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Posted at 8:07 AM ET, 12/ 3/2010

Cleveland's insults hark back to a more competitive time for the Wizards

By Michael Lee
Morning brew

It took one (bad) "Decision" to leave Cleveland, live on ESPN, for the Quicken Loans Arena to turn into an Ohio satellite of Verizon Center on Thursday. LeBron James's return to his home state as a member of the Miami Heat was the dominant NBA story last night, one that could not be ignored. Cleveland area native Flip Saunders said he planned to watch. "Who isn't?" he asked.

And anyone who tuned in, as James scored 38 points in three quarters as the Heat pummeled the inferior Cavaliers, could see that Cleveland fans borrowed a few ideas from Wizards fans to spew venom at their once-favorite son. Signs that read "Queen James" were a reminder of those great playoff and regular season games between Cleveland and Washington from 2006 to 2008, when mocking James was a pleasant ritual.

Those days seem so long ago, since the Wizards haven't been to the postseason since DeShawn Stevenson brought Soulja Boy to town to help taunt James and they are currently struggling to avoid a third consecutive trip to the NBA lottery.

The Wizards (5-12) will try to end a season-high four-game losing streak when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. It will be the Wizards' last home game before leaving for a three-game West Coast road trip through Phoenix, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

And Saunders doesn't want his team overlooking the 8-10 Trail Blazers, who have lost five games in a row and have been reeling since getting the news that 2007 No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden was going to miss the entire season with yet another knee injury.

"Portland's a good team. We've caught some of these teams at wrong times. We've faced some teams that have been struggling, they see us, and all of a sudden it's time to get better," Saunders said, mentioning how Miami and Atlanta had both dealt with some rough patches before getting the Wizards.

"Here's a team people were predicting to be in the top three or four in their conference. We're going to have our hands full," Saunders said. "We need to play well, in order to have an opportunity. Right now, we can't talk about wins and losses. We've got to talk about getting better. Because if you don't play the right way or play well, play hard, play the right way, you won't have a chance to win."

FROM THE POST
In today's newspaper, John Wall says Wizards players have to start taking on a greater responsibility of policing each other.


AROUND THE WEB
Truth About It offers a "screen shot revue" of the loss to Toronto.

In non-Wizards news, there's no shortage of opinions about LeBron James's triumphant return to Cleveland. Among the views:

At CBSSports.com, Ken Berger says derision for LeBron's business decision shows sports disconnect.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Bill Livingston says James wears the villain's black hat well.

In ESPN.com's Daily Dime, Brian Windhorst looks at James's comfort zone and Cleveland's misery.

Yahoo!Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski says King James still reigns over Cleveland.

At NBA.com, David Aldridge reminds us that it was only one game.

After the game, James refused to apologize for "The Decision" and had this message for Cleveland fans: "Seven great years. Loved every part. Loved every moment. From the growth when I was an 18 year old kid to a 25 year old man. We tried our best, as a team, we tried our best to bring a championship to this city and just try to play hard every night. I have the utmost respect for this franchise, utmost respect for these fans, and just continue the greatness for myself here in Miami and try to get better everyday."

Later he Tweeted:

Did a post game interview with Craig Sager and I mentioned "Greatness" and I didn't mean my self individually, I meant to say US as a TEAM working towards "Greatness". Anyways Great Team Win for US tonight!

By Michael Lee  | December 3, 2010; 8:07 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
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Next: Hilton Armstrong returns after serving one-game suspension

Comments

Saunders said.

Right now, we can't talk about wins and losses.

Because if we did I would have been fired by now.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 3, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse


After the beatdown in Toronto, I suspect that Flip has been put on notice that he has to get his act together and acually coach these young guys and facilitate their growth as professionals.

Under the inspirational and relentless leadership of Ernest Grunfeld, the Wizards will play well tonight and might, just might, win. The pieces are in place and the haters can just fall back.

In Grunfeld We Trust!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | December 3, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Teds Take certainly revealed that coaching was certainly a disappointing part of the current state of affairs.

He wasn't one sided about this team at all.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 3, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Once again Flip demonstrates his ineptitude and unwillingness to accept responsibility for the team's poor performance. Amazing!

In the same WaPo article, Flip notes that Hinrich is "worn out" because he's (Hinrich) started 17 games and has played the most number of minutes (35.45). (Captain Kirk has been terrible.) Yep, Flop, that one extra minute per game Hinrich's logged Blatche leaves AB fresh as a daisy. AB has started 17 games and has averaged 34.45 mpg, while simultaneously rehabbing from a broken foot. Flip, your bias is manifest. Is it the ink?

Ted, fire Flip now. PLEASE The rewards to the team AND the fans will be evident immediately.

Flip is neither a coach nor a teacher and certainly not someone who should be tasked with developing a young team. Ted, if you fire Flip, I will, as a long-time season ticket holder, drive him to the airport. Heck, if you fire Flip, I'll drive him to Minnesota!

Posted by: MaxMcGee | December 3, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

And that NBA coaches are greatly limited in their ability to motivate players.

The players motivate themselves. They have to prepare. They have to eat right. Get the right amount of sleep. Stay in shape. Do the mental preparation. Study films. Work on their games.

Posted by: SteveMG | December 2, 2010 12:21 PM


Everything starts with organization and structure and the poeple who manage things the best are the ones who are going to have the most success. Do the players have respect for flip? Do they believe in what he is trying to do? Does he give the team the best opportunity to win? If the players are not buying into what Flip is trying to do then whatever motivation they may have had would be short lived. Arenas has already shown that he does not believe in Flip. By faking an injury so another teammate could get more playing time. And before we start singling out Arenas, I am sure Nick Young feels the same way. Even Javale McGee came out at one point and said he's not sure what the coach is asking him to do.

This team has no identity on defense or offense and that's a reflection of the coach. They are totally confuse on defense by consistently blowing assignments and not knowing where they are suppose to be on the floor. On offense they have yet to identify their scorers, dribble the ball way too much and not enough ball movement. What GM or coach would put together a team without having a player who can post up in the paint and be a threat? Talent alone is not enough, you need attitude, you need a system that the players believes in and that comes from the coach.

Posted by: spades72 | December 3, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"Before they hit the court for a brief practice Thursday, the Washington Wizards had to sit in the locker room to watch film of their appalling defensive performance the night before in Toronto.

The footage of the Raptors driving, dunking and converting uncontested layups and jumpers was gruesome, and so was Coach Flip Saunders's critique with his players after the team suffered an embarrassing 127-108 loss that had more to do with a massive disparity in trying than in talent."

A young team should be watching film after every game as a group in order to point out and correct mistakes made in the previous game. Most guys with pride would cringe at making the same mistakes over and over and having those mistakes highlighted in front of the group.

Flip, get your sh*t together and use every motivational tool in your toolbox to right the ship and get these guys moving in the right direction!

Posted by: ahwyatt | December 3, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I was reading back through the last thread and I am amazed at the number of good posters here who mainly lay the current state of affairs on the players.

When we had a different set of players, it was the players, now we have this set and it is still the players.

Guess what when we get a third set, it is still going to be the players.

Commentators line up and blame the players. I heard one talk show guests on The Fan last night say that Gilbert Arenas is washed up period and must be moved. He went on to say that the only player on the Team that we should consider keeping is John Wall.

Amazing. That bloke, can't remember his name, doesn't know how basketball works. How are you going to get rid of everyone on the Team except John Wall and they were deferring to this guy like he was an authority on something, Fred or Frank was his name.

Preposterous.

The GM of the Team is very important. The coaching of the Team is very important people. The ownership is very important.

I can go along with the GM and the Owner not being responsible for game to game performances. However, those of you that do not want to give the Coach his share of game to game responsibility and how the Team and each individual player performs are just plain blind and disengenuos to boot.

In the overall scheme of things the GM is responsible for cast of players we do have. So if we have a bunch of non-performing, low self esteem players that have no pride in their craft and are just mailing it in for millions of dollars, how in the hey can you blame them???

Blame the GM, can't blame the players, if it is true like most of you player haters are saying, then the players are getting over like a fat rat.

EG might have made mistakes, but he can't be that bad to have a group of players that are as bad as some very good posters here keep sayin.

Could it be that the coaching makes this cast of players look so bad??? Voila. I think that is where we need to go.

FLIP SAUNDERS ISN'T COACHING THIS GROUP OF PLAYERS PROPERLY PEOPLE. IN SCHOOL THEY USED TO SAY D WAS PASSING BUT THEY DON'T ANYMORE. BUT GUESS WHAT, FLIP SAUNDERS DESERVES AN F. A FLAT OUT UNEQIVOCATED F AND THERE ISN'T ANY JUSTIFICATION IN THE WAY THAT THIS TEAM PLAYS THAT WOULD EVEN GIVE HIM A D AN OLD ANTIQUATED PASSING GRADE.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 3, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse


I rarely agree with you, Melodious, but I do believe Flip is killing this team's spirit. BUT Ernie doesn't get a pass just because the roster has changed. Flip is just a bad coach and Ernie hired him. No way around that. Now he'll have to convince Ted to let him fire him to save his job. As my grandmother would say, Grunfeld is "between and betwixt". I think your boy Ernest is done as a Wizards exec.

Posted by: ArmChairQB

Nothing short of 30 wins will save Grunfeld's job. Even then, the Wizards better be playing with the fire Leonsis is looking for. He sounded pretty PO'd on tedstake.com after the blowout to a lottery team.

Posted by: ahwyatt | December 3, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

the players are getting over like a fat rat
Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

Translation, please.

Posted by: nmik | December 3, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

If the trend continues, the Wiz will play a thrilling game tonight win or lose.

They are an inexperienced team that, like most inexperienced teams, struggles on the road. At home, the Wiz are more confident and play with more energy.

The entire front court of this team is so young and easily discouraged when things go wrong. The body language when the Wiz are on the road is easy to read.

The Wiz are rebuilding and this is what rebuilding looks like. The Supersonics/Thunder with Durant started 20-62 and 23-59 before it came together.

In regards to firing Flip, are we ready to assume Sam I Am is ready to be a head coach? Ernie and Ted can't fire the entire coaching staff mid season. So either Cassell or Wittman becomes the head coach.
Cassell has no experience and Wittman record as a head coach is 100-207.

The best hope for this team is for McGee and Wall's continued improvement and for Blatche's injuries to be the cause of his poor defensive play this early in the season.

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 3, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Translation, please.

Posted by: nmik | December 3, 2010 10:57 AM

LOL He's saying the players would be basically stealing money (if the accusations were true).

Posted by: ahwyatt | December 3, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Lets copy from the Redskin Postgame Show and grade the Wiz.

Offense - F.
Defense - F-
Coaching - F--
Player Rotations - F
Player Knowledge Of The Game - F
Team Leadership - F
Team Play Exhibiting Good Coaching - F

Anybody got any higher grades to pass out. This is LarryInClintonMD and all them F's isn't a direct result of the players.

Seems like this Team is headed to Special Education if we don't get a coaching change to a Coach that really knows what he is doing in order to build a winning team and winning team play.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 3, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

You can't coach talent that's not there. So if the issue is a pure lack of talent, then Ernie's the guy with his head on a platter.

But no matter how little talent a good coach has to work with, he should be able coach effort. In coaching, a team that shows a complete lack of effort has to lay at the coach's feet.

The Wiz have very similar talent to Toronto, neither are playoff type teams, but the lack of effort the other night was horrendous. Toronto is not a team that should mop the floor with the Wizards.
That kind of effort is the kind that gets coaches fired.

Is Flip a "dead man walking" with this team? I seriously doubt that Ted will let Ernie fire Ted without Ernie walking the plank too.

20-30 wins for this team may not have been unexpected for this team. Efforts like the other night should be...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | December 3, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"Anybody got any higher grades to pass out. This is LarryInClintonMD and all them F's isn't a direct result of the players."

This is a self-grading system.
Quality of metaphors used:
Grammar:
Appropriate use of capitalization:

Posted by: Samson151 | December 3, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

the players are getting over like a fat rat
Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

Translation, please.

Posted by: nmik | December 3, 2010 10:57 AM

Come dude, stop distorting the man's comments. Three fingers pointing back at you.


Here is complete Larry's sentence.

Blame the GM, can't blame the players, if it is true like most of you player haters are saying, then the players are getting over like a fat rat.

Posted by: spades72 | December 3, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The Wiz have very similar talent to Toronto, neither are playoff type teams, but the lack of effort the other night was horrendous. Toronto is not a team that should mop the floor with the Wizards.
That kind of effort is the kind that gets coaches fired.

Of the various appalling aspects to the loss, perhaps the worst was that the Wiz could not muster a serious run at the Raps at any point in the game. Down 12pts in 1stQ to the fricking Raptors and the game was over. I'd like to think our guys couldnt be any worse, but you never know.

Posted by: divi3 | December 3, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Correction, Here is Larry's complete sentence.

Posted by: spades72 | December 3, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

In regards to firing Flip, are we ready to assume Sam I Am is ready to be a head coach?

This something I dont get, Sam is currently on the staff and coaching the players. What kind of improvement could he really offer? I guess there's a chance that Sam thinks Flip is doing everything wrong, and that the players would embrace Sam's schemes and ways....but it seems more likely that if/when Flip is fired, Sam will be gone too. Unless it gets so bad it happens midseason and Sam is interim

Posted by: divi3 | December 3, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I was wrong about Lebron last night. I still think the Heat are a ways away from contending for a championship, but he did a lot better last night than I thought he would. It may have been different if the Cavs showed up to play as well as their fans did to boo, but still. Have to hand it to him.

As far as the Wiz go - as a Redskins fan, and former Orioles fan, I have to say the best thing about this team right now is Ted Leonsis. Love his blog, and especially his reaction to the game in Toronto. Makes me fell good that he is committed to putting together a quality team, and he has had success doing this already with the Caps. I think it is probably mostly good to stay patient with Flip and Ernie, and see what happens throughout the year. But, I would think that Flip at least has a lot to prove in order to be the coach here for long.

Posted by: japhy_ryder | December 3, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't think that Flip has a bad coaching style. I do however believe that his coaching style is more suited for a veteran team. His system will not work with a young team or a team without veteran leadership. The Wiz are or have neither. I think EG has been given enough time to get the type of players that he wanted and it is not working with him at the helm. It is time for a change and based on his post I think Ted knows this. He is just waiting for the right time.

From a fans perspective we need to accept that this is a young team and they are not going to be a contender for a while. That being said, not giving your maximum effort should never be accepted on any level. There have been some improvements (ie. NY and JM) but there are also some disappointments (ie. AB).

Under EG, 2 huge mistakes were made: Giving GA that much money, and giving AB the contract he has. I believe those 2 decisions are enough reason to say goodbye to EG. Unfortunately that means Flip also.

On the bright side, there are a few young players on the team now that are worth keeping for rebuilding. So all is not lost...

Posted by: TEliasB | December 3, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Nothing short of 30 wins will save Grunfeld's job. Even then, the Wizards better be playing with the fire Leonsis is looking for. He sounded pretty PO'd on tedstake.com after the blowout to a lottery team.Posted by: ahwyatt"

Try looking at it this way: what difference will it make if Grunfeld is fired at the end of the season?

First, this is looking like the strangest off-season in years. It begins this month with the opening negotiation for the CBA, which expires June 30. The consensus is we'll have a lockout. Most of the big-name free agents aren't likely candidates for the Wiz, anyway. Whoever's GM will probably take a conservative stance towards FA signings.

The draft features a good but not great crop. Two of the best, Barnes and Irving, may stay in college. Depends in part on what happens to those rookie salaries.

The Wiz have been in the lottery the past two seasons and drawn the #5 and #1 picks. Odds are we get a talented developmental player rather than a sure-fire starter.

Whether Grunfeld or somebody else is pulling the strings, great strides are unlikely.

It's not an argument for keeping Grunfeld and Saunders. Just a dose of reality in a discussion that could use it.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 3, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Here's a link to the NBA's view of the coming negotiations:

http://www.nba.com/2010/news/11/17/labor-primer/index.html

Posted by: Samson151 | December 3, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"Come dude, stop distorting the man's comments. Three fingers pointing back at you.
Here is complete Larry's sentence.Blame the GM, can't blame the players, if it is true like most of you player haters are saying, then the players are getting over like a fat rat.Posted by: spades72"

Yes, but what does it mean?

BTW, saw a bumper sticker on an SUV:
"I Heart Haters"

Posted by: Samson151 | December 3, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"As a young team, you can't worry about wins and losses; you got to worry about playing the right way, getting better," said Saunders

Beg to differ Flip, beg to differ. Let's not instill young players with the feeling it's ok to lose as long they tried hard and executed their assignments.

Posted by: divi3 | December 3, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse


"Try looking at it this way: what difference will it make if Grunfeld is fired at the end of the season?"

It would make all the difference in the world. Grunfeld hired the coach and drafted or traded for every single player on the roster. Firing him at the end of the season wouldn't change everything immediately but it would necessarily signal a change in the way things have been done within the Wizards organization for the past few years because a new GM would have his own thoughts of the type of players you build a roster with and the type of coach you have leading them.

It would also be a pretty fair indication that Ted doesn't believe in Grunfeld (and possibly his hand-picked coach). Again, my feeling from reading his blog is that Ted doesn't think that it's just the players at fault for the current state of affairs. There's a certain way Ted wants his team to play and he's not seeing it on the court.

Posted by: ahwyatt | December 3, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

In the same WaPo article, Flip notes that Hinrich is "worn out" because he's (Hinrich) started 17 games and has played the most number of minutes (35.45).

I guess Flip didnt see the boxscore from the Raptors game, because that's probably a sign he's going to distribute the minutes a little differently. As much as I point out KHs flaws, he is a long-time vet and it's a big deal to cut his minutes for players who are younger. Saying he's worn out is much more graceful then citing performance. My guess is he'll see less than 30mins tonight, but what the hell do i know

Posted by: divi3 | December 3, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"But no matter how little talent a good coach has to work with, he should be able coach effort. In coaching, a team that shows a complete lack of effort has to lay at the coach's feet."

Posted by: flohrtv | December 3, 2010 11:13 AM

That flies directly in the face of conventional wisdom, both as it applies to sports and life and general. It's generally understood that "you can't coach effort" (a phrase that regularly appears in knowledgeable, professional sports writing about crappy teams). You can't force someone to care about something they have on inherent concern for. All the rah-rah speech making in the world can't change a person's fundamental nature if that person isn't willing to change.

The players admitted to half-assing their game prep (practice and shootaround) even though they knew, based on past results, that doing so would hurt their actual game performance and, by extension, their chances of winning. If the players don't care enough about winning to make at least a token effort to avoid engaging in behavior that by their own admission they know will undermine their ability to win, then there's not much (if anything) a coach can do about that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 3, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

As for Grunfeld, he's not going anywhere until his contract expires, at which point he'll likely be replaced. But Leonsis has made it clear from day 1 that blindly throwing money at the problem is not part of his business strategy, so paying Grunfeld to sit on the beach while paying someone else to do his job isn't very likely.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 3, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"It's not an argument for keeping Grunfeld and Saunders. Just a dose of reality in a discussion that could use it."

Posted by: Samson151 | December 3, 2010 11:32 AM

You might need to up the dosage. I suggest a continuous I.V. drip with a large-bore needle.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 3, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

If the players don't care enough about winning to make at least a token effort to avoid engaging in behavior that by their own admission they know will undermine their ability to win, then there's not much (if anything) a coach can do about that.

Great coaches motivate their players, one way or another. Motivating is a large part of leadership. Especially in sports like the nba where it's such a grind. A loss like the other night reflects upon the coach as it does the players.....really don't think it's a coincidence that Leonsis specifically stated the team did not appear well-coached. 17 games in and Flip is on the hot seat. As well almost everyone in the org should be

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

Again, my feeling from reading his blog is that Ted doesn't think that it's just the players at fault for the current state of affairs. There's a certain way Ted wants his team to play and he's not seeing it on the court.

Posted by: ahwyatt | December 3, 2010 11:51 AM

Absolutely, even with a young rebuilding team there is a certain attitude and effort and indications that the players are performing well and learning and getting better and you see evidence of good coaching even though the team isn't expected to get a high number of W's.

That is up in the air with these Wizards and I pray that Ted doesn't suffer through a whole season of this.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 3, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"The best hope for this team is for McGee and Wall's continued improvement and for Blatche's injuries to be the cause of his poor defensive play this early in the season."

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 3, 2010 11:00 AM

Some potential for hope in the first two, but evidence from past seasons puts the third one pretty squarely in the realm of wishful thinking.

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

I don't even know where to start.

Jamison, Butler, et al quit on the team last year. And their punishment was a series of trades to contending teams.

Blatche, Young, and McGee were given clear directions about what they needed to do to get better. Play better defense, rebound, hustle and play smarter. They opted to do none of that. Their punishment was starting roles this season, or at least heavy minutes, because there is nobody left on the team.

The punishments don't fit the crimes. You can't cut these idiots, because a ticket out of Washington is the best gift in the world. You can't give them more playing time, because they don't deserve it.

I'm spiteful. I'd waive players 6-12, and sign 6 bums from some rec league. Then I'd play the bums, and only the bums, every night while the starters rot on the bench. And every chance I got, I'd call them out in the press. I'd make them wear dunce caps, and carry the bums' bags on the road. For the next ten years. I'd change the team colors back to red, white, and blue, and the name back to the Bullets, but force the starters to wear teal Wizards jerseys on the bench until the day they die.

I can't stand this team, or this franchise. I'm sick of wasting my time with them. I'll be in line at 5:30 tonight for my John Wall bobblehead. The only thing I hate more than the Wizards is myself, for liking the Wizards. I need a drink.

Posted by: bryc3 | December 3, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

How do you coach grown men to play with energy & discipline?
Sit them when they don't perform?
Who do you replace them with?
We all gotta realize that there isn't a lot of talent on this roster.
Yeah, they looked real bad against Toronto but Toronto looked bad against the Wizzies a couple games ago.
The Wizzies can't win or even keep games close unless they play over their heads.
Other nights they will be blown out by any team that hustles.
I don't think you can blame Flip.
Ernie can't change the roster overnight.
Enjoy the few wins that we'll get and look for some positives when we get hammered.

Posted by: VBFan | December 3, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"Great coaches motivate their players, one way or another. Motivating is a large part of leadership. Especially in sports like the nba where it's such a grind. A loss like the other night reflects upon the coach as it does the players.....really don't think it's a coincidence that Leonsis specifically stated the team did not appear well-coached. 17 games in and Flip is on the hot seat. As well almost everyone in the org should be"

Posted by: divi3 | December 3, 2010 12:13 PM

Which, as usual, does nothing to directly address or refute what I said. Of course great coaches motivate their players. But in order to motivate their players, they need players who are receptive to said motivation. Motivation is about getting players to take enough pride in what they're doing to go out and perform at their highest level. But for that to happen, they have to care enough about the outcome to buy into what the coach is selling. Based on words from their own mouths, there's significant reason to question whether some of the players on this team do care that much. Certainly, some of their actions suggest they don't. If they don't, then the greatest coach in the world won't be able to force them to care.

And it's not exactly a revelation that coaches share responsibility for losing. I'm pretty sure no one has said Saunders was blameless. When a team loses the way the Wiz lose, everyone bears responsibility. The issue under examination who is whether the coach's share of the blame is so predominant that changing coaches, in and of itself, will produce significantly better results. I see no logical or empirical evidence to support that theory.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 3, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Just a dose of reality in a discussion that could use it.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 3, 2010 11:32 AM

I don't like doing this but why do people insist on throwing stones in a glass house?

Samson151, is that a complete sentence above? No. It isn't. So enough with the grammar/misspellings ect. comments. We all make them, okay...including you.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 3, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Okay, apparently VBFan thinks Flip is blameless.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 3, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Larry, Larry,Larry . . .

The problem with your sentences isn't their "completeness" . . . it's their frequent lack of discernible logic and meaning.

Apples and oranges, my friend.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 3, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, we know Kalo_rama, only your sentences does, especially the one where you keep making that same argument that you can't lead players that aren't receptive.

It's funny though, one of usual suspects got a new contract this year. I wonder why. Non receptive...hummn...Mr. Blatche received that new contract pretty damn well didn't he. And on top of it, somebody had to approve of him getting it for what reason??? Are would that be basketball. Funny Kalo_rama, isn't it.

Non receptive to motivation is an oxy moron Kalo_rama.

If you are not receiving then you are not being motivated. It's all just pure logic. But you're smart figure it out.

You call what Flip has been doing around here motivation? Really?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 3, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse


"Blatche, Young, and McGee were given clear directions about what they needed to do to get better. Play better defense, rebound, hustle and play smarter. They opted to do none of that. Their punishment was starting roles this season, or at least heavy minutes, because there is nobody left on the team."

"Clear" instructions include precise details, step-by-step, on how to "play better defense, rebound and play smarter". Let's not crown Flip for having provided clear instructions to those guys until we see evidence that he has. Yesterday's scathing film session coupled with reinforcement in practice is a step in the right direction.

Posted by: ahwyatt | December 3, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Saunders said Kirk Hinrich, "is worn down now." (from today's Washington Post)

A reason to have Hinrich coming off bench?

Posted by: sagaliba | December 3, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse


Flip (looking down at the ground): "The bad part about reviewing film in front of all the players is that I can't just gloss over Hinrich getting abused on defense as soon as the game starts or dribbling right into the teeth of the defense."

Grunfeld (close to tears): "I guess it's time to bring Hinrich off the bench and start Arenas and Wall in the backcourt, huh?"

Flip (lip quivering, voice barely audible): "Yes."

Later to reporters -

Flip: "Hinrich is just worn out from all the minutes he's played."

Posted by: Firuz1 | December 3, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

LOL He's saying the players would be basically stealing money (if the accusations were true).
Posted by: ahwyatt

Thanks for explaining an expression I hadn't heard before.

Posted by: nmik | December 3, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

As far as motivation from coaches goes: Divi says: "Great coaches motivate their players, one way or another."

I agree in general, but there is another part of it, too. Great coaches get rid of players that they can't motivate. What truly makes them great is not so much their motivational abilities or their ability to fire players, but their ability to distinguish between great players who can't be motivated to play hard every night as a member of a team and within a system and really good players that CAN be motivated to give it their all every minute they are on the court and who know what their role is.

A coach like this is empowered by the ownership and management to take responsibility and succeed. The coach is then able to do the same with his players.

I have not really weighed in on Wizards coaching before, but this is why Flip is not a good coach. Flip knows how to coach great players to play above average basketball. He is unable to coach above average players to play great basketball.

Hence - his "success" in Minnesota and his "failure" in Detroit.

The Detroit team was made up of a whole lot of really good players that were empowered to be great and understood their responsibilities. Until Flip came in and undermined that.

On that note, who would be a good replacement for Flip right now (as in - is available and would be the right guy to guide this team to improve and play hard every night?)

Posted by: Blurred | December 3, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Great coaches get rid of players that they can't motivate... A coach like this is empowered by the ownership and management to take responsibility and succeed.

How many coaches are trusted to that extent? And of course owners hire GM's to make those decisions; I suspect most coaches have input but how much weight it carries depends on the relation between the GM and the coach. Flip may have some input but with the new owner and a carry over GM, Flip can help point the gun, he can't pull the trigger. It would be interesting to see what would happen if EG and TL gave him that power.

I don't see the Wiz firing Flip now, with the 2011/12 season in doubt it would seem more logical to let the season play out with Flip coaching and EG as GM.

Posted by: midlevex_ | December 3, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was generally conceded in October that this season was the beginning of a several year re-build after the tear down last season.
Did anyone believe the Wizards as constructed were going to be coached up into a winning team? In fact if they are coached out of contention for a lottery pick it will be, to some extent,a mixed blessing.
This years entertainment will be looking for answers about who to keep and who to deal. The backcourt experiment with Wall and Arenas is interesting and has yet to be tested. Howard's return from injury, assuming it happens, will likely draw down Hinrich's playing time.
Hinrich's value is primarily his expiring contract in 2011/12 and perhaps as an on court link to the coaches playbook for younger, inexperienced players when they stray.

Posted by: midlevex_ | December 3, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"Hence - his "success" in Minnesota and his "failure" in Detroit.The Detroit team was made up of a whole lot of really good players that were empowered to be great and understood their responsibilities. Until Flip came in and undermined that."

An interesting argument. Of course, when Flip took over the Wolves in mid-December, they were a long way from stars. Kevin Garnett was the youngest player in the NBA, only moderately productive (10 points and 6 boards a game) and the Minny fans were already arguing over whether he was a bust (they were a lot like the Wiz fans, it seems). The Wolves went 20-42 over the rest of the season but Garnett began to improve, much the way you see improvement in some of the Wiz players this year. Drafting Marbury the following year helped both Garnett and Tom Gugliotta. Stephon isn't an easy guy to coach, but blossomed under that regime.

Calling them stars, it seems to me, is pretty inaccurate. The Wolves developed under Saunders. They were far from a finished product.

Detroit was a different story. The Pistons had been involved in a legendary brawl with Indy, Larry Brown had two extended absences due to health, and rumors were flying that he was considering other jobs. The Pistons bought out his contract and brought in Saunders. Detroit started 37-5 and finished the season with 64-18. Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, and Richard Hamilton (you don't consider them stars?) made the All-Star team. But they didn't win a title in his 3 seasons. Flip was the longest tenured Pistons coach since Daly left in 1992.

Based on the evidence, it looks like Flip actually did a better job building a young club than managing a bunch of veterans (although he didn't do badly there, either).

Posted by: Samson151 | December 3, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

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