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John Wall appreciating lessons from Sam Cassell


Slow down, young fella. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)


Ted Leonsis's interaction with Gilbert Arenas and other players after practice was one of the more amusing sights at Verizon Center. But nothing could top Wizards assistant Sam Cassell's one-on-one battle with John Wall in the low post. Cassell is almost always entertaining, and the 40-year-old still believes that he can hang with the youngsters. As he ran onto the court to do some pre-game drills on Friday in Chicago, Cassell said, "Write it down, Mike. My comeback starts tonight!"

Now Cassell is more than twice Wall's age -- he'll turn 41 next month -- but he can still do some damage in the low block, pounding the ball with his back to the basket before drilling his patented turnaround jumper, or drop-stepping and leaning in for scoop shots (if you don't think guys are picking up those moves, check out some of Andray Blatche's post moves since Cassell arrived). Cassell hit a few fallaway jumpers over Wall and shouted, "Got it!" He then poked out his chest afterward, boasting that the kid couldn't hold him.

Wall responded to Cassell's old-school trash talk with a brash smile of his own. They played first to five points, best two out of three. And while his post-up game is hardly developed, Wall emerged victorious because he could beat Cassell to the basket with his speed. Since he won the game, Wall could have the last word.

"I'm the king for right now," Wall said with a grin.

Cassell, the three-time NBA champion and one-time all-star, worked closely with Wall when he served as head coach of the Wizards' summer league team. He is also pushing the No. 1 overall pick before each game, teaching Wall many of the lessons that he learned over a career that's practically spanned Wall's lifetime.

"It's fun," Wall said. "Sam was one of the great point guards that played in the league and mastered the post game and the mid-range game. That's something I'm working with every day to get better. I think everybody on this level, or anybody on any level, you all need somebody that played or masters the position that can help you a whole lot. You know a lot, but there is so much more you can learn. He's still teaching me a lot. And I know there is so much more I can learn by watching film or just talking to him one-on-one."

Coach Flip Saunders said having a former player, not too far removed from the game, like Cassell should help Wall, though their respective games are decidedly different.

"Sam has been through it a little bit," he said. "Sam didn't play because of his athletic ability totally. He played because of a combination of his talent and his smarts, understanding the game and the talent and athletic ability he does have and his uniqueness to play angles a lot. Him being able to show some of those things help. And Sam can still play a little bit. So he can do those things, too."

But Saunders did mention that Cassell is a bit limited from his playing days. He noted how Cassell could still run full court two seasons ago, but was limited to half court sets last season. This season? Saunders joked that Cassell can't do much more outside of the painted area in the low post.

Truthaboutit.net has the video from Wall and Cassell's duel. My favorite part is when Cassell is getting prepared for another post up and yells at Lester Hudson, who is sitting off camera. "What does Randy Moss do?" Cassell lifts his hands across his chest, proclaiming that it's a wrap. Of course, it wasn't.


(via Truthaboutit.net)

By Michael Lee  | October 12, 2010; 7:01 AM ET
Categories:  John Wall  
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Next: Gilbert Arenas to sit out tonight

Comments

Wall certainly has enough mentors: Cassell, Hinrich, Arenas.

Posted by: randysbailin | October 12, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

He also had Rod Strickland at Kentucky. He really has some good PG mentors.

Posted by: kitkool | October 12, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert is Walls best mentor.

None of the others averaged nearly 30 points per game.

Arenas will win a championship if he stays healthy simply because he is unstoppable.

Posted by: upscalechef | October 12, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Cassell will get a head job probably within about 5 years, either in the NBA or if he has the stomach for recruiting, at a major college program. He certainly can bring some major cred into the living rooms of high school studs w/ those 3 championship rings and a long NBA career.

Posted by: randysbailin | October 12, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Just hope Strickland didn't advise Wall on pre-game diet,places to go, and people to see in DC.

I was hoping the Wiz would have brought in Joe Smith this offseason to add a seasoned pro to the mix up front. Joe has ties to this area and he played for Suanders many moons ago.

Not sure about what kind of player/coach relationship they had. But anybody that can survive in the league as long as Joe has would have something to teach these young guys on this frontline. He's still got a few spot minutes in the tank too.

Having a young coach, or an old player, that can get out on the floor and work on the little things that you do to set a guy up can be invaluable.

If Wall can pickup Sam I am's lowpost and midrange games it will give him a leg up on his competition. With his arms, hops, and quickness he could be a monster down low.

Having a second point on the floor like Arenas or Hinrich would open up the floor for Wall to post his man when he's got one of the league's smaller points on him.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 12, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse


Josh Smith might get 30 rebounds tonight if Flip starts Hirich again at small forward.

Posted by: tgif11 | October 12, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I was hoping the Wiz would have brought in Joe Smith this offseason to add a seasoned pro to the mix up front. Joe has ties to this area and he played for Suanders many moons ago.

Considering the Joe Smith sweetheart deal with the TWolves was the one that got them busted by the league, cost them a bunch draft picks, and put a big dent in their ability to compete for a title in the heart of KG's career, not sure Flip wants to have Joe Smith around. Bad memories. :)

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

And this is why all of the caterwauling about a "big man's coach" is so much noise. Knowledge and experience counts no matter what the source. Cassell was an outstanding post player at the PG spot and has been able to impart some of that knowledge to Blatche, and will likely be able to do so to Booker and Seraphin as well. He doesn't need to be 6' 10" to be an effective teacher, he just needs students willing to learn.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

And you thought Flip Saunders was an experimenter -- check this out:

"Against Miami on Friday, [Kevin] Durant played all five positions. He started at his customary small forward spot, ran point guard late in the first quarter and slid to power forward midway through the second quarter. "Kevin's game is evolving," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "He, like a lot of our guys, is not a finished product. He's going to keep getting better."

I think coaches do this just to annoy the rigid Randys in their fan base...

Posted by: Samson151 | October 12, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Josh Smith might get 30 rebounds tonight if Flip starts Hirich again at small forward.

Posted by: tgif11

I think Josh is playing PF in their current lineup (though they do shuffle him to the 3 some I think). Their current starting lineup looks like Horford, Smith, Crawford, Johnson, Bibby. So likely that Hinrich matches up with Johnson or Crawford to start with. I'm can live with that. It's not like Young or Thornton would do much better against either of those guys.

But I do agree if Atlanta goes 'big' and has Smith at the SF, you can't put Hinirch out there against him. As the best perimeter defender, I would think they would want him to 'match up' with Joe Johnson and try to slow him down.

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"Cassell will get a head job probably within about 5 years, either in the NBA or if he has the stomach for recruiting, at a major college program. He certainly can bring some major cred into the living rooms of high school studs w/ those 3 championship rings and a long NBA career.Posted by: randysbailin"

As if 18 year olds know who Sam Cassell is...

Posted by: Samson151 | October 12, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

And this is why all of the caterwauling about a "big man's coach" is so much noise. Knowledge and experience counts no matter what the source. Cassell was an outstanding post player at the PG spot and has been able to impart some of that knowledge to Blatche, and will likely be able to do so to Booker and Seraphin as well. He doesn't need to be 6' 10" to be an effective teacher, he just needs students willing to learn.

Posted by: kalo_rama

True, at the same time, what would be wrong with bringing in a big man version of Cassell? Sam can show them the moves, but it's not quite the same as being able to bang with the big boys a bit.

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"Arenas will win a championship if he stays healthy simply because he is unstoppable.
Posted by: upscalechef"

He stopped himself pretty effectively last year.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 12, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Wall, I think doesn't really need to have Hinrich on the floor as a third veteran guard for his development.

Having Hinrich on the floor is just a way for Flip to cover up his poor coaching skills.

This team I thought and like everybody wanted is supposed to be building through the draft and growing a young team to championship form.

Yet, Flip isn't giving the young crop that Ernie went out and got any consistent burn on the floor.

Flip keeps emphasizing the veteran play and only Yi is getting some good time, but still not enough.

Right now I think Yi ought to be starting rather than Hinrich. I think all the emphasis on Hinrich because he is a vet that knows how to play is retarding the overall development of the team, even the duo of Wall and Arenas.

Wall and Arenas donot need additional guard play on the court. They need to be honing all the guard play together with both forwards and a center.

Flip isn't coaching a youth movement and I don't think he is capable of it.

Sam Cassell, I think can do a much better job with this team right now.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 12, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how much of a regular-season version of the Wiz we'll see tonight against Atlanta. Maybe not too much. There are still five more preseason games, including a rematch against the Hawks. The coaches might start getting serious Thursday against the Bucks. They don't play again until next Sunday in NY.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 12, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see Sam Cassell replace Flip as coach today.

We wouldn't miss a beat. In fact we might skip a few ahead.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 12, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Sam I Am is by far Wall's best mentor followed by Kirk.. This is who I would prefer Wall learn how to become a professional from.

He can learn what NOT to do from Gil The Thrill...

Whatever, the Wizards def. need a legit big man coach to coach the bigs. Not that Sam can't help but look around the league. Most teams have a HOF big man or at least an former All Star Big man on the coaching staff or around to help the 4 and 5's out...

Posted by: kevenjones | October 12, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert is Walls best mentor.

None of the others averaged nearly 30 points per game.

Arenas will win a championship if he stays healthy simply because he is unstoppable.

Posted by: upscalechef | October 12, 2010 9:36 AM

Really? Wall's best mentor? you gotta be kidding. i don't remember Sam I Am getting suspended for bringing weapons to the gym. Or getting suspended period for that matter. Class act all the way. That's who Mr. Wall needs to emulate.

Posted by: jbeard32 | October 12, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Whatever, the Wizards def. need a legit big man coach to coach the bigs. Not that Sam can't help but look around the league. Most teams have a HOF big man or at least an former All Star Big man on the coaching staff or around to help the 4 and 5's out...

Posted by: kevenjones | October 12, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Do they really? Would you care to list them?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 12, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Flip isn't coaching a youth movement and I don't think he is capable of it.

Sam Cassell, I think can do a much better job with this team right now.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 12, 2010 10:35 AM

LOL. Had your fill of Flip already, Larry?

I don't like Hinrich starting and playing heavy minutes at SF because I just don't believe that a team with serious questions about its rebounding abilities should be starting a 6'3" combo guard at small forward. If I'm not mistaken the Wiz have been outrebounded in every game so far. It's not "rocket scientist". They will lose a lot of games if that trend continues.

If preseason is about experimenting, then Flip should "experiment" by letting Yi or Thornton (when healthy) start or play a lot of minutes at the three, imo. I don't think Nick will work at ANY position on the court.

I really think that if Flip had his way, Hinrich would be starting at SG and Gil would be coming off the bench (but we know that ain't happening). Hinrich plays Flip's brand of ball and he wants him on the court as much as possible.

Posted by: tgif11 | October 12, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"Flip isn't coaching a youth movement and I don't think he is capable of it.

Sam Cassell, I think can do a much better job with this team right now."

I agree completely.

I am hoping adam morrison will get significant time tonight. I'm really pulling for the guy to make the team because so many people have written the guy off and maybe so but here's hoping he fills it up tonight.

Posted by: spoooooooon | October 12, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

True, at the same time, what would be wrong with bringing in a big man version of Cassell? Sam can show them the moves, but it's not quite the same as being able to bang with the big boys a bit.

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 10:35 AM

The moves are what matter. That little clip of Cassell and Wall going at it makes for nice entertainment, but the real meat of what Wall learns won't be from 1-on-1 games with some guy old enough to be his father. It'll be from listening to, learning, practicing, and repeating what Cassell has to teach him.

As for why the Wiz don't bring in a "big man version of Cassell"? It's because a big man version of Cassell would be a former all-star caliber player with multiple rings who's considered to be one of the best players at the position of his generation. There aren't a lot of guys like that just hanging around. More importantly, he'd also have to be able to actually teach, which is the tricky part. Not all good players make good coaches.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse


I am hoping adam morrison will get significant time tonight. I'm really pulling for the guy to make the team because so many people have written the guy off and maybe so but here's hoping he fills it up tonight.

Posted by: spoooooooon | October 12, 2010 11:16 AM

It's still early in the preseason, but I get the feeling that Morrison doesn't figure in the team's plans. A SF who stretches the defense would appear to be tailor-made for a John Wall type PG, but to date, Morrison hasn't had any extended looks with the starters and appears to be a (low-risk) gamble that Ernie rolled snake-eyes on. Maybe tonight?

Posted by: tgif11 | October 12, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Just to clarify:

I'm in no way opposed to the Wiz hiring a qualified former big to join the staff. But whenever this topic comes up people tend to just randomly throw out names of recently (and not so recently) retired bigs who they think can just walk in in off the street and whip McGee into shape. It's not that simple. It starts with the knowledge and the ability to pass it on. The size of the teacher is secondary.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"It's still early in the preseason, but I get the feeling that Morrison doesn't figure in the team's plans. A SF who stretches the defense would appear to be tailor-made for a John Wall type PG, but to date, Morrison hasn't had any extended looks with the starters and appears to be a (low-risk) gamble that Ernie rolled snake-eyes on. Maybe tonight?"

Posted by: tgif11 | October 12, 2010 11:28 AM

A guy signed to a non-guaranteed training camp contract is the definition of a no-risk gamble.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

It's still early in the preseason, but I get the feeling that Morrison doesn't figure in the team's plans. A SF who stretches the defense would appear to be tailor-made for a John Wall type PG...

Posted by: tgif11 | October 12, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I thought you were talking about Adam Morrison.... =\

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 12, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I think Hinrich's out on the floor because (A)He's better then Young or Thorton.

If those guys want the job they've got make a move now because Howard's going to be healthy soon and then all the talk about 3 guards will go away. Howard's got legit size to play the 3 and a good enough game to play some 2 if needed.

Young and Thorton have got to make a move to fight their way into the lineup. I have no gripe with making young guys work to earn court time.

(B) He's an ideal type of player to put on the floor when the Wiz are breaking in a rookie point guard.

He's also not going to start in front of Gil at the 2. Gil is the team's only really legit perimeter scorer until Howard gets healthy. Hinrich's not an ideal 3 and will get mismatched some nights playing there. But I see the logic of starting out this way. Young and Arenas along with Wall and the offense could get bogged down with 3 dribblers. Hinrich does a nice job of helping to keep the ball flowing.

(C)Howard's looking better then expected. His comeback may not be delayed too long into the season. By working Hinrich at the 3 now Flip's preparing for him to become a classic 6th man, he can be the first option off the bench at all 3 perimeter positions.

Flip seems inclined to feed Wall a heavy dose of minutes at the point and Gil, when healthy, has played heavy minutes. So Hinrich might have to play some 3 to get the "near starters" minutes a guy in the 6th man role normally gets.

(D)A youth movement doesn't mean that a coach just hands out minutes to young guys if they haven't earned them. Nick's got to learn to come to camp with his game face on. So far in his career he's managed to be one of those March Allstars. One of those guys that still has fresh legs in March cause he hasn't been playing, so when he gets a chance he looks like an Allstar.

Like baseball, where they've always looked at Sept stats with a critical eye, you've got to cast a critical eye on a guy that just seems to be able to put up numbers in March. Nick's got to be able to fight through and play well enough to earn time now.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 12, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I love these kinds of clips. Here's the one of Dwight Howard working out with Hakeem that was floating around last week.

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

The moves are what matter. That little clip of Cassell and Wall going at it makes for nice entertainment, but the real meat of what Wall learns won't be from 1-on-1 games with some guy old enough to be his father. It'll be from listening to, learning, practicing, and repeating what Cassell has to teach him.

The moves are indeed what matter. Along with practicing them for repetition. And generating the "feel" for them for lack of a better term. Better to develop that kind of feel against someone who can better simulate what the actual opposition will be like.

And c'mon, seriously? A good recently retired vet wouldn't have to have Sam's bona fides to be a good big man's coach. But let me be more clear, because there was room there for your confusion. By a "big man version of Cassell", I meant a recently retired vet who was a solid pro, and who survived on both talent and smarts. But I do agree that just pulling in a former All-Star doesn't guarantee anything.

They've done a great job of surrounding Wall with 3 good and different role models in Gil (ok, they didn't really choose that one), KH, and Cassell. There are things he can learn from all three (assuming they're all on roughly the same page). With the degree to which they are relying on a lot of young bigs, and the expectations they have for them, between AB, McGee, Yi, Seraphin and Booker (throw Armstrong and H in there if you like), it would seem to behoove them to provide similar role models, and more of them.

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"By a "big man version of Cassell", I meant a recently retired vet who was a solid pro, and who survived on both talent and smarts."

And, as I said, not a whole lot of those hanging around. The truth is that most of the big men who played over the past decade or so survived largely because they were big. The number of actual skill guys who had any impact is pretty small. And, as I also said, just having been able to play doesn't make one a good coach. They also have to be able to teach.

And, like I said, I've got no problem with the Wiz bringing in such a guy. But I don't think they're just hanging around waiting, and simply grabbing anyone of the street won't do it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Nice post djnnnou! Nothing like learning from the best.

Posted by: Dave381 | October 12, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I just cannot agree with the way Hinrich is being handled. Hinrich doesn't need right now to taking up all the minutes. Young, Thornton, Booker, Yi, Hamilton, and Seraphin ought to be given serious dunks in the pool now in preseason to see how they hold up in gamtime situations.

Now is the time to trot them out under serious gametime fire and see how they really perform.

You can't keep making decisions just based upon practice.

And about Nick Young, he got critized for having no drive to the basket game or mixing it up inside.

Anybody want to bet that Nick Young does not have the freedom to do anything with the ball.

If Nick tries to do anything with the ball but catch and shoot or pass, Flip is taking his arse out of the game.

I'm telling guys that you can say all the things where Nick doesn't measure up, but FOR SURE, Flip has a small narrow window of what he will allow Young to do on the court.

As I look back on it know, the three under Flip has no freedom. Ask Caron Butler.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 12, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Flip is coaching now the only way he knows how and guys 7-15 are an afterthought in gameplan. 6,7, & 8 gets some time only because the starters can't play a whole game.

And the ones he has at 6,7, & 8 isn't determined by how they fit good or bad with overall team success.

You guys that keep justifying why Flip does this or that should just look at the whole picture. I like to evaluate what I see on the court. What you see on the court is very telling.

I don't put any stock that Hinrich has earned all the playing time in practice.

If Thornton, Young, Yi, Booker and the others haven't earned playing time, I would like to see that decision based upon a fair equal sampling on real playing time, like right now in preseason.

As it stands right now, from what I have seen on the court the starting five should be, McGee, Yi, Blatche, Wall and Arenas.

Yi has shown more value to the team to me thus far than Hinrich has playing the three.

Can you Hinrich supporters dispute that?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 12, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

And you have to ask yourself the question.

Wall and Arenas could be one of the best guard combinations in the game, period.

Why are we playing a third guard them???

And the answer isn't because we have no one to play the three. That is just a cop out to put Hinrick the Golden Boy on the court.

I'm just calling it like I see it.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 12, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Larry.

I was going to respond to you.

You just don't make any sense OR make a valid point worth responding to.

Nick has no freedom to do anything? So they WANT him taking pull up fadeaways? So they don't want him to be able to grab a rebound or play defense. So I guess he's a good passer then? No? Oh okay.

I don't put any stock that Hinrich has earned all the playing time in practice.

"You know, Hinrich and Wall have probably been our two best players in camp overall. If we were to go today, those two guys would probably start because of how they performed in camp. When Gil's ready, he'll come back and get his legs under him."

If Thornton, Young, Yi, Booker and the others haven't earned playing time, I would like to see that decision based upon a fair equal sampling on real playing time, like right now in preseason.

And whether you believe it or not...Flip doesn't have to show YOU anything.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 12, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I just cannot agree with the way Hinrich is being handled. Hinrich doesn't need right now to taking up all the minutes. Young, Thornton, Booker, Yi, Hamilton, and Seraphin ought to be given serious dunks in the pool now in preseason to see how they hold up in gamtime situations.

Now is the time to trot them out under serious gametime fire and see how they really perform.
LarryInClintonMD.

If they had a team that had been together for a while, I would tend to agree. But for right now, trying to incorporate a lot of new pieces, into essentially a new system for most of the team, I can see the value in trying to establish chemistry. But I would like to see the pups get run too, like they did in the Chicago game.

Anybody want to bet that Nick Young does not have the freedom to do anything with the ball.

I'm telling guys that you can say all the things where Nick doesn't measure up, but FOR SURE, Flip has a small narrow window of what he will allow Young to do on the court.

As I look back on it know, the three under Flip has no freedom. Ask Caron Butler.

It is possible. Certainly Flip wanted CB to do more catch and shoot than he was inclined to. However, I don't think Flip's 'narrow window' precludes Young from rebounding, passing the ball or playing defense.

As it stands right now, from what I have seen on the court the starting five should be, McGee, Yi, Blatche, Wall and Arenas.

Yi has shown more value to the team to me thus far than Hinrich has playing the three.

Can you Hinrich supporters dispute that?

Since Yi has yet to play the 3 for the Wiz (as far as I know), hard to say. Yi has played well, at his natural positions. He's certainly getting plenty of minutes, so tough to complain about that. More and more he looks like the third big, backing up both McGee and AB. Since I'm not sure McGee is capable of playing big minutes, and AB is still rounding into game shape, not sure I'd want to use up Yi's minutes at the 3. But in the right matchups, he's worth a look.

Meanwhile, AT played 31 minutes at SF against Chiacgo, so he's getting his opportunities. NY just had his first good shooting game of the preseason, so maybe he gets a longer look against Atlanta.

My concern with Flip from last season -- in addition to being slow to adapt -- was his over-reliance on vets. So in that sense, I see the problem with trying to wedge Hinrich in at the 3. However, I haven't seen any of the other options distinguish themselves.

But in terms of putting NY out there to let him sink or swim.....he's 25. He's been in the league for a few years now. Why should we still be having to try to answer that question?


Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I love these kinds of clips. Here's the one of Dwight Howard working out with Hakeem that was floating around last week.

Posted by: djnnnou | October 12, 2010 12:06 PM

Great stuff there! I'd like to see AB spend a few days with Dream.

Dream really was something else, just a jaw dropping talent.

Posted by: divi3 | October 12, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The Best part is John Wall doing the the He-Man Womens Hater Club hand sign!

Posted by: danger36 | October 12, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

And, like I said, I've got no problem with the Wiz bringing in such a guy. But I don't think they're just hanging around waiting, and simply grabbing anyone of the street won't do it.

Posted by: kalo_rama

No, I doubt they're hanging around waiting either. But if you're an owner and GM who have put a emphasis on drafting, acquiring and developing young players, I would think putting a premium on it (like they did with being willing to take on Hinrich's contract) would make it possible.

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I really think that if Flip had his way, Hinrich would be starting at SG and Gil would be coming off the bench (but we know that ain't happening)

----

So Hinrich might have to play some 3 to get the "near starters" minutes a guy in the 6th man role normally gets

IMHO, both these points are true and illustrate why I dont like all the 3 guard talk. I think it's not about getting the best guys on the floor, it's that Gil and KH are both guaranteed starters minutes. I'd be fine with Flip bringing Gil off the bench if that's what he believes the best rotation is. Hell, he can start KH at pg if he really believes all he says about "best player in camp" and all that business.

But dont put lame lineups on the floor because you're afraid to sit Gil and yet love KH too much to have him come off the bench.

Hopefully it's much ado about nothing as we wait for the season to begin.

Posted by: divi3 | October 12, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Dream really was something else, just a jaw dropping talent.

Posted by: divi3

Lol, he probably could still start for half the teams in the league.

I've said it before, I think Dray more than most would benefit from time with the Dream, because he already has some aspects of the Dream in his game. Not at the same level, certainly, but a similar style.

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Then just get "The Glide" and Mario Elie to come out to work with the SGs and SFs, the "Jet" to work with Gil on being an undersized 2, Robert Horry to turn Adam Morrison into a clutch shooter, and Otis Thorpe to indoctrinate big Kevin into the NBA art of banging down low. It could be a Rockets "Never underestimate the heart of a champion" reunion in DC. Maybe Rudy T could even come give Flip a pep talk.

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I guess Cassell can teach the Dream shake to the Wiz big guys since he was Hakeem's teammate for many years...ha!

TS35, nothing against Rudy T's Rockets as I think they were a good team but they benefitted the most on MJ's 1st retirement.

Posted by: Dave381 | October 12, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

TS35, nothing against Rudy T's Rockets as I think they were a good team but they benefitted the most on MJ's 1st retirement.

Posted by: Dave381 | October 12, 2010 2:42 PM

Or did they? During the Bulls 1st 3peat, they went 1-5 against Hakeem's Rockets. Stats show pretty dominant efforts from Hakeem against the Bulls frontcourt, one game he went:

28pts/13rebs/7assts/5blks/4stls

that's ballin!

Shame they never met in the Finals

Posted by: divi3 | October 12, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

No, I doubt they're hanging around waiting either. But if you're an owner and GM who have put a emphasis on drafting, acquiring and developing young players, I would think putting a premium on it (like they did with being willing to take on Hinrich's contract) would make it possible."

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 1:47 PM

It doesn't matter how much of a premium ownership puts on it if there's no one out there to be had who can do the job. I just don't see a lot of viable candidates. Meanwhile if all the focus is on the narrow idea that the only people who can teach post play and rebounding are 7 footers, then they may be missing out on potential assets who might be able to help.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

from Hakeem's rookie year through MJ's 1st retirement...Rockets were 9-5 vs Bulls. I'm guessing no other player has that kind of head-to-head against MJ's Bulls in the same stretch

Posted by: divi3 | October 12, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Shame they never met in the Finals

Posted by: divi3 | October 12, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse


True. Could have been one heck of a Final series. The Glide vs his Airness part II.

Posted by: Dave381 | October 12, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see Sam Cassell replace Flip as coach today.

We wouldn't miss a beat. In fact we might skip a few ahead.

LarryInClintonMD.

+1 I hope Flip & Ernie are gone within a few years......but Ted doesn't appear to be the firing kind of owner.

Posted by: closg | October 12, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Do they really? Would you care to list them?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 12, 2010

-----
Patrick Ewing is in orlando working with D. Howard and before that was in Houston working with Yao.

Kareem is in LA working with Bynum

Tyrone Hill is in ATL

Kevin McHale worked with the Big Ticket when he was in Minnesota

Charollote has LaSALLE THOMPSON who was a very good rebounder and shot blocker

Portland has Buck

NY Herb Williams

I mean just look it up. Most teams Not all have a respected Forward/Center to help coach the bigs..


Posted by: kevenjones | October 12, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

And this is why all of the caterwauling about a "big man's coach" is so much noise. Knowledge and experience counts no matter what the source. Cassell was an outstanding post player at the PG spot and has been able to impart some of that knowledge to Blatche, and will likely be able to do so to Booker and Seraphin as well. He doesn't need to be 6' 10" to be an effective teacher, he just needs students willing to learn.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse


Are you still on drugs?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 12, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Patrick Ewing is in orlando working with D. Howard and before that was in Houston working with Yao.

Kareem is in LA working with Bynum

Tyrone Hill is in ATL

Kevin McHale worked with the Big Ticket when he was in Minnesota

Charollote has LaSALLE THOMPSON who was a very good rebounder and shot blocker

Portland has Buck

NY Herb Williams

I mean just look it up. Most teams Not all have a respected Forward/Center to help coach the bigs..

Posted by: kevenjones | October 12, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

You went from HOF/All-Star big men...
...to LaSalle Thompson?

Don't forget Patrick Ewing also worked in D.C. with Kwame Brown. I guess we're still waiting on him to teach D12 a 15 foot jumper, turn around jumper, consistent post move...and how to pass out of double teams.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 12, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"I mean just look it up. Most teams Not all have a respected Forward/Center to help coach the bigs.."


Posted by: kevenjones | October 12, 2010 3:39 P

Not a math major, but in a league with 30 teams, 7 is not "most." And that's not even counting the fact that 1) McHale hasna't coached for a couple of years now 2) Given the sorry state of the Knicks' frontcourt over the past few years, I wouldn't make too big a deal of Herb Williams coaching acumen (I'm pretty sure the only reason they keep him around is as sort of an under the table retirement package for his years of service as a player).

It's also worth noting that many of those guys work for the teams they played for most of their careers. The Wizards already went that route. How'd that work out? If you want evidence that a HoF playing career doesn't automatically qualify one as a mentor, look no further than big Wes.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

If our bigs are learning their post-moves from Cassell, that may be all you need to know about our current big man coach.

Posted by: divi3 | October 12, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@SDMDTSU,

LaSalle Thompson was a beast.. You probably never even heard of him..be honest..lol

@kalo_rama,

Wilt Chamberlain couldn't help Kwame Brown.

I just listed off the top of my head who I knew was with what team.

Herb Williams wasn't the problem. And you don't think David Lee benefited from Herb?

So let me say this another way--

If you have athletic big men with decent talent, like we do, then they could probably benefit and would probably listen to someone who has played that position in the NBA.

Sam is a PG so I'm sure he is much more helpful to Wall than say a center or forward would be. Not that the 4 or 5 can't offer meaningful help but...

Better kalo?

Posted by: kevenjones | October 12, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter how much of a premium ownership puts on it if there's no one out there to be had who can do the job.

Of course it matters how much a ownership puts a premium on it. Because if they put a premium on it, they'd be willing to outbid other potential employers for their services.

I just don't see a lot of viable candidates.

Check Monster.com for big man coach resumes often, do we?

Meanwhile if all the focus is on the narrow idea that the only people who can teach post play and rebounding are 7 footers, then they may be missing out on potential assets who might be able to help.
Posted by: kalo_rama

Great theory, except that it floats the faulty idea that they would be limited to hiring one 'asset'. Certainly you don't have to be a 7 footer to teach big man's skills. Last time I checked, Pete Newell was no 7 footer. But even Pete Newell brought back former students and big assistants to help with instruction. Because you need the theory but you also need the repetition in a realistic environment. Plus, since Pete Newell never played a big man in the NBA, there might be some things Pete couldn't communicate as well as someone who'd actually done it.

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Actually Wes Unseld Sr. was regarded as a decent coach who useally got hustle and effort out of his teams, agreed Wes Sr. as a GM was pretty poor.

When Wes was coaching, Bob Ferry had a revolving door of players on and off the Bullets roster and most felt that Wes did a decent job with what he was provided. But that after the long playoff run Ferry never rebuilt, and just kept trying to cobble together rosters that were just good enough to be competitive.

I don't think I've actually seen anyone use caterwauling in a sentence since my Grandfather's generation. Was that a "word of the day" on one of those calenders that are supposed to make you sound all impressive and stuff? Grandpap used scoundrels and hulligans too. You're welcome to use them if you like, nobody else is...

Adrian Dantley is another name to add to that list of assistants that work with big men. And Memphis brought in Bob Lanier to work with Thabeet this off season and in camp.

And Patrick Ewing is a highly respected assistant that has worked with Superman since he was on the Wizards' staff, some talk about him as a future head coach if he wants to go in that direction.

Don't belittle Patrick and his ability to teach, it's pretty common knowledge that Patrick's returned to GT every summer and continues to work with all of that long line of GT bigs, plus many more that have come there to workout and play.

As John Thompson says, Patrick is the "Godfather" of GT bigs. It's a pretty impressive group and he's "schooled" them all on the court as they've come through.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | October 12, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Actually Wes Unseld Sr. was regarded as a decent coach who useally got hustle and effort out of his teams, agreed Wes Sr. as a GM was pretty poor.

Having had season tix during that period.....Wes Sr was a horrible head coach. But that's not the same as whether he would be a good big man's coach/mentor.

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

"Of course it matters how much a ownership puts a premium on it. Because if they put a premium on it, they'd be willing to outbid other potential employers for their services."

Because getting into a bidding war for an assistant coach is standard NBA practice, right? Not that it matters since you only responded to half the sentence, anyway. Again, it doesn't matter how much you're willing to spend if the store is sold out off what you want to buy.

"Check Monster.com for big man coach resumes often, do we?"

I don't know who "we" are or what "they" do, but I don't and don't have to. There are plenty of retired big men floating about out there, but the ones who were good enough as players to have something of value to impart either (A) already have gigs or (B) don't appear to have any interest in coaching. (If Hakeem or the Admiral had any interest in coaching one would think they'd already be sitting the sidelines of their respective teams already.) And there's still the issue of them having the interest and the ability to actually teach.

"Great theory, except that it floats the faulty idea that they would be limited to hiring one 'asset'. Certainly you don't have to be a 7 footer to teach big man's skills."

Which is exactly my point. And the fact that you appear to agree with it only further causes one to wonder what your purpose is in arguing over saidpoint.

"Last time I checked, Pete Newell was no 7 footer. But even Pete Newell brought back former students and big assistants to help with instruction. Because you need the theory but you also need the repetition in a realistic environment. Plus, since Pete Newell never played a big man in the NBA, there might be some things Pete couldn't communicate as well as someone who'd actually done it."

None of which in any way shape or form disputes my point. I never said I was opposed to a big man coach. In fact, I quite specifically said the opposite. I only said that the belief held by many here that only another big can teach the skills needed to help a young big improve is wrong and that the fact that the Wiz haven't gone out and hired some hulking relic to put Javale through his paces is in no way a sign they lack interest in or commitment to player development for their bigs.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"Actually Wes Unseld Sr. was regarded as a decent coach who useally got hustle and effort out of his teams, agreed Wes Sr. as a GM was pretty poor. "

Not only was Unseld a terrible coach, it was pretty well reported at the time that he really had no actual interest in being coach (or GM). He only took the job because his surrogate dad Abe Pollin asked him to.


"But that's not the same as whether he would be a good big man's coach/mentor."

A part of any coach's job is teaching. Unseld clearly wasn't very good at it. And the fact that he apparently had no actual desire to do it would have hamstrung him as an assistant just as much as it did in the big chair.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

It's also worth noting that many of those guys work for the teams they played for most of their careers. The Wizards already went that route. How'd that work out? If you want evidence that a HoF playing career doesn't automatically qualify one as a mentor, look no further than big Wes.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I know Wes was a failure as Head Coach, but not so sure you could say he was a failure as a big man mentor.

Let's look at the guys who came through in the first year or two of their career during Wes's time here after he retired as a player until he quit coaching:

Jeff Ruland...2nd round pick who went on to be a beast 4 seasons of dbl/dbl including one 22 & 12 season and an all-star

Rick mahorn...2nd rounder who played 18 seasons and is top 100 all time in rebounds (both off & def), blocks and fouls

Charles Jones...8th round pick (yes...8th ROUND - 165th overall pick) who plyed like 17 years and is top 100 in blocks.

manute Bol...2nd rounder. 2nd All time bpg. All time block percentage leader.

John Williams....OK, OK...you can't win them all.

Greg Foster...2nd rounder that played 13 seasons of mediocre backup (but won a ring with LA)

Pervis Ellison...number one overall bust (Drafted by Sac) that gave Wash 3 good seasons under Wes including a 20&11 campaign and had much improved defensive numbers while he was here.

Googs...Wish he never left...but doubt his play had much to do with Wes except for Wes's support of a guy who didn't complain, but instead just went out and played HARD.

Big Gheorghe...2nd rounder...damn you Billy Crystal!

Jim McIlvaine never played under Wes, but was drafted by Wes and played D. Thats about it for him, but he did play some D.

Posted by: Blurred | October 12, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

And for the record, Jimmy Mack was paid $30,000 per point over his career. guy has to be the luckiest big man stiff ever...just happened to be a FA the year everyone was paying $4 mill for benchwarmers...as long as they were young and tall.

Posted by: Blurred | October 12, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

So what's wrong with Gene Banks? No ones even mentioned his name.

Posted by: djnnnou | October 12, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I also recall reading about how when the Bullets traded for Duckworth, Duck and Wes almost came to blows when Wes posted Duck up hard and hurt his pride. that was also when I heard that Wes didn't much care for how the "young guys" (although Duck was 30 at the time) played and that he couldn't relate.

Posted by: Blurred | October 12, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Because getting into a bidding war for an assistant coach is standard NBA practice, right? Not that it matters since you only responded to half the sentence, anyway. Again, it doesn't matter how much you're willing to spend if the store is sold out off what you want to buy.
Posted by: kalo_rama

Only responded to 'half' because outbidding would include those who already have gigs. Unless your theory is that there are zero vets who are good big man's coaches.

I don't know who "we" are or what "they" do, but I don't and don't have to. There are plenty of retired big men floating about out there, but the ones who were good enough as players to have something of value to impart either (A) already have gigs or (B) don't appear to have any interest in coaching. (If Hakeem or the Admiral had any interest in coaching one would think they'd already be sitting the sidelines of their respective teams already.) And there's still the issue of them having the interest and the ability to actually teach.

And again, your reference for this is exactly what? Ahh, that's right. We've reached the part of every kalo argument where you start asserting your opinion as fact. You really have no idea who's out there or what their interest level is. It took Kareem years to get any kind of coaching gig for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with his availability or interest in coaching. (Also Hakeem is coaching, just on his own through the Dream Academy).

Which is exactly my point. And the fact that you appear to agree with it only further causes one to wonder what your purpose is in arguing over said point.

Speaking of addressing only half....The point is that being taught the skills is one thing, actually practicing them against someone is quite another. There are nuances that are only learned by doing things against a live body. The better the caliber of person you practice against, the better you become. Unless you're of the mind that AB can learn all he needs to know about going against good post defense by facing JaVale and Yi every day in practice. Ummmm, yeah. Did the bigs from GT go back every year to practice against Iverson?

and that the fact that the Wiz haven't gone out and hired some hulking relic to put Javale through his paces is in no way a sign they lack interest in or commitment to player development for their bigs.

How exactly did we go from trying to bring in a vet big man who had some talent and smarts to some "hulking relic"?

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I'd say the point is not how many good big men coaches there are out there and how many of them are 7ft HOFers, but rather, that we seem to have coachable big men who want to learn and excel and therefor, the team should do whatever is necessary to give them the resources needed to improve.

The real assertion going on here is that many folks on this board (and elsewhere) think our guys are not getting coached up properly.

A guy like Kwame can get caoched all day and all night and still not take anything from it.

Whereas, I gave you alist of 6 or 7 guys that laid it out there and visibly improved year after year until injuries sidelined them (or old age in the case of Mahorn & CJ)

Coaching is only valuable to players that are willing to accept it.

The good news is that Wall seems to be one of those guys.

the question remains whether McGee is lacking coaching, maturity or drive.

My bets rest on maturity...of the physical kind. The dude grew another inch or so last year. It takes a long time to grow into a frame like that.

Get him the best coaching you can...and as an organization, make the effort to find and secure that coaching.

Giove him another year, as well, and then we'll have our beast at center

Posted by: Blurred | October 12, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

No Gil tonight.

Wall
Hinrich
Young
Blatche
Yi

Flip said he wants NY to check Joe Johnson most of the night. Should be interesting to say the least.

Posted by: elfreako | October 12, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

dammit Gil. This knee thing sucks so bad. Maybe that back to back or 3 games in 4 nights wasnt good. Still, something also tells me that Gil just doesnt want to be seen locally until he has to or atleast thats what Im hoping : (

Posted by: dlts2041 | October 12, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Gil just said it's a precautionary measure since its the Preseason. Still, something tells me that he still wants to miss everything local until the real games start. He sits out everytime the cameras come around in the summer time. In the scrimmages he sits out with a towel on his head. Now again tonight. Im not tripping though because vets dont need to play in every Preseason game, we only have 1 more road game, and we have over a week off before the season opener

Posted by: dlts2041 | October 12, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"And Patrick Ewing is a highly respected assistant that has worked with Superman since he was on the Wizards' staff, some talk about him as a future head coach if he wants to go in that direction."Posted by: flohrtv

Here's what I don't get: after all these seasons of mentoring, Dwight Howard isn't much better on offense than when he started.

Hard to believe Ewing isn't trying. So why doesn't Howard improve? He improves in other facets.

Makes you wonder if sometimes it isn't the player and not the coaching.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 12, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I meant: makes you wonder if sometimes it's the player, not the coaching.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 12, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I meant: makes you wonder if sometimes it's the player, not the coaching.

Posted by: Samson151

Or why Howard is cheating on Ewing with The Dream.

Posted by: ts35 | October 12, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert is Wall's worst mentor. The less Wall learns from him the better. GA is not coachable and hasnt bothered to learn anything from Cassell. The Wiz are doing the right thing by publically embracing Gilbert, while internally eliminating all his leadership responsibilities. Unfortunately GA is still the same headcase and the sooner he can be moved the better...but it wont be anytime real soon.

Posted by: oddjob1 | October 12, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

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