Before tonight’s Wizards-Jazz game, Flip Saunders came out to talk to the media reminiscent of Johnny Cash. The coach was dressed to the nines in all black, well, until he put on his contrasting gray sport coat on for the game. One thing you can say, this season has certainly been a Ring of Fire for Saunders.
Since the last Wizards home game against Charlotte, and the Andray Blatche affair, Blatche, to the extent that I’ve noticed, has made more of an effort to operate closer to the basket on offense, something Coach Saunders has implored him to do since early January, at least. I asked Flip about this before the game.
“We instituted/kinda put in a new offense that would make it more conducive for some of our bigger players to stay more around the basket and try to give our perimeter people more cutting opportunities, taking pressure off Andray around the basket where there wouldn’t be as many trap type situations,” said the coach, also mentioning that this new(ish) offense was instituted two days ago.
Flip on Alonzo Gee aka ‘Nuthin’ But a Gee Thang’
Flip was also asked about Alonzo Gee, whom the Wizards intend on keeping for the rest of the season. Here are two of his more interesting points:
- “He has been thrust into a situation where he’s had to play against [guard Gerald Wallace, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony] and he has not once backed down.”
- Flip called Gee “kind of a two-and-a-half” in terms of position, saying he’s not really a true three, but not really a true two because of his ball handling.
On Addressing Utah (and other opponents)
“Right now we’re in a situation I think with our young players … I told those guys, ‘We have to worry more about what we’re going to do than others.’
This has been a whirlwind from the standpoint that we’ve had players come in, players get hurt, we’ve been on the road so much that we’ve only had two or three practices during the last month.
During this stretch, we haven’t had time to really practice and work on things for them to get better for us to so much worry about the other team. So we’re just worrying about the concepts that we’ll do as far as defensively.”
Cutting his teeth in the CBA, Flip said that he was a big proponent of using the D-League for player development because it teaches guys respect for the NBA.
“It’s sometimes easier, believe it or not, for players to go from the D-League to the NBA than for players to go from the NBA to the D-League,” said Saunders. “There’s a lot of players that go from the NBA … they don’t have the toughness, the mental toughness, to survive in the league because of all the things that you have to go through,” continued Saunders, having previously mentioned the differences in frills and amenities between the two leagues.”
[Courtesy of Adam Douglas, Truth About It.net photographer]