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Posted at 8:34 AM ET, 01/18/2011

Wizards focused on snapping road losing streak (again)

By Michael Lee
Morning brew

The Wizards are 4-2 in their past six games and they have won consecutive games for the first time this season, but they realize that this recent run of success has been aided by a favorable schedule (they've faced one team with a winning record) and overshadowed by an eyesore of a road record (they're 0-19 on the road).

After beating a team with a winning record for the first time this season with a 108-101 victory over the Utah Jazz, the Wizards (12-27) are now focused on finally getting a road win. "We've got to translate this to playing on the road, when the game gets close and in the nitty gritty, got to close them out," John Wall said.

They will travel to Milwaukee later this afternoon and face the Bucks on Wednesday, attempting to avoid becoming the sixth team in NBA history to open a season with at least 20 road losses. The Dallas Mavericks hold the record with 29 road losses to start a season.

"The most important thing is getting passed it and trying to get that zero to a one, getting better and better and improving," Andray Blatche said of the road woes. "I don't know if we just don't believe in ourselves on the road and lose focus. I don't know if it's because we haven't won a game on the road and we use that as an excuse. I don't know what it is, but we have to figure out what it is and change that."

The Wizards play differently at Verizon Center, where they have the sixth best home record in the Eastern Conference (12-8). Had the Wizards managed to close out road games in Atlanta, Detroit, New Jersey, Houston and Minnesota -- giving them a 5-14 road record -- they'd be sitting in the eighth spot in the playoffs. They are currently 4½ games behind Indiana, and Rashard Lewis said the players are starting to believe in their chances.

"We've got to set goals and set goals to try to make the playoffs," Lewis said. "We're four or five games out of it and we can set that goal to reach it. Anything can happen, but you've got to stay positive."

Lewis said he hopes that the Wizards learned a valuable lesson with their win over one of the best teams in the Western Conference. "It's a lot of good teams in this league, but regardless of who you play against, if you come out and play the right way and not turn the ball over, you should have a chance to win the ball game," Lewis said. "We won two in a row, but both games have been at home though. We've got to find a way to get a win on the road and it all starts with one. If we can get one win on the road to get that confidence, then we can get a string of them on the road."

FROM THE POST
Tracee Hamilton said the Wizards offered glimmers of good play in their win over Utah, but still need to get it together on the road.

John Wall had a career-high 15 assists and Nick Young buried the game-winning jumper as the Wizards upset the Utah Jazz. The Wizards got a quality win on an odd afternoon.

AROUND THE WEB
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes that the New Jersey Nets have to convince Carmelo Anthony to join them, or the organization is lost.

John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News writes that history is not on the side of Evan Turner, the underwhelming No. 2 pick.

NBA.com's David Aldridge wonders what Martin Luther King would think about the current NBA if he were alive.

SoleCollector.com gets the back story behind Nike's Black History Month Collection, which several players wore for the MLK holiday.

By Michael Lee  | January 18, 2011; 8:34 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: On odd afternoon, Wizards get first quality win
Next: Flip Saunders misses practice to tend to ailing mother

Comments

Come on Flip, earn your paycheck Wednesday. Can't count on Nick to score 18pts in a quarter (2x), or 16 in a row, or 14 in the 4th(yesterday), to get these victories. Bucks are floundering and ripe for the picking, of course they look at us as a "get right" game. Coach'em up Saunders!

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Great game yesterday! I still think Young and Wall are playing too many minutes for their own good (particularly if Wall is trying to get healthy). Play Cartier and Booker more plus resign Hudson. The season is a marathon not a sprint. Players need to develop and not get overworked. Plus, they need fresh legs at the end of games to avoid 4th quarter collapses. By the way, I saw "Just Wright" last night and thought Rashard Lewis did a really nice job in his cameo.

Posted by: audacitea | January 18, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

"Can't count on Nick to score 18pts in a quarter (2x), or 16 in a row, or 14 in the 4th(yesterday), to get these victories." Posted by: divi3"

No, you really can't. Nick's been a key to the Wiz' success at Verizon, and conversely, the dropoff in his performance has been key to the road losing streak. If he can begin approximating that performance on the road, the team has a legit shot in away games. I'm not agreeing with the 'Jekyll and Hyde' characterization we've already heard in the media. He doesn't have to play the way he has recently at Verizon -- just consistently better than he has away from it.

But Nick IMO wasn't the difference in the win against Utah. What that showed is when Andray plays up to his potential, the Wiz are a different club.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"The season is a marathon not a sprint. posted by audacitea"

Truer words were never spoke... and for some teams, it can be like a war of attrition. Coaches try to conserve minutes wherever they can. We're approaching the point where most NBA regulars are playing with at least minor injuries that probably won't get a chance to fully heal.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

and conversely, the dropoff in his performance has been key to the road losing streak.

On the road, he's at 13pts on 43%FG and 38%3PT. Certainly not the MVP type numbers he has been putting up at VC, but not terrible numbers and he plays solid-to-great D home and away. I wouldnt pin the losses on him, as if it's up to him to single-handedly carry the team.

But Nick IMO wasn't the difference in the win against Utah. What that showed is when Andray plays up to his potential, the Wiz are a different club.

Dray had his best game in a long time, very good to see. But he was 1-5 (i think) in the 4thQ while Young bailed us out with 14pts. Team effort, but you have to put the ball in the hoop.

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Let's see Flip win us one on Wednesday, it will be the first of the season.

We know Bogut is huge and strong and will give trouble to Javale. How about going right back at him like we did against Hibbert at VC? Or maybe putting Dray on Bogut as he's shown an ability to handle bigger Cs better than JM at times. Or maybe not going straight to softYi when/if Mcgee gets in foul trouble...perhaps Seraphin could bang Bogut around a little?

Just saying, how about not letting this one play out as you could predict it based upon their strengths and our limitations. Try to get the game to play in a way favorable to our matchup advantages.

And let's push the hell out of the ball just like we did against Utah, ez buckets will ensue

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"On the road, he's at 13pts on 43%FG and 38%3PT. Certainly not the MVP type numbers he has been putting up at VC, but not terrible numbers and he plays solid-to-great D home and away. I wouldnt pin the losses on him, as if it's up to him to single-handedly carry the team.posted by divi3"

I wouldn't pin the losses on any player. Just noting that if he's a big reason why we're 12-8 at Verizon, his dropoff is a big reason the Wiz are much worse away from there.

"Dray had his best game in a long time, very good to see. But he was 1-5 (i think) in the 4thQ..."

That doesn't bother me so much. I'm OK with scorers (particularly long-distance ones) having hot and cold spells during the game. Shouldn't panic when they're 1-6 or be overconfident when they hit six in a row. As long as they're taking good shots.

What we need from Andray is steady game-to-game production. Defensive rebounding, 15-20 points on 45%+ shooting, reduced turnovers and reasonable effort on defense. Like it or not, the guy is one of the team's anchors. If he doesn't play well, then somebody else has to step up, and the Wiz don't have a lot of options.

Posted by: divi3

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I meant that I'm OK with Nick having hot and cold spells during a game -- should expect it from somebody who plays the role he does.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Blatche's play since his interview on the Mike Wise show has seen him make a more concerted effort around the basket. More drives to the rim instead of that "behind the back dribble, fade away jumper". More post up play.
If he'll play closer to the basket, then the Wiz have a chance to break this O-fer streak.

I also wish Flip would confine Hinrich to the back up point. Cartier Martin has a really good looking stroke. I'd prefer him on the court when Nick Young's out.
I'd guess that Martin isn't much of a ball handler. That may be why we see so much of Hinrich at the 2.

Posted by: bozomoeman | January 18, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I could've sworn I heard AB say that Flip wouldn't be with the team in Milwaukee....so the undefeated Randy Wittman should be coaching this one.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Reading this morning's post brought to mind one of the all time great post game news conference lines,"Playoffs??? Are You talking Playoff??? Playoffs!!!"

Almost as good as Allen Iverson's great,"Practice!!! We're talking practice!!!" rant.

Godd to see the team take a step forward in consistant play without Howard on the floor. The young guys seem to be getting it. Point guard depth is an issue right now. Not sure Cartier's got a good enough handle to help there. Only thing Flip could do is limit Hinrich's minutes some at the two and use Martin a little more there. Also limited the three guard alignment more could help manage the guard minutes. A don't like it much anyway...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | January 18, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Blatche looks like he has lost some weight even in the past week or so. Maybe all the bad press has caused him to get his diet right, or maybe we need to pay his Moms to stay in town cause she's kicking his butt.

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"I also wish Flip would confine Hinrich to the back up point. Cartier Martin has a really good looking stroke. I'd prefer him on the court when Nick Young's out.
I'd guess that Martin isn't much of a ball handler. That may be why we see so much of Hinrich at the 2.Posted by: bozomoeman"

I suspect it has more to do with Wall being a rookie.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Didn't know it was a new thread when I posted it so here it is:

So...when AB and Nick get better...it's by pure luck and happenstance.

It couldn't be the coach that everyone hates so much has had Nick, JaVale and AB playing better than ever in his two seasons...because that would mean players would have to...GET BETTER THEMSELVES!

Players couldn't decide in the offseason to focus better, study, eat better, hit the weights and dedicate themselves and maybe change their number and call themselves Seven Day Dray...and COME BACK BETTER?

Nick EARNED his minutes. He's playing better now than ever. He gets to the free throw line, makes good passes and plays defense. This was not always the case. He could always score....some people saw his tools and wanted more from him.

When Boozer got hurt and Milsap balled out...was it because Jerry Sloan was an idiot and got lucky? No.

So pick your poison...either players are improving under Flip...or players got better all by themselves....enjoy that corner you all are backing yourselves into.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

And this Nick...is not like last season. I'm sure his rebounding, free throw attempt and assist career highs are from this season...without even looking.

Maybe you should look my friend...his per36 are very close to the same this year and last for assts, rebs, and FTA. Just needed the PT!

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"I suggested [Howard] shoot his jump hook," Olajuwon recalled. "He's a leaper. He has the ability to get his jump hook anytime he wants. And I said to attack [Kendrick Perkins], not go away from him. Try to face up, use a drop step, a spin move, go baseline. There were so many opportunities."

This is something like what I'd hope Javale would learn to do against more physical defensive big men.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I thought this was the most useful advice for McGee to heed:

To Olajuwon's way of thinking, adding a new drop step or developing a more effective ball fake will only go so far toward making those transformations. A mindset that embraces the easy instead of reveling in the difficult is crucial.


"When I watch games, I see a ton of opportunities where guys are not recognizing what the opponents are giving them," Olajuwon said. "They try to make a move, but it's not there. There is no reason to create a move if I'm successful at what you're giving me. You have to be able to recognize that, make a quick observation.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Troubling that the one "go-to" move Javale is using is that sweeping hook. It does go in, but man so much unnecessary movement and ball handling. When he does jumphook, he's almost always moving away from the basket and shooting an AJ-like flipshot at a tough angle.

He can literally shoot over every single player in the entire league. Find a spot, elevate, and it's a clean look. Guess that will be this offseason's work...Flip has said as much, that the offensive game will come once they are satisfied with his consistent defense/rebounding

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Maybe you should look my friend...his per36 are very close to the same this year and last for assts, rebs, and FTA."

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 11:13 AM

So, in other words, his assists and rebounds haven't actually improved.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Looks to me like Flip is actually good with young players. That may be because of his extended CBA tenure (7 seasons, 253 victories). And the Timberwolves when he had them. He won a lot in Detroit but had conflicts with some of the regulars there. Based on that you'd wonder if he was the ideal coach for a veteran team.

He's actually gone pretty easy on younger guys like Young and McGee, breaking them in gradually rather than letting them founder. His criticisms of their play in the media have been lightweight. Seems like he doesn't like to give big minutes to unproven players, unless it's a prodigy like Wall, so he draws some criticism there. And he clearly likes to have some mature vets on the court at all times, particularly in the fourth. But really, what NBA coach doesn't?

So IMO he's probably a good choice for a team like the current iteration of the Wiz. Not perfect, but then, who is? Scott Skiles? Avery Johnson? Jeff Van Gundy? There's a downside to every option.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I think what the coaching staff has done 'right' with Nick Young is they've let him bomb away from outside. It's tempting to try to bring him closer to the basket because of his size and leaping ability, but he's not really the ultra-physical type. That's why I wasn't in favor of the SF experiment. Nick blossomed once Gilbert left and he could assume the role of principal outside scorer.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"He can literally shoot over every single player in the entire league. Find a spot, elevate, and it's a clean look.posted by divi3"

Well put. Yes, he can. He might be one of the great leapers in league history. I think that's what Olajuwon meant by watching film and just taking advantage of the obvious opportunities. Look for the 'easy' rather than the difficult shot.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

So pick your poison...either players are improving under Flip...or players got better all by themselves....enjoy that corner you all are backing yourselves into.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Get real. There was no gradual improvement in these palyers performance, it was a dramatic and obvious improvenment once they got consistent minutes. Prior to the Jamison trade last year and the Arenas trade, Andray and Nick were caught up in the psychotic one mistake substitution patterns, which were prevalent over the last 2 years. Flip is simply one of the good old boys in this league who will stick with the status quo re Mike Miller, Kirk Hinrich type veterans until he has no other choice. Sounds like you (SDMDTSU), Samson and Kalaorama are really plants trying to save this dudes job. Hell Gilbert Arenas did more to advance Nick's career than Flip did. After you guys basically relegated this kid to the Euroleague or the D League now you want to jump on the bandwagon in a roundabout way by giving Flip credit for player development. Randy Wittman could take over tomorrow and that would be an upgrade.

Posted by: NewManagement | January 18, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't care about PER numbers. I watch the games.

When PER adjusts for being under control, making smart decisions and taking good rhythm shots within the flow of an offense...let me know.

And if we're going back to basing opinions on numbers when it's convenient...then I guess this applies?

Young may be the league's blindest dribbler, ranking dead last among shooting guards in assist ratio. He has a knack for scoring -- 18.0 points per 40 minutes -- and he'd be a good 3-point specialist if he'd spot up more often instead of going for 17-foot contested jumpers.

Of greater mystery is his total inability to rebound. Young is 6-6 and can jump, but he ranked second to last among shooting guards in rebound rate. Among those who outrebounded him were Ben Gordon, J.J. Redick, Luke Ridnour, Jason Williams, Aaron Brooks, Mike Bibby and Carlos Arroyo.

Young doesn't seem to have any clue how to play defense either. He was eighth among shooting guards in fouls per minute and in the bottom dozen in both blocks and steals. He can jump and he can shoot, which should be a pretty good foundation, but right now he's not an NBA rotation player.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Get real. There was no gradual improvement in these palyers performance, it was a dramatic and obvious improvenment once they got consistent minutes. Prior to the Jamison trade last year and the Arenas trade, Andray and Nick were caught up in the psychotic one mistake substitution patterns, which were prevalent over the last 2 years. Flip is simply one of the good old boys in this league who will stick with the status quo re Mike Miller, Kirk Hinrich type veterans until he has no other choice. Sounds like you (SDMDTSU), Samson and Kalaorama are really plants trying to save this dudes job. Hell Gilbert Arenas did more to advance Nick's career than Flip did. After you guys basically relegated this kid to the Euroleague or the D League now you want to jump on the bandwagon in a roundabout way by giving Flip credit for player development. Randy Wittman could take over tomorrow and that would be an upgrade.

Posted by: NewManagement | January 18, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

You're an angry guy. Someone get this guy a happy meal.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

So pick your poison...either players are improving under Flip...or players got better all by themselves....enjoy that corner you all are backing yourselves into.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Get real. There was no gradual improvement in these palyers performance, it was a dramatic and obvious improvenment once they got consistent minutes. Prior to the Jamison trade last year and the Arenas trade, Andray and Nick were caught up in the psychotic one mistake substitution patterns, which were prevalent over the last 2 years. Flip is simply one of the good old boys in this league who will stick with the status quo re Mike Miller, Kirk Hinrich type veterans until he has no other choice. Sounds like you (SDMDTSU), Samson and Kalaorama are really plants trying to save this dudes job. Hell Gilbert Arenas did more to advance Nick's career than Flip did. After you guys basically relegated this kid to the Euroleague or the D League now you want to jump on the bandwagon in a roundabout way by giving Flip credit for player development. Randy Wittman could take over tomorrow and that would be an upgrade.

Posted by: NewManagement | January 18, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Fact is...I don't give a damn abotu Flip, or his job. Or Kirk's minutes or Mike Miller. I want the main pieces they have, Wall, AB, Nick and AB to get better.

I've never said Nick wouldn't be in the league or even didn't like him...just said he needed to bring more or he'd never be more than a J.R. Smith at best.

So Gil is the reason Nick is ballin? Oh okay. Thanks for cleaing that up.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

So Gil is the reason Nick is ballin? Oh okay. Thanks for cleaing that up.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 18, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see you are finally grasping reality...your welcome...I enjoy helping the less informed

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Not to burst the Wiz bubble but am asterisk should be place by yesterday win. Playing at Mountain team at 1 pm, 11am mountain time isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for a quality win. I would not mark it as a win that changed the season.

Posted by: dcinmd1 | January 18, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Not to burst the Wiz bubble but am asterisk should be place by yesterday win. Playing at Mountain team at 1 pm, 11am mountain time isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for a quality win. I would not mark it as a win that changed the season.

Posted by: dcinmd1 | January 18, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

dcinmd1,

Give them (blind followers)the brief enjoyment reality will set in soon and then they will have to revert back to making excuses for the reasom Flip and Ernie suck.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The reason I chose bf78 is because I am a Bullets fan (they will always be the Bullets to me) and 78 is because I have suffered being a fan of this team since then.

Posted by: bulletsfan78

People, I just identified the source of the "Curse". The source is bulletsfan78.

Posted by: G-Man11 | January 18, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"I would not mark [yesterday's victory] as a win that changed the season.Posted by: dcinmd1

Of course not. That's still the same old Wizards out there. I'm just hoping they go on a little hot streak -- most teams do, and I've been waiting for one. But no reason to expect it now. They've a rough stretch of road coming up through month's end. Yet if they play like they did yesterday, they could surprise some people.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"...Andray and Nick were caught up in the psychotic one mistake substitution patterns, which were prevalent over the last 2 years. Flip is simply one of the good old boys in this league who will stick with the status quo re Mike Miller, Kirk Hinrich type veterans until he has no other choice. Sounds like you (SDMDTSU), Samson and Kalaorama are really plants trying to save this dudes job. Hell Gilbert Arenas did more to advance Nick's career than Flip did.posted by NewManagement"

LOL that's the new NewManagement -- same as the old NewManagement.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

LOL that's the new NewManagement -- same as the old NewManagement.


Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

You're right...

new NewManagement

Ted, Ernie, Flip

old NewManagement

Abe, Ernie Flip

Same results....lottery

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

LOL that's the new NewManagement -- same as the old NewManagement.


Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

You're right...

new NewManagement

Ted, Ernie, Flip

old NewManagement

Abe, Ernie Flip

Same results....lottery

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 18, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

You work with them, you keep on working with them, and every day they get a little bit better and better. I look at our team and where we're at, I look at the development of Nick Young, he seems to be doing it, Andray and JaVale are having career years and I look at John averaging nine assists a game, there's only been three players in the history of the league that have done that as rookies.

"I think as these guys do those types of things, even though we're not winning as many games as we'd like to, you can see that eventually we're going to get there because if these guys keep on developing the way they are we'll keep on getting better and better."


Best quote from Flip I've seen.

Sounds like he believes NY, AB, and JM constitute the makings of a core group to go along with JWall. That's what many fans have been saying since the summer, that we are NOT looking at another wholesale roster turnover to rebuild the team because we already have talented, young players to go with Wall.

Posted by: divi3 | January 18, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"Among those who outrebounded him were Ben Gordon, J.J. Redick, Luke Ridnour, Jason Williams, Aaron Brooks, Mike Bibby and Carlos Arroyo."

Ben Gordon, JWill, and Carlos Arroyo? Yikes.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 18, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"Among those who outrebounded him were Ben Gordon, J.J. Redick, Luke Ridnour, Jason Williams, Aaron Brooks, Mike Bibby and Carlos Arroyo."

I know, it ain't good. Nick seems aware of it, however, per his comment a couple weeks back.

I said at the beginning of the season that if he provides the Wiz with a real outside threat and plays a little defense, I'll cut him some slack. That was when Gil was here, of course. But for now, I'm stickin' to it.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 18, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

but right now he's not an NBA rotation player.


NYs stats as a starter this season:

21pts 46%FG
3.2 Rebs
1.9 Assists

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

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

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

"Hell Gilbert Arenas did more to advance Nick's career than Flip did."
Posted by: NewManagement

Since Gil himself debunked this myth, it's time for this urban legend to be buried.

Posted by: fansincebullets | January 18, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

As always 8'er you're forgetting the 4 straight years the team went to the playoffs under Ernie. Last Lottery trip was the year they sent Harris to the Mav's for Jamison. How that work out? Jamison went on to Allstar years here and led the team to the second round of the playoffs one year, and to the playoffs three others.
Harris seems to be in route to his third team soon.

Looking at 36 minute pers is highly misleading when trying to project out what a player will truely do with an increased workload. Most bench players are just that, starter minutes don't consistantly result in increased production. Few hold up to their pers with increased workloads.

The NBA is not a league where it's always a good just to throw a raw young guy out there and see if he sinks or floats. Many talented guys get trapped playing a style of ball as a "high energy" reserve that doesn't translate into success when they get more minutes. End up trapped in that classic 8-15 man bubble, can't get the minutes to get better, can't perform when they get the minutes.

Flip's been maddening at times because he's dosing out tough love sometimes and it screws up his rotations. I'd say he's given up some potential wins while he using his "teachable moments" to improve a guy's longterm potential in the league.

But the net result with McGee has been that he has gone from a guy that was thought of as a high energy reserve that couldn't crack the rotation early last year, to a guy that's expected to pull down 10 rebounds a game and block 3-4 shots every night. Look it up, how many guys can do that, ever?

Young's gone from a raw, streaky shooter, that had no idea about spacing or screens, and dribbled and stepped back before every shot. To now, he knows instincively where to run to spot up to wait for Wall's assist before he throws it. He's probably the best Wizard at running off a screen and catching and shooting, and he's still got that game where he can break a guy down and get his own shot. and along the way he's picked up a little thing called defense.

And Blatche, is Blatche. His growing up has been maddening, but when he plays a game like Monday he makes me remember why the Wiz like him. Didn't we go through this once before with Blatche, when Mom came to town and doled out some home cooking and tough love? She needs a spot on the Wizards payroll, in her spare time she can serve as Seriphan's step mom.

Flip's maybe not the best coach for this group, But who's better? And how long will the process take under a new coach?

So maybe Flip's good enough to get the young Wiz though their growing pains.
And these young stars that Flip just seems to be impeding in their development, who drafted those guys anyway? Other then Wall not a one was a lottery pick. Even when a team is picking late lottery, a guy's going to have a learning curve like Seriphan does, so to get guys like Young and McGee with mid to late first rounders, somebody was doing their job.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | January 18, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"Hell Gilbert Arenas did more to advance Nick's career than Flip did."
Posted by: NewManagement

Since Gil himself debunked this myth, it's time for this urban legend to be buried.

----

absolutely. unless the meaning was that gil's being traded led to nick's blossoming. if so, we can thank ernie, not gil.

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

When a shooting guard is playing with a point like Wall assists are going to be somewhat limited. First of all Wall runs the offense, when Wall and Hinrich are on the floor with Nick, he's the third option to handle the ball.

Secondly, JWall has no catch and shoot game, Nick Young isn't going to get assists flipping the ball to a wide open Wall. When they run the break, everybody is learning the pecking order and getting on a wing, JWall's getting the assists there too.

So I think you can live with slightly less then 2 assists a game from Nick as a starter at point with Wall. And 3.2 rebounds per game as a starting shooting guard is livable if he's going to score. It's a small sampling, but if Nick can maintain anything near those numbers as a starter, the Wiz have found JWall a backcourt mate.

What Nick is showing an increasingly good ability to get in position for the catch and shoot 3 pointer. He really has seemed to progress in that part of his game. Nick and Lewis give the Wiz two shooters who can really space the floor. When you combine two accurate three point shooters to stretch the floor with a point guard that can get to the rack and score or draw the foul, you have the makings of an NBA offense.

The trade of Lewis to the Wiz surprised me, I expected him to be one of Orlando's fixtures, mainly because he's so overpaid. But to me, the early return is that it was smart move by Ernie. Lewis has played well and seems to be taking on a real leadership role here, and his game intermeshes well with Wall's.

You would have expected that the Wiz were going to have to take on a bloated contract to move Gil, but in Lewis they received a player that has been a valuable locker room presence and knows how to play winning NBA basketball. Stop and think about what Ernie could have gotten in return.

Lewis's shooting ability, along with Young's, is providing Wall with seams to work with, and the Wiz's floor spacing is much improved in recent games. Wall is starting to see paths to the basket, AND open shooters.

When grading these young players and this season it's important to remember how many changes have been made in the last year. This team brought in a new center peice and just moved the old one out since the season started and have seemed to avoid the split lockerroom that normally comes with it.

Flip and these players have done well not to implode trying to absorb all of these changes on the fly in the last year... GM

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

[McGee] can literally shoot over every single player in the entire league. Find a spot, elevate, and it's a clean look. Guess that will be this offseason's work...Flip has said as much, that the offensive game will come once they are satisfied with his consistent defense/rebounding
Posted by: divi3

My small problem with that (and it is a small one) is that McGee could have been doing it all along with the coaches or on his own. If you have decent shooting touch, which to me he does, developing a jump hook with your dominant hand is not difficult, it just takes repetitions. The footwork is basic. Not a lot of moving parts to go awry. It's just a matter of knowing where the hoop is and putting the shot up with a little touch. All big men should have that as shot #1 in their around-the-basket repertoire, especially those who can get it off with ease against most players like JaVale can. AB has one, though he doesn't use it much. Even KS has the beginnings of one. He'll struggle to get it off against some larger players, but he'll be able to make up for that to a degree with his bulk.

So while I disagreed with the way Flip jumped on JaVale when asked if the dunk contest would help his confidence, I sort of agreed with what he was saying. If JaVale had been working on those things all along (instead of his dunks, etc) he would have them already and would actually already be a legit option on the low box.

I don't know if the coaches have steered him to work on that or not, so I can't speak to that. They should have, so hopefully they did.

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

After you guys basically relegated this kid to the Euroleague or the D League now you want to jump on the bandwagon in a roundabout way by giving Flip credit for player development.
Posted by: NewManagement

Already debunked the "Young to the Euroleague or D-league" lie once, don't make me do it again.

I don't recall reading anyone say that Flip deserves the credit, just that he does deserve some credit, as opposed to the idea that Nick improved all on his own.

Flip was the one (documented) who wanted Young to work on catching and shooting and shooting off of screens. Which the Fliperazzi basically decried as Flip trying to turn Nick into Rip Hamilton. Turns out it was a pretty helpful addition to Nick's game. Credit goes to Nick for doing the work, but some credit also goes to Flip and the coaches for suggesting it and helping him work on it.

Posted by: ts35 | January 18, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

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