Blog Entry

Winless Wizards not listening to Saunders

Posted on: January 8, 2012 5:19 pm
WASHINGTON -- There's no question which team is the worst in the NBA. That would be the Wizards, in case you didn't know -- and hopefully you don't, because that would imply that you haven't seen them.

To see them is to understand that the 2008-09 Nets' NBA-record 0-18 in start just might be in jeopardy.

In a performance labeled "sickening" and "embarrassing" by Andray Blatche, whose own performance also could've been thusly described, the Wizards fell to 0-8 Sunday with a 93-72 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Afterward, Blatche (10 points in 31 minutes on 5-for-16 shooting) attempted to get coach Flip Saunders' back, but ended up making his coach look bad in the process. It's been that kind of start to the season for the Wizards, who can't even fall on their swords properly.

"Flip is definitely doing his job," Blatche said. "I just don't feel like guys are listening and following behind what he says and what he wants us to do."

Never a good sign, eight games into the season.

"Guys want to try to do it their own way, and it's not working," Blatche said. "The record shows that. I feel like everybody should go home and focus and think and take consideration for what Flip is saying, because it can't hurt. It damn sure ain't helping us our way."

The Wizards scored 17 points in each of the first two quarters and were mesmerized by Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio. When Rubio entered the game with 1:30 left in the first quarter, he orchestrated a 17-2 run and controlled everything that was happening on the floor during his 31 minutes off the bench with 13 points, 14 assists and six rebounds.

"It's on us as players, because we're the ones being put out there at the end of the day, embarrassing ourselves," Blatche said.

Somehow it made matters worse for the Wizards that Rubio was doing this to them after they'd traded the No. 5 pick in the 2009 draft to Minnesota for Randy Foye and Mike Miller, who were gone after one season. The Wolves drafted Rubio with the fifth pick, and unlike the Wizards at the time, had the luxury of waiting two years for Rubio to show up.

If only the Wizards had known that they had that luxury, too. If they'd kept the pick, Saunders said, "Who knows who it would've been? And if it was Rubio, then John Wall might not be here."

Wall, no doubt, already is wishing he weren't.

"I didn't expect it to be this tough," said Wall who was 3-for-10 with 10 points and six assists. "It's just not good right now. ... You've got to have some type of urgency out there on the court to want to play. You've got to have some type of self-esteem or some type of pride that you don't want to keep being 0-8. It's a pride game now."

Saunders said he was going home Sunday night to ask himself: "What can I do as a coach to get us better? Right now, I haven’t done a good enough job. That’s evident. We’re not totally getting through to some guys and some guys continue to play the way they want to play and not the way we need to play as far as a team."

After his postgame interviews were over, Blatche sauntered out of the Wizards' locker room and turned toward the arena exits. Someone chased him down to shake hands and ask, "How you doing?" "Not good," Blatche said.

And it's hard to figure out how that is going to change.

Since: Jan 10, 2012
Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:30 pm

Winless Wizards not listening to Saunders

Wiz looked pretty awesome tonight despite Wall, Blatche & Nick Young stinking up the joint from the field, McGee turning it over 6 times and an abyssmal 9/17 showing from the stripe.

We counted 8 steals for Vesely in 16 minutes, he only got credited for 5 but the announcers and I know the deal. Loved his offensive board off of one of Blatche's missed free throws and his alley-oop throwdown as well. Then he winked at the camera when he went to the bench. Good lord I love this guy!

Vesely, Singleton & Booker are 3 players that any team in the league would love to have (Granted, maybe the good ones would only love to have them as their 8th man haha) and they aren't ever part of the conversation about the Wizards.

Hopefully they can get enough run to crack Wall's "head case" and make him feel like he could actually be part of building something here.

This isn't the kind of situation where the Wiz should play the veterans because they play the game right and can show the young kids the rope, with Lewis fighting with coaches and Young & Blatche being Young & Blatche, I'd like to see Flip just roll with the youngsters and let them take their lumps and learn how to play together at game speed. Expectations for this season are low enough that it seems like a viable way to make the most of this year.

Since: Jan 10, 2012
Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:37 pm

Winless Wizards not listening to Saunders

You don't like Singleton and Booker?

They aren't going to set the league on fire, but they're the kind of young glue/energy guys that are much more "asset" than expendable. I just wish that the Wiz had a good enough team that they could actually use them.

Since: Jan 10, 2012
Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:34 pm

Winless Wizards not listening to Saunders

I have a little hope for the Wizards honestly.. I feel like their situation is so unresolved right now with Lewis continuing to suck up the 2nd largest contract in the NBA. They added some solid pieces who while not star caliber are going to get some valuable reps this season. I love Singleton & Booker, I'd love to see more of Mack & Vesely. McGee finally seems to be rounding into the player that we all wanted him to, despite the crappy start. I dug the 1 year deal for Nick Young.. Hopefully in a year they'll have a better 2 guard and Nick will get to be a good bench scorer which is his career destiny if he wants to accept it or not. Better to keep him around because I don't think Crawford will even reach that Nick Young level of good 6th or 7th man/acceptable irrational confidence guy.

While one exec said nobody thinks Blatche is a starter in the league, I think I'd beg to differ- not with his starter quality, but with the fact that nobody would want him. I think they'll be able to deal him to a contender eventually either this or next season for an expiring contract and a low pick. Blatche seems like the perfect kind of player that some GM or another will convince himself that he can 'fix' - see Jeff Green. The Celtics honestly thought he was worth Kendrick Perkins, an utterly integral part of their team. There are always GMs making stupid moves and thankfully the Wizards have somehow managed to avoid any long-term franchise crippling moves lately. Yes, the Blatche contract kinda sucks and the Wiz shouldn't have gotten suckered in by the way he performed when he was Option A through C and put up a lot of empty numbers.. but it's not like they gave him a deal starting at $10 mil or anything. I thought it was suitably restrained and hoped and prayed it was incentive enough that he wouldn't be the Blatche we're seeing now.

I have some faith.. they're showing some good talent evaluation in the draft, if that can extend to knowing how to spend their cap space in order to build the best team, things could turn around real quick.

Since: Mar 18, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:58 pm

Winless Wizards not listening to Saunders

These days though, vets are not willing to go to a team that is rebuilding. The older ones rather just retire. Ala Marcus Camby who said as such last year. Where can you put the blame. I live here. These players are disgruntled. John Wall said "I am not having fun". It's the environment that Coach Saunders has let fester since Arenas was there. He's a loose coach. And now he's trying to instill a regimen and discipline. Can't lead like that. Some players are still there since Arenas left. Like Young and Blantche. They remeber how loose it was before the gun incident. He's trying to change the culture, but I think it's too late. They are tuning him out. I expexct a both a coaching real soon and a GM in this year.

Since: Apr 26, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 1:03 pm

Winless Wizards not listening to Saunders

Lots of NBA teams expect VERY young guys to come in and turn their team around.  How often does that really happen?  When it does there was a core of good players already on that team and they just needed a leader to make the tough shots.  People forget that MJ himself was not able to turn around the Bulls for a few years despite his legendary ability.  I'm not saying Wall is anything like Jordan by any means.  In fact I'm saying why would a single player who isn't as good as Jordan be able to do what Jordan himself could not do which was carry a team alone.  Does Washington have another decent player?  I don't think so.  Yes the Bulls did better than the Wizards but they did have Jordan and another guy named Charles Oakley, who led the league in total rebounds.  Still it wasn't until Grant and Pippen showed up that the Bulls became the franchise that would start to dominate.  And of course there were later additions. 

One man does not make a team no matter how talented he is.  The Wizards need a team to go with Wall or they will never be good.  At least Wall has a chance to be good.  Remember he's a very young player too.  The NBA realized that very young players weren't mature enough to play in the NBA so they put in the "one year out of high school" rule.  It's not enough.  Jordan wasn't that great as a college freshman.  Yes he made the shot that won the national title but hey, James Lee did that for Kentucky one year.  Who's James Lee you ask?  Exactly.

Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2012 12:03 pm

Winless Wizards not listening to Saunders

The team is just terrible, NO coach can turn this circus around!  John Wall is GONE as soon as his rookie deal is up! Lol

Since: Jan 9, 2012
Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:51 am

Winless Wizards not listening to Saunders

These "kids" need somebody who get in their asses when they miss a assignment, take off a play, don't play defense, don't run the plays design for them, basicially hold them accountable for everything they do and don't on and off the court, bottom line make them grow up and be professional basketball players.

Since: Jan 9, 2012
Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:45 am

Winless Wizards not listening to Saunders

Bottom line if Jerry Sloan is willing to come back I would definitely go after him, he's just what these " boys " need a grown man who can teach the fundamentals and who don't take no shit and demands respect and teach how to win, the right way.

Since: Apr 19, 2010
Posted on: January 9, 2012 10:27 am

Winless Wizards not listening to Saunders

The Wizards have too much talent to play this bad.  I've watched a few of their games and they never run anything on offense.  Every play is one on one iso that ends in a contested brick.  I know Flip Saunders has had some success in the NBA, but this doesn't look like a well coached team to me.

Since: Sep 26, 2010
Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:51 am

Winless Wizards not listening to Saunders

Flip Saunders is a good coach.  The players need to swallow their misguided pride and LISTEN to what he has to say.  If they don't, then management needs to release/move this current roster (sans Wall) and get players that WILL listen.  Its not rocket science.

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