Wizards Training Camp Fillers and Links
In case you haven’t heard, the Wizards added some more bread filler to their training camp crabcakes with the signing of Vincent Grier and Paul Davis. But these are just test crabcakes, when the season starts, they’ll be much more potent.
Grier, who spent last year playing in France and has previously made off-season appearances with the Miami Heat (2006) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2008), seems to be one of those ‘dime-a-dozen’ swingmen.
Here’s a synopsis of what I was able to gather via Grier’s Draft Express profile (written in Feb. 2005):
He’s an explosive lefty slasher who can score in bunches, take smaller guards in the post because of his size (6’5″, 200 lbs. or so), and rebounds well. However, he can be out of control on offense, his jumper is inconsistent, and his handles are shaky. He can uses his muscle to play decent defense, but doesn’t necessarily have lateral quickness.
Grier has no chance of making the team. But as goes common knowledge, his simple association with an NBA team might help with a contract down the line. If anything, Flip Saunders seems to be doing his fellow University of Minnesota alum a solid. Seeing the meager client list of Grier’s agent Mark McNeil, they could use the extra help.
Judging from his appearance on Millionaire Matchmaker (clip 1, clip 2 — side note: I don’t watch the show, and the only show I watch on Bravo is Top Chef, but every time I see commercials for Millionaire Matchmaker, I can’t help but think how much of a horrid beast the host is), and the comments of many across the web, Davis is the epitome of a ‘Big White Stiff’.
Plus, via Michael Lee’s report in Wizards Insider, Davis doesn’t mind getting dunked on … as long as he gets paid. Which makes me wonder, how did Davis’ agent know to approach him in the first place? Did he get an email from the C.S.A. calling all Frankenstein impersonators who know their way around the basketball court?
In any case, it’s good that the Wizards will have a couple more warm bodies around to give guys a breather in camp.
In Other News
>>I first got a glimpse of Randy Foye’s character back in August via an NBA.com video and wondered if he could be a difference maker. Now, Michael Lee has a great follow-up piece on Foye that provides even more insight. [Washington Post]
>>Bethlehem Shoals has a pretty decent article on Gilbert Arenas posted at The Baseline, ‘Embarking on the Reinvention of Agent Zero.’ However, there are a couple points in the piece that don’t sit well with me.
His unpredictable behavior has become inconvenient; it’s only a matter of time before some label him “difficult” or “moody,” and he runs the risk of becoming a kinder, gentler J.R. Rider.
Sure, portray Arenas are eccentric or erratic. But turning that behavior into a slippery slope of Arenas becoming a cancerous locker room malcontent is a stretch.
At his core, Arenas is a lighthearted, prank playing guy. He has always gotten along with his teammates, and when he does have instances which need an attitude adjustment, he has been able to correct without falling into a permanent state of funk. Of course, it’s never encouraging that Arenas fails to comprehend his self-contradicting nature, his personal perception of the ‘real’ truth, his “Gilbertology” if you will, and the resulting cycle of consequences.
But even a “kinder, gentler J.R. Rider” is still a jerk who’s no where near the personality of Gilbert Arenas. Rider has spent time in jail for a slew of charges, including kidnapping and domestic violence. What’s a “kinder, gentler” version of that? Someone who just slaps women around? The comparison, even toned down, is offensive.
Shoals also addresses what kind of player Gil might be, which is pretty much the point of his piece.
I spent a lot of this week perplexed by Flip’s comments, mostly because my sense is that Gil probably already had the ball in his hands as much as humanly possible in Eddie Jordan’s offense. At least percentage-wise.
The context of Saunders’ comments was in reference to differences between his offense and Jordan’s pro-style Princeton, where anyone can bring the ball up the court, and the sets are more free-flowing, less structured. But Shoals does allude to this …
What I figure Flip actually meant was that he wants Arenas to spend more time with the ball, think through his decisions, and dominate the ball the way a point guard, not a scoring point guard, does.
And continues …
Gil’s made some comments about wanting to become more of a facilitator, but the question is, will he allow a more leader-y approach to turn him into less of a sideshow? Or, what if the attempt to transform Arenas into Billups 2.0/Lite backfires or results in some sort of freakish mutation, either of them a lab experiment gone horribly (but fascinatingly) awry? Then, Gilbert Arenas will likely become either a caricature of his former self, and thus lose credibility, or mature into something totally original, with more strange touches than ever to his game. Like the Antawn Jamison of combo guards.
First, Arenas retracted those ‘facilitator’ comments in his interview with Mike Jones of the Washington Times. Jones wrote, “Arenas is back to his old self, eschewing the ‘true point guard’ label and determined to attack as aggressively as ever.”
But the most important indication from Arenas and Saunders, through the relationship they’ve developed, is that Flip wants his PG to continue to be the aggressive offensive sniper that he’s been in the past, just more intelligent. Saunders has said that he wants Arenas to be a representation of his coaching philosophy on the court, but Flip also recognizes that what Arenas can do with the ball (at least the old Arenas, which Saunders assumes can be rekindled) is the best predication of opportunity for the team as a whole.
So, Arenas will have the ball in his hands more than ever as Saunders indicates, but he will be more controlled and in a system that commands more efficiency from him. Yes, big questions surround Arenas and if he can be this type of player, but the price to pay involves him gaining maturity on the court, and not necessarily a sacrifice of his abilities into some “freakish mutation.”
At least these are my hopes …
>> Antonio Daniels has been given permission to seek a trade from the Timberwolves. (He would be a nice backup PG on the current team … assuming there wasn’t a current glut of guards.) [Associated Press]
>> The Sporting News ranks the Wizards #7 in their Preseason Power Power … could be high, but I’ll take it. In contrast, ESPN’s Mark Stein places the Wizards at #15 … are you kidding me? I’m just not seeing how the Raptors, and Bulls (and Suns), can be considered in the better position than the Wiz.