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'Andrew' Blatche finishes 12th in MIP voting

Andray Blatche made no secret about his desires to win the league's most improved player award. But for some reason, the poor guy didn't get any votes for the award.

Some guy named Andrew Blatche got one first place, two second-place votes and one third place vote to finish 12th overall in voting for the most confusing award handed out each season, since there really isn't an established criteria for it. It rarely goes to the guy who actually improved certain aspects of his game and instead often lands with the guy who racked up more stats because of increased playing time.


It's Dray, not Drew. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Houston's Aaron Brooks claimed the honors this season, after averaging career highs in points (19.6), and assists (5.3) for a Rockets team that played all season without Yao Ming and most of the first half without the since-traded Tracy McGrady. Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant finished second and San Antonio's George Hill got third.

After a stellar second half of the season -- caused by the opportunity created by Wizards' midseason roster makeover -- Blatche failed to become the fourth player in franchise history to be thus honored [Pervis Ellison (1992), Don MacLean (1994) and Gheorge Muresan (1996) have claimed the award].

Blatche also apparently failed to make enough of an impact for the NBA to get his name right in the official media release. He is listed as Andrew Blatche instead of Andray, which I'm sure upsets his mother, Angela Oliver, perhaps more than anyone. I sent Blatche a text message about the mistake and he replied, "Lol."

Blatche was a late bloomer for the MIP race, averaging 22.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks over his last 32 games. He also shot 48.5 percent from the field, benefiting from the absence of Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler to emerge as a go-to-guy.

After the season ended, Blatche disputed the notion that he had an easy time collecting those statistics since the Wizards went 9-23 after the all-star break.

"That's a funny thing to me," he said. "People say, 'It's easier to do it on a bad team.' I don't think so. I think it would be easier to do on a good team, because therefore, I wouldn't have that much attention. I think next year is going to be a great season for us. Gil is going to come back and they are going to make the right decisions about bringing guys back and bringing some guys in."

I was in Dallas earlier this week and I asked Haywood about Blatche's development in the second half of the season. Haywood said, "It's crazy, because me and one of my good friends, we argue about Dray all the time. I always tell him, 'This boy has all-star potential. And he always told me, 'I don't see it.' I said, 'I'm telling you what I see every day.' "

"If you look at Dray's skill set. A guy that's 6-11; can push the ball the length of the court, get his own shot off the dribble; shoot a spot up trey; has a midrange game; a post game; and can be a great weak-side defender," Haywood said. "I said, there is really not another guy in the league like him.' I'm like, maybe he Dirk, but he's just polished. But a true guard handle, there is no else out there like Dray. That's why I knew he could be successful. I knew he could do it. I'm glad he showed the league what he can do. I sent him some very encouraging text messages. My whole thing for him, is 'Boy please just stay out of trouble.' That's all I want to him do."

And, all the league needs to do is get his name right.

By Michael Lee  |  April 22, 2010; 4:05 PM ET
 
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Comments

Dray would look even better if he had Haywood next to him. Ernie Grunfeld needs to be fired for including Haywood in the Dallas trade -- especially when Cuban bragged to the media after the deal went down that he would have made the deal even without Haywood!

Posted by: TheFunBunch | April 22, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, we're proud of you!!

Posted by: harrybalz | April 22, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"Blatche failed to become the fourth player in franchise history to be thus honored [Pervis Ellison (1992), Don MacLean (1994) and Gheorge Muresan (1996) have claimed the award]."

Considering what happened to those guys' careers after they won, maybe Blatche should count his blessings.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 22, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Yours for the taking next season 'Drew.

Posted by: divi3 | April 22, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Javale put on some pounds and muscle over the summer and be in the running for this award next year. It will be interesting to see what kind of centers the front office brings in and whether they see Javale as a starter next year, or coming off the bench.

Posted by: jweber1 | April 22, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Without the strength to be a consistent physical force defensively and on the boards against opposing Cs and without any offensive skills to speak of, it's hard to see him as a starter (at least on a team with hopes of being good). And given the less than steep arc of his progress/improvement so far, it's going to be hard to bank too much on his improvement, at least to the extent that they pass up an opportunity to upgrade the position (if such an opportunity presents itself).

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 22, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

if Cousins is drafted they may trade Mcgee.

Posted by: divi3 | April 22, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

No reason to trade him (unless someone is offering value too good to pass up in return). Even if he's not starter material, he can still develop into a useful backup. They've got him under contract for a couple more years at a cheap price. Let it play out and see what they've got.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 22, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Blatche got one first place, two second-place votes and one third place vote

Washington sportswriters are as bad as the fans that voted for AI on the all-star ballot.

Posted by: djnnnou | April 22, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

There's no way they trade McGee simply because they draft Cousins. I believe Cousins is more a power forward than center in the NBA, especially on the defensive end. The Wiz will see the JM thing out.

Posted by: zxhoya | April 22, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Im glad to see Wood showing Dray the love and then kicking some wisdom at the end. I still think he's better with the young guys than AJ.

Posted by: dlts2041 | April 22, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

" I believe Cousins is more a power forward than center in the NBA, especially on the defensive end. The Wiz will see the JM thing out.Posted by: zxhoya"

I don't see that. Looks to me like Cousins lacks the lateral quicks to guard many NBA power forwards. He's more effective against centers. And on offense, it will be hard for other big men to cover him.

But I also don't see any reason for trading McGee unless the offer is just stellar. What's wrong with his development to date? Truth is, he's one of the better young big men in the League (OK, that's not saying that much). So he gets pushed off the court by big strong guys. He's still very effective off the bench against thinner types. I'm perfectly happy if the club decides to cement him into that role for another season while he matures...

For an 18th selection, he continues to be a helluva find.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 22, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

He even speaks Chinese ... can't understand this slight!

Posted by: frigate32 | April 22, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Blatche is going to be really good next year. The Wizards are going to get a great player in the draft to go along with Blatche.

Meanwhile, in the D League, Alonzo Gee and Mike Harris, who both got a taste of Wizardry this season, went at each other in the playoffs. (for those who don't care for the NFL draft)

http://www.ridiculousupside.com/2010/4/22/1436327/rio-grande-valley-vipers-headed-to

Posted by: PostSubscriber | April 22, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm not saying they should trade Mcgee...meant they could get enticing offers if Cousins is drafted, especially if Javale excels in the summer league again

Posted by: divi3 | April 23, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I keep hearing Wilbon just totally bash Blatche recently. He has absolutely nothing good to say about him, all based on "2 opinions of players from other teams that he respects".

It is good to see Haywood is not a punk like Wilbon who lets someone else form his opinion.

Posted by: G-Man11 | April 23, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

in wilbon's most recent chat he kind of backpedaled...someone asked if the Wiz would be a better team with AB next season. He responded (paraphrase) "It would be a good start, because AB will never be a franchise player."

23 win team sets the personnel bar at "franchise player"?

wilbon's a turd.

Posted by: divi3 | April 23, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Javale gets no praise from Kallie and faint praise from Samson. Surprise, surprise.

But these dudes were Dray haters as little as six months ago.

Both Dray and Javale will be all-stars before they reach 30.

Patience, patience, my friends.

The Wiz problems are EG and Arenas, not Dray and Javale.

Posted by: Izman | April 23, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

How would anyone know if Blatche was one of the most improved players this year?

Maybe he was this good but since Abe told Ernie to play AJ 40 minutes a game AB never got any playing time.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | April 23, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to get any attention from the league when you're on a team as bad as the 2009-2010 Wizards.

To TheFunBunch's point about the Dallas trade, a couple days ago I read a blog entry in the Dallas Morning News saying that (paraphrasing) the Mavs robbed the Wizards blind in that trade. So we know what the folks in Dallas think of the trade.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | April 23, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Unlike fans, GMs know that "excelling in summer league" means a grand total of bupkis in the regular season.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 23, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The Wiz definatly had a clearance sale regarding the trades and not getting as much value back as they should, but in all honesty their backs were up against the wall with the deadline. They dealt out of weakness as they always do. They stood the chance of not moving the players and getting any cap relif which is very important when you're not winning anyway. Trying to negotiate with Brendan next year would not have made sense no matter what you're opinion of him is. He would probably command more money than the Wiz should put out for him when our win totals would not improve. Mark Cuban held out and got both CB and BH. How many teams would Dallas had to compete with for their services?

Posted by: millineumman | April 23, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

How would anyone know if Blatche was one of the most improved players this year?

Maybe he was this good but since Abe told Ernie to play AJ 40 minutes a game AB never got any playing time.


Posted by: bulletsfan78 | April 23, 2010 11:13 AM

Didn't you know that Jamison locked down Blatche in practice. LOL

Posted by: G-Man11 | April 23, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Crickets on here. Any movement toward a new direction? BUEHLER, BUEHLER, LEONSIS-POLLIN?

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 23, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

If Blatche had played these minutes the whole season, and not had the few run-ins with the coaching staff, he might've had a chance at the award.

As for McGee, I think he'd developing well. Yeah, he's got a lot to learn, but he has looked better each year, imo. I wouldn't trade him just because we drafted someone else at his position.

This is should be an exciting offseason for the Wiz. We pretty much all knew what they were going to do last offseason, much to the dismay of many. Now they have money, youth, some returning talent, and a top draft pick...

Posted by: segastyle | April 23, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Now they have money, youth, some returning talent, and a top draft pick...

Posted by: segastyle | April 23, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

...and none of that will matter if Ernie is still the GM.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | April 23, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"Javale gets no praise from Kallie and faint praise from Samson. Surprise, surprise.But these dudes were Dray haters as little as six months ago.Both Dray and Javale will be all-stars before they reach 30.Patience, patience, my friends.The Wiz problems are EG and Arenas, not Dray and Javale.Posted by: Izman"

LOL EG and Arenas are our demons, eh? Aren't you going to cite their PERs? Oh wait, EG doesn't play. You'll probably petition John Hollister to create a GMER.

Write this down. Since he became a starter, Blatche has become a very productive player with some very definite flaws.

Now write this down: McGee is the more talented, less skilled of the two players, and at the moment seems to play better off the bench.

Don't set your Bic down just yet. Here's more: Gilbert Arenas is not the player he once was. And quite possibly will never be again. Still, he showed this past season that he can still play at a high level.

And about Ernie Grunfeld -- he's made some good draft picks and some good trades. He's also made some bad selections and trades. Some of the bad ones did look a whole lot better at the time he made them than they do now.

Finally: playing in an All-Star game before you're 30 means you're a good player, not a great one. Just ask Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 23, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

"Posted by: Izman"

You may return to your Fox News Channel broadcast now.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 23, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Now write this down: McGee is the more talented, less skilled of the two players, and at the moment seems to play better off the bench.
Posted by: Samson151

Since there's not a lot going on in Wizardland right now, I'll actually debate this. I think McGee jumps higher, I don't think he's more talented. Not saying McGee is not talented, just think has Blatche has more natural aptitude, balance and agility.

Posted by: ts35 | April 23, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"But these dudes were Dray haters as little as six months ago" posted by Izman.

Dray hater, no.

Izman hater -- that's another story.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 23, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

"Since there's not a lot going on in Wizardland right now, I'll actually debate this. I think McGee jumps higher, I don't think he's more talented. Not saying McGee is not talented, just think has Blatche has more natural aptitude, balance and agility.
Posted by: ts35"

Hmmm... to my way of thinking, Blatche is in the NBA primarily because of two traits. He's big, and he has some legit offensive skills. Agile, not so much.

McGee, IMO, is in the league because of his length and his ability to run, jump, and block shots. He's not an offensive skill player, although he seems to have the makings of a nice jumper. He reminds me of other young athletes who rely on their physical gifts and may actually become better players once those begin to fade.

For later draft choices -- Blatche was what, 49th? and McGee 18th -- they'd both have to be considered real successes. Whoever was GM when they got picked was either lucky or smart. Of course, the club had to wait a couple seasons with Blatche and probably the same is true for McGee, but still, nice going.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 23, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... to my way of thinking, Blatche is in the NBA primarily because of two traits. He's big, and he has some legit offensive skills. Agile, not so much.

McGee, IMO, is in the league because of his length and his ability to run, jump, and block shots.

For later draft choices -- Blatche was what, 49th? and McGee 18th -- they'd both have to be considered real successes.

Posted by: Samson151

Maybe some of it is due to fatigue, but McGee doesn't seem to actually run all that well, and he doesn't move laterally that well either. Blatche also has much better body control / coordination at this point. Some of that is age, some is skill (as in actually knowing what you're trying to do), but I think some of it is just a little more natural (or ingrained) for AB. AB has a very good baseline spin move, which is a sign of balance and agility. If he had McGee's hops, he would be a better finisher than he is.

McGee was a solid pick and AB was a very good pickup for where they were drafted. Like most GMs who spend most of their time picking in the mid-to-late first round, EG's draft history is definitely mixed.

Posted by: ts35 | April 23, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

What no GREG MONROE debate? Whew.

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 24, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Darnell's draft board:


1st pick:

1. Turner
2. Wall
3. Favors
4. Monroe


2 later picks:

1. Zoubek
2. Vasquez
3. Lawal
4. Booker

Current Wizards free agents prioritizer:

1. Livingston
2. Miller
3. Singleton
4. Foye
5. Howard
6. Oberto

Available free agent prioritizer:

1. Lee
2. Gay
3. Johnson
4. Stoudamire
4. Chandler
5. Haywood
6. Frye
7. Hughes
8. Lowry
9. Duhon
10. S.Williams

Note the prioritizers are general and can vary depending upon who is drafted or who is available. For instance if Wall is not drafted and Livingston is not retained FAs Lowry and Duhon would likely move higher on the FA prioritizer. If Favors is drafted, a player like Stoudamire would likely drop.

But in general, these are the player I am most interested in depending on availability, price, and position need.

Turner IMO is the best fit for our team out of anyone in the draft.

Livingston really impressed me, and I think he and Gil could co-exist in our backcourt very well. Miller and Singleton are also guys that I just like the way they play. Oberto is worth considering if at the least an end of bench big man who passes pretty well, boxes out, gives 6 hard fouls and is annoying to opponents defensively.

Lee is my top priority among FAs. I think he would be very good starting center with Blatche and Thornton on either side of him, and McGee backing him up. Again he'd likely drop if we draft Favors or Monroe.

Johnson I think could be excellent in the backcourt with Gil. Hughes could be a cheaper option. Gay could be an option to replace Miller/Howard.

Posted by: Darnell1 | April 24, 2010 3:24 AM | Report abuse

"To TheFunBunch's point about the Dallas trade, a couple days ago I read a blog entry in the Dallas Morning News saying that (paraphrasing) the Mavs robbed the Wizards blind in that trade. So we know what the folks in Dallas think of the trade."

"The Wiz definatly had a clearance sale regarding the trades and not getting as much value back as they should... They dealt out of weakness as they always do. They stood the chance of not moving the players and getting any cap relif which is very important when you're not winning anyway."

Butler and Haywood combined for 6 points and 6 rebounds in a combined 32 minutes in Dallas' loss to the Spurs. Butler sat out the second half. Opinion may be changing in Dallas.

Posted by: midlevex_ | April 24, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Come on ownership, let's get it going.

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 24, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Yeah i saw where CB got no pt in the 2nd half hmmmmmmm what's up with that? I too read the post about the Haywood/Butler trade and Cuban's remarks, i've been saying it since the Jordan firing Grunfeld's a dumb azz all one has to do is look at the Blatche/Saunders insubordnation incident, Grunfeld didn't even back the coach which would have been the proper response to the serial skirt chaser's disobedience towards Saunders, as long as Grunfeld is here we've got no chance of winning anything i don't care how many draft pick's we have!!

Posted by: dargregmag | April 24, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"Butler and Haywood combined for 6 points and 6 rebounds in a combined 32 minutes in Dallas' loss to the Spurs. Butler sat out the second half. Opinion may be changing in Dallas."

Butler played poorly in the first half and was replaced by Barea, who played so well that he never sat down after that. (Carlisle has a habit I wish more coaches had: sticking with the "hot hand.") On the other hand, Butler played very well in the last game.

Center (and defensive play) remain problems for Dallas, but without the Washington trade they'd certainly be even bigger problems so I doubt opinion is radically shifting.

Posted by: nmik | April 24, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Dargreg is at it again. Forgetting who the GM was that got this franchise pointed in the right direction after years of being lost in the forest and to 4 straight playoff appearances shortly after his arrival. With a little luck, it would have been 6 straight appearances.

As for Butler and Haywood, they came up small last night and Dallas is in a nice hole. They made the trade to win and/or bare minimum make the finals this year. Anything short of that and it's a failure I'm sure in their eyes and the inconsistency in Butler's game is not helping. That window might extend for another season, but it's closing fast with Kidd, Marion, and even Nowitski and Butler not getting any younger. Sort of reminds me of the Celtics move a few seasons ago except it paid off for them. Not so sure it will in Dallas bc I thought they would handle SA much better than they are. Finally, it's not like we set Dallas up with players that will help them flourish 4/5 seasons from now. It's now or never.
What we got from Dallas is the ability to rebuild faster and if Dallas fails this season and next, we should be ahead of them as a future contender. So, there is much to play out still.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 24, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

"[Dallas] made the trade to win and/or bare minimum make the finals this year."

I thought they made the trade because the Wiz were holding a fire sale. They gave up, what, one injured player, another who refused to play in Washington, and two bench guys, averaging 8 and 11 minutes a game respectively?

That's one step above outright theft.

The Mavs were surprised the trade helped them as much as it did.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 24, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Mike Jones: Grading Ernie Grunfeld and Flip Saunders


Ernie's grade is much higher than his handpicked coach's.

Posted by: djnnnou | April 24, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

@Samson,

Well, if they didn't take on those contracts to win it all this year or, perhaps, next season, why did they make the trade??? They made it for that exact reason. They have to pay those players still, right? Not like they play in Dallas for free and we have to pay the players we got in return nothing for next season. That was the point of the trade not matter how you try to pervert it.

In addition, BH was not likely to resign here and probably going to be too expensive for the return anyway although he is a capable starting center. Butler was unhappy here, underperforming, and starting to age slightly with too much money and time left on his contract to be a good fit for a rebuilding team. I see potential win win for both franchises. However, if Dallas spends the cash and doesn't get the championship in return, it's a failed trade for a team in their position, period. Not like CB is some heir apparent for Dallas and will lead them to contention after the Kidd, Nowitski core is past their prime, which is about now. We got plenty of cap space and they got their final shot at glory.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 24, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I find the Dallas and Cleveland trades interesting because central elements of the Wizard foundation have recombined with top notch talent elsewhere with the purported goal of winning a championship. To succeed, Jamison, Haywood and Butler would need to make significant contributions.

I had harbored hopes that with Arenas and particularly this last year with the addition of Miller and Foye and the anticipated further evolution of Blatche, Young and McGee, these guys could have done something in Washington.

Watching Butler and Haywood in Dallas is proofing an equation never entirely settled because of injuries here in DC.

Otherwise I agree, the trade logic for the Wiz was to create the conditions conducive for a rebuild.

Posted by: midlevex_ | April 24, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@midlevex,

I find the trades interesting as well, but have a slightly different take. One is that CB was and still is overrated. All the talk about "tough juice" and his exhortations that he is an all-star are so overblown, which just matches his contract and ego. I'm glad he and the contract are gone bc he peaked about two seasons ago, made one all-star game, and has pretty much been coasting since. He is neither particularly tough or a gamer. He is simply a streaky one off all-star getting paid like a 2/3 time all-star. Haywood hasn't been particularly great either in Dallas. He was playing better here unlike CB. Jamison is playing his role in Cleveland, but his numbers too have dropped. So, it seems fairly obvious why we struggled this season and to lay it all on FS or GA pre-gunshow is ridiculous. Seems to me we had too many players that had already peaked performance-wise with too many holes in their games to be a playoff contender. Funny thing is their egos didn't subside with their fading returns, which seemed to cause friction on our team as well. For instance, in hindsight, AB probably should have been starting all season at PF with AJ as the sixth man and CB should have had his butt on the bench much more based on his performance like he was last night in Dallas. If our ex players were as advertised, Cleveland would be coasting to the championship and Dallas would be the 1A favorite in the West. Cleveland may still get there based on competition and having LeBron, but it won't be bc Jamison is playing a great Robin. Same goes for CB in Dallas and Haywood can't even beat out Dampier as a starter. I think it's given us fans a better perspective on why we weren't successful this season.

I think it also shows how good GA had become prior to his knee injury, bc the surrounding cast he had was and still is overrated.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 24, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The sad part is that AJ, BH, and CB all seemed to not enjoy playing with GA anymore this past season. Although I can see where playing with a still recovering not up to past performance gunner would not be particularly fun, CB and AJ seemed to forget how/why they got those fat contracts they really didn't deserve.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 24, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I tend to agree with your summary rphilli. I thought the first season Butler was in DC he showed more, perhaps it was because expectations were not high.

Butler and Jamison were burdened with trying to carry a team when the franchise player, Arenas went down. Butler did not flourish under those conditions, perhaps he assumed he could contribute more than his talent allowed and though Jamison could put up nice numbers he couldn't carry the Wizards above .500 or into a meaningful postseason engagement.

It's debatable whether Jamison may have been more effective in a sixth man role and Blatche starting but Blatche's head was never right, maybe he's actually learned something this season.

Posted by: midlevex_ | April 24, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"Although I can see where playing with a still recovering not up to past performance gunner would not be particularly fun, CB and AJ seemed to forget how/why they got those fat contracts they really didn't deserve."

Posted by: rphilli721

Maybe they just didn't playing with him for a variety of other reasons?

I have no idea whether they did or not, but I probably could devise some. ("Gunner" might be one clue there. Mike Jones's opinion that Arenas will try to go for next year's shooting title might be another.)

Posted by: fansincebullets | April 24, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"Well, if they didn't take on those contracts to win it all this year or, perhaps, next season, why did they make the trade??? They made it for that exact reason. They have to pay those players still, right? Not like they play in Dallas for free and we have to pay the players we got in return nothing for next season. That was the point of the trade not matter how you try to pervert it."

They made the trade because the deal was simply too good to pass up. Cuban is on record saying he wanted a wing player to replace Josh Howard. He got that, plus two other guys he admitted he didn't really think he needed.

We don't have to guess at that part -- he told the media as much.

Did Cuban really believe the addition of those Wiz would put the club over the top for an NBA title? Who knows? But it doesn't look like it will.

And he got rid of Josh Howard, which had to be a bonus.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 24, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the Post article about what really happened around the time of the trades. Ernie apparently met with the Pollins and told them the best move was to blow up the team's core and start over. That was his main objective, and so far, with the exception of Arenas, he's succeeded.

Dallas and Cleveland were the vehicles to accomplish that goal. Now that he's got a chance to see what he had left, he no doubt hopes to proceed from there.

Will Leonsis keep Grunfeld? Your guess is as good as mine.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 24, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

"Jamison could put up nice numbers he couldn't carry the Wizards above .500 or into a meaningful postseason engagement."

Notice how you might say the same thing about Blatche during his stint as a starter...

Posted by: Samson151 | April 24, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

"Notice how you might say the same thing about Blatche during his stint as a starter... "

I would say the same thing about Blatche though he didn't have the supporting cast Jamison had, (Butler and Haywood), when he finally got to start. The only thing to add regarding Blatche, he lacked the maturity to accept and maximize his role of coming off the bench. Jamison did it in Dallas, whether he could, years later in Washington is debatable.

Posted by: midlevex_ | April 24, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

"If our ex players were as advertised, Cleveland would be coasting to the championship and Dallas would be the 1A favorite in the West. Cleveland may still get there based on competition and having LeBron, but it won't be bc Jamison is playing a great Robin."

Jamison may not be Robin to Lebron's Batman but he is a legitimate offensive option and productive rebounder. Of the the three traded from the Wiz, he is the one most likely to make a legitimate contribution. Shaq is the other significant addition this year in Cleveland and I'm having doubts about his effectiveness in the playoffs to date. Perhaps he's getting his wind back after the injury layoff and his contributions will come in later rounds, against Orlando and then the Lakers...

Posted by: midlevex_ | April 24, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

"If our ex players were as advertised, Cleveland would be coasting to the championship and Dallas would be the 1A favorite in the West. Cleveland may still get there based on competition and having LeBron, but it won't be bc Jamison is playing a great Robin."

I find this argument silly. As advertised by who? Opinion on this blog was sharply divided. Neither trade brought much in return. The media reported that LeBron wanted Antawn but Cavs management was initially unenthusiastic. And we've already heard Haywood described as a throw-in to a Butler trade.

Fact is, Jamison, Butler, and Haywood -- and even Stevenson -- have played as well or better than many rational observers expected.

Key word there is 'rational'.

Something we don't always see around here.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 24, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

How quickly we forget; when GA went out with the knee injury(first time) it was AJ and CB that carried this team to the playoffs now remember rphilli and the rest of you naysayers nobody in the NBA's inner circle thought this franchise had a roster makeup that was playoff qualified the roster had no depth and Jordan had no support from Ernie whatsoever, don't come with that BS, that Grunfeld's moves got them playoff qualified NO! it was Jordan's coaching and the fact that most of the players bought into EJ's system if Arenas hadn't gotten a swelled head and ego and Grunfeld hadn't undermined Jordan by allowing some of the inmates to run the assylum(Blatche,Haywood) then who know's how far this team could have gone, all one has to do is look at the situation here in Atl. Mike Woodson was going through the same thing with Billy Knight(fired Hawks gm) and with some of the players(Josh Smith,Josh Childress) but the ownership stood behind Woodson(imagine that!) they got rid of Knight who was trying to make Woodson the fall guy for his ineptitude, and let Childress go to Europe and told Josh Smith to shape up or get the hell out, well you see the result of everybody being on the same page Rick Sund(new Hawks gm) got Mike Woodson the help he needed like Jamal Crawford(yeah wonder what our smart gm was doing on that one) and now the Hawks are the talk of the NBA while we're the laughing stock. Ernie Grunfeld is responsible for back to back 50 plus loses these past 2 years,nobody else he more than anyone else needs to go, and stop all this insane talk about Andray Blatche he is not a cornerstone to build around he's had more chances than a repeat offender, yes he played well the 20 or so games but what did it matter? was Blatche under the pressure of making the playoff's? Hell to the No! trade his serial skirt chasing azz out west, since everyone talking about starting over, might as well get it right.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 24, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

"Fact is, Jamison, Butler, and Haywood -- and even Stevenson -- have played as well or better than many rational observers expected."

Jamison and Butler were All Stars, they were certainly never franchise players but they were the kind of players it might reasonably or rationally be expected could be fit around a franchise player and some other pieces and win. That expectation is now being tested in Cleveland and Dallas.

Posted by: midlevex_ | April 24, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

""Jamison could put up nice numbers he couldn't carry the Wizards above .500 or into a meaningful postseason engagement.""

Define "meaningful postseason experience." The first time Arenas missed almost the entire season, Jamison led the team in scoring and rebounding on the way to securing a playoff spot that absolutely no one expected them to get. The fact that they got beaten in the first round by a superior team doesn't alter the significance of what he did in leading them into the postseason in the first place.

"I would say the same thing about Blatche though he didn't have the supporting cast Jamison had, (Butler and Haywood), when he finally got to start."

It takes more than two players to make a legit "supporting cast." In both cases, the team was limited in how far it could go because they didn't have enough talent surrounding their best player on the floor. It was the same scenario in both cases. You can't roast one guy for failing while giving the other a pass.

Jamison may have had more talent around him than Blatche, but he clearly didn't have enough to acomplish more than the team did. in fact, most observers agreed that they didn't have enough talent to get as far as they did. In the eyes of most people, the team overachieved without Arenas that season.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 24, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Still no contracts signed because new ownership not in place.

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 24, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I disagree with anything you said but if asked to define "meaningful postseason experience."
-Not getting beaten in the first round by a superior team or the hope of surviving a round or two of playoff ball. As you said, "In the eyes of most people, the team overachieved without Arenas that season."

The knock is not on Jamison who was about all you could ask for with the Wizards as long as you accept that he's perhaps a piece of a championship puzzle just not the centerpiece, clearly Arenas was expected to be that.

"You can't roast one guy for failing while giving the other a pass."
Who was getting roasted?

Posted by: midlevex_ | April 24, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

"...they were the kind of players it might reasonably or rationally be expected could be fit around a franchise player and some other pieces and win. That expectation is now being tested in Cleveland and Dallas.
Posted by: midlevex"

And win what? Was the acquisition of Jamison supposed to guarantee an NBA title? If so, they didn't give up much for him. Lest we forget:

1. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and his expiring $11.5 million contract.
2. a 2010 1st round pick, probably #30 or later
3. the rights to Emir Preldzic, second round, 2009

In other words, one player who never played for the Wiz and wound up back in Cleveland; an unidentified rookie who probably wouldn't have played for the Cavs anyway; and a 6'8" Slovenian jump shooter who went 57th in the prior year's draft.

A king's ransom it wasn't. Why did the Wiz make that deal? Because it was part of a larger strategy to break up the core of the team in prep for several years of rebuilding.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 25, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Samson,

I've never watched Fox News, but I do travel around the world, and the Wizards are a world-wide disgrace wherever I go. The buck stops at EG.

As for Arenas, would you want him defecating in your shoes? Maybe that behavior should give you a clue about how the young players are treated in this organization.

I recall you supported Taps playing McGuire and not Javale. That made as much sense then as it does now. And this year, Javale got a whopping 16 minutes a game for 60 games. If the Wiz like somebody enough to draft him, they need to develop him.

So now I'll presume you are thinking that EG and Arenas will save the franchise. But then again, you thought Eddie Jordan was a good coach.

Posted by: Izman | April 25, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

No knock on CB, the Woodman, or DSteve, but I question whether any team with 3 ex-Wizards (2 playing significant playoff roles) can go very far in the playoffs. These guys have spent years on a team imbued with a losing mentality and poor to nonexistent fundamentals and execution. How are they suddenly supposed to be major contributors on a championship calibre team?

Posted by: shovetheplanet | April 25, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Who cares about Dallas.I disagree with the evaluation of Flip by mike jones, i think he does not like him.
I personaly think he did and will do very well in the rebuilding process. he is bringing defense in washington.Who ever is going to govern this club need to work on assistant coaches and medical staff.As far as free agency , wiz have a top free agent in their hand,SL, they need to ink him as soon as they know that they are not going to get John Wall or if they have an intention to depart with Arenas.Conterary to most of you i cant visualize any success if both GA and SL start at the back court,both are one leged, poor on defensive rotation and lateral movment.The intension of signing SL should be to use him as a solid back up to give him major minutes when half court game is needed as the best chance to win games.
Lary Hughes should be considered.His presence is not going to retard NY's development, he could start but give major minutes to NY if he has a bad shooting.
He is the best defender, attack the rim and pass the ball very well.I think he can fit with flip's offense.He will do much better than what MM did this season.LH, GA,NY,SL, a 3rd combo gard from the late draft would improve the back court.

Posted by: gtefferra | April 25, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

"And win what? Was the acquisition of Jamison supposed to guarantee an NBA title?"

The expectation in Cleveland is certainly that Jamison will be the final piece of a championship puzzle, in Washington the highest expectation could never reasonably have been more than a few rounds of exciting playoff ball considering the other pieces.

Again Jamison is a player who is a piece of a puzzle, the puzzle in Cleveland centers around LJ and concerns a championship, Gilbert Arenas was an exceptionally talented scorer but his overall game lacked the dimension of a centerpiece talent, much more was required of Jamison, Butler and Haywood for a championship to emerge here in DC.

Finally, this season, which began with great hopes but through injury and misadventure, it became evident that the puzzle in DC would forever remain a puzzle. Of course the Jamison deal was about blowing up the Wiz, cap space and rebuilding.

Posted by: midlevex_ | April 25, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"I recall you supported Taps playing McGuire and not Javale. That made as much sense then as it does now. And this year, Javale got a whopping 16 minutes a game for 60 games. If the Wiz like somebody enough to draft him, they need to develop him.So now I'll presume you are thinking that EG and Arenas will save the franchise. But then again, you thought Eddie Jordan was a good coach.Posted by: Izman"

You're sort of like a walking illustration of the 'straw man' argument. First you distort someone's position, then argue against it. As the saying goes, your entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

Dom McGuire and Javale McGee do not play the same position, and don't ordinarily sub for one another.

From the outset I supported the idea of all four of the Wiz Kids -- Young, Blatche, McGee, and McGuire -- getting an average of 20 minutes a game. For a raw recruit like McGee, that seemed about right. Now we learn he has some issues that affect his stamina. So maybe that's an issue too.

Worst thing you can do, IMO, is throw an immature big man to the NBA wolves.

You shouldn't presume to know what I'm thinking. I'll just tell you: of course Arenas and Grunfeld won't save the Wiz. I imagine they'd have traded Gil already if they could find a viable partner. Grunfeld will probably lose his job under the new ownership.

Eddie Jordan's record with the Wiz speaks for itself. Doesn't need me to defend it.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 25, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

"These guys have spent years on a team imbued with a losing mentality and poor to nonexistent fundamentals and execution. How are they suddenly supposed to be major contributors on a championship calibre team?"

Major contributors for Dallas? That would be coming from Dirk and Kidd. For Dallas to contend with LA or apparently the Spurs, Butler would need to make a significant contribution, beyond most expectations, Haywood is apparently not much of an improvement on Dampier if at all, Dsteve is along for the ride.

Of former Wiz players contributions to teams with championship relevancy the Dallas deal is clearly a longer shot than Cleveland's.

Still for either of these teams to win a championship the Wiz players will have to be part of the mix and from that we may draw some conclusions about Ernie's construction of the Wiz.

Posted by: midlevex_ | April 25, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"Still for either of these teams to win a championship the Wiz players will have to be part of the mix and from that we may draw some conclusions about Ernie's construction of the Wiz."

I'm not sure that's really true unless you mean that in Washington they were expected to be part of the support team (surrounding Arenas), as they are on their new teams. (They're obviously "part of the [support] mix" around the premier players [Nowitzki and James] on both teams.)

I believe that the Cavs will win the championship (certainly not because of Jamison) simply because they have the best player to hit the NBA in a long time.

Although I think the Wizards' trade helped Dallas, the Mavericks remain a fundamentally flawed team--and I don't see how one can blame Butler or Haywood for that.

Posted by: nmik | April 25, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Ernie Grunfeld is responsible for back to back 50 plus loses these past 2 years,nobody else he more than anyone else needs to go, and stop all this insane talk about Andray Blatche he is not a cornerstone to build around he's had more chances than a repeat offender, yes he played well the 20 or so games but what did it matter? was Blatche under the pressure of making the playoff's? Hell to the No! trade his serial skirt chasing azz out west, since everyone talking about starting over, might as well get it right.

Posted by: frigate32 | April 25, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

I find the Dallas and Cleveland trades interesting because central elements of the Wizard foundation have recombined with top notch talent elsewhere with the purported goal of winning a championship. To succeed, Jamison, Haywood and Butler would need to make significant contributions.

I had harbored hopes that with Arenas and particularly this last year with the addition of Miller and Foye and the anticipated further evolution of Blatche, Young and McGee, these guys could have done something in Washington.

Watching Butler and Haywood in Dallas is proofing an equation never entirely settled because of injuries here in DC.

Otherwise I agree, the trade logic for the Wiz was to create the conditions conducive for a rebuild.

Posted by: midlevex_ | April 24, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I have to laugh at this and at some of Midlevex's other comments. Are you on meth, a consultant or just trying out your new thesaurus? You use a lot of big words and write very intricate sentences, but don't really say much and most of what you do say is confusing because you use the words/punctuation/tenses/etc incorrectly.

Just speak plainly and you'll do much better.

Posted by: Blurred | April 25, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

As for Haywood and Butler in Dallas, they both performed well; at least as far as their personal statistics are concerned.

However, it was the same ole' same ole. Another playoff loss.

Maybe Haywood and Butler are just losers?

Posted by: Blurred | April 25, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Current Wizards free agents prioritizer:

1. Livingston
2. Miller
3. Singleton
4. Foye
5. Howard
6. Oberto

Available free agent prioritizer:

1. Lee
2. Gay
3. Johnson
4. Stoudamire
4. Chandler
5. Haywood
6. Frye
7. Hughes
8. Lowry
9. Duhon
10. S.Williams

Posted by: Darnell1 | April 24, 2010 3:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't disagree with everything you say here, but Hughes is a has been and has been a has been for a couple years now. S Williams is widely considered a big flop.

Johnson has little to offer our team, as he plays virtually the same way as a guy to whom we owe $70 odd million.

Haywood is a loser, a whiner, old and a top flight back up.

Chandler has never played to expectations and has rapidly declining skills.

Frye would be OK, but only at a good price.

That leaves Lee, Lowry and Gay. I'd be alright with any of them.

As far as our players go, the only one I think we should definitely sign is Livingston, but we'll see what he does. Singleton would be a good man to have on the roster, but in a Songaila way.

Other than that, you have an injured player (Howard), and oft-injured player who laid up for about 2 months (Miller), a guy who never showed me much all season (Foye), and a broke down 37 YO (Oberto). For a good price, they can all play a role, but everyone of them has a defect that may make us wish they weren't eating up salary sometime in the next 3 years.

Posted by: Blurred | April 25, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

"Johnson has little to offer our team, as he plays virtually the same way as a guy to whom we owe $70 odd million."

Oh, I disagree with that. Joe Johnson is exactly what the Wiz have long needed at the SG spot: a combo of size, quickness, skill, and handle who attacks the basket. That being said, signing him (even if he were interested in the Wiz, which he won't be) wouldn't make much sense for the Wizards. First, he's not really a max player, but he'll likely get a max or near max deal. That only makes sense for teams looking to make a quick jump into contention and he'll only be interested in teams he thinks are in that position. That's not the Wiz.

"Frye would be OK, but only at a good price."

Frye would be terrible. Not that he's a bad player, but he's a bad player for the Wiz (or most Eastern conference teams that don't have some beef up front). He's a long-range shooting big who plays no defense and doesn't rebound or block shots. No thanks. The Wiz need more bigs who play closer to the rim, not further away.

As for current FAs . . . the only priority the Wiz should have for most of them is denouncing their rights as soon as the FA period starts so they can get to work replacing them. To the extent that any of them should get any consideration for a return, Singleton leads the list by a country mile.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 25, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe Haywood and Butler are just losers?"

Naw (well, maybe Haywood. They're just role players who can't be expected to serve anything other than a complementary role, and whose presence alone isn't enough to make the difference between a team contending and not.

BTW, if the Mavs bow out in the first round, I wouldn't be surprised to see Nowitzki exercise his out clause and look at trying his luck somewhere else..

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 25, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

"Still for either of these teams to win a championship the Wiz players will have to be part of the mix and from that we may draw some conclusions about Ernie's construction of the Wiz."

What conclusions are those? Because I fail to see how any conclusions about Grunfeld's plans for the Wiz can be drawn from how guys he traded perform on other teams.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 25, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

"Just speak plainly and you'll do much better."

How's this. Go conjugate yourself. By the way, what's a thesaurus?
Other than that, yeah I was basically blowing smoke on a three day old thread on a basketball blog devoted to a losing team during postseason play. I'll try to stay more focused blurred.


Posted by: midlevex_ | April 26, 2010 6:19 AM | Report abuse

"What conclusions are those?"
Conclusions regarding competency. EG assembled components of what was to be a winning team, able to go deep into the playoffs; instead in your own words, "They're just role players who can't be expected to serve anything other than a complementary role, and whose presence alone isn't enough to make the difference between a team contending and not."
That at least to me was not clear because of injuries etc. here in DC, it becomes incontrovertible as the Dallas-San Antonio series is played out.

Posted by: midlevex_ | April 26, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Brendan has always been average at his very best, and Caron has slipped from the cusp of go-to-guy down to inconsistent role player.....the deficiencies in both were on clear display last night, not that either was horrible.

And now the big trade in which so many said EG was fleeced is looking more and more like a dump on Cuban's front porch. Salary dump, that is.

Posted by: divi3 | April 26, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

"Conclusions regarding competency. EG assembled components of what was to be a winning team, able to go deep into the playoffs; instead in your own words, "They're just role players who can't be expected to serve anything other than a complementary role, and whose presence alone isn't enough to make the difference between a team contending and not."

Sorry, but it doesn't really wash. How players perform on another team under another coach with different teammates really says little to nothing about the "competency" of a team/situation they left. Apples and oranges. If you sucked at your old job, got fired, and then did great work at your new job, does that make your old boss an idiot for hiring you?

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 26, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"Ernie Grunfeld is responsible for back to back 50 plus loses these past 2 years"

He's also responsible for 4 straight playoff appearances for the first time in 20+ years. Those playoff appearances came as a result of things he could control (e.g., player acquisition). The 50+ losses came largely as a result of things he couldn't control (injuries and Arenas being an idiot).

Is Grunfeld an all-time great GM? Nope. is he a terrible GM? Nope. He's a good-to-very-good GM who's had his highs and lows. If there's someone better to be had, would firing him make sense? Maybe. Would firing him for the sake of firing him with no better proven options lined up make any sense? Nope.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 26, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"Other than that, yeah I was basically blowing smoke on a three day old thread on a basketball blog devoted to a losing team during postseason play."

LOL join the club.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 26, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"If there's someone better to be had, would firing him make sense? Maybe. Would firing him for the sake of firing him with no better proven options lined up make any sense? Nope.Posted by: kalo_rama"

My guess (I emphasize 'guess'): Leonsis finds somebody he likes better and goes with that guy. Ernie gratefully accepts a severance package and looks around for a TV gig.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 26, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

If Leonsis has someone better lined up, that's fine. I just don't see the logic in the "Grunfeld must go, period" school of thought, as if his departure would be some kind of automatic addition by subtraction, regardless of who takes over.

That aside, I'm not convinced that Leonsis fires him, at least right away (although I wouldn't be shocked if he did). He kept the Caps front office pretty much intact after taking over. Leonsis isn't Dan Snyder; he's not going to come in and start turning the whole thing over just to prove he's boss (at least he didn't with the Caps). He seems to be a careful businessman. He's a new owner in a new league, so I see him taking his time to get to know the lay of the land. Keeping an experienced vet like Grunfeld around to pick his brain could be part of that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 26, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

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