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Posted at 8:02 PM ET, 02/25/2011

Ernie Grunfeld: "We still have a lot of work ahead of us"

By Michael Lee

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld spoke with reporters at Verizon Center to discuss the recent trade with Atlanta Hawks that yielded Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans, Jordan Crawford and a first-round draft pick. He offered an assessment of the team and the course that it plans to take going forward. Gene Wang was in attendance and here's the rundown:

"I think for one year we've come a long way considering where we were last year at this time. We had a game plan to rebuild the team and to get assets and to build through the draft and to develop our young players, so right now between last year and this year's draft, we'll have six first-round picks. Some of our young players who've been with us like JaVale [McGee], Andray [Blatche] and Nick [Young] are developing. They're going to get considerable minutes, and then we've put ourselves in a real good financial situation going forward as far as the salary cap is concerned. We still have a lot of work to do. We know that, but considering where we were at last year and where we are right now, we have to feel pretty good about that."

On such a fast roster turnover: "You never know. We just wanted to buckle down and do the best job we possibly could. It's never an easy process. Obviously we're all very competitive, and we want to win, and losing hurts us, and I hope it always hurts us. That's the way it should be. We understood what we were getting into with this rebuild, and we're going to keep going forward, and we're going to keep working hard. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we're headed in the right direction, and I think we've left ourselves some good flexibility."

On when the team can be judged solely on wins and losses: "I don't think that's what we went into the season with. We didn't go in it with being judged on wins and losses. What we want to be judged on is the assets we accumulate, how hard we play, how competitive we are, player development and making progress as we go along and putting ourselves in a financial situation where we can make some moves down the road. I think we've accomplished some of those things, but as I said we still have a lot of work ahead of us."

On Leonsis saying team is done stockpiling picks: "Obviously every year you have a draft pick unless you trade it, so we're going to keep working through that, but right now like I said and Ted has said, the plan was to get assets and to get a substantial amount of draft picks. At the same time, we understand that you do need some veterans, and you need some players maybe through free agency or through a draft type of situation that may bolster the team."

On handling 20-point losses: "Those are difficult. One of things we're going to be looking for is that everybody is going to be evaluated as we move forward, and nobody likes to lose, and we want to see effort every single night. We want to see our young players improve. We want to see player development continue as the season progresses, and we hopefully can improve as the season goes along. Those are several things we'll be looking for, and we're not going to be happy if we're not winning, and I hope our players feel the same way."

On letting Hinrich go: "Kirk is a very good player, very good in the locker room, hard-nosed competitor, very professional, but when you want to get something in this business, you've got to give up something. We're heading in a different direction. Kirk is in his 30s now, and we're a few years away from being where we want to be, and hopefully the assets that we picked up in this trade will help us down the road and for many years to come."

On Jordan Crawford: "He's a very athletic player. He's a good shooter. He's a good scorer. He's a competitive kid. He can play both positions, but right now he's probably more of a scorer than a point guard. He's a competitive kid who likes to play the game. He was first-round pick. We followed him very closely throughout his college career, and then last year we liked him in the draft. He's someone who has potential. How much he's going to get out of it will be up to him and how hard he competes and how much he improves, but we're looking forward to seeing what he can do for us."

On the moves around the league: "This is probably one of the busiest trade deadlines in a long time. Big, big names being traded. Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams, and there's a lot of good players who got traded also. Jeff Green getting trade. Obviously Kirk getting traded, so there were a lot of name players getting trade, and lot of the playoff teams were loading up for playoff runs, and there were a lot of opportunities. Of course everybody needs to know what happens in the new rules, the new CBA, so I think teams that in the playoffs are loading up, and other teams are positioning themselves for the new day."

On Bibby helping Wall: "He's a veteran guy. John obviously is averaging a lot of minutes, and we want him to play a lot of minutes to get the experience that he needs, and I think he's making good progress, so I think Bibby will be a good complement for him, try to team. Bibby's been around a long time."

On what positions are most needed:
"When you have a young team like ours, we need help at most positions, and really the players will tell us what positions we need to bolster by how they perform the rest of the season and what kind of potential we feel they have going forward."

By Michael Lee  | February 25, 2011; 8:02 PM ET
 
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Next: John Wall, Nick Young combine for 62 points, Wizards come up short in Miami

Comments

Poor defense by both teams but at least the Wiz are hanging in there with the Heat.
NY and JWall are having another good game. A know-it-all person once compared NY with Eddie House. I just don't see the similarities.

Posted by: Dave381 | February 25, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

In the draft Terrence Jones should be within our range. Athletic SF with good size and all-around game.

That ATL pick has me eyein Florida center Patric Young. Could be a Ben Wallace type.

Young & Mcgee at center, also N'Diaye, with Blatche & Seraphin, (possibly Yi) at PF, Jones & Booker at SF, Nick & Crawford at SG, with Wall is a youth foundation worth building on.

Free agency I'd love to see a major run at Marc Gasol!

Posted by: Darnell1 | February 25, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

In the draft Terrence Jones should be within our range. Athletic SF with good size and all-around game.

That ATL pick has me eyein Florida center Patric Young. Could be a Ben Wallace type.

Young & Mcgee at center, also N'Diaye, with Blatche & Seraphin, (possibly Yi) at PF, Jones & Booker at SF, Nick & Crawford at SG, with Wall is a youth foundation worth building on.

Free agency I'd love to see a major run at Marc Gasol!

Posted by: Darnell1 | February 25, 2011 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Stockpiling draft pics means they won't be competitive for another 4-5 years. Let's hope the future does not include Grunfeld.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | February 25, 2011 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Nice effort by the WIZ tonight. McGEE and YOUNG great.

LEWIS and HOWARD good in spots.

CRAWFORD had one nice drive to the rack.

I liked what I saw of SERAPHIN. Loved seeing him dump LeBRON on his azz once when he went to the rim.

BIBBY couple of nice passes, and a couple not so. Spot-up jumper missing however, his one strong asset. My HAWKSTERS friends tell me it MIA, and in that case, he's strictly dead weight. Not good news.

EVANS gets the T - O.K. I like the desire. Good for him. I'm not ewxpecting much from him anyway.

So if we get lucky in the draft, I'd pick JARED SULLINGER first, or if not so lucky, KANTOR, or if a little later, TERRENCE JONES. That will determine the later first pick - a C if JONES is already in the house, maybe P. YOUNG or if we get a big early, then a SF later.

And I would take a look at JUSTIN HARPER from RICHMOND in the second. I've seen him develop over four years into a decent RASHARD LEWIS-type forward. 6'10" 235-240, very good range on his outside shot [50.0% from three this season], excellent inside shooter, solid rebounder, excellent defender, team-oriented guy all the way. Another worth a look, JAMIE SKEEN VCU PF.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 25, 2011 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Ernie Grunfeld: "We still have a lot of work ahead of us"

I'm sure that is what he has been telling Ted before Ted even bought the team...

Ernie...guess what the team sucks because you traded away a couple of 5th picks and some second round picks and the mid 1st round picks you've made aren't working out so well either...

Ted lose the "WE" and fire Ernie and Flip at the end of the season...

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | February 25, 2011 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey bulletsidiot78,

One of those mid first round picks just scored 38 points tonight you moron!

A couple of 5th picks? You on drugs?

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 25, 2011 11:04 PM | Report abuse

"One of those mid first round picks just scored 38 points tonight you moron!"

38 points on 19 FG attempts too (63 percent from the field, 75 percent from 3 point, 8-8 FT) -- that's really efficient scoring.

On defense Young may not have stopped Wade, but he made him work. Before he tweaked his ankle he was having an even better game defensively.

Posted by: JPRS | February 25, 2011 11:26 PM | Report abuse

What progress EG? Haven't seen much progress on this team. Time to let EG and Flip go. Then make an offer to Kevin Pritchard, the draft guru.

I'd take Kanter with the first to fill out a nice crop of young post players.

Grab Singleton(Josh Smith lite) as that tough, defensive minded player.

Then grab Lighty in the 2nd. All around role player who can do everything and is an excellent on ball defender.

Time to get some defensive wings, so the team can form some semblance of a defense.

Posted by: VaWizard85 | February 26, 2011 12:13 AM | Report abuse

"Hey bulletsidiot78,

One of those mid first round picks just scored 38 points tonight you moron!

A couple of 5th picks? You on drugs?

Posted by: rphilli721 | February 25, 2011 11:04 PM | Report abuse "

And......did Les BouleS win b/c of that effort? Uh, no.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | February 26, 2011 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Nice effort from JW, NY, and JM on the road against superior talent. Too bad they can't get up like that for most of the games. You would hope these type of high-competition experiences will pay off down the road someday. Anyone notice we didn't miss Blatche at all?

Posted by: Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot | February 26, 2011 2:05 AM | Report abuse

Bibby's spot up jumper has completely left him, which is why Atlanta let him go. He's still a very good passer, but on this team, who's he going to pass it to? And Grunfeld saying "we still have alot of work ahead of us" is why he makes the big bucks. 1-28 on the road, ya think Ernie?

Posted by: wewintheylose1 | February 26, 2011 4:25 AM | Report abuse

I think that Javale benefited from the absence of Blatche. Now, if we could only get rid of Ernie and Flip!

Posted by: oakiedokie1 | February 26, 2011 7:19 AM | Report abuse

We still have a lot of work to do? Come on
Ernie, thats a statement made after some progress is made. Here, the team is in bad shape because of your decisions with past trades and drafts.

The wizards are lucky to have John Wall and a new owner. We need a GM who has a rebuilding plan (Ernie explain again why you resigned gil and let all our veterans go with nothing to show)

Ted the fans will support a rebuilding phase but Ernie has run his course.

Posted by: katomato | February 26, 2011 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Nice team game last night. Nice to see a lttle more ball movement and trying to get some other players involved. This wasn't an expected win for this team but they came to play. I'd like to see them move Bibby over the summer but even though you get the contract and the money you want, you don't always end up on the team you want, thus, life in the NBA.

Posted by: zack5 | February 26, 2011 7:53 AM | Report abuse

A change in ownership has done nothing to improve the Wiz. They do need a new GM as
current organization is out of touch with
NBA needs. The fans are being slighted with
these disingenuos newspapers articles about
the future. Phily was a bad team and now they are 500. Wiz player evaluation is unimpressive.

Posted by: minboden | February 26, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm no fan of Grunfeld, but what'd you expect him to say, 'the rebuilding is complete and we're now ready to go for the ring'?

Posted by: randysbailin | February 26, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Anyone notice we didn't miss Blatche at all?

Posted by: Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot | February 26, 2011 2:05 AM | Report abuse

Me.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 26, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I continue to think that EG is a good GM and hope we can keep him. I don't know but I believe that some of his questionable actions earlier in his time with Wash were bending to Abe's wishes. I think the Wiz team that is forming will go places. On the other hand, I'm not so hot on Flip. Can someone make a good case for keeping Flip?

Posted by: 7snider7 | February 26, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Someone fire this guy already.

Posted by: SammyT1 | February 26, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"I continue to think that EG is a good GM and hope we can keep him. I don't know but I believe that some of his questionable actions earlier in his time with Wash were bending to Abe's wishes. I think the Wiz team that is forming will go places. On the other hand, I'm not so hot on Flip. Can someone make a good case for keeping Flip?

Posted by: 7snider7 | February 26, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse "

So you say Grunfeld is a good GM....based on what reasoning? Who signed Gilby to two contracts, signed MeTawn, signed MeShawn, signed AB, etc.? Guess who hired Flop?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | February 26, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

well its no secret...

we need help at the 3, 4 and 5 positions.

once we get that solidified, and wall picks up his jumpshot and nick young becomes more of an all around player, then i think we wiil be fine.

my suggestions: trade our first pick in the first round with another young asset(blatche) bibby and a second round pick for demarcus cousins.

sign jeff green in the offseason and ur core is set for the next 5 years

wall,cousins, green, and complimentary players like young, mcgee and booker, and seraphin

Posted by: mrhney03 | February 27, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

So you say Grunfeld is a good GM....based on what reasoning? Who signed Gilby to two contracts, signed MeTawn, signed MeShawn, signed AB, etc.? Guess who hired Flop?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | February 26, 2011 3:15 PM |

88, it's always been apparent to everyone but you that when the concept of "Gilbert Arenas" is posted, you lose whatever critical faculties you might have. Signing Arenas the first time was a great move. Period. Anyone with any objectivity and recall of facts could see that. He was resigned for too much, I will grant, but neither you nor I is privy to what happened behind the scenes, to which I alluded in my post. Maybe I'm wrong, but I like to think that Abe had a lot to do with that, which is not unreasonable, as it was Abe's money. Did EG really think Arena's $100+ million K was a good idea? Most of us at the time thought keeping the face of the franchise a good thing. True, you always had enmity for Gil, but you had little credibility because your attacks were so personal and vitriolic -- they went beyond reason. As to Stevenson, Jamison, and Blatche, those are not bad signings. I think most people thought Flip would be more successful than he's been. He was a proven winner. The NBA is highly competitive. It takes time to build a winner, and sometimes plans go awry, hopes and expectations are not met. Still, I think EG has gathered some fine pieces, and economically (and we had the luck to get Wall in the lottery). If the seasons proceed uninterrupted, the Wiz will be contenders in the 2012-2013 season, and will be considerably improved next year. But I've been wrong before about this team. Aside from a couple more pieces, it seems to need more heart -- and maybe a new coach?

Posted by: 7snider7 | February 27, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

So you say Grunfeld is a good GM....based on what reasoning? Who signed Gilby to two contracts, signed MeTawn, signed MeShawn, signed AB, etc.? Guess who hired Flop?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | February 26, 2011 3:15 PM |

88, it's always been apparent to everyone but you that when the concept of "Gilbert Arenas" is posted, you lose whatever critical faculties you might have. Signing Arenas the first time was a great move. Period. Anyone with any objectivity and recall of facts could see that. He was resigned for too much, I will grant, but neither you nor I is privy to what happened behind the scenes, to which I alluded in my post. Maybe I'm wrong, but I like to think that Abe had a lot to do with that, which is not unreasonable, as it was Abe's money. Did EG really think Arena's $100+ million K was a good idea? Most of us at the time thought keeping the face of the franchise a good thing. True, you always had enmity for Gil, but you had little credibility because your attacks were so personal and vitriolic -- they went beyond reason. As to Stevenson, Jamison, and Blatche, those are not bad signings. I think most people thought Flip would be more successful than he's been. He was a proven winner. The NBA is highly competitive. It takes time to build a winner, and sometimes plans go awry, hopes and expectations are not met. Still, I think EG has gathered some fine pieces, and economically (and we had the luck to get Wall in the lottery). If the seasons proceed uninterrupted, the Wiz will be contenders in the 2012-2013 season, and will be considerably improved next year. But I've been wrong before about this team. Aside from a couple more pieces, it seems to need more heart -- and maybe a new coach?

Posted by: 7snider7 | February 27, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

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