Dirk misses of Haywood gets a charge..you only need a 2. Then you can draw up a play even with 6 seconds or 3...to get a shot off.

If you foul...then you NEED a 3.

They had a timeout to get the ball at half court...they didn't need a hail mary. The strategy was fine.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 22, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"I would rather not put Dirk on the free throw line. "

Exactly. And I believe the Mavs are the best FT shooting team in the NBA. If you're playing the odds, you'd rather have them take jumpers with a hand in their faces than give them freebies.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 22, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

>>I would rather not put Dirk on the free throw line. "
Exactly. And I believe the Mavs are the best FT shooting team in the NBA. If you're playing the odds, you'd rather have them take jumpers with a hand in their faces than give them freebies.Posted by: kalo_rama

Normally I would agree. But if we're talking only 3 seconds left to get a shot off. And we are talking about the Wiz. Seems pretty risky. Also, how lucky were the Wiz to get a charge. I mean that was the first charge called against the Mavs all game. So again, seems like that was pretty risky strategy.

Posted by: dovelevine | January 22, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

definitely think the wiz needed to foul the other night against the mavs, dallas blew it by shooting with time left, a jumper released with one or two secs on the shot clock might not have even allowed time for a rebound, nonetheless the basketball gods were watching and punished us despite the mavs poor decision, deshawn getting real minutes is a joke, he's awful, he may work hard on d but dom's a better defender and nick would beat him 100-9 in a one on one game, also now that miller's back I'd put stevenson as the fifth option at the two not the first, 1 mm, 2 ny, 3 dom, 4 caron, 5 ds, hey at least when he can't make anything we don't have to watch that idiotic hand waving

Posted by: bford1kb | January 22, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

the strategy of not fouling was not fine see how many one point comebacks you can make in 27 secs with a full clock for the other squad, it aint gonna be many, way better odds of winning having a full possession instead of having to force whatever is there or not with 6 secs

Posted by: bford1kb | January 22, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

3 seconds is more than enough time to score. The wizards have lost many a game with the other team having the ball with less than ONE second, let alone 3. They still would have gotten a shot off, and probably a better one than Caron took. They made the right decision in not fouling.

Posted by: amorris525 | January 22, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

3 seconds is more than enough time to score. The wizards have lost many a game with the other team having the ball with less than ONE second, let alone 3. They still would have gotten a shot off, and probably a better one than Caron took. They made the right decision in not fouling.

Posted by: amorris525 | January 22, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Before the season began I thought that winning 45 games was VERY possible. The Wizards would have to go 31-10 the second half of the season to finish 45-37.

RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU THINK THAT'LL HAPPEN!

A 41-41 record in the Eastern conference might be good enough for the 8th playoff spot.

RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU THINK THAT'LL HAPPEN!

To quote Jack Nicholson's Joker character in Batman;

"This Team NEEDS AN ENEMA!"

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | January 22, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree 100% with ElFreako in regard to DStevenson. Why is he even on the team? Shooting guard? He has no shot. He cannot create his own shot. No steals, no rebounds. NY is 6'7" and at LEAST as good of a defender and a MUCH better scorer. This is making me think Flip is not a good coach... It's sooo obvious that DS's game is wack! It makes me shudder to think they kept him over Roger Mason!!?

Posted by: stlman17 | January 22, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

F THE WIZARDS,I MEANT THE BUZZARDS!!!!

Posted by: joe12341 | January 23, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

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