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Flip Saunders to start Gilbert Arenas, John Wall and Kirk Hinrich

In a somewhat surprising move, Coach Flip Saunders decided to open the preseason against the Dallas Mavericks with a starting lineup featuring "our three little guys." Saunders will put No. 1 overall pick John Wall on the floor in a three-guard set with Gilbert Arenas and Kirk Hinrich, with JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche filling out the front court.

Wall and Arenas are both 6-feet-4 and Hinrich is 6-3, but Saunders said Hinrich would be considered the small forward. "We'll call Hinrich the three," Saunders said. "Maybe next game, we'll let somebody else play the three."

It was an interesting decision, since the Dallas starts Caron Butler at shooting guard and Shawn Marion at small forward, forming a 6-7 swingman tandem. When asked about he concerned about possible defensive liabilities with such a small group, Saunders said "Yu do a little, but I want to see how they react. But they have to guard them, though, too. I think in preseason, we've got to find some things out; see what's our best lineup. Can we play, as you say, 'small ball?' Those guys, right now are three of the top four players, so you want to try to find a way, if you can, to play those guys on the floor at the same time."

Arenas has been recovering from a right ankle sprain, while Hinrich suffered a bruised right shoulder in the Sunday scrimmage. "We tried to get them out on the floor a lot, but every time we've done that in games, something has happened," he said. "Whether it's Gilbert, he sprains and ankle or Kirk hurt his shoulder. Since they are all ready to go, I said let's do it from the beginning and let them play together a little bit."

Saunders said this lineup is probably not permanent and that he will experiment throughout the preseason, meaning that Al Thornotn will get his shot as well. "Al is going to play a lot, too," Saunders said. "You're going to bring Al in, let him play with the other guys and slide one of those other guys to the point."

By Michael Lee  | October 5, 2010; 8:06 PM ET
 
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Next: Gilbert Arenas: "I'm moving aside for [John Wall] to become a star"

Comments

Methinks Flip Flop woke up today and thought he was coaching the And 1 league.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 5, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

He's starting a three guard lineup? What's wrong with using lineups that might be productive during the season?

Posted by: djnnnou | October 5, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

"He's starting a three guard lineup? What's wrong with using lineups that might be productive during the season?

Posted by: djnnnou | October 5, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse "

This is a lottery team with a lottery coach.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 5, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

we should be pretty good defensively, who in the world is gonna guard Dirk, Caron, and Shawn Marion?? come on Flipper!

Posted by: rc2223 | October 5, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Quickly reminded of Comcast's subpar game announcers, Bucky Buck and Phil. Two idiots busy yapping their gums and talking about nonsense while the game is going on, but not being shown. Phil, how about talking about some X's and O's. Draw a diagram of a play for gosh sake.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 5, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Quickly reminded of Comcast's subpar game announcers, Bucky Buck and Phil. Two idiots busy flapping their gums and talking about nonsense while the game is going on, but not being shown. Phil, how about talking about some X's and O's. Draw a diagram of a play for gosh sake.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 5, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

2 things!

1- I will put Blatche up against any 4 in the league right now. He will be a beast.

2- If we play unselfish like this & constantly move the ball then we will compete and easily be in the playoffs

Posted by: dlts2041 | October 5, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

deshawn stevenson is win.

Posted by: prescrunk | October 5, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Hinrich will become the new Mike Miller in the sense that Flip will always have him on the floor for better or worse.

I would like to see Young given as much a chance at the three as he is giving Hinrich.

Were there any reports that Young had a bad camp and not deserving of time at the three to see how he pans out?

What gives???

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 5, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Same ridiculously rude and the team is horrible posts I saw all through the Nats ex-season,I'm going to say (and be right again) the same things now as I did then, watch them all disappear come game time. Is this team going to the playoffs,likely not,is this team as bad as you a$$ clowns make it out to be HELL NO. John Wall is a FRANCHISE player,Gil is and will continue to be an All-Star AD,is destined to be an All-Star perhaps as early as this year and it goes on and on. This team will be competitive and a whole lot better than you arrogant love to hear you own voice idiots will ever give them credit for in print. Come game time when they win you will disappear from the comment boards like bad breath after a mouthful of Listerine. Real fans BELIEVE in their team,they don't babble incessantly about how terrible they are. Go crawl back under your feces covered rocks and leave us alone. Mark it down this team will win between 30 & 40 games this year which these day may well be good enough to make the playoffs. Wall is the real deal and will shut your negative rude pie-holes. See you at the end of the year----not, because when I'm right,like I said you will be well encrusted back underneath you arrogant little rocks hiding and waiting for baseball so you can crawl back out and start in on how horrible the Nat's are again. As always good riddance,leave this for us fans and call into WFAN in NY were you will fit in. GO WIZARDS! Wall rookie of the year and an All-Star!

Posted by: mfowler1 | October 5, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse


This team could be very interesting this year and will probably be tough for the older non-athletic type teams to run with. Still waiting to see Blatche, Yi and McGee on the floor at the same time.

Nice activity from our bigs.

Posted by: and_1 | October 5, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I can't really fault Flip for the 3 guard lineup after watching Thornton play. It looks like he actually regressed over the summer. Who knew that was possible.

Posted by: djnnnou | October 5, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Thornton is probably a feast-or-famine guy who will get extended minutes when he's productive and ride the pine when he's not. I also thought the team lost a lot of momentum and ball movement tonight with Lester Hudson running point as he seemed to try to iso his guy just about every time he touched the ball.

Posted by: and_1 | October 5, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I like what I see of Yi. I thought he was a stiff but he isn't at all. He may not be a star, but a stiff he certainly isn't.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 5, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Jeez...griping already. This team is about as agile and athletic as it gets. So, regardless of the outcome of the season, there is some real talent and athletic prowess on this team now to go along with youth. Nobody had a better off season than the Wiz other than perhaps the Heat, obviously. In Grunfeld we trust! Dargreg, you're a moron!

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 5, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

deshawn stevenson is win.

Posted by: prescrunk

He looks healthy again. I was never a fan, but he took a lot of grief here for a guy coming off back surgery.

Posted by: djnnnou | October 5, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

"He looks healthy again. I was never a fan, but he took a lot of grief here for a guy coming off back surgery.

Posted by: djnnnou | October 5, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse "

He got a lot of grief for calling LeBron overrated, but couldn't back it up.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 5, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Hello Phil? Why are you talking about the "John Wall dance" when you should be talking about how the team is running the plays? Please, I hope there will be good coverage on ESPN this season.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 5, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Cartier Martin vs. Alonzo Gee.....hmmmm.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 5, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

The thing I see that I really like is that they are not playing well on emotion like a kid with a new toy.

They are playing smoothly and effortlessly and not playing above themselves. They are playing within themselves with a smooth confidence that translates to a winning team and attitude.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 5, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Just one game but my 2 cents:

Gil looks good health wise but he quickly reminds you of past failures by running down the floor, bricking a shot, and then running back and flailing his arms with the other team getting an easy bucket.

Wall is going to get to the line A LOT.

This team reminds me of Atlanta 4-5 years ago, which isn't all that bad.

Beyond that it's one PRE-season game. Talk to me about 20 games in.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | October 5, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Run and Jump seems to be pretty good about now.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 5, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

"He got a lot of grief for calling LeBron overrated, but couldn't back it up."

Yeah, you're right. LJ couldn't back up that fact that he is overrated. Calls himself King James with exactly ZERO Championships in 8 years. Blahhahahahaha!

Damn we look good! Love the athleticism, the passing, Blatche is playing like last season...going to be fun to watch this season regardless of record.

Where is Booker or Seraphin??? They not on the team?

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 5, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

2nd that 721, where are Booker and Seraphin, my sentiments as well.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 5, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

"Were there any reports that Young had a bad camp and not deserving of time at the three to see how he pans out?

What gives???

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 5, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse "

I know you'll be NY's personal cheerleader this season (last season was JCritt), but NY will probably be out of the league in the not too distant future.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 5, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, you're right. LJ couldn't back up that fact that he is overrated. Calls himself King James with exactly ZERO Championships in 8 years. Blahhahahahaha!

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 5, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse "

I know you're not trying to compare LeBron with MeShawn. I'm not a fan of LeBron's, but you have to give credit where credit is due.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 5, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

So AB dedicated himself to hitting the weight room this past summer and still has toothpick arms? I say he needs to work out with Laron Landry if he wants some biceps. BTW, why isn't Adam Morrisson getting any burn?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 5, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Lucky shot or money player?

Money player. Lester Hudson.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 5, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Money player!

Hudson did that in a summer league game too

Posted by: rachel216 | October 5, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't like Lester Hudson as a distributor, but I'll take him as a scorer/shooter anyday.

Posted by: and_1 | October 5, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Wall is the goods! We truly lucked out getting #1 overall this draft.

Nice to see Dray step out of a cast and drop 22 or whatever it was, picking up right where he left off. He'll have a big season.

This team will be fun to watch

Posted by: divi3 | October 5, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I know you'll be NY's personal cheerleader this season (last season was JCritt), but NY will probably be out of the league in the not too distant future.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 5, 2010 10:50 PM

Naw. I won't. In fact I think they should go ahead and trade Nick Young for the best player they can get.

Flip isn't going to give him a fair chance. If Flip is going to be the coach then he should have all the players to his liking. Young isn't one of them so trade him.

Young is too good a talent too keep around as an afterthought by Flip. Trade him for somebody that Flip likes better.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 5, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Our team is spry. Nick Young needs to fight off defenders better and hit his shots that are more than wide open. Otherwise, Lester will take his minutes for sure. John wall deserved 21 and about 15 or 16 if we completed his pretty passes. And dare I say that the defense looked like it rotated well. Lazy veterans with lazy habits may have been our achilles heel on the defensive end, excluding brenda.

Posted by: BurgwithaU | October 5, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

BTW, d wade, strained hamstring :) Theres one wheel of the tricycle deflated temporarily, hopefully it happens often to the injustice league

Posted by: BurgwithaU | October 5, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm official done with Nick Young. He needed to be cut like yesterday. He won't get any better face it. Next game let look at Adam Morrison.

Posted by: lemekdivine | October 5, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I fully expected Wall to be all hyped up and out of control tonight, but to his credit, he played under control and should have had about 14 assists if shots were falling.

Maybe it was just another bad game by Nick, but I do NOT see improvement in his game. Too much playground stuff by him. Hope it was just one of those nights.

Yi looks like he's the most natural rebounder of our bigs and dude was blocking shots too. If we get that in the regular season, it'll help.

Posted by: and_1 | October 5, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, again, I really like what I saw from Yi.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 5, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

A few observations:

Great (preseason) debut by Wall! He's a gamer who is already getting some love (calls) from the refs and was pretty poised, all things considered.

Blatche dropped 20+ points and he isn't even in shape yet. His gut is actually bigger than last year (totally expected given his physical limitations over the summer).

Yi might be able to log some minutes a center against teams lacking a physical 5. Yi actually looks taller than McGee and definitely has a stronger base.

Gil looked good and when Hudson hit that last shot, Gil was as happy as everyone else. I think he likes his teammates. ;-)

Posted by: tgif11 | October 5, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I a little surprised by the Wizzies on both ends of the floor.
Long way to go but not a bad start.

Posted by: VBFan | October 5, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Kind of a helter-skelter effort. Thornton's game is too undisciplined, I'd trade him for half a tuna sandwich. Agent Nine looked good at the 2, which we all know is his natural position anyway. Wall is as-advertised. Best thing about Wall is that he's such a standout that even Ernie couldn't screw up the number one pick.

Hinrich looked slow to me, and made a couple of ill-advised and lazy passes. AB looked fairly sharp but got stuffed a couple of times on weak efforts taking it to the basket.

Bucky was in mid-season form. Ie. virtually ignoring the action on the floor while spouting statistics and irrelevancies. I know he's a local guy, but....

Posted by: shovetheplanet | October 5, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Tom Boswell's column on predicting the baseball playoffs: "Apparently, one of our most powerful delusions is that we can influence the future by predicting it. We calm ourselves with our prophecies. But, sometimes, if we want the most pleasure, we should reverse that pattern. Sport is one of the few places where not knowing what's going to happen actually delights us."

He obviously hasn't spent a lot of time around here.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 6, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Nice effort. Good energy. Hudson is no point guard, but with Wall, Hinrich and Gil, they don't really need a 4th. And seriously, if they can get a 2nd rounder for Young, they should take it. Guy looks lost on this team, and runs cold way more than hot. Lastly, I do hope they acquire a backup center before the regular season.

Posted by: creativefunk | October 6, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

The three guard line-up actually looked pretty good tonight.

Hinrich +27
Arenas +17
Wall +16

Arenas looked solid and actually seemed pretty committed to playing defense tonight. Blatche had his moments even against double teams. McGee posted a nice stat line.

Ridiculous 11 blocked shots and 14 steals (against 16 turnovers).

You can't read into preseason too much, but there were definitely some positives to take away from this one. Hopefully Booker and Seraphin can contribute as the season goes along, because the front court defensively looks like it could be an issue. However the ability of the perimeter defenders to harass the guards might limit looks underneath. Also nice to see the half-court trap used to good effect several times tonight.

Posted by: JPRS | October 6, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

i don't really understand the critizism of chenier and buck, they are like old comfortable slippers.....it's preseason and the 1st game at that. i guess the play of the team surprised a lot of the critics, so the annoucers were the only thing worth complaining about. with some vision, you can see the dynamic of this team. fast paced, quickness at defense, length under the boards. no bulk. it was a fun game to watch, plus they won the game. i personally was leaning toward turner as the 1st pick, but i must say i am happy that i was wrong. wall is going to be a force in the league for years to come. chris paul may be the only player in the league that could match his speed and control. that's showing something special.

i doubt hinrich is going to start the season at sf, but looking at the game as it played out, defensive quickness with that lineup made up for lack of height for the most part. if you go to a press, that lineup should work ok.

the bench is suspect as it stands, because there were a couple of guys that didn't play. again some bulk would be nice, but we didn't really get to see any of the bulky guys. what was shown, however, was encouraging. the leadership wall shows and the confidence blatch seems to have are what this team will have to ride this year. arenas is the wild card. if he comes anywhere close to his pre-injury self, 30-40 wins seems about right.

Posted by: joerutgens72 | October 6, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Few thoughts: loved the 3 guard lineup, reminds me of what the Suns used to do in the late 90's.

Player Observations:

K Hinrich - liked his pace and energy, very pleased and excited with what he can bring as a Wizard. Few bad passed but has great presence and tempo on the court. Great complimentary player/depth player

Blatche - I cant believe I bought into some fool posting on here a couple months back that this metarsal/foot injury was more than likely going to derail Blatche's career. Dude looked outstanding out there and I really didn't think he would pick up from where he left off last year but it looks like he has. Looks a little flabby though needs to tone up a bit.

McGee - had a beast of a game, what more can you say about this guy ?? I know he gained 8 pounds of muscle on his frame. I'd like to see him throw another 8 on his upper body, he could really be a monster.

J Wall - crown em....who is going to be the first certified hater to say I am reckless and foolish for saying this after 1 preseason game. C'mon man it doesn't take but common sense to recognize blinding speed and IQ, and those intangibles don't change no matter how long we watch him for or what situation the circumstance or nature of the game maybe. Crown em, call me out and I will save your comments and show them to you 4 John Wall All Star appearances later. (Barring Injury)

Arenas - shot looked sharp, game looked crisp seemed uninvolved at times though, wanna see if he can be more assertive, jury is still out............


Yi - pleasant surprise of the night (and hopefully the year) shot well from long range, very active defensively, ate glass like a Yi I have never ever seen before. And seems like a he can take off this year into his own. Loved what he put on display tonight. Good lower body strength.... lets put him and Javalay on an upper body strength building regimen, with that the two of them could be a real force !

Hilton Armstrong - man this guy has absolutely ZERO Basketball IQ. Instincts are just horrendous !! May have lower B-Ball IQ than Etan Thomas and Jaheezee White. Someone get rid of him.

Nick Young - as someone else put it: I am sooo over this guy he really just brings nothing that we couldn't get from 59 other guys in the NBA right now. Worst 1st round pick we have made since Jared Jeffries. He has worn out his welcome here.

Boom

Posted by: OG_Barno | October 6, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Few thoughts: loved the 3 guard lineup, reminds me of what the Suns used to do in the late 90's.

Player Observations:

K Hinrich - liked his pace and energy, very pleased and excited with what he can bring as a Wizard. Few bad passed but has great presence and tempo on the court. Great complimentary player/depth player

Blatche - I cant believe I bought into some fool posting on here a couple months back that this metarsal/foot injury was more than likely going to derail Blatche's career. Dude looked outstanding out there and I really didn't think he would pick up from where he left off last year but it looks like he has. Looks a little flabby though needs to tone up a bit.

McGee - had a beast of a game, what more can you say about this guy ?? I know he gained 8 pounds of muscle on his frame. I'd like to see him throw another 8 on his upper body, he could really be a monster.

J Wall - crown em....who is going to be the first certified hater to say I am reckless and foolish for saying this after 1 preseason game. C'mon man it doesn't take but common sense to recognize blinding speed and IQ, and those intangibles don't change no matter how long we watch him for or what situation the circumstance or nature of the game maybe. Crown em, call me out and I will save your comments and show them to you 4 John Wall All Star appearances later. (Barring Injury)

Arenas - shot looked sharp, game looked crisp seemed uninvolved at times though, wanna see if he can be more assertive, jury is still out............


Yi - pleasant surprise of the night (and hopefully the year) shot well from long range, very active defensively, ate glass like a Yi I have never ever seen before. And seems like a he can take off this year into his own. Loved what he put on display tonight. Good lower body strength.... lets put him and Javalay on an upper body strength building regimen, with that the two of them could be a real force !

Hilton Armstrong - man this guy has absolutely ZERO Basketball IQ. Instincts are just horrendous !! May have lower B-Ball IQ than Etan Thomas and Jaheezee White. Someone get rid of him.

Nick Young - as someone else put it: I am sooo over this guy he really just brings nothing that we couldn't get from 59 other guys in the NBA right now. Worst 1st round pick we have made since Jared Jeffries. He has worn out his welcome here.

Boom

Posted by: OG_Barno | October 6, 2010 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Tom Boswell's column on predicting the baseball playoffs: "Apparently, one of our most powerful delusions is that we can influence the future by predicting it. We calm ourselves with our prophecies. But, sometimes, if we want the most pleasure, we should reverse that pattern. Sport is one of the few places where not knowing what's going to happen actually delights us."

He obviously hasn't spent a lot of time around here.

Posted by: Samson151

Given that it's Boswell, he'll just as likely reverse himself next week. So in that sense, he fits right in around here.

Posted by: ts35 | October 6, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

In my hot forecast, the key to the Wizards season will be injuries and their start to the season.All teams need as few injuries to key contributors as possible and perhaps a start of say 15-7. Winning at home early will breed confidence and comradarie amongst new and young teammates.In watching Gilbert last night, I sense he wants to embrace this team, but was used to the team being called his and him being called the MAN.If the team starts well and ownership can convince Gil he is not being showcased for trade,for Gil after all that's happened will not fully embrace what he may not be a long term part of.Instead he will be a vital and solely needed cog in the big picture. He will realize that with a little patience, the scoring,slashing and 3pt shooting of guards will only make the bigs so much better down low.Share the ball, share the wealth and share the glory,When the Wizs rocks the league and wins 50 and yes I said 50..... GO WIZS.....

Posted by: hotbox | October 6, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

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