Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: MrMichaelLee and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Earl Monroe drops by Wizards practice

Hall of Fame guard and Baltimore Bullets legend Earl Monroe stopped by practice at George Mason's Patriot Center on Thursday to speak with the team. Monroe said it was the first time that he had been in a training camp since his final season with the New York Knicks in 1979.

Although Monroe spent the majority of his career in New York, where he won a title in 1973, he always felt a connection with the Bullets/Wizards franchise; one that was cemented three years ago, when he became the fourth player in team history to have his jersey retired. Monroe was invited by new owner Ted Leonsis to take part in a new Bullets/Wizards alumni association and he was more than willing to get on board. He plans to be around through Saturday and he gave the players his thoughts on the upcoming season.

"I expect big things from them," Monroe said. "They are at the beginning of something that I think is going to be very, very special and just keep going. I told them, I don't want to impede on what they do, but if any of them had any questions they want to ask, I was going to be here and that I was here, basically for them."

Monroe finished with the third-highest scoring average in franchise history at 23.7 points per game and he held the franchise scoring record of 56 points until Gilbert Arenas scored 60 points against the Los Angeles Lakers in December 2006. I spoke with Monroe on the night of his jersey retirement three years ago and he congratulated Arenas on knocking him from atop the record books, but added, "I wasn't shooting three-pointers at that time."

On Thursday, Monroe said that he has never had the chance to meet Arenas. "I haven't had a one-on-one type of chance to talk to him, but we have a very mutual respect for each other. In the last couple of years with the injuries and whatnot, he really hasn't gotten back to what he was, but I'm expecting him to really come forth and be a force this year."

After watching practice, Monroe said he was impressed with No. 1 overall pick John Wall. "John, I didn't realize he was as fast as he was, as tenacious as he is," Monroe said. "But I'm glad to see it and I'm hoping that as the year goes on, that this team will really come together. Good teams start with camaraderie and these guys have a lot of that, and I'm looking to see how that progresses over the year."

When asked about how Arenas and Wall would mesh, President Ernie Grunfeld mentioned how he grew up watching Monroe and Walt "Clyde" Frazier playing with the Knicks. I asked Monroe how he would able to make it work with another point guard and he said: "It's a little bit different here because they are basically on the same team from jump street, so when I went there, they already had a squad in place and it was a matter of me just trying to fit in there. When I look at it, I look back and say, okay, somebody has to take a back seat, until such time where I needed to step up."

Other former players, such as Wes Unseld, Bobby Dandridge and Kevin Grevey from the 1978 championship-winning Bullets are expected to stop by this week. Elvin Hayes had said he would attempt to attend training camp this week, but he is not expected to participate.

Sean Marks was forced to sit out of practice for the second day, with a hamstring injury. JaVale McGee has been nursing a cold and Al Thornton tweeted after practice that he was hit by a car while walking up a hill, but appears to be okay.

By Michael Lee  | September 30, 2010; 8:43 PM ET
Categories:  training camp/preseason  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Weigh in on the Wizards' season
Next: Gilbert Arenas sits, Andray Blatche might scrimmage, and reaction to Al Thornton's accident

Comments

"Al Thornton tweeted after practice that he was hit by a car while walking up a hill, but appears to be okay."

Guess NY really does want that 3 spot, showin' a little heart.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | September 30, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

He was hit by a car while walking up a hill. A hill. What! Now that is hilarius as hell.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 30, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

He was hit by a car while walking up a hill. A hill. What! Now that is hilarius as hell.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 30, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Those of us old enough to remember and not NY-centric will always think of The Pearl as a Bullet.

Posted by: truke | October 1, 2010 5:48 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I am the eternal optimist, but I like the way this team is doing things. Still don't expect too much from them, but with the right attitude, they can turn from competitive underdog to winning 8 or so close ones. That can turn a 32-50 season into a playoff spot.

Still looking at 30 wins for the season, but IF it all gels, this team could surprise a lot of folks.

A lot could go right, but a lot could go wrong. For now I am sticking with not expecting much and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

I can't wait for the games to begin.

Posted by: Blurred | October 1, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

We're on the right track. Gil is a lock for comeback POY. He's getting 24 and 5 this year with a handful of game winners.

Wall will soon realize that Gil is our bell cow. The young fella is a true PG and knows where the ball should be in crucial situations....in the hands of our closer.

We're gonna get killed inside but I expect to see improvement from JM. Next year is our year to contend. This year, we surprise folks with 40+ wins.

Posted by: original_mark | October 1, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

"We're gonna get killed inside but I expect to see improvement from JM"

Speaking of optimism....this does not look like the same player that was pushed around last season

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/452914/DSC_0212_medium.JPG

Posted by: divi3 | October 1, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

"Earl the Pearl", don't think I've ever seen anyone that had more fun playing NBA basketball. One of the smartest players I've ever seen, I've often heard Walt Frazier say Earl was the guy that could make the pass that setup the pass for a layup.

Ted's a smart man, bringing back some of the franchise greats and getting them involved with the team is a smart marketing ploy on his part. But it creates an air of team history that can be built on over time.

The Yankees do it better then anyone at their spring training park at Tamp Bay, every spring the place is crawling with old Yank players. The fans and the players just love it, and those old guys get a hoot out of being remembered. The Orioles luanched a similar promotion this year bringing in a different group of guys for a pre game session each week.

If Nick Young wanted to run Thorton down, he should of used a bus.

Not big on preseason predictions, so much can happen in a season, but I got to agree with Blurred and O'Mark the upside of this team is very promising. With the style I think they're going to come out and play, they could ride their young legs to some surprising win streaks.

I've yet to see Wall live, everybody that I've talked to that has is astounded by his open court speed. People keep telling me that he's the fastest they've ever seen end to end. Other thing I keep hearing about is his arms on defense, that he can get his hands on passes that you'd think there was no way he'd touch.

With Hinrich on board to teach him how to bump and grind and play with his "get in your shorts style" Wall could quickly develop into one of the league's priemier defenders. Been a while since anybody playing for this franchise had a rep as a defender.

If Howard gets healthy, the Wiz could actually end up being a good defensive team on the perimeter. It can help those guys a lot down low if there's decent ball pressure on the perimeter.

The Wiz do have lots of length and quickness, that lends it's self to playing Flip's flex zone. How fast these guys learn to play help D is going to be the key to the wins total.

Surprisingly Hilton Armstrong could end up playing a bigger role on this team then most of us have thought. He's been in the league long enough to know to play, now he's finally in a situation where he could actually get on the court for regular rotation minutes.

If he can play decent D, box out, and defensive rebound, he's going to earn court time because that's where the weakness in McGee's game is right now.

If the Wiz have a center on the roster that can do the basic things that you expect an NBA center to do, battling for an 8 seed becomes a possibility...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 1, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Couple of factors make predictions for the Wiz really unreliable.

1) it's not the same team as last season. Looking at the 'core' of the '09 club, Arenas played only 40% of the games, Jamison 50%, Butler and Haywood 57% and 60%, respectively. Blatche played in 81, but started only 36. It's a completely new club.

2) the Wiz picked up an unusual number of veterans from other clubs. That's due to the salary dumps that several teams indulged in last year. The Wiz got lottery picks like Yi and vets like Hinrich and Thornton for a pittance, but also gave up Jamison, Butler, and Haywood for below market rate. This really isn't a team yet; it's still a collection of players.

3) Wall looks like the real thing, but in recent years having the first round pick is usually worth a 6-7 game increase in wins, even to a reasonably good club like Chicago after getting Derrick Rose. We're not a reasonably good club at this point.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 1, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

If you really want to get overly optimistic, watch a little of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEtKjACpQEg

Posted by: divi3 | October 1, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

3) Wall looks like the real thing, but in recent years having the first round pick is usually worth a 6-7 game increase in wins, even to a reasonably good club like Chicago after getting Derrick Rose. We're not a reasonably good club at this point.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 1, 2010 8:59 AM

Seems like everyone here (other than me) drools over KH....so just how much of an upgrade over him was Rose in his rookie year? Contrast that to how much of an upgrade Wall will be over....Earl Boykins???

I'd say a big reason for legit optimism is precisely because we have a completely new club and the stale is gone. Hell, just look in the difference in pure athleticism between this year's and last....it's night and day. Even for guys who were on the club like Javale and NY (and hopefully AB).

Posted by: divi3 | October 1, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of optimism....this does not look like the same player that was pushed around last season

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/452914/DSC_0212_medium.JPG

Posted by: divi3

Glad he's clearly been working out, but just hoping he put as much (or more) effort into his core and legs. The ripped 'guns' are nice for show, but the lower body strength is more important in the paint.

Posted by: ts35 | October 1, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

2) the Wiz picked up an unusual number of veterans from other clubs.
Posted by: Samson151

Isn't "A number of unusual veterans" more accurate?

Posted by: ts35 | October 1, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Seems like everyone here (other than me) drools over KH...
Posted by: divi3

Dude, does Kirk owe you money or something? A few people here drool, most of us I think are in the "good, solid veteran" camp.

But I think you missed Samson's overall point, which was about all big-time first rounders, not just Rose. Tim Duncan is (I think) the only case where the team had a big bounce after drafting him, but David Robinson coming back after missing pretty much the entire prior season also helped a bit.

Wall is definitely not stepping into remotely the same team that took the court last October, but I think the ball-park assessment for them is still roughly the same because they come in with at least as many questions. I feel like they have a better mix of players, and probably more overall talent, but it is such a young, young team, that it may take a while for them to put it together.

Posted by: ts35 | October 1, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"Glad he's clearly been working out, but just hoping he put as much (or more) effort into his core and legs. The ripped 'guns' are nice for show, but the lower body strength is more important in the paint.
Posted by: ts35"

The weird thing about McGee is he actually has more strength in his lower body, which is why he can run and jump so well. What he's missing is the wide butt, and there's no way to develop that. It's a little like Ralph Sampson. Makes me think his long term future isn't in the low post.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 1, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

GM,

Armstrong may indeed be a surprise. I checked his pedigree "so to speak" and Big East Defensive Player of the Year is a tall glass of water.

If Seraphin isn't game on' then Hilton I think will easily be the first off the bench behind McGee.

Plus, Hilton is a ton more skilled with the ball than Haywood ever was or is going to be. His low career PPG and RPG hopefully is a reflection of low playing time and not time waisted when he was given it.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 1, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"Dude, does Kirk owe you money or something? A few people here drool, most of us I think are in the "good, solid veteran" camp.

But I think you missed Samson's overall point, which was about all big-time first rounders, not just Rose. Tim Duncan is (I think) the only case where the team had a big bounce after drafting him, but David Robinson coming back after missing pretty much the entire prior season also helped a bit."

I think you missed my overall point, namely that Rose in his rookie year was not THAT much of an upgrade over KH. Whereas Wall in our backcourt is a phenomenal upgrade over the Foye/Earl show. Add that to KH and Gil at 100%....suddenly the team's biggest weakness last season (backcourt) is its strongest asset.

The dynamic with this new roster is so wholly different from any part of last year's team....I'd daresay it's not even realistic to compare the two in terms how many wins "better" this year's group should be. Two different teams entirely.

Posted by: divi3 | October 1, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

You know I still don't like to this day that Earl the Pearl got away to the Knickerbockers. And, it is not even that I didn't care for the Knicks for I liked them too as a team.

But, Earl The Pearl was a Bullet through and through. In may book the Bullets were one of the most entertaining teams back then. They could ball with any NBA team and to see Monroe go to the Knicks stills pains me today.

Big ups to Leonsis for bringing tradition/history back to forefront of the Team.

I hope he is laying the framwork to get the Bullets name back, for nothing is wrong with the name truthfully, and it doesn't have to be and really should not be a slight to the Pollins to do so.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 1, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

'If Seraphin isn't game on' then Hilton I think will easily be the first off the bench behind McGee.'

Compare Hilton's highlights to Seraphin's Cholet clips and you start to wonder why we were all enthused about one and apathetic about the other. Armstrong sounds like he's got his head on straight and is ready to seriously challenge Mcgee for the starting position. Between the two of them, maybe we wont be as weak in the middle as feared

Posted by: divi3 | October 1, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I think you missed my overall point, namely that Rose in his rookie year was not THAT much of an upgrade over KH.
Posted by: divi3

Nope, I got it, what I'm (and I think Samson was) saying is that it doesn't matter so much who they replace, it's just borne out over time that big-time first round picks only give you so much bump in the first year, independent of any almost any other factors -- except maybe having a HOF player return from injury in the same year.

If you take Wall out of the mix for the moment and look at the team they would put out there, it's tough to say that that team would be much better than last year's squad pre- or post- blowup.

The dynamic with this new roster is so wholly different from any part of last year's team....I'd daresay it's not even realistic to compare the two in terms how many wins "better" this year's group should be. Two different teams entirely.
Posted by: divi3

You don't have to compare them for the general assessment to come out essentially the same.

Posted by: ts35 | October 1, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The weird thing about McGee is he actually has more strength in his lower body, which is why he can run and jump so well. What he's missing is the wide butt, and there's no way to develop that. It's a little like Ralph Sampson. Makes me think his long term future isn't in the low post.

Posted by: Samson151

Different kind of strength. Beyond that, I agree, given his lankier body type, he has to work a bit harder. But in time, he can become effective. He'll probably always be outmuscled by some, but obviously he can out-quick and out-jump most. Like guys like Camby and Tyson Chandler, he'll just have to find his own way.

Posted by: ts35 | October 1, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

pure post-games are going the way of the dodo bird anyway. Not that post skills arent important, but having a C that can dominate on the low block is no longer essential to winning imo. If JM can guard the paint, and get his offensive however he does...should be fine

Posted by: divi3 | October 1, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

pure post-games are going the way of the dodo bird anyway. Not that post skills arent important, but having a C that can dominate on the low block is no longer essential to winning imo. If JM can guard the paint, and get his offensive however he does...should be fine

Posted by: divi3

Funny thing is, people keep saying that....and then going out to get whatever guys they can who can score in the low-post. Everyone wants 'athletes', until the playoffs start and the big bodies start getting thrown around.

But aside from that, a big part of 'guarding the paint' is being able to prevent the opposing bigs from walking you to the hoop. Pure post game or not, getting as close to the basket as you can never goes out of style.

Posted by: ts35 | October 1, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

You don't have to compare them for the general assessment to come out essentially the same.

Posted by: ts35 | October 1, 2010 11:47 AM

What your general assessment of this starting 5:

Wall
Gil (with his mind and game right)
JHoward (healthy&ahead of schedule on the knee)
AB (best shape of his career)
JM (bigger, stronger, better conditioned, and with noticeably improved decision making)

Of course that represents everything breaking the right way, and that happening isnt really the point...so much as a team like that has nothing to do with what we saw last year. And if that squad won 42 games, it would be disengenious to attribute it to Wall. So looking at how many wins prized rookies have added historically doesnt necessarily mean anything for the upcoming season.

Posted by: divi3 | October 1, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

not to mention last season is supposed to have been an aberration for Flip "50 win" Saunders...our $4mill coach

Posted by: divi3 | October 1, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

If you really compare what we lost last year to what we have this year, I think what we have this year on a scale of 1-10, is about an 5 pt difference. 8-3 IMO.

What we had last year, Haywood - good NBA center being replaced by one that will probably make us forget everthing good about him this season.

Jamison - out of position PF being replaced by a real PF in Blatche that wants and can probably take his game to All Star consideration.

Butler - bombed last year, being replaced by Howard for sure after injury and possibly Young/Thornton/ect.

These matchups, all three I would say are at least a 1 point upgrade from last year.

Arenas last year v. Areans this year, a 4 point upgrade.

Wall v. whateverelse we was trying to use last year and 8-10 point upgrade.

I think so far as what a number one pick translates to our team this year is more in the neigborhood of Duncan and The Admiral.

Arenas, least we forget was suspended last year.

Now granted, we are not getting SA win numbers, but we will certainly beat the traditional NBA norm when #1 picks arrive.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 1, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

[Wall will] be valuable no matter if he turns into a perfect playmaking lead or a scoring dynamo. But if he's the latter, it's just not going to fit with Arenas. It's almost exactly what we saw in Sacramento.

Shoals and Ziller do D.C. Scroll halfway down for the part where Ziller compares the Wizards' backcourt to last year's Kings(SPOILER:Hinrich = Udrih).

Posted by: djnnnou | October 1, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Everyone at Attack Athletics in Chicago, the gym owned by elite trainer Tim Grover where Arenas played against fellow pros this summer, said he looked incredible. (He was working on some kind of insane stepback move where he winds up shooting off a jump to the side. We'll all have to see it, I guess.) The explosion is back in his legs; we will not see him as he looked last season, unable to finish plays at the rim. The quickness and handle that made him a three-time All-Star are back. His speed is back; he finished Flip Saunders's conditioning drill before camp began in 46 seconds.

"His first time, he did it in like 42, which is almost, world-class speed," Saunders said.

http://www.tbd.com/articles/2010/09/gilbert-arenas-is-back-maybe-better-than-before-16538.html

Posted by: tgif11 | October 1, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Of course that represents everything breaking the right way, and that happening isnt really the point...so much as a team like that has nothing to do with what we saw last year. And if that squad won 42 games, it would be disingenuous to attribute it to Wall. So looking at how many wins prized rookies have added historically doesnt necessarily mean anything for the upcoming season.
Posted by: divi3

Which I think was the general gist of Samson's post, that there are too many unknowns to try to reliably quantify the record for this year. I think you're the one who jumped in with the But-Wall-is-a-much-bigger-upgrade-than-Rose-was argument. If the whole roster is different, what particular prognosticative difference does it make how much of an upgrade Wall is over Boykins or Foye, etc?

What your general assessment of this starting 5:

Wall - A rook. Gonna be truly awesome at times. Gonna turn the ball over a lot.

Gil (with his mind and game right) Well I thought you had already determined that he can't be 'right' because of all of the lateral mobility he's apparently lost. Even assuming he's 'right', he's also going to be playing with a lot of young guys who don't know the game like he does. Will he bring the effort on both ends, and how will he handle a losing season if it starts to go that way?

JHoward (healthy&ahead of schedule on the knee) Should be good. Assuming the knee stays healthy.

AB (best shape of his career) Should be good, assuming the foot stays healthy. Will he bring it on both ends? How will he handle not being the focal point of the offense?

JM (bigger, stronger, better conditioned, and with noticeably improved decision making) He'll be better, still not sold that he'll be good enough this year. He'll have great games and not so great games.

But throw all of it together and you have a young group of guys, combined with a lot of guys learning a new system, combined with a lot of guys learning to play together, combined with a lot of guys coming off of injuries, combined with a lot of guys who haven't put together complete seasons.

I'm sure they'll have games where they will run teams off the floor and look awesome. I'm also sure they'll have some where they'll look like they've never played together before. And then of course factor in your favorite coach, Flip. Will he have the patience to stay the course if things start to slip?

Is it possible they could put it together and win 40? Sure, it's possible. Is it just as possible that they go through fits and starts and only win 30? Absolutely. Barring injuries, I don't expect them to win less than 30. I put them somewhere right in the middle, at around 35. Coincidentally right around the max bump usually associated with a #1 pick.


Posted by: ts35 | October 1, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Last year at this time I was very optimistic.
This year I'm gonna take a wait & see stance and see what we have after about 10 games.
Looking at the potential starters (Gil, Javale, Blatche,Wall, thorton) I don't see all that much.

It's gonna take a lot of luck to get into the PO's.

Unless NY,Booker,Serafin surprise the begeesus outa me 30 wins will be a miricle.

Posted by: VBFan | October 1, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for positive outlooks...but come on man...

McGee is NOT better than Haywood...YET. You pretty much knew Haywood was gonna get 10 points 10 boards and 2 blocks last season...I'll take the solid and steady over the spectacular but sometimes stupid anyday. We hope McGee develops to be better than Haywood...but when BH was here....he was top 10 in rebounds/game, 1st or 2nd in ORPG and top 5 in blocks.

That's better than just some average center we had. He was pretty good even with his offensive limitations...flashy and highlight worth isn't always better.

Sometimes the players names that you DON'T mention are the ones that win games.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 1, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Like I read some of these posts....talking about McGee is hall of fame bound...and McGee and Blatche are the new Hakeem and Sampson...

geez. Slow down. Neither one of them has proved ANYTHING. Yet....

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 1, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't the Earl Monroe trade the advent of the Curse of Les BouleS? I heard the Pearl's jersey is buried beneath half court.

Posted by: prescrunk | October 1, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

>Wasn't the Earl Monroe trade the advent of the Curse of Les BouleS? I heard the Pearl's jersey is buried beneath half court.

Posted by: prescrunk

No. That started when the team got old in '79, and they tried for twenty years to bring in veterans to replace them.
Yeah, remember the time when the Pearl broke his wrist on his shooting hand and scored 48 points LEFT-HANDED at Winston-Salem in college. People who didn't get to see him have no idea.

Posted by: Brue | October 1, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The Pearl was one of the most exciting players & my all-time favorite Bullet.
Gilbert can't hold a candle to Earl. Can only imagine what Pearl's scoring record would be if he'd been shooting threes.

Posted by: jts53 | October 1, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The Pearl was simply one of a kind. His fakes, jukes, spins and hesitation moves were works of pure basketball genius. I have never seen a player change speeds so easily and so often. Then there was his passing...

It must have been pure hell to try to guard him.

Young Gil's offensive game was much less based on deception than it was on the nasty combination of a blindingly fast first step past the defenderand an equally deft step back to take the long three... If the rumors that he has regained much of that initial burst are true, well OK!

Posted by: khrabb | October 2, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company