Not long after the ‘Design an Inbounds Play For the Wizards’ contest hit the interwebs, there were reports of Flip Saunders doing a Capitol Hill two-step, back-pedaling away like a politician.
“They talked, and we haven’t totally committed on that. It wasn’t an end of the game thing when we talked about it. It was a – if we do it – a how about a first-timeout play of the game. … It was designed to be an interactive thing with the fans, a first quarter you run a play and see what they have. … We’re still playing with the idea of where it really goes.”
It only took a couple more days for ESPN’s Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy to get to it. During Friday’s Wizards-Warriors broadcast, Jackson started by bringing up the contest and calling it a “joke.” Van Gundy followed with:
“My problem with it is this. People would say, ‘What’s the problem, it’s only one possession’, but they’ve lost six straight one possession games. Every possession matters in the NBA. And I would not be willing, as a team, to give away any possessions.”
A lot of coach-speak and protection of perception here. Yes, everyone would agree that every possession is valuable. However, some might say that this Wizards team hasn’t been valuing the ball as much as they should in the first place. One could also argue that the players might be more apt to value a possession drawn up by a fan.
But c’mon guys, it’s just an out-of-bounds play. Flip Saunders is usually great at drawing them up, but I’m sure that from thousands of amateur submissions, the coach could find one to his liking. To automatically assume that a fan play chosen by the Wizards’ coaching staff would equate to throwing away a possession and that the Wizards players could not execute (despite historical struggles with execution), is a bit arrogant and dramatic on the part of the pundits.
With the increasing popularity of outsourcing for ideas, or rather, free-sourcing, Coach Saunders should have no shame from taking part in such a contest.