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Posted at 1:35 AM ET, 12/ 2/2010

Wizards problems in Toronto started hours before the game

By Michael Lee

This is too easy. (AP Photo)


It's easy to say that the Wizards' problems against the Toronto Raptors started at the opening tip, when Gilbert Arenas tried to get a quick score and Amir Johnson smacked his shot in the opposite direction. Or maybe at the beginning of the second period, when Andrea Bargnani sparked a 13-4 run when he drove directly into JaVale McGee and dunked on him.

But if you ask them, their troubles actually began at the morning shootaround, when the Wizards showed up with the intent of simply getting through it. They went through the motions and failed to communicate during drills. Coach Flip Saunders and assistant Randy Wittman warned them that this approach to preparation would lead to miserable results later when they stepped on the court against the Raptors.

"We was lackadaisical," Andray Blatche said of the effort in shootaround after the Wizards lost 128-109 on Wednesday night. "We didn't come out to handle business and it showed on the court."

John Wall said the Wizards usually lack the proper attitude during road shootarounds, which is probably one reason why they set a new franchise record with nine road losses to open the season. Wall said it reminded him of the messages he always heard from Coach John Calipari in his first season at Kentucky.

"I remember Coach Cal told us, 'Y'all not focused in shootaround, y'all not going to be focused in games.' Coach Flip and Coach Wittman said we was walking around, acting like we didn't want to do nothing, like we wasn't into it. You come like that early in the morning, that's going to tell you how your game is going to go."

Blatche agreed that it wasn't the first time that the Wizards cruised through a shootaround and got smashed in a game. "Today was one of the worst," he said. "Guys wasn't mentally focused. And that's what happened to us on the court, we still wasn't focused."

The Wizards just seemed to lose track of the minor details. Trevor Booker hustled to get an offensive rebound, but with Arenas and Alonzo Gee standing wide open in front him near the three-point line, Booker elected to give the ball to Gee, who drove and missed a driving shot. McGee had a nice block on an Leandro Barbosa drive, but all the Wizards watched the ball roll out near halfcourt, where Bargnani recovered it and found Linas Kleiza for an uncontested slam dunk. Then, Hinrich shot an airball three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left, but Joey Dorsey had enough time to find a streaking Barbosa for a layup as time expired. That was just in the first quarter.


What should I do? (Reuters Pictures)

The Raptors nearly had a reverse performance from two weeks ago, when the Wizards made them look bad in a 109-94 loss. But the Raptors were able to take the rout up another notch, with fastbreak layups and dunks and driving layups and dunks. It didn't matter if they were alone or a Wizards player was in front of them, they had no trouble getting every shot they wanted.

"Everybody was on tonight, hitting jump shots and getting to the basket," Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said after his team shot 58 percent for the entire game, and 66.7 percent in the first half.

Think about this for a minute: The Wizards have allowed three teams to score at least 56 points in the paint this season. Orlando had that many in a 29-point victory in the season opener. Boston had that same amount in a 31-point blowout two weeks ago. The Magic and the Celtics met in the Eastern Conference Finals last season and one of those teams has represented the East in the NBA Finals the past three seasons.

The Raptors, a team that would be fortunate to be in the playoff race this season, had 62 points in the paint. The Wizards have held two opponents to 36 or fewer points in the paint this season. Toronto had 36 in the first 15 minutes. Huh?

"There's no bad teams in this league," Blatche said. "This is not a bad team. This is a young team that's developing just like us and they came out with the better mindset, more focus than we did and that's why they got the W. They jumped on us, as they should've. We came out there slacking."

But why? They needed Cartier Martin to hit a three-pointer with 10.9 seconds left to avoid suffering their fifth loss by 20 points or more this season.

Arenas had a difficult shooting night, as he missed 9 of 10 shots and was heckled by a group of Raptors fans who made reference to his gun suspension every time he went to the foul line by chanting, "Don't shoot!" Arenas didn't talk after the game, requesting a night off, so it was hard to tell if he was effected by the Orlando trade rumor or just couldn't hit shots.

You could certainly see the frustration on his face with every offensive or defensive breakdown. He and Kirk Hinrich looked bobblehead dolls the way they spent so much time shaking their heads during the game.

But aside from Arenas's struggles from the field, the rest of the team shot the ball pretty well. The defense just didn't show up. "Basically our guards got broken down on the perimeter and our bigs didn't protect the rim," Saunders said. "We just didn't have that edge."

It's a little troubling that less than 20 games into the season, the Wizards are constantly talking about how their job is to play hard and compete after a disappointing performance. Of their nine road losses, six have been by double digits.

They trailed by 20 points at halftime against the Raptors. In the locker room, Hinrich said the players were told, "We have a decision to make. We want to play better basketball, help each other on both ends, and try to put together a winning effort or we don't."

Until the Wizards decide that they do, this could be a seriously long season.

By Michael Lee  | December 2, 2010; 1:35 AM ET
Categories:  Andray Blatche, Flip Saunders, Gilbert Arenas, John Wall, Kirk Hinrich  
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Comments

Wizards problems in Toronto started hours before the game

By Michael Lee


Sorry Mike,

The Wizards problems started June 30th 2003 the day Abe named Ernie president of basketball operations.

Face it Ernie has been in charge of this team for 7 years and 6 months and the Wizards are one of the worst teams in the NBA!

In Ernie we trust?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 2, 2010 3:50 AM | Report abuse

How did Blatche graduate high school with extremely poor command of the English language??

"We was lackadaisical,"
"Guys wasn't mentally focused. And that's what happened to us on the court, we still wasn't focused."
"There's no bad teams in this league,"

Posted by: Thundershock | December 2, 2010 4:37 AM | Report abuse

It's well-known, if these guys had been concentrating on school, they would not have been spending as much as six to eight hours a day (or more) playing basketball and working out while they were growing up. Had they been raised in dual-parent households (many were not), they may not have even been allowed to concentrate so much on a sport that has such a remote possibility of allowing them to become professionals. Obviously, some spent only a year in college, which was clearly not academically fruitful, and many have been drafted right out of high school, where absolutely nothing was demanded of them in the way of academic excellence. Short story: they are not being paid to speak publicly; they are being paid to play basketball. Media interviews are probably much more cumbersome than the players would wish, they are being interviewed (in many cases) after games when they are exhausted, and they are being quoted verbatim. The expectations are so low that when the players do excel or achieve academically, such as when Vince Carter attended his college graduation on the same morning as a playoff Game 7, and subsequently missed a potentially game-winning shot with two seconds remaining, they are questioned and ridiculed.

The Wizards problems run far deeper than the players's ability to speak cogently.

Posted by: rmagritte | December 2, 2010 6:00 AM | Report abuse

Who is leading this Team? Or, did we just have a bad game just like the Lakers, whom lost four in row?

I swear, you've got to name Gilbert the Leader of this team and charge him to lead everyday by deed and word.

What was described in shoot-a-round is an attitude that the Leader/Captain of the team steps in and rights the ship with some choice orders/words.

Flip told them, but you got to have that message being received as well. It seems from above that no one really took heed to what Flip said.

The team realized this according to Mr. Lee, so where is the Leader.

This is why I have been saying that the Leader/Captain is not just some unimportant honorary insignificant role.

Who is listening to John Wall and Kirk Hinrich and are they speaking and leading? Do we know Mr. Lee? Wall is a rookie still learning what the NBA is all about. One year away from high school. He can't lead an NBA team now. Absurd decision by the Wizards.

They aren't going to listen to the new guy Kirk who hasn't earned it and is clearly not deserving of that role more than some others, especially Gilbert.

Sometimes when you name upfront the Leader/Captain, the face of your franchise, it might be just as important to name someone whom has to prove to himself and everyoneelse that he really can lead the right way.

Gilbert Arenas.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 2, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

I just learned about quality on each NBA team.The so called weak teams that get a win against wizard have their own qualities.
1/ Piston, well experanced half court team.It is one good reason to wach the team every single day
2/ Raptors. one of the top 3 point shooting team, 1st in 3 point field goal % sofar, it is an exiting reason to wach them.
3/Ohio good to fair interior defense, excute average offense and play smart.They are also playing to show something after they lost their star.
4/ babcats one of the best defenssive team go out to try to win games using consistant defense and well managed but poor offense.
What is the quality of the wizard as a team?
Why are we paying for ted?
The team decide to give up on the game before tip off, any punishment?
Are we with the right talent in this rebounding process?
We have two exiting players in the club ,JW's spead and JM's dunk, is it enough to pay? there is noting as a team.
Shame Ted.Even if it is a rebuilding season, it has to start with a quality, you collected left overs to fill your roster,do you think it helps you or you are just interested on the 6 million cash you collected on the trade?

Posted by: gtefferra | December 2, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Just another disappointing DC franchise. These guys sound like the skins, very inconsistent. Well they are consistent at one thing - LOSING!

Posted by: keedrow | December 2, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Leonsis, it is not too late. Fire both Grunfield and Saunders and start over. By the way, Blatche always looks lackadaisical.

Posted by: oakiedokie | December 2, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

John Wall:

I remember Coach Cal told us, 'Y'all not focused in shootaround, y'all not going to be focused in games.' Coach Flip and Coach Wittman said we was walking around, acting like we didn't want to do nothing, like we wasn't into it. You come like that early in the morning, that's going to tell you how your game is going to go."

No wonder John Wall left school early. His grammar is just horrible.

Posted by: davidromeo246 | December 2, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

They sure could use a couple of guys from last year! lol

Posted by: shamken | December 2, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Kirk Hinrich -- that bum shot 58.3%, 5 assists, 2 TOs. He's still the Devil, though -- that's why Flip starts him. It's like a spell he puts on coaches, see...

Did you check Calderon's line? Hinrich's not a bum, but the guy is average on his good nights...amazing how much runs Flip gives him.

Posted by: divi3 | December 2, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

John Wall:

I remember Coach Cal told us, 'Y'all not focused in shootaround, y'all not going to be focused in games.' Coach Flip and Coach Wittman said we was walking around, acting like we didn't want to do nothing, like we wasn't into it. You come like that early in the morning, that's going to tell you how your game is going to go."

No wonder John Wall left school early. His grammar is just horrible.

Posted by: davidromeo246 | December 2, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse


Just goes to show you that even one year of college and a whole lot of talent can get you a a better career than the one you have.

Posted by: AllDCSports | December 2, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Too bad Gil never has worked at playing D. That is one of the reasons he is not an elite player.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | December 2, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, let me see if I understand what the player and coach are saying, that there wasn't any focus at the morning practice and that its been going on for a while. This shows what I've alway suspected that Saunders doesn't know how to coach or handle a young team, his theory is just put the ball in Walls hands and let him run with it just like in the playgrounds.. The team is lacking direction with no leader, like a ship without a rudder just going in circles. I haven't seen this team run a setup play as yet, why aren't they going inside out, first to McGee (lord not Blance the clone to Mr. Softee, even Mr. Softee Ice Cream is harder than Blandce)and then run some plays with cutting and spot up shooters, that way McGee is never beyond the foul line thus move coverage in the lane. Please get rid of that for GD sake three guard BS, Hinrich is not a starter, better coming off the Bench, never should have been make Captain or annointed a leader, and the Kid Wall Please stop trying to force him to lead, have Arena handle the heavy duties. Most of all GET A REAL COACH, PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Posted by: getagripped | December 2, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, let me see if I understand what the player and coach are saying, that there wasn't any focus at the morning practice and that its been going on for a while. This shows what I've alway suspected that Saunders doesn't know how to coach or handle a young team, his theory is just put the ball in Walls hands and let him run with it just like in the playgrounds.. The team is lacking direction with no leader, like a ship without a rudder just going in circles. I haven't seen this team run a setup play as yet, why aren't they going inside out, first to McGee (lord not Blance the clone to Mr. Softee, even Mr. Softee Ice Cream is harder than Blandce)and then run some plays with cutting and spot up shooters, that way McGee is never beyond the foul line thus move coverage in the lane. Please get rid of that for GD sake three guard BS, Hinrich is not a starter, better coming off the Bench, never should have been make Captain or annointed a leader, and the Kid Wall Please stop trying to force him to lead, have Arena handle the heavy duties. Most of all GET A REAL COACH, PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Posted by: getagripped | December 2, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the fact that the Wiz seem to play better without JW...Why is this???

Does he dribble too much? Is he pushing the ball too much instead of waiting for his teammates? Or, is it the fact that GA feels more comfortable with the ball in his hands most of the time?

I agree that making JW a captain was a mistake. However, I am starting to come to the conclusion that JW and GA may not be able to play together...But I also see that JW is not quite ready to lead at the point. In my opinion, I would bring JW off the bench for a while and let him get a look at what is going on before he gets on the floor. There seems to be more team chemistry when he is not on the floor with the starters.

I have watched all the games without JW again (I tape them) and the team (ball movement) seems to flow better with GA running the point.

Looks like Flip has a decision to make...

Posted by: TEliasB | December 2, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

HEY READERS-- where is Ts35 defending Grunfeld and Melodius(in grunfeld we trust)? Losers hide when the going gets tough and the going gets tough for the Wiz as soon as the season starts (haha)... TLG = Ted Lose Grunfeld!!!TLG TLG TLG TLG.
and for "LarryInClintonMD".. there is no leader upstairs so why would there be one downstairs on the court? We need to wait for "MR PRESIDENT" GRUNFELD to come away from holidays to explain to all us idiots why this team is a disaster, with his doubletalk of future plans and growing and the smart trades and our important injuries and all these really difficult private jet airplane trips and cold locker rooms on the road and the ball is different in other places and hey Toronto is not even in the USA!!! WHATEVER!!! bla bla blah He is selling smoke and saving his butt... bottom line this "team" is a disaster and it will not change until the head honcho resigns (a joke that).. until TED LOSES GRUNFELD!!! He has been stealing our money.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 2, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Mr.Leonis,
what about a new list? 101 reasons to keep Ernie Grunfeld and Flip Saunders

the horror...the horror

Posted by: spoooooooon | December 2, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

"I am surprised that no one has mentioned the fact that the Wiz seem to play better without JW...Why is this???"

Actually folks have been discussing it around here since Wall was first injured. Where have you been?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 2, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Mr.Leonis,
what about a new list? 101 reasons to keep Ernie Grunfeld and Flip Saunders
the horror...the horror
Posted by: spoooooooon
:::::::::::::::::::::::::
yeah..haha. or right after the one about the ketchup dispensers always being full?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 2, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

You know it's bad when Andrey Blatche calls you out. Good grief.

Posted by: Rocky420 | December 2, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

You know it's bad when Andrey Blatche calls you out. Good grief.

Posted by: Rocky420 | December 2, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Larry, I'm with you. Where is the leadership on this team? It's becoming clear that Saunders cannot lead because, by their own admission, the players did not adhere to his demands for energy and effort. Furthermore, they imply that this is becoming the norm, meaning that they continue to ignore the demands of Saunders. Not only is Saunders lacking in leadership, but there is no player on the team that makes his teammates accountable.

This team is lacking in talent at several positions, but that does not excuse the consistent lack of effort. That was the one thing that Saunders promised this year, and he and his team are failing deliver, yet again. Pathetic.

Leonsis, it's time for a change. Fire Ernie and bring in Pritchard, if he's available. You cannot allow this to continue if you want to develop a winning franchise.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | December 2, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

The future is John Walls,but the now should be Gilbert.If the wizards run their offense thru him They would not be on a nine road game losing streak!Bench Blanch!He don't play defense,he shoots to many jump shots and he don't help out on defense.Mcgee only gets better when he plays more,use him more in the post.Make GILBERT THE CAPTAIN!!! FLIP.

Posted by: theturfman | December 2, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Can Flip Please Just For 1 Game, Start.....


the Wall-Gil backcourt with Kirk on the bench. We're 17 games in with Gil playing in 14 of them, Wall in 11, and they have only started 1 game together, and that was with Kirk. Stop acting like Gil missed a hundred games to the point where he has to be on the bench when he comes back. Stop acting like Wall missed a hundred games to the point where he's got to come off the bench when he gets back. We are the only team in the league who has there 2 best players on the bench all year long. Get them both in the starting lineup & put Kirk on the bench.

We're 17 games in and we still havent one time ran the lineup that everyone thought we would use, but yet we wonder why we lose every game. His rotations suck. He's all crossed up now. Stop crabbing around and just put the real lineup in and see what happens. Then you can say that we suck, or that Gil & Wall cant play together, or whatever but dont keep trying your hardest every game to do something other then that. Now again Gil played so bad & Kirk played so solid that it will be another excuse for Flip to again not start that lineup. Either Wall or Gil will again come off the bench or he will start 3 small guys. I could see if we were winning but we never win. Just start the real lineup and see how it goes, you idiot.....lol

Posted by: dlts2041 | December 2, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Hey TED.. are you starting to get the picture yet?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 2, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I always get a kick out of the posters who feel compelled to comment on an athlete's grammar. They're paid to play basketball at a high level, not recite poetry. While you nerds are stocking shelves at your local Barnes & Noble for $10 an hour these athletes are all millionaires. They really care what you think.

Posted by: randysbailin | December 2, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Samson151, you are correct that people have been discussing the Wiz playing better without JW, but I have yet to see the reasons why this may be happening. I was only bringing up the fact that none of the comments before mine mentioned it.

I was waiting for some real ballers to give some legit reasons why this is the case instead of haters just rattling off the statement without anything to back it up.

As we learned back in the day, if you voice a problem then have a solution also. Hence, the question, "Why is this?"

Maybe there is some truth to the GA trade to Orlando...

Posted by: TEliasB | December 2, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

This, of course, is the NBA - professional basketball - and these are men, not children.

Coaches can't make them run extra laps or make them stay after practice or give Knute Rockne "Win one for the Gipper!" speeches. They have to motivate themselves.

The players themselves admit they're not serious. That's quite an admission.

It's 2010 and these are adults.

How is changing the coach going to make them change their attitude? What is a new coach going to do?

Posted by: SteveMG | December 2, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I tell you, the place is absolutely swarming with hhhaaattteeerrrsss!

Don't you dolts realize that the Wizards are furtunate to have won as many games as they have with all the injuries and inconsistent lineups (more on that later) they've been dealing with all season? Why, as soon as one guy gets over his injury and is inserted back into the lineup, another player gets injured. It truly is like "Groundhog Day".

It is extremely difficult to win in the NBA when your main players are constantly battling injuries and nobody can settle into their roles and gain chemistry with each other. This is essentally a new team, people! I'm starting to think that some of you don't even watch the games.

Ernest Grunfeld has stocked this team with countless exotic gems. It's up to Saunders to polish them and place them where they will shine the brightest. Sadly, to date, he has failed in that respect, injuries notwithstanding. His lineups and substitutions are, at best, baffling. He was hired to coach a veteran team and simply is not the man for the task at hand. In my opinion, the players don't believe in him, his system, his lineups or his in-game adjustments. That said, let the record show that I don't for one minute believe the vicious, unfounded rumors that Kirk Hinrich is his love child, but one does wonder....

Difficult decisions lie ahead for the master of his craft, Ernest Grunfeld. He will not disappoint.

In Grunfeld We Trust!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | December 2, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

You know your coach thinks your team sucks when you sign a player that was just cut and no one else signs him and then you put him in the STARTING LINEUP.

You just told most of your players that they are no better than a minimum salaried- no guaranteed contract player.

Posted by: jmpalomo | December 2, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

At times, AB is one of the least inspiring athletes I have ever seen. His lazy defensive rotations, unwillingness to attack the rim, and poor conditioning are beyond concerning. On the flip side, the strides that Mcgee and Young continue to make are really exciting.

Posted by: audacitea | December 2, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

It is just shocking to hear professionals admit such things.

At the college level, maybe.

But not the pros. They should be ashamed.

Posted by: keithrjackson | December 2, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

It is just shocking to hear professionals admit such things.

At the college level, maybe.

But not the pros. They should be ashamed.

Exactly. And this coming on top of Saunders' blowup two weeks ago at the practice he cut short. The one where the players admitted then that they were walking through things and not paying attention.

Okay, I'd like Saunders replaced. Then when the new guy comes in and the same baloney comes up, what will the complaint be? Wrong coach?

These are men. Highly paid professional athletes with guaranteed contracts. This isn't the Red Auerbach era where he could put the hammer down because he could cut a guy.

They motivate themselves. Or they don't.

Posted by: SteveMG | December 2, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

WHAT I SAID IS COMING TO FRUITION........THE DAY ERNIE FIRED EDDIE JORDAN IS THE DAY THIS FRANCHISE WENT DOWN THE SH_T SHOOTER!!!

Posted by: dargregmag | December 2, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

FIRE FLIP SAUNDERS,HIRE MIKE WOODSON.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 2, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Good article with one amendment.It already has been a long season.The Wiz almost never play defense in the games I watch and I dont see that changing with this roster.Big changes need to be made .The posters here can fill in the blanks on thst topic.

Posted by: minboden | December 2, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

In regards to problematic grammar, maybe the players get it from their head coach.

"Basically our guards got broken down on the perimeter..."

Opposed to: "Basically our guards broke down on the perimeter..." or "Basically our guards were broken down on the perimeter..."

Point being what difference does it make. I don't watch the Wiz for their wonderful repartee.

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 2, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

This, of course, is the NBA - professional basketball - and these are men, not children.

Coaches can't make them run extra laps or make them stay after practice or give Knute Rockne "Win one for the Gipper!" speeches. They have to motivate themselves.

The players themselves admit they're not serious. That's quite an admission.

It's 2010 and these are adults.

How is changing the coach going to make them change their attitude? What is a new coach going to do?

Posted by: SteveMG | December 2, 2010 10:11 AM

SteveMG,

Yes, this is the pros, the NBA and for others as well that don't believe that coaching can't make a huge difference, even at this level...that is baffling, astounding, can't see how you or anyone do not realize that coaching can make and does make a huge difference.

The speed of the team is the speed of the leader. Remember or let me remind you. Saunders did not toil in the NBA for years before he became a head coach. Saunders never played in the NBA and he got the job as head coach on who he knew and not what he knew and he only had minimal NBA experience.

The stars lined up and he lucked into Kevin Garnett whom he never won a championship with.

Out of 8 season's to the playoffs Flip and his Team lost in the 1st round of seven of them and only once did they make it to the West Coast Championship.

Coaching can and does make a huge difference.

"How is changing the coach going to make them change their attitude? What is a new coach going to do?"

SteveMG, you know this, don't outwit yourself for Flip Saunders. LEADERS motivate MEN. LEADERS motivate MEN. Just maybe Flip Saunders isn't one. One thing for sure, no one can say that Gilbert Arenas hasn't been a leader. Now isn't that funny. Maybe not the kind that most like, but he has led.

Are you with me now SteveMD?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 2, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

SteveMG, did not to misspell your handle.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 2, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Larry:
You and I simply disagree about this.

This isn't the army. This isn't high school. This isn't the Red Auerbach era of basketball.

These are adult, grown men. They are professionals. They are highly paid with guaranteed contracts.

The ability of a coach to motivate these men is very, very limited. They motivate themselves because the ability of a coach to "punish" them is greatly limited.

When the players themselves repeatedly admit they're not paying attention, they're not following through, they're not executing, who is to blame for that?

You say the coach; I say the players. The truth is probably somewhere near the middle but I would suggest closer to the players because of the environment in which they work.

Playing in the NBA is, after all, a job. None of us expects our boss to motivate us. We have to motivate ourselves. We need to showup on time and do the work. Sure, the boss can help create the best environment for us to do our best.

But - because we're all adults - it all comes down to us as men (and women).

Posted by: SteveMG | December 2, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

i think we need to start by getting rid of the players who refuse to play defense(primarily Blatche). has any one noticed the guy cant jump? I've never seen a 7 footer get his shot blocked so much. He constantly ties to lay the ball up when right at the rim instead of going up strong and dunking. Way too soft and lazy! We need a tough rebounding power forward to play along w/ a blossoming Magee. Trade Blatche while someone might still think he has value. No more big men who want to play out at the three point line including Yi. Start over Ted and build around Wall and Magee with quality and stop insulting the fans w/ this young team crap. since what does being young have to do w/ effort and D!!!

Posted by: jreed63 | December 2, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Let's get this straight:

Just a couple weeks ago, Saunders kicked the entire team out of practice for half-assing it, and half the people here ripped him for it, saying it was a B.S. move and an indication of his lack of leadership. Now, not only does the team half-ass it through practice again, but they freely admit to (A) having done it before, multiple times, and (B) knowing that doing so has a negative effect on their game performance. But, somehow, according to many of the same people, it's the coach's fault?

Priceless. Idiotic and predictable, but priceless, nonetheless.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 2, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse


Playing in the NBA is, after all, a job. None of us expects our boss to motivate us. We have to motivate ourselves. We need to showup on time and do the work. Sure, the boss can help create the best environment for us to do our best.

But - because we're all adults - it all comes down to us as men (and women).

Posted by: SteveMG

With fully matured adults and non-guaranteed incomes your belief makes absolute sense, but with young adults with large, guaranteed incomes, it just won't happen, SteveMG. They need leadership, motivation and a belief that their leader is capable of guiding them in the right direction. Flip is falling short, in my opinion. These players are tuning him out for various reasons.

Most of us are motivated to do well in our jobs. However, it's never too far from our consciousness that we're not guaranteed a salary if we are fired. I bet Cartier Martin and Gee are not the players needing motivation and leadership.

Posted by: ArmChairQB | December 2, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

But, somehow, according to many of the same people, it's the coach's fault?

Well, yes it's the coach's fault if this was a high school team. Or even college.

With a bunch of 16 or 18 year olds.

But these are grown men. Highly paid. Professionals.

They motivate themselves. No coach at this level is going to give a pep speech or threaten them with having to run extra laps or something.

It doesnt' work that way.

As has been said a million times, the NBA is a player's league. The reasons should be obvious.

Posted by: SteveMG | December 2, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

but with young adults with large, guaranteed incomes, it just won't happen, SteveMG. T

But how can he do that? Motivation includes punishment. It's part of the process.

How can Saunders punish these men if they don't follow through?

Posted by: SteveMG | December 2, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

How did Blatche graduate high school with extremely poor command of the English language??

"We was lackadaisical,"
"Guys wasn't mentally focused. And that's what happened to us on the court, we still wasn't focused."
"There's no bad teams in this league,"

Posted by: Thundershock | December 2, 2010 4:37 AM | Report abuse
his english may be suspect, but his accountant tells me his math is just right.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 2, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

You know your coach thinks your team sucks when you sign a player that was just cut and no one else signs him and then you put him in the STARTING LINEUP.

You just told most of your players that they are no better than a minimum salaried- no guaranteed contract player.

Posted by: jmpalomo | December 2, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

-------------------------

Sad but true...

Posted by: arizona4 | December 2, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Flip could not motivate a veteran championship team in Detroit. He had the same problem last year with the Wiz before the team was blown up. He's having more problems with this team. It's apparent that he can't motivate and lead.
Blatche is a stand up guy in more ways than one. If you notice he never bends his knees to play defense and his feet appear to be stuck in cement. That should be an easy fix for an effective coach.
Ted must fix this mess quickly before the season is totally wasted!

Posted by: Stevie-J | December 2, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

really interesting how the upgrading od Alonzo Gee and the return of Al thornton may be affecting NY and his production. I'm speculating of course, but if NY was busting his tail for the past month and putting up numbers hoping to crack the starting 5, then i'm sure he was disappointed to see Alonzo gee grab the starting 3 spot 2 days removed from being on the street.Gee's avging 4pts 3 rebs since he's come over and scored 21 pts total. He's a good athlete and a cool guy, but he hasn't earned the starting spot and his inclusion in the lineup may be messing up NY's flow.
Ny was like the 3rd or 4th guy off the bench yesterday in a game where we struggled offensively and defensively, early on.NY got a lot of run in the second q and couldn't get his shot to fall. He did a good job of attacking the basket and picking up FTs, but i think during that string of 20 pters off the bench Ny was getting in the game midway through the first or a little later. I know we talked about not tossing NY into the starting lineup cuz it may mess up his flow, and maybe the converse is true as well. I'd really like to see Flip elevate NY over Gee and Al on the depth chart. Both of those guys look waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more streaky than NY has looked this year.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 2, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Take a look at www.tedstake.com for Ted's response to the game last night...sounds like he's a little ticked...

Posted by: peej9999 | December 2, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

woulda been nice if we ran like toronto runs. it's a shame our athletes have to stand around and watch AB,KH,and even Wall dribble in place until they find a good shot ( i left Gil out cuz he'll usually shoot a quick J,drive the lane or pass it off, but the ball doesn't stick as much). It's interesting to see what a first year (ever) NBA coach like Monty Williams is doing with an underachiever in NO, but the 50 win king can't get us off a 50 loss pace.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 2, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Note to lilhollywood10;That accountant line about Dray, Dude that was priceless(LMAO!!).

Posted by: dargregmag | December 2, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Difficult decisions lie ahead for the master of his craft, Ernest Grunfeld. He will not disappoint.

In Grunfeld We Trust!!
Posted by: melodious_thunk
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
There he is... the guy who works for Grunfeld.. was wondering when he was gonna show up.. too many people see the same thing so you better write that bu^^sh*t more and more.. like every five minutes because grunfeld is the reponsible for this stupid mess and all we are waiting for is for Ted to finally realize it.. Haters we are not... we are faithfuls who are disgusted with the way people(Grunfeld) is stealing money... him and his "crew" Sheppard and Neton... so get over it melodius... the team as constructed stinks out loud as do your interested comments... Get over it I say
Ted Lose Grunfeld!! TLG

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 2, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Difficult decisions lie ahead for the master of his craft, Ernest Grunfeld. He will not disappoint.

In Grunfeld We Trust!!
Posted by: melodious_thunk
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
There he is...melodious.. the guy who works for Grunfeld.. was wondering when he was gonna show up.. hey guy..too many people see the same thing so you better write that bu^^sh*t more and more.. like every five minutes because Grunfeld is the responsible for this stupid mess and all we are waiting for is for Ted to finally realize it.. Haters we are not... we are faithfuls who are disgusted with the way people(Grunfeld) is stealing money... him and his "crew" Sheppard and Neton... so get over it melodius... the team as constructed stinks out loud as do your interested comments... Get over it I say.. In Grunfeld We Trust NOT.
Ted Lose Grunfeld!! TLG

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 2, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I haven't read TL's comments on the game yet, will do so shortly. But I'm confident that TL will not put up with this kind of nonsense.

"We was [sic] lackadaisical in the shootaround."

Just what does a bunch of losers like this have to feel lackadaisical about?

Posted by: shovetheplanet | December 2, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Changes are needed, keep Blatche in for one more game as the starter. If he does not get tough, sit him down and make him a bench player. The backcourt is defensively weak. Start either Gil or Wall with Martin, Gee, Blatche and McGee. Gee and Martin toughen the backcourt, can shoot and rebound, and get into the passing lanes. They add height to help defend the outside shot. They help McGee control the paint. They add balance as they are both scorers at the rim with decent outside shooting. If Blatche keeps getting hurt under the basket and is finicky, sit him and put Booker at PF. You now have strong defense and quickness. Booker can attack the boards with McGee and protect the paint. We now have a formidable bench with Blatche,Young, Hinrich, Thornton, Yi, Gil or Wall, and Seraphin. I change my lineup depending on who is playing hard. At all times I want a combination of defense and offense. Three guards and a soft PF will never, ever, win consistently in the NBA, especially in the EAST. Get rid of Saunders. Get Jeff Van Gundy. Trade Armstrong, #1 pick and Saunders to Sacramento for Cousins. They want a coach to replace Westphal and are growing tired of Cousins. They get a coach, a valuable, low first round pick (possible lottery) and a serviceable big man.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 2, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Grunfield has a team here. These players are fun to watch and have talent. After a screwed up season last year the only thing we are really missing is a big strong enforcer center with a little ability on offense and defense. The coach has the pieces, he has assembled them incorrectly. Too many slow, soft players on the court at the same time. We have combo G-F's and do not use them. When the other team is dropping long shots on us why dont we put a bigger man on them? We put a smaller, offensive player on him. When Blatche wont defend and plays like a ballerina, why dont we yank him for Booker or Seraphin. The coach has the ability to motivate---Its called bench time. Dont let an under-performer play. You want proof Gil is a professional, he hasn't said a word about how this team is performing. He's not allowed to, he has been shut up by the press. He is doing what the press demanded. Playing hard and causing no issues.

There is no other GM in basketball that can take a team as messed up as last years team was and rebuild it with these kind of players like Grunfeld did in one year. We have the framework. Larry Bird couldnt fix the Pacers in one year. New York has been trying for ten years, The Celtics were lost for years. What would anyone else have done last year better? Who did we pass up? Who wanted to come here but didn't because we treated them wrong? Stop crying and fix the problem, its the lineup.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 2, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Trade Armstrong, #1 pick and Saunders to Sacramento for Cousins.

Trading the coach? Gotta' admit that's thinking outside the box.

I'm sure that's not allowed unless the coach agrees to it. After all, he signed a contract with Washington and not Sacramento.

Although if Larry was commissh, I'm pretty sure he'd approve.

Posted by: SteveMG | December 2, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Steve MG - You can trade the coach, its been done before! All the players signed a contract as well and they can be traded. In the NFL they once traded teams. The Baltimore Colts and The Los Angeles Rams traded in the 1970's. There would have to be a clause in the contract prohibiting a trade in order to stop the trade.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 2, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

There is no other GM in basketball that can take a team as messed up as last years team was and rebuild it with these kind of players like Grunfeld did in one year.
Posted by: 1bmffwb
^^^^^^^^
give it a break,,, he made this team and he made the previous teams... he's been a disaster since he came here. get a clue!you live on Mars?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 2, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I can not recall the name of the coaches who have been openly traded, although I remember it happening. Many coaches have gone to other teams and the previous team was given draft picks. Thats essentially the same thing. Oakland was given draft picks for allowing Gruden to go to Tampa Bay. George Allen going from Chicago to Los Angeles is another. In the Wizards case, they could just say they would let Saunders go to Sacramento if they wanted him and to no one else since he is under contract.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 2, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

You can trade the coach, its been done before!

Yes, but that's because the coach wanted to leave and go to the new team.

I'm pretty sure you can't trade a coach unless he agrees to the move.

Posted by: SteveMG | December 2, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

getjiggly1-Since you got personal, bbllloooowwww mmeeee.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 2, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

to 1bmffwb.. right after you get done doing the same to Grunfeld.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 2, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I can not recall the name of the coaches who have been openly traded, although I remember it happening.

I believe Gil Hodges, then under contract with the Senators, left to manage the Mets and the Senators received a player in order to allow Hodges to go.

But that was because (1) Hodges was under contract with Washington and (2) He wanted to go to NY but the Senators didn't want to let him go without compensation.

There have been, as you noted, several other examples. Not many; but some.

In order for Saunders to go to Sacramento, he'd have to approve the move. You can't force a coach to coach another team without his approval since his contract is with Washington and not Sacramento.

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

It's well-known, if these guys had been concentrating on school, they would not have been spending as much as six to eight hours a day (or more) playing basketball and working out while they were growing up. Had they been raised in dual-parent households (many were not), they may not have even been allowed to concentrate so much on a sport that has such a remote possibility of allowing them to become professionals. Obviously, some spent only a year in college, which was clearly not academically fruitful, and many have been drafted right out of high school, where absolutely nothing was demanded of them in the way of academic excellence. Short story: they are not being paid to speak publicly; they are being paid to play basketball. Media interviews are probably much more cumbersome than the players would wish, they are being interviewed (in many cases) after games when they are exhausted, and they are being quoted verbatim. The expectations are so low that when the players do excel or achieve academically, such as when Vince Carter attended his college graduation on the same morning as a playoff Game 7, and subsequently missed a potentially game-winning shot with two seconds remaining, they are questioned and ridiculed.

The Wizards problems run far deeper than the players's ability to speak cogently.

Posted by: rmagritte | December 2, 2010 6:00 AM | Report abuse

WHAM!!! SMOKE THAT FOR A WHILE!
I love it when what appears to be a sarcastic question is asked, and the obvious answer is able to shut the mouths of both 'babes and lions.'

Posted by: bazteal | December 2, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

You are right, the coach would have to want to go. Who would want him as coach if he didn't want to go. Having the job and say one-three million dollars bonus would probably entice him (better than firing him and paying out the entire contract). I figured all along that everyone would want the move. Saunders can see his future written on the wall here (pun intended).


If accurate, from USA today article:
But when the Magic and Heat reached a deal — Orlando will send the 39th pick of the NBA draft to the Heat and give Miami the option of swapping first-round selections in 2008 — it allowed Orlando to hire the only other coach it interviewed. The trade of Stan Van Gundy.


Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 2, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

getjiggly1 - I have no love for Grunfeld, I just don't like a dumb^ss who has no ideas, only silly remarks. The team he built prior to this team was better than any team Washington had in decades. Idiot!

Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 2, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Since we do not get Comcast, and thus do not get to see the Wizards on TV, we have just dropped our past interest. We were 20 Year Season Ticket Holders, and went through 16 years of poor basketball following the team.
Maybe if Ted would switch to A larger audience network, we can come back again!

Posted by: HLSHAP | December 2, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Since we do not receive Comcast, our interest in the Wizards is nil. If Ted would just place his teams on a broader network, then we can once more become fans. We were 20 Year Season ticket Holders and had seats inthe very center of the arena.

Posted by: HLSHAP | December 2, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Since we do not receive Comcast, our interest in the Wizards is nil. If Ted would just place his teams on a broader network, then we can once more become fans. We were 20 Year Season ticket Holders and had seats inthe very center of the arena.

Posted by: HLSHAP | December 2, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

flip needs to send a message to Blatche, if not by benching him once at least sitting him after egregious plays.

BUT...booker doesnt look like the answer to anyting currently imo. Surprising to see a 4yr college player look so lost (not all the time obviously).

More evidence (imo) Flip is currently too oriented on schemes and not enough on talent. Ted's take mentioned the team not showing "young legs"....maybe he is seeing the same thing. Let the athletes on this team run and defend, that will give the opposition more trouble than the hyperbolic parabloid floating turd defense currently being employed

Posted by: divi3 | December 2, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Would it make the grammar police feel any better if the Wizards players were quoted speaking the King's English after a resounding defeat? These guys are paid to bounce a ball and shoot it into a metal cylinder.

Posted by: randysbailin | December 2, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

FIRE FLIP SAUNDERS,HIRE MIKE WOODSON.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 2, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh NO!!! Not Mike Woodson. I'm sure you must have meant' Mike Tyson'! This team needs a coach that can show he will take 'no mess', and doesn’t have to worry about wining every game, but can produce effort from this team every night.

Can we all together say: MARK JACKSON... That's what I'm talking about!

Posted by: bazteal | December 2, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I have no love for Grunfeld, I just don't like a dumb^ss who has no ideas, only silly remarks...
Posted by: 1bmffwb
.......................
so don't look in the mirror idiot.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 2, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: bazteal | December 2, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I think Mr.Woodson's teams have seen the postseason in more recent years than Flipperacci. But I'd rock with Mark Jackson if he were interested.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 2, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

the coach is not responsible for motivating players at this level. the answer is to get and play palyers with character and pride. We have too many who are just happy to get by. Grunfield giving Blatche an extension is redonkulous. Keep giving low character players like Arenas and Blatche money and we'll continue slide into mediocrity. Grundfeld is a moron for getting rid of our only tough inside player in Singleton.

Posted by: jreed63 | December 2, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

How many blowout losses does a team need to suffer before some decisive action is taken. From my chair, the whole team is lackadaisical -- coaches included. Ironically, the two players giving a good and consistent effort are Javale McGee and Nick Young. Javale may have defensive lapses, but his energy and effort has been impressive.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | December 3, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

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