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Posted at 2:35 AM ET, 01/29/2011

Wizards bring out the Cook Book, but remain winless on the road

By Michael Lee

One the biggest problems plaguing the Wizards this season has been their inability to compete on the road for a full 48 minutes. Who knew that wouldn't be enough? The Wizards finally went hard, battled, never relented, only to find out that they would need to keep it going for 58 minutes in Oklahoma City.


The Cook Book is not allowing outside recipes (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

After the Wizards lost, 124-117, on Friday to the Thunder, the only question I asked was, will they have anything left for Memphis? John Wall and Nick Young both played 52 minutes, Rashard Lewis played 51, Trevor Booker played 45. Andray Blatche was limited to just 31 minutes because of foul trouble, but after the game, he asked reporters to keep their distance because he was coming down with a cold.

And these guys are going to have to get ready for the Grizzlies less than 24 hours later?

The Wizards (13-32) have now matched the third-worst road start in NBA history with 22 losses. They are hoping to have JaVale McGee back in Memphis after he missed the team's best road performance of the season with the flu. His absence forced Flip Saunders to get creative, and he started Booker at small forward, moving Lewis to power forward and Blatche to center. Booker found out at the morning shootaround that he was going to get his third career start.

"I was pumped from then on," Booker said.

Booker certainly had a tough challenge, with Saunders putting the speedy and physical forward on the NBA's leading scorer Kevin Durant. Durant scored a game-high 40 points, his second consecutive game with 40 or more, but most of his field goals came while being guarded by Al Thornton or Blatche in the second overtime after the Wizards switched out of picks. Booker wasn't giving him anything easy.

"It's a tough matchup, the best scorer in the league," Booker said. "He was hitting some tough shots. All you can do is put a hand up and contest everything. That's what I tried to do."

Booker gave his usual tenacious effort on defense and fought for rebounds, as he finished with a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out in the second overtime. He got offensive rebound putbacks, but he also caught a nice lob from Wall and drove baseline and made a reverse layup, finishing with his off (right) hand.

Cartier Martin was cheering on Booker from the bench, telling him to bring out the "Cook Book." Booker said he didn't really understand what Martin was talking about, but Martin explained that he was telling the rookie to "marinate 'em, grill 'em, put 'em in the oven. Cook 'em Book."

Cook Book. Does that work? It made Booker smile, and his teammates all took time to praise him for his efforts. Blatche gave him a "special shout out," as if he was on a radio call-in show. Wall said, "He does a great time every time he in there." And, if this performance didn't help him earn more consistent minutes, I don't know what will.

"Book was unbelievable," Saunders said. "There was no question he was the one guy that competed, that could get into [Durant] out on the floor and at the basket. It took a lot out of us when we lost him."


It took me three years to get this good, John. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Durant got rolling in the second overtime the moment Booker fouled out, as he gave the Wizards a reminder of why so many of their road losses have been a struggle. The Wizards don't have that guy who can tell his teammates to get out of the way and just takeover. They don't have a closer, which was obvious in the overtime period, when the team went to Young to close out the game.

Young had a team-high 32 points, but his game could be classified as an "Iverson" since he needed 33 shots to get those numbers. He made a huge fadeaway with 13 seconds left to force the first overtime, but when the Wizards had the ball and a chance to win in overtime, they called an isolation play and he missed a shot from just above the foul line.

"I kind of had it going, coach put the ball in my hands and I just missed the shot," Young said. "That would've made my day. It felt good when it was leaving my hand but it just came up short."

Young has made some clutch shots for the Wizards this season, hitting a game-winning three against Philadelphia and other decisive threes in wins over Sacramento and Utah.

But those shots were created by Wall's ability to drive-and-kick to an open Young, rather than him going one-on-one and taking a turnaround jumper over Russell Westbrook. Young isn't used to being in that role down the stretch and it showed.

Saunders may have felt like he needed to go with Young, since Wall seemed to lack the necessary aggression, especially in the overtime. Wall had a decent game with 13 points and 10 assists with zero turnovers, but his performance was severely overshadowed by Westbrook, who was an absolute monster.

He had a triple-double with 35 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists and seemed to have an extra gear that Wall used to reach before his foot and knee injuries. Westbrook turned nearly every turnover or missed Wizards shot into a fastbreak and was moving so fast, I might have to start calling him R'usain Bolt.

Now, I'm not sure if Westbrook's play deflated him, but I don't if I've ever seen Wall look so unsure of himself on the floor. It's not unusual for him to be reluctant to shoot -- teams have been giving him room all season. He just seemed to look dejected on several occasions and probably picked up a few $50 fines. Wall had a bad sequence in overtime, when he took two three-pointers. He had the first blocked by Westbrook and was so reluctant to take the second shot that was practically a turnover. His teammates implored him to take those shots with more confidence and Wall seemed to internalize it all.

"They made me second guess," Wall said of the Thunder.

I still would've liked to see Wall making the final play at the end of overtime, instead of Young. It could've helped his confidence and established the mentality that Wall will eventually need to develop to lead the Wizards to victories in the future. Durant was clutch on Friday, but he didn't always have that mindset in the NBA. It has to be nurtured.

It's easy to say that Wall should learn some lessons from Westbrook, but if anything, the game showed that in order to run and gun the Westbrook does, Wall needs comparable horses to run with him. The Thunder has players who can get out and go, with Durant, Jeff Green, Serge Ibaka, James Harden and on down.

The Wizards, obviously, don't have that kind of talent, but for one night, they showed the type of sustained effort and commitment that they'll need to finally get a road win. "I know their record on the road isn't good, but they're a team that plays hard. They've got some talented players," Oklahoma City Coach Scott Brooks said.

So, how will the Wizards have anything in the tank for Memphis? "Just got to go get some rest," Wall said. "No partying, just rest and hydrate."

By Michael Lee  | January 29, 2011; 2:35 AM ET
Categories:  Flip Saunders, JaVale McGee, John Wall, Nick Young, Trevor Booker  
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Next: Open thread: Wizards (13-32) at Grizzlies (23-24)

Comments

Stayed up to watch the game to the end. I found myself wishing for Arenas in crunch time. Say what you want about Arenas but the dude had that knack for taking (and making) big shots. This team just doesn't have that.

Posted by: tundey | January 29, 2011 6:01 AM | Report abuse

Booker can play and he plays with aggressiveness. In fact it's glaringly obvious he has what a bunch of guys - Blatche especially - don't. And that's hunger. You have to play this guy if you're Flip. What the hay, it's a lottery season anyway. He's a little like Oakley and a little like Truck Robinson. He's somebody to cheer for during a dreadful season. Like him a lot. And I agree with tunday above. Pre-injury Gilbert would've closed that one out. It's sad the way everything worked out.

Posted by: fenderdeluxe | January 29, 2011 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Great effort by Booker ... how was that only his third start?

And Blatche should be ashamed of the effort he put forth. He's listed as 6' 11" 260 lbs and he gets 2 rebounds in 31 minutes. And his defensive effort against Durant in 2 OT was just plain weak.

I had no issues with Nick ... other than Booker he was their only option down the stretch ... since Wall can't really shoot and Hinrich was out.

Posted by: theclevz | January 29, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Booker was terrific last night! That had to establish him as first big off the bench, and based on what we saw a few games back, I look forward to seeing a Mcgee-Book frontcourt at times. He's a perfect compliment to both ABs general softness and Mcgee's rangy, shot-blocking game.


Posted by: divi3 | January 29, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I would be surprised if this team played a competitive game tonight after going into a double OT period. Thought tonight would be there best chance to get a road win. Andrey should be well rested but he says he's colming down with something.

Sampson151 may get his wish of trading McGee for some draft picks as Booker emerges into a SHOULD BE starter. If McGee wins dunk contest, he just may up his trade value and Sampson can find more that would be interested in his athletic onlywanna be point/SF/Center in the league. His mom has to see where his game needs growth, wondering if he will learn to play one position.

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

his athletic onlywanna be point/SF/Center in the league.

this only wanna be point/sf/center with a shoot when he touches the ball mentality

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

This team showed the heart of a champion last night. Taking one of the NBA's best teams to double OT on their home court? A second-half run to the playoffs is not out of the question.

Posted by: jiji1 | January 29, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

his athletic onlywanna be point/SF/Center in the league.

this only wanna be point/sf/center with a shoot when he touches the ball mentality

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards arent trading Mcgee, in case you hadnt noticed, Seraphin is terrible. Kid needs to head to the DLeague where he can get enough PT to develop his game and come back strong. Right now he looks lost, but isnt going to get the minutes needed to learn.

Posted by: divi3 | January 29, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I agree they should not trade Mcgee but you have to admit, he could use some serious direction in growth.

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I agree they should not trade Mcgee but you have to admit, he could use some serious direction in growth.

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Only caught the game in the overtime period but you could see a big difference in how the Thunders ran their offense. The plays were strictly ran for Durant and Westbrook, there were no other options. The Wizards on the other hand, had no clue who they wanted to take the shot or showed no semblance of any offensive set.

The one guy who they couldn't let have the ball scored the last 3 baskets with Andray Blatche guarding him. Not good.

Posted by: spades72 | January 29, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The Wizards are not saying but John Wall have limited movement. There is no lateral movement in those legs. On the offensive side of his game, he is going to have to put some serious work in his jump shot. Not just set shots but learning how to shoot off the dribble.

Posted by: spades72 | January 29, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

TLG = Ted Lose Grunfeld. Even Sampson151 would be better. haha

Posted by: member8 | January 29, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I see the 103 that OKC scored in regulation is just a point or so below their average. They usually shoot around 46% and were up around 49% last night. Those 12 extra points on FTs were the key. Would have liked to see Washington shoot better than 68% from the line, but that's the road for you.

With McGee out, the Wiz had only the one block. Booker and Yi made up the difference in rebounds. Booker has fresh legs and is definitely made for the speed game. He's looked great or sometimes just lost, but the promise is there.

Overall, a good effort.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't know why the team would trade McGee at this point -- he's only halfway through his third season, and looking at big men drafted where he was, that's not an end point in their development. He could improve markedly. Maybe nobody will ever accuse of him of having that 'high b-ball IQ', but the league is jammed with mistake-prone players who nonetheless make a good living. Just eliminating a few errors a game will make him a much more effective player.

Of course, if OKC offers up Kevin Durant in trade, grab it.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Stayed up to watch the game to the end. I found myself wishing for Arenas in crunch time. Say what you want about Arenas but the dude had that knack for taking (and making) big shots. This team just doesn't have that.

Posted by: tundey | January 29, 2011 6:01 AM | Report abuse

Same here. NY has skills but he is not yet a "takeover" guy even though Flip is giving him ample opportunity. If he or Wall ever become one, we are an instant playoff team - just like we were went Gil's game ascended to became the "hero" guy.

Posted by: cballer | January 29, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"Of course, if OKC offers up Kevin Durant in trade, grab it."

Am I the only one who disagrees with this? I think Durant has peaked, and McGee has 5-6 GREAT years in front of him. Why should we give up our future for a me-first scorer with no rings?

Posted by: jiji1 | January 29, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

In fact, this game puts all the all trade stuff and ire over particular players in perspective. The Wiz have plenty of competent NBA players. They just don't have "the guy."

Posted by: cballer | January 29, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Of course, if OKC offers up Kevin Durant in trade, grab it.


Posted by: Samson151

You forgot to add in a couple of draft picks lol

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

If McGee doesn't work on his game and some post moves since he feels his game requires him to be a scorer, he'll Kevin Duckworth "ish".

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

" Why should we give up our future for a me-first scorer with no rings?Posted by: jiji1"

Because we're offering a me-first shot blocker with no rings?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"Arenas...had that knack for taking (and making) big shots."

At one time, sure. But this season? Not so much. He did get 32 minutes last night in Chicago but managed 11 points on 13 shots, 0-3 from the arc. Redick did no better.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I like McGEE's development to this point in the season. I wish SAUNDERS would get up off his azz however, and cut him a little slack.

THORNTON could be dealt with JIANLIAN, our two exceptions, and our second in June for a young five with McGEE-like upside. JM needs help in there, and HILTON is just not the answer.

ARMSTRONG should be insurance/bench strength at this point. I think ARMSTRONG is a role-five at best into the future.

N'DIAYE is a mystery as he's a ghost on the court, but the mystery is solved when you look at that fact because McGEE needs help in there, and HAMADY isn't playing.

I swear, at this point, if I had to trade one and keep one of BLATCHE or LEWIS, I'd rather have LEWIS in the house.

BLATCHE's refusal to play all-out [when he is very effective] in more than a game when it suits him, should earn him a bus-ticket out of D.C.

YI is better than he was as a NY'er, but still too soft and brittle for the four slot. Bench material.

SERAPHIN is not ready for the NBA, several years away, and may only be a role-player when he is. I saw more in McGEE and BLATCHE as rookies than I have so far this season from KEEVEN.

BOOK is coming into his own. If he finishes up the season on the level at which he played against OKLAHOMA, we'll not have need of a three in the draft. Maybe by next season HOWARD and BOOKER will be a fixture there. One can only hope. All depends on JH's knee.

THORNTON and MARTIN are not the answer in that slot.

THORNTON has some trade value, and should be dealt before the deadline with YI for a five of some value.

MARTIN obviusly a role-player/bench material only at three/two.

YOUNG has been a pleasant surprise this season. Finally coming around. Still needs a lot of polish, but he's rounded the corner.

Pretty obvious HINRICH can only provide spot-duty at one and two. He's too brittle to carry the load full-time. Besides against top guards, his defense is ALWAYS a step slow.

WALL is the real deal, I just hope he doesn't pick up bad habits playing in this organization.

SHAKUR should get another 10.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 29, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"I saw more in McGEE and BLATCHE as rookies than I have so far this season from KEEVEN."

Here's what Blatche did as a rookie (of course, he was just out of HS): 29 games, 0 starts, avg 6.0 minutes, 38.8% FGs, 1.3 boards, 0.3 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.4 TOs, 1.24 PFs.

Now for McGee, who came out after his sophomore year: 75 games, 14 starts, 15.2 minutes, 49.4% FGs, 3.9 rbs, 1 blk, 0.8 TOs, 2.07 PFs.

Here's Kevin, from Europe, age 21 last December: 23 games, 1 start, 9.4 minutes, 38.9% FGs, 2.3 rbs, 0.6 blks, 0.6TOs, 2.1 PFs.


Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Blatche started the game great. That first steal on the opening series helped to set the tone. But on the Wizards side, this was Booker's game. 21 points on 9 for 11 shooting is great production. He had the 5 offensive rebounds, which bought the team some extra possessions, and defensively he had a very good game. It's hard not to love his style of play.

I agree with Michael Lee about Westbrook v. Wall. I thought Wall was possibly the fastest PG in the league, but Westbrook may even be faster. He just owned the Wizards in this meeting, and Wall struggled on both ends of the court. He made some plays, and it wasn't a lack of effort. I think this was more a case of a really talented 3rd year player simply taking advantage of a talented rookie. In terms of development, statistically at least, Wall is ahead of where Westbrook was in his rookie season, so hopefully future meetings will be more balanced.

As far as the Wizards not having a closer like Arenas (circa 2004-2007) as someone else said -- Nick Young made some great clutch shots. At the end though it looked like his legs were basically shot. Lewis had a great shooting stretch in the first three quarters, but he appeared to lose some steam too towards the end of the game.

The team really needed a 3rd scoring option last night. Having Hinrich might have helped in terms of keeping Wall or Young fresh; he's had some good shooting nights and might have been a stronger defensive match-up against Westbrook. A healthy Josh Howard might have helped in terms of defense too. It's probably more a question though of still being a player or two short of where the team needs to be.

Posted by: JPRS | January 29, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

As the game wore on you knew that sooner or later Durant would impose his will on the Bullets,that's the difference between the two teams they have a superstar and we don't actually they almost have two(Russell Westbrook)being the other. If any of you get a chance go to the AJC.COM(friday) and read an interview with former Knick and H.O.F.'er Walt"Clyde"Frazier absolutely fantastic article as "Clyde" talked about today's players and how the majority of them don't take losing seriously. The Bullets play the Grizllies next that won't be easy as the Griz overcame a 21 pt. defecit and beat the Sixers last night.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 29, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"It's probably more a question though of still being a player or two short of where the team needs to be.Posted by: JPRS"

Has to be the right players, of course. People forget that Amare had excelled under D'Antoni for years prior to coming to MSG. A perfect match of player and system. The Knicks needed Ray Felton, too, although they may look to replace him next season.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Samson151,

"Has to be the right players, of course."

Absolutely.

Posted by: JPRS | January 29, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

As for Wall being "the real deal", the jury s stll ot on that. He has been getting his butt kicked, needs work on his shot, hasn't been the best rookie in this draft class (not including Blake). you can say it's this team, you can say it's rookie inexperience, you can say it's alot of things. Potential don't win championships even if it earns you the title of captain. He's quick and is gonna be "great" or "the real deal". Way to early to call him either of those right now because if he ends up being a bust, 99% of you guys will blame it on the Wizards or management.

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Gotta love that 3 pointer that Lewis missed as it banked off the backboard and then the rim during overtime. Talk about some seriously bad shot selection during teh 2nd overtime.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 29, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"Stayed up to watch the game to the end. I found myself wishing for Arenas in crunch time. Say what you want about Arenas but the dude had that knack for taking (and making) big shots. This team just doesn't have that.

Posted by: tundey | January 29, 2011 6:01 AM | Report abuse "

Get over it. Gilby hasn't done any of that since before his knee injury debacle.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 29, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"Stayed up to watch the game to the end. I found myself wishing for Arenas in crunch time. Say what you want about Arenas but the dude had that knack for taking (and making) big shots. This team just doesn't have that.

Posted by: tundey | January 29, 2011 6:01 AM | Report abuse "

Get over it. Gilby hasn't done any of that since before his knee injury debacle.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 29, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Booker has some potential, but who would take him over Dejuan Blair whom Les BouleS could have drafted?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 29, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Get over it. Gilby hasn't done any of that since before his knee injury debacle.

Posted by: DC_MAN88

@ DC_MAN88

Shot selection was horrible and they fell apart because they had nooooo-body to go to with everybody collapsing on NY. Even your boy "J WOW" made mistakes, took bad shots and held on to the ball too long while you're calling out players.

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

At this point you have to take him over D Blair. D Blair wasn't available when Booker was selected. Quit living in the past, Blair is a missed opportunity, Bokker is here and playing well, that should be enough.

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"Shot selection was horrible and they fell apart because they had nooooo-body to go to with everybody collapsing on NY. Even your boy "J WOW" made mistakes, took bad shots and held on to the ball too long while you're calling out players.

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse "

Did I exonerate JWow from blame? He did not run the team at the end like he should have, or did Flop call for NY to take every shot? Many instances, JWow got the ball with few second left and was forced to take a long 3.

BTW, in 2009 Les BouleS drafted somebody by the name of Jermaine Taylor at 32 and DeJuan Blair was drafted later at #37 by San Antonio. Booker was drafted in 2010, but is 2 years older than Blair.

">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_NBA_DraftM/b>

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 29, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Broom of the Washington Post’s fan blog outlines that Nick Young’s great statistical season is likely fool’s gold. This goes to highlight the fact that I’m hearing that the Wizards would trade Young in a heartbeat, with sentiment from the organization reflecting the thought that guys like Young do not win championships. Not sure how you can deduce that at this point though. - Kyle Weidie

I found this buried under a bunch of photos over at Truth About It.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 29, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"Shot selection was horrible and they fell apart because they had nooooo-body to go to with everybody collapsing on NY. Even your boy "J WOW" made mistakes, took bad shots and held on to the ball too long while you're calling out players.

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse "

Did I exonerate JWow from blame? He did not run the team at the end like he should have, or did Flop call for NY to take every shot? Many instances, JWow got the ball with few second left and was forced to take a long 3.

BTW, get your facts straight. In 2009 Les BouleS drafted somebody by the name of Jermaine Taylor at 32 and DeJuan Blair was drafted later at #37 by San Antonio. Booker was drafted in 2010, but is 2 years older than Blair.

">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_NBA_DraftM/b>

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 29, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Far as I can determine, Wall is doing quite well. He looks tired and not in optimal condition, which is about where you'd expect him to be at this point, given the minutes he's played and his less than perfect health. He seems to be OK at handling the endless losing (a maturity issue). His shooting is not terribly good, so there's something to work on in the off-season. Conditioning is partly to blame.

I doubt anybody outside a psychiatric ward would argue that a rookie PG who's averaging 37 minutes, 15 points, 9.4 assists, 4 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 3.8 TOs could be considered a 'bust'.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

But just for fun, let's take a look at Russell Westbrook's rookie season:

Games: 82 / Starts: 65
Minutes: 32.5
Points: 15.3
FG%: 39.8
3pt %: 27.1
Rebounds: 4.9
Assists: 5.3
Steals: 1.3
TOs: 3.34

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I doubt anybody outside a psychiatric ward would argue that a rookie PG who's averaging 37 minutes, 15 points, 9.4 assists, 4 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 3.8 TOs could be considered a 'bust'.

Posted by: Samson151

Didn't say he was a bust . Said he isn't "great" or "the real deal" yet. Define "Bust"? As far as an NBA player drafted at a certain position, a bust could be lot of things. Was Danny Manning a bust? Is Kwame Brown a bust? Is Greg Ogden a bust?

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Did I exonerate JWow from blame?"

No but you didn't mention him like you called out Lewis. Also, I know who the Wizards selected when they clearly should have taken D. Blair. Ever think theyed already made the deal for Tayor's draft rights before they had a chance to select Blair? Again, a missed opportunity from 2 drafts ago. Booker and Blair can't be mentioned in the same draft.

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

McGee needs to stop saluting and just play. The team is 13-32. Stop showboating fool.

Posted by: slick3 | January 29, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Too bad Flip doesn't get it. Whenver Booker gets an opportunity he excels. Meanwhile Blatche is out there for 50 minutes, when he's barely in shape to play 30 (when he's not hung over). NY needs to read the double team and get a few assists rather than forcing up shots. If C-Mart, Shakur and Thornton would of gotten more minutes the Wiz would of had enough energy at the end to seal the win.

Posted by: trnasell | January 29, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Time to inject a dose of reality to this conversation. Some times it's good just to enjoy a hard fought basketball game.

Nobody expected the Wizards to go into OKC and beat the Thunder. McGee and Heinrich were out. Blatche was sick. Yet our guys came within a missed jumpshot of winning. Booker put on an athletic show. Rashard Lewis, John Wall and Nick Young were on the floor 51 minutes.

To be analytical, I must admit that I liked the lineup of Wall, Young, Blatche, Lewis and Booker. Only Andray is out of position [at center] in that lineup. Rashard played a steady game. Booker played a MAN'S game and should be rewarded with more PT. NY was our #1 scoring option. John Wall needs to develop a go-to jumpshot.

Just have to hope that JaVale is ready to return to action tonight.

Posted by: musicmanjr | January 29, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"Didn't say he was a bust . Said he isn't "great" or "the real deal" yet. Define "Bust"? As far as an NBA player drafted at a certain position, a bust could be lot of things. Was Danny Manning a bust? Is Kwame Brown a bust? Is Greg Ogden a bust?Posted by: zack5"

Um, who was talking to you? I just noted he wasn't a bust.

By the way, who's Greg Ogden?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"Too bad Flip doesn't get it. Whenver Booker gets an opportunity he excels."Posted by: trnasell

What about that one start after the Lakers game? He looked pretty lost then.

Besides, half this blog has already gone on record saying Booker was a bad choice. Made by that Prince of Darkness, E. Grunfeld.

How could so many WIers be wrong?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"Of course, if OKC offers up Kevin Durant in trade, grab it."

Am I the only one who disagrees with this? I think Durant has peaked, and McGee has 5-6 GREAT years in front of him. Why should we give up our future for a me-first scorer with no rings?

Posted by: jiji1

I don't know if you're the only one.....I'm just hoping you're the only one.

Posted by: ts35 | January 29, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

in case you hadnt noticed, Seraphin is terrible. Kid needs to head to the DLeague where he can get enough PT to develop his game and come back strong. Right now he looks lost, but isnt going to get the minutes needed to learn.
Posted by: divi3

As long as he's not in your doghouse. :)

Posted by: ts35 | January 29, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm still not sure about DeJuan Blair. Sure, he's a starter on a very good team, but we know Popovich sometimes likes to start players for his own reasons -- like Fab Oberto, remember? Blair's averaging 20.8 minutes, which as we all know per LarryInClintonMD, does not constitute 'starter's minutes', even if he gets to run out of the tunnel and stand next to Tim Duncan. He's getting his rebounds (6.8) but only averages 7.6 points on 48.4% FG shooting. On a per minute basis (something you hear a lot around here when people are arguing for their favorites to get starting jobs), he's actually a little bit less productive than as a rookie.

I like DeJuan as a player. I don't know he'd be seeing that much court time on a team that played a different style. If I'm San Antonio, maybe I don't trade Tiago Splitter just yet. And it's possible (if not likely) that Trevor Booker will turn out to be a better player.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

DeJuan Blair was on everyone's pre-draft radar. Trevor Booker was not. DeJuan is missing anterior cruciate ligaments in his knees. Who knows when that's gonna catch up with him?

Trevor Booker is an undersized PF with the heart of a lion. Wes Unseld and Charles Barkley were both vertically-challenged. They both had pretty good careers. IMO, we're fortunate to have Trevor. My only concern is whether Flip knows how to get maximum production from a very good athelete.

Posted by: musicmanjr | January 29, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

SERAPHIN is not ready for the NBA, several years away, and may only be a role-player when he is. I saw more in McGEE and BLATCHE as rookies than I have so far this season from KEEVEN.

Honestly I barely recall how Blatche played his rookie year, dont think he saw the floor much.

Javale on the other hand was clearly a physically dominant player from the get-go, despite how skinny he was. That initial impression has borne out through today, he may be one of the longest players in league history and I'm not sure I have EVER seen a true 7footer with his lateral movement. He showed all sorts of flashes his rookie year.

Unfortunately it's would appear that keveeeeen's physical traits aren't particularly special at the nba level. Note for future drafts: FrenchProWhatever league aint squat and youtube clips are no way to pick a 1st rounder.

So Seraphin is going to have to become a legit player the old fashioned way, you can't throw him out there and hope he finds his way. He's just not that type of athlete. Regardless of what he was told before the draft...might have to find a way to get him PT in the DLeague. I'd hate to see the organization hamstrung by whatever verbal promises were made.

Posted by: divi3 | January 29, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I say do what we shouldve done late last game and thats ride Dray. Only problem is that he's got some really hard matchups on D this game and he's now sick also which means he will probably be the no energy sucky Dray tonight.

NY played a ton of minutes, scored alot of points, and hit some timely shots but he also had alot of bonehead selfish plays, was gunning way too much, looked like the old NY in spots, and shot very poorly. I mean this in a good way though because the flip side to him playing a ton is that he didnt shoot well so maybe this game he's due to shoot well.

The bad thing for us is that the Grizz are just 1 game under .500 so no way they overlook us. All there fans want this one bad so they can get to that mark and then start a serious playoff run

Posted by: dlts2041 | January 29, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

This goes to highlight the fact that I’m hearing that the Wizards would trade Young in a heartbeat, with sentiment from the organization reflecting the thought that guys like Young do not win championships.

I think if we want to be brutally honest we have to admit that guys like Wall don't win Championships. Of course, he should get much better. But as of today, Nick's easily the better player. Hopefully that speaks to Wall being a rookie, somewhat injured, and not used to a long season. But last I checked, Nick wasnt getting lit up by Wade or Kobe to the extent Wall is consistently getting thrashed.

Think how far Wall has to go to be as good as Westbrook, and then when/if he gets there...he'd just be one of the half-dozen "elite" PGs in the league. JDubs is going to have to be all kinds of special to separate himself from the bevy of superstar guards in the league already.

Fingers crossed!

Posted by: divi3 | January 29, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

My guess....to be a REALLY good team within the next 3yrs, Javale is going to have to pan out into a dominant defensive player who also chips in 12-15/night. Cant get it done with one guy (Wall). If Javale doesnt happen, chances are no one we draft over the next 2yrs is going to have the immediate impact necessary to lift us into a top4 position. Assuming of course Ted eschews FAs and insists we wait on drafted players to develop.

Posted by: divi3 | January 29, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"This goes to highlight the fact that I’m hearing that the Wizards would trade Young in a heartbeat, with sentiment from the organization reflecting the thought that guys like Young do not win championships."

Well, players like Nick probably aren't a key ingredient. There are a lot of adept SG types out there, and most of them need to play next to a PG who gets them the ball. But people here are too hard on Nikc Young. Sure, he's got flaws. But he's doing his job. And how often does one player put a team over the top? Certainly not when the team is starting over from scratch.

It's like complaining that the team would be more effective with a better center. So would a lot of teams. But exactly where do you get one of those? The Kings haven't been a lot better with DeMarcus Cousins than they were last season without him.

As long as the team plays hard (as they did last night) and seem to be improving (even if only in fits and starts), that's what we can expect. The rest has to come from the draft and hopefully, a key free agent or two.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Um, who was talking to you? I just noted he wasn't a bust.

By the way, who's Greg Ogden?

Posted by: Samson151

Oden. So I miss spelled his name but you know who I meant. Answer the question dude.
Define NBA bust?

Posted by: zack9633 | January 29, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Now Seraphin is something of an unknown. Physically he's impressive, sure. But so is Javale, if in a different way, and we can see how long it's taken him to turn into something resembling an NBA player. Kevin would probably have benefited from another year in Europe, but that spilt milk. While he's here, he might as well get some minutes. There've been glimpses of a bright future -- who knows if it will come to pass? After all, we're still waiting on McGee, right? Let's not give up just yet.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"Define NBA bust?Posted by: zack9633"

Why?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"I say do what we shouldve done late last game and thats ride Dray. . ." Posted by: dlts2041

I say if we had, we wouldn't have went into a 2nd overtime.

I say you're crazy if you think Dray was any type of scoring force down the stretch. Dray wasn't a threat in either of the OT periods.

Posted by: zack9633 | January 29, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"Define NBA bust?Posted by: zack9633"

Why?

Because I don't think you can but you're right, it doesn't matter. Yuo're the walking stat machine here

Posted by: zack9633 | January 29, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I saw more in McGEE and BLATCHE as rookies than I have so far this season from KEEVEN."

samson151:

Here's what Blatche did as a rookie (of course, he was just out of HS): 29 games, 0 starts, avg 6.0 minutes, 38.8% FGs, 1.3 boards, 0.3 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.4 TOs, 1.24 PFs.

Now for McGee, who came out after his sophomore year: 75 games, 14 starts, 15.2 minutes, 49.4% FGs, 3.9 rbs, 1 blk, 0.8 TOs, 2.07 PFs.

Here's Kevin, from Europe, age 21 last December: 23 games, 1 start, 9.4 minutes, 38.9% FGs, 2.3 rbs, 0.6 blks, 0.6 TOs, 2.1 PFs.

I would point out I don't watch European television, and I reference what I've seen. As far as I'm concerned, THIS is his rookie campaign, and BTW how's that going?

Let's see:

23 g, 9.4 min,.389% fg, .714 ft, 2.3 rbds, 0.57 blk, .65 to, 2.13 pf, 0.2 asst, 2.3 pts. Funny, these seem the same stats you cited as being from EUROPE. Did I misunderstand your intent?

I'd say not so hot, but that's just me. I still like BLATCHE's and JAVALE's stats thank you.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 29, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Why are people on here so down on Seraphin? I like his hustle and I think he shows a lot of potential when he actually plays. Is it the shorts on backwards thing? Or is it that Booker and Wall are so awesome that he looks bad by comparison with his shorts on backwards? As booker sang last night, "don't stop believing!" (Did he know the camera zoomed in on him for that?)

We lost this game: 1) Because Wall couldn't shoot and was outplayed by an on fire Westbrook, who looked like Wall will three years from now.
2) Mainly because Blatche is still playing like he is out of shape and doesn't care about winning. I love Jeff Green, but he consistently gets completely owned defensively by PF's who are bigger than him and can bang. Blatche has the bigger part, put refused to take him down. Blatche should have had 30 this game but he played like a little wussy. Once he finally realized he could score on Green in like the last couple minutes, he tried some ridiculous spin move and tried to force it. It was there the whole game except for that play. Blatche needs to pick it up or its going to be impossible to defend him staying on this team. Same goes for Rashard and Javale I suppose.

Posted by: bosshog7169 | January 29, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

2) Mainly because Blatche is still playing like he is out of shape and doesn't care about winning. I love Jeff Green, but he consistently gets completely owned defensively by PF's who are bigger than him and can bang. Blatche has the bigger part, put refused to take him down. Blatche should have had 30 this game but he played like a little wussy. Once he finally realized he could score on Green in like the last couple minutes, he tried some ridiculous spin move and tried to force it. It was there the whole game except for that play. Blatche needs to pick it up or its going to be impossible to defend him staying on this team.

dlts2041 will not like this posting. Dray was coming down with a cold and had foul trouble was why his game wasn't on point yesterday.

Posted by: zack9633 | January 29, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

@ Samson151

23 g, 9.4 min,.389% fg, .714 ft, 2.3 rbds, 0.57 blk, .65 to, 2.13 pf, 0.2 asst, 2.3 pts. Funny, these seem the same stats you cited as being from EUROPE. Did I misunderstand your intent?

I'd say not so hot, but that's just me. I still like BLATCHE's and JAVALE's stats thank you.

Posted by: glawrence007

g has a point but you always think you know it all. Maybe we should trade K Serp for a couple of draft picks?

Posted by: zack9633 | January 29, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

A few questions for those projecting John Wall's greatness:

1. What specific attributes suggest to you that John Wall will be a great point guard?

2. How do you rate John Wall on the following point guard skills:

a. ball-handling
b. court vision
c. passing/play making
d. shooting
e. man-to-man defense

3. What other current great point guards rated similarly in the above (not statistically) during their rookie season?

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | January 29, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"23 g, 9.4 min,.389% fg, .714 ft, 2.3 rbds, 0.57 blk, .65 to, 2.13 pf, 0.2 asst, 2.3 pts. Funny, these seem the same stats you cited as being from EUROPE. Did I misunderstand your intent?"Posted by: glawrence007

He came over from Europe. Whereas Blatche came directly from high school and McGee after two years of college ball.

Seraphin's numbers are NBA to date, from NBA.com.

"I'd say not so hot, but that's just me. I still like BLATCHE's and JAVALE's stats thank you."

Why? They're not a whole lot different.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

"g has a point but you always think you know it all. Posted by: zack9633"

What's his point? I couldn't understand it.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

"I think if we want to be brutally honest we have to admit that guys like Wall don't win Championships. Of course, he should get much better. But as of today, Nick's easily the better player. Hopefully that speaks to Wall being a rookie, somewhat injured, and not used to a long season. But last I checked, Nick wasnt getting lit up by Wade or Kobe to the extent Wall is consistently getting thrashed."

Posted by: divi3 | January 29, 2011 5:19 PM

Nicely done.

You make a completely subjective, unsupportable statement ("But as of today, Nick's easily the better player"), present it as fact (even though it is highly debatable at best), give a dismissive wave to a major factor that would render the comparison--if accurate-- pretty much moot anyway (Wall is a rookie while Young is a 4-year vet with considerable NBA experience) , then throw in some cherry-picked "evidence" of Young's supposed superiority which (A) even if applicable, only applies to one isolated part of his game (defense) while (B) blithely ignoring the evidence which contradicts your position (including the fact that several SGs--including Ginobili, Magette, Dunleavy, Afflalo, Henderson have had big nights (i.e., scoring above their averages and/or hitting better than 50% of their shots) since Young became the starter,

The bias is, of course, obvious and wholly predictable, but the execution was a bit more deft than your usual sledgehammer approach. Well done.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 29, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"Because I don't think you can but you're right, it doesn't matter. Yuo're the walking stat machine here. Posted by: zack9633"

You want me to define bust because you don't think I can define bust? Yet it doesn't matter anyway?

A very strange request.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"As booker sang last night, "don't stop believing!" (Did he know the camera zoomed in on him for that?)"

Posted by: bosshog7169 | January 29, 2011 5:45 PM

I hope so, because that was the best moment of the entire game. He wasn't just singing along . . . he was rockin' out! That was awesome!

Speaking of Seraphin, I loved it when when he tried to throw one down and got stoned at the rim by Ibaka. Just the fact that he attacked the basket like that says a lot about how much he's progressed physically and in terms of confidence since the season started.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 29, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

There've been glimpses of a bright future -- who knows if it will come to pass? After all, we're still waiting on McGee, right? Let's not give up just yet.

There's really not much comparison between Keveen and Javale as rookies, so far anyway. Mcgee showed "ridiculous upside" from the get-go whereas Keveeen has yet to have what could be classified as a good game. I dont think anyone wants to give up on the guy in his rookie year, but so far your analogies with Mcgee are misplaced.

Posted by: divi3 | January 29, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

"1. What specific attributes suggest to you that John Wall will be a great point guard?"

He's really, really hard to defend. We saw that at the beginning of the season. It's rare we see an athlete of that quality who's also skilled at the point. He's had some health issues, and he's obviously struggling with his conditioning, but an off-season should go some ways towards correcting that.

a. ball-handling: good, but needs to be better. He gets ahead of himself on the dribble. At the moment seems to play more in control than earlier in the season. That's a good sign. I think he's comparable to Rose and Westbrook as rookies. Not as good as Chris Paul.

b. court vision: also good. Better than some of his teammates, which has become something of a problem at times. Again not as good as Paul was coming out of the gate.

c. passing/play making: Better than the young Steve Nash, not as good as Chris Paul.

d. shooting: needs work. Main off-season target. Akin to Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook as a rookie.

e. man-to-man defense: uneven. Better than Rose or Chris Paul, not quite as good as Westbrook.

See? Not a stat in sight. Of course, that means we can't resolve disputes -- we're just bandying opinion.
"3. What other current great point guards rated similarly in the above (not statistically) during their rookie season?"

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Just the fact that he attacked the basket like that says a lot about how much he's progressed physically and in terms of confidence since the season started.

Did you talk to Keveen about that play, ask him exactly how he felt? I'll assume you did, since you never present your opinion as fact right? It's not like he hasnt attacked the rim previously afterall.

Posted by: divi3 | January 29, 2011 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Reference Serephin, Flip yanked him for walking with the ball. Stupid. But before he was pulled Serephin stops a bullseye dunk that would make the next guy think twice. I like the cold hearted toughness in Kevin.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 29, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I confess I like Seraphin. I know he's not yet a real NBA ball player, but he's fun to watch. That's got to be worth something during this long season.

Booker too. Hope they get more court time during the second half.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

About Javale: I guess I never saw his huge upside as a rookie. He was a great dunker, a world-class dunker, the sort that could win the All-Star dunk contest someday. So that put him in company with guys like Spud Webb. I recall the shock when that first media guy realized he was dunking on a basket that hadn't been lowered all the way yet. Had to be eleven and a half, twelve feet. Elevation like that comes around maybe once every five or ten years.

But in games, he looked clumsy to me. Got his feet crossed, was jumping around like Tigger. It wasn't just his willowy frame; he seemed to lack the base to establish position inside. Later I learned one of his coaches had pegged him as a combo forward. That made sense. He just outgrew his inclinations.

Booker is a little bit of a physical freak, too. That speed is something. But he's also changing positions. Transitioning from the post game he refined at Clemson to something quite different.

Seraphin is still something of a mystery. The Wiz haven't had anyone with that sort of natural strength. We haven't seen much of him in comparison to other big men. I enjoy it when he's in the game. Maybe because he has something none of the other Wiz big men have -- a body to play inside in the NBA.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 29, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

"Did you talk to Keveen about that play, ask him exactly how he felt? I'll assume you did, since you never present your opinion as fact right? It's not like he hasnt attacked the rim previously afterall."

Posted by: divi3 | January 29, 2011 6:47 PM

I didn't present my opinion as fact this time, as I never said word one about how he "felt," but rather what the move showed. The fact that he got up as high and as quickly as he did demonstrated improved lift and condition, and his willingness to do attempt such a move demonstrated more confidence in his previously injured knee than his mostly floor-bound play early in the season.

And I've never seen Seraphin attack the rim for a one-handed dunk with that kind of ferocity, lift, and force. He certainly wasn't doing it early in the season (when he could barely get of the floor), which was the specific frame of comparison I was using; i.e., he's quicker and got more springs now than he had when he first started getting PT, which are clear signs of progress. That is a fact, demonstrated by the dunk attempt last night, that is in no way, shape, or form undercut if he's made similar attempts recently.

Tsk. See, and you were doing so well, then you had to go and ruin it with such a ham-fisted attempt at a "gotcha." Oh well. Even Icarus fell to Earth when he tried to fly too high. There's a lesson there for you.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 29, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

As far as the draft picks go, Wall is exactly as advertised. If we could redo the draft today and every team could have a shot at selecting a #1 overall pick, Wall would almost certainly come off the top of the board for pretty much everyone. The only reason that he might not be selected by every team in the NBA is because some already have young or in their prime All-Star caliber PGs on their roster. They'd probably try to deal the pick.

As far as Seraphin goes, it's way too early to tell what kind of player he will eventually become. Physically he's clearly NBA ready. In terms of his understanding of the game and skill set he looks pretty advanced for a guy who only been playing organized ball for 4 years and who only played for two years before that. The Wizards probably won't know what they have in Seraphin for another three of four years. As a fan, I think any significant contribution this year or next is probably a bonus.

In the case of a guy like Booker, it's probably not an accident that his four years at a quality division 1 program have helped ease his transition into the pro game. Of the three #1 picks, he is the one who is probably closest to his developmental ceiling in his first season. It would have been great if the Wizards had gotten lucky and Booker fell to them at #30, but even at #24 overall he looks like he could end up being a quality pick.

Posted by: JPRS | January 29, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

"No but you didn't mention him like you called out Lewis. Also, I know who the Wizards selected when they clearly should have taken D. Blair. Ever think theyed already made the deal for Tayor's draft rights before they had a chance to select Blair? Again, a missed opportunity from 2 drafts ago. Booker and Blair can't be mentioned in the same draft.

Posted by: zack5 | January 29, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse "

Get a clue. What are you expecting out of a 20 year old rookie playing his 33 game where in college, he's wrapping up the season vs. a seasoned vet getting paid almost $20 mil this season?

BTW, nobody's mentioning both Booker and Blair in the same draft. Both dudes could be on this roster right now. Where's your Jermaine Taylor?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 29, 2011 11:32 PM | Report abuse

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