Wizards Practice Video, Must-Read Links and An Appearance By Sleepy Floyd
On Saturday from 1:30-3 pm at the Potomac Yard Best Buy in Alexandria, NBA great and Georgetown alum Eric “Sleepy” Floyd will be making an appearance. The event is in conjunction with the NBA’s relationship with HP and the launch of Windows 7. Other former NBA stars will be making appearances at Best Buys across the country … Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Los Angeles, Clyde Drexler in Houston, Earl Monroe in New York, Dominique Wilkins in Duluth, GA, B.J. Armstrong in Chicago, and a ‘TBD’ in Philadelphia. You can click here for the full schedule. There’s also a sweepstakes where you can win tickets to an NBA Playoffs or Finals game, or a new HP computer.
I’ve been invited to attend and will have a chance to speak with Sleepy. I’m sure I’ll be asking about his days in the NBA … playing in Golden State where he once scored 29 points in a quarter, playing in Houston alongside Hakeem Olajuwon, his days as a Georgetown Hoya where he still stands atop the school’s career points list (and where he was on the receiving end of a 1982 Michael Jordan NCAA title game winner), and what he’s been doing with his life since/how he’s involved with the game of basketball.
Anyone is welcome to come out from 1:30 to 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 24th. Sleepy is slated to take pictures, sign autographs, etc.. The Potomac Yard Best Buy is located at 3401 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Alexandria, VA.
Wayne Winston on Gilbert Arenas & The Redskins
As for individual rankings, Kobe contributes about nine points better than average when he’s on the floor, which Winston says is really, really good. But it’s only half as good as LeBron and Wade, who are equally effective in Winston’s estimation. Gilbert Arenas? About the same as Kobe.
“When he plays to his level, he is not quite as good as LeBron and Dwyane Wade,” Winston said, “but he’s not that far behind. … If Gilbert Arenas can play to his former level, the Wizards will make the playoffs. If he can’t, God help them.”
Hey, I think God has his hands full with the Redskins. Speaking of which, Winston also has data that prove the Redskins are even worse than their 2-4 record suggests and that coach Jim Zorn deserved to have his play-calling duties revoked. Alas, Sherm Lewis won’t do any better unless he takes a look at Winston’s data showing which calls have produced the most points-per-100 plays and which have produced the fewest. (Hint: Don’t call any plays for Ladell Betts.)
How The Hoops Whisperer Help Eddie Jordan & Brendan Haywood Mend Fences
In NBA circles Ravin inspires a wide range of reactions. Some coaches, such as the 76ers’ Eddie Jordan, see him as a resource. A few years ago, when Jordan was coaching the Wizards, he had a hard time talking with Brendan Haywood, the center who was then sharing minutes with Etan Thomas and was none too happy about it. “Brendan loved working out with [Ravin],” Jordan remembers, “so I went to Idan and asked, ‘How do you keep a positive relationship with Brendan?’ ”
Ravin explained that Haywood merely wanted to be involved, to be part of the process. “You think he’s challenging you, but all you have to do is ask his opinion,” Ravin said. “Brendan’s a cerebral guy. Empower him.”
Jordan took the advice to heart. “I carried it over to my daily regimen, the idea that this is what I have to do with Brendan,” he says, “and by the end we had a great relationship.”
Chronicling A Silent Agent Zero
After a long rehabilitation, Arenas wants to focus on his play as a point guard for the revamped Washington Wizards, and not on creating prose for the viewing public. The pioneer is now just a player. It is relatively simple for an athlete or a celebrity to reveal his personal idiosyncrasies, and the hunger for updates is vast these days. But closing that door once it is open is not that easy to do. Motives are challenged; questions are raised. “The fans, I think, just want to see me play again,” Arenas said last Friday after he and the Wizards were each fined $25,000 earlier in the week because he had not been speaking with the news media. “I think they can live without me just rambling on about stupid stuff in my life.”
Caron On Flip
I mean, he’s an offensive genius. Coach Jordan’s offense was unbelievable—the Princeton offensive is an equal opportunity offense. I played for Pat Riley, and saw some of the adjustments he made on the fly and how his mind works. Flip Saunders is the same way. If he sees something, he goes to it, he milks it. He knows how to get guys going and get them in position to do some wonderful things. And you see that just in practice and preseason.
Bethlehem Shoals on Wizards Personality
I have to say, though, that if the Wizards aren’t bringing their patented zaniness to the battle, it might be a disappointing year. This team will score in bunches (which they often did, anyway) and will buoy Arenas’s move into the next phase of his career (something he’s been yapping about for two years). But if they just throw on eye-black and spend all year psyching themselves up to make it past one out of three of those teams, it’ll just make me sad and be a wasted campaign. To take it a step further, I think the Wiz don’t have a chance of making that leap unless they stick to their guns as the league’s most lighthearted team. That’s the win-win here.
Add ‘Popcorn’ to Nick Young’s Growing List of Nicknames?
“Some guys are what I call popcorn players,” Saunders said. “The lights come on, and they smell the popcorn, and they take it to another level — or some of them do worse.”
Young has been both popcorn and kernel during the preseason. Starting in the opener alongside Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood, he was effective and scored 11 points. Then came four straight outings marked by low output and erratic shooting (a combined 9-for-33).
Shooting slumps occur, but what displeased Saunders was how Young executed poorly in the other aspects of the game.
Foye Getting The Point
Arenas has a well-established reputation as the Wizards’ closer, and Foye has sidled up next to Arenas throughout training camp and the preseason. They have arrived at the gym together and engaged in some post-practice competitions.
“Gilbert is just an unbelievable person to be around; a three-time all-star, who went through what I’m going through now,” Foye said. “It’s good to talk to a guy, pick his brain and try to learn from him. He backed a [point guard] up early on [in career], and he kept working and working and he’s where he’s at. I’m backing him up now and I’m going to keep on working and I hope I’ll be where I want to be in the next few years.”
Scoring point guards have thrived under Saunders throughout his time in the NBA, and Saunders has shared the same message with Foye that he has with Stephon Marbury, Chauncey Billups, Terrell Brandon and now Arenas. “He wants me to be on the attack all the time. And when I’m on the attack, I’m the best player I can be,” Foye said. “In this offense, it’s always, ‘Be aggressive first.’ ”
Doug Collins on The Wizards
“I hope Gilbert (Arenas) comes back (from injury) because he’s such an exciting player. Washington has the chance to be very good this year. (General manager) Ernie Grunfeld has done a nice job there. They hired (head coach) Flip Saunders to come in and I like what they’ve done in the off-season. They added Mike Miller and Randy Foye and they’ve got some nice, young talent. Washington has never had a problem scoring but are they going to get the critical defensive stops and rebound? I’ve got them being a top five team in the East this year if they can stay healthy.”
[via TNT NBA Season Launch Conference Call Media Release – Oct. 22, 2009]
An NBA Scout on Antawn Jamison & the 09-10 Wizards
Antawn Jamison is 33, but I haven’t seen a drop-off yet. He may not be a franchise player, but he is a guy who plays hard every night. He obviously has a very unorthodox game so that you can’t fit him into the typical slot at power forward. He’s a guy who scores so much off his quickness in terms of his ability to leap the second time. That is truly special. Normally he finds himself playing against bigger players but doing well against them by being quicker off the floor and getting put-backs and easy opportunities around the basket while adding the dimension of making shots from the perimeter. One of the good things about Jamison is that he doesn’t need the ball to score. He can get offensive rebounds and run the floor to get baskets, and he can make threes to supplement that. He isn’t a good defender, but it’s fair to say night in and night out that he gives you effort. Despite his excellent numbers, I don’t think he’s always been appreciated.