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Posted at 8:11 AM ET, 03/ 2/2011

Maurice Evans seeks strong finish for Wizards

By Michael Lee
Morning brew

Maurice Evans isn't used to being on a lottery team, having been around playoff teams in Minnesota, Sacramento, Detroit, the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando and Atlanta. And when he watched film of the Wizards' 28-point loss to Chicago before his first practice with the team on Tuesday, Evans witnessed the difference in teams that have success and those that don't.

"Just to see how easy it is to fall into bad habits in the sense of getting discouraged when things don't go right. Coming from winning organizations -- not to say this one isn't -- but having been on a playoff team throughout my whole career, things didn't always go perfect and I don't know why I would expect things to go that way for us. We've got to put in that work and keep grinding, keep working every day."

The Wizards (15-44) will have an opportunity to get back to work on Wednesday, when they host the Golden State Warriors. Evans will likely get more time after Al Thornton received a buyout. Thornton plans on signing with the Warriors, but will have to wait until Thursday.

Evans's former teammate Mike Bibby is expected to sign with the Miami Heat this afternoon. While Evans understands Bibby's desire to play for a winner, he was somewhat surprised that he was willing to sacrifice $6.2 million. "I mean, I don't know if I can speak on that," he said. "A guy that's come from undrafted to scratching, fighting, clawing, trying to earn contracts. I can't even imagine that I'd have a contract that big, for a guy to give it back."

Evans will have a hard enough time now that he won't get any playoff money this season, but he hopes to help the Wizards finish out strongly the final 23 games. "This team, projected out two or three more years could be very special to watch," he said. "I'm just trying to keep the optimism there and try to teach them. Just tell them, let you know, as you put in the work every day and start to turn the corner, it really does pay off, the fire to really experience what winning really is about."

FROM THE POST
Here are more details on Thornton's buyout, his farewell to Washington and Bibby's plans to sign with the Heat.

Watch a Mike Bibby Wizards retrospective (Comcast SportsNet via DC Sports Bog).

John Wall won Eastern Conference rookie of the month again.

Flip Saunders missed practice on Tuesday to tend to his ailing 90-year-old mother, Kay, in suburban Cleveland. His availability is in question for Wednesday's game against the Golden State Warriors.

AROUND THE WEB
Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner spoke with Al Thornton about his buyout. Thornton said "something had to happen."

At Bullets Forever, Bullet Nation in Exile asks: Is Ernie Grunfeld the right man to be the Wizards' GM in the future?

Matt Moore says last night's loss to the Magic shows that the Knicks still have a long way to go (Eye on Basketball, CBSSports.com).

Jason Whitlock offers eight simple rules to save the NBA (FoxSports.com).

By Michael Lee  | March 2, 2011; 8:11 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brew  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: After rough season in Washington, Al Thornton expected to sign with Golden State
Next: Randy Wittman to coach against Golden State

Comments

Al Thortan played hard, and never got a fair shot here in DC. Wish him the best. Now only if we could buyout Flip. That should be possible i assume, how Jordan bought out Larry brown.

Posted by: skinsfan09 | March 2, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Great words from Evans.

As far as that Whitlock column goes, wow. Don't even know where to start.

I guess you could point to the fact that stars in the NBA generate a lot more revenue for their teams than they earn (e.g. LeBron's net to the overall value of the Cleveland franchise was worth at least $100 million based on the re-evaluation of the franchise this year).

The idea to require teams to pay players more if they attend more years of college could also have the perverse impact of actually diminishing the value of older prospects and encouraging younger ones to leave earlier (e.g. especially for players on the bubble, the financial penalty for selecting an older player might end up being a wash with the players selected later than they might have otherwise been). Financially his system would create even greater incentives for teams to select younger players.

The one idea that might make some sense is the pay for performance idea -- of course then there would be a huge incentive for players to do the equivalent of "taking their talents to south beach". It would destroy whatever parity there is in the league and concentrate the best talent on a handful of teams (maybe more so than already exists). I also wouldn't leave it to MIT grads to determine the compensation formula. Some of them built economic models for Wall Street banks that didn't account for the fact that housing prices sometimes go down. Their economic models destroyed huge mountains of wealth.

Posted by: JPRS | March 2, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

""This team, projected out two or three more years could be very special to watch,"

Emphasis on 2-3 years out...

Posted by: Samson151 | March 2, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Celtics just picked up Troy Murphy, and we have guys paying not to play here. Grunfeld has to go; he's run this team into the ground and it will be a looooong time until we recover.

Posted by: lk11 | March 2, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"Wow, Celtics just picked up Troy Murphy, and we have guys paying not to play here."

Posted by: lk11 | March 2, 2011 9:32 AM

Two things that have absolutely nothing to do with one another.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 2, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

On Troy Murphy: I'm not at all sure how much benefit the Celts will get from his presence. I'm told he lost his starting spot in NJ because he's a poor defensive player, and I've always heard he's a 'stats'-type big man -- focused on his numbers rather than the scheme. Those guys usually don't do well in the playoffs. He's certainly no replacement for Perkins in the middle.

But maybe Boston figures that Garnett can play that spot and somehow the Celts mystique will inhabit Murphy during the playoff run.

Still, dumping Kendrick feels to me like just that -- a dump.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 2, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"I also wouldn't leave it to MIT grads to determine the compensation formula. Some of them built economic models for Wall Street banks that didn't account for the fact that housing prices sometimes go down. Their economic models destroyed huge mountains of wealth.Posted by: JPRS"

LOL -- things like compensation are what those computer models excel at. Predicting the future, not so much.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 2, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Seems to me these moves are about flawed teams trying to position themselves in an uncertain future. That includes the Wiz letting Bibby and Thornton go. When you don't know what is coming next, it's usually a good idea to clear the decks and give yourself at least a modicum of flexibility. That way you're not hemmed in by your own contracts. Does it always work? Of course not. It would be much, much better if teams could read the future and prepare accordingly. But if you can't...

Posted by: Samson151 | March 2, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I went to see the Wizards play the Spurs last month and I noticed something that was grotesquely wrong with the Wizards. During pre-game warm-ups, the Spurs practiced lay-ups and shots that they will take during the game. The Wizards, on the other hand, looked like an AAU team trying to please the crowd. High flying dunk attempts, ridiculous three point shots etc. In pre-game warm-ups you shoot the shots you plan to take in the game.

THERE WAS NO SENSE OF URGENCY!!! I was embarrassed for them. They looked like Harlem Globetrotter wannabees. They probably couldn't understand why in the world they couldn't get to their spots during the game.

Until the coaching staff AND management demand professionalism and urgency from the players, they will continue to be the laughing stock of the league. Leadership starts at the top.

Truly unbelievable.

Posted by: carterm1 | March 2, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@Samson151,

Sadly they didn't use computers to determine compensation.

If they did, post 2008 ever single one of the big banks would have had executive pay packages indicating that they needed to ante up several billions of dollars -- including mountains of dollars in back pay -- in order to keep their jobs. Unfortunately, the reverse happened.

Posted by: JPRS | March 2, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"f they did, post 2008 ever single one of the big banks would have had executive pay packages indicating that they needed to ante up several billions of dollars -- including mountains of dollars in back pay -- in order to keep their jobs."

Yep. I read Michael Lewis' 'The Big Short' and got the usual eye-opener about Wall Street. Haven't seen 'Inside Job' yet.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 2, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"Thornton was never a good fit in Washington, since Saunders's offense usually requires the small forward to spread the floor, being a catch-and-shoot wing, or playing solid perimeter defense. Thornton was a slasher who needed to dribble to create his shots "

thats the problem right there. we settle for too many jumpshots by design. flip tried to force nick young into a catch and shoot player, but hes better than that. he wanted him to be rip hamilton type player but young has more ability than that. no wonder we dont get to the foul line (even though refs dont give us calls). saunders half court shooting offense does not suit this team. we HAVE to have a new coach next season.

Posted by: skinsfan09 | March 2, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Celtics just picked up Troy Murphy, and we have guys paying not to play here. Grunfeld has to go; he's run this team into the ground and it will be a looooong time until we recover. Posted by: lk11 | March 2, 2011 9:32 AM

This is a totally understandable and widespread sentiment, if you only look at this team, this year. And, after all, we live in the present, so why not view the team that is, not what it will supposedly be "some day." The Wiz do have a roster full of guys with short-term contracts who would not even play for other teams all that much. And maybe Blatche was a gamble that may not pay off--we shall see, especially how Dray conditions himself in the off-season when he is free of injury.

Since Ted came in and EG has been given his marching orders to clear out long-term deadweight contracts and stock young guys, the Wiz have made amazing progress. They are well ahead of schedule in building a true winner. They are really only about 13 months into the new way of thinking. The Wiz are building a winner rather than patching year to year in an attempt to maybe make the first round playoffs. Look how many years it took the Knicks to get out from under all their unproductive contracts before they could start constructing a good team. The Wiz are way ahead of the Knicks' pace and the pace of any other team you can name that has been saddled with multi-year contracts for older duds who don't care any more except about themselves.

If you just look at it like "Lewis is worse than Arenas" or "why would you lose a mentor in Hinrich" or "Antawn and Butler still have a lot left in their tanks" or "you have to pay guys not to play here," then you don't see all the future possibilities opening up to the Wiz, thanks to EG and Ted.

Posted by: EdDC | March 2, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I much prefer a half court non-shooting offense!

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 2, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"flip tried to force nick young into a catch and shoot player, but hes better than that. "

Posted by: skinsfan09 | March 2, 2011 10:33 AM

No, actually, he's not.

Young's acceptance of Saunders direction to alter his game into more catch-and-shoot and less pound-the-air-out-of-the-ball-for-most-of-the-shot-clock-and-then-jack-up-a-contested-off-balance-fallaway-jumper is the primary reason behind his improved production this season.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 2, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@kalo_rama

nick young's improved production is because he got on the floor, flip was forced to play him. he has abilty to drive to the basket, as well as shoot. and his fadeaway jumpers work.

Posted by: skinsfan09 | March 2, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

@skinsfan09

Wrong.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 2, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

nice argument

Posted by: skinsfan09 | March 2, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

It wasn't an argument. It was a casual dismissal of your nonargument. Try to keep up.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 2, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"On Troy Murphy: I'm not at all sure how much benefit the Celts will get from his presence. I'm told he lost his starting spot in NJ because he's a poor defensive player, and I've always heard he's a 'stats'-type big man -- focused on his numbers rather than the scheme"

Darn it! He is perfect for this team. Googs, AJ, Blatche, etc.

Posted by: Dave381 | March 2, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Kal,

I agree that having Nick come off screens is a reason for his success. I also think that Saunders did a terrible job at evaluating his players. Nick should have been on the floor long before Gil faked the injury. Anyone with a good shot will benefit from coming off screens but Nick is an athlete and can score in a number of different ways. Flips offense limits him from attacking the basket. Flip just isn't the answer for this team just like he wasn't the answer for the T Wolves and the Pistons. If Flip would allow Nick to work more outside the system, maybe we'd have a game closer.

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | March 2, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Nick is an athlete and can score in a number of different ways. Flips offense limits him from attacking the basket.

Nick's weak handle limits him from attacking the basket. He can't dribble through traffic, and he can't really elevate off the dribble. His lack of a first step doesn't help either. The Wizards now have two guys in Wall and Crawford that can do those things, so Nick's deficiencies should be apparent to everyone.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 2, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Nick is a natural 2, crawford is another tweener who would be physically overmatched on the defensive end...IMO, there wont be a competition between Nick and Crawford for the SG position. Not if talk of defense is more than just lipservice anyway.

I love that we have Crawford's rights for years to come, he can develop in a primary backup role at both guard positions and eventually see just what works best for him

Posted by: divi3 | March 2, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Nick's turn around is in part due to Flip's system as well as him having increased and consistent playing time..

Nick does have quickness and is able to get to the basket when he want's to.

He need's to work on his dribbling and more so his conditioning.

He get's tired late in games as the go to guy so that can't happen.

I hope we resign Nick and he continues to improve.

Posted by: kevenjones | March 2, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

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