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Posted at 1:59 PM ET, 01/18/2011

Flip Saunders misses practice to tend to ailing mother

By Michael Lee

Wizards Coach Flip Saunders was not with the team during practice on Tuesday as the team prepared for the Milwaukee Bucks. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Saunders's 90-year-old mother, Kay, is back in an intensive care unit. Saunders missed the Wizards' 104-90 win over the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 29 while tending to her, but joined the team for the next day when her condition improved.

Saunders traveled to Cleveland and is expected to join the team in Milwaukee, where the Wizards will attempt to end their 0-19 road record against the Bucks. Top assistant Randy Wittman filled in for Saunders last month and ran Tuesday's practice.

As the team gathered at the conclusion of practice, Wittman warned the team about being complacent following their 108-101 win over the Utah Jazz, a victory that served as their first against a team with a winning record. The Wizards have also won consecutive games for the first time this season.

"We can't be satisfied with that. Lets be honest, we have fallen into that, where we were pretty happy and play [poorly] the next game," Wittman told the team. "That's the stuff we've got to think of. Everybody should feel good about how we played last night, but we can't be satisfied. We've got a great opportunity. All we have to do is worry about how we're doing and how we play. How we play is going to determine whether we win or lose. "

By Michael Lee  | January 18, 2011; 1:59 PM ET
Categories:  Flip Saunders  | Tags:  Flip Saunders, Randy Wittman  
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Next: Kirk Hinrich: Skiles team is 'going to play hard'

Comments

I may not care for Flip much as a coach but I really wish him and is mom well. Some things are more important and family is most important.

As for Flip trying to stop J McGee to stop shooting every time he touches the ball. I thought he was okay with J Mc going coast to coast and driving for charging slam but again, we really don't know the whole story with Flip trying to mold this team,.

Posted by: zack5 | January 18, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

From SI.com, Brett Robson's 'power ratings'. Wiz are up to 25th at season's midpoint -- about as high as they've been.

"Washington Wizards (12-27)
Last week in Minnesota, John Wall kicked it into an extra gear and drove by three surprised Timberwolves for an easy layup. On his way back down the court, a limp that had been barely perceptible throughout the game became more pronounced for the next 10 seconds or so. For a 20-year-old rookie reliant on speed to leverage his skills in the NBA, Wall's sprained foot and bruised knee are difficult obstacles for him to overcome, and a team that ranks 24th in field-goal percentage certainly doesn't help the point guard's assist totals. Yet Wall has still shown enough to be among the league's top three rookies -- and the MVP in Washington."

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

and the MVP in Washington."


Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Come on it has to be Kirk without him Wall would be nowhere near as good as he is right now.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

And yet, Utah doesn't have one (their current starting SG, Raja Bell, is averaging half as many points as Matthews in basically the same amount of PT).

Posted by: kalo_rama

And yet, they're 27-14 (roughly the same win % as last year).

And yet, in Utah's offense last year, Matthews averaged 9.1 pts/g (though closer to 12pts/g by the end of the year) which pretty much matches Raja Bell's contribution this year. And they're getting better production from CJ Miles (who gets minutes at SG) in the same amount of minutes. So the SG combo of Bell and Miles produce pretty much exactly what Matthews and Miles did last year.

Sounds like they really haven't struggled to replace him.

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Come on it has to be Kirk without him Wall would be nowhere near as good as he is right now.

Posted by: bulletsfan78

But you don't post from hate, right? Just what you 'know'?

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"Come on it has to be Kirk without him Wall would be nowhere near as good as he is right now."

LOL I left off Robson's choice for runner-up, which in fact was Kirk Hinrich.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Yet Wall has still shown enough to be among the league's top three rookies -- and the MVP in Washington."

"Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 3:05 PM

Why'd you leave out the part where it says Hinrich is the runner-up for MVP. What, are you gettin' soft all of a sudden?

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"Come on it has to be Kirk without him Wall would be nowhere near as good as he is right now."
Posted by: bulletsfan78

"But you don't post from hate, right? Just what you 'know'?"
Posted by: ts35

78 is just trying to grab attention. No harm, no foul, no hate, no knowledge.

Posted by: fansincebullets | January 18, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The reason I don't like to get into a back-and-forth with bf78 is that it always leads to the same place, which is 'Fire Flip! Fire Ernie!' What's the point of that? I already know where it ends. Sometimes bf starts out with a reasonable point but it's really just a hook -- in short order, you're back in that feedback loop (Fire Flip! Fire Ernie! or for a change-up, Fire Ernie! Fire Flip!)

It's like when you send in the postcard that promises a free toaster and the toaster never arrives but you get 37 robocalls from Publisher's Clearinghouse...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

A Team MVP of a team 12-27 and 0-19 on the road? Seriously?

Posted by: ptp09 | January 18, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about Flip's mom. We've all been hard on him, but I think he's doing a good job considering everything. I like the rotation he has settled into with wall, ny, lewis, blatce, mcgee, and hinrich, thornton, yi off the bench. Hopefully mix in Howard as additional sg/sf off the bench for a solid 9 man regular rotation, work in booker when needed.

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 18, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"So the SG combo of Bell and Miles produce pretty much exactly what Matthews and Miles did last year."

Which proves nothing except (perhaps) they haven't gotten any worse by replacing Matthews with Bell. Which, even if true, isn't the point. Given the more complete offensive game Matthews is displaying, if they'd kept him and expanded his role a bit, they could easily be getting more, which likely would have been a useful/welcome addition with Okur sitting out most of the first half of the season.

"Sounds like they really haven't struggled to replace him."

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 3:42 PM

Which, of course, no one said they did.

You said a "designated scorer" at SG was easy to find. I responded that "yet the Jazz don't have one." They don't. Bell is there primarily for defense, as was Matthews when he was with the Jazz. However, if they wanted a designated scorer at SG, then Matthews would have been a better option, because he has a better offensive game than Bell.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Seeing this team starting to come together. I think it would be great if they make the playoffs, even if it is only the 1st round.

Best case scenario IMO make the playoffs, come out of draft with Jordan Williams.

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 18, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

It was great seeing Eddie Jordan at the game!

He's just sitting at home. I'd love to see him join the coaching staff, adding a skilled coach like Eddie to the staff can only help.

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 18, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

"Best case scenario IMO make the playoffs, come out of draft with Jordan Williams."

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 18, 2011 4:10 PM

Hard to see that as a best case scenario. If the team had its core in place going forward, then a taste of the playoffs might be a good confidence boost for team morale. But given that at least of 1/3 of the players on the roster will likely be gone next season, I don't really see it as an imperative. A high draft pick will be more valuable.

Jordan Williams is a solid up-and-coming college big, but if he's smart he'll stay at Maryland for another year (at least). He needs the seasoning. And if he does come out, he likely won't be taken with a pick as high as the one the Wizards end up with.

(And with the end of the CBA and a possible/likely lockout looming, my guess is that a lot of middle tier college guys will hold off on declaring until they see what the new landscape looks like.)

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

NYs stats as a starter this season:

21pts 46%FG
3.2 Rebs
1.9 Assists

Ray Allen:
17.7 points (51%)
3.8 rebounds
3.1 assists

But Nick isnt even a rotation player yet? Come on....

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Clearly you missed the point of me posting that. THOSE were Nick Young's numbers when you said he had shown so much improvement last season...and that his statistics this season aren't much different.

I'm telling you from WATCHING him that he's better...and PER stats don't mean much to me.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The reason I don't like to get into a back-and-forth with bf78 is that it always leads to the same place...

----

yeah, lotta tunnel-vision posters here pounding the same old, same old.

Posted by: MinuMang | January 18, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards would have to go 26-17 to get to 38 wins and likely in the postseason this year. That would be a downright stunning turnaround which would be a better outcome than another lottery pick, because it would mean the group we have was playing .600 ball headed into Wall's first offseason.

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I gotta disagree....another first round exit wouldn't help much. They need more talent...because even with Wall, Nick, AB and JaVale...Booker, Seraphin...who is really a part of the future? I think getting a really good SF in the draft is more important than getting knocked out of the playoffs.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The wizards will win 30 of their next 43 games, here come Nick Young.

Posted by: maejude | January 18, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The reason I don't like to get into a back-and-forth with bf78 is that it always leads to the same place...

yeah, lotta tunnel-vision posters here pounding the same old, same old.

Posted by: MinuMang | January 18, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Sort of like the people on here that will always respond with Flip isn't doing anything wrong it's always the players?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Jordan Williams...if he does come out, he likely won't be taken with a pick as high as the one the Wizards end up with.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Most mock drafts said the same thing about Booker and Seraphin, but that didn't stop Ernie from drafting them.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"But you don't post from hate, right? Just what you 'know'?"
Posted by: ts35

78 is just trying to grab attention. No harm, no foul, no hate, no knowledge.

Posted by: fansincebullets | January 18, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I forgot people aren't allowed to have a sense of humor...except the Wizards (considering the product they put on the floor every night)they are laughing all the way to the bank.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Which proves nothing except (perhaps) they haven't gotten any worse by replacing Matthews with Bell

Haven't gotten any worse? They're 27-14.

I believe this all started with you saying the Jazz probably regret letting him go. Since they're at the same winning % they were at last year (even with Okur being out), and are getting similar production from Matthews' replacements, while he would probably be nice to have, tough to say they 'regret' it, imo.

Considering Miles is getting similar production off of similar opportunities, actually I think they do have their replacement. Which might have been on their minds when they declined to re-sign Matthews.

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Yet Wall has still shown enough to be among the league's top three rookies -- and the MVP in Washington."
"Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 3:05 PM

Why'd you leave out the part where it says Hinrich is the runner-up for MVP. What, are you gettin' soft all of a sudden?

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse


No he was embarassed to do so. And who the hell is Robson anyway. The most valuable and best player on this team is Nick Young, who the Wizards can't replicate with any other player. Wall has been horrendous on the defensive end as exemplified by his schooling by an average point guard such as Calderon. Any reasonable observer would note that Nick You8ng was the most critical player in both the Toronto and Utah games.

Posted by: NewManagement | January 18, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Working under the blog corollary to Murphy's Law that "That which will muddy arguments on these boards the most is most likely to happen", I can all but guarantee that if Wittman coaches the team Wednesday, Wednesday the team will get their first road win. If Murphy's Law really wants to muddy the waters, KH will be the hero.

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

if Wittman coaches the team Wednesday, the team will get their first road win.

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the bb Gods would be that cruel to Samson151 and the other Flip apologists.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

"Jordan Williams...if he does come out, he likely won't be taken with a pick as high as the one the Wizards end up with.Posted by: kalo_rama"

At the moment, the consensus is he goes late second or not at all. Of course that could change.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, I do see that NBA draft.net has moved Jordan Williams up to mid-first -- not sure where that came from. Draftexpress still doesn't have him listed in the draft.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"Why'd you leave out the part where it says Hinrich is the runner-up for MVP. What, are you gettin' soft all of a sudden?Posted by: kalo_rama "

LOL missed it in the cut and paste...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"No, he was embarrassed... And who the hell is Robson anyway. The most valuable and best player on this team is Nick Young, who the Wizards can't replicate with any other player. Wall has been horrendous on the defensive end as exemplified by his schooling by an average point guard such as Calderon. Any reasonable observer would note that Nick You8ng was the most critical player in both the Toronto and Utah games.Posted by: NewManagement"

LOL speaking of somebody who should be embarrassed..

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

78 is just trying to grab attention. No harm, no foul, no hate, no knowledge.

Posted by: fansincebullets | January 18, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

fansincebullets. No sense of humor.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"another first round exit wouldn't help much. They need more talent..."Posted by: SDMDTSU

I'm afraid you're right. Not that a high pick is a guarantee of getting a future superstar, but the pickings at 15-20 are fairly slim and mostly mean waiting 2-4 seasons for somebody to develop (we're seeing that in Washington). The OKC experience is a pretty decent example -- if you can hit on three or four high picks, you can get a lot done in a short period. Otherwise you're looking at free agency, and that's also risky.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Take the '05 draft for instance. Picks 15-20 produced one star, Danny Granger, who became a regular in his second year and an impact player in his third. Those same slots in '06 have produced no impact players. The '04 draft produced Al Jefferson, who rode the bench his first two seasons, and Jameer Nelson, who became a full-time starter his third year in Orlando. That's not atypical.

It's a dilemma for teams hoping to build through the draft.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

if you can hit on three or four high picks, you can get a lot done in a short period.

Pure luck.

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

And who the hell is Robson anyway.

Any reasonable observer would note that Nick You8ng was the most critical player in both the Toronto and Utah games.

Posted by: NewManagement"

NewManagement,

Considering Brett Robson wrote Kirk was the teams runner up MVP I would say it's either Flip's or Samson's pen name.

You can't use reasonable and observer in the same sentence with the group of guys you have on here because it always leads to the same place, which is it...

LOL speaking of somebody who should be embarrassed..

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

yeah, lotta tunnel-vision posters here pounding the same old, same old.

Posted by: MinuMang | January 18, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Which proves nothing or Which, of course, no one said they did.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Continuing with the 2000 draft, we have Hedo Turkoglu at 16 -- he became a regular in year3. In 2001, the number 15 through 20 picks produced Zach Randolph, also a regular in his third year. The '02 draft, with Yao Ming at the top, produced only journeymen at 15-20 (Juan Dixon the Wiz pick). The '03 class (LeBron)yielded David West at 18 -- who emerged in his third season.

So there are some good players in the group, but usually not much in the way of instant help for a rebuilding club.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

It's pure luck hitting on top 3 draft picks?

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

It's pure luck hitting on top 3 draft picks?

It's pure luck to:

Get top picks several times, we've moved down or stayed put in the lotto every time other than Wall and KWame. Now we're about 5th worst in the league...it's pure luck to move up. And it's pure luck to fall into a generational player like Shaq or Timmy.

Hell, the Thunder were lucky to get the 2nd pick...they very well could have gone for Oden too.

The idea that the plan should be lucking into the best picks and getting them right is no plan at all IMO. It's just losing and seeing what happens next.

I'd much rather this team as constructed gets respectable in Wall's 1st year (above .500 2nd half) That would mean Wall, Nick, Dray, and JM are playing well together and developing.

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

No. It's not luck to get top picks several times. All you have to do is lose. You'll pretty much get a top 5 pick. They don't need another generational player...just highly regarded talent.

If they would've gotten Oden...they probably would've had ANOTHER losing season and might have ended up with Blake Griffin too. Who knows.

The plan is to play the games. If they win great...but an ideal result is not the playoffs this year. Those 4 players aren't enough to get it done.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

2000 draft is a perfect example. Top5 picks:

Kenyon Martin
Stromile Swift
Darious Miles
Marcus Fizer
Mike Miller

Turned out there was more talent 6-20 than at the top...3 of the top5 picks were arguably busts

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz dealt with this same dilemma during the Ed Jordan years, when they were making it into the playoffs and losing. Grunfeld complained about what several seasons of mid-first round draft choices could do to a club's future.

About that 2000 draft -- not much talent at 15-20. The couple good players who emerged, Hedo and Q Richardson, took several seasons to develop. Not an ideal scenario for a team with aging stars.

So the Wiz squeeze into the playoffs, then go out in the first round -- is that worth losing the chance at a better player? That's the club's choice to make.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 7:53 PM | Report abuse

2000 draft is a perfect example.

One of the worst draft classes of all time is your perfect example? Classic.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 18, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

The plan is to play the games. If they win great...but an ideal result is not the playoffs this year. Those 4 players aren't enough to get it done.

There's no law stating you cant make trades or sign FAs. I dont recall us drafting Gil, AJ, or Caron.

If this team plays .600 ball and squeaks into the playoffs (not happenin)...then by definition those 4 players are getting it done. That's a better scenario then losing so often and consistently that we get top5 picks for the next 3yrs. Even if we did, landing players who pan out is a total crapshoot.

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

One of the worst draft classes of all time is your perfect example? Classic.

I didnt realize it was, thanks. Just looked it up after Samson mentioned it.

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 8:17 PM | Report abuse

"NewManagement,Considering Brett Robson wrote Kirk was the teams runner up MVP I would say it's either Flip's or Samson's pen name.You can't use reasonable and observer in the same sentence with the group of guys you have on here because it always leads to the same place, which is it..."

See? The blog equivalent of robocalls at dinner...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Draft Express has Jonas Valanciunas going #3, now. That's sure to change a few times, but he looks pretty good for an 18 yr old. Here's his site.

So far it looks like the top-10 will be all bigs and a couple of PGs. That will be a test for Ted's plan to draft based on need. The Wizards already have AB, McGee, Seraphin, and Booker. Ernie could end up reaching for a wing.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 18, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

So the Wiz squeeze into the playoffs, then go out in the first round -- is that worth losing the chance at a better player? That's the club's choice to make.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 7:53 PM

The thing is though, which scenario makes them a better team, learning how to play good enough to be a playoff team or sucking just to get a good lottery pick.

I am well aware that top notch players mean just about everything but IMO having a winning vehicle to plug them into is more important.

You see it seems apparent that John Wall may be type of player that can take you to championships, but I submit he can't and will not do it in a broken down hoopty, I mean organization.

So, if you have a group of players no matter how challenged that most people like to characterized them and they for some reason are good enough to play together to squeak into playoff contention, that would be what you would call winning.

Work on winning first and the players will follow. Its kinda like, build it and they will come.

You can't build anything just playing for the lottery.

But, you could get lucky, Kwame Brown or John Wall anyone. A crapshoot anyone like some posters have said.

Just Win Baby.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 18, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

See? The blog equivalent of robocalls at dinner...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

See? The same defenseless response to a 12-27 0-19 record.

Since you're probably the only person left who still get robocalls at dinner try this web site...

https://www.donotcall.gov/

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 10:46 PM | Report abuse

"Work on winning first and the players will follow. Its kinda like, build it and they will come.LarryInClintonMD.Posted by: LarryInClintonMD"

Except in the NBA, if you keep finishing in the middle of the pack, the players you need may not come. Or arrive in need of two or three years seasoning...

It's a difficult choice involving a certain amount of risk either way.

Can't make the choice based on lofty metaphors or movie-script endings.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

"Since you're probably the only person left who still get robocalls at dinner try this web site...posted by bulletsfan78"

Or maybe a better comparison might be those e-mails that get past the spam filter, promising that big money awaits you in Nigeria...

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 11:51 PM | Report abuse

So I guess what I'm saying is that most of those posts from bf78 are similar enough that he could have written them in a deep sleep, and probably has.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Interesting NYT article on the Knicks' trades and FA acquisitions.

http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/where-cyberspace-meets-cap-space/?hpw

Posted by: Samson151 | January 19, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Best for the Wiz to play their butts off and let the chips fall where they may. To be honest, I also hope it results in top 4 pick. Jarred Sullinger the guy I would hope for for this club. Terrence Jone running second.

We were really fortunate to get the top pick lsast year. Unfortunatly we still don't have all the pieces in place. At this stage in the proccess, drafting high is the best option. The guys don't work out for your squad still have a relatively high trade value.

That stuff about the mid 6 through 20 being were the better players are? Isn't that as much of a crap shoot as the top lottery selections are? How can you plan for that?

The Wizards best option is for them to play as best as they can (not tanking for a pick) draft as smart as possible, keep the guys that can contribute, and use the others as trade assets.

Posted by: gmac78 | January 19, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

"Jarred Sullinger the guy I would hope for for this club. Terrence Jone running second. posted by gmac78"

Sullinger is the best big man I've seen this year, that's for sure. The question is his height (6'9" or a little less). Jones has been playing out of position at center, which makes him a little harder to evaluate.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 19, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Jared sullinger reminds me of Booker at clemson, but a lil more skilled, a lot younger, and not nearly as tough.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | January 19, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

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