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Wizards fail to reach 90 points for fifth game in a row

Rockets 96, Wizards 88

When the Wizards had just 40 points at halftime, I thought to myself, when is this team going to score 90 points again? The Wizards are struggling mightily to get points these days, and it didn't help that Andray Blatche missed 13 of 22 shots, Al Thornton missed eight of his first 11 attempts, and the starting backcourt of Mike Miller and Randy Foye combined to score just nine points on 4-for-15 shooting. JaVale McGee had just four points, but isn't relied upon for his scoring just yet.

Nick Young and James Singleton came off the bench to provide 30 points. Shaun Livingston got his most extended playing since joining the team, as he had four points and a game-high-tying five assists in 20 minutes, and helped the Wizards stage a subtle but safe fourth-quarter run.

But the Wizards have only scored in triple digits once in their past seven games, and it's no wonder that the Wizards have lost six of those games, and four in a row overall. In their past five games, the Wizards have failed to score more than 89 points and are averaging 84.2 points. The lowly New Jersey Nets - who have the league's worst record and could finish with the fewest wins in NBA history - are averaging 90.7 points. That's why it's probably no shocker that the Wizards' only victory during this stretch was an 89-85 win over the Nets.

I know that the Rockets have historically been one of the better defensive teams in the league, but believe it or not, that is not the case this season. They arrived in Washington in the bottom third in defensive field goal percentage (46.7) and points allowed (101.3). But you couldn't tell from their game against the Wizards on Tuesday night, when they held them to just 60 points through the first three quarters.

The Rockets still have Shane Battier, who ranks as one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and completely snuffed out Thornton through the first three quarters. But Yao Ming isn't commanding the paint this season, leaving Chuck Hayes - who is a foot shorter at 6-feet-6 - to protect the middle. As Blatche said, "Chuck Hayes is strong." But he is not Yao and he has been wearing down as the season progresses.

And, this really isn't about what the Rockets did. It's more about what the Wizards didn't, or rather can't do - score. I've harped on the limited scoring options for this team, and it was nice that Young finally broke from his slump to score 18 points. But in order for the Wizards to get more offense, those kind of games have to become the norm for Young, not the exception.

The Wizards had 22 assists on 35 made baskets on Tuesday, but didn't have many easy baskets. They only produced 11 fastbreak points. "We first got to stop guys, once we stop guys, we got to get out and run," Miller said. "We're not going to be able to play a whole lot of halfcourt sets and when we do, we got to play through Dray. Let Dray make plays out of the post. That's what we have to do."

But what happens on the nights when Blatche doesn't have it? He certainly struggled after scoring 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting in the first quarter. The rest of the game, Blatche was 4 for 13. He also committed five turnovers. It was the eighth time since the all-star break that Blatche has had a game with three or more turnovers.

"He's becoming a high turnover guy," Saunders said of Blatche.

Miller looked like he was finally about to assert himself offensively, as he took five shots and scored four points in the first period. But he only took four shots the rest of the game and finished with seven points. Miller has only scored in double figures two times since the all-star break and is averaging just 8.1 points his last 11 games.

"Like I said at the beginning of the year, I'm going to pick my spots," Miller said.

The Wizards don't have Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas on the floor anymore. This is the ultimate spot for Miller to do his thing and shoot the ball.

It's tough, though. This team doesn't really have much. They are depleted in talent through trades and injuries. Most of their main offensive weapons are inexperienced. But if other guys stop being aggressive, the Wizards could have several more offensively-challenged nights for the final 21 games.

By Michael Lee  |  March 10, 2010; 12:26 AM ET
 
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Comments

McGee showed some major improvement this game. At least this time when he got pump faked into the high jump 25 feet from the basket, the guy pumpfaking actually had a reasonable chance of hitting that shot.

That's progress, right?

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 10, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

McGee showed some major improvement this game. At least this time when he got pump faked into the high jump 25 feet from the basket, the guy pumpfaking actually had a reasonable chance of hitting that shot.

That's progress, right?

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 10, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Does that mean Flip is actually teaching his players something?

I didn't think that was in his job description.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 10, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse

Was one of the few at the game...

McGee: Yeah his first two fouls were terrible. He also coasted several times on offense. Why is the tallest man on the court ever standing all by himself on the three point line?

Young: Stats look good, but he scored when the game was already lost. His took a few bad shots when he first got into the game, and he rarely looked to pass. Eitherway, he and Lil' Man Boykins are the only two players that can drive to the basket. Young seemed happy when he hit is open threes when the game was already over. I'm not sure he is an answer, but there is no reason why he shouldn't be starting.

Foye: Thought he was going to do more. He was pretty invisible.

Miller: The only guy running around trying to get open on offense. The second half he looked frustrated or tired or like he lost interest. Shots weren't falling and teamates weren't finding him when open, but atleast for the first half before the game was lost he was trying.

Blatche: Made some great plays in the first half when it mattered, but also had some bigtime mental mistakes. Too often settled for mid-range jumpers. The Rockets always had good positioning and know how to take fouls, but still, they have no height. When Blatche played with his back to the basket he looked amazing.

Lil' Man Boykins: Was the only guy who consistently took the ball towards the hole. He passed pretty much everytime, sometimes hitting his target. At least he was trying to drive and dish. If only Foye would do that...

Oberto: Spoke to two groups of Argentine fans after the game. He played OK. Could only make a move to his right on O. Seems like a nice guy.

Scola: Beat the Wiz for positioning for rebounds almost everytime.

Jefferies: Made one nice defensive play, otherwise he did nothing. Par for his course.

Muresan: Some guy kept yelling at him trying to get his attention while he was on the phone. The big fella finally said said "I am tall, not deaf."

Wizard Ushers: Treated me like dirt. Couldn't move down seven rows with 6 minutes left, nobody in the building, and the game lost.

Wizard Cheerleaders: Skimpy outfits don't make up for lack of talent, preparation, and disorganization. Some of them weren't even in shape!

Posted by: jaguar2490 | March 10, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

(bump)

I think Chuck Hayes and to a lesser extent Scola and Hill took Blatche out of his game tonight. It's a good sign that on an off night for him he still managed 18 and 8, but they really needed him to show up bigger in the 2nd and 3rd. My Holiday-Inn Express take on it is that they made a concerted effort to take away his lateral moves, the dribble and the spin. In his next step of evolving offensively, he learn to go over the top with a jump hook or something similar and simple, like Scola's quick (and maybe illegal) turn and scoop. And divi, you can't be happy that Blatche did not manage to get a single free-throw attempt.

We've all spent a week debating the merits of Livingston, Young, and Miller...who'da thunk those 3 would be our most effective PG / SG / SF combo tonight? Sadly they didn't fare much better defensively than any of the other combos. If Livingston's knee can take the pounding, he's earned regular minutes. He got players more easy baskets in the halfcourt tonight than I have seen in some time from the Wiz. I think Young has earned more regular minutes as well. He shot the ball pretty well, but he also took it to the hole a couple of times and at least drew fouls (as per divi). I don't think he should take MM's minutes, but I don't see any proof right now of Ross's worth.

I would have liked to see McGee out there more because his size and athleticism should have been a tough matchup for the shorter Rockets. But Scola's guile sadly was too much for him, especially with the latitude the Rockets were getting from the refs. I hated watching it, but I don't begrudge them. Teams with a rep of being a good physical, aggressive, hustling defensive team always get the benefit of the doubt, especially against lesser teams. I did think the charge calls got a little out of control though.

Posted by: ts35 | March 10, 2010 2:01 AM | Report abuse

Muresan: Some guy kept yelling at him trying to get his attention while he was on the phone. The big fella finally said said "I am tall, not deaf."
Posted by: jaguar2490

LOL!

Posted by: ts35 | March 10, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse

I dunno, it was one of those odd contests you get when neither team is worth a hoot on offense. The Rockets launched 28 threes and connected on a miserable six. Scola commits a foul on every other possession and somehow never gets called. Chuck Hayes was in the game for nineteen minutes and it felt like thirty.

IMO you can't feel too disappointed when the team puts forth a consistent effort, and this club does. Their best ball handler is Shaun Livingston, for Pete's sake, who has his own chapter in orthopedic textbooks. Blatche is playing better than we had a right to hope, and even Nick Young hit a few baskets.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 10, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

The team needs serious backcourt help!

Posted by: jtrob_1 | March 10, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Blatche can't carry this team by himself and it's not fair to expect him to. I can't believe it has not been expressed to Miller that he is going to have to shoot the damn ball. For him to say he is going to pick his spots and that's all you are going to get and he is getting millions of dollars shows a lot about him. That was fine when we had Jamison and Butler and even Howard for a time. Miller needs to step up or they need to trade him and get someone in here that is going to do what it takes to win. I am not down on this team. They are doing the best they can with what they have. My expectations are not extremely high because we are not loaded. I just want to see them compete and they are trying. Good to see Nick Young off the bench. Hopefully Flip will play Nick more and Nick will respond with better play all around. Oh well, Atlanta next.

Posted by: ivyleague | March 10, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

can we hire Tim Grover as strength and conditioning coach?McGee,Young,Livingston,AB all need to go see Grover or something this summer. His training helped take MJ to the next level and is relied on by several top tier players these days; DWade for one. I know some guys can't get big and the gain can negatively affect speed, quickness and hops for some guys.
But those guys gotta put some armor on. They can't take a bump. I argued about Dh's development on offense vs. JM's and said that DH was a coupla steps ahead of JM but didn't have a whole lot of game. What i saw in the espn highlight pckge of last night's magic game only served to solidify my opinion. DH does't use any special fakes,or moves, or sky hooks. He goes where he wants to go within 10ft of the basket. Why? Because he uses his body to accept the contact and get to the rim. He rarely gets pushed off the block. I swear whenever JM jumps for a block or reb the "breeze" carries him 3-5 feet away from where he first jumped.
That really goes for all those guys, with the exception of Blatch who can take a bump but could be a beast with 15-20lbs of RIP on him.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 10, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Sure seems to me like Saunders has a lot to say about AB when he doesnt perform well but MM and Foye and other poorly performing vets get a pass. This reminds me of the bad old days when CB would turn it over 6 times yet someone else would get the blame.

Is the pointed criticism supposed to be instructional or motivational? I hope it's working but I doubt it. It's probably more discouraging than anything else.

Posted by: original_mark | March 10, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

"Is the pointed criticism supposed to be instructional or motivational? I hope it's working but I doubt it. It's probably more discouraging than anything else. Posted by: original_mark"

Saunders is a veteran coach so I suspect when he's critical, it's because he thinks it might actually work. Older, more mature players have generally stopped listening. It's like first year medical students vs third year -- regardless of evidence, somewhere along the way they decide they know more than their instructors. Problem in Detroit was he had a group of vets with big resumes and they eventually just tuned him out.

Here's another wild guess -- Flip suspects he won't be here next season.

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

I think it was Bill Parcells who liked to address his new teams by saying: "I'm going to treat you all the same way -- differently."

Posted by: Samson151 | March 10, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

"I swear whenever JM jumps for a block or reb the "breeze" carries him 3-5 feet away from where he first jumped."

Funny but unfortunately true. What a wonderful athlete that kid is. Against Scola and Chuck Hayes of Houston he looked like an antelope cornered by hyenas.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 10, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

""Like I said at the beginning of the year, I'm going to pick my spots," Miller said."


At least he knows he's a limited role player.

Posted by: harrybalz | March 10, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Nick Young sorry.

Posted by: RedDMV | March 10, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

""Like I said at the beginning of the year, I'm going to pick my spots," Miller said."

translated - "My best chance at a good contract is if I finish the year with the league's best 3pt%, so I will only take the wide open shots on my sweet spots."

Posted by: cballer | March 10, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

The reason they have lost a number of these games is the horrific play of MM and Randy Foye coupled with a mediocre coach who has not made a meaningful bench decison this year. Mike Miller is playing 35-40 minutes a game and has not hit double figures in forever. He can's score or defend and his baketball IQ is questionable.

This nonsense about Nick Young being in a slump is ludicris. To be in a slump you would have to be playing. The only diffference last night was he got time.

Blatche's numbers and the teams suffers because you have no perimeter offense to keep the lane clear. The off ball dfenders are hedging on each post up becuase they can get back to MM before he can set his feet to shoot or get to the rim.

Finally, why would the GM go out and sign 3 undersized frontcourt players when this team clearly needs a guard that can get the ball past halfcourt against ball pressure.

Even if they could, this team would be stupid to void Arenas contract particularly given his gradual improvement from the beginning of the season to when he was suspednded.

Posted by: NewManagement | March 10, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Livingston, McGee, AB, Singleton and Thorton are emerging as the bright spots. Livingston is the only PG we have who doesn't labor to get the team quickly into its offense.

We still don't get back on defense fast enough.

MM thinks his job is to play well vs winning games. Nick is master of scoring when it doesn't matter. But unlike Miller at least he'll try to score.

I would like to see a starting line-up of: Livingston, Young, AB, McGee and Thorton; Foye, MM and Singleton come off the bench. Work in the others as needed.

Posted by: jweber1 | March 10, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

This is the best we can ever expect from Nick Young. He is what he is. A one-way cherry picker. He shoulda been traded when we were cleaning house last month.

Posted by: djnumb | March 10, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

To all the Nick Young haters out there: Did Nick Young cut you off on the Beltway this morning? Oh, I know, he ran off with your girl! All Nick did against the Rockets was prove that he can put up points if he gets meaningful minutes. He is a SHOOTING guard. He even drives to the basket.

Every team needs multiple scoring options. The Wizards basically have Andray Blatche, Thornton and Nick Young as offensive threats. It is inconceivable to me how some of you would prefer that Young sit on the bench as the Wiz continually fail to reach 100 points.

Maybe Nick took your parking space...

Posted by: musicmanjr | March 10, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the team played better when they first got together, without time to practice. Now after some practices, they regressed?!

Posted by: sagaliba | March 10, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse


"Looks like the team played better when they first got together, without time to practice. Now after some practices, they regressed?!"

Looks more like by now they've been together long enough to have been scouted by other teams. Unknown quantities tend to perform better than expected--until they're known.

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

Why does Quinton Ross always get minutes over Nick Young? What purpose does this serve in building for the future? Nick Young efficiently scored 18 points against one of the most disciplined defensive teams in the league last night. Perhaps this is the same logic that allowed Fabricio to crowd out minutes from AB and JM up until the trades or Deshawn Stevenson be a starting sg. Flip Saunders has as much to prove as his players as far as I'm concerned. He should have looked down the sideline at Adelman for some coaching cues.

Posted by: audacitea | March 10, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Everyone got their wish from the post yesterday. Nick Young got minutes. 18 pts...zero assists.

Posted by: jefferu | March 10, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Shane Battier must have done a heck of a job on thornton because usually he is a machine taking the ball to the bucket but last night it looked like he didn't have his red bull.

Posted by: jefferu | March 10, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Why is the tallest man on the court ever standing all by himself on the three point line?

Posted by: jaguar2490 | March 10, 2010 1:59 AM

Its called floor spacing. How is Blatche supposed to get good shots in the post if McGee (and his defender) is also in the post?

Posted by: jones-y | March 10, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Nick is what he is and should be asked to do what he does. He's not an assists guy. He is a decent defender when motivated. He's a scorer. His role should probably be as the shooter coming off the bench for 25 minutes per game and putting up 15 shots. He is definitely a good scorer and would probably have some confidence (and success) if his role was defined and solidified.

Past winners of the 6th man award:
Antawan Jamison, Ben Gordon, Mike Miller, Manu Ginobli, Bobby jackson, Danny Manning, Leandro Barbosa, etc.

No one ever asked these guys to rack up assists. Their job was to get buckets and they did that. NY should be asked to do that and only that.

Posted by: original_mark | March 10, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, these guys werent good defenders for the most part. Ginobili was the exception and Barbosa was a pest, as well.
Mainly, these dudes were gunners.
More past winners were John Starks, Detlef Shrempf (twice), Ricky Pierce(twice), Kevin McHale (twice). McHale was a notorious black hole.

Posted by: original_mark | March 10, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

They likely have been scouted more. And it seems clear that teams that play aggressive defense against them cause them problems. They hung in with the Celtics, but the Bucks and Rockets gave them fits. Now we'll see if they are able to make adjustments.

Certainly Blatche will have to learn to deal with the added attention, and other guys are going to have to step up to stretch the defense. Miller at least looked for his shot more last night.

With Nick, I think Flip needs to keep him on a leash still, but a longer leash. If he makes a couple of boneheaded plays in a row, sit him down for a few....but then put him back in. Teams need scorers, no doubt, but good lord that kid needs to go to the Norman Dale school of passing. You have to make a serious effort not to at least accidentally get one assist somewhere in there.

Posted by: ts35 | March 10, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Now that we are in hopelsee mode and we're fully into play-the-youngsters mode, it would be nice to see some sets called for Clueless McGee so he can work on getting good at a particular game situation.

It'd be nice to see that play drawn up that yeilds McGee with the ball just above the FT line facing the basket, with just his man to beat to the rim.

Last summer he was getting the ball at the key and driving with that stupid behind the back dribble, and he rightly got screamed at. But he really could be a unique threat in the high post, so it would be nice to see him get some opportunities to develop

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

No one ever asked these guys to rack up assists. Their job was to get buckets and they did that. NY should be asked to do that and only that.
Posted by: original_mark

That is certainly Nick's best, and perhaps only NBA-caliber skill, but he should still work on developing other parts of his game. He doesn't have to go Mike-Miller-all-utility-stats only, but he at least needs to learn to give up the ball before he gets too deep and has no options left. He got seriously bailed out with a foul call on at least one of his drives.

Posted by: ts35 | March 10, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I used to see NY look off Aj and CB last year and it was almost comical. They'd be sitting under the hoop clapping their hands for the ball and he'd dribble a few more times then pull up.

I think it was partly frustration out of not getting enough shots and partially because he has never learned to pass. In HS and college, he was asked to do nothing but shoot. We knew that when we drafted him.
He averaged 1.3, 1.4 and 1.6 assists per game in college. We can't expect Stockton or Nash now. Either give him the ball and watch him shoot or get rid of him. You can't change a man's game completely and ask him to be successful.

Posted by: original_mark | March 10, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

""He's becoming a high turnover guy," Saunders said of Blatche."

That is a given since he's the go to guy, being double teamed a lot and no 2nd or 3rd scorer. AB is also such an unselfish player that he sometimes pass up a shot and force something. This issue will improve with maturity. 5 turnovers! That's nothing compared to what Gilbert, CB and AJ use to have.

Posted by: Dave381 | March 10, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

... but I hear you, ts35. He STILL needs to give it up even in the midst of gunning sometimes.

Posted by: original_mark | March 10, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Blatche just had one of those nights when his shots weren't going in and he made a few turnovers. That's going to happen sometimes, when you expect your young PF to carry the offense. He also made a lot of good plays, particularly on defense.

Foye is the big problem. He's just not a primary point guard. If you can't get the team into the offense, they're not going to get a lot of high percentage shots.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | March 10, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

AB is the real deal, imo, it's pretty clear. he missed shots last night that he usually makes, not a big deal. The turnovers are something he will clean up as he gets better at passing out of the double (and triple teams). I think he could be more aggressive however, he'll get to the line if he starts forcing certain shots like every big time scorer in the league does.

Javale was terrible last night, much to the delight of kal and rphilli. But Flip didnt pull him for his poor play so much as lack of effort and laziness I think. As I said, you could even see it in the shootaround. I do question however how many sets are run with Mcgee at the top of the key, would have been nice to see AB/JM attempting to post up the Rockets short frontline.

Posted by: divi3 | March 10, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"AB is the real deal, imo, it's pretty clear. he missed shots last night that he usually makes, not a big deal"

Yeah, he didn't shoot that badly. What was it, 9 for 22? that's a decent night for Gilbert Arenas. You expect your main scorer to get extra defensive attention. He should just keep shooting.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 10, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Javale. Now that we have a "true" PG in Livingston, Flip should design some lob plays for JM. Same way with the Bulls a couple of years ago when they have Tyson Chandler.

Posted by: Dave381 | March 10, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"Shane Battier must have done a heck of a job on thornton because usually he is a machine taking the ball to the bucket but last night it looked like he didn't have his red bull.Posted by: jefferu"

Shane Battier is a walking soporific for the opponent's best scorer. He just annoys them til they give up and stop shooting. Houston's still a really good defensive club, stats or no stats, but you see what a difference it makes to lose Artest.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 10, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Javale. Now that we have a "true" PG in Livingston, Flip should design some lob plays for JM. Same way with the Bulls a couple of years ago when they have Tyson Chandler.

Posted by: Dave381 | March 10, 2010 11:23 AM

No doubt, and Earl went to that well twice in a row which was good to see. But as lil said, they gotta close the doors at VC or javale gets blown off course. He needs to hit the weight hard this summer, no reason he cant put on 25 pounds if the organization stays after him about it.

Posted by: divi3 | March 10, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

My only problem with AB last night is that when he got stymied, he started throwing up bad shots, off-balance, wrong-footed jumpers, etc. He's gotten away with some of that recently, but it's not a recipe for long term success. Divi you said that AB looked awesome with his back to the basket last night, and he might've in the first quarter, but for the other 3 quarters, he looked a little lost because he couldn't get around anyone. A few of his turnovers last night were because he got frustrated, tried to do too much and dribbled the ball of his leg or lost it out of bounds. No biggie, he'll learn. When he's being guarded by someone 3 or 4 inches (at least) shorter, to go over the top or put them in a situation where they have little choice but to foul.

With McGee, I don't know that I would run a lot of sets for him in the high post / top of the key area. Bigs who do well there can usually drive, pass, and shoot. JM has that loping drive, but I would think he's more inclined to get stripped by a guard from the top of the key. He's not a great passer. And he has decent touch, but is not a consistent shooter yet. It would make more sense to me to have Blatche in the high post and McGee down low. Teams have to respect Blatche's shot and drive and he has some passing skill.

Posted by: ts35 | March 10, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

no reason he cant put on 25 pounds if the organization stays after him about it.

Posted by: divi3

I think that's a mistake. McGee's gift, aside from his length, is his ridiculous leaping ability. Adding even 25lbs of muscle I think would reduce that. He does need to get stronger though and especially work on his balance. I wouldn't think he's ever going to be a massive Dwight Howard type, but he could easily be a better version of Marcus Camby or Tyson Chandler.

Posted by: ts35 | March 10, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

ts35, the boy needs to do some squats my friend, big time imho. That sort of weight will build a lower base so he doesnt get shoved around AND wont impact his leaping as legs will be stronger and more explosive. The Kid can barely keep his shorts up he's so thin! 25 pounds on a 7ft frame may not even be that noticeable visually.

He needs to do serious grip work also, too easy for players to knock the ball out of his hands when rebounding.

This is the kind of stuff a winning organization would see too, I really hope somebody at VC gets it!

Posted by: divi3 | March 10, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

ts35,

You're dead on, re: McGee. Putting aside the issue of whether he's even capable of bulking up like that (I think he's likely one of those guys with a naturally thin frame, like Camby. As I recall, it was reported during the preseason that McGee had, in fact, put on about 10 extra pounds over the summer, while working with Team USA. Can't really tell, can we?), I think trying to turn him into a hulking low-post banger would be a (A) a waste of his natural talents and (B) doomed to fail. He's not Andrew Bynum, or even Andrew Bogut. I said last season that the guy he really needs to be patterning himself after is Chris (Birdman) Andersen. Anderson isn't esp. bulky, but he's long, quick and athletic and uses that to his best advantage at both ends. That's the template McGee should be building on.

There's no question he needs to get stronger, but that's not necessarily the same as getting bigger/wider.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 10, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"Its called floor spacing. How is Blatche supposed to get good shots in the post if McGee (and his defender) is also in the post?"

Putting McGee 20 feet from the basket doesn't really do much to solve that, because everyone knows he poses no threat, either offensively or on the boards from out there. If anything, it makes it easier for McGee's man to drop down and double Blatche because then he doesn't have to worry about getting back to McGee, because he knows there's zero chance of McGee doing anything from out there to make him pay for it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 10, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

bogut is listed at 260 and mcgee at 252. If JM were to actually weigh 252 he wouldnt be getting thrown around like he is, I bet he's more like 235 by the end of the season.

Posted by: divi3 | March 10, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Which only underscores my point. He seems to have a frame that'll likely have a hard time packing on and holding onto a lot of extra muscle. Whatever extra weight he put on in the offseason didn't stick around for the full schedule.

I remember reading stories about all of the stuff the Sixers tried to get Shawn Bradley to bulk up. None of it worked. His body just wasn't built for it. And even if it the Wiz could succeed in packing a bunch of bulk onto McGee, then they run the risk of his naturally skinny body not being able to handle the extra weight and his knees and ankles developing issues form all the extra weight. Greg Oden spent a lot of time in the weight room bulking up while rehabbing from his first knee surgery during his aborted rookie year, to the point where the Blazers trainers had to tell him to knock it off because he was too heavy. There's some thought that the extra weight contributed to the subsequent knee problems.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 10, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

bogut is listed at 260 and mcgee at 252. If JM were to actually weigh 252 he wouldnt be getting thrown around like he is, I bet he's more like 235 by the end of the season.

Posted by: divi3

We all agree he needs to get stronger, and especially develop a stronger base. Whether he puts on weight to do that, we'll just have to wait and see. He's only 20, so I'm sure he naturally fill out as he gets older as we all do (some, like myself, more than others). But he also needs to work on his balance and leverage. That's part of where guys like Bogut and Scola are taking advantage. That and just his understanding of the game.

Buchantz, I think in the Boston game mentioned something about him not having played a lot of organized basketball, does anyone have any info on that? I googled him and it looked like he played throughout high school. It also looks like he played for 3 or 4 different high schools, which may have affected his development some. I think that was because of his mom, not because of academics. I also wonder how long he's been 7 feet. Did he hit it early like Shaq, or is he a late bloomer like David Robinson?

Posted by: ts35 | March 10, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

There was an interesting article I did see (i'll try to find it again) where his mom said she taught him the game from outside in. I guess she didn't figure on him being a 7 footer? I think his college coach also said something to the effect of that they thought his 'natural' position was as a SF or PF, but he was so tall, they had to play hm at center. I'll try to dig this stuff up for reference.

Posted by: ts35 | March 10, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/draft2008/columns/story?page=080513-mcgee

"McGee learned the game by watching his mom and the European style of play. His mom preached the importance of learning the game from outside and then developing inside. 'She never really made me go to the post,' McGee said."

Posted by: ts35 | March 10, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

he basically played 1 season at Nevada and that's it (plus 10mins/game frosh year). Nevada listed him at 7' 237pounds. Skinny!

This kid will not be a successful nba player nightly until he gets up to 250ish, which hopefully will happen somewhat on it's own at mid20s. As it stands, plenty of 6'9" PFs outweigh him, not gonna cut it imho.

I'm not calling for him to become a hulking banger in the post, just get to his listed weight at least. Proper weight training will actually make him even more explosive than he already is, and a world class trainer (will we have one??) can straddle the line between good weight and too much weight.

This summer is HUGE for both AB and JM re: conditioning etc. Be a major disappointment if they dont show up next year clearly in better shape.

Posted by: divi3 | March 10, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Every summer since he's been here has been a huge summer for Blatche re: conditioning. Huge in the sense that, after talking big about turning over a new leaf, he's reported to camp out of shape every single time. (The shooting only gives him a pass once; the others are all on him.)

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 10, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"This kid will not be a successful nba player nightly until he gets up to 250ish,"

Tell that to Marcus Camby and Chris Andersen, both of whom are listed at around 230-235. McGee can definitely be a successful NBA player at whatever his current weight is. All he has to do is stop trying to play like a guy who weighs 250 lbs. and play like a guy who understands what the strengths of his actual body type are.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 10, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Blatche has thin arms and a little bit of a gut. Hopefully, this season gives him a sense of what he needs to work on.

Posted by: harrybalz | March 10, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and he needs to stop leaping into the air like Baryshnikov every time time the guy he's guarding arches an eyebrow.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 10, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

This whole discussion of Young, Blatche and McGee brings up a different point to me of the kinds of guys EG seems to draft (or at least has drafted for the Wiz). We seem to get a lot of the talented, but happy-go-lucky guys. They all have talent, but we definitely need to get more serious-minded grinders. More do anything to win guys. Singleton seems to bring a bit of that. Blatche seems to be working towards it. But it would be nice to draft a kid where it doesn't take them3 or 4 years to figure out how hard they need to work.

Posted by: ts35 | March 10, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

True enough. And it's not even a case of the Wiz going to the playoffs for several years and drafting late, because several of the guys taken after McGee and Young came into the league ready to roll. That being said, the draft is always a crapshoot, and the lower down you pick the more luck you need.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 10, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

IF nick was given PT this would be the norm. Someone mention RB and Assist in HS and college, you was mistaken HS was more like 27 points 7 rebounds a game, college 17 points and 5 RB a game. You have to play to be in a slump.

Posted by: maejude | March 10, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I think that's a mistake. McGee's gift, aside from his length, is his ridiculous leaping ability. Adding even 25lbs of muscle I think would reduce that. He does need to get stronger though and especially work on his balance. I wouldn't think he's ever going to be a massive Dwight Howard type, but he could easily be a better version of Marcus Camby or Tyson Chandler.

Posted by: ts35 | March 10, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I trust grover to do the strength and conditioning work with McGee and not screw him up. He worked Mj to get every ounce out of himself every night. McGee may need to get a little bigger (as divi said 25lbs isn't a lot stretched over a 7ft+ frame)but he definitely needs to get stronger. He can do pilates,yoga,pullups,pushups different things that define and develop muscle groups without necessarily making you huge.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 10, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Kalo. JM was allowing AB to be doubled by being nowhere near the play. Also the Wiz were continually being outpositioned for rebounds. Having JM ready to leap in on the weakside along with keeping his defender away from AB is a good thing. If AB gets doubled, JM is open on the weakside, a pass or two away from an open shot.

Thornton didn't look good last night. Perhaps it was the defense. He made some ugly mental mistakes that were on him. He also didn't seem to enjoy getting Flip's coaching advice.

Maybe AB is getting coached, and Foye isn't because Foye isn't expected back next year...?

Posted by: jaguar2490 | March 10, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Al's "sore" again, CVS outside of the VC was outta astroglide.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 10, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Will increasing JM's size keep him down and prevent him from jumping on people and getting silly fouls? Will more bulk keep him from taking plays off because he is tired? JM needs to play better, not bigger. He is tall and athletic. That is who he is. His main problem in getting production is not his body, it's his head.

Posted by: jaguar2490 | March 10, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

There are so many NICK YOUNG haters on this board, I can only assume he wronged you in another LIFE. Not you MARK. But they no who they are. Was nick the only one scoring, the game was over long before nick got in. If all you look for is bad things to say, you can always find that, my bag that's nick young.

Posted by: maejude | March 10, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Kalo. JM was allowing AB to be doubled by being nowhere near the play.

Posted by: jaguar2490 | March 10, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Wrong. MM and the point guard's men were helping down because the Wizards are impotent at both spots. Both MM and Foye are role players that don't have the athelicism to create, score or defend. The benefit of this whole exercise is that it is clear that management does not need to spend serious money on either of those guys.

Posted by: NewManagement | March 10, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Don't understand why JM has to become the Hulk to bulk up some and get stronger. AB is clearly of the same body type and he is much stronger than when he entered the league. He can hold his own now, but still gets pushed around occasionally by the "biceps" players in the league, which is ok bc he uses his other talents to compensate for those occasions. His drop step dream shake move has really impressed me. He seems to be getting 4-6 points a game off that move alone. Who taught him that one? Oh yeah, Sam Cassell.

Anyway, 10 pounds with added strength from the weight room is all that is needed. Shawn Bradley was 7'6 and obviously his body was genetically out of wack. JM already displays a slightly cut up frame that Bradley never showed. He always looked like he never touched a weight, which I am sure he did. Point is that I don't think JM is that genetically out of whack that he can't add 10 pounds of muscle. I think his potential ceiling is as a better/more disruptive Marcus Camby, which is not bad for a late first rounder.

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 10, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

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