Ernie Grunfeld On Wants, Seraphin's Knee and The Growth of McGee | Wizards Blog Truth About

Ernie Grunfeld On Wants, Seraphin’s Knee and The Growth of McGee

Updated: July 9, 2010

[Below are some quick notes from Ernie Grunfeld’s Q&A with the media on the first night of Wizards mini-camp. Video of the session is at the bottom of this post.]

[Kevin Seraphin]

Bullets on Kevin Seraphin

  • Grunfeld gave a scouting report on Seraphin, crediting him for having good hands and for being light on his feet.
  • He springboards that into talking about the transition the team is going through. “We’ve been a predominantly perimeter oriented team and a finesse team and I just felt like we needed some more physicality,” said Grunfeld.
  • It’s been known that Seraphin will miss the Vegas Summer League because of a left knee ligament tear he experienced in the French League playoffs. Grunfeld said he expects him to be back on the court running full contact drills in August.

Ernie wants a small forward and a big man

“If we can pick up a small forward along the way, that’s a position we’d probably look at.”

“I think we also need another big man to back up.”

To back up whom? I’m not sure. When healthy, you can pencil in Andray Blatche at the four. Does that mean JaVale McGee is pegged for the starting center spot? A 3/4/5 combo of Al Thornton, Blatche and McGee would get eaten alive on defense against most of the league, as would one of Thornton, Yi Jianlian and Blatche. The Wizards need a veteran defensive anchor if you ask me. It’s okay if he’s old, just as long as he can teach. Are Kurt Thomas, Theo Ratliff, Tony Battie or Joe Smith still alive? Actually, I bet Grunfeld gets one of the Collins Twins, probably Jarron.

The Growth of JaVale McGee

Once upon a time (December 2008 to be exact), JaVale McGee’s mom, Pamela, said her boy was still growing. “He’s in a growth spurt right now, we just measured him and he’s 7’1″ with no shoes on.”

Here’s where we’ll get into measurement discrepancy. In Chicago, summer 2008, McGee was measured to be 6’11” without shoes and 7’0″ with. On Thursday night, Ernie Grunfeld said, “He’s grown a little bit. He’s over 7-feet tall without shoes on, he’s almost 7’1.5″ with shoes. ”

Point is, Wookie is tall. He’s a Flintstone kid … 10 million strong, and growing.

Times of note in the below video of Ernie Grunfeld’s Q&A with the media:

  • 0:45 – Kirk Hinrich is called gritty.
  • 1:34 – Says “We’ll pick our spots” — perhaps an ode to Mike Miller.
  • 1:52 – Hinrich is cited for his grittiness.
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Kyle Weidie
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Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.

  • Franktiger

    I think Wookie can be that anchor on defense, I mean he’s a defense minded player isn’t he? His strengths should be his rebounding and defense, and if he can dunk a few alley-oops and get in transition for easy buckets its a plus obviously, but we’re not going to revolve the offense around him, that will be for JWall and Dray, so Wookie can concentrate on blocking shots at the other end of the floor.

  • szr

    Actually, Javale McGee is a better offensive player than defensive, when you think about it. He’s a poor rebounder for a C. Very poor in fact, but at least hist shooting efficiency is pretty good.

    But you’ve identified the real problem here – McGee and Blatche are well below average on defense at their positions. Thorton and Yi Jianlian are even worse – in fact, they’re both pushing toward the honors of being the worst players in their league at their position. Signing a productive, or at least an average, vet at PF or C would make the Wizards better just because he’d take away minutes from truly awful ones.

  • MJC

    He has a few issues:

    1. He is a liability on the post. If you have a big body, McGee’s thin frame SCREAMS “Post me up PLEASE”

    2. He goes for every single block. He gets out of position because of that (esp. for rebounds).

    3. He does not know how to rotate properly on defense yet. Say what you will about Haywood, but one of his huge strengths was help defense.

    On a side note, why do we not have the option to write these comments in comic sans…

  • Yea, here’s the deal with JaVale on D.

    He ‘appears’ defensive minded because he has the tools to be a great shot blocker … and does, in fact, attempt and block a decent bit of shots.

    However, he leaves his feet much too often, usually gets pushed around in the paint because of his lack of strength, and gets lost most of the time in terms of position/team defense.

    The “anchor” has to be the communicator and one who really knows the scouting report because the center, as the last line of defense, is usually responsible for pointing out a bulk of the assignments (seeing the coming picks, switches, etc.)

    Brendan Haywood was great at defensive communication and awareness. McGee has a long, long way to go.

  • MJC

    That is why I enjoy seeing McGee in spurts…if you look at his output in April, it was quite high for 24 mins. He averaged like 13 points 8 rebs 3 blocks per game. Granted, it is a very small sample size, however, he can cause havoc in spurts (and not a total liability).

    I wonder if Hamady has any court awareness. If he has solid b.ball IQ, he and McGee may make an interesting tandem. Where are those old school defensive minded big men when you need it? Call Charles Oakley and Dale Davis out of retirement!

  • JMC

    If he was growing the last two years, it could have been a big factor in his inconsistency – it’s hard to calibrate one’s timing and shooting touch when length of your body is changing. We could see a surprising development this year now that his body has fully grown

  • poppalaw

    Blatche is not awful on defense; he has improved a great deal, is a good shot blocker, led the team last year in taking charges, and is an average help defender. Can and should he better? Indeed, but he is quite a bit better than the average poster gives him credit for.

  • Deesy

    It’s encouraging to hear that JM is still growing. When he stops growing taller I suspect he will lose his “skinny” self. Can’t wait. I agree with JMC. I suspect that when ya learned how to play the game at 6’11” and ya find yourself at 7’1″ you have to make some changes to keep up with yourself. I believe that in time he has the potential to be a star. Any docs out there that can give us a heads up on when he’s likely to top out??

  • szr

    poppalaw – actually, you’ve got a point. I went back and checked the end-of-the-year stats, and while Blatche is still a below-average rebounder among PFs (10.8 per 48 minutes, compared to 11.4), he is a slightly above average shot blocker and fouls a little less than the average PF.

    He still turns the ball over way more than the average PF (3.9 per 48, compared to 2.4) and he’s an inefficient scorer only shooting an adjusted 48.5%, but frankly, that makes him one of the more efficient Wizards players on offense. Nick Young, who for some reason people think is a good scorer, only shoots 41% and takes more shots per minute than Blatche.

    The bigger problem with Blatche is that it is unlikely that he will improve much, if at all, from last years’ numbers (considering he got a lot more minutes, and has been in the league for 5 seasons now). And if this is as good as he gets, it isn’t nearly good enough production if we hope to become a playoff team.

  • Nate

    It felt good to hear the word’s “building” from Ernie’s mouth. I just hope he keeps those word’s.

  • bmoreballer

    Is kevin serapin going to be on the squad next year..or does he have to still play in europe for a year or two?