Chris Webber had a fair share troubles here in D.C., among other places. He once was caught with marijuana and pepper-sprayed by a cop for refusing to get out of his car on his way to practice as a Washington Wizard. Both his high school and college have removed memories he helped make from their record books because he took money from a Michigan booster as an eighth grader and beyond. Webber and Allen Iverson, although injured and not expected to play, didn’t even show up to Fan Appreciation Night on the Philadelphia 76ers’ last game of the 2005-06 season. He was once a spokesperson for FILA. He will be forever associated with the “Timeout.” He used to date that crazy lady Tyra Banks. All bad things. Well, perhaps not the bedding of Tyra Banks part. Webber was once featured on a large mural in D.C.’s Chinatown that stayed long past its welcome.
But now he is a television studio analyst, and a pretty good one if you ask me. When you’ve got personality, your sketchy past can be dimmed. Just look at Marv Albert, he got caught biting chicks, participated in two-guy, one-girl three-ways, and forced a woman to perform oral sex on him as if he were a white Ruben Patterson.
In any case, when I heard Tuesday night’s Wizards-Lakers game was elected to show on NBA TV’s “Fan Night,” I prepared myself for how the team would be trashed by Webber and co-analyst Kevin McHale (who probably wouldn’t be too harsh since he’s boys with Flip Saunders).
Webber pulled no punches, starting with calling Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison selfish.
From NBA TV’s Fan Night notes:
Webber on the Wizards’ frontcourt of Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and Antawn Jamison: “I saw a disturbing number especially with Flip (Saunders’) system. If you play for Flip, he is going to give you easy shots and easy buckets. The number is 144 assists to 207 turnovers between these three. These guys are good players and good teammates but if we are really honest about it we can take Brendan Haywood out, because he really doesn’t have post moves. Between Caron Butler and Antwan Jamison somebody has to pass the ball, somebody has to be the facilitator. You can not be selfish, selfish leads to bad defense, selfish leads to bad offense, and selfish leads to alienating teammates. The fact that they have this many more turnovers than assists, shows me that nobody is getting anyone involved and no one cares about anyone else’s game but their own.”
And more commentary …
McHale on the Wizards’ struggles this season: “When you watch them play, they don’t make the extra pass quick enough. They take the dribble or just hold the ball. Their spacing isn’t good either. You shouldn’t hold on to the ball. Make a crisp pass early and make your teammates better. (The Wizards) don’t make their teammates better.”
McHale on the up and down year for Washington head coach Flip Saunders: “That is a very un-Flip like statistic. Flip’s team usually moves the ball and has a nice solid assist total but very low turnover totals. I know that has got to be driving him crazy. I have talked to some of the guys in Washington and they really are struggling right now, they are trying to find an identity. The year has been so disjointed for them. Gilbert wasn’t really Gilbert in November he was searching for himself, trying to figure out what was going on, a bunch of new players were getting adjusted to Flip’s system and then the gun situation happened.”
Webber on the impact of the Gilbert Arenas / Javaris Crittenton situation on the Wizards’ franchise: “I think it is going to have a very big impact. Just to be honest, (Wizards head coach) Flip (Saunders) wasn’t given a great team anyway. I disagreed with the re-signing of Gilbert Arenas. This team is not built for the NBA. What is their identity? Do they have scorers? Do they have shooters? Do they pass it? It hasn’t been allowed to let Flip put his imprint on it because of all the different changes. For me, if I were a Washington fan, I would almost want to rebuild and start with younger players that I could rally behind and watch them grow up. That could be a solution.”
McHale: “If you are (Wizards general manager) Ernie Grunfeld sitting in Washington right now, you have to look at everything. If Arenas’ contract is voided, which is a possibility because he did plead guilty to a felony, and they make a trade like Antwan Jamison, they could get well below the cap next year and start over. I would say right now that I agree with Chris. What is their identity? Where are they going?”
NBC news correspondent Luke Russert, son of Tim Russert, joined Fan Night live in studio for the pregame show …
Russert on being a Wizards fan this year: “We came into the season with really high expectations. I was fired up about the Mike Miller/Randy Foye trade and we opened the season at Dallas with a resounding victory. I thought the ship was right; Gilbert looked okay and then everything imploded. I could have handled having a bad season on the court. Obviously the issues off the court made a lot of guys question what the nucleus of this team was about. I do have faith in (Wizards general manager) Ernie Grunfeld I think he can right the ship here. I just have my fingers crossed for the John Wall lottery. If Amar’e (Stoudemire) wants to come, I have a nice package for him.”
Russert on what he would like to see as a fan happen for the Wizards: “We season ticket holders here in Washington have constantly had a lot of change. You (Chris) were supposed to be the franchise player for 15 years but they got rid of you for Mitch Richmond, which I’m still upset about. What I would like to see is someway to keep Caron Butler because he really is a leader. He brings that intensity to the floor every single night that I think a lot of people can feed off of that. I like Andray Blatche; I think if he has a few more years of maturing, he will get there. I’m not completely sold on Nick Young yet but I think he has the skills and talent. I like Dominic McGuire, if he would put on a few more pounds and learn how to play the post. If they could keep a nucleus on some of those guys then I’m okay with the rest of the team being traded away. I don’t know about starting all anew though. We had a good decade going and it is just a shame to see it all come down like this.”