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Posted at 6:55 PM ET, 12/10/2010

Open thread: Wizards (6-15) vs. Knicks (14-9)

By Washington Post editors

Tonight the Wizards face the Knicks at Verizon Center. New York boasts a 9-4 record on the road this season, while Washington is 6-3 at home. Chat about the game in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter. Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) is off tonight, but Alan Goldenbach is filling in (@GoldiePost). You can see your tweets here by using #wizards.

Tipoff: 7 p.m.; TV: CSN; Radio: 106.7 FM.


By Washington Post editors  | December 10, 2010; 6:55 PM ET
 
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Comments

1st time all year we have all the guns and our starting lineup that we anticapted. Everyone is in there proper roles and we get Howard back in a week. Now its time to see our real team

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 10, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Still gonna have to be patient and wait for them to mesh. That means another month of embarrassing hoops. DAMN

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | December 10, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

No, when Josh Howard returns...that is "the time to fully judge us." Until then, we are missing one of our key pieces.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 10, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

So...once Howard is back lets say the Wizards will have about 50 games left. Over that 50 games they should be what .500?

They have Howard and Gil both vets McGee and AB who have been in the league for a while Kirk a proven vet, booker and Seraphin 2 steals of the draft Nick young another great draft pick and Wall the #1 pick plus Flip a great coach so the wizard should be able to go 40-10 and make the playoffs with a push for the championship.

Lets go Wizards I am on the band wagon.


Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 10, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Yi is absolutely horrible under the basket. Threw up air balls, could not get up strong at all!

Posted by: sagaliba | December 10, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately I'm going to have to miss the second half but so far they looked pretty good -- Gilbert and a gimpy Wall seeming more in sync. A good sign. Hope they keep it up.

Yi does look awkward underneath -- like a different guy from those FIBA appearances over the summer.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 10, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

you know what I hate the most? Flip's playbook. Our Offense looks so bland & redundant. Its like we do the same things over & over again and it just looks boring & predictable. Its like old school Offense

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 10, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

McGee goes back up with the Offensive board too much. He has to kick it back out sometimes. Im always so nervous when he does that because he looks so out of control. He only gets away with it at times beause of his length

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 10, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Yi is back to killing us again

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 10, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I guess we are going to just give Amare that practice jumper all night with no one in 5ft of him

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 10, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

We should just sit Wall down and bring him back in 7-10 days with Howard at the same time

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 10, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Wall has to fix that J or stop shooting. He needs to watch some film of Rondo on how to play when that J is not on because he hurts us when he misses. When his J is on then he's unstoppable but without it he can look average

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 10, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Gil has stretches of games. For 3 games he looks like he moves very well and for 3 games he looks like he's so pedestrian and he always sucks when he's not moving well. What happened to the guy that just like 5 games ago was attacking the rim and getting to the line like 12 times? Now he never goes to the rim even when its open. He just forces a pass that gets stolen. He has to keep going to the rim or not even go forward at all

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 10, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

wow, do we really have only 4pts this quarter and only 23 in the 2nd half? How can you be that pathetic and have that little confidence?

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 10, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

wow, do we really have only 4pts this quarter and only 23 in the 2nd half? How can you be that pathetic and have that little confidence?

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 10, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Let's just say that these are two teams going in different directions.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 10, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Let's just say that these are two teams going in different directions.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 10, 2010 9:26 PM

Yes, Knicks will never reach greatness or get a ring while the Wiz are building for the future with young chemistry. Amare can only get you so far. Whats a PF who doesn't rebound the ball well? A SMALL FORWARD. He's overrated. Felton's a nice piece but neither of them are bringing the city any hardware. Also, that Mike D'antoni Run'Gun will NEVER succeed in this league.

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | December 10, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

OK here are my two observations. Gilbert has to be throwing games, he really looks terrible and been really making poor decisions with the ball. Javal has to be the dumbest player in the league. I mean he really looks bad somethings and make juvenile at times.

Posted by: lemekdivine | December 10, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

>>Gilbert has to be throwing games

Hmm. Some1 else is noticing.
Especially in crunch time. Look how many TOs he has in the last 2 minutes of games when everything is on the line.
Is Zero trying to force his way outta town?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 10, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Yea, I am too noticing that Gil been a turnover machine lately which is not like him. But like I've been saying all along, trade him for anything. He is hurting the team more than he helping them and i think he's doing this on purpose. Can't say if I blame him. Anyhow, we're just 3 games out of the 8th spot :) anything is possible but am hoping we'll head back to the lottery.

Knicks are looking good! We'll get them back next year.

Posted by: demonj21 | December 10, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Gil is purposely throwing games. He's too competitive. Most of his turnovers occur because his game is rusty. He looks like he is still trying to figure out what he's capable of, physically.

Posted by: MEssex | December 10, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert said it himself a couple of days ago. He's still not comfortable playing off the ball. For years he's always had the ball in his hands, and now he's touching it only intermittently. This has hurt his rhythm when he does get the ball and he has made several turnovers of the variety that we wouldn't have seen from him in past years; as in almost handing the ball over to the other team at times. But there's no way he's "throwing games."

Posted by: shovetheplanet | December 10, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

McGee made an old mistake at the crucial moment. We were down by 3 with less than 2 minutes to go on defense. McGee forced a miss from Stoudemire, but he then took off immediately, the ball bounced right back to where McGee was. Of course McGee wasn't there anymore, so the rebound went to Stoudemire.

Posted by: sagaliba | December 10, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, this team has never practiced pick and roll in practice. The big man rolled to the basket after setting the pick, all good, except forgetting to look for the ball throwing his way.

Right now, we only have 6 players that can play, Gil, Wall, Hinrich, Blatche, Young, and McGee. Yi is useless, and Thornton too erratic.

Posted by: sagaliba | December 10, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

But there's no way he's "throwing games."

Posted by: shovetheplanet | December 10, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Keep an open mind. The dude is a pro and have ability to adjust on the fly. They play basketball everyday, how difficult would it be to adjust from always having the ball in his hands and from not? Shouldn't take long.

Posted by: demonj21 | December 10, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess for all those Amare haters who didn't want him on this team, he did pretty well tonight. JaTravel was clearly outclassed going against an all star big man who has hops, quickness, and an offensive game.

And Gilby, yes, he lost the game tonight. He tried to take over at the end, but came up way short including several airballs to his credit. Also, he went to the FT line zero times. Team ball went out the window those last few minutes.

It's shocking to see how the Knicks are well above .500, while Les BouleS are hugging the bottom. No excuses.

Sincerely, Les BouleS Prophet

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 10, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

"Especially in crunch time. Look how many TOs he has in the last 2 minutes of games when everything is on the line."

On the contrary, most of his TOs are early. Unless you count his missed shots as TOs. So in your mind, he intentionally brought the team back to within 3 points and then intentionally missed a shot, but stole the ball, only to somewhat connive Stoudemire to make a great block on Wall's layup.

Do you think Gilbert is THAT GOOD? Making and missing shots at will? Give it a rest, will you? Even Michael Jordan couldn’t do that!

Gilbert has 6 assists, 4 TOs, 4 steals, 1 block, and making 50% of his shots. While I'd like him to cut down on TOs, he played well tonight, certainly better than Wall.

Posted by: sagaliba | December 10, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

At times tonight the Wizards were doing really well, the rhythm was there, the timing was working there, they were hitting looks off pick and roll; and then other times where things broke down. A player would execute a pass and it would be off by just a second, or a player couldn't control the ball (e.g. thinking off one dish-off by Blatche to Yi that Yi fumbled). The Wizards then would regain form (which was a good), but then things would break down again.

Like to think that these are growing pains and players still getting used to playing together.

Still at times it seemed that the energy and intensity wasn't there when it mattered most. The Wizards should have been able to finish off the Knicks in the second half. That one just slipped away.

Posted by: JPRS | December 11, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

RE: Gilbert and turnovers

He had 4 turnovers against the Knicks, 5 against Sacramento, and 7 against the Lakers.

In all of the above games he was playing more (though not drastically more) minutes than in his 10-11 season average (3.5) and his career average (3.4).

I don't see the case for "throwing games" and I'd say he had a good game last night. Most players who handle a the ball a lot have a goodly number of turnovers.

I'm afraid those of you who are still waiting to see the pre-surgeries Gil are in for a long series of disappointments.

Posted by: Miks | December 11, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Some positives from last night:

Finally looks like the defensive rotations were working, at least at times. Guys were properly rotating and seemed to know what they were supposed to be doing. Again, at times.

Blatche appears to have lost some significant lard in just the past 10 days or whatever. Overall game was a bit weak, gotta grab more boards, but the quicks seem to be returning and so does his handle. Also passed on half a dozen long Js, always like to see that.

Nick went 1-4 in 1stQuarter and it had no adverse effect on his game whatsoever. He is playing with extreme confidence and getting after it on the defensive end. The team is clearly better with him on the floor. Who knows, could be our starting SG next season.

Kirk seems to be able to get as much production out of 25mins as he does with 35mins. Opposing teams don't respect him enough early on, and he is starting to consistently score a grip of points in the 1st 20mins of games. And he would have been effective late had Flip gone with him, benefit of not spreading him thin with 35+/night as was previously the case.

Posted by: divi3 | December 11, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"Lets go Wizards I am on the band wagon."

Lol, yeah me too. ;)

These are just my observations but you guys are noticing the same stuff:

1) Gilbert is hesistant to shoot these days. I don't think he's throwing games as much as he said himself playing "team" ball. There was one play last night he had a WIDE OPEN 3 staring at him and he waited at least three seconds before shooting a brick. I was screaming "Shoot the ball!" That sounds funny doesn't it? I actually think he should be taking more shots, but he's clearly holding back on purpose and I am not sure he should be. Dude still has issues he needs to resolve.

2) Someone needs to badly work with our big guys on positioning, mainly on the defensive side of the boards. It's great McGee can get 3-5 blocks a game, but if he gives up 20 layups then there's a problem. Yi has good positioning, but as others have said he's soft. I like Yi though coming off of the bench. Blatche is just plain lazy. I believe it was these very same Knicks that the Wiz played last time who said the Wiz big men were some of the weakest in the league. They just don't scare anybody. The ONLY guy who can run a pick and roll is Yi (taken from comment above). I'm convinced nobody is coaching our big men and have been for a couple years now. How many times have you seen a team where the big men, while they didn't score a lot of points, performed a role in helping a team win by doing several other little things? The Chicago Bulls of old comes to my mind first, and even Cleveland in recent years. At least Wall has Cassell to teach him the game, which is a pretty good teacher in my opinion.

3) Flips rotations just plain suck. He changes them nightly and you just can't do that and expect to accomplish anything, even with a young and growing team. I don't know anybody who starts two rookies the night after playing the NBA Champs to the wire. Last night one of those same guys was DNP and the other played 2 minutes. WTF Flip? They are YOUNG men Flip, not 40 years old! Play your best people every night you moron! I'm on the bandwagon: fire Flip. The Wiz need a Hubie Brown type of coach who has patientce and can teach the game of basketball. Flip can do neither and I am betting he loses the team sooner them later. He's lost me.

4) Hinrich can run an offense but he should not be allowed to shoot. His shots always seem to fall short, it's maddening. If anybody should be passing first it should be him.

Ok well, after I log out I will think of a few more things but in response to above comments this is what I see. There's a ton of other things that the Wiz are doing because they are just young. Getting Howard back helps but I don't think it changes anything from what I mentioned above.

Growing pains folks, just gotta deal with it. But yeah, it's time for Flip to go and you all know EG is not going to do that until after the season, if at all.

Ernie Grunfeld's a BUST!

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 11, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Well, I got back in time to see the last 3 minutes... my mistake, huh?

Clearly, the problem was Flip's sub patterns -- how could he not play Hilton, Cartier, and of course Alonzo Gee? Just kidding.

I see from the Post that Saunders did single out McGee for that unwise late steal attempt -- to be fair, he'd just made a nice steal shortly before. Flip: "Young players always revert back... JaVale is most comfortable going for steals, going for blocks." True enough. Still, no doubt such public humiliation can result in psychic trauma. Hopefully Larry was there to give him a ride to the Crisis Center.

Still kiddin', folks.

Looked to me that if McGee had held his position, Amare might well have turned the ball over. He was doing that all night. Felton hit that one late 3 but otherwise showcased his main weakness, which is shooting (5-17).

As far as Arenas, he sure looked to me like he was trying in the first half, and at the end. Wall plainly wasn't his explosive self -- not really sure why he played at all.


Larry's

"In those situations, you have to be more disciplined. You have to make plays and not give them plays and that was a situation where we gave them a play." However, such public criticism will no doubt demolish the young player

Posted by: Samson151 | December 11, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"Gilbert has 6 assists, 4 TOs, 4 steals, 1 block, and making 50% of his shots. While I'd like him to cut down on TOs, he played well tonight, certainly better than Wall.
Posted by: sagaliba"

That was my question -- why was Wall playing at all? Maybe to placate the home crowd. But weren't half of them from NY?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 11, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I think that Flip should shut Wall down until this foot thing is 100% healed.
I heard Ted say it's not structural. Nonetheless, it has thrown off his gait.
Sooner or later, he's going to develop another injury somewhere else due to compensating for the pain in his foot.

I was a bit surprised that Flip chose to deactivate Seraphin. I guess the Knicks were not the best match up without any bruisers on their team, but this looked like the type of game were the Wiz had superior length in the paint and could have pounded the Knicks inside. Okay,Okay you can stop laughing now!

All the mishandled rebounds and blocked shots Yi suffered were embarrassing.

I agree with divi3 that Blatche looked a tad spry last night, but what has happened to his up and under post move from last season?

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 11, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

It is all about coaching.GA too much turnovers are not new but could be suspicious since they look unforced,i still do want call it throwing games.
We had 21 games so far,every thing is unchanged from last year except the confidence of NY, he is making a long term life in NBA, good for him.

Posted by: gtefferra | December 11, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"Hinrich can run an offense but he should not be allowed to shoot."

Hinrich's shooting percentage for this season is 47% (career 41.6%).

For comparison, Gil's is 39.5% for the season (42.5% career), Nick's 47.1% for the season (43.9% career).

Posted by: Miks | December 11, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Looking at the box...surprised me that Yi only played 16mins. Felt like he was out there much more, unfortunately because of all the frustrating plays. Stat sheet says he had 2 TOs, but it sure looks worse than that when you watch. After playing well at FIBA (so what) and initially looking good...he seems to have reverted to what he's been throughout his career. He's in danger of playing himself out of the rotation, if Booker can step up at all (he didnt last night).

Posted by: divi3 | December 11, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

“Basically,” Wizards Coach Flip Saunders said, "we played pretty good defense until that point. Young players always revert back to what you’re most comfortable with. JaVale is most comfortable going for steals, going for blocks.

This is where Flip is at his worst, singling out one play and one player as if that determined the outcome of the game. Does it ruin Javale? Highly doubtful...but you gotta wonder if eventually it's 'in one ear, out the other' when Flip is talking. He probably sounds like Charlie Brown's parents to Javale at this point.

None of which changes or forgives the fact that was a poor decision on Mcgee part despite the great steal on previous possession.

Posted by: divi3 | December 11, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I did not see any of the game last night. I did hear Glenn on the radio say at the end of the game that the stretch between the end of 3rd and into the 4th when the Knicks went on a 16-4 run was what killed the Wizs.

What happened?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 11, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"Hinrich's shooting percentage for this season is 47% (career 41.6%).Posted by: Miks"

Yes, he's actually shooting pretty well. That was the fan criticism in Chicago, missing too many outside shots (like all fan bases, it's mostly composed of aspiring assistant coaches.) I notice his FT% is up to 86.5% this season, five points above career, and that's something the Wiz have needed.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 11, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Note to Wizbullets88: Your rebuttal to my post last night was laughable while the Knick's are not championship caliber they are head and shoulders above the Wizards. Amare Stoudamire may not be your idea of the classic PF but he looked like Karl Malone last night, and by the way what future would you be reffering to where the Wizards are concerned? Wall can't shoot a J and McGee is a joke in the middle and the coach? naw i won't even go there, too easy bro. This team can't hold a lead play's horrible D and the owner is in serious denial, i'll say it one more time when they fired Eddie Jordan this team's future took a turn for the worse. Their record since Jordan left is at least one hundred games under.500 like i said Ted Leonsis is in denial.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 11, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Someone needs to badly work with our big guys on positioning, mainly on the defensive side of the boards.

Ernie Grunfeld's a BUST!

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 11, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Ray...

don't you remember the Banks clip where he was working out with them?

and didn't you know if you play for this organization it's up to the player to go out and get their own coaching or do it by themselves...only if McGee would take the time to look at this site he would become the next Wilt?

http://www.basketball-plays-and-tips.com/basketball-big-man-drills.html

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 11, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"Hinrich can run an offense but he should not be allowed to shoot."

I don't necessarily think that Hinrich is good at running an offense. There are two kinds of point guards.

1) One that is good at bringing the ball up the court and 2) One that once the ball is up the court is adepth at putting himself and the team in attack mode to score.

Once Hinrich gets the ball up court he gets into trouble when he trys to be a complete point in accomplishing #2.

Number 2 is your playmaker. Hinrich isn't one. Gilbert is a playmaker. Once Hinrich gets the ball up court then he should give it up. And by the way, there can more than one playmaker and he doesn't have to be a guard.

LarryInClintonMD.

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

KH is a great backup, will thrive in that role.

Posted by: divi3 | December 11, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

and didn't you know if you play for this organization it's up to the player to go out and get their own coaching or do it by themselves...only if McGee would take the time to look at this site he would become the next Wilt?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 11, 2010 10:58 AM

You said a mouthfull then, the players on this Team have to do it themselves. That ought to bring out the usual suspects.

But Bulletsfan78, the coach believes that mumbo jumbo too, telling by results displayed on the floor that should be a direct influence of his coaching.

LarryInClintonMD.

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


I agree with posters saying that John Wall needs to be shut down for a couple weeks to let his foot heal. It looks like he's starting to really "pigeon-toe" his left foot to reduce the pain when he runs and that can't be good. There's plenty of season left for him to get experience, but right now the he's just begging for a compensation injury to another part of his body if he keeps hobbling up and down the court the way he has been lately. Not...worth...it.

Seraphin goes from bruising folks in LA and starting in Sac to being inactive. Any wonder why these guys' heads are spinning?

Posted by: and_1 | December 11, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"...while the Knick's are not championship caliber they are head and shoulders above the Wizards."Posted by: dargregmag

Well, half a head and a clavicle, at least. NY is a good example of a moderately talented team that underachieved last season and has fixed a couple big holes in the off-season. They're still nothing to write home about defensively, and that will no doubt become an issue if they stay in playoff contention. It sure did in D'Antoni's early years in Phoenix.

Interesting article in this week's SI: San Antonio is scoring much better than in the past, and is at 40% from the arc. Popovich is predictably unhappy with the defense.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 11, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I think the plan all along has been for Wall and Arenas to start together. Problem is, they haven't been very good as a unit. Injuries played a role. Maybe now we'll see what the upside is. That is, once Wall gets healthy.

If there's a fly in the ointment, it might be that Gil isn't used to playing without the ball in his hands. Right now, I thinkk Hinrich and Young are better with Wall because they're more complementary-type players.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 11, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Nobody saw Andray Blatche receive a pass under the basket, and dribble out of the paint to take the shot? That has to be the low point of the night.

Each of the starters played poorly for stretches. Wall and Arenas played 37 and 39 minutes, but were a combined 0-2 at the line. McGee is still gambling on steals in the post and back to leaking out for fastbreaks. Thornton was garbage, again.

I thought the bench played well, including Yi. He just needs to get stronger. That's easier done than getting smarter.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 11, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

There are so many issues with this team one knows not where to start,but i would say the bench specifically the coach. I would seriously think about one of San Antonio's top assistants or maybe the Utah Jazz's top person under Jerry Sloan. This team under Flip Saunders is sliding fast and Ted Leonsis need's to stop the bleeding before it becomes a full fledge hemorhage.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 11, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards have a lot of coaches. I can't believe that lack of coaching is a problem.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | December 11, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I would seriously think about one of San Antonio's top assistants or maybe the Utah Jazz's top person under Jerry Sloan.
Posted by: dargregmag

http://www.nba.com/jazz/roster/

http://www.nba.com/spurs/roster/

Asst Coaches listed at the bottom.

Pop's 'top' assistant Mike Budenholzer has been with him for 14 years, Jerry Sloan's top assistant Phil Johnson, for 18. I don't sense either are going anywhere.

Phil Johnson has a great coaching resume, but he's 64. Probably not what you're looking for to take over and energize the team.

Maybe the Wiz could look at the Jazz's big man coach, since that seems to be a need. Their big man coach is Ty Corbin. For those that don't remember, he played SF in the NBA. Not sure if Utah can be any good with a 6'6" guy coaching their bigs. (where's that sarcasm button again?)

Posted by: ts35 | December 11, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"I don't necessarily think that Hinrich is good at running an offense. There are two kinds of point guards.

1) One that is good at bringing the ball up the court and 2) One that once the ball is up the court is adepth at putting himself and the team in attack mode to score.

Once Hinrich gets the ball up court he gets into trouble when he trys to be a complete point in accomplishing #2.

Number 2 is your playmaker. Hinrich isn't one. Gilbert is a playmaker. Once Hinrich gets the ball up court then he should give it up. And by the way, there can more than one playmaker and he doesn't have to be a guard."

LarryInClintonMD

I'm probably going to regret asking this, but...

To whom should Hinrich be giving the ball after he gets up court? (I'm assuming, as are you, that Wall and Gil are the primary unit.)

Posted by: Miks | December 11, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

He [yi]just needs to get stronger. That's easier done than getting smarter.

Considering he is probably 26 and in his 4th year, just spent the whole summer supposedly getting stronger, but still gets ragdolled around the rim...might not be so easy for him.

Posted by: divi3 | December 11, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

To whom should Hinrich be giving the ball after he gets up court? (I'm assuming, as are you, that Wall and Gil are the primary unit.)

Never like to see anyone dribbling the air out of the ball, but it's especially egregious from a player like KH who (like Earl last year), isn't an offensive threat from wherever he is at the end of the clock. I dont like when Gil burns the clock and then launches a deep 3, but he can still get that shot off at anytime. Kirk doesnt have that luxury, the ball sticking with him becomes more of a problem.

Not sure why this issue came up after last night's game though.

Posted by: divi3 | December 11, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Nobody saw Andray Blatche receive a pass under the basket, and dribble out of the paint to take the shot? That has to be the low point of the night.

10 of Dray's 14 FGAs were in the paint. Yes not all paint FGAs are created equal, but is there really much to complain about with last night's shot selection? I thought the bigger problem was he only took 2FGAs in the 4thQ

Posted by: divi3 | December 11, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"Hinrich's shooting percentage for this season is 47% (career 41.6%)."

Show me a shot chart of how far he is out when he shoots the ball. His 3's are also down...so he's taking less shots, making more layups, and getting more foul calls. You'd think his PPG would be up but it's not. As someone said above he's a solid back-up, I don't think he's a very good starter.

"and didn't you know if you play for this organization it's up to the player to go out and get their own coaching or do it by themselves..."

Sure seems that way doesn't it?

"Nobody saw Andray Blatche receive a pass under the basket, and dribble out of the paint to take the shot? That has to be the low point of the night."

Blatche's favorite shot is the fade away jumper from 10 feet out. Pretty awesome for a 7 footer huh? Blatche is a career "street baller."

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 11, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Guys, Ladies amd Gentlemen- Calm down... everybody - until there are large changes here... its all over. the fat lady stayin home on account of it's not interesting. we are, quite simply, another American (travesty) tragedy. A sign of the times.

Posted by: fakedude2 | December 11, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Considering he is probably 26 and in his 4th year, just spent the whole summer supposedly getting stronger, but still gets ragdolled around the rim...might not be so easy for him. Posted by: divi3

Do you have some proof that he's older than his listed age? China isn't North Korea there should be some documentation if he's really 3 years older. Personally, I don't think Chinese Basketball has enough talent to hide a kid for 3 years.

10 of Dray's 14 FGAs were in the paint.

One foot in the paint.

I thought the bigger problem was he only took 2FGAs in the 4thQ

No, the bigger problem is that he can't outmuscle a SF. But you're right about the 4thQ. After the tech he brought nothing. All bark.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 11, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"The Wizards have a lot of coaches. I can't believe that lack of coaching is a problem.
Posted by: PostSubscriber"

No, the problem is lack of coaches drawn from Wizards Insider. We've got the solutions right here.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 11, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Do you have some proof that he's older than his listed age? China isn't North Korea there should be some documentation if he's really 3 years older. Personally, I don't think Chinese Basketball has enough talent to hide a kid for 3 years.

"In 2007, a Chinese government registration site made public by hackers showed Yi's date of birth as being in 1984,[61] and in December 2008, a Chinese reporter discovered school registration forms that listed Yi as being born in 1984"

who knows really, but it certainly wouldnt be a shocker if he's really 26.

One thing is for sure, he's never going to be as good as Blatche is already, so I'm guessing he's a dead end player by the standards you're using...but that's for you to determine of course

Posted by: divi3 | December 11, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

dargregmag wrote: "...Ted Leonsis need's to stop the bleeding before it becomes a full fledge hemorhage."

You mean this isn't full fledged? You mean it gets worse?

My solution for this team would begin as follows: first get rid of those dumb ipads (in fact I volunteer to take one if they accept my advice); second get rid of the HC and his entire staff.

I won't repeat that they should get rid of EG too. I've said that so many times that I'm bored from saying it.

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

Was just reading about Hassan Whiteside, the 7' from Marshall who's currently struggling to get minutes at the D-level. I was surprised he didn't go in the first round last year but apparently the scouts knew more than me. He's got shotblocker's disease, meaning he swats at everything within a dozen feet of the basket, and that has prevented him from garnering the sort of rebound totals he got in college. But he's adept at the pick and roll and would probably be playing more if he wasn't stuck behind Nick Fazekas -- the same Nick Fazekas that McGee was stuck behind at Nevada.

This is probably the level at which Kevin Seraphin should be getting his minutes.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 11, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Solomon Alabi, the other 7' rookie who I thought would go in the top 30 (he was drafted 50th) is back in the NBA with the Raptors. You may recall that his issue was Hep B, the serum type that's much more prevalent in Africa (Alabi is Nigerian)and Asia -- some 2 billion people have it, according to WHO estimates. The acute phase is treatable but there's an elevated risk of liver disease later in life. I'm happy to see him healthy and getting a shot in the big leagues.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 11, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Man oh Man. Year round losses. From the Nats/Os> Redskins> Wizards....one last place finish after another. What a brutal sports town.
Why do we keep ending up with these horrible coaches and GMs.
Doesn't matter much anymore but I hope Ted is watching. EG and Flipper have to go.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 11, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

"Man oh Man. Year round losses. From the Nats/Os> Redskins> Wizards....one last place finish after another."

You don't think the Skins will beat Tampa?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 11, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

"Man oh Man. Year round losses. From the Nats/Os> Redskins> Wizards....one last place finish after another."

You don't think the Skins will beat Tampa?

Posted by: Samson151

Not meaning to turn this into a Skins blog, but Tampa's won 3 of the last 4 meetings and now they have a good team and something to play for...Yikes.

For all of us home town sports fans, these are dark times we live in...we are paying dearly for the seventies and eigthies.

If you aren't old enough to remember when DC was relevant in the major sports world you have my deepest sympathy.

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 11, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Flip said in his news conference "The problem is our best players play the same position so we can't put them all on the floor at the same time. Let's see..who put this team together? Why did we need a third point guard (Hinrich)? Everyone wondered what he was doing when they made that move. What will happen to Nick Young when Josh Howard is ready to play? LEt's be honest, Nick Young is the best shot maker on this team and should be starting at shooting guard at this point. Sorry but Gil has no advanatage as a shooting guard trying to shoot over players 6'6 since he no longer can blow by them. I am sorry the Wiz have paid him so much money but Nick Young should be starting. The Wiz will lose him to free agency and he is going to make them regret it.

Posted by: ptp09 | December 11, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

"In 2007..."

Wikipedia? There's better stuff out there if this is something you want to perpetuate.

One thing is for sure, he's never going to be as good as Blatche is already, so I'm guessing he's a dead end player by the standards you're using...but that's for you to determine of course

I wasn't comparing them, because I don't see them as the same type of NBA player. I'm not sure who will have the better career, but we probably both agree that it should be Blatche.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 11, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

...Nick Young should be starting. The Wiz will lose him to free agency and he is going to make them regret it. Posted by: ptp09

NY will be a restricted free agent. The Wizards are not going to lose him unless they want to, so there will be no regrets. He's not the type of player that teams regret losing anyway.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 11, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

" I'm not sure who will have the better career, but we probably both agree that it should be Blatche.Posted by: djnnnou"

It would seem like it, except Blatche has taken a step back this season. Health no doubt had something to do with it. Still, he appears to have lost some of his desire to mix things up around the rim.

Yi on the other hand remains a mystery. My guess is he would play better farther from the basket, but he's a prisoner of his 7' frame.

Until the Wiz get some decent play in the interior, I don't see a whole lot of improvement coming.

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

Say, if the Wiz are looking for more scoring, here's a guy they say is pretty productive...

http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2010/12/11/does-anyone-want-antawn-jamison/

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

If it's really perimeter defense that's the real reason opponents seem to score at will inside, what about this guy?

http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post?id=4672343

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

And this dude may not be exciting to watch but the article says he can help on defense:

http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4672250/inside-skinny-center-of-attention-is-the-5

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm actually encouraged after watching the Knicks game. Flip showed some common sense with the lineup & rotation for a change, although I woulda liked to of seen some more Booker in place of Yi. But overall I had no complaints. Team played good and had a chance to win, so Flip did his job. I think really we just need to stick to a lineup & rotation consistantly, especially being a young and newly configured team. I think if we do that and just give it some time to gel we will be ok.

Gil I think is still finding his way with this team both mentally and physically, but he seems to be coming along.

Wall should never of been named a captain as a rookie. But he also is still finding his way on this team and in the league, and he seems to be coming along.

I like the way Young is improving, and really settling in to his role. I think Booker is fitting in nicely. I like the way Thornton has played, although streaky, when he is playing hard he is a perfect compliment to Blatche/McGee.

Howard is near his return, and the logic seems he'll come off the bench at least at first.

I am really liking a starting 5 of McGee, Blatche, Thornton, Arenas, Hinrich and a 2nd unit of Yi, Booker, Howard, Young, Hinrich.

If we can get to the point where we have that rotation clicking we will be in good shape. I like that front 5, and that group off the bench is a nice mix of youth & vets and offense & D. That's a solid 10 man rotation that can be seamlessly mixed and matched, and can always pair down to a 7-9 man rotation. But those are the 10 I'd like to see consistanly on the court.

Posted by: Darnell1 | December 12, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Oops meant Wall in that starting 5 in place of Hinrich. Must of had a "Flip" moment.

Posted by: Darnell1 | December 12, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

DS is a good role player in a complete team.He can even consume starting minutes at 2 position for his above average perimeter defense provided that scoring can be compensated by a high volume shooter from 3 position to balance the inconsistancy of DS on the offense.DS was exposed in washington when Butler lost his offense.We where not happy with his contract and we also had a hard time to anticipate a complete come back after his back surgey.BH will continue to have prominent contribution at the center position, I personally missed his inside defense,it could have been a good idea to play him with AB.It is not that he will take you to shampoinship level but they should have signed him in washington.Please do not expect JM to be a defensive solution, he might get some out side touches in the future and could be a good PF.I just can not see him as a complete center.He can not push any one to get a defensive position.

Posted by: gtefferra | December 12, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Also just to rant a moment.. I was watching the Wizards/Bulls playoffs (which I have on dvd) with the Arenas, Hughes, Dixon backcourt, and there is no reason why this Wall, Arenas, Hinrich group can't thrive.

I gotta say I am still so mad Eddie Jordan got fired!! I mean I can see letting him go for VanGundy, or maybe a Pittino or JOHN THOMPSON, but for Flip Saunders??!!

I mean, I like the idea a longtime coach that is solidified in his spot like Sloan in Utah and Pop in SA. I wanted Eddie to be that guy for us.

Wall reminds me of Kidd, and think about how Eddie had Kidd at his peak in NJ. Think about how Eddie had that Arenas/Hughes backcourt hitting on all cylinders. Think about the run-n-gun high powered offenses of the Nets and the Wizards with him. How he got the most out of guys like Kittles, KMart, Hughes and Jamison.

I miss the weaving and backdoors of the P offense. Blatche's passing ability and McGee's ability to cut and finish, as well as guys like Gee and Booker, would be utilized. The Wall/Arenas backcourt would be dominating.

But I always like Eddie. I liked his demeanor. I know he has alot of critics on here. But when you think about it this team was awful before he got here, and terrible since he's been gone. He had us winning, and he deserves at least some of the credit. He got the most out of the talent we had... frontcourts featuring the matador D of Jamison, and the likes of Kwame, Ruffin, Jeffries, Haywood, Etan, Hayes.

Posted by: Darnell1 | December 12, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

"Please do not expect JM to be a defensive solution, he might get some out side touches in the future and could be a good PF.I just can not see him as a complete center.He can not push any one to get a defensive position.
Posted by: gtefferra"

The player who's really getting recognition now is Roy Hibbert, taken a pick before McGee as a senior, and supposedly the player Grunfeld really coveted from that selection. He's apparently lost a bunch of weight and that's made a difference in his quickness. Had an off night against Horford yesterday but is currently averaging just under 30 minutes, 14.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3+ assists, just under 2 blocks, and 2.4 turnovers. FG% is right around .500. Article is here:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/ian_thomsen/12/10/sixth.man.dec.10/

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse


Tactile Communication, Cooperation, and Performance:
An Ethological Study of the NBA
[via]

Guided by recent analyses of the social functions of touch (Hertenstein, 2002), we tested two hypotheses: First, we expected touch early in the season to predict both individual and team performance later on in the season. Second, we expected that touch would predict improved team performance through enhancing cooperative behaviors between teammates.


In case anyone is wondering, Dr. Dunkenstein isn't one of the authors.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 12, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

There's a lot of reference to stats in sports these days. That includes the so-called 'manufactured' stats that combine a number of quite different measures to produce something resembling a unitary score. I've never liked such stats for the basic Heisenberg issue: the act of measuring is likely to have distorted the measurement. Anyway, here's a brief article by a real metrics man on the strengths and weaknesses of a couple such stats commonly used to make points in b-ball arguments.

http://arturogalletti.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/predictive-stats-bad-metrics-correlation-in-the-nba/

From the article:
"Teams in the NBA, media and fans are making and evaluating multimillion dollar decisions based on these bad statistics (and in some cases overly complicated ones, yes I’m looking at you PER). People live and die by these teams and we can statistically prove that their teams are being mismanaged. At the end of the day it may be just sports but bad statistics should offend everyone."

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Note to Darnell1; Dude you are inviting trouble by speaking of Eddie Jordan in such glowing terms, i won't go into my rant about the firing of Eddie but you basically nailed it. We had a nucleus here (CB,BH, DS, AJ ) and along with Jordan we had a coach who understood the strengths of that team. Ernie Grunfeld undermined Jordan's tenure here but now the finger is directly pointed at him and the spotlight makes he and the HC look like jackazz's. Caron,Deshawn, and Brendan are all laughing and enjoying life, good for them.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 12, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't following the team that closely but the timing of Jordan's demise did seem strange. Why fire a guy a dozen games into the season? I could see firing him before the season, or two thirds of the way through with a losing record, but because of a losing streak at the beginning? That's just bad management. You basically condemn yourself to a placeholder coach because the better ones aren't available. And that's what happened.

But Kalorama explained that Grunfeld hadn't hired Ed Jordan and had always wanted his own man in the position. He probably had to wait until Pollin could be convinced. So the whole line about the team's lackadaisical performance being 'unacceptable' was in that respect just more management hokum.

I notice the term 'unacceptable' has made it into the official Office BS Bingo lexicon. When you hear it, you know it's probably BS.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Study posted by: djnnnou

Based on this, I feel fairly confident in predicting that when the Wizards start checking each other's heads for lice (as many primates do), we will have a winning team!

Seriously, though, interesting study.

Posted by: Miks | December 12, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Note to Darnell1; Dude you are inviting trouble by speaking of Eddie Jordan in such glowing terms, i won't go into my rant about the firing of Eddie but you basically nailed it. We had a nucleus here (CB,BH, DS, AJ ) and along with Jordan we had a coach who understood the strengths of that team. Ernie Grunfeld undermined Jordan's tenure here but now the finger is directly pointed at him and the spotlight makes he and the HC look like jackazz's. Caron,Deshawn, and Brendan are all laughing and enjoying life, good for them.

Posted by: dargregmag

The problem was that the nucleus was flawed. Not good enough defensively and no inside scoring to speak of. That's on EG and EJ both. It was obvious something needed to change, and the easiest thing to change was the coach.

I'd feel worse about it if EJ had success in Philly.

Posted by: ts35 | December 12, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

And just to keep it straight, if EJ had his preference, they Wiz wouldn't have kept BTH after his season of dust-ups with Etan.

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

"Caron,Deshawn, and Brendan are all laughing and enjoying life, good for them.Posted by: dargregmag"

Speaking of our ex-core, I was noticing that Dallas' victory last evening (12th consecutive, over a good Utah club), featured Caron Butler with 16 points on 6-9 FGs, including 4 of 5 threes, plus 4 boards, 3 assists, 2 swipes and only 2 TOs. Meanwhile, DeShawn Stevenson connected on 5 of 7 from long range to go with 4 assists and a steal. Brendan Haywood came off the bench to log a respectable 5 boards in 18 minutes (the Mavs don't ask their center to score much).

All of which makes you wonder why they didn't produce like that in their half-season in Washington.

Some of that has to be health. Stevenson has had periodic back problems for years; maybe they've abated. Some of it might be that toxic club atmosphere that finally exploded as they approached midseason. Some of it might be the quality of the other players on the team.

Your guess is as good as mine. But it does seem, a quarter-way through the season, as those all three of these guys are helping Dallas.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Tactile Communication, Cooperation, and Performance: An Ethological Study of the NBA [via]" Posted by: djnnnou

This was a lot of fun. Thanks for posting it. You know there's a big schism in anthropology as to science vs non-science, right? Battle for the fate of the discipline, they say...

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Note to Samson151: Kalorama's reasoning hardly hold's water Grunfeld's stupidity and obvious dislike for Jordan was a recipie for disaster for a franchise that had just started to see the light under Jordan after decades of failure. The Jordan firing by Grunfeld was compounded even more by the appointment of Ed Tapscott as head coach a man with no head coaching experience in the league and only a brief stint as HC at tiny American Univ. The franchise has not recovered from Grunfeld's personel "moves" from the wholesale dumping of four viable players, two of them all star's (Butler,Jamison,Haywood&Stevenson) to Dallas and Cleveland to the mind boggling hiring of Flip Saunders it has only gotten worse. The team is now mired in a losing streak and even the return of a much needed Josh Howard might not help. The Grunfeld hiring has been a disaster and i defy any poster to prove me wrong.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 12, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"The problem was that the nucleus was flawed. Not good enough defensively and no inside scoring to speak of. That's on EG and EJ both. It was obvious something needed to change, and the easiest thing to change was the coach.I'd feel worse about it if EJ had success in Philly.Posted by: ts35"

Except didn't the firing take place after just 11 games? You have to admit that's a little suspicious. Just the season before, the Wiz had lost 5 straight games to begin the campaign, then finished 2nd in the division with 43 victories before losing to the Cavs 4-2. And didn't EJ hang it not so much on the W-L record but on the way the Wiz were losing? Calling it 'unacceptable'?

Maybe if we were a lot more naive that would convince us, but really...

As far as Eddie getting fired, that's a nonissue IMO. Coaches get fired, that's just the way things work, they all know that. I just thought it put the team in a crummy position for the remainder of the season. Or an even crummier position, at least...

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

One other thought: I think many people assumed that in those first round playoff losses, the Wiz were underperforming. That they should have beaten the Cavs. In retrospect, it may be that the team was actually overperforming under Jordan, by making it that far in the first place...

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"...Grunfeld hadn't hired Ed Jordan and had always wanted his own man in the position. He probably had to wait until Pollin could be convinced."
Posted by: Samson151

Absolutely. I think there was fault to be found with Jordan's coaching and system, but he did do a rather impressive job with the roster he had available to him (especially after Gilbert went down).

There was always tension between Jordan and Grunfeld. Grunfeld, it seemed to me, failed to support Jordan's trying to take a harder line with players who were doing "their own thing" (as opposed to what the coaching staff wanted) and eventually got what he wanted: the departure of Jordan.

The timing was abysmal and the interim coach was in a predictably hopeless situation. Then Grunfeld got to pick his own guy.

Despite the fact that many on this board feel that Saunders was a decent pick for a veteran team but is a disastroous one for a young team, I felt at the time that he was a poor pick for a team that needed to be beaten over the head for not playing defense (and Saunders sure wasn’t the guy to do that).

I’ve actually been surprised at how well Saunders has done teaching this young team, though many here don’t agree

Posted by: Miks | December 12, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"I’ve actually been surprised at how well Saunders has done teaching this young team, though many here don’t agree.Posted by: Miks"

I suspect it depends a lot on your evaluation of the players. If you think Nick Young is a great prospect, for instance, then you probably can't understand why he doesn't get on the court more. If you see him as flawed, maybe the opposite.

I imagine the coaches see the experiment with Nick off the bench as a relative success. Some of the folks here see it as an insult.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Grunfeld's stupidity and obvious dislike for Jordan was a recipie for disaster for a franchise that had just started to see the light...
Just started to see the light, or realized that the light was a train wreck at the end of the tunnel. Of course Jordan's 08-09 Wiz's bad start was a convenient excuse for EG but the howling from the fan's for EJ's head for not playing the younger players was equivalent to the current hysteria.

compounded even more by the appointment of Ed Tapscott as head coach...
Ed Tapscott - interim coach, everyone understood that, his record for the remainder of the season could hardly have been worse than EJ's 0-10 start. Other than that no lasting effects though I agree with Samson & Kal, EG used the bad start to get rid of EJ, not to improve the team for the remainder of the season.

The franchise has not recovered from Grunfeld's... dumping of four viable players, two of them all star's (Butler, Jamison, Haywood & Stevenson)
Maybe not but were you actually expecting them to be competitive by now? Of the four you mention, two seem to be starting and contributing elsewhere, Butler and Stevenson, oddly enough.

I thought the team that was blown up last season never got a shot at proving themselves one way or the other, whether they could compete past the first round. They were never together and healthy for extended periods, usually two of the four were out for one reason or another and the bench never plugged the holes.
I tend to think it was time for Eddie Jordan and the Princeton offense to move on. Interesting it didn't work in Philadelphia.
Ultimately I don't think it looked like Jamison, Butler, Haywood, Arenas, Stevenson and the supporting cast were ever going to be much more than first or second round and out. And that's all right, only one team wins it all, but their time in DC, as with EJ, had come and gone. Jamison is certainly past his prime and Arenas, talented as he is, was nearly uncoachable.

Posted by: midlevex_ | December 12, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

None of the four, Jamison, Butler, Haywood and Stevenson, (even the more successful Mav duo, Butler and Stevenson,) are central to the success of their teams. They are role players of varying importance. In DC we may have expected too much from them, particularly when injuries shifted the bulk of the burden to them.

Posted by: midlevex_ | December 12, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

To me that's the question: were the Wiz under Eddie J. an underachieving playoff club, or an average team talent-wise that was doing well to be competitive with Cleveland in those playoff series?

I did watch a couple games on old-time NBA cable and in both it did look like the team aimed to be real close at the end of the fourth so Gil could win it for them. If that was the case, then when his game began to slip, the house of cards would topple.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Except didn't the firing take place after just 11 games? You have to admit that's a little suspicious.
Posted by: Samson151

My comment was not to how and when EJ got fired, but that it wouldn't have made a difference either way. My take on the opinion being expressed by dargregmag was that if EJ had stayed, the team would have continued to progress under his coaching. My opinion is that they had gone as far as they were going to go. EJ was an ok coach, but not good enough to take a flawed roster any farther. Pro-EJ folks fault Flip for all of the things he hasn't been able to get the team to do, and yet they don't hold EJ to the same standard for failing to get the Wiz to play D.

As for the how and when, I don't think there's any question that EJ was not EG's guy. He was hired by Pollin. And given how EG was ousted in NY because of a conflict with Jeff Van Gundy, I'm willing to believe there was a bit of a "get rid of him, before he gets rids of me" feeling. The poor start just gave him the leverage he needed.

I also find it strange to fault EG for blowing up a nucleus without first giving him credit for building it in the first place, even given what a giant mixed-bag of pluses and minuses it is.

Imo, EG put together a team capable of making the playoffs and not much else, and EJ was a good enough coach to get them to accomplish that, and not much else.

For anyone who wants EG fired, I think there are plenty of good reasons well ahead of firing EJ.

Posted by: ts35 | December 12, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

There are absolutely no reasonable evaluations that can made from this roster at the moment. None.

1) It's the third youngest team in the league.

2) It's correct to state that this is not the situation Flip signed up for, but he did make Minnesota a relevant team and they haven't been anything since he left.

3) The EJ whining is pathetic. He was a mediocre coach when he was here and was a mediocre coach before and after. That's if you consider a career losing percentage mediocre. You can babble all you want about semantics. EJ's career winning percentage is 43%!!!!!!!!!!!

4) There is not a coach in the league that can't get to the first round of the playoffs and win 40 something games with three all-stars on the roster. Even EJ pulled that off.

5) It's correct to say EG was not a fan of EJ. But, all the pyscho babble about the disciplining or backing of EJ is unfounded speculation. Or, perhaps, EJ didn't deserve to be backed up as in the contentious relationship he built with BH when it turned out that BH deserved to be the starting C. Speculation can go both directions!

6) EJ stuck a fork in himself when he ran Tom Thibadeau out of town. He could have helped on the defensive side of the ball. Hell, EJ went to Philly and turned what was once a pretty good defensive team into Swiss cheese and got fired as he deserved. NOT A GOOD HEAD COACH. However, I would have EJ on my team as a offensive assistant in a heartbeat.

Posted by: rphilli721 | December 12, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"EJ was an ok coach, but not good enough to take a flawed roster any farther."

Reason I'm interested is I don't know of a reliable way to predict a coach's impact on a team. Assuming an NBA roster, of course. That's why I find it hard to take the 'fire the coach' rhetoric too seriously. Even a professional turnaround artist like Larry Brown foundered in MSG.

Head coach obviously makes a difference. But I don't see a way to measure it with much accuracy.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

"4) There is not a coach in the league that can't get to the first round of the playoffs and win 40 something games with three all-stars on the roster. Even EJ pulled that off."

The problem is those guys became All-Stars because the team was winning. It's a popularity contest. Jamison had some success as a starter and sixth man and Butler was a favorite of Kobe Bryant, but they weren't on most ballots prior to arriving here. Even Gil blossomed after arriving here. So do we give the coaches credit for that? Or do we assume the players succeeded in spite of the coaching?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Jordan didn't "run Tom Thibadeau out of town." Thibadeau came in, realized the situation he was being put in and, not being and idiot or a masochist, decided (smartly) to head for the exit. Grunfeld hired Thibadeau to have a successor in place when he canned Jordan, which it was no secret he wanted to do. Their contentious working relationship was well chronicled (both in the Post and other places) throughout their tenure. Just because Grunfeld didn't issue a press release saying "Eddie Jordan is not the coach I want" doesn't alter the fact that that was true and pretty much everyone knew it. Thibadeau left because he didn't want to be caught in the middle of their little schoolyard tug-of-war/power struggle (something that was also reported--albeit by way of the popular "unnamed source"-- at the time). And who can blame him? The responsibility for that doesn't fall on Jordan, because anyone in that position would have felt the same way. The fault lies either (A) with Grunfeld for not manning up and getting rid of Jordan before things fell apart or (B) with Pollin for not letting him get rid of Jordan.

And Grunfeld's lack of backing/support for Jordan is hardly speculation. Jordan fined Arenas for conduct detrimental to the team and Grunfled went behind his back and rescinded the fine without discussing it with Jordan. Then he gave an interview immediately afterward in which he talked about how important Arenas was to the team. You don't need a Russian cryptographer with an Enigma box to decode that.

As for Haywood "deserv(ing) to be the starting C" . . . HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Clearly, Rick Carlisle disagrees.)

Was Jordan a great coach? Hardly? Did he get as much out of the team he had as anyone could have reasonable been expected to? Absolutely. Had he reached the end of his run even before the firing? No question. When he was fired, it was past time to move on. The only reason he was still here to go 1-10 was because either Grunfeld didn't have the stones to pull the trigger on him or Pollin wouldn't let Grunfeld do it. Left to his own devices, Grunfeld would have dumped EJ long before then.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 12, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Thing about any stat is: if it doesn't have an impact on wins and losses, why bother to measure it? Unless you're looking for a flag to wave come contract time. If you score 30 points and the guys you're supposed to guard score the same and your team loses, are you a good player? Or a mutt?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm something of a Thibadeau fan but I don't know that I'd wish this Wizards roster on the guy. He needs players who commit to team defense and that's not what we have at the moment.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

"The problem is those guys became All-Stars because the team was winning. It's a popularity contest. Jamison had some success as a starter and sixth man and Butler was a favorite of Kobe Bryant, but they weren't on most ballots prior to arriving here. Even Gil blossomed after arriving here. So do we give the coaches credit for that? Or do we assume the players succeeded in spite of the coaching?"

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 7:48 PM

An important point. People say Jordan coached "3 All-Stars" like he inherited a team with Duncan, Nowitzki, and Kobe midway through their careers. When Arenas, Jamison, and Butler first got here they had no real public profile. Jamison and Arenas were a couple of guys who spent most of their careers putting up nice numbers on bad teams. They were the functional equivalent of Jamal Crawford and Monta Ellis. Butler was the latest in a line of non-franchise caliber lottery pick/role players, a guy on his 3rd team in 4 years. (And both of those other teams got better after he left.) When he first arrived in D.C., no one was using the words "Caron Butler" and "All-Star" in the same sentence. Or even the same paragraph.

The idea that Jordan failed to win with 3 All-Stars is almost the complete inverse of the truth. The only reason he had 3 All-Stars to begin with was because he won, more than anyone had expected the team to when he first arrived. But, as it turns out, the only reward for exceeding expectations is more expectations. It was that second set that did Jordan in, because there was no way in the world he was going to meet them with the team he had.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 12, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I've always why Thibodeau accepted the job in the first place. He's a defensive guy and he had to know that he was signing up for at least a few years of seriously uphill effort based on the roster. And of course he ended up immediately going to a team that already had pieces and attitude in place to be a good defensive team.

I just wonder what happened that first day to confirm whatever his worst suspicions were and make him reverse course.

Posted by: ts35 | December 12, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

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