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Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 12/29/2010

Flip Saunders absent from morning shoot-around (Updated)

By Gene Wang

Updated 4:28 p.m.: Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld has announced that Flip Saunders will miss tonight's game against Indiana due to a family emergency involving his mother. Assistant Coach Randy Wittman will serve as head coach for tonight's game.

Original post: Washington Wizards Coach Flip Saunders was absent from this morning's shoot-around because of a family emergency involving his mother, and it appears unlikely at this point that he will coach the team in tonight's game against the Indiana Pacers at Verizon Center.

"I haven't heard much," guard Kirk Hinrich said. "Just that he wasn't here this morning, and I hope everything is all right with his family and everything."

Assistant coach Randy Wittman conducted the shoot-around in place of Saunders, who is in his second season as Wizards coach.

As to whether Saunders's absence would impact how the team prepares for and plays tonight, Hinrich said: "It shouldn't. We just have to focus on the task at hand. I think go out there as a group and play hard. We need a win, so we can't allow that to be a distraction."

Saunders is in his 15th season as an NBA coach, with a career record of 620-474, including 33-78 with the Wizards. Washington currently is in last place in the Eastern Conference with a 7-22 record, and only Sacramento has a worst winning percentage in the NBA.

If Saunders is unable to coach tonight, Wittman becomes the most likely candidate to fill in, considering he was the head coach for Minnesota from Jan. 23, 2007 to Dec. 2008 and in Cleveland from 1999 to 2001. No other assistant on the Wizards staff has NBA head coaching experience.

The Wizards have lost two straight, both on the road, and 10 of 11 overall. Washington has won just two games this month and is the only team in the league without a road victory. Its most recent loss was on Monday to Houston, 100-93, when the Wizards blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, continuing a trend of not being able to close out opponents.

"You have to realize when you get down to big stretches of games teams are going to ratchet it up a couple notches, and we have to be able to raise our level as well," Hinrich said. "We haven't been able to do that. I don't like to use it as an excuse, but for a young team to make that next step, we've been playing hard every night. Now we need to execute down the stretch."

By Gene Wang  | December 29, 2010; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Flip Saunders  
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Next: Wizards shopping Andray Blatche, but not JaVale McGee

Comments

Posted by: SkinzNWiz | December 29, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Well wishes for Flip and his mom. Mcghee is not going to resign with the Wiz anyway. Wiz do not use and develope Mcghee's offensive abilities anyway. If they did Mcghee would have 20 ppg.

Posted by: bobilly1 | December 29, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

" Wiz do not use and develope Mcghee's offensive abilities anyway. If they did Mcghee would have 20 ppg."

Posted by: bobilly1 | December 29, 2010 12:59 PM

Sure he would . . . if they threw him 15 lob passes every game.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 29, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

If they did Mcghee would have 20 ppg

Do you call him McGhee because he looks like Dhalsim from Street Fighter, or because his game is like McButter?

Posted by: djnnnou | December 29, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

bobilly1, it seems to me that you are saying that it is someone else's responsibility to teach McGee at least one offensive move and then force him to put in the gym time to make such a move effective and reliable. If that is, in fact, what you are saying, then I guess the concept of personal accountability must be alien to you. It's always someone else's fault, right?

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | December 29, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

McGee has the athleticism to be a very good offensive power. He can dribble and handle the ball better than most big men. He is double teamed because Blatche is 12-18 feet away from the basket. He has a nice baby hook, a variety of thunderous dunks including 360 windmills. He has developed a lot of moves. What he has not done is coordinate with "Barney Flip Rubble" to see how to use them at the center position, because Barney does not know the center position, or lineups, or how to coach this team. There is not a team in BB that would not pick him up at his salary and for his next salary. There will be a multitude of talent evaluators slobbering over themselves.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 29, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"McGee has the athleticism to be a very good offensive power. He can dribble and handle the ball better than most big men. He is double teamed because Blatche is 12-18 feet away from the basket. He has a nice baby hook, a variety of thunderous dunks including 360 windmills. He has developed a lot of moves."

Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 29, 2010 3:03 PM

That was a nice story, but I think the Post fiction writing contest is at another URL.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 29, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

"bobilly1, it seems to me that you are saying that it is someone else's responsibility to teach McGee at least one offensive move and then force him to put in the gym time to make such a move effective and reliable. If that is, in fact, what you are saying, then I guess the concept of personal accountability must be alien to you. It's always someone else's fault, right"


Actually what do you think all of those coaches are on the bench for??? Do you think Dwight Howard developed his game on his own? Nope, it was all Patrick Ewing...Now im not saying that McGee isn't responsible for developing his own game, but at the same time when you have a player with that kind of talent, you have to find a way to maximize his abilities...Flip Saunders will not make this team any better, I say get rid of Flip, and Blatche

Posted by: babycas2000 | December 29, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

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