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Posted at 12:44 PM ET, 01/31/2011

Jump ball: Should Flip Saunders keep his job?

By Washington Post editors

A column by Kyle Weidie on DCist has prompted much discussion about whether Flip Saunders is the right coach for the Wizards.

A comment by lilhollywood10 sums things up succinctly:

How does [Jim] O'Brien get fired from Indy before Flip loses his job? I know the Pacers haven't dropped 23 straight road contests.

On his blog, owner Ted Leonsis fired back at the DCist piece.

What do you think? Is it time for a coaching change? Or has the team already made enough "bold moves"?

By Washington Post editors  | January 31, 2011; 12:44 PM ET
Categories:  Flip Saunders  
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Comments

Yep. He should go. I can't stand the fact that he berates the players in the press. How many times before games have we heard or read that he feels this team is not good enough to beat this team or that team? If you are leading a troop to war, you don't say lets go even though I know we can't win! Come on, you tell them that they may be stronger but lets find their weak spot and try to take em out! You don't give up the war before you have even fought the battle and he does that constantly. That is why this team is not that confident and why they lose on the road. Hell, he predicts the loss before the game starts. Anyway......if we are going to start anew, lets start at the top. Grunfeld and Saunders got to go!

Posted by: ivyleague | January 31, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

If the Wizards want to win 5 more games this year then he should be fired. I don't think that's the goal. If they want to continue to spend this year developing their young talent then I think he should stay. All of their young players (except perhaps Blatche) have been steadily improving this year. That's his primary responsibility in my opinion and he's been successful.

He's been saying he wants to win and has encouraged the team to make wins part of their goals, but the Wiz are clearly rebuilding and in that mode the wins are just a potential bi-product of the young players getting better. If he does nothing more than help shape John Wall into the superstar that his talent affords then he's worth keeping. If he can also turn McGee into a decent starting center, Young into a reliable scoring threat and either Booker or Seraphin into a quality big man off the bench then he's a huge asset to the Wizards.

Posted by: jon_quest | January 31, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Fire Ernie first

Posted by: PVGtownAz | January 31, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Bwahahahahahahahahaha! Props to lilhollywood for the quote, but WI quoting commenters from the WI? Inevitable or a new low? If they pull a quote from DCMAN88 will they bold it? Or blockquote a Kalo comment? (Not sure if I have a calling card...Not making sense? Using ten words when four would do?) Too funny. Too meta, but too funny.

As for Flip, to quote Jesse Jackson (esp from the SNL skit) the point is moot. Ted owes Flip too much money right now to fire him without overly compelling reasons. Losing a lot of games this year doesn't reach the bar. If there's a roster mutiny, then his hand might be forced, but I think Ted would attempt to squash any uprising first.

As for the more appropriate question of whether Flip is the right coach for this team? I'm not sure. I don't sense that he has connected with the team, or even with it's most important piece at the moment, John Wall. But in saying that, I don't know that there are a lot of better choices out there either. Certainly none that would make a midseason firing worth it. Sometimes you get the kind of bump (even if temporary) that the Bobcats are getting with Silas, more often, imo, you get more of the same (see Tapscott, Ed).

Keep trying to upgrade the roster (though this does also beg the EG question). As they bring in more talent, it should become more evident if Flip needs to stay or go. Look at Doc Rivers. His first 3 years in Boston they lost more games each year than the year before. He was getting called out by Paul Pierce among others. Suddenly they pick up two HOFers and he's one of the 'best' coaches in the league.

I ain't sayin Flip will be Doc Rivers in two years, I'm just sayin it ain't always just about the coach.

Posted by: ts35 | January 31, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

If the Wizards were able to beat the Boston Celtics, then this means you have a team that capable of competing with other good teams out there. The coaching staff needs to be more intense with these young players and push them harder. John Wall for example seems so tentative and always worries about what kind of plays/sets to run. It's not proper use of his speed and skills. Let this guy do what he does best.

Posted by: bdunkadunk | January 31, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Big "Ups" to lilhollywood for being the blog celeb that got the wheels turning. Oh ts35, you forgot to mention butt kissing Sampson151, the leading panelist on the "Why Fire Ernie" board. I says Flip should go too. Bring in Mark "Momma, there goes that man" Jackson, a young NBA mind that shouldn't cost an arm and a leg to get him here and would be an excellent mentor to John Wall. If that requires Ernie leaving too, then they both should go.

Posted by: zack9633 | January 31, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

This is a perfect time to let Sam grab the reins and learn on the job. I think Sam would be great at motivating them and getting more out of a very "young" team.

Flip body language is screaming that he does not want to be hear and believe me the players are picking up off of it.

No disrespect, if they fire Flip please don't hire Walt Wittman in his place. You are replacing one retread with another. Time for a fresh face with new ideas.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 31, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

This is a perfect time to let Sam grab the reins and learn on the job. I think Sam would be great at motivating them and getting more out of a very "young" team.

Flip's body language is screaming that he does not want to be here and believe me the players are picking up off of it.

No disrespect to Walt, if they fire Flip please don't hire Walt Wittman in his place. You are replacing one retread with another. Time for a fresh face with new ideas.....

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 31, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I am not a big Flip fan but I don't hate him either. Does anyone out there think that there is another good NBA coach who could win in this environment? Really, with all of the injuries, distractions, gun play, extra partying that the players have been doing over the past few years, it is a wonder that we have enough players to get onto the court. Our best player is a rookie, give him room to grow. Nick Young is finally starting to come into his own. Yes we have lost 23 straight road games, but there has been improvement between last year and this year. Evaluate at the end of the season.

Posted by: welangIII | January 31, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to thank The Academy, Mike Lee, Kal,Samson, Peter John Ramos, Lester Hudson and Ledell Eackles........

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | January 31, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Walt Whitman is dead. You're thinking of Randy.

Posted by: jon_quest | January 31, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

It's clear Flip is approaching the rebuilding with the right attitude--he's a teacher first. The real question is: are these guys capable of learning anything from Flip...or anyone else. Who knows?

If the mission for the rest of the season is to develop Booker, Seraphin, Wall and McGee, and to properly reward and punish Blatche for his play (instead of pretending he's still a rookie and a kid), then I'm ok with Flip staying.

But at this point, the players don'tknow what the mission is. Most NBA players put playing time and certainty about their roles ahead of winning. ("Not my fault we don't have any HOFers.") Flip can do a better job of providing that certainty to the players.

In most of their post-game comments, they act like it's a mystery why they lose. If it's clearer to them who plays, why they play, and how much they play, maybe it won't be so mysterious.

Posted by: civiccenter | January 31, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I think Walt Whitman could get the job done

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | January 31, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

seems to me its all about dollars and cents, other wise there is no other reason flip would be coaching the wizards right now. he throws players under the bus, has horrible rotations, cant lead. time for change is long overdue.

Posted by: skinsfan09 | January 31, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Bring in Mark "Momma, there goes that man" Jackson, a young NBA mind that shouldn't cost an arm and a leg to get him here and would be an excellent mentor to John Wall. If that requires Ernie leaving too, then they both should go.

Posted by: zack9633

My problem with Mark Jackson is that after his playing days, he has only been a commentator, he has never coached anywhere. Given how young our team is and will continue to be for a while, I would think a more seasoned hand would be better. I'd take Cassell over Jackson, but I'm not sure Cassell is ready either. Personally I would love the NBA equivalent of Mike Tomlin. Someone who's young enough and relatable enough but who can still instill discipline. Those kinds of guys aren't easy to find though. Either way, Cassell deserves a shot here ahead of Jackson.

Posted by: ts35 | January 31, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

seems to me its all about dollars and cents, other wise there is no other reason flip would be coaching the wizards right now. he throws players under the bus, has horrible rotations, cant lead. time for change is long overdue.

Posted by: skinsfan09 | January 31, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Kyle Weidie says Flip works his tail off to coach the players but that he isn't a great motivator. He points specifically to the Phoenix Suns game.

It might be true that some players on this roster don't give 100 percent all the time, but some do (e.g. Lewis, Wall, Hinrich, Howard, Booker). McGee has become more consistent as has Nick Young. Also, the bottom line is that the teaching has sunk in to some extend. Flip has developed some of the talent on this roster. At the end of the day the organization will move players before it moves the coach.

In order to develop an organization you need stability in the front office and with the head coach. You can't have a revolving door every couple years and expect to build a winner.

In Saunder's case, the team he inherited last year never had a chance to gel. By mid-season last year every single key player from the team was gone. This year he enters the season with one of the NBA's youngest teams headed by a rookie PG. The absolute best case coming into this season was that maybe, just maybe the team would land the 8th playoff seed (still possible). Anyone who was expecting easy-going and a rapid development by the rookies wasn't being realistic.

Gotta figure that Saunders is good through at least next season. If Saunders goes, Grunfeld is also likely to get canned.

The criticisms of Leonsis strike me as misguided in the article too. As an owner he seems to have the right characteristics -- he's someone who listens, does his research, and delegates authority to his subordinates without micromanaging (at least that's how it looks on the outside). The turn around with the Caps after years of losing demonstrates that he had the skills at least with respect to hockey to take a team from the cellar towards respectability. In the case of the Wizards, the team itself has improved dramatically since he became a business partner with Abe Pollin. He'll get things right eventually.

A lot of the people complaining about the coach and the players are just haters. As a fan I can understand the frustration with losing, but simply wanting change for change sake is counter-productive. If you're going to make whole-sale changes you have to do your homework on the front-end, and on the back-end you have to have some patience as the organization has its growing pains. Good things don't come easy. As much as a team or organization plans and works too, you can never separate dumb luck from the equation. Sometimes you might do the right things, but not see the dividend that you hoped for simply because you didn't have enough luck.

Posted by: JPRS | January 31, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Fire Flip 1 year ago.

Anyway, is anybody else looking at Ted's blog?? If DAN SNYDER touted his revenues and how many new season ticket holders we have in the midst of this record breaking losing season, people would want to hang him outside of Union Station.

But the great and powerful Ted talks about his business adventures and how much new money the team is making and everyone turns a blind eye. I hope you are as happy with the product as Ted is happy with his new revenue and Groupon.

Posted by: Albright4Snapper | January 31, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Walt Whitman is dead. You're thinking of Randy.

Posted by: jon_quest | January 31, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Oops, thanks Jonny Quest - Race Bannon and myself thank you for catching my "freudian slip".........

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 31, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"Do you like Groupon and do you like its ad business and revenues to you? Let me know because this article confused me?" Sounds like a threatening shot across the revenue bow. Classy move, Ted.

Most of the progress cited was marketing or box-office oriented.

Posted by: ubetonit | January 31, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Fire the coach? Fire the garbage players. I'm not saying Flip is the answer but let's be realistic. Professional athletes shoudn't need a coach as motivation to play hard. Even when they play hard (which is rare) the lack of talent is obviously evident. If he had talent to work with and was losing then the rumors can start flying. Is Byron Scott in Cleveland a bad coach? No, he has garbage players, too. A side note: John Wall really needs to negate the turnovers, release his shot a little quicker and be more decisive. Would love to see him push the ball fast on every play and if nothing is there then slow up and run the offense. Needs to defend a little better as well.

Posted by: matthewrayman | January 31, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

well, all our "young" guys have shown improvement this season; I'll credit them for working to improve but also flip for teaching them (whatever else he may or may not be, he's definitely a teacher).

maybe I've missed it but I also haven't seen any evidence that the players don't "like" flip (of course, I really don't think whether they do or not matters a hill of beans).

has he "lost" them? I haven't seen any evidence of that either. sure, they've come out flat and looking defeated at times. they're tired of losing. so's flip. most of the players' comments though are along the lines of "we just didn't play hard, we just didn't follow the plan," and that's hardly an indictment of the coach.

unlike some other posters, I also don't see that this roster is loaded with real talent. wall will probably turn out pretty well. the rest of the young guys? second string at best on a decent team, I'd guess.

nick young criticizing flip's play calling? I'm still laughing that anyone would take that seriously. as much as I like nick, I sure wouldn't want to see him call the plays for even a pre-k team. frustration, that's all it was. (nick also had far too many plays called for him in the okc game. I'd blame flip for that before I'd blame him for calling too few for him in the loss to memphis.)

changing horses in midstream? occasionally, as has been pointed out, the strategy results in a temporary upward bump. that seldom lasts, and there aren't a plethora of fine coaches out there vying for a chance to whip our kids into shape.

in any case, it ain't happening soon anyway. ted's made that pretty clear.

Posted by: MinuMang | January 31, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Judging any coach the question is; Are we making progress? Are we any farther along than when the season started. Does McGee and Blatche know their assignments nightly. Does the team know how to play defense? Are we taking the right shots? Are we getting the ball to the right player in the right situation? Are we playing the right offense? Are we getting the most out of the players? Too many of these questions have NO as answers. So therefore, Flip must go. If the answer is "NO" Then Flip must "GO".

Posted by: 1bmffwb | January 31, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

A lot of the people complaining about the coach and the players are just haters. As a fan I can understand the frustration with losing, but simply wanting change for change sake is counter-productive. If you're going to make whole-sale changes you have to do your homework on the front-end, and on the back-end you have to have some patience as the organization has its growing pains. Good things don't come easy. As much as a team or organization plans and works too, you can never separate dumb luck from the equation. Sometimes you might do the right things, but not see the dividend that you hoped for simply because you didn't have enough luck.

Posted by: JPRS | January 31, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

JPRS - As a person who does want a coaching change, I do not consider myself a hater by no means. I have been a faithful fan since the Dick Motta days in the late 70's (i.e. "Bullets Fever"). I have seen the "Thunder and Lighting" show, "The Beef Brothers" show, the 90's show with the "Fab Five minus 3" and the 2000 decade version of the "The Big Three".

I have put in my time with this team. I applauded the Flip move when he came here to coach the "Big Three". That is what Flip is good at, coaching "veteran" teams. But guess what? This is no longer a veteran team.

This team needs "new blood", somebody who is passionate, and who has also played the game at the NBA level. That description is Sam Cassell. He is perfect to add and to have "grow" with this "young" team. This guy is ready. We do not need another "seasoned retread". Look at what the Caps did when Ted first took over.

They went and got a coach who never coached at the NHL level and who was not a "retread". I don't know much about hockey, so if my facts are wrong somebody with hockey knowledge please correct me.

Anyway, Ted if you are reading this can be done almost seamlessly. Just reassign Flip to a "consultant" title and let SAM CASSELL be hired as head coach.

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 31, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Anybody need "groupons" for the next home game?

Posted by: zack9633 | January 31, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

1bmffwb,

Your questions are exactly the right ones.

Although I'd amend one to read "Do McGee and Blatche play the correct assignments more consistently?" Also related to this issue, "If no: fire the coach, or trade the player?"

Eventually "fire the GM?" might come into the equation.

As far as "Is this team getting better?" How do your gauge this? Based on statistics? Win-loss record?

Win-loss first 31 games: .250 percent
Win-loss last 15 games: .333 percent

the win-loss may not be acceptable over the past 15 games, but it's hard to argue based on win-loss record that there isn't at least some evidence of improvement.

Posted by: JPRS | January 31, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"THAT'S A WRAP FLIP. THANKS FOR COMING OUT. DRIVE HOME SAFELY AND DON'T FORGET TO TIP YOUR WAITRESS."

Posted by: carterm1 | January 31, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

no flip flopping yet. keep him around for another year. players need to develop and gel together in his system. one more good draft pick or two over the next couple of years and then let's see if we need a change of coach and/or player trade.

same goes for the Skins.

Posted by: DCSportsfanatic1 | January 31, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

no flip flopping yet. keep him around for another year. players need to develop and gel together in his system. one more good draft pick or two over the next couple of years and then let's see if we need a change of coach and/or player trade.

same goes for the Skins.

Posted by: DCSportsfanatic1 | January 31, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

BulletsFever,

Can't say that I really disagree with you as far as Cassell goes. The only real disagreement is over the timing.

I disagree with you on Flip's history in the NBA. In Minnesota it took him a couple years to get to .500. It took about 5 years for his team to enter the NBA's near-elite top-tier. His team stayed there for 5 years.

In Detroit he inherited a veteran squad, in Minnesota that wasn't the case.

Posted by: JPRS | January 31, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Fire him for who again? What coach out there is going to get this team going right now? No, don't fire him. You gotta let the Wiz build this team. Butler, Jamison, Arenas, Haywood, everybody is gone from this team. It's a very young and developing team that's going through a really tough time closing out road game and being competitive in them. There's alot of matureing to do on this team. Changing coaches is not going to help them right now

Posted by: poeticfire | January 31, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

To me it is unclear or unconfirmed that the young players are getting better because of the tutelage of Flip. We have to realize that Flip does not have the option to keep them all on the bench now. He has to play them now at some point. I would point to more playing time than to accrediting Flip for the young players getting better.

I am of the opinion that this young group though rebuilding should be a more competitive team than they are. And the reason they aren't I place squarely on Flip's shoulders.

So the question of firing him now in the middle of the season gives the new coach IMO a half a season headstart than if Flip is fired at seasons end.

So yes, I would vote to fire Flip now, but the consideration of eating his salary by Mr. Leonsis shall not be considered lightly. As the owner, Flip's salary does come into play and it has to be weighed into the decision somehow.

And yes, I would hire Mark Jackson or Sam Cassell.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 31, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I can't see a legitimate reason to fire him at this point in a a lost season if you're looking ahead to next year.

Again: this season is gone and you're almost at the halfway mark. You're looking ahead.

What's the benefit of any change right now?

Any new coach is simply going to tread water this year until he can get the players together during the off season and in camp. It's impossible, from what I've read, to teach young players in the middle of the year. And install in a new system. And make adjustments.

Teach + install + adjust? In the middle of a year. With a young team?

They just don't have the time.

I say stick it out for the year. Make any decisions in the off season where a new guy can put in his team and approach without also having to worry about putting a team on the court in the middle of a year.

Posted by: SteveMG | January 31, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I want the "coach" to be replaced because I think Sam would be a better fit for the team. I do not hate the "coach" but we are coming up on the mid point of the season and only now is Trevor getting substantial time not because of the "coach" developing young talent but due to an injury or illness. Only when the "coach" has no other choice does he "develop" the young players. For at least 10 games, he would bring Trevor in for the last 30 seconds of the half then not dnp for the rest of the game.

"As for Flip, to quote Jesse Jackson (esp from the SNL skit) the point is moot. Ted owes Flip too much money right now to fire him without overly compelling reasons."

0-23, 0-23, 0-23...how can people defend or understand 0-23? Have we become so numb to blatant incompetence? In Ted's response not once did he mention 0-23 but instead touts revenue and groupon. What about the product on the floor? I can't help but notice the nice job Collins is doing with the Philadelphia.

Posted by: spoooooooon | January 31, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards would be stupid to let Flip Saunders leave. C'mon now!! The Wizards purged the team to mostly younger players and now it's the Coach fault that they're losing. I think of Nick Young of 3 yrs who's just starting play at a high level.

John Wall, Trevor Booker and Javale McGee are all RAW Talents and the Wizards should allow Flip Saunders to help him build this team to play more and more together.

I just wish Flip Saunders would play Trevor Booker more!!

Michael Wilbon said it in one of his articles, that we as fans should not judge the team on wins and loses this year.

Ted Leonsis said the Wizards rebuilding. As a fan I respect that.

They beat the Celtics (that wasn't luck it was pure hustle and hard work), barely lost to OKC, barely lost to Memphis.

KEEP COACH FLIP SAUNDERS!!!

Posted by: clifton3 | January 31, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

But if you give Flip the blame for this joke of a team losing every game on the road, then don't you have to give him the credit for the wins as well?? W T F

This is a rebuilding year. You still have player's like Blatche at the core of this team. We all have to be patient and yes it is painful.

But you have to give credit where it is due. This team has given very good effort most nights. Even on the nights Blatche decides to not show up, the team as a whole is competing..

They just are not very talented and have no depth at all.

No Flip shouldn't be fired, and EG like it or not is reshaping the roster.

IMO..getting rid of Bozo bought EG another year. I mean how in the hell did he pull that off? I was praying it got done but doubt if any other GM but Otis Smith would have taken on that headcase with the number he makes..

Leonsis is a very smart man. You see what he did with the Capitals don't you. He will get this turned around. Mistakes will be made (EXTENDING BLATCHE), but keeping Flip around or for that matter EG at this point in not the problem..

Again, Flip has to be paid and with the lockout coming, why would you fire him? No coach would have much success with this roster..

Posted by: kevenjones | January 31, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree that we need to be patient with this team, even though it’s hard to watch your home team lose so frequently. In terms of experience, this team is a baby, with 4 starters and/or major contributors having less than one year of starting experience: Andray Blatche, Nick Young, Javale McGee , and of course, John Wall.

All that said, my concern is about how these guys are being brought along as they learn and grow, i.e. who’s teaching them. What bothers me about Flip is that he, on several occasions since he’s been here, throws his players under the bus to the media when things aren’t going well. That style of management has never been effective and never will be. A good manager deals with those kind of issues in private with the player(s) involved. That’s called being a “stand up guy”, and yes, it does matter. Because of that issue, I will always be suspicious of what kind of manager Flip Saunders really is, and what kind of relationship he has with his players.

Posted by: cliffdweller | January 31, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Flip has nothing to work with. No established veterans, no legit big man, etc... Sure, some of you may say the Wizards are a very "athletic" team; but this is the NBA - EVERYBODY is athletic. This team has only one keeper in Wall and the rest of the roster is filled with role-players and bench warmers. If I were him, I would have left long ago.

Posted by: ericroks | January 31, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"To me it is unclear or unconfirmed that the young players are getting better because of the tutelage of Flip." ~Larry

Look at the steadily increasing PER of the young guys as a baseline to gain clarity on this issue. Look at the steadily increasing team defense stats (slightly skewed because Arenas dragged it down so much). Look at the slow but steady increase in minutes for Booker and Seraphin. It's not all going to happen at once and it's not all Flip, but he's certainly not hampering their development. This is not a Rondo situation where it's one guy being pulled along by a veteran group and so his mistakes are hidden. These are young guys forced into heavy minutes without much veteran presence around them to make up for their mistakes. They're going to screw up a LOT both individually and as a team.

Posted by: jon_quest | January 31, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I doubt Saunders will be fired in the middle of the season, nor should he be.

Although I was irate last year when he was hired to coach a team of veterans who played no defense (he's always had a reputation as a "soft" and "player-friendly" coach and I felt the team needed a coach who would force-feed the players defense and beat them about the head and shoulders if they refused to swallow) I've been favorably impressed how well he's done with the young and not very talented group he has this year.

Could someone else do better? I have no idea, but the middle of the season is certainly no time to try to find a coach who might "motivate" players who can't seem to find any self-motivation in the fact that they haven't won an away game.

Posted by: nmik | January 31, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

For those of say.. be patient, The Wiz are "rebuilding" Really? Have you been awake for the last 30 years. This mismanaged franchise has been rebuilding alright. Just like my kid when he was six would rebuild his sandcastle at the beach every day after the tide came it.

Seriously. Why would anyone pay a dime to go see this bunch?

Posted by: rg019571 | January 31, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Seriously. Why would anyone pay a dime to go see this bunch?

Posted by: rg019571 | January 31, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

cuz i think floor seats for John Wall V. Blake Griffin are under $200 right now

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | January 31, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes - fire Flip as he's a mediocrity. However, please fire Ernie for his horrendous job as GM. Trading #5 pick for two players no longer with the team with no compensation?

Trading what turned out to be a #1 pick for the other dude with the gun...what's his name?

Passing over DaJuan Blair and many other excellent players.

JaVale was a very good pick by Ernie but overall, he's been one of the very worst GMs in the NBA.

Posted by: nativedc | January 31, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Seriously. Why would anyone pay a dime to go see this bunch?
Posted by: rg019571

----

if you don't wanna pay to see them, don't.

I go see them because I enjoy the games when at least most of the players decide to try hard. if they try hard, I'm happy.

I recognize they don't have a whole lot of talent at the moment and hope they'll have more in the future.

when I stop enjoying the games, I'll stop going to them.

(and yeah, I realize that yours wasn't a real question.)

Posted by: MinuMang | January 31, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing is, Kyle Weidie's blog, TruthAboutIt, is listed on Ted's sports blog favorites. BulletsForever, which supposedly is a team mouthpiece according to folks here, isn't.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 31, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

One good thing is that the decision about a coach's future isn't up to me or anybody on this blog.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 31, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I really would hesitate to get rid of Grunfeld.

How would you grade Ernie's draft this time around? I would go with A-.

John Wall over Evan Turner and Cousins was the right choice even though it was fairly obvious

Trevor Booker-Emerging into solid bench player already. Great attitude.

Seraphin-Great raw talent, who appears to be picking up the NBA game pretty quickly. Even though he is prone to foul, he seems to sometimes know his spots better than Mcgee and AB. By his third year, could be a very solid 4/5.


This is Ernie's best draft in DC (Ndiaye may stick next year). Trading the fifth pick last year was not just about Foye and Miller but also about dumping Songalia and Thomas's salaries.

Mustafa Shakur was a very good signing.

What about his Rashard Lewis for Gilbert Arenas trade? You get more cap room in 2012 and are freed of any obligations in 2013 for a better player who actually now seems to have trade value. Ernie has made some mistakes but appears to be righting his wrongs.

Posted by: audacitea | January 31, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

nativedc,

On one side of the balance sheet:

EG passing on DeJuan Blair.
Signing Arenas to a risky long-term deal.
Trading away a #5 pick in a draft that was strongest at PG (Personally, I'd opt for John Wall over anyone that was available in the 2009 draft). Letting Roger Mason walk a couple years ago (not a major blunder, but one that probably would have helped the team in the first year that Mason was in San Antonio).

On the other side of the balance sheet:

Signing Arenas to his first contract.
Dealing Kwame Brown for Caron Butler.
Dealing for Jamison (Devin Harris's long-term value may have been some trade-off, but in the first three years it wasn't).
Landing Blatche in the second round (a quality pick at where he was selected)
Verdict is still out on Nick Young and McGee, but they seem like reasonably good picks at where EG selected them. Booker looks like a good selection. Verdict is still out on Seraphin.
Deciding not to re-sign Larry Hughes on the contract terms that he wanted; same deal with Jared Jeffries.
Signing D-Steve in his first year (a really good value in the first season). Signing Antonio Daniels (a good deal in his first couple seasons -- especially when Arenas went down). Dealing for a Seraphin and Hinrich for virtually nothing. Dealing Ross for Yi and some cash (maybe a wash). Moving Haywood, Jamison, Butler, and Stevenson for at least some value (e.g. a pick which ultimately helped to net Booker, Thornton could be a quality player, Josh Howard might have some value, plus it cleared out a lot of long-term money). Dealing Arenas for Rashard Lewis looks like it could potentially be a really good decision both in terms of the financial implications as far as the cap goes, and also in terms of aiding the team on the court over the next year or two. In terms of future trade value next season Lewis is likely to have more value than Arenas.

Overwhelmingly Grunfeld has made more good moves than bad ones as GM.

Posted by: JPRS | January 31, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

No point in firing him right now. The players are not regressing. They are not rebelling against the coach. He still has their ears. Even if the game plans are not up to snuff, he's doing a good job coaching them individually. Nobody you can bring it right now is going to do any better for the rest of the year. If there was someone great, looking for a job, then yeah, snatch him up now before more teams are on the market, but is there anyone out there that fits that bill?

I honestly believe that the biggest issue is the GM. There are worse GMs in the league, but there are also a good amount of better ones. And certainly ones willing to take a little more risk. And you'd think, with Leonsis as the owner now, that other GMS would be interested in working with him.

I'm not going to bug out about the 5 pick last year. We had bad luck with the coin flip in an unknown draft outside of number 1. Even looking back, the only thing I could say I wish we had done differently was trade the pick for an unprotected pick in this past seasons draft.

I think Wall, Young, Blathce, McGee, Booker, and Seraphin all have been solid draft picks. And all are keepers except Blatche, who has finally this season burned his bridge with me.

But it's his moves in free agency and trades that have irked me the last few years. Hinrich and Jianlian and bringing back Howard were just not good decisions.

There's not a whole lot available in the market this summer either, except maybe Wilson Chandler (restricted, but maybe attainable if NY needs to renounce his rights to go after 'Melo), to whoever our GM is, will have to be creative with trades and within the draft (I still say take Terence Jones if he's available).

Posted by: segastyle | January 31, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Why? Do you really think Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach or even John Wooden could win with this bunch? Please... Flip Saunders is a credible, professional coach without enough credible, professional players. Save the money and try to find some good young players who are willing to play in Washington and be part of the solution.

Posted by: oldnavybill | January 31, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Either Flip knows the right things to say to Leonsis, or Leonsis is thinking about the remaining millions on Flip's contract

Theres no other way to say it, FLIP HAS TO GO!! His game management is putrid, rotations are ridiculous, and his overall demeanor is retarded...Flip doesn't want to be here, I seriously believe that he doesn't want to pull a Larry Brown and just walk away from the team, instead I truly believes Flip wants to be fired

He's not doing a good job of developing the young talent that we have on this roster, what player(s) have actually improved? Nick has always had game, just never really a chance to show it til this season...McGee, Blatche, Seraphin? Not really..Booker to has always had tremendous talent, but for whatever reason Flip has felt that Booker was too small to play the 4 and not too good of a shooter to play the 3, so instead he never really played til now...Flip is a coach that needs a team of playoff caliber veterans already in place...I'd rather Sam take over, Mike Woodson, or Mark Jackson...Hell if Don Nelson were free, i'd even take him before I let Flip run my team, atleast he knows how to win with the talent he has

Posted by: babycas2000 | January 31, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

How many times has Flip went to the playoffs and the finals? enough said. He doesn't have the roster to get there period. I get the feeling some of these players (and they do have talent just don't get the message) on what is expected day in day out at there positions. I love Blatche's talent but does anyone actually think Flip tells him to go one on one with drives from deep on the baseline or shoot 22 foot jump shots? does anyone think Flip tells Javale who has more physical abilty them 90% of the centers in the league to shoot the ball while facing the other teams basket and YES I have not missed a game in almost thirty years and he did it twice in a week this year. Last year before the season started the talk was about Nick Young coming off screens like Rip did in Piston town. He had a hard time adjusting to that style. This year he did and guess what Nick is an offensive threat that makes the opposing team nervous and rightfully so as Nick is a sharpshooter coming off screens! The problem with young teams is that it takes time to mold that team into a winner and remember Flip was supposed to be coaching a team of stars when he arrived (already seasoned and ready for the BIG run} it fell apart like a two dollar toy. Think of the starting lineup..... Blatche, about one year, Nick Young not even that, John Wall a rookie,Javale not even a year, and Rashad Lewis who will be traded as soon as EG finds the right deal because he doesn't fit into the rebuilding plan. On the bright side we had a very good draft in 2010 and one I believe will reap two maybe three starters of a very competitive lineup for years. Booker brings energy and an inside presence, Serephin looks like a he will be a good NBA player for years and then there is the lighting quick Wall and again enough said about that. My point in all this talk is it will take a couple years for this team to be the force we want it to be no matter who coaches it. We can expect change with player personal and adjustments and trades and what the draft allows. We aren't going to win a championship this year or next but expect improvement next year and if we do not get that.....well maybe just maybe we need to make a change!

Posted by: buddybuttons5 | January 31, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

flip's coaching a team that is young and low in talent. There isn't a single Wizard that is close to making an all star team.
let's get some talent in (Wall's a good start) before hanging Flip.

Posted by: jyshim | January 31, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

segastyle,

"But it's his moves in free agency and trades that have irked me the last few years. Hinrich and Jianlian and bringing back Howard were just not good decisions."

What did EG give up in order to get Hinrich and Jianlian? Is there a better player that the Wizards could have gotten for Ross? Was losing some cap space for a #17 overall pick and Hinrich really that costly? Was there someone else of equal caliber and price that the Wizards could have gotten instead of Hinrich from the Bulls?

As far as Josh Howard's contract goes $3 million and one year is chump change in NBA terms, it carries little down-side risk. Was there another veteran that the Wizards could have signed for the same amount with the same upside?

Maybe someone can take issue with the Seraphin pick at #17 -- although I think it's still way to early to say. But in each of these instances, the Wizards gave up very little to make the moves. Even though a guy like Hinrich isn't that popular with some fans, if the Wizards ever decided to move him, it's a pretty safe bet that they could get at least some value back in return. The Wizards acquired a tradeable asset for nothing but some cap space. These are mostly moves on the margins that cost the Wizards very little.

Posted by: JPRS | January 31, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Here's a vote for continuity. The young guys need to play. Inconsistency is a part of playing young guys. I fail to see how a coaching change today is going to help the young players learn how to win tomorrow.

The team lacks talent. The team still needs a young banger or two. Maybe the team will get lucky again and add a top five talent through the draft to go with John Wall. I suspect that Leonsis has been insisting on improving the team's scouting department.

Posted by: dannykurland1 | January 31, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

KEEP FLIP!!!

Point 1. Flip is a WINNER. (so what this season is bad. It takes time to gel as a unit and they get better each game.

Point 2. The YOUNG Wiz need continuity, a coaching change would start them all over again.

Point 3. This is essentially his first year with this team. Last year...you can't count that!!! Are you serious? Haywood couldn’t keep his starting job through training camp. Antawn...played D? Took how many shots per game? Where was Gil? DS, oh yeah...he was hurt. In short, this year is year one.

Point 4.
Aside from the Spurs with an injured David Robinson, what other team with a number one pick did great the following year? Still waiting....?

Point 5. How many seasons did O'Brien have? How far has any O'Brien team gone?

Point 6. Look at the Timberwolves; have they been to the post season since Flip?

Point 7. All things come in time...NUFF said.

Point 8. Name a better coach for the Wiz, I can't.

Posted by: Gooddad | January 31, 2011 6:07 PM | Report abuse

No point to firing him now. He probably isn't the coach they'll need long-term (where has he ever won anything?), but for now let him have a shot at getting this team to play better. Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once. Right now, if he is to be judged solely on win-loss, that would be silly. They need to find out if Booker and Seraphin can play, if McGee can stop being an airhead, if Blatche and Young can become consistent, if Wall can develop a shot and better judgment, etc. All those individual projects and issues add up to a group that won't be winning a lot of games, regardless of who is coach. One more bad record and they could add the key piece up front that could make them contenders. THEN is the time to get a coach who can win NBA games; now is for someone who can teach fundamentals and Saunders seems to be improving some of these guys (e.g. Young and Blatche) but not others (e.g. McGee). If this team hasn't reached the point where they can win about half of their last 20 games this year, then it may be time to can Saunders. Now is too soon and would just disrupt the team.

Posted by: dolph924 | January 31, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

- they get beat in a lot of end game situations i.e. the last 5 minutes of games.

- their guards are awful on defense - Wall is truly a rookie and gets beat not only on the dribble but also around the screen routinely by the better point guards.

- they don't have somebody they can count on to go to when they need a basket or a stop.

Posted by: outrbnksm | January 31, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Flip is a dead man walking. Everyone knows it. In his favor, this is not the team he signed up to coach. In the Wizards' favor, firing coaches mid-season never really work out. Plus, who wants to keep paying his salary for nothing. I think what both sides need is what the Titans and Jeff Fisher did: an amicable divorce. The Wizards should release Flip from purgatory and he should take a (much)smaller buyout.

Posted by: tundey | January 31, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

When you parse Leonsis answer in his blog, you can only believe that Flip will be retained becuase of economics. While there has been comments on this blog relative to the talents of the players here, this is the same group that is playing 500 ball at home with wins over Utah, Boston and Miami (oh strong coaching lost that for us).

Get real, the rotaional schemes, the 3 guard alignment, the dumb a$$ zone defense, the ill-advised annointment of an incomplete John Wall as saviour of the franchise and the captaincy selections are clear examples of a mediocre and out of touch coach. This dude has not had enough coaching skills to win ONE away game, of which a number of games were close. Whether you believe in his coaching ability or not, the facts are this team is not responding to him.

With the limited free agent talent available and an equally shallow talent pool in college, the Wiz are going to have to pretty much ride with what they got. It's time for a change although I doubt if it will come before next year.

Posted by: NewManagement | January 31, 2011 8:08 PM | Report abuse

the dumb a$$ zone defense
Posted by: NewManagement

Dallas plays quite a bit of this, quite effectively too. Look for it.

Posted by: nmik | January 31, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

"On one side of the balance sheet:

EG passing on DeJuan Blair.
Signing Arenas to a risky long-term deal.
Trading away a #5 pick in a draft that was strongest at PG (Personally, I'd opt for John Wall over anyone that was available in the 2009 draft). Letting Roger Mason walk a couple years ago (not a major blunder, but one that probably would have helped the team in the first year that Mason was in San Antonio)."

How about signing The Poet to a crippling long-term deal? Pecherov? Trading our entire roster last year for chump change? Having a bottom five NBA record for a third straight year? Having a single legit all-star candidate (John Wall), who we only have by virtue of an awful record and Irene Pollin's lucky jacket? A 241 - 356 record as Wizards GM (winning percentage of .403). Put another way, that percentage would be enough, on average, to get the Wizards into the lottery every year Grunfeld has been here.

"On the other side of the balance sheet:"

"Signing Arenas to his first contract."

A great move eclipsed only by the foolishness of signing him to his second.

"Dealing for Jamison (Devin Harris's long-term value may have been some trade-off, but in the first three years it wasn't)."

Looks bad now.

"Landing Blatche in the second round (a quality pick at where he was selected)"

Fools gold.

"Verdict is still out on Nick Young and McGee, but they seem like reasonably good picks at where EG selected them."

'Reasonable' gets you to the lottery, possibly first round of playoffs.

"Booker looks like a good selection. Verdict is still out on Seraphin."

Slow down. Booker has had one very good game. Seraphin looks lost.

"Deciding not to re-sign Larry Hughes on the contract terms that he wanted; same deal with Jared Jeffries."

Drops in the bucket for overpaying for Stevenson, The Poet, Arenas and, possibly, Howard.

"Signing D-Steve in his first year (a really good value in the first season). Signing Antonio Daniels (a good deal in his first couple seasons -- especially when Arenas went down). Dealing for a Seraphin and Hinrich for virtually nothing. Dealing Ross for Yi and some cash (maybe a wash)."

All middling deals/players. The goal is a championship, not shuffling the deck for shuffling's sake.

"Moving Haywood, Jamison, Butler, and Stevenson for at least some value (e.g. a pick which ultimately helped to net Booker, Thornton could be a quality player, Josh Howard might have some value, plus it cleared out a lot of long-term money)."

Getting "at least some value" for your team's stars is hardly a ringing endorsement of shrewd GM-ing.

"Dealing Arenas for Rashard Lewis looks like it could potentially be a really good decision both in terms of the financial implications as far as the cap goes, and also in terms of aiding the team on the court... etc."

Jettisoning a huge mistake for someone else's slightly lesser egregious one does not a great GM make.

"Overwhelmingly Grunfeld has made more good moves than bad ones"

13 - 33.

Posted by: SammyT1 | January 31, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes Flip should be fired. He should have never been hired in the first place. This bum has never accomplished anything in the NBA. All they do is recycle most of these guys and for certain, guys like Flip should be put out to pasture. Lets not forget about Ernie Grunfield - he has accomplished nothing here as GM. Ernie should be fied as well I still don't understand why Eddie Jordan was fired. At least there were playoff appearances here while he was coach.

Posted by: Lugene11 | January 31, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

flip might be the worst coach in the history of basketball

Posted by: slick3 | January 31, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes, he should keep his job -- he's about the least of our troubles.

And some of our guys are even showing a bit less "knuckleheadedness" at times. And sometimes even attempting to play defense.

Flip ain't the problem, and there ain't nobody out there gonna do a better job than he has.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | January 31, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I think Flip is trying his best. Unfortunately his best is not good enough, the Wiz need someone who can teach and who can be more creative adjusting to the team's needs. Flip is too rigid and too soft a touch to be very effective with this group of knuckleheads.

That being said, it would be very unfair if Flip was canned without taking a long, hard look at Ernie Grunfeld's tenure.

Posted by: Liebercreep | January 31, 2011 11:59 PM | Report abuse

JPRS-Thank you for your comment, and your statement is a good one considering win loss record of the last 15 games. My question is did we lose the first group of games because of that 3 guard alignment and could have been .333 in those games with the right lineups. The last group of games we had a more legitimate lineup playing a more traditional lineup. So my question is, was there improvement of a team, or just better personnel on the floor playing under the same coach? My opinion is Flip had the choice to play a legitimate SF earlier in the season and rarely did it. If I went back game by game I could find many reasons to fire him.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | February 1, 2011 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Why do I keep seeing people say "rebuilding"? how many years its gonna take to "rebuild". It took the Celtics 2 good trades and 1 good draft pick to win a champion all in 1 year. What have we done this decade? umm lets see, lose to the Cavs 3 straight years in the playoffs, umm have the worst record in the NBA by going on a 17 game losing streak the year after...umm and now can't win 1 single road game. The Great Michael Jordan couldn't even help us. All im saying is, every year were just gonna keep "Rebuilding" while teams like Miami, Celtics, Lakers, Spurs keep taking championships. Please fire Flip Saunders, I cant stand another LONG heart breaking season.

We need to Trade Blatche, Hinrick, Serephan, Armstrong and YI for at least 2 all stars..A Defensive Center and a offensive Power-forward. We need to also run the offense through Nick Young. Nick should be the guy that averages at least 27, 28 a game. All this has to be done with brand new coaches. It wont work with Flip, Sam ect.

Posted by: firestarterz247 | February 5, 2011 4:02 AM | Report abuse

People, calm down. I don't think Flip is as bad a coach as many of you do but I also don't think this is what he signed up for. But seriously, look at the roster. Right now, this is not a team that's built for immediate success. The thing is, we're so accustomed to the Wizards not being competitive that we don't know a project when we see it.

This team is a work in progress. John Wall is the only player on the roster whose future is set in stone.

I keep looking at Oklahoma City as a model for success but take a close look at them. In addition to Kevin Durant three of their core players are TOP FIVE PICKS. We don't have that. Nick Young and McGee are mid-first rounders. Blatche was the 49th player taken in his draft (out of 60.)

The guys that we're now calling the core players are guys taken with the intention of being young role players that would complement/relieve the "Big Three."

I think EG's done a solid job especially in the last season and a half. Look at Detroit, they can't give away Rip Hamilton. You don't think Ernie could have found a way to move Hamilton (or Prince for that matter) by now?

Dudes, he got Caron Butler for Kwame Brown. Yes he traded Devin Harris in the deal to pick up Jamison but the point of the deal was to unload the dead weight and bad attitudes of Christian Laettner and Jerry Stackhouse. Everyone complains about Gilbert's contract but when you have what you think is a franchise player then you pay them franchise money.

All that being said...I like Flip, I think he's a good coach. But perhaps he'd be better served on a team that's a bit further along in their development. I'm actually becoming a big fan of the idea of Mike Brown coaching this team.

Posted by: NotoriousREG | February 5, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

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