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Posted at 8:05 AM ET, 02/28/2011

Schedule doesn't get any easier

By Michael Lee
Morning brew

The Wizards' new arrivals haven't exactly had a chance to ease their way into the fold. After being dealt from Atlanta on Wednesday, Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford and Maurice Evans have had to face two of the league's best teams in Miami and Dallas. The Mavericks and Heat rank third and fourth, respectively, in the league standings.

"These are obviously not the two teams you want to break yourself into," Evans said. "They are playing for something. They are playing for a championship. They all come in here with that killer mentality."

It doesn't get any easier for the trio, or the Wizards, as they host on Monday the Chicago Bulls, who have the fifth-best record in the NBA. The Bulls have won the first two meetings against the Wizards, but John Wall will face MVP candidate Derrick Rose for the first time since he sprained his foot in Chicago on Nov. 13. Wall has dealt with injuries since then, but he appears to have regained his legs in recent weeks.

Wall is averaging 22.2 points and eight assists in his past five games. Coach Flip Saunders said the difference for Wall is that he has lost 11 pounds in the past month. Wall said he feels more confidence since returning after winning MVP of the Rookie Challenge in Los Angeles.

"I'm just taking the confidence that I had coming from the All Star break," Wall said. "Chris Webber made a comment saying most of the time when people have a good All Star break they come back aggressive and with confidence, and I think that's what I'm doing."

The Wizards (15-43) have also noticed a change in play with the new guys. "Adding a couple more veterans to the team, we're playing a little better and we're playing together. We're moving the ball," Rashard Lewis. We have more veteran leadership. Mike Bibby is a point guard that pushes the pace. He's a great passer, he can also knock down the long ball. John Wall can get to the basket, but Mike Bibby can shoot the three-pointer."

Bibby has yet to hit a three-pointer for the Wizards, but if he is unable to reach a buyout agreement, that should come soon. Evans said the former Hawks are still trying to figure out what's going on. They will have their first shootaround with the team on Monday and the Wizards won't be able to practice with all of the new pieces until Tuesday.

"We don't know no plays, we don't know nothing," Evans said. "We're out there, just trying to play hard and just playing basketball. When more structure comes in and we get more comfortable, you'll really see what all three of us can do. You've only seen a small portion of what Bibby can do, and myself and Jordan."

Nick Young said the trio has brought enough already. "They all have been on good teams, especially Mike because he's been around the league for awhile so he's seen everything. They did a good job, sometimes they didn't know the plays but for the most part they brought a lot of energy."

FROM THE POST
This season, progress can be measured in assets acquired, developing young talent and hard play, but not in wins.

A buyout remains possible for Bibby.

Newcomer Crawford got the call and hit a game-tying jumper Saturday against Dallas.

Injured ex-Wizard Caron Butler couldn't play but was excited about returning to Washington last weekend.

Columnist Norman Chad says "The Decision" is still wreaking havoc on the NBA.

The Post's Amy Shipley examined New York's attempts to gel since blowing up its roster last week and covered last night's Knicks win over the Heat.

AROUND THE WEB
Christopher Stock says that after last night's loss to the Knicks, Dwyane Wade should be taking the clutch shots for the Heat (CBSSports.com).

Ken Berger reports that Richard Hamilton and Chris Wilcox have been fined for missing shootaround without an excuse, but the Pistons are not planning a coaching change in the wake of the perceived mutiny against John Kuester (CBSSports.com).

Adrian Wojnarowski sheds some light on what led to Friday's meltdown in Detroit (Yahoo!Sports).

By Michael Lee  | February 28, 2011; 8:05 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
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Next: Jump ball: Should the Wizards buy out Bibby's contract?

Comments

I'm excited by CRAWFORD. I think GRUNFELD found a playa'. I like BOOKER a lot. That dude's got game. And SERAPHIN's awake, making progress. Still too early to tell much, but I'm optimistic.

McGEE does not have all the answers at C, but he gets it done in spots. We need another C who can carry the freight. ARMSTRONG wasn't the answer, and N'DIAYE remains a mystery.

I see us wanting a C in this draft, priority, and going for a great SF as a second option if none is available.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 28, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I remember when Rip Hamilton was one of my favorite players, and I was so mad we traded him, even if he was undersized. Now he's like some kind of Mommie Dearest screaming harpy or something. What happened to that guy? Sure, your team is bad. Get over yourself, millionaire. It's just basketball.

Posted by: DKSW | February 28, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Question to all. If we buy out Bibby's contract, does that mean it won't count against the cap?

Posted by: demonj21 | February 28, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm liking the Crawford aquisition as well. This guy can ball! If they actually do reach a buyout with Mike Bibby, I was thinking Crawford could replace the void at back up PG as a scoring PG off the bench.

Posted by: gmac78 | February 28, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

http://www.truthaboutit.net/2011/02/tyson-chandler-the-player-javale-mcgee-has-yet-to-be-or-beat.html

I think that sums up a lot of what I feel about McGee and what he could be and should be trying to emulate. Not D12 or anything like that.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | February 28, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

http://www.truthaboutit.net/2011/02/tyson-chandler-the-player-javale-mcgee-has-yet-to-be-or-beat.html

I think that sums up a lot of what I feel about McGee and what he could be and should be trying to emulate. Not D12 or anything like that.

Like many talented, young players...Mcgee still thinks he can/should be a 25pt scorer with a bunch of blocks and boards. I can easily see mcgee having the same career arc as Chandler....and just like Chandler, it could take too long for the team that drafted him to see the results.

JM is the player who would have benefited the most from a mentor type signing.

Posted by: divi3 | February 28, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I remember when Rip Hamilton was one of my favorite players, and I was so mad we traded him, even if he was undersized. Now he's like some kind of Mommie Dearest screaming harpy or something. What happened to that guy? Sure, your team is bad. Get over yourself, millionaire. It's just basketball.

Posted by: DKSW

Just started the stopwatch to time how long it will take for someone here to say it's Flip's fault from when he was in Detroit.

Posted by: ts35 | February 28, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Obviously Rip is under contract and is not technically owed anything....but the way the whole string of DNPs went down sure seems like a shoddy way to treat a guy who was so key to your good times.

Posted by: divi3 | February 28, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

JM is the player who would have benefited the most from a mentor type signing.

Posted by: divi3

I'm always in favor of having current or recently retired vets around as mentors. But it doesn't do much good if the young player won't listen to them. I'm not saying that's necessarily the case with McGee, I obviously don't know him personally. It's just imo, he should not be still trying to figure out the things he seems to be trying to figure out. He seemed to have his best stretch of the season when he was doing exactly what the coaches were asking him to do. I don't know if he's backed off of it, or they're asking him to do different things, but he hasn't been able to maintain that level of focus.

He could eventually have an offensive game, but it needs work. I think I dismissed the idea before, but some here have said that he needs to develop Kareem's sky hook. I remember thinking that that shot might be a little antiquated, but apparently LaMarcus Aldridge uses it to good effect. And then you also go back and look at Kareem's career FG%s and it might make some sense for the kid.

Regardless, though, imo, he needs to spend the rest of this season focusing on rebounding and D. The rest will come if he puts in the work.

Posted by: ts35 | February 28, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"Regardless, though, imo, he needs to spend the rest of this season focusing on rebounding and D. The rest will come if he puts in the work.Posted by: ts35"

I think so. There are plenty of points laying around for somebody who hits the offensive boards.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 28, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Crawford is the answer at PG and of course that would be as JW's backup. I not even sure NY's the answer as the starting shooting guard; this has been as forgettable a season as i can remember but at least the players are showing up for shoot around.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 28, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Re JM: Can somebody in the coaching staff tell him that you can not block a ball when it is on the downward path already. It seems like he is giving away 2 pts to the opponent each game. As for the trade, I really like the 3 acquisition (Crawford, Evans and the pick)....not Bibby. Evans brings additional toughness to the team. Hope the Wiz can keep him. Crawford is another athletic wingman who can play 2 or 3.

Posted by: Dave381 | February 28, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I wish we could hurry up and get this buyout thing going with Bibby. I really like Bibby but he's not needed with us and I just would like to see a nice 3 guard rotation of Wall, NY, and Crawford the rest of the year. Very young & explosive

Posted by: dlts2041 | February 28, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I wish we could hurry up and get this buyout thing going with Bibby. I really like Bibby but he's not needed with us and I just would like to see a nice 3 guard rotation of Wall, NY, and Crawford the rest of the year. Very young & explosive

Posted by: dlts2041

Plus, I'd kind of like to see them bring Shakur back. Let him play out the rest of the year and see if he can hold down the back-up or 3rd PG role.

Posted by: ts35 | February 28, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

@divi3: The problem with these "potential" type of players is that (most times) it takes so long for them to realize that potential the drafting team gives up on them. How long does a team wait for a player to get it?

The sad part of all this is that when these players finally get it, they (when being honest) regret not having that epiphany earlier in their careers. Imagine if one could cram solid basketball knowledge into McGee's body?

Posted by: tundey | February 28, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

RE: McGEE:

Would a brain transplant work? The medical field hasn't accomplished that feat yet have they?

Maybe an implant, you know something that would grow and take root.

Posted by: glawrence007 | February 28, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Imagine if one could cram solid basketball knowledge into McGee's body?

Posted by: tundey | February 28, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Let's cram a jumper into J-Wall and some heart into Dray...make em the Wizards of Oz.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | February 28, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

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