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End of an era for the Wizards

Morning brew

In Sunday's newspaper, Michael Lee wrote about the end of an era for the Washington Wizards. Robert Pollin talked about how it felt to sit in the Verizon Center owner's box, probably for the last time, among other topics.

Also, on Friday the Wizards lost a tiebreaker to the Golden State for the fourth-worst record in the NBA, so their chances of winning the draft lottery on May 18 got slightly worse. Washington (26-56) will have the fifth-best odds of winning the No. 1 overall pick at 10.3 percent, while the Warriors have the fourth-best chance at 10.4 percent.

Bullets Forever's Mike Prada asks: Is there any team that had a worse season than the Wizards?

Truth About It's Kyle Weidie had a few good Wizards items over the weekend, ranging from a Josh Howard "Got Milk" ad to JaVale McGee "on skates." Check them out.

Thom Loverro of ESPN980.com comments on the Wizards and the NBA playoffs, plus Ted Leonsis's take on NBA and NHL salary caps.

Around the league ...

The NBA playoffs have begun! Links to Michael Lee's analyses of all the matchups are here (bottom left). Michael Wilbon makes his picks for the series and for league awards.

Meanwhile, the Celtics' Kevin Garnett was suspended for Game 2 of the Celtics-Heat series for hitting Quentin Richardson in the head with his elbow during an altercation. Richardson was fined $25,000. And the Jazz's Mehmet Okur has a torn Achilles' tendon, eliminating him from the remainder of the NBA playoffs.

Highlights of yesterday's playoff games are below, courtesy of NBA.com:


By Alexa Steele  |  April 19, 2010; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wizards lose tiebreaker, gain salary cap space
Next: Analyzing the Wizards, and the NBA playoffs

Comments

least robert could have done is shower and shave for the farewells, lordy, he looked like a grifter

Posted by: divi3 | April 19, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, kinda thought the same thing. If not out of respect for the team, etc, at least show a little for his dad.

Posted by: ts35 | April 19, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

After going through the first round prospects, here's my thoughts on who the Wiz should draft based on whatever their draft position ends up being. Again, not a rating of the players per se, just what I think the Wiz should do.

If they draft 1st: John Wall. Evan Turner might be a better fit for this team, and to me seems like a Paul Pierce kind of guy, but Wall has the potential to be the #1 kind of guy the Wiz need.

2nd: Turner. Great, great player. You could easily make an argument for him to be the Wiz' #1 pick.

3rd: Favors. Another athletic frontcourt player to put into the mix. A little raw on the offensive end, but appears to have the mindset to get better.

4th. N/A If I understand the draft correctly, the Wiz cannot draft 4th.

5th. Johnson. Have to assume Cousins goes in the top 4, but even if he doesn't, I like Johnson more. Cousins has tremendous talent, but apparent maturity issues, which the Wiz have in spades already. Putting Cousins on a team with Arenas, Blatche and McGee (who have shown improvement in this area) to me seems to be a recipe for disaster. Johnson, meanwhile, seems to have decent intangibles to go with big time talent. He's also a perimeter threat which the Wiz are in need of.

6th. Now it starts to get interesting. If Cousins is still on the board (tough to imagine), you probably HAVE to take him here based on value for the pick. Plus, this is the point where the players have more obvious flaws. If Cousins is gone, I go with Udoh. He sort of replicates what we already have in Blatche and McGee, but he also has big time talent and athleticism. Aminu seems to me to be the same player as Thornton. Aldrich projects as a role-playing BTH-like center, and I can't see taking one of those with the #6.

Posted by: ts35 | April 19, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse


7th. Xavier Henry. He has the skills and attitude that I would want on the Wiz. Depending on how his athleticism tests out in pre-draft workouts, I think he's a better fit for the Wiz than guys like Vesely (sounds like a EuroSofty, but without the jumper), Montiejunas (finesse 4) Orton (too raw for this high of a pick), Whiteside (we have this player already, his name is McGee) .

8th. If the Wiz do indeed slip to #8, I see a couple of options. Trade down - though this doesn't happen as much in the NBA. There's not a ton of difference between the guys at #8 and the guys at the end of the first, so if they see the opportunity to get something valuable out of it, trade down.

If they have to draft here, go with the player who presents both a great amount of upside, but also the intangibles that might indicate they will achieve that upside. In addition to raw talent, looking for toughness, leadership, maturity, etc.

Posted by: ts35 | April 19, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Limbo as we wait and wait for the announcement of new ownership and the terms if any are divulged. Nothing happening except conversations, assurances etc. behind the scenes as the WIZ do all they can to retain control of players they want, but can't contract with. The only sure thing ias a starting five with ARENAS, YOUNG, THORNTON, BLATCHE, and McGEE. HOWARD, ROSS, and FOYE are all negotiable for next season, two with the WIZARDS in control, and ROSS with the player option in control. This is no way to run a professional franchise.

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 19, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse


Here's my shortlist (in no particular order): Patterson, Daimion James, Stanley Robinson, Eric Bledsoe, Orton (may not have the intangibles, but has a rare size / strength / athleticism combo).

Of all of those, i am most tempted by Bledsoe. He is very raw as a pure point, but possess great quickness, wingspan, toughness and a willingness to play defense. He's probably a few years away from being a starting PG (when does Gil's contract expire?) but in the meantime could provide great value as an on-ball defender for the plehtora of quick PGs emerging in today's NBA.

Posted by: ts35 | April 19, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

ts35:

When BLEDSOE's twenty-four. Besides there's no reason to worry about that because GA's a "combo" guard, so he can easily slide over to the #2 slot. Same with FOYE although he certainly in not of ARENAS' caliber (heh,heh).

But we certainly can't pick him now in the top eight. Has he declared for the draft?

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 19, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Bledsoe? Yes, he's declared. All 5 of their top guys (Wall, Cousins, Patterson, Orton and Bledsoe) have declared. Not sure if he's signed with an agent or not.

Bledsoe not starting (in my view) would not be based on Gilbert but based on Bledsoe not being ready. He's got an iffy jumper and not a lot of experience running a team (based on being paired with Wall). The only reason not to take Bledsoe at #8 is because it doesn't represent good 'value', which only means that most people would take him lower. As I said, if they get the 8th spot, they should trade down if they can. None of the guys after the top 5 (Wall, Turner, Favors, Johnson, Cousins) wow me a lot.

If you look at most of the guys after the top 5, but currently rated above Bledsoe, most of them are 'bigs', which means they are rated higher primarily based on size. If you go through the scouting reports, most of them have just as many question marks. In picking the guys I think the Wizards should go after, I was looking for guys who have talent, but who also hustle and have shown a willingness already to play D. Given the rest of our roster make up, a certain level of maturity is also a plus.

Posted by: ts35 | April 19, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"A certain level of maturity" isn't a plus. It's a must. There should be a strict "no knuckleheads" rule enforced (they may have to grandfather Arenas in; although, hopefully, he'll have learned a lesson from this whole mess).

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 19, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

A major difference between Aminu and Thornton is that Amino is only 19yrs old, whereas Thornton came out at age 23...maxed out on Day1 as a pro by the looks of it.

In that same vein, wes johnson will be 23yrs old this summer...

Posted by: divi3 | April 19, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"The only sure thing ias a starting five with ARENAS, YOUNG, THORNTON, BLATCHE, and McGEE. "

That's not even close to a sure thing.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 19, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

A major difference between Aminu and Thornton is that Amino is only 19yrs old, whereas Thornton came out at age 23...maxed out on Day1 as a pro by the looks of it.

In that same vein, wes johnson will be 23yrs old this summer...

Posted by: divi3

IMO, divi, age is the most overrated characteristic teams look at. If Thornton was 26 or something when he came out, that would be one thing. AB was 18 when he came out....and it has taken him 5 years to arrive, so what's the difference?

Posted by: ts35 | April 19, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I watched a lot of college basketball this past year and I agree with most of ts35's analysis. There's no way Favors gets in before Cousins, though, and you can't really compare Cousins to Blatche and/or McGee. You could compare him to Moses Malone, though. Cousins is going to be a MAJOR player in the NBA for many, many years.

Not that I would pick him over Wall. Wall is clearly No. 1. I agree that Evan Turner is a good No. 2, and his skills are more Scotty Pippin than Paul Pierce. Cousins is No. 3.

Bledsoe is a terrific athlete who reminds me of Eric Gordon, now with the Clippers. Bledsoe is a little smaller but even more athletic. His shot is fine, but his decision-making is suspect, being a young pup and all.

I would pick Johnson over Favors.

Why are we leaving out the kid from Georgetown, Greg Monroe? He's going to go in the top 8.

A lot depends on who stays around next year. We have a lot of holes to fill.

Posted by: zinger1 | April 19, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The whole idea that guys who play 3 or 4 years of college have no upside is ridiculously overblown, and too often leads to teams drafting guys based on "potential" who never pan out while passing up players who can help right away. Just because a guy is over 20 doesn't mean he can't improve and just because a guy is under 20 doesn't automatically mean he will.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 19, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

The whole idea that guys who play 3 or 4 years of college have no upside is ridiculously overblown, and too often leads to teams drafting guys based on "potential" who never pan out while passing up players who can help right away. Just because a guy is over 20 doesn't mean he can't improve and just because a guy is under 20 doesn't automatically mean he will.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 19, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree. If we had passed on Kwame Brown and instead picked Shane Battier, the college player of the year, the Wizards would be on an entirely different path.

Posted by: zinger1 | April 19, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Apologies, I left Monroe out. I like him, but not on the Wiz. He's got some serious skills, but he's essentially the same player as Blatche, a semi-finesse 4 with a good jumper, good passing, some low-block moves. Neither is a particularly physical or athletic player, so it's a little tough to see them playing together. And why draft Monroe at 6-8 if you're just going to rotate him with AB, or move AB, meaning you used a pick to replace a player you already had?

Cousins definitely has a ton of talent, it's his demeanor that worries me. If they can be convinced that he's not the head case many are indicating he is, that's one thing. But I don't think you can add one more player with maturity issues to the current mix of Wizards. It's begging for disaster.

To me, Pippen was a freakish, long athlete who skills developed as a pro. Turner to me is more like Pierce in that he is athletic and very skilled with a great BBIQ from the get-go, but maybe not the freak of an athlete that Pippen was.

With Favors, I think he will be a better pro than he was in college (which was plenty good). He didn't have a lot of skilled offensive help with GT.

Posted by: ts35 | April 19, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Aldrich projects as a role-playing BTH-like center, and I can't see taking one of those with the #6.Posted by: ts35"

Nah, he's way more athletic than Brendan, and not nearly as big. He'd actually be a good complement for McGee, somebody who could play both C and PF depending on the matchup. And he's more physical than either of the Wiz big men.

Just don't look for much offense from the guy.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 19, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me Evan Turner and Wes Johnson started out as similar players but last season played quite differently. Johnson became a very reliable outside shooter, while Turner became even more effective attacking the basket. I hate to compare any draftee to somebody as accomplished as Dwyane Wade, but Turner seems to have that same knack for attacking the basket and for those circus shots within 15 feet. He's not the penetrator that Tyreke Evans is, but he has a similar ability to score within 16 feet. He still hasn't developed a reliable three point shot, but as has been pointed out here, that's not a fatal flaw. Most of the great scorers in today's game entered the league without a real outside game and managed to develop one over a couple seasons.

Johnson already has the outside shot, as of this year, and depending on which team he falls to, he may be the more productive player right off the bat. He's learned to catch, elevate and shoot over the opponent, something Nick Young could do if he ever decided to. He's not the ballhandler that Turner is and will probably wind up at small forward, but a scorer like that who can also play defense is something teams hoped Caron Butler would become.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 19, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Apologies, I left Monroe out. I like him, but not on the Wiz. He's got some serious skills, but he's essentially the same player as Blatche, a semi-finesse 4 with a good jumper, good passing, some low-block moves. Neither is a particularly physical or athletic player, so it's a little tough to see them playing together. And why draft Monroe at 6-8 if you're just going to rotate him with AB, or move AB, meaning you used a pick to replace a player you already had?

I disagree. Monroe certainly isn't a Zo-type banger, but he's easily more physical and tougher than Blatche. He's got better low post moves and unlike Blatche doesn't shy away from contact. He also seems to have a high bball IQ. Like Roy Hibbert before him, his tendency to play more away from the paint than tradition G-Town Cs is largely a function of JT3's Princeton-based offense, which puts a premium on a passing big man you can run the offense through. I agree they probably would be a good match together, but I'd rather have him than Blatche.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 19, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Make that "would not be a good match together."

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 19, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

The whole idea that guys who play 3 or 4 years of college have no upside is ridiculously overblown, and too often leads to teams drafting guys based on "potential" who never pan out while passing up players who can help right away. Just because a guy is over 20 doesn't mean he can't improve and just because a guy is under 20 doesn't automatically mean he will.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 19, 2010 5:37 PM

You are 100% right about that.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 19, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

The Chicago Bulls are running to the Hoop on the Cleveland Caveliers. A thing of beauty. Lebron is pissed.

Lovin' it.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 19, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

The Bulls UpTemPo have sent Shaq to the bench.

Runnin' da' flo'.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 19, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

a 23yr old playing against teens in college tends to look better than he really is, and also has less physical upside than a teenager who is in reality more boy than man when he enters the league.

That doesnt mean an older collegiate cant improve, it means age is definitely a factor that should be considered when drafting.

Posted by: divi3 | April 19, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

So Divi3, that means we bet that the young boy will grow into the 23 year old whom still can improve.

For if he dosen't still improve at 23 then you have lost 3/4 years on the young fella to get to the point of the 23 year old.

So the point is, do we gamble with the young fella, the teenager, or do we gamble with the 23 year old.

Might be a Mexican stand off to go with either one, but my bet is that John Wall and Ricky Rubio is about the same bet.

Not my money.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 19, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Monroe may never be as effective as Blatche is right now and they are the same type player. Would be foolish to draft Monroe, and doubly so if it was done expecting any sort of physical presence or toughness. The guy played soft all too often, and gtown lost many games on afternoons where monroe's lack of aggressiveness may have been the difference.

Posted by: divi3 | April 19, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

"Might be a Mexican stand off to go with either one, but my bet is that John Wall and Ricky Rubio is about the same bet."

I'm certain there isnt a single GM in the league that would take Rubio over Wall.

Posted by: divi3 | April 19, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

AB was 18 when he came out....and it has taken him 5 years to arrive, so what's the difference?

Posted by: ts35 | April 19, 2010 5:29 PM

Jamison is the main the reason it took 5yrs for AB to arrive, it's not a stretch to think AB has been this good for 2 seasons or so. Certainly many fans have been saying that all along (me not amongst them).

Posted by: divi3 | April 19, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

"Monroe may never be as effective as Blatche is right now and they are the same type player."

Or it's entirely possible he may be more effective.

Using your logic, if the Nets got the first pick they shouldn't even think about drafting Wall because he may never be effective as Devin Harris, who's already an all-star. Also, according to that same logic, the Pistons made a smart move by drafting Darko because there was a chance that Carmelo Anthony or Dwayne Wade would never be as effective as Tayshaun Prince, Chauncey Billups, or Rip Hamilton.

"Would be foolish to draft Monroe, and doubly so if it was done expecting any sort of physical presence or toughness."

Dance of the straw men. I didn't say he'd be a tough guy. In fact I quite clearly said he wasn't a bruiser. I said he was tougher and more physical than Blatche, which anyone (other than you) who's seen them both play can't really argue with any factual basis.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 20, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse

"Might be a Mexican stand off to go with either one, but my bet is that John Wall and Ricky Rubio is about the same bet."

I'm certain there isnt a single GM in the league that would take Rubio over Wall.

Posted by: divi3 | April 19, 2010 10:42 PM

Yeah, that would be correct, I must admit. But, does that mean that John Wall is a certain can't miss?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 20, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Monroe is light-years away from having an nba offensive game, pick him at your own risk wizards

Posted by: divi3 | April 20, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Using your logic, if the Nets got the first pick they shouldn't even think about drafting Wall because he may never be effective as Devin Harris, who's already an all-star. Also, according to that same logic, the Pistons made a smart move by drafting Darko because there was a chance that Carmelo Anthony or Dwayne Wade would never be as effective as Tayshaun Prince, Chauncey Billups, or Rip Hamilton.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 20, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse


apples and oranges. wall is a one of a kind type of talent. he has been widely regarded as the NO. 1 overall selection since the NCAA sesaon started. While monroe has been mentioned as a lotto pick, he isn't even thought of as the best player at his position this year. those predictions weigh in the favor of a coupla 19 year olds. I agree with divi3. having watched a few GTown games this year, there were far too many games where Clark,Wright or Freeman had to carry the load offensively because monroe tended to fade into the background. He's talented, but i don't know if he had the moves, handle, or touch that AB has. he's a good looking prospect, and a player that can definitely make a team better, i just don't know that he's a good fit for the wiz.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | April 20, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Evan Turner and Wes Johnson have the physical tool that "COULD" make them decent defenders at the next level. Mainly size and range with good athletic ability.

I would take Johnson in a second, if options #1 and 2 are gone. Maybe even before Cousins. I can't get with that already 23 years old stuff. This guy is going to be a decent contributing player at the least.

Posted by: millineumman | April 20, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

AB was 18 when he came out....and it has taken him 5 years to arrive, so what's the difference?

Posted by: ts35 | April 19, 2010 5:29 PM

Jamison is the main the reason it took 5yrs for AB to arrive, it's not a stretch to think AB has been this good for 2 seasons or so. Certainly many fans have been saying that all along (me not amongst them).

Posted by: divi3

Really? It was Jamison? Then why did AB's own mom tell him THIS offseason to stop being a knucklehead, which lead to the number change for "7 days of work" etc.

Everyone who's in AB's camp seems to want to blame the coaches, the GM, the other players for his late development....why can't it just be his fault? With all of the injuries last season, he had plenty of opportunity to show his ability and didn't to the extent he had this season. But I suppose that's someone else's fault too.

And as for the 23yr old vs 18 yr old thing....The theory goes that the 18 year old has more 'potential', but the delivery on that supposed potential is just not borne out by history. For every success story, there's a Kwame, Curry, Darko, Gerald Green, Telfair and on down the line.

Ultimately age in and of itself shouldn't be a factor, each player should be evaluated independently of that.

Posted by: ts35 | April 20, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"Everyone who's in AB's camp seems to want to blame the coaches, the GM, the other players for his late development....why can't it just be his fault?"

I'm not assigning blame to anyone, I'm saying that with AJ on the team Blatche was never going to get consistent minutes at PF. Especially with the "vets only" coaching staffs we've had in place. And that there's a pretty good chance AB was the same player last season (basically) that he is now.

Just describing the situation, not laying blame anywhere

Posted by: divi3 | April 20, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm not assigning blame to anyone, I'm saying that with AJ on the team Blatche was never going to get consistent minutes at PF. Especially with the "vets only" coaching staffs we've had in place. And that there's a pretty good chance AB was the same player last season (basically) that he is now.

Just describing the situation, not laying blame anywhere

Posted by: divi3

Not saying your castigating anyone, but if you read what you just wrote, you mention AJ and the coaches as reasons he didn't play, while almost dismissing the possibility that AB improved over the summer or during the first part of this year. And dismissing AB's own words when he talked about dedicating himself this past offseason to working harder.

You're also dismissing all of the reports from various coaches and players....and his MOM...in seasons past saying that he didn't work hard enough.


Posted by: ts35 | April 20, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Btw, a 22 year old Caron Butler was taken behind 'upside' youngsters Chris Wilcox, Nene Hilario, DeJuan Wagner, and the ever-popular Nikoloz Tskitishvilli.

Posted by: ts35 | April 20, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

uh, Nene is really good. I'd take him over Caron anyday.

Posted by: divi3 | April 20, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

uh, Nene is really good. I'd take him over Caron anyday.

Posted by: divi3 | April 20, 2010 2:01 PM

I'd take him twice.

Posted by: horace1 | April 20, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, and I'm sure the GM held DeJuan Wagner back, Chris Wilcox played behind a vet so he never saw the floor and Skita is just misunderstood.

Lucky for them Caron couldn't become a good player because he was over the age limit.

Posted by: ts35 | April 20, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

This is essentially a 3 player draft with guys who could come in right away and have an impact. I think Turner would provide more immediate help to the Wiz given that he has 3 years of college ball under his belt and can play multiple positions. Wall has more updside but it may take him 2-3 years to develop as he doesn't have the jump shot or strength of Derrick Rose coming out of school.

People don't seem to be mentioning Greg Monroe but he's light years more developed than both Cousins or Favors who are very raw on the offensive end. Monroe could come in and play immediately. I think he's going to be a 4 in the NBA along the lines of a Chris Bosch but a much better passer. Long-term he'll be a much better player than Blatche who could be used in a trade if Monroe is drafted.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 21, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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