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Training camp concerns Part VII: Will the Wizards be any good?


Will I be the fifth No. 1 pick in the past 25 years to lead my team to the playoffs? Who knows? (Reuters Pictures)


Fortunately for the Wizards, they won't enter this season with the unnecessary pressures that come from impulsive championship talk, or even playoff talk. Having hit the reset button after winning a combined 45 games the past two seasons, they are the beneficiaries of low expectations. If they fail, no problem; it'll take time. If they surprise, it's all gravy, baby.

These are the beginning stages of rebuilding, arriving with the shiny, new foundation of No. 1 overall pick John Wall. But while having the top pick offers hope for the future, it should also come with tempered expectations. Remember, most teams have to be pretty bad to be in contention to win the lottery.

And, in the lottery era, only four No. 1 picks have led their teams into the postseason in the first season. That short list includes Derrick Rose, Tim Duncan, Chris Webber and David Robinson, whose NBA debut was delayed two seasons after he fulfilled his duties with the Navy (Andrew Bogut and Andrea Bargnani both made the playoffs as rookies, but were role players coming off the bench). Shaquille O'Neal, Brad Daugherty, Derrick Coleman, Larry Johnson, Kenyon Martin and Yao Ming needed two seasons. Patrick Ewing, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Allen Iverson -- to whom Wall often has been compared -- didn't reach the postseason until their third seasons.

So, it would be unfair to expect Wall to win right away, especially when the Wizards will be among the youngest teams in the league next season, with only three players having more than six years of NBA experience on the roster in Gilbert Arenas, Josh Howard and Kirk Hinrich. They will also feature seven players with fewer than four years of NBA experience, including three rookies.

There certainly is intriguing, if unproven, talent in rookies Wall, Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker, new acquisition Yi Jianlian and holdovers Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Al Thornton. But new owner Ted Leonsis is hopeful that the Wizards are building a talented young core that can develop and grow together. He's willing to be patient to an extent, as long as the team continues to make progress.


Hey, we made the playoffs here every year I was healthy. (Reuters Pictures)

Chemistry could potentially be a problem. Arenas's ability to mesh with Wall will be an issue until they prove on the court that it isn't. There is little separation in talent among the big men and small forwards, a lot of young players competing for minutes, and Howard and Hilton Armstrong, Young, Thornton and Yi are playing for contracts next summer. But things could also work out smoothly if the players find themselves having similar interests and common goals, hanging out after practice and games and forming friendships. Those things generally have to play out. Last season, the Wizards had a deep, talented, veteran cast but could never get on the same page.

Aside from youth and inexperience, the Wizards also are in the unenviable position of being in the Southeast Division -- arguably the toughest division in the NBA, with the newly-formed SuperFriends of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh in Miami, the Eastern Conference champion once-removed Orlando Magic, the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Bobcats. All four of those teams made it to the playoffs last season, and none took any noticeable steps backward this offseason that would keep them from returning.

ESPN.com expects the Wizards to be one of the worst teams in the NBA next season, while the blog, The Wages of Wins Journal, has them slated as the worst team in the league (one blogger upset Leonsis by projecting the Wizards to be the worst team ever).

The Wizards are filled with unpredictable probabilities and question marks. Wall could have a huge, Rose-or-Brandon-Jennings-type influence as a rookie -- or he could struggle mightily trying to handle it all. Arenas could come back humbled and motivated, determined to take his frustrations out on the rest of the league -- or he might not. Blatche could prove that he wasn't a one-hit wonder -- or he could revert. Howard might return from his knee surgery looking like he did when he was an all-star in Dallas -- or he could have a hard time recovering. Yi and McGee may have some carryover from their promising play for their national teams this summer -- or they could continue to be inconsistent. Nick Young or Al Thornton might finally break through -- or, who knows?

If the Wizards are able to get the best-case scenarios from their top players, then there is a chance that they could sneak into playoff contention. Miami, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta, Milwaukee and possibly Charlotte should secure the top seven spots in the East, but the Wizards arguably have as much talent as the other seven teams in the conference. Toronto and Cleveland lost all-star talent this summer and will likely fall. New York and New Jersey whiffed mightily in free agency and could struggle again (unless one of them can make a deal for Carmelo Anthony). Then you have Indiana, Detroit and Philadelphia. So, it's pretty wide open.

After winning the lottery last May, the Wizards would need much more good fortune to avoid a return trip to Secaucus, N.J., next season. But again, the Wizards want mostly to be a competitive, exciting team. A playoff appearance would be a pleasant surprise. And, another lottery trip may not be too terrible. After all, it could potentially lead to another building block to add to an already encouraging foundation.

By Michael Lee  | September 22, 2010; 12:03 PM ET
Categories:  Training camp concerns 2010-11  
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Comments


I guess nobody is as blind as a fan. That explains why I don't see the Wizards being the worst team in the NBA this season and certainly not the worst team in the history of the NBA (9 wins? Really? C'mon.).

I'm thinking the Wiz will be a low lottery team (maybe 30-35 wins). Again, I realize I'm a Wizards fan.

Posted by: artiesliver | September 22, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I'm pretty sure Mr. Leonsis was not upset, as Michael Lee stated, by the bloggers comments..

There is NO WAY this team is worst than last year's team. We do have alot of question marks, particularly with Josh Howard's injury more than anything else.
I think Seraphin will be a solid player from the video I have seen. let's hope it translates in the NBA.

Which brings me to my usual point. Why at this late date do we not know what to expect from Blatche and Nick Young??? This is what is bothering me. We should know what we have with both and we just don't..

I can see this team making the playoff's IF Josh Howard is healthy. I think and am hoping Gil has the best sesaon he has had in years(so we can trade his a**) and I think Wall has the physicall skills and I think he has it upstairs as well to be Rookie of the Year candidate...

So if they don't get the 8 spot they should at least threaten it. Not that it means a whole heck of a lot, but I guess it does for us coming off the last two seasons...

Posted by: kevenjones | September 22, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

No worries artiesliver, I'm basically with you. I don't expect them to make the playoffs, but I expect them to be at least a little better than last year. We'll likely lose to teams like Miami and Orlando, but those will be offset by having a better chance against teams like Cleveland and Toronto.

But more so than record, I think all of us want to see positive developmental signs from the players individually and the team as a whole. Better chemistry, better defense, more mature play from Young and McGee, continued improved play from AB, a healthy, motivated Arenas, and good things from Wall and the rest of the rooks and new players. And seeing a lot of those things should inherently improve the team win total.

Posted by: ts35 | September 22, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"And, in the lottery era, only four No. 1 picks have led their teams into the postseason in the first season"

Not a lot of lottery picks have had a possible 30 and 7 a night guy to share the ball with either. Along with a young PF who seems to be on the path to being an elite in this league. As much as they keep saying it, I don't buy into the tons of pressure on Wall. He has some good players around him. This team SHOULD make the playoffs.

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | September 22, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

and those stat's and pretty charts are hogwash. You can't gather sh** from them. There really is no way to predict what any team will do so we are all just guessing.

Like I'm sure his dumb ass chart would say the Heat will win the championship. And that ain't gonna happen!

Posted by: kevenjones | September 22, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

just using only one If, i think the wiz will win 36-38 games and will be in playoff if the rest of the teams are not good enough to win 36-38 games, which a possiblity in east.

Posted by: gtefferra | September 22, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Revision, the Wiz can make the playoff's IF Carmelo doesn't go to NY..Ok Bye

Posted by: kevenjones | September 22, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

If they win 35 games, it'll be a positive step forward.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz should surprise a lot of people. Last year was about stats; 8 free agents playing for contracts. This year the attitude which starts with Flip should be "who care's who scores...just win". If winning is what matters and it should be then everything will work itself out. Take charges, rebound, make the extra pass when you need to, hustle on every play, fight for loose balls...do the things to create opportunities to win. The Wiz (on paper) have a talented team, it will be interesting seeing it all come together. IF everyone plays their respective role it should be a great season.

BTW, with Dre playing D Jamison didn't and not settling for the outside shot...we should be much improved. Who are you going to double team Wall, Arenas, Dre, Yi, or Young in the Wing? Just PLEASE keep Al T in the paint to BANG.

I predict 5th at the worst with a possible playoff win.
Gil is going to torch the league.
Blake Griffin & John Wall will be co-rookies of the year.
Dre will out play many at the 4 spot

Posted by: Gooddad | September 22, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@Gooddad,
Blake Griffin is not a rookie.

Posted by: kevenjones | September 22, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

kevenjones

Griffin is a rookie. He didn't play a game last year so he is still considered a rook, with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto.

Posted by: artiesliver | September 22, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse


As a long-time fan who tends to view the Wizards and its front office with a sober eye, I see the Wizards making the playoffs THIS SEASON and cementing Washington as a desirable destination for would-be free agents in the years to come.

Wizards Faithful, give the Wizards a few years and they'll be able to give the Heat and their so-called "Dream Team" all they can handle and then some. I'm telling you in no uncertain terms that in the near future NBA titles will be won only by going through the Wizards!

"In Grunfeld We Trust"!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | September 22, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

If this team isnt better than last year's, Flip will likely be fired and possibly EG too. Seriously doubt that happens if they're healthy, I like this roster and they should be able to win games.

Posted by: divi3 | September 22, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@artiesliver,

You are correct. I thought he was injured in the regular sesaon but he was injured in preseason game. Same thing happen to Oden right?

Posted by: kevenjones | September 22, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Wizard fan and am confident that they will turn the corner soon. However, I've noticed something about Washington teams, they lack discipline. (with the exception of the Caps) What was the big change with the Redskins from last year to this year? They look like a totally different team. I think its discipline.

Mr. Leonis will ensure that the Wizards have discipline as he did with the Caps. If Coach Saunders can't instill it, Mr. Leonis will find somebody who will.

Posted by: carterm1 | September 22, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Griffin is a rookie. He didn't play a game last year so he is still considered a rook, with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto.

Posted by: artiesliver

Out of curiousity which team does Griffin play for during the "Rookie/Sophomore" game All-Star weekend?

Posted by: G-Man11 | September 22, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"Out of curiousity which team does Griffin play for during the "Rookie/Sophomore" game All-Star weekend?"

He's a rookie so (if he plays) he'll play for the rookie team.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Why would any team concede playoff expectations before training camp? Teams can rebuild AND make the playoffs.

Remember this: the Wizards aren't a reclamation project. They've got a better talent base than teams who finished ahead of them. Indiana, Detroit and Cleveland come immediately to mind.

Chemistry will be the biggest issue IMO not talent. It's up to Flip to stop playing mind games and treat everybody as equally as possible.

It shouldn't matter what anybody has done in the past. Bring it now.

Posted by: elfreako | September 22, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

There will be injuries and there will be drama. The Wizards may start out strong and catch some teams by surprise, but the end result will be less 30 wins.

Philly and Cleveland will take the final two playoff spots.

Posted by: djnnnou | September 22, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Success, which I think is challenging for a playoff spot this year, is dependent upon two things: Gil has to be healthy (if he's healthy, he'll be good) and Blatche has to continue where he left off last season. Those are my keys because Gil, Blatche and Wall will require opponents to play help defense. This will lead to opportunities for the easy buckets that have been so hard to come by during the last few years.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | September 22, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Griffin is a rookie in every possible way. And people are predicting that the ROY race will come down to Wall or Griffin. It's the same thing that happened with Greg Oden and Etan Thomas.

Posted by: Urnesto | September 22, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I BELIEVE the Wizards will 44-38. Talent is Talent........the wizards are loaded.........Javale will be a Better version of Ben wallace....he actually has the potential to be a BEAST! If Arenas plays at an allstar level he could make the Wizards even better ......Kirk will bring leadership, and there are plenty of role players who will fill in the rest!! I fell the Wizards have the potential to be the Phoenix Suns of the East! Defense will be an issue.....but they will be able to block shots and create turnovers....on offense 3pt shooting may be an issue......But the Positives out weigh the negative!!!! We will see what a Coach Saunders really is .......

Posted by: sjbrjm22315 | September 22, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I am expecting about 30 wins this year, we will not be able to overcome our weaknesses at the Center and SF positions.

Posted by: closg | September 22, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"Talent is Talent........"

This is true. I'm not sure what it's supposed to mean substantively or what relevance it has. But it is true.

Also true: Black is Black. White is White. Up is Up. Cake is Cake. Water is Water.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"Remember this: the Wizards aren't a reclamation project. They've got a better talent base than teams who finished ahead of them. Indiana, Detroit and Cleveland come immediately to mind."

I would dispute both points.

They are very much a reclamation project. Among the things being reclaimed: the faith of the fans, respect in the NBA, team identity, team confidence. And then there are the individual players, many of whom are very much in "something to prove/running out of chances" positions.

As for them being "more talented" than teams that finished ahead of them . . . (A) That's debatable at best (particularly with regards to Detroit and Indiana) and (B) Teams with the most talent don't automatically make the best, most successful teams. Lots of other factors come into play.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"Chemistry will be the biggest issue IMO not talent. It's up to Flip to stop playing mind games and treat everybody as equally as possible."

Chemistry will be an issue, but it's an issue for every team. And all coaches play mind games. It's part of their jobs, insofar as managing egos and attitudes. If it's time for anything it's time for certain players to put up or shut up and stop looking for other people/factors to blame for their own shortcomings.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Of course other factors come into Kalo. That's why I offer the contingency of Flip not playing mind games.

Do you think Dray will run through a wall for this guy like say Kendrick Perkins would for Doc Rivers?

How about sprinkling in a few pats on the back with those kicks on the rump. Did you notice how Flip never took the blame for ANY loss this team had last season? Doc fell on the grenade when the Wiz stunned the C's up in Beantown last April so the players wouldn't be bombarded by the "too old talk" from the media.

Worked out well from there on out didn't it?

Posted by: elfreako | September 22, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"That's why I offer the contingency of Flip not playing mind games. "

Asked and answered.

"Do you think Dray will run through a wall for this guy like say Kendrick Perkins would for Doc Rivers?"

I don't see Blatche running through walls for anybody (unless there's a rockin' party on the other side of it). And that just speaks to my point about not blaming other people. If Blatche chooses not to play hard for Saunders, then that's his choice and he should be held responsible for the results.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Do you think Dray will run through a wall for this guy like say Kendrick Perkins would for Doc Rivers?

How about sprinkling in a few pats on the back with those kicks on the rump. Did you notice how Flip never took the blame for ANY loss this team had last season? Doc fell on the grenade when the Wiz stunned the C's up in Beantown last April so the players wouldn't be bombarded by the "too old talk" from the media.

Worked out well from there on out didn't it?

Posted by: elfreako

Seriously? The year Boston got bounced early, the Celtics players were grumbling plenty about Doc. Winning is the great deodorant. Easy to be gracious when you're winning a lot more than you lose. And Flip did sprinkle in pats on the back when they were warranted. Not sure which part of the 16 game losing streak warranted many pats on the back. It's kind of a joke to look at the Celts rosters vs the Wiz roster (even pre-blowup) and say their success is all because Doc is a better coach. He may be, but he also has better horses.

I do agree though that Flip didn't take as much blame as he should have.

Posted by: ts35 | September 22, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

by the same token, Flip can be held responsible for lousy in-game decisions and questionable rotations this season- no more "poor guy walked into a nightmare" defense

Posted by: divi3 | September 22, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"Do you think Dray will run through a wall for this guy like say Kendrick Perkins would for Doc Rivers?"

No, but he'll probably make Big Baby look like a fool again:

'Late in the first period, he got separation from Glen Davis by using an old Hakeem Olajuwon move by flashing the ball in front of him and yanking it back. He then made a layup as Davis was backpedaling.'

Then maybe even give Flip undo credit again:

'"Number one thing is I have a lot of respect for my coach. He said, 'Just don't say nothing.' So this time, I just didn't say nothing at all," said Blatche'

And then probably still get criticized by people who've already made up their minds!

Posted by: divi3 | September 22, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

by the same token, Flip can be held responsible for lousy in-game decisions and questionable rotations this season- no more "poor guy walked into a nightmare" defense

Posted by: divi3

It wasn't the topic at hand, but I agree with that. And as Kal was indicating, the players are equally responsible for their poor performance. No more "they're still young" or "the Wizards don't develop their players" defense.

Posted by: ts35 | September 22, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

The coach can and should be held responsible for in-game decisions. That being said, I still dispute the viability of the claim that Saunders was egregiously bad in this regard given that, on any night, the vast majority of his sub options were, essentially, the lesser of "X number of" evils. It's not like he had multiple, easy, obvious answers to a lengthy defensive lapse or prolonged shooting slump sitting on the bench.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

4 things Flip really botched last season:

Giving major minutes to an injured and ineffective DeShawn Stevenson when he lauded NY for being the best player in training camp for the first 7-10 days. Huh?

Failing to step in between a not so thinly veiled beef between Butler & Arenas. If two so-called team leaders are beefing then bring them together for a beer summit at least.

Letting Jamison start the Charlotte game after missing 2 practices so he could attend the Super Bowl in Miami. Nice message there Flip.

Saying Blatche soiled the bed sheets after the loss in Boston when AB clearly outplayed KG. How about taking Mike Miller off Ray Allen who was abusing him in the 4th quarter? That may have played a role in the loss Flip.

Posted by: elfreako | September 22, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

imo, the wizards should be good for 30-35 wins. to me it all boils down to arenas. if he leaves his knucklehead at home for the kids to play with, he can be as good a 2 guard as there is in the league. he has defensive liabilities, of course, and you would need javale to play backstop. every play will not be determined by that, however, it will mean that javale has also matured. then arenas may actually decide to play some d....who knows? then there's blatch, his situation is a little different. he can't fall into the superstar syndrome trap. he's not a superstar yet and he needs to realize that. otherwise he has the ability to be a problem for the other team. those should be your big three this year, john wall is just gravy with what he brings. or dessert, or garnish....and if he turns into the true leader of the team, all the better.

Posted by: joerutgens72 | September 22, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

It's not like he had multiple, easy, obvious answers to a lengthy defensive lapse or prolonged shooting slump sitting on the bench.

Posted by: kalo_rama

That's true, but there were plenty of games where you sort of look at the guys he has out there -- even from among the slim pickings he had available -- and wonder what certain guys were doing out there.

Posted by: ts35 | September 22, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

It's not like he had multiple, easy, obvious answers to a lengthy defensive lapse or prolonged shooting slump sitting on the bench.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2010 3:49 PM

If they were easy answers teams wouldnt need a coach. Flip did stuff like the DeShawn on Dungleavy mistake all season. How about moving Gil to SG so Boykins could play PG....then watching as Gil hogged the ball effectively giving us a 5'6" shooting guard?? I could go on.

Not saying he was terrible every night, but he lost a few games on his own.

Posted by: divi3 | September 22, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"That's true, but there were plenty of games where you sort of look at the guys he has out there -- even from among the slim pickings he had available -- and wonder what certain guys were doing out there."

And, in most of those games, if he'd swapped out the entire 5 on the floor with a completely different 5 off the bench . . . you could easily still be wondering the same thing. In other words, swapping out Boykins for Foye or Miller for Young in no way guaranteed better results. You're taking a chance on the cost/benefit scale either way.

The fact that the decision you make doesn't work doesn't automatically mean that the one you didn't would have.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I hated Eddie Jordan's offense but appreciated him taking blame for certain things.

It's never Flip's bad for ANYTHING that goes wrong apparently.

Posted by: elfreako | September 22, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"I could go on."

Yes, we know.

"Not saying he was terrible every night, but he lost a few games on his own."

Which still implies that the outcome would have been different if he'd made different decisions. Given the pretty significant talent deficit on the team, that's a highly questionable bit off speculation at best.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"I hated Eddie Jordan's offense but appreciated him taking blame for certain things."

And yet the players still wouldn't give it up for him. So much for the correlation between the coach taking responsibility for losses and the players "running through a wall" for him.

Posted by: kalo_rama | September 22, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

He's the only Wizards coach to make the playoffs in the last 16 seasons so obviously he struck a cord with some players.

Posted by: elfreako | September 22, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The fact that the decision you make doesn't work doesn't automatically mean that the one you didn't would have.

Posted by: kalo_rama

Except as in-game decisions reflect overall strategic objectives. After the blow-up, I think it's safe to say that they were playing as much for the next season as the one they're in. So what did it serve, either in a particular game or as part of an overall strategy to be giving Q-Ross minutes, when he wasn't effective as a defender, wasn't hitting shots, and wasn't a player they needed to get court time to 'figure out what they had.' If he's just taking up minutes out there, why not put someone out there you need to learn something about?

It's tough to take their mistakes, but at that point, you're better served by playing your youngsters.

There were a lot more things, rotation things, offensive things, particular play calls that I know were at issue, but frankly I've purged a lot of it. If I go back a look it up, or it comes back to me, I'll throw it out there.

Posted by: ts35 | September 22, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Flip would drink gasoline before challenging a player he considered a vet. That was his rep before arriving and it played out last season, no cost benefit analysis necessary to peg that as poor coaching.

Posted by: divi3 | September 22, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Wizard fan and am confident that they will turn the corner soon. However, I've noticed something about Washington teams, they lack discipline. (with the exception of the Caps) What was the big change with the Redskins from last year to this year? They look like a totally different team. I think its discipline.

Mr. Leonis will ensure that the Wizards have discipline as he did with the Caps. If Coach Saunders can't instill it, Mr. Leonis will find somebody who will.
Posted by: carterm1 | September 22, 2010 1:43 PM
I think it's leadership and it starts upstairs with the front office...
In EG We Trust... NOT!

Posted by: yetanotherpassword | September 22, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse


Flip's performance wasn't overwhelming and it would be nice to see him not air dirty laundry in public as he did so often last year and he definitely needs to stop being a drama queen and being so "over the top" when things go bad.

Flip has as much to prove as anybody in terms of showing what he can do to get a group of young guys to work together. It may not always result in a "W", but the cohesiveness will be readily apparent if it is there.

Give the Wizards organization your best shot or take your, uh, "act" back to Minnesota, Flip!

Posted by: roscoepcalhounbrownjriii | September 22, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The real key to the first part of the season is health - will Gil be able to go full speed, will Dre be able to play at all - and if so - with precision. Will we get our PF back before January? If we get affirmative answers on all of that, then the season has a chance to be special. If not, when January comes around we may find ourselves in a hole that cannot be got out of. Hopefully not. I personally think that Gil will kick butt, that John Wall will mesh seamlessly with him and that those two will lead a heck of a team.

Posted by: h20law2000 | September 22, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"Griffin is a rookie. He didn't play a game last year so he is still considered a rook, with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto."

Except his contract, he will be in 2nd year of his contract, and will reach FA one year ahead of Wall. :)

Posted by: sagaliba | September 22, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse


"Griffin is a rookie. He didn't play a game last year so he is still considered a rook, with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto."

Except his contract, he will be in 2nd year of his contract, and will reach FA one year ahead of Wall. :)

Posted by: sagaliba | September 22, 2010 4:30 PM

Griffin probably won't have to carry some no-account veteran's bags, buy donuts or worry about someone leaving a deuce in his shoes.

Posted by: roscoepcalhounbrownjriii | September 22, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

If Booker can do a decent job in terms of growing into an NBA player (I'm thinking 12-6-1 per night eventually - i.e. a minor Boozer) and Wall also grows, then the Wiz (PLEASE RENAME THE DAMN TEAM BACK TO THE BULLETS AND GO BACK TO THE ORANGE UNIFORMS)will be fine.

Posted by: charlie-s | September 22, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

by the same token, Flip can be held responsible for lousy in-game decisions and questionable rotations this season- no more "poor guy walked into a nightmare" defense

Posted by: divi3 | September 22, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse
==========================================
Amen, brother...I second that!

Posted by: bobilly1 | September 22, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Wizards projected to be the worst team ever, Nats the worst team last 2 yrs, socer team the worst, 'Skins 4-12. What's goin' on???

Posted by: boyn4884 | September 22, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm not at all sure who was 'responsible', or to what degree, for that last (dismal) season. Seems to me like a real team effort was involved. Or maybe I mean lack of effort.

However I do think Gilbert showed he was a true team leader in '09. Of course, that meant leading the crew in exactly the wrong direction, but you can't have everything.

When a club has been 'blown up', which was the intention here, it makes it virtually impossible to predict how quickly the new team comes together as a unit. It doesn't help that Blatche has been on the shelf for a couple months now. Same with Seraphin, although he's a less important part.

As far as Saunders, I'm sure we could apportion blame in that direction, too, but would it mean anything? Probably not. Just another exercise in hindsight. Something we probably indulge in too much already.

Personally, I'm just gonna watch and see. And offer up a few prayers that John Wall stays healthy.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 22, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

"Flip would drink gasoline before challenging a player he considered a vet. That was his rep before arriving and it played out last season, no cost benefit analysis necessary to peg that as poor coaching.Posted by: divi3"

LOL I predict that people will make a lot of statements like this during the coming year.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 22, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Whoever figured that the Wizs will be the worst team ever, must have some inside info that Gilbert is being dumped for a bag of chips, as his haters would like.

Funny.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 22, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Roscoe! P! Calhoun! Brown! Junior! The Third!

Aww Shucks now. Now thats the kinda' name that makes everybody just take note and smile.

Go on wit' yo' bad self, jus' go on.

Daammnn.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 22, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Question: Will the Wizards be any good?

Answer: Who cares?

Posted by: rpcv84 | September 22, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

"Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 22, 2010 7:08 PM"

Lol.

Posted by: roscoepcalhounbrownjriii | September 22, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

This had better be the year that McGee shows he has developed some low post moves enough to at least keep the defenses honest. If he hasn't improved at all in that area, then as far as I am concerned they might as well trade him. I mean how long do you wait on a professional player to develope skills that most high school bigs have WHEN THEY COME OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL. I hope the new owner is extremely impatient with this year's team to the point if they don't improve a lot then get them the hell out of here. Youth be damned. We want wins.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | September 22, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Dandy - just hold on a wee bit. McGee will show this year. He may get a butt full of the floor a couple of times early on, but by mid season he will be the envy of 15 NBA teams, especially Dallas. By seasons end he will be scaring other teams.

next season is his real breakout season, but we get to watch a potential HOFer get it together this year.

McGee - Most Improved
Arenas - will earn Comeback (they'll actually never give him this even if the Wiz win 55 and he avgs 35/12/8)
Wall - ROY
Blatche - AllStar
Howard - will actually get Comeback

hey - a guy can dream can't he.

Posted by: Blurred | September 22, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Darn it Blurred. I thought you were serious.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 22, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I realize they are very young but who other than Wall actually qualifies as a foundation piece? There are too many ifs on this roster.

Posted by: junkmail0153 | September 22, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I realize they are young but who on this roster qualifies as a foundation player other than Wall? There are too many ifs on this roster.

Posted by: junkmail0153 | September 22, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

1. Javale McGee is the anti-Ben Wallace. Wallace was/is a beast in the paint, a rebounding machine, a muscle man. Javale is an immensely talented stick who gets pushed around and lacks an inside game (on both sides of the ball).

2. Heres the case for why the Wizards might end up as the worst team in the NBA:
--unable to play good team defense as long as Arenas is a starter (it doesn't work to have 4 guys busting their butts and one playing matador defense)
--no clear dominant force in the middle as a regular starter, especially on defense and as a rebounder (I'd like Javale to be that guy but he's a long way off)
--Lots of bodies on the frontline but no clear starters with good all-around games. instead, it's a bunch of role players. If you could graft the best part if Yi's game onto Booker, you'd have a helluva player. As it is, you have two guys who are role players with major holes in their respective games. Right now, Blatche is the closest thing to a "go-to" guy on the front court the team has. Based on a third of a season we're going to argue he's a force to be reckoned with?
--the posibility that the team's best shooting guard this year might be Kirk Heinrich. Arenas has basically missed 2 years, will be rusty and may never get back the athleticism and game he used to have. Howard might be an all-star or he might miss 2/3rds of the season with injuries. Heinrich might be the best SG left over.
--Unless some guys really step up their game and some guys coming back from injuries really do "come back", a lineup of Yi, Blatche, McGee, Heinrich and Wall is not one you'd expect to see in the playoffs.

I don't think the Wiz will be the worst team in the NBA. But I think it's more likely they'll be the worst team than it is that they'll make the playoffs.

Posted by: JoeW1 | September 22, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm overly optimistic. But a starting lineup of Wall, Gil, Al T, AB and McGee is solid and crazy athletic. Then Heinrich (handle), Nick Y (pts), Yi (size, in-out), Booker (3-4, "Grown-A** Man"), Sera (beef), Hilton (size) and Morrison (3's) off the bench? I'm feeling good about our depth and the possibilities.

Posted by: billb8 | September 22, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Caps are overrated. Jeff Schultz is the most puzzling starter in the NHL. He's weak, stupid and skill-less. Fleischmann is undersized. Varlamov is overrated. When a team loses to a lower seed two years in a row, it's time to label them as chokers. Welcome back Washington Chokers!

Posted by: tramellcanady | September 23, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

I hope I'm wrong, but the more physical centers in the league will simply abuse McGee like a rag doll when the games matter.

Posted by: randysbailin | September 23, 2010 3:17 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards will be a decent team if McGee can stay out of foul trouble and give them 10 points, 10 rebounds, less than 5 turnovers, and 3 blocks per game. If he can do this, the rest will take care of itself!

Posted by: oakiedokie | September 23, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

In reading some above comments...people seem to have a positive attitude about the Wiz.
Having John Wall (who is the real deal) alongside Gilbert, and now Kirk...should after some chemistry time give them one of the better backfield trio`s in the east.

Having a lot of young players has good points. They have speed, desire, and want to improve. Being willing to do what it takes to be in top condition is critical.
We see how a veteran who has years in the league(NFl)Albert H., showing up not properly conditioned...accomplishes little,
and gets hurt easily.


improve

Posted by: blazerguy234 | September 23, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

NOPE! NOT GOOD!

Seriously, NBA have six teams that could take the championship.
The rest are there for the six to beat.

Just not enough talent in the NBA.

Posted by: shamken | September 23, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

The million dollar question is: Who will the L.A. Lakers swept in this years the NBA Finals ???

Posted by: Raidersfan2 | September 23, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Black is black;nope, having owned and operated a paint store for years, every paint company has their own formula for black. Same with white. Every paint company's black and white are different. Don't believe me, start a job and one company's white and finish it in another.

Only standard colors are Federal Safety Colors, Federal Safety Orange, Yellow, Red, and Blue are standardized. But there is no Federal Safety Color standards for white or black.

If Cake is Cake, please explain Boston Cream Pie...

If up is up; If a man is standing on the North Pole and one one the South Pole and the both throw a ball up in the air, are they going in the same direction?

Have know idea what any of this had to do with a discussion on basketball, but Kalorama brought them up.

Everybody's got the right their own opinion, just don't make up your own facts...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 23, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards need an anchor for the front court as a rebounder and defensive presence. Hitting the lottery again, even though it means a painful season, is the ticket for this team.

Once they have that second building block, the team can then go into free agency in 2012 and compete with the big boys for a major talent draw.

By that time Wall should be enough of a drawing card to attract free agents.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | September 23, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Rebounding is going to be the key. If Blatche could pull down 10 plus rebounds a game the Wiz could easily offset any drop off in scoring. But they don't have a lot of proven NBA rebounders.

As a starting Center McGee can't have one or two rebound nights. He's faster then any center in the league, so there's no need for him to "leak out" on the break.
He's got to be better at the "grunt work" of being a center. He's got to box out on the defensive boards and work as hard at it as he does to get offensive putbacks.

Yi needs to compete on the boards off the bench and not drift out of the lane as he has in past stops. If these other guys don't battle on the boards we'll see more of Booker then many expect. Seraphin sure looks like he can battle on the boards, and rebounding is more about effort and work then about experience, so he might be able to provide early contributions on the boards if he can stay out of foul trouble.

Until we see how the front court can rebound as a unit, it's pretty much impossible to predict a wins total.

The other big X factor will be Arenas's scoring. Gil's probably the only really proven NBA scorer on the opening day roster. If Howard recovers he'll provide a second, and if Blatche is able to pick up where he left off he'll provide a 3rd. Both are still "ifs" because of their injury status.

Wall's likely to average in double figures, but projecting him as consistant scorer is forgetting he's coming off his freshman year and he can struggle mightly with his shot some nights.

Bottem line is that without Gil's scoring this team will struggle to put up enough points to win most nights.

Until we see how this team manages to rebound and Gil can recover his scoring touch, while making a change in position, it's going to be pretty much impossible to predict how many wins they'll talley...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | September 23, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I think winning is more chemistry than talent. You see that in college every year. In the end, it may not win you championships but it will get you a nice record, raise fan interest, and possibly reward you with a playoff spot. The Wiz have had plenty of talent in the recent past and no chemistry. My first inclination is to blame Gil for that as well as management (Flip excluded) that apparently couldn't see it or didn't know how to change it. If Gil has matured from his mistakes and can earn the respect and trust of his teamates, and Flip can get this team to gel as a unit, the talent is there to make the playoffs. This will be one of those teams that will definitely be a lot better at the end of the year than the beginning..the second half win percentage should be much better than the first half.

Posted by: mickeyconnie | September 24, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

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