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Saunders defends his decision to start Blatche

Flip Saunders knows that the Wizards' decision to not suspend Andray Blatche for insubordination and then start him the next day in Indiana wasn't the most popular choice. But to him, it was also the right one.

During his post-game press conference on Tuesday after the Wizards lost, 95-86, in overtime to Charlotte, Saunders blasted Blatche, questioned his professionalism and stated that he had never been more disappointed in a player as an NBA coach. A suspension or fine of some sort seemed inevitable, especially when Saunders also said that it was "unlikely" that Blatche would play against the Pacers.

But after reading some harsh criticism for starting Blatche, Saunders said he believes that some people are missing the point. Saunders gave Blatche one instruction in order to play again and Blatche met it: He came and talked to him. "At that point, he lived up to what I had asked him to do," Saunders explained after practice on Thursday. "Whether I'm right or wrong, I'm the coach. It's my decision to make.


Next thing you know, I'll get criticized for my ties. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

"For his sake, it would've been easier for him if we would've suspended him. As a coach, you have to make decisions," he said. "I felt him sitting out a game and having to go through the scrutiny that he's had to go through, what's the difference with him sitting out one more game? It's the same scrutiny."

Saunders said that what many overlooked what happened on Wednesday in Indiana, where Blatche scored a team-high 21 points in 39 minutes. "Every time I motioned to Dray, he ran over and came talking to me," Saunders said. "I think he understands the whole situation. Like I said, the main thing is communication. It's not what happens now that's going to judge that, it's what happens from now. He knows he has another situation, there are going to be drastic measures."

Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski referred to the Wizards as pushovers and Mike Wilbon called them enablers for tolerating Blatche's behavior. Saunders scoffed at those assessments. "We're not afraid to suspend somebody, we suspended him before," he said.

Saunders suspended Blatche for one game for conduct detrimental to the team in January, when Blatche refused to acknowledge the coaching staff during a timeout and later became belligerent with head athletic trainer Eric Waters when he attempted to give him treatment on his knee. Asked to explain the difference, Saunders said, "The difference in January, his body language, his attitude at the time was detrimental to the team and I thought at the time, he needed a wakeup call. He needed to snap out of how he acted. If you have bad body language, you get on my bad side. In training camp, my first meeting, I said 'Guys, if you come out of the game, and you show me up, the best way for me to not be showed up again is to not put you back in the game.'

"I think the other thing you have to understand, when you do something, I'm not mad at Dray, I'm mad at what he did," Saunders said. "We'd lost 12 games, there is a lot of frustration that's been built up, so there are things that happen. you have to take all of those things into consideration."

Saunders added that he didn't think it was necessary to have Blatche come off the bench, rather than start, if he was going to play him anyway. "I'm not into this, you don't start a guy, or you only play a guy 10 minutes. If a guy is ready to play, you either play the guy or you don't play the guy," he said. "I'm not into, we're going to sit you for three minutes and then you're going to play. whether he played 36 or 16, it was based on what he did on the floor, not what he did the previous game."

I asked Saunders if he created a confusing situation for his players to see what they can get away with. He shook his head. "I think the players understood by him sitting out for 40-something minutes the rest of the game; they knew I wasn't [messing] around," he said. "Unless you talk to me, you're not going to play. it would've been very easy for me to go down to the end of the bench and said, 'C'mon Dray.' Let's go. but that wasn't what was said at the time."

Saunders also disputed Wojnarowski's report that stated: "Pistons players tell the story of Rasheed Wallace calling Saunders the "worst [bleeping] coward I've ever seen" after a loss in the 2008 Eastern Conference playoffs. Everyone was there. Everyone heard it. And nothing. Saunders took it, and watched his credibility and command of that team die a little more."

"I've never been in a situation where something was said to me like that by Rasheed," he said, "but don't let the facts get in the way of a good story."

By Michael Lee  |  March 25, 2010; 9:57 PM ET
 
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Next: Leonsis closes in, Arenas reaches judgment day

Comments

Flip, if you want to save your sanity, please step down as coach after this season. I love you as a coach, but this cesspool is gonna torture you. Enjoy kicking back in Minnesota for a year or two, and get a job with a real team and rel franchise. You don't deserve this garbage here.

Posted by: Roman5 | March 25, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon is the biggest enabler for Tiger, MJ, and Barkley.

Wilbon has zero credibility.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 25, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Flip, if you want to save your sanity, please step down as coach after this season. I love you as a coach, but this cesspool is gonna torture you. Enjoy kicking back in Minnesota for a year or two, and get a job with a real team and rel franchise. You don't deserve this garbage here.

Posted by: Roman5 | March 25, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

and take them to a chapionship game without winning one either?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 25, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Now that both AB and Flip have backpedaled, perhaps they can go back to what they do best- collecting ping-pong balls

Posted by: divi3 | March 25, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Flip,

Everybody makes mistakes. It's when someone else proves you're wrong and you refuse to acknowledge it and continue to act like you're not wrong that you look like a d0uche bag.


Posted by: kalo_rama | March 25, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 26, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon is a blowhard know it all who refuses to admit - or apologize -when he is wrong.

After Sean Taylor's murder, he made a totally erroneous statement about Sean and refused to apologize. He was dead wrong and dead to me after that.

Posted by: Lisa_R | March 26, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

"but don't let the facts get in the way of a good story."

Good advice that many around here could stand to follow.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

We as readers of media must be objective and not allow writers like Wilborn to 'jerk our chain'. Clearly having Blatch sit out the remainder of the game was equivalent to a one game suspension. Why does the media want to have the Wizards to continue to live in the past? Don't the have enough on their plate with the day to day attempts to make this a better team?

Wiborn, GET A LIFE AND GET OUT OF OUR!

Posted by: bazteal | March 26, 2010 4:25 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing this kid comes out of the woodwork for half of a season in a contract year after 3 or 4 with the wizards, showing obvious talent but no professionalism. Too bad, it speaks volumes about what the Wiz locker room has been like for years, and the position that the young players have been put in. To be able to drop 25 and 10 on the Celtics being guarded primarily by KG is a gift, but no one has taught any discipline to this team in a long time. If they had, this would have been a playoff team. This discipline and immaturity issue includes Gil bringing in a Desert Eagle .50 and others, by the way.

Posted by: aru4thecrown | March 26, 2010 4:48 AM | Report abuse

the leonsis deal ushers in a new era...i believe it will be a positive one. if he does half of what he is doing for the caps then the wiz will be an actual pro org. and competitive throughout the league...the blatche thing is water under the bridge...anybody who has played in organized sports has seen that scenario before...take him aside man to man talk it out...move on...this team has more serious issues than blowing up a spat between a player and coach...if blatche is all that bad they would have traded him a long time ago...it's history. congrats ted!! now put your mojo on the wiz and make washington a respected basketball area again!! you gots a lotsa work to do!! :-)

Posted by: ronniecope106 | March 26, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

"It is amazing this kid comes out of the woodwork for half of a season in a contract year after 3 or 4 with the wizards, showing obvious talent but no professionalism. Too bad, it speaks volumes about what the Wiz locker room has been like for years, and the position that the young players have been put in. To be able to drop 25 and 10 on the Celtics being guarded primarily by KG is a gift, but no one has taught any discipline to this team in a long time. If they had, this would have been a playoff team. This discipline and immaturity issue includes Gil bringing in a Desert Eagle .50 and others, by the way.Posted by: aru4thecrown"

There has to be some sort of meaning in this post, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what he's saying.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 26, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

I think Michael Wilbon is America's premier sports TV host who appears with little paper masks of celebrities held up in front of his face.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 26, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Tomorrow's Insider headline will be:
"Saunders Defends His Decision to Defend His Decision."

Posted by: Samson151 | March 26, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

"It is amazing this kid comes out of the woodwork for half of a season in a contract year after 3 or 4 with the wizards, showing obvious talent but no professionalism. Too bad, it speaks volumes about what the Wiz locker room has been like for years, and the position that the young players have been put in. To be able to drop 25 and 10 on the Celtics being guarded primarily by KG is a gift, but no one has taught any discipline to this team in a long time. If they had, this would have been a playoff team. This discipline and immaturity issue includes Gil bringing in a Desert Eagle .50 and others, by the way."

Posted by: aru4thecrown | March 26, 2010 4:48 AM | Report abuse

Contract year? Next time, you should check the facts.
AB's contract details are
2009/10: $3,000,000, 2010/11: $3,260,331, 2011/12: $3,520,661 .

As for the rest, I can agree. This team has lacked professionalism for a long time. But it won't be solved overnight. Perhaps in the offseason.

Posted by: jpatrick1 | March 26, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Mike Wise mentioned something today that's been noted before. How did Ted put together such an amazing Caps team? He left Abe's gm in place. Mcphee predates Leonsis with the Caps.

Hello Ernie!?

Posted by: divi3 | March 26, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

If you really wish to empower bad behavior by players, use the media to attack the coach!

Posted by: NewThoughts | March 26, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Again, I still think Dray is getting a super bad rap. Everyone is saying that Dray lied but he didnt. The only thing he didnt say was that he talked to Sam but he may have genuinely forgot that. People keep saying that he also talked to Banks but he did say on the Wise show that he talked to Banks who only told him to keep his head up. It was probably the same thing with Sam. Dray's point was that no coach asked him to come in the game and he said NO.

Thats why I dont get why people say he's lying. He didnt. He told the whole story. From the jump I said that I think people are taking the story out of context. I said from the jump that I think Flip told Dray that if you want to play then you have to talk but Dray ignored him so Flip took that as him not wanting to play when in fact Dray did want to play but he just didnt want to talk to Flip at that time.

The bottom line is that Dray was wrong for ignoring Flip like he admitted but lets be real, thats happened a million times in the league. You get frustrated and you just tune someone out. However, Dray never did say that he didnt want to play like all these idiots still keep reporting that he lied aobut that. Its not true. No coach ever asked him and he never said that he didnt. Thats why Flip played him because they both know there was some misunderstanding

Posted by: dlts20 | March 26, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

So does LEONSIS clean house in the front office and court or stick with the old group? Stay tuned for another episode of 'AS THE WIZARDS TURN'.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 26, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

typical Wilbon on PTI yesterday. Rants about how critical nba coaches are (in regards to Karl) and how he's so sick of hearing idiots say they don't matter that much, and that in reality they're the difference between winning and losing.....in the next breath says how the wizards 12 consecutive losses are proof Blatche isnt a good player. But what about the coach, Mike?

Posted by: divi3 | March 26, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"but don't let the facts get in the way of a good story."

Good advice that many around here could stand to follow.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 1:42 AM

That's so funny coming from you.

Posted by: Firuz1 | March 26, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse


First it was guaranteed contracts. Now the thugs run the team. It's only a matter of time before one of these clown's shoots and kills a teammate or coach. THUGS!

Posted by: hessone | March 26, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

So does LEONSIS clean house in the front office and court or stick with the old group? Stay tuned for another episode of 'AS THE WIZARDS TURN'.

Posted by: glawrence007

My guess is he gets rid of all the front office personnel.

Posted by: Lisa_R | March 26, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

The bottom line is that Dray was wrong for ignoring Flip like he admitted but lets be real, thats happened a million times in the league. You get frustrated and you just tune someone out. However, Dray never did say that he didnt want to play like all these idiots still keep reporting that he lied aobut that. Its not true. No coach ever asked him and he never said that he didnt. Thats why Flip played him because they both know there was some misunderstanding

Posted by: dlts20 | March 26, 2010 8:35 AM

Agreed. The signals among Flip, Andray and the assistant coaches got crossed and Flip made some assumptions based on faulty intel.

Posted by: Firuz1 | March 26, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse


First it was guaranteed contracts. Now the thugs run the team. It's only a matter of time before one of these clown's shoots and kills a teammate or coach. THUGS!

Posted by: hessone

(YAWN)
hessone = thug
hessone = YAWN

Posted by: tgif11 | March 26, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

"typical Wilbon on PTI yesterday. Rants about how critical nba coaches are (in regards to Karl) and how he's so sick of hearing idiots say they don't matter that much, and that in reality they're the difference between winning and losing.....in the next breath says how the wizards 12 consecutive losses are proof Blatche isnt a good player. But what about the coach, Mike?"

Speaking of which . . . weren't you the one who said that Billups was the lynchpin to the Nuggets' success and that as long as they had him, Karl being out wouldn't make any difference? How's that working out?

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

"That's so funny coming from you."

Well, people with low IQs and short attention spans are easily amused, I guess.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski referred to the Wizards as pushovers and Mike Wilbon called them enablers for tolerating Blatche's behavior. Saunders scoffed at those assessments. "We're not afraid to suspend somebody, we suspended him before," he said."

I posted a blog back that what Wilbon and Wojnarowski said was a bunch of crock.

There comments are biased and unobjective. At least Flip Saunders had the backbone to speak up for himself in reference to them.

I like Wilbon, but he is dead wrong. I like what Flip said in explaining why he started Blatche.

I don't like the job that Flip has been doing here but at the same time his explanation is more than acceptable to me in this matter with Blatche.

Wilbon and Wojaranowski paint what Blatche did as emblematic of everything that has been wrong with this organization. On the surface, without much instropection you could say that, but folks that should show more thought into what they say like those two wrote shallow undeserving comments.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 26, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I think a lot of people have got this Blatche/Saunders thing wrong.

Blatche disrespected the coach, that is true, it is wrong, and it deserved to be disciplined.

I do NOT believe that Blatche refused to be put back into the game. That accusation from an angry Saunders does not ring true at all -- it makes no sense, particularly when Blatche would have seen it childishly as a win for him. And that's a problem, and it ISN'T Blatche's.

I do not ever recall seeing a coach berate one of his players in front of the press the way Saunders did to Blatche. Heck, Blatche is just a kid who sometimes gets petulant, like all kids. He'd just had a bad time out on the court and he was angry at being benched before he could get even, and he had a little bit of a tantrum.

Saunders, on the other hand, is supposed to be an adult. He is the coach of a basketball team that has had enough misfortune to last twenty years all crammed into a couple of months. It is up to the coach to show strength, to protect his players, and to lead by example. Any discipline over a snit like the one between Saunders and Blatche should be out of sight of the press and the public.

But what Saunders did was, in my view, far worse than Blatche's transgression, FAR worse. It damaged the morale of his team -- something that really didn't need another whack -- and embarrassed himself.

Saunders might feel lucky that the team doesn't have an owner yet. If I owned the club I'm not sure I'd have tolerated that. Blatche is a kid. Saunders is supposed to be an adult.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | March 26, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

This is called CYA. Wilbon, Kevin Sheehan and others were right. this team has attitude and professionalism problems. to allow this BS to just occur unabated is a big problem.

I think Flip wants out. he signed up for 3 all Stars, not a D-league team with an immature 5-year pro as his key piece.

Posted by: oknow1 | March 26, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Flip calls the shots.
If Blatche doesn't like it he can't do anything about it.
He better adjust or it's gonna cost him $$$$'s in the long run.
There are too many head cases in the NBA. They bring a team down - no matter how talented they are.

Was Flip wrong???
Yeah maybe but Blatche was wronger.

Posted by: VBFan | March 26, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I originally thought that Flip was in the wrong on this, and I still don't think he handled it the right way, but at least I see his reasoning.

But I also think there's a subtext to all this. I think he's playing a head game with Blatche, deliberately trying to provoke him in order to raise his intensity to closer to KG level.

Who knows, maybe that will work. Blatche has the skills and athletic ability to totally dominate the game at both ends, if he develops the right mindset. Remember, in the game where they led the Celtics most of the way, KG had to resort to head games to throw off Blatche, because he couldn't guard him.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | March 26, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I said from the jump that I think Flip told Dray that if you want to play then you have to talk but Dray ignored him so Flip took that as him not wanting to play when in fact Dray did want to play but he just didnt want to talk to Flip at that time.
Posted by: dlts20

dlts20, I think that's a distinction without a difference. If you listen to the Wise interview, Blatche immediately comes out firing from the hip that he did nothing wrong, when his attitude precipitated the misunderstanding. So even if Blatche is 100% truthful in saying he never said he didn't want to go back in (and we have only his word), his overall statement to Flip would still be "I don't want to listen to what you have to say, but I still want to play." That's certainly not exactly the same as saying "I don't want to play" but it's not really a ringing endorsement for AB either.

I think the rap AB is getting for that essential statement is fair, as is the rap the Flip is getting for going too far in his post-game comments. But it seems like both have realized it and have backed away from it -- though Flip probably didn't back away from his comments as much as some may have liked him to.

Anyway, case closed. Moving on.

Posted by: ts35 | March 26, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse


Well, people with low IQs and short attention spans are easily amused, I guess.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 9:45 AM

And people with even lower IQs and faulty memories like yourself think that people with no priors get jail time in this region for their first solicitation charge. They also think that getting shot near your home by armed robbbers/carjackers factors into any likelihood of YOU winding up in jail.
Get out of your sterile "laboratory for dunces" and learn a little about life.

Posted by: Firuz1 | March 26, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Washington Wizzies are now the number one example of the NBA. An example of what not to do. CLEAN THE HOUSE TED PLEASE!!!!

Posted by: horace1 | March 26, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Firuz1

You have to understand kal's boy Flip is showing what a bad coach he is and that's got kal upset.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 26, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

So does LEONSIS clean house in the front office and court or stick with the old group? Stay tuned for another episode of 'AS THE WIZARDS TURN'.

Posted by: glawrence007

My guess is he gets rid of all the front office personnel.


Posted by: Lisa_R | March 26, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I posed that question LISA because the current CAPS GM predates LEONSIS. At the same time, it took them EIGHT seasons to become a dynamic team. I don't think I've got eight years left to wait for that magic to occur with the WIZARDS.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 26, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"And people with even lower IQs and faulty memories like yourself think that people with no priors get jail time in this region for their first solicitation charge."

Aaaand . . wrong again.

Someone said people didn't get jail time for solicitation, period. There was never anything about "first charge." I said, quite specifically, that people can and do get time for solicitation depending on the loction and circumstances, i.e., where they're arrested and what their prior record is. It was pretty clear, typed in glorious black and white.

But hey, don't let facts get in the way of a good story, right?

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Given the team's need to rebuild, I wonder what methodology Leonsis will deploy (assuming that his purchase of the team goes through).

According to Mike Wise's article, Leonsis has read Bill Simmons' latest tome on the NBA. Simmons is well known for his love of quantitative analysis, so what is Ted likely to take away from that book?

Assuming that Leonsis cleans house as soon as he takes control of the team is he likely to bring in a quant head to rebuild the Wizards?

I, for one, hope so. Pollin was an old-fashioned owner, one whose antiquated ideas on how to run a team appear to have been entirely based on personal relationships. Over time this one dimensional and misguided approach has led to the current level of dysfunction. Oddly enough, for someone who "loved" his players, in recent years Pollin's Wizards have an atrocious record of player development. One might have expected Pollin to recognize the value of putting a strong support mechanism in place for young players. All the more so in the aftermath of the Chris Webber saga.

The rebuilding will likely take years, though with the current salary cap system a well run and disciplined front office can do wonders through trading if it has cap flexibility.

Assuming that the Blazers and Kevin Pritchard part ways, should the Wizards try to bring in Pritchard to begin remaking the team, or should they try to find a young up and coming executive like Houston's Daryl Morey or the Thunder's Sam Presti?

Posted by: thomas_kecskes | March 26, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"posed that question LISA because the current CAPS GM predates LEONSIS."

The difference is that while the Caps were a bad team in terms of wins/losses, the franchise wasn't rife with dysfunction the way the Wizards are. Completely different circumstances between the two. Image and public perception play a huge part in any successful business, so there's certainly reason to think that Leonsis may clean house simply to disassociate himself from the godawful public image the franchise has accrued.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"Assuming that the Blazers and Kevin Pritchard part ways, should the Wizards try to bring in Pritchard to begin remaking the team, or should they try to find a young up and coming executive like Houston's Daryl Morey or the Thunder's Sam Presti?"

Pritchard would be an interesting choice, in part because he's had the experience of rebuilding a team's image (remember the "Jailblazers"?) as well as its roster.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

posed that question LISA because the current CAPS GM predates LEONSIS. At the same time, it took them EIGHT seasons to become a dynamic team. I don't think I've got eight years left to wait for that magic to occur with the WIZARDS.

Posted by: glawrence007

I'm with you...I'm TIRED of waiting. Tired of waiting for the Wizards AND the Redskins.

Posted by: Lisa_R | March 26, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

That said, the Blazers would be idiots to cut Pritchard loose.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I think our best shot at a competitive team for the next few years is to take the approach that's working in ATL, MIL, and CAR and the pre-Brand 76ers. High energy, tenatious D, slightly ugly, but very athletic. Won't win a championship, but those teams are no longer jokes (like the Wiz) except for the 76ers who abandoned that approach.

If Flip's not the guy to bring that to the Wiz, we need to let him bolt for the Clippers and we need to find the second coming of Scott Skiles.

Posted by: cballer | March 26, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Flip said Blatche "refused to go in the game." Now it seems that was an overstatement. I think that's why Blatche was allowed to start the next game.

Flip also said, "The coach is always right, no matter what." That is also an overstatement.

I agree that a player should always listen to his coach and follow his coach's instructions. But that doesn't translate into the coach always being right.

I don't like Flip Saunders as a coach, never did. I think he's soft, and then over compensates by trying to sound like a hard guy in his post game press conferences when he's publicly blasting his players. I never once heard Flip admit to anything that he himself could have done differently as a coach. To me, that's a sign of his insecurity. He's afraid to admit that he makes mistakes too. Players see right through that stuff.

Of course, Blatche is a knucklehead. If I were general manager, I would have traded Blatche a while back for a quality player. We could have gotten a true quality player for Blatche because plenty of teams out there are still blinded by Blatche's phenomenal athletic ability. But you know what? J.R. Rider was a first rate talent too. Problem is, he had a third rate attitude, just like Blatche. You have to be able to recognize that fatal flaw in a player's game early, and use it to your advantage in the form of a trade.

Posted by: sonny2 | March 26, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I think Flip wants out. he signed up for 3 all Stars, not a D-league team with an immature 5-year pro as his key piece.

Posted by: oknow1 | March 26, 2010 10:04 AM

Many of the fans surely wouldnt mind if he quit. Thought we signed an upper echelon coach capable of maximizing the talent on any given roster, instead we get a guy who makes me miss Eddie Jordan...and that's sayin something

Posted by: divi3 | March 26, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

cballer ,

If you really break it down, all three teams abandoned that approach to an extent, it's just that the others did it correctly and the Sixers didn't.

That kind of game might get you into the low rung of the playoffs, but in order to move further, a team needs to become an efficient half-court team with a low post presence, outside shooting, a guard who can run the show, and defense. The Bucks and the Hawks acquired and developed the pieces over time, building toward the right mix. The Sixers screwed up because they tried to jump the queue and force the transition in one fell swoop. They tripped themselves up and ended up falling on their faces.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Blatche and Flip both took hits for their foolishness. The "official" story in the major media is that AB refused to re-enter the game despite the direct orders of his coach. That's a horrible pox that will dog him for a long time.

Meanwhile by being seen as too lenient, Flip has confirmed his rep among many as a coach lacking the balls to be a true leader.

Both look like turds, who looks turdiest isnt that relevant. Hopefully on some level this ends up helping their working relationship.

I do agree that in AB, saunders sees a player he can ride to more success if he can properly motivate him. Perhaps he just has to find the right buttons

Posted by: divi3 | March 26, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"I agree that a player should always listen to his coach and follow his coach's instructions. But that doesn't translate into the coach always being right."

People are being too literal about this. When Saunders said "coaches are never wrong" he didn't mean that they always have the right answer or never make mistakes. He meant it the same way managers in customer service mean it when they say "the customer is always right." Anyone who's ever worked in customer service knows full well that not only is the customer frequently wrong but that he's also sometimes an idiot begging to get slapped. But as long as you're working in customer service, it's part of your job to act like the customer is right, even if you know better. Same with coaches and players.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"That said, the Blazers would be idiots to cut Pritchard loose."

Posted by: kalo_rama

There appears to be upheaval in the Blazer's front office. They just fired Tom Penn, their VP of Basketball Operations, who was quite close to Pritchard. As far as I am aware, the Blazer's have also failed to give quash rumors about Pritchard's status.

I suspect that Pritchard can be had, though if he is under contract past this season, I suspect that the Trailblazers will want some for of compensation for him.

Posted by: thomas_kecskes | March 26, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

bringing in a new GM while keeping Flip would seem to be repeating the same mistake as the EG/EJ situation.

Posted by: divi3 | March 26, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Here is an interesting piece about Pritchard and the Blazer's by Adrian Wojnarowski.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-trailblazers032210

Posted by: thomas_kecskes | March 26, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I know all about the upheaval in the Blazers front office. I never said they wouldn’t fire him, just that they’d be fools for doing so.

"I suspect that Pritchard can be had, though if he is under contract past this season, I suspect that the Trailblazers will want some for of compensation for him."

If they fire him, they lose any contractual hold they had over him. He's free to sign on with any other team.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

One would think that should Leonsis decide to bring in a new general manager/president, he would give them the power to hire a new coach as well.

The primary question of course is just how quickly such changes could be effected.

Posted by: thomas_kecskes | March 26, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Even with the disarray and the current awful state of affairs, I am not necessarily in aggreeance to the fact that this team is years away from being a team that can fill the seats and play exciting ball.

Remember, though BBall is a team sport it is also a sport where one player can pull the apple cart a long long way.

If Flip wasn't so darn traditional in his approach, he could make this team at least exciting and show some real competitive spirit.

I am not one to be stuck in traditional tried and true approaches as the only way to success.

Sometimes you have to step outside the box.

All most fans want really when they spend their money is to be entertained. Excitement and show some competitive spirit while you do it.

The average fan could care less about how many times McGee gets pump faked, or if he shoots horrifically. They just want to see him play.

You have to figure out how to go with what you got. That is where Flip is failing. Not figuring out how to bring out the best in what he has.

You can't be so enamored with how the game ought to be played that you don't give yourself and your team real chances to improve and learn how to play and compete.

We got an NBA team like everybodyelse and we also have the ability to play the type of game that we do every night or not.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 26, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Well,
we blamed:
Abe
Ernie
Eddie J.
Eddie Tap
Wes
Flip
The medical staff

Who's left?

Posted by: VBFan | March 26, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"One would think that should Leonsis decide to bring in a new general manager/president, he would give them the power to hire a new coach as well."

You'd think so, but it doesn't always work out that way. Firing a coach with multiple guaranteed years let means eating a lot of money.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"If they fire him, they lose any contractual hold they had over him. He's free to sign on with any other team."

Posted by: kalo_rama

I recognize that. Though, if they choose to keep him until the end of the season, and if his contract has additional years, then they might well hold out for compensation, should they believe that there is demand for him.

Though Wojnarowski certainly made it sound like Pritchard would be cut loose.

Posted by: thomas_kecskes | March 26, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

That kind of game might get you into the low rung of the playoffs, but in order to move further, a team needs to become an efficient half-court team with a low post presence, outside shooting, a guard who can run the show, and defense.
Posted by: kalo_rama

But none of that matters unless you have a transcendent player...seems to me I've heard that somewhere before ;-)

You can never predict when you'll be able to get one of those types of players, so you work on building the rest and hope to get lucky in the draft or in free agency.

The most immediate thing the Wiz need to work on is bringing in talented, NBA caliber players. Certainly I would prefer tough-minded, athletic, fundamentally sound players who are willing to play D, I think ultimately having those types of players on your team increases your long term chances of success. But really they just need talented players and developing an organizational mindset of discipline, accountability, and work ethic.

A good start would also be following a part of the Caps model that people don't talk about as much....figure out what kind of team you want to be, what kind of system you want to run, and then bring in players who fit that system. Basketball is different than hockey in that you have fewer players and no true minor-league yet to develop your talent over time, but having a system greatly clarifies what you do in the draft and free agency and helps limit mistakes.

Posted by: ts35 | March 26, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Someone said people didn't get jail time for solicitation, period. There was never anything about "first charge." I said, quite specifically, that people can and do get time for solicitation depending on the loction and circumstances, i.e., where they're arrested and what their prior record is. It was pretty clear, typed in glorious black and white.


kalo_rama, you posted this:

"Blatche was a victim of a robbery/carjacking. "

He was shot while in a neighborhood known to traffic in prostitution, a neighborhood nowhere near where he lived with no plausible real reason for him to be there at that time of night. Why was he there? Well, the fact that he was later arrested for soliciting pros pretty much answers that. If he hadn't been somewhere doing something he had no business doing, he'd have never been shot (at least not in that spot on that night). It's a clear pattern of poor judgment and indulgence in questionable activities.

"As for the solicitation charge, how many people get actual jail time for that? That's a fine only."

People can and do get jail time for soliciting. Doesn't matter "how many" do or don't. And the odds that it was the first time he did it are pretty much nil. Again, odds are it was at least his second time. And the fact that he was out doing it again, after getting shot doing it before (and subsequently talking out of his ass about how he "learned" and "grew" so much from the shooting) only further underscores his lack of off-the-court judgment.


Posted by: kalo_rama | March 24, 2010 5:13 PM


Despite your use of "i.e." to purchase a little wriggle room, let's be clear that you never said jail time for solicitation had anything to do with location, circumstances and/or prior arrests.

The fact that you were thoroughly wrong about the circumstances of his shooting notwithstanding, you also implied that his getting shot factors into possibility of his leading a life of crime that would result him spending time jail as noted by your exchange with yourself, (*cough*) I mean Blurred.


Blurred wrote:

We are lucky, as well, that he came around after 5 seasons, but this guy could be languishing in Europe or the D league or, most likely, jail, if we hadn't kept him around and paid him for virtually nothing the past 5 years.

Posted by: Blurred | March 24, 2010 4:36 PM


You echoed:

"most likely jail?? tired stereotype"

Normally I might be inclined to agree, but given that he has, in separate instances, gotten shot and arrested while out cruising for hookers, I gotta give say there's some fire behind the smoke in this instance.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 24, 2010 4:51 PM


But, hey, don't let the facts (shot near his house in a nice neighborhood, first solicitation charge, etc.) get in the way of a good story (getting carjacked and shot in the same incident and receiving one solicitation charge lead to spending time behing bars), right?

Posted by: Firuz1 | March 26, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Well,
we blamed:
Abe
Ernie
Eddie J.
Eddie Tap
Wes
Flip
The medical staff

Who's left?

Posted by: VBFan | March 26, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Michael Jordan, David Stern, Larry Hughes, the list goes on. If things were going good we would be praising the players in everypost but now we start pointing fingers.

Posted by: jefferu | March 26, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

You know I just don't get how Flip seems to think he is developing a winning formula.

Winning formula's must be developed from a team perspective.

I sit back and I watch Coach K at Duke whom gets good players but not always the best.

Coach K has a team philosophy and his teams play that way every year whether he has great players or average ones.

I have yet to see a team philosophy from Flip that will take the Wizards anywhere.

If anybody sees a winning team philosophy from Flip, can you explain it?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 26, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

All that work for naught.

Again, I never said or implied that you could get jail time specifically for a first solicitation charge. As I noted, I simply said that people can and do go to jail for solicitation. Nothing you posted counters that.

As for the rest . . . so what? As soon as someone posted the specifics of the shooting I acknowledged my mistake. It happens. Some of us are man enough to admit when we're wrong. Some of us are you.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"I recognize that. Though, if they choose to keep him until the end of the season, and if his contract has additional years, then they might well hold out for compensation, should they believe that there is demand for him."

GMs aren't players. You can't trade them back and forth. They can't hire a new one until they get rid of him. So if they're done with him but try to hold onto him to squeeze some other team into paying ransom, they're basically holding their entire franchise hostage, cutting off their own nose to spite their face. I can't see that happening. I mean I can, but only in an organization with some serious managerial dysfunction (which, perhaps, is where the Blazers are heading).

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

You know I just don't get how Flip seems to think he is developing a winning formula.

Winning formula's must be developed from a team perspective.

I sit back and I watch Coach K at Duke whom gets good players but not always the best.

Coach K has a team philosophy and his teams play that way every year whether he has great players or average ones.

I have yet to see a team philosophy from Flip that will take the Wizards anywhere.

If anybody sees a winning team philosophy from Flip, can you explain it?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

Um, Larry, coach K seldom gets 'average' players. And the few times he has...that's when Duke has struggled. He's still getting McDonald's All-American type players. So he may not be getting the LeBrons, but he's still getting the Carmelos if you catch what I'm saying.

I don't know if Flip is a good coach or not, but it's hard to fault him completely for their lackluster play this year. He's trying to remove a couple of years of fundamentally flawed basketball in the midst of roster overall and a lot of other drama. If all he manages to get out of this season is establishing that if you don't give effort on both ends of the floor, then I will say that it was a disappointing season, but still a good start.

Posted by: ts35 | March 26, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Again, I never said or implied that you could get jail time specifically for a first solicitation charge. As I noted, I simply said that people can and do go to jail for solicitation. Nothing you posted counters that.

To the contrary, it counters your argument that you said, quite specifically, that people can and do get time for solicitation depending on the loction and circumstances, i.e., where they're arrested and what their prior record is. You did not.

Posted by: Firuz1 | March 26, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Yawn.

Keep diggin', maybe you'll strike gold.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

that should read "if you don't give effort on both ends of the floor, you don't play"

Posted by: ts35 | March 26, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Keep diggin', maybe you'll strike gold.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 12:40 PM

Sigh.

Keep backpedallin', maybe you'll bump into a fact.

Posted by: Firuz1 | March 26, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

that should read "if you don't give effort on both ends of the floor, you don't play"

Posted by: ts35 | March 26, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

kal am sorry I mean ts35,

Why was AJ and Gil playing the first half of the season neither of them played both ends of the court?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 26, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

kal am sorry I mean ts35,

Why was AJ and Gil playing the first half of the season neither of them played both ends of the court?

Posted by: bulletsfan78

Hard to compare pre-trade to post-trade Wiz, but I would guess it was because his immediate mandate from EG was to try to win with the team he had. With that team, even with those guys not playing two ways, his best chance to win was to play them. But there did also seem to be some friction between playing their way and playing his way, and that might have been the source of some of it.

Once the season was down the tubes and the decision was made to blow up the team and go into full-tilt rebuilding mode, then the thinking changes from short-term to long-term. Note that in the trades they picked up guys who were a little short on talent, but were more effort and defense oriented. Also note that even though they are trying to play the young guys, when those guys aren't giving good effort on both ends, Flip sits them down.

Not saying Flip has always managed to do this in the best way possible, but it is clear that that is one message he has been trying to send, especially to the young 'upside' guys.

Posted by: ts35 | March 26, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

ts35

I don't know if you have any kids but it's very hard to let an older child get away with certain things and tell the younger ones they can't do it?

Ted is here so with a little hope he will clean house and start all over again.

I have always stated it starts at the top and the guys left over from the Abe and Ernie days have bad habits that I don't think can be changed.

Flip doesn't want to coach and teach so it is time to send him on his way too.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 26, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

...I agree that a player should always listen to his coach and follow his coach's instructions. But that doesn't translate into the coach always being right.

I don't like Flip Saunders as a coach, never did. I think he's soft, and then over compensates by trying to sound like a hard guy in his post game press conferences when he's publicly blasting his players. I never once heard Flip admit to anything that he himself could have done differently as a coach. To me, that's a sign of his insecurity. He's afraid to admit that he makes mistakes too. Players see right through that stuff. ...

Posted by: sonny2 | March 26, 2010 11:21 AM
______________________________

Well said, sir. Talent comes with egos, and coaches have to be able to manage the egos in order to manage the talent. If you cannot manage the ego, either trade it away or get someone who can -- and people who can subsume their own ego are easier to find that talented players. Keep in mind, if you simply cut AB, you'd only replace him with someone worse. All the players better than AB already have jobs.

Posted by: gbooksdc | March 26, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

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