Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: MrMichaelLee and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS
Posted at 8:08 AM ET, 01/17/2011

Wizards prepare for rare afternoon game vs. Jazz

By Michael Lee
Morning brew

With a 1 p.m. start against the Utah Jazz, the Wizards held what amounted to a brief shootaround on Sunday at Verizon Center. Coach Flip Saunders is hoping that the light, short practice would help the Wizards adjust their routine for an unusual tip-off time.

"That's normally when you're getting something to eat and getting ready to take your nap. That's why you got to get up early in the morning and get yourself going, because you don't want to be dragging," Rashard Lewis said. "One o'clock games are more mental than physical. You've got to get yourself mind ready because it's almost like a practice. Usually, you try to get some sleep and take your time in the morning. You get a good breakfast, some good food in your system. Even try to get to the gym a little early, because everything seems like everything is totally different and you don't want to be rushing into things. You want to be relaxed."

Saunders said the team would provide breakfast for players to make sure that they have some energy when they step on the floor. The Wizards only have two 1 p.m. games scheduled this season. "As long as I've been here, I don't remember us ever coming out being ready for one o'clock games," Andray Blatche said.

The Jazz (27-13) may have the more difficult adjustment, since the start time would be 11 a.m. in Salt Lake City. The last time the Wizards were in Washington on the Martin Luther King holiday, the Wizards won, 114-111, as Gilbert Arenas dropped 51 points, including the game-winning three-pointer, and turned around, raising his arms, before the shot fell.

Blatche is the only player remaining from that team, as the Wizards (11-27) attempt to accomplish two goals against Utah: to win consecutive games and defeat a team with a winning record for the first time this season. "It's a good test for us," Saunders said. "We've established our ability to compete at home. I've always said, your progression is to beat the teams you're supposed to beat, then you beat the good teams at home, then you beat the bad teams on the road, then the good teams on the road. That's your progression to an elite playoff team. I think we've got to a point now, we've got take that next step."

FROM THE POST
Ted Leonsis has made several changes to the Wizards since taking over as majority owner six months ago.

Kirk Hinrich is wearing new protective glasses for games, the latest adjustment has had to make this season.

Josh Howard will visit a specialist in New York on Monday to receive treatment on his surgically-repaired left knee.

Nick Young overcame soreness in his left knee to carry the Wizards to their third consecutive home win. Yi Jianlian also contributed with his first big game since coming back from a sprained right knee and had the first coast-to-coast dribble and dunk of his career.

Andray Blatche is hoping that his "roller coaster" season has settled down.

AROUND THE WEB
Mike Prada of SBNation talks to John Wall about how injuries are affecting his performance.

Sick of the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors yet? Well, the Denver Nuggets have granted permission to the New Jersey Nets to speak with Anthony, signaling that a trade could be looming. But what if Anthony really doesn't want to talk to New Jersey?

Speculation has intensified that Anthony's nearly eight-year tenure in Denver is nearing its end. He told ESPN that playing in New York would be "the ultimate dream."

Derrick Rose is playing like an MVP, but only after doing a miserable job of recruiting LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. He didn't want to add them to Chicago anyway.

The Dallas Mavericks have targeted several players, including Stephen Jackson, to replace the injured Caron Butler by the trade deadline.

Antawn Jamison is enduring another miserable season, with Cleveland in the midst of a 13-game losing streak, and considering walking away after next season.

The Magic has been winning, but Gilbert Arenas is still trying to get his groove back in Orlando.

By Michael Lee  | January 17, 2011; 8:08 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Josh Howard to visit specialist for left knee
Next: Open thread: Wizards (11-27) vs. Jazz (27-13)

Comments

Pick up a solid pg to run with WALL.

Young's doing fine. Another combo guard would be nice, but I don't see how finding a PG to "run with Wall" should be a priority. That's not even desirable.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 16, 2011 11:25 PM | Report abuse

You misunderstood my meaning. We need another pg to spell WALL and give him rest. LESTER HUDSON was never an option, and HINRICH shouldn't both be pg and sg with YOUNG. HINRICH is no pg and proves it all the time. He should be sharing time with YOUNG and be our emergency option at pg.

Five guards

pg

WALL - #1 option
???? - #2 option
HINRICH emergency option

sg

YOUNG - #1 option
HINRICH #2 option
MARTIN- emergency option

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 17, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

"We need another pg to spell WALL and give him rest. LESTER HUDSON was never an option, and HINRICH shouldn't both be pg and sg with YOUNG. HINRICH is no pg and proves it all the time. He should be sharing time with YOUNG and be our emergency option at pg.posted by glawrence"

Hinrich is actually a pretty good option playing alongside either Wall or Hinrich. He's got the outside shooting and defense that you need beside Wall (as he did with Derrick Rose). When Hinrich's on the court with Nick Young, it helps free Nick up to score.

What the Wiz would benefit from is another true combo guard -- somebody else who could relieve at both positions.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I meant to say Hinrich is a good option playing alongside Wall or Young.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Just BTW, I think we spend too much time trying to pigeonhole guards, as point or shooting or combo. Better to look at them in terms of their role in 2 guard combinations. If you're coaching a team with Derrick Rose, who do you need occupying the guard spot next to him? Who plays with Kobe Bryant? Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo? You know players like that are going to average 36 minutes or more, including all of the fourth quarter, so who do you want on the court with them? It's not just about the backcourt, either. If you've plenty of scoring at SF or PF, do you really need a classic scorer at shooting guard? All things for coaches to consider.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

That was an interesting article about Leonsis, possibly providing insight into his thinking about when and how the Wizards may become a winning team.

Leonsis ... has publicly said the Capitals will make the playoffs the rest of this decade and eventually win a Stanley Cup.

This quote is from Joe Schreiber, not Leonsis, so we can't assume this is necessarily Ted's thinking:

"I was stunned to see how dead the building was for some of the recent weekend games. They must purge the team of any knuckleheads to get the fans to stop saying, 'They're the same old Wizards."

Posted by: nmik | January 17, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

The last thing this team needs is more guards. What they do need is someone that can stop the opposing team from getting layups all of the time.

Even with Lewis, our big men stink.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 17, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"I was stunned to see how dead the building was for some of the recent weekend games. They must purge the team of any knuckleheads to get the fans to stop saying, 'They're the same old Wizards."

I don't know how many people on here like hockey, but if any of you recall it was the same way with the Caps before Ted took over. The Caps always made the playoffs, but were always bounced in the first round. It wasn't the same chaos that it is now going to games.

Ted had to literally change everything to accompish this.

Anyway, Wall gives the Wiz the same thing thing that the Caps did with Ovie. I don't expect the Wiz to be bad for very long but they do need help in the front office.

The Caps have GMGM and the Wiz have EG. I don't have a lot of confidence in Ernie, never have. Any mistakes he made with the Caps, Ted will apply to the Wiz.

It's going to change, hopefully sooner then later. People were saying the same things about the Caps and look at them now.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 17, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"I was stunned to see how dead the building was for some of the recent weekend games. They must purge the team of any knuckleheads to get the fans to stop saying, 'They're the same old Wizards."

Who are the knuckleheads? Blatche? Fantasy to think that trading him would fill that empty building. A 5-14 road record would have the team in the 8th slot and there'd be substantially more buzz (not that building would be full).

Posted by: divi3 | January 17, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"That was an interesting article about Leonsis, possibly providing insight into his thinking about when and how the Wizards may become a winning team.posted by nmik"

Yes it was. Noticed that he thought this year's club would produce about as many victories as the Wiz came up with the past two years. That'd be 19 to 26. We've played 46.3% of the season, so just on the math (not looking at the schedule), that's the range, all right.

Other thing that interested me was his take on freebies. Ted's apparently not one of those business types who believes that perception is all, and that nothing's worse than a half-empty arena on game day. Of course he gets to play a lot more games than the NFL types do.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

"Who are the knuckleheads? Blatche? Fantasy to think that trading him would fill that empty building. A 5-14 road record would have the team in the 8th slot and there'd be substantially more buzz (not that building would be full).Posted by: divi3"

Sounds like the speaker was assuming the arena was half-full because of lingering distrust over the past. That's not the reason. They've basically purged the vets from this team -- the current roster is very different. The quality of the product is.

To me, the Wiz trade Blatche if they get an offer they shouldn't refuse. They can lose without Blatche as well as they do with him.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Interesting progression Saunders has come up with. However, it has to start with a competent GM and coaching staff and so far I haven't seen one in Washington.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | January 17, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

so ted's going to change the wiz from a money loser ($12 million in fiscal 2009) into "one of the NBA's high-performing and most profitable franchises," already projected to break even for the current year. that's despite the empty house. impressive.

and here's how he's doing it: by pampering the big spenders.

"We've had a major cultural shift from being an insulated executive team to being an executive team that really, really feels it's in service to customers, who give us their time and a lot of money," said Leonsis, who has instituted a concierge service for his top-paying customers. "It's the way we are treating our very best customers, the amount of communications, services we offer, access they have to me. We wine them and dine them every day."

how long did it take for the caps to become a team that started winning regularly (i know they haven't won the championship)?
"If we can build the team around the right players who can play the right way and get results, we will sell [the arena] out. And I think we can do it in the same time frame" as the Capitals."

Posted by: MinuMang | January 17, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like the speaker was assuming the arena was half-full because of lingering distrust over the past. That's not the reason. They've basically purged the vets from this team -- the current roster is very different. The quality of the product is.
Posted by: Samson151

Just on this board there are plenty of posts claiming Blatche, Young, even McGee are knuckleheads with whom the team will never win.

I have no idea what Leonsis thinks, but he's a successful businessman so his emphasis is going to be on selling what he thinks will draw fans (hence the ostentatiously elaborate "anointing" of Wall with motorcade, etc.).|

Posted by: nmik | January 17, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Last time we played them on MLK, Gil had 52 and the game winner. Man we were on top of the world then. Anyways, its home so we have a chance but in the past, precision teams like Utah would always carve us up. Wall is due for a big game but he's struggled against all the top PG's. For some reason his D sucks now too. Whats up with that? His D was great at the start but now he cant stay with anyone which spells doom against Williams.

Just need Dray, NY, and Lewis to have a big game again. I remember what Dray did to Al last year. Wiz fans will remember next year if we trade him:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyf6RXN_HQ8&feature=fvst

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjeNfr3nnnQ&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z3hAbv7Kn0

Posted by: dlts2041 | January 17, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that by 'knuckleheads', the article refers to players who are problems in the locker room. Blatche might be borderline, but I've not heard anything about McGee, Young, Wall, or the rookies in that respect. Presumably the Wiz wouldn't want to take on a Stephen Jackson, no matter how talented.

But what draws the fans to Verizon is winning. You have to think Ted knows this.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"However, it has to start with a competent GM and coaching staff and so far I haven't seen one in Washington.Posted by: dandyhuffman"

Hard to believe that Grunfeld and Saunders have forgotten how to win in the NBA. After all, they've both been done it before, in more than one place, with young teams and with veterans. That doesn't assure they'll be successful here in Washington (Grunfeld a second time around), but it does eliminate the likelihood of gross incompetence.

The thing about pro sports is that there's so much you can't control. Like Leonsis said, that's why strong men cry when they win titles, and not when they complete multi-billion dollar business deals. They know just how much luck was involved.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

The rest of January looks rough. After Utah this aft, we have Phoenix, Boston, and Denver at home. Away games at the Bucks, Knicks, OKC, Memphis, and Dallas. All better clubs than Washington.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"and here's how he's doing it: by pampering the big spenders. posted by MinuMang"

Yes, I always hate to hear that, maybe because I'm not one. But Ted's a business guy, and I guess that's how you make money in today's sports emporium. Maybe it's like casinos in Vegas or AC: most of their real profit comes from 'whales' who maybe go up or down a million bucks in a day's play. They cater to those guys, believe you me. But it sure doesn't seem much like the sort of event you'd enjoy taking your kid to.

Still, you see those Caps crowds, and those are a pretty good representation of economic strata.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I think with the current roster and the way Flip coaches the rotations it hampers the effectiveness of the backcourt.

For instance Flip still likes to get by on rotating his centers off the floor thereby going small.

What I would do is look at McGee and Armstrong and Serephin, getting all the center minutes. Let Blatche, Yi, and even Booker play the four. Let Lewis play the three along with Thornton.

Let Hinrich back up Wall only. Try Martin behind Young.

This lineup would put less emphases on the guard play and more emphases on a big game.

I swear, when I see Yi or Blatche playing center and Lewis at he four, I go WTF.

Flip has got to start let the centers anchor this team for better of worse. McGee has got to have more consistent minutes and then bring in Armstrong/Serephin to replace him, not Yi or Blatche. Let Yi play behing Blatche for crying out loud.

Lewis at the three mostly gives us an advantage at that position with mostly anyone.

We see what Young is doing at the two. Let Martin see if he can play behind Young.

Reduce Hinrich's role to backing up Wall only. Making things simple and defined and constant/regular may be all the spice you need.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 17, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the misspells. Rushing out of the house.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 17, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

HINRICH is no pg and proves it all the time.

You lose all credibility with a statement like that. Hinrich is an excellent backup PG. What the Wizards need is a third guard that can play some point.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 17, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The entire enterprise, with more than $100 million in cash on hand, expects to break even this year.

It's disappointing to read nothing about acquiring a D-league team.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 17, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

It's disappointing to read nothing about acquiring a D-league team.

Posted by: djnnnou

----

yeah. the stress, in the short term, definitely seems to be on bringing in the big bucks without major financial outlays.

hope that building an organization that will groom talent will come after enough dollars start rolling in,

Posted by: MinuMang | January 17, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"HINRICH is no pg and proves it all the time."

So far I haven't discovered the genesis of this belief. Mostly what you read here are critiques of his dribbling too much or of a late turnover. Neither of those would exclude the guy from the fraternity of NBA point guards. Magic was often critiqued for pounding the dribble but he once suggested he did that slow the pace and also to encourage his teammates to get into the correct position. Most NBA PGs are guilty of inopportune turnovers at one point or another.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The critique of Hinrich that 'has legs', at least based on his career, is of his shooting slumps. But he hasn't exhibited that here in Washington. He's around 45% on FGs and above 35% on 3's. Not terrific numbers, but far from awful for somebody who works mostly from outside. His assist/TO ratio is around 2.7 to one, and he's an effective defender, depending on the matchup.

So you're welcome to criticize his style, but to argue he's not really a PG is hard to defend.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"It's disappointing to read nothing about acquiring a D-league team.Posted by: djnnnou"

Don't they have some sort of arrangement with a D club? I'm asking, I don't know the answer.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 17, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

anybody have video of yi's coast to coast?

Posted by: crs-1 | January 17, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Don't they have some sort of arrangement with a D club? I'm asking, I don't know the answer.

The Dakota Wizards are the affiliate, but Washington doesn't have any input on operations.

anybody have video of yi's coast to coast?

Truth About It does.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 17, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company