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Yi vs. Yao never develops

By Gene Wang
Morning brew

Last night's game was billed as Yi vs. Yao, and in addition to hundreds of millions watching on television in those players' native China, the Washington Wizards promoted the matchup in conjunction with Asian Heritage Night at Verizon Center.

The anticipated confrontation never happened, though, because Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets' skilled but oft-injured center, left after six minutes in the first quarter with what initially was thought to be a left leg injury. Subsequent reports said Yao hurt his ankle, thus leaving Yi Jianlian as the lone Chinese player on the floor.

Yi didn't disappoint, scoring 13 points with seven rebounds and a team-high four blocks in 29 minutes in Washington's 98-91 victory. He also had a hand in a sequence during a late 10-0 run that helped the Wizards take control after having blown a double-digit lead established in the third quarter. Rookie point guard John Wall initiated the play by knocking the ball loose from Luis Scola. Yi tipped the ball back to Wall, who brought it up court quickly and passed to Andray Blatche for a layup and a 90-85 lead with 3 minutes 33 seconds to play.

"I thought that Yi was huge tonight," coach Flip Saunders said. "He made big shots. He made big blocks. Unfortunately Yao couldn't play most of the game, but [Yi] was the best player from China tonight."

After speaking to the media, Saunders paid another visit to the locker room to seek out Yi, who gladly accepted congratulations from his coach. As Yi made his way to his postgame news conference, he had to make a pit stop as Chinese media mobbed him in the corridor outside the locker room.

Yi answered questions in Chinese, shook hands with well-wishers and finally arrived at the news conference wearing a checkered blazer in muted light blue and white, a white shirt and blue tie. Before the game he had downplayed the matchup against Yao, but after his highest scoring game with the Wizards, he conceded he was especially motivated on this night.

"I played very excited," said Yi, a 7-foot center who joined the Wizards in late June in a deal that sent Quinton Ross to New Jersey. "I know a lot of people in China were watching the game. The whole team played pretty good and also played pretty good on defense."

Yi had a first-hand look at the best game in Wall's brief NBA tenure. The No. 1 overall pick had 19 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for the first triple-double of his career. He also had just one turnover and six steals to become the second player in NBA history to record a triple-double with six steals in his first six games. The other was Magic Johnson, who sat courtside as a guest of new majority owner Ted Leonsis.

"On a basketball team no matter what you need a good point guard," Yi said. Wall "can attack. He can find some teammates open. Every teammate who's open, he can pass it right away, so he's great."

Wall had high praise for Yi as well, specifically mentioning his unselfish attitude. Yi had designs on cracking the starting lineup at the start of the season, but he has been a reserve in the first six games.

Yi's high hopes came after a strong showing in the FIBA world championships last summer, when he averaged 20.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in leading China to the elimination round while Yao was unable to play because of a hairline fracture in his left foot that also forced him to miss all of the last NBA season.

Yi was averaging just seven points and 2.4 rebounds entering last night's game. He also was shooting 38 percent.

"I tell Yi all the time it's probably tough for him at times because he probably wishes he were starting," Wall said, "but he's doing a great job of coming off the bench for us. I told him when we run pick and roll and you got a shot, take it. Don't hesitate. I feel like at times he's hesitating shooting and making a play, and we told him what you do for this team is to be somebody who can make shots off the pick and roll, so you do that and keep your presence on defense, and you're going to help the team out a lot."

FROM THE POST
Here's last night's game story by Gene Wang.

AROUND THE WEB
Truth About It's Beckley Mason breaks down a key play from the game.

Also at TAI, Kyle Weidie gets the answer to a vital question in "poopgate."

Here's a gif of an Arenas-to-Wall alley-oop (courtesy of Bullets Forever).

And before the game, at DCist, Rashad Mobley said The Wizards Need A Substitute...Teacher, That Is.

By Gene Wang  | November 11, 2010; 8:03 AM ET
Categories:  John Wall, Morning brew, Yi Jianlian  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Open thread: Wizards (1-4) vs. Rockets (1-5)
Next: Two sides of John Wall

Comments


Crawled.
Now walking.
Will run.

In Grunfeld We Trust!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | November 11, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Went to the game last night and I was very impressed with Yi's skill set. He might not score a lot of points but he CAN do everything else. He sets good picks, has good positioning, and does play good defense.

He's a little weak under the basket but he absolutely has basketball fundementals. Now I wish he would teach that to the Wiz's other big men. Blatche had 20 and 10, but that was the laziest total I have ever seen in my life. I would definately start Yi over Blatche any day of the week.

The game itself, well, it was like watching a "street" game. No defense and all flat footed jumpers.

On a side note I have never seen so many hot Chinese girls in one place, like ever. Crazy.

Ernie Grunfeld is a BUST!

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 11, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

"On a basketball team no matter what you need a good point guard," Yi said. Wall "can attack. He can find some teammates open. Every teammate who's open, he can pass it right away, so he's great."

I was telling my friend who went with me that Wall's team mates better be ready for those passes when he drives and dishes.

There were several times he passed out and guys weren't reay for them and they ended up being turnovers.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 11, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Yi was great last night. A little more upper body strength would really help him though.

Arenas was just awful. One dimensional, out of shape, shooting every time he touches the ball. He didn't look good at all.

Posted by: jimwest20 | November 11, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Great motivating tactic by ted. Broadcast this throughout china to get Yi our first big off the bench to play hard. Put Magic Johnson in the front row to inspire a Magic like performance from John Wall.

Posted by: jefferu | November 11, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Al Thornton continues to bring the lunch pail nightly. I honestly feel he is a better fit right now with Wall than Josh Howard simply because he's more effective without the ball. When Wall is on the floor he needs to do the handling. Period.

Josh will certainly help this team but long term... Al should be the guy.

Posted by: elfreako | November 11, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Yi can score when he is facing the basket, but he does not have a post game. When he goes inside, his shots often were blocked. So guards need to know this and give him the ball when he is open and facing the basket.

He did play an inspired game on both ends last night. Can we call every game Asian Night from now on if this is what it takes?

Posted by: sagaliba | November 11, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Well, we knew Wall is turnover prone, but what happened to Hinrich? Isn't he supposed to be the sure handed one? He had 6 turnovers last night!

Posted by: sagaliba | November 11, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

My high point of the game came in the fourth period.
When a mike picked up part of a conversation Wall was having with Thornton.
I heard the 20 yr old rookie telling Al Thorton something to the effect "if we just play defensive like this we'll win. We know we can score."

In the post game interview, Wall reiterated what he said to Chris Miller.

That young man really understands what's needed to win and he's not intimidated by vets. Flip was correct in naming him a Captain.

Posted by: bozomoeman | November 11, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Yi can score when he is facing the basket, but he does not have a post game. When he goes inside, his shots often were blocked. So guards need to know this and give him the ball when he is open and facing the basket.

He did play an inspired game on both ends last night. Can we call every game Asian Night from now on if this is what it takes?

Great to see Yi step it up with an enormous amount of pressure on, always a good sign from a player.

But at the end of the day, all those long range Js will result in as many 2-12 nights as big games. If we're serious about interior play and all that, gotta get him closer to the basket.

Posted by: divi3 | November 11, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Can Yi play some SG? It would be interesting to see him at SG to create matchup problems, like Jeffries was used at SG a few years ago.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | November 11, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Can Yi play some SG? It would be interesting to see him at SG to create matchup problems, like Jeffries was used at SG a few years ago.

Posted by: PostSubscriber

I think we need to play AB at the point, Yi at the 2, Armstrong at the 3, McGee at the 4 and Seraphin at the 5. No team would be able to match up with us! MUHUHUHUAHAHAHAHA..*cough*

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"But at the end of the day, all those long range Js will result in as many 2-12 nights as big games."

Again, he does SO many other good things and I wish he would teach them to Blatche and McGee.

He's not going to be a scoring machine, but it was obvious watching him he knows the game.

I'm a converted Yi fan. :)

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 11, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Again, he does SO many other good things and I wish he would teach them to Blatche and McGee.

I think AB is a better PF than Yi, and JM is a better C...so for now his role should be to back them both up. Would really like to see Armstrong get in the mix, but I guess he's not looking good in practice.

Posted by: divi3 | November 11, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

The game itself, well, it was like watching a "street" game. No defense and all flat footed jumpers.

On a side note I have never seen so many hot Chinese girls in one place, like ever. Crazy.

Ernie Grunfeld is a BUST!

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | November 11, 2010 9:03 AM

There is something to be said for a street game. Street style tends to give heavy leeway to the player on the floor and not much control by the Coach on the sideline.

However, the best of coaches understand the dynamics of that. Though the coach is truly in charge of his Team, he also understands that the players control the court.

Too many coaches miss the wisdom of what they think is street ball and try to orchestrate needlessly everything on the floor.

John Wall talents on the floor is flat out spontaneity because of his speed. When Wall gets the ball, it is balls to the basket, as I used to play. Iffin you can't run then you want be runnin wit me.

And it isn't true that defense isn't being played because you have to have the ball in order to play like that and to consistently get the ball is dependent upon how good you are at taking it away from the other Team.

Flip and a lot of folks like foucusing on traditional defense rather than taking the ball away. There is a difference.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 11, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Again, he does SO many other good things and I wish he would teach them to Blatche and McGee.

I think AB is a better PF than Yi, and JM is a better C...so for now his role should be to back them both up. Would really like to see Armstrong get in the mix, but I guess he's not looking good in practice.

Posted by: divi3

They all have slightly similary, slightly different games. AB has more skill around the basket, JM is better finishing around the rim, and Yi is better at face up / dribble / drive (though the finish some times eludes him).

Best case scenario right now is for all of them to bring that level of effort every night. There will be enough minutes for all of them.

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"gotta get him (Yi) closer to the basket."

But the problem is, he is not good when he is back to the basket. While Dray is not a power player himself, he can jab, stop, change direction, spin, down and under, when did you see Yi do any of that? That is why when Yi go inside, his shots got blocked; he has no post up game. In China, when you are 7 foot, you can score inside merely by height alone, but not in NBA.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 11, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Taking the ball away is literally hounding the ball until you get it. It is constant pressure on the movement of the ball until you can somehow take it away. And the sole reason for this mindset is because you want tha ball so that you can score it.

Pushing the tempo of the ball kills defenses as well. The act of pushing the ball even when you donot have the numbers put enormous pressure on the defense to play perfect to protect its basket.

This team with Wall and Arenas and especially the bigs are built for speed.

The observation that RMCAZZ had about Yi being a face to basket player is huge. You also see that Yi can do other things as well. Bringing energy and defense is much easier in an fast paced game.

Keep it moving.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 11, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

By the way Blatche isn't a backup player. He is a starter in this League, especially on this Team.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 11, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"gotta get him (Yi) closer to the basket."

But the problem is, he is not good when he is back to the basket. While Dray is not a power player himself, he can jab, stop, change direction, spin, down and under, when did you see Yi do any of that? That is why when Yi go inside, his shots got blocked; he has no post up game. In China, when you are 7 foot, you can score inside merely by height alone, but not in NBA.

Posted by: sagaliba

He actually does have some moves, he is just not adept at finishing. One unfortunate thing for him is that his best moves around the basket, usually involve at least a couple of dribbles, which exposes the ball. And he doesn't seem to have the strength to finish through contact. But he's got a ok pump-fake and the beginnings of a fade-away J from the post.

AB has always had that nice J down low, so he mainly had to work on counters off of that move. The spin, the up-and-under he's added are definitely a good foundation. Yi and McGee are at step one. Develop a reliable go-to move that you can hit almost automatically. From there develop the counters. I've said for a while that AB should continue to study Hakeem's moves, because while he'll never be as good or athletic as Hakeem, he's good with the ball, spins and ball-fakes to be able to execute reasonable facsimiles of those moves.

For Yi, I think in the short term patterning his offense after KG makes sense. KG has never really developed true power moves, his main weapons are fade-away Js and jump hooks. At 7', with good athleticism, they're tough to stop. Yi has similar style, skills, and is in the ball-park athletically (to a younger KG I mean).

As for McGee, in so many ways the kid is a freak, so I don't know if there's one good model for him to follow. They just need to work on developing his own style. Find ways to leverage his length and mitigate his (for now) relative lack of low-post strength.

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

While we marveled over Yi's performance last night, Beasley, another throw-away in the strange clear salary space offseason, scored 42 points, the main reason for Minnesota's victory last night!

Posted by: sagaliba | November 11, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It's too bad James Singleton left the team. He gave us some tough play last season.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 10, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Mr. MANN:

I'm not disagreeing here, not at all. Unfortunately, he was never invited to stay. Damn, he waited as long as he could. The dude's not independently wealthy. He has to work. And yes, he and THORNTON on the court at the same time would have added some moxie to our mid-court game.

But, he was limited in what he could provide. Too small to be a true PF, and too big for the #3 slot, limited mobility, but great grit and determination.

The WIZ just decided to get bigger along the front-line, and he was the odd-man out. Damned shame too, 'cause I really liked his style. Thought BOOKER was going to bring that to the court this season.

Posted by: glawrence007 | November 11, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The love affair with Kirk Hinrich is slowing the chemistry and retarding the growth of Wall and Arenas together for this Team.

Even when Arenas came back in the game in the 4th and it appeared that the Wiz was putting the game away, Flip still took Arenas out and inserted Hinrich for the last few minutes.

Why? Am I the only who thought that was strange? What is going on???

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 11, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

This team with Wall and Arenas and especially the bigs are built for speed.

Keep it moving.

LarryInClintonMD.

Two problems, one short-term, one long-term. The short-term problem is that not all of your players (or even starters) right now are built for speed. Gil and AB are still a step or two slow until both are in better shape. KH is obviously not built for speed. JM can obviously run, but I'm not sure how his asthma plays in. If he's got it more or less under control, then it's not as much of an issue, but you still risk running one of your own players off the court. Wall is obviously built for speed as well, and he does put a lot of pressure on the D, but he also needs to learn when to go and when to slow it down. Usually several of his turnovers every game are the result of ill-advised 1-on-3 breaks. I'm fine with it for now because I appreciate the attack mentality and the fact that he's still young, but he needs to learn to be a bit more discerning. I thought he did a much better job of it last night.

The long term problem is that running / uptempo teams only go so far. In order to get where they want to go, they will have to develop slow-it-down, half-court options. They might as well do that as they go, instead of having to try to shoe-horn it in later.

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Would really like to see Armstrong get in the mix, but I guess he's not looking good in practice.

Posted by: divi3

And I would add, not particularly good in games either.

Posted by: glawrence007 | November 11, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Who said Singleton was never offered? I definitely remember reading they offered but he got more money to go somewhere else.

Amazing how EVERYBODY knows contract negotiations.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 11, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Who said Singleton was never offered? I definitely remember reading they offered but he got more money to go somewhere else.

Amazing how EVERYBODY knows contract negotiations.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | November 11, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Seems like Utah, the perennial how to play defense King, discovered the Queen, offense.

What about that Kalo_rama?

By the way, I got a good laugh from your comment yesterday. Still smiling.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 11, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"The long term problem is that running / uptempo teams only go so far. In order to get where they want to go, they will have to develop slow-it-down, half-court options. They might as well do that as they go, instead of having to try to shoe-horn it in later."

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 11:17 AM

Given their lack of interior toughness and physical presence at both ends, an uptempo style is the best fit for this team in the short term. It probably doesn't matter much in the long-term because most of the players on the roster now probably aren't here for the long-term. As they get personnel more suited to half-court oriented ball, they can adjust their approach, but they aren't nearly there yet.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 11, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 11, 2010 11:24 AM "

As usual, I have no idea what the hell you're talking about.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 11, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@ts35,

Surely, development of an all around attack is a must. You must know when to slow it down and play well when you have to, as well.

But, the problem with that, is that. then Flip's coaching comes much more into play and I am not feeling his competency at anything right now.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 11, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

As usual, I have no idea what the hell you're talking about.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 11, 2010 11:28 AM

Aw hell man, just check the thread from yesterday when you responded to one of my posts.

Even though you stated your obvious disagreement to what I said, your response was humorous and in the theme of my post.

You probably wasn't trying to be humorous, but it was quite humorous anyway.

Relax man, it is all good.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 11, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

But, the problem with that, is that. then Flip's coaching comes much more into play and I am not feeling his competency at anything right now.

LarryInClintonMD.

His coaching comes into play either way, Larry.

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Best played game of the season without a doubt. Team really played with heart, enthusiasm, hustle, great passing, great defense, great teamwork. Just a wonderfully played game thru and thru. And Wall was spectacular. Only 1 TO. Amazing. Don't let down. We'll be there Friday night with bells on.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | November 11, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Given their lack of interior toughness and physical presence at both ends, an uptempo style is the best fit for this team in the short term. It probably doesn't matter much in the long-term because most of the players on the roster now probably aren't here for the long-term. As they get personnel more suited to half-court oriented ball, they can adjust their approach, but they aren't nearly there yet.

Posted by: kalo_rama

Their players right now are better suited for an uptempo game, but I disagree with the rest. If you're trying to build a winning organization, determine the style you want to play and make that the foundation of the franchise. Create the culture and atmosphere of the team you want. Especially if you know you're going to be shuffling the pieces as you go, because it gives you a clearer picture of the types of players you have and the kind you need to go get. It also helps in the development of your young players if there is consistency is what is expected of them.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Even when Arenas came back in the game in the 4th and it appeared that the Wiz was putting the game away, Flip still took Arenas out and inserted Hinrich for the last few minutes.

Why? Am I the only who thought that was strange? What is going on???

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 11, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Larry, what is going on is Flip is a mediocre caoch who is a function of the "good old boy network. His rational for starting Hinrich and playing him significant minutes, is based upon this mentor for Wall (RIDICULOUS)mantra, "heady" ballplayer, glue nonsense that goes back to the days of the "Adolph Rupp" smart white ballplayer syndrome. I would bet a dollar to a doughnut, that the majority of basketball experts would prefer Gilbert Arenas aa a starter to Kirk Hinrich.

Byron Scott, who I observed closely form 10 rows back at the Cleveland game, is an example of a coach who knows how to handle players and can get the most out of the players on his team. He did not knee-jerk pull players out and was communicating and teaching his younger players. We had the better talent and were at home and still lost to his team.


You guys can talk about getting new players etal but the first order of business for this organization is to get a first rate coach who understands todays NBA.

Flip's knee-jerk handling of his young players should have gotten his ass fired last year with the new ownership took place. He plays favorites and has different standards for different players.
Arenas's shenanigans and his contract are the only reason he is employed now.

Hinrich had 6 turnovers and was equally ineffective defensively. As a starter you get the opportunity to come in watm and get a better feel for the game. If we want to beat someone other than bad 1-6 Houston team (with only two starters), it is time to invest time in getting your best ballplayers up to speed.

Posted by: NewManagement | November 11, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Hinrich is a stiff. Pure and simple. Awful pickup by EG and is obviously the teachers pet under Flipper.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | November 11, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"But, he (Singleton) was limited in what he could provide. Too small to be a true PF, and too big for the #3 slot, limited mobility, but great grit and determination.

The WIZ just decided to get bigger along the front-line, and he was the odd-man out. Damned shame too, 'cause I really liked his style. Thought BOOKER was going to bring that to the court this season."

The problem is, we do know if Booker can develop into Singleton yet, and Booker is NOT bigger than Singleton.

Posted by: sagaliba | November 11, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Even when Arenas came back in the game in the 4th and it appeared that the Wiz was putting the game away, Flip still took Arenas out and inserted Hinrich for the last few minutes.

Why? Am I the only who thought that was strange? What is going on???

LarryInClintonMD.

Yeah, it's pretty simple. GA was ineffective and is still out of shape.

Why don't you guys get off Hinrichs's jock. The dude had a bad game - so what? I think every primary ball handler in the league has had 6 turnover plus games in their career. It's as if he set records or something last night. With Wall, KH, and GA, we now have the option to have our best backup PG in years coming off the bench. The one thing I really don't get that FS is trying is playing all three at once. Never liked that idea the first time I read about it and seeing it hasn't changed my mind. The best lineup for this team should be JW, GA, AT, Yi, AB. Play Yi at center on defense, which he is decent at and pull him away from the basket on offense and put AB closer to the basket.

Posted by: rphilli721 | November 11, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Even when Arenas came back in the game in the 4th and it appeared that the Wiz was putting the game away, Flip still took Arenas out and inserted Hinrich for the last few minutes.

Why? Am I the only who thought that was strange? What is going on???

LarryInClintonMD.

I did think it was a little strange, but ultimately, not that big of a deal. Both were struggling. KH was definitely having some issues in the 4th, but Gil wasn't having a great game either. KH ended up playing 29 mins, Gil 23 mins. I'm sure those numbers will start to flip-flop as Gil gets back into shape.

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Many people here who think we're too soft on the interior would also trade AB for "rugged" Scola in a hearbeat....funny watching them play how AB is right in there banging with him, no discernible difference in one guy being 'tough' and the other 'soft.'

Watch the games. Blatche and Mcgee will be here for years to come, so get used to it.

Posted by: divi3 | November 11, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Many people here who think we're too soft on the interior would also trade AB for "rugged" Scola in a hearbeat....funny watching them play how AB is right in there banging with him, no discernible difference in one guy being 'tough' and the other 'soft.'

Watch the games. Blatche and Mcgee will be here for years to come, so get used to it.

Posted by: divi3

It was good to see. Last year, Chuck Hayes pushed AB out about 18 feet from the hoop in both games. I'm sure there were probably some last year, but that was the most physical I have seen AB play, in particular rebounding the ball.

I think Adelman also made a mistake going to Miller in the second half instead of brining Hill back out. McGee ate Miller's lunch.

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I think Gilbert starts over Kirk starting sometime in December.

Posted by: DKSW | November 11, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Watch the games. Blatche and Mcgee will be here for years to come, so get used to it.

Posted by: divi3 | November 11, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Hope you're right. It's fun watching them develop.

Posted by: bpybay | November 11, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I think Gilbert starts over Kirk starting sometime in December.

Posted by: DKSW | November 11, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Probably before the end of the month.

Posted by: bpybay | November 11, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"I think Gilbert starts over Kirk starting sometime in December.Posted by: DKSW"

Could be. Wouldn't surprise anybody. Still, some folks around here would argue that Gil's worth should be commensurate with the size of his paycheck (he gets something like $17 mil this season alone). His role is to put up points, so when he's having an off night -- wasn't he 1 for 7? - we should hear complaints from them about how he's not worth the money. Of course, long-term contracts are the result of a negotiation according to market conditions at the time. They're not an objective measure of a player's true worth. To complain about how much somebody is getting paid now is an exercise in futility.

That being one of our favorite sports...

Posted by: Samson151 | November 11, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that Gil was in incredible shape and worked tirelessly all summer (as is his modus operandi) to get ready for the season. Two and a half post-injury weeks later, he is 10 lbs. overweight and grossly out of shape. Shows how easily one can undo all the good he has done.

Now expand that to AB and his 12 weeks out with a broken foot, and it is easy to see how he could be so out of shape. Despite the fact that he did a lot of pool work during that time, it apparently did not work optimally.

However, both of them will round into form. Give them each two to three weeks and both of them will be pretty much unstoppable. I am REALLY looking forward to the second half of the season, barring any negative unforeseens.

Posted by: bpybay | November 11, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Other thing that puzzles me is hearing somebody insist that another poster must not actually watch the games. The inference being that anyone who did would automatically agree with the first poster -- because of his superior intelligence, presumably. But in a Verizon crowd of 13,000 and a TV audience of over a million, you'll probably find five or ten thousand significantly different evaluations of plays and players, refs and coaching. For Pete's sake, we actually had somebody insist that Yi Jianlian reminds him of Jeff Ruland, which is like comparing a giraffe with a rhinoceros. Yet that guy watched the game, too.

It's like the courtroom -- few things less reliable than eyewitness testimony.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 11, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Samson, you clearly have not been watching the games.

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Hinrich had a turnover last night that was almost identical to one Wall had in the previous game. In both cases they dribble down the baseline until they get under the basket, and then throw a blind pass toward the top of the key. I suppose someone is suppose to be in position there, but I have no idea who. Anybody know what I'm talking about?

Posted by: djnnnou | November 11, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"Samson, you clearly have not been watching the games.Posted by: ts35"

LOL where is that remote again?

Posted by: Samson151 | November 11, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@Djnnnou

Yeah I know the play you're talking about. I see a lot of NBA guards do it. And I see an increasing number of them get picked off. If it is the same play I'm thinking of, there was a player that Hinrich was throwing to, there was just very little chance it was going to get there. Either Ish Smith or K-Mart was sitting on the 'passing lane'.

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"But at the end of the day, all those long range Js will result in as many 2-12 nights as big games. If we're serious about interior play and all that, gotta get him closer to the basket.

Posted by: divi3 | November 11, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse "

What Yi needs to do, not just develop his upper body strength, but to develop his lower body strength in order to be able to hold his position, and to learn how to create space between him and his defender in order to get his shots off or get a foul. He can't expect to just turn around and shoot b/c his defender is most likely a guy as tall and athletic as he is.

Also, to encourage him to stay in the post, the PG needs to get him the ball down low. This will be expected as time moves on as JWow is a pass first guy and Yi won't be bored to tears watching Gilby jack 3's instead like in previous seasons.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | November 11, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"Their players right now are better suited for an uptempo game, but I disagree with the rest. If you're trying to build a winning organization, determine the style you want to play and make that the foundation of the franchise. Create the culture and atmosphere of the team you want. Especially if you know you're going to be shuffling the pieces as you go, because it gives you a clearer picture of the types of players you have and the kind you need to go get. It also helps in the development of your young players if there is consistency is what is expected of them.

Just my opinion."

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 11:49 AM

Really? You mean that's not federally-mandated law? Gee, thanks for pointing that out, otherwise I might have been confused.

As for the rest . . .

Of course they should "establish the style of play they want and make that the foundation of the franchise." That's why I said they'll likely end up swapping out a lot of the players they have, because too many of them are ill-suited to playing the kind of half-court, pace controlling ball that succeeds in the playoffs, particularly in the Eastern conference. But getting those players is the GM's job. Until those changes are made by the GM, the coach is stuck with the players he's got. And the coach's job is to win games. You don't win a lot of games by trying to get players to play to their weaknesses rather than their strengths. (In fact, as I recall, this was an almost constant criticism of Eddie Jordan, unwarranted as it was.)

Of course the coach should let players know what's expected of them. But expectations can and do change based on circumstances. It would be foolish of Saunders to put the same set of expectations on this team that he put on, say, the Pistons, just as it would have been foolish of him to put the same set of expectations on the team he had after last year's trade deadline as he put on the one he had before the deadline. Should he push the team to play better defense and be more organized offensively? Of course. But would it be reasonable to use the exact same measuring stick for a team in year one of what promises to be a lengthy rebuilding process as he'll put on the team in year 3 or 4? Of course not (because if he is, it means that the team hasn't progressed a whole lot).

Of course the organization as a whole should, quite obviously, be moving in the direction of their ultimate goal. But that trip will be a process with many steps, and trying to leapfrog them arther than working through them methodically is part of what landed them in the predicament they're currently trying to climb their way out of.

One of the criticisms leveled at Saunders after the purge was trying to coach the team he wished he had rather than the one he actually had. Whether that was a valid criticism is up for debate, but either way, that's not an approach particularly conducive to success.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 11, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

There's a reason that out here in the country that we had plow horses, and we had race horses. You never take a plow horse to the track, and you never hook a race horse to a plow.

So the Wizards have a point guard that is being compared to the likes of Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson, and the way to win is to bring in some guys that can play 1/2 court basketball?

It's one thing to not watch the game, it's another to watch it and not have a clue of what you're seeing.

The Wiz have a guard that can break down 1/2 court defenses in about 3.2 seconds, that's because the opposing team can get back and setup in front of him in time to set a defense.

Basketball is all about creating miss matches and overloads. You could walk the ball up the floor and spend 16-24 seconds trying to create a mismatch, or you could pull down a defensive rebound and get the ball to Wall and force the other team to stop him.

I've been watching a lot of basketball for a lot of years. Haven't seen many point guards to compare him to. Seems like the best comparisons that I come up with in my mind are the Big O from the 60's, Magic Johnson, & Jason Kidd. But the interesting thing is Wall is also Gary Payton like on defense and Oscar, and Magic, never were really known as defenders, and neither had Wall's hops or his quickness. And at this point of his career he's got a much better shot then a young Jason Kidd. And is a better team player.

As much as I loved Earl Monroe, he's not even in the same league. Earl in his prime couldn't run with this kid, jump with this kid, or come near matching quickness. Earl could pull out an array of moves like nobody else, and was one of the smartest players ever. But in an open court Wall would eat his lunch.

He could possibly develop into the most well rounded point guard this league has seen. That's high praise to hang on a guy 6 games into his career, but he's got ability to get places with a ball that I've never seen anybody display. In the open floor he's moving so fast that in full speed you miss some of the little fakes that just freeze guys.

Last night he did a great job of slowing down and taking what was there, he'll soon realize he doesn't have to force the action, that his talent forces others to adjust to him.

He's still going to have up and down games, there will be nights that he gets beat. This will be a process to build a winner around him. But build a team around him to play 1/2 court basketball?

You may as well send Van Gogh out to paint houses with a Wagner power roller...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | November 11, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"Aw hell man, just check the thread from yesterday when you responded to one of my posts." Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | November 11, 2010 11:38 AM

No need. That part I understood. It was all that "king" and "queen" gibberish that made no sense.

Posted by: kalo_rama | November 11, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

... Either Ish Smith or K-Mart was sitting on the 'passing lane'.Posted by: ts35

I didn't see a cutter, but that doesn't mean anything. If it's in the playbook I like it better than the often bobbled, under-the-basket handoff than Brendan was rarely able to finish.

Posted by: djnnnou | November 11, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

There was no cutter, just one of the wings just to the left of the top of the circle. It's not a play per se, it's guards trying to create something. I also see a lot more cross-court skip passes than I'm used to seeing. Gil had one where he passed from top left out past the three point line to KH (or Nick) in the opposite corner.

Posted by: ts35 | November 11, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

"[Wall's] still going to have up and down games, there will be nights that he gets beat. This will be a process to build a winner around him. But build a team around him to play 1/2 court basketball?You may as well send Van Gogh out to paint houses with a Wagner power roller...Posted by: flohrtv"

That's the Wiz' dilemma. If Wall stays the way he is, with a game built entirely around his extraordinary speed, and nothing much in the half court, Washington will probably never win a title.

Hard to imagine the Wiz management and coaches didn't know this before the draft. They watched the West Virginia game, saw what happened if you could keep him from penetrating. You could stop his team in its tracks.

You'd need to surround him with outstanding shooters, the way Boston surrounds Rondo. But then you'd need people to play defense, which a lot of scorers don't do. Boston got lucky there.

For the playoffs, he needs to do what Derrick Rose has been doing, and what Tyreke Evans will have to do, and that's develop a jumpshot.

It's a lot more fun to watch him streak up and down the court, but that's not championship basketball in today's NBA.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 11, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Really? You mean that's not federally-mandated law? Gee, thanks for pointing that out, otherwise I might have been confused.
Posted by: kalo_rama

Well you have a tendency to confuse your own opinions with fact or law so I just wanted to make sure I was clear.

Actually I would argue that the EG / EJ Wizards had trouble, well a) because they were atrocious on D, but b) because they did too much conforming to the players they had rather than trying to develop a system that could succeed and seeking the players that could accomplish it.

The problem with your theory is that the Wizards never get around to establishing a style that can compete for the ultimate goal until they have the players to do it. In the meantime, the players they have now who they intend to keep (certainly Wall, probably/possibly McGee and AB, possibly others) spend their time developing in a different style. They might have more success in the short-term, but you're just pushing back the learning curve. Imo, their win total for this season is far less important than preparing Wall and whoever else they intend to keep for future success.

Furthermore, at the moment, Wall is the future of the franchise and also the floor leader. Everyone else who is on the team or comes to the team will end up playing the way he plays. Therefore it behooves the organization to help him develop a complete game and a style that can compete in the playoffs.

Btw, I am not advocating a pound the ball into the ground, use 23 secs of the shot clock style. This team will obviously get out and run. But they also need to learn how to play disciplined half-court basketball.

In terms of using the same 'measuring stick' as with the Pistons, no idea what you're talking about because it has nothing to do with what I said. The only expectations I'm talking about are the players knowing what's expected of them within the style and system they're playing. Those expectations are partly driven by the system and partly by the player's abilities. The current Lakers triangle O doesn't look exactly the same as the triangle Phil ran with the Bulls because it's different personnel, but the concepts are still triangle concepts. Jerry Sloan has been coaching the same P&R offense is Utah for years. It looks different with Deron Williams running than it did with Stockton, but the principles are still the same.

The longer the players you keep play in the same system, the better able they are to help fold new players into the system, instead of everyone essentially starting from scratch every year. Continuity. It's actually not skipping over steps, it's building the foundation and the path for the direction they want go.

Posted by: ts35 | November 12, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

The NBA slowed to a virtual crawl under an era that was best known for Pat Riley's "force basketball". Even when the rules favored that style it's interesting that Mr. Riley was never able to win a title.

The effects of the Salary Cap combined with the Luxury Tax have created an era where most teams build their scoring around 2-3 "STARS". If you're going to pay 3 players 75% of your cap space then the ball will funnel through those players. Mr. Stern has successfully built a league and revenues around promoting those players instead of teams like baseball and football do.

OK City and Portland have been the first two teams to strip down and start over with a a potential new model. Because of injuries Portland's success has been somewhat mixed, but OK City is a rising force playing a different style of basketball.

To become a team that goes deep into the playoffs, will OK City have to change their style, or will the league be scrambling to catchup to them in a few seasons?

The two current power teams in the league are aging. Kobe's got a window of a few more years on top, and Boston's running on fumes.

Orlando is a team that could actually benefit from pushing the ball more and playing to their strengths rather then trying to beat the Celtics at their own game. But they're so bent on getting by the Celtics now, they've lost site of what their players do best. Van Gundy is making moves based on preparing to beat one team in the playoffs instead of getting his own team to play at it's highest level. History teaches that coaching that way seldom leads to a title, just years of frustration.

Guards like Rondo have excelled because of the "hands off" rules that were put in place to open up the game. Just think about what a guard like Wall can do if a team is built around him to play full court basketball.

Teams don't run in the NBA because of a lack of talented depth, not because it doesn't work. Teams don't have depth because they've all built around a 3 star system where their "superstars" get a vast amount of their available cap room.

Other then Arenas the Wiz have cleared out that cap room and have the room to rebuild following a different model, and spread their salary cap money around differently. Having a deeper roster will allow a coach to choose a style that fits his players best.

The secert of the Bulls 6 titles in the 80's was the series of below market longterm deals that Krause was able to negotiate. Since he had his core playing for below market deals he had more money to keep, or bring in, role players that others couldn't afford. Krause not only had the best 1-2 punch in the game, but he was able to field better guys 6-12 then the teams he was meeting in the playoffs.

As the Bulls got older they played more 1/2 court basketball. But MJ and Pippen NEVER turned down a chance to get out and run if it was available. In fact I've never seen a winning team ever turn down the chance to run...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | November 12, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Flohr, there's a difference between being an opportunistic fast break team and being a running / uptempo team. Again, I'm not advocating that the Wizards become Mike Fratello's walk it up Hawks. I'm saying to be a great team, you have to be able to execute in all phases.

The Bulls actually frequently did NOT have the most talented roster 1-12. The Portland team they faced in particular was far deeper. What they had was a system that worked and players who knew their roles.

Running / uptempo teams do not falter because of a lack of depth, they falter because playoff basketball is different than regular season basketball. Teams in the playoffs are more likely to play fundamental defense which means they tend to rebound better and they tend to hustle back on D to slow down fast breaks. Ultimately teams have to be able to execute in the half-court.

You cite Rondo. He's excelling on the break and in the half-court. OKC is excelling on the break and in the half-court.

Plus, this notion that somehow running basketball or fast break basketball is new or revolutionary is ridiculous. Every title winning team going back as far as you'd like to go back has been able to execute in the half-court when it counted.

Aside from that, the idea that playing half-court offense somehow puts the clamps on J-Wall is equally ridiculous, or that executing in the half-court is the same thing as plodding up the court is flawed.

Probably the best fast-breaking team in my lifetime, The Lakers under Magic, also were able to execute half-court basketball with a high degree of efficiency. And it was far from plodding.

Posted by: ts35 | November 12, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Flohr, there's a difference between being an opportunistic fast break team and being a running / uptempo team. Again, I'm not advocating that the Wizards become Mike Fratello's walk it up Hawks. I'm saying to be a great team, you have to be able to execute in all phases.

The Bulls actually frequently did NOT have the most talented roster 1-12. The Portland team they faced in particular was far deeper. What they had was a system that worked and players who knew their roles.

Running / uptempo teams do not falter because of a lack of depth, they falter because playoff basketball is different than regular season basketball. Teams in the playoffs are more likely to play fundamental defense which means they tend to rebound better and they tend to hustle back on D to slow down fast breaks. Ultimately teams have to be able to execute in the half-court.

You cite Rondo. He's excelling on the break and in the half-court. OKC is excelling on the break and in the half-court.

Plus, this notion that somehow running basketball or fast break basketball is new or revolutionary is ridiculous. Every title winning team going back as far as you'd like to go back has been able to execute in the half-court when it counted.

Aside from that, the idea that playing half-court offense somehow puts the clamps on J-Wall is equally ridiculous, or that executing in the half-court is the same thing as plodding up the court is flawed.

Probably the best fast-breaking team in my lifetime, The Lakers under Magic, also were able to execute half-court basketball with a high degree of efficiency. And it was far from plodding.

Posted by: ts35 | November 12, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

And btw, the Bulls won their titles in the 90s.

Posted by: ts35 | November 12, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

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