Top 11 Flip Saunders Presser Quotes: From Cinnamon To The Playoffs | Wizards Blog Truth About

Top 11 Flip Saunders Presser Quotes: From Cinnamon To The Playoffs

Updated: December 2, 2011

Washington Wizards coach Flip Saunders made his official return to the Verizon Center press table on Friday afternoon to speak with the media. He made some statements, he made some observations, he set some goals, and he dished out a couple zingers. Afterward, a handful of media members assembled in an impromptu huddle to comment on how much Flip seemed ready to talk. Hey, the man is just glad to have a season and a team to coach. For now, if media ears are around to listen, well, they come with the blissful territory. Let’s run through Flip’s Top 11 quote tid-bits…

#11 On areas of improvement…

“We need to be better offensively, as far as on turning the ball over. That cost us a lot. I always believe that if you don’t turn it over you’re going to have a chance to win.”


“We lost a lot of games close last year. I think we lost 15 games with three minutes or less when the score was three points one way or the other. A lot of that was we had some missed free-throws, we had a lot of young players on the floor. And you’re hoping that what they went through a year ago is going to benefit them.”

NOTE: Free-Throws!

#10 On JaVale McGee…

“He has to become more of a player of substance than just highlights.”


“We’re going to eliminate his full-court dribbling. It’s going to be eliminate or he’s going to be sitting with Michael Lee over at the press table. … Because I watch that a lot of times on film, and that’s not good.”

#9 On a backup to JaVale, and Kevin Seraphin…

“[Kevin Seraphin] is the one player that I’m excited to see him come back and play, as far as camp. He’s coming into camp more so than anyone else, with more ability and improvement. Because last year, again, he really didn’t know really about the NBA. Language was a barrier last year. Everything that he did was new, as far as everything in practice. …. Now he’s had a year with us, he had a great run with the France [National] team  … and now he’s been over in Spain playing at a high level. He’s going to come in in the best shape he’s probably ever been in. … He can play that backup center. He’s going to push [Javale], and he does have lower body strength.”

NOTE: Michael Lee reports on Wizards Insider that there might be a slight delay with Seraphin’s arrival to Washington for training camp.

#8 On concerns over rookies and not having a full training camp…

“It’s a catch-22 because I really don’t have any concerns.”


“I was in the CBA for seven years, and our training camps were 14 days. And a day prior to training camp was when the NBA teams cut players. So we were trying to get players in. So a week before training camp, you look at our roster on our board, we probably had five guys on it.”


“Sometimes what a training camp can do for you, especially for these guys, is it becomes so short and so intensive that there’s no lag time, and I think it will facilitate their improvement. The other thing is that there’s an advantage to only having a couple exhibition games. We really have more concentrated practice time with what we’re doing now than we do maybe even over a 28-day training camp [due to travel, game day preparation, etc.].


“Our players now are going to have to understand that the evaluation process isn’t that long. …Your evaluation process is going to come the first time you step on the floor in practice … I like the way it’s set up, to be honest. I like the way training camp is going to be, a short training camp and the things we’re going to do. I think it’s going to be more conducive to a young team to really grow during that time.”

#7 On improving defensive rebounding…

“Most breakdowns in rebounding is because your inability to guard people off the dribble and contain people outside. When you get beat off penetration, your bigs have to step up to help. And when they help it frees up the rebounding for their people [opponents guarding them]. A lot of people say, ‘Well, we gotta rebound better with our bigs because they have to do it.’ Well, our rebounding improvements is going to come by our perimeter defense getting better.”

#6 On Andray Blatche…

“He had a good year, it was just his health. He wasn’t healthy. I think anytime you have any player who’s not healthy from the beginning, it’s going to always catch up to him.”


“A lot of people have been very critical of Andray at times, but if you look at him in playing in games, he had a our best winning percentage when he played. So, he might not at times have done what you guys wanted him to do and other people, but he’s doing things that have helped us as a team win more.”


“He has a responsibility to not only himself, but also as far as to the team. And a responsibility to your contract. I think the one thing I’ve always said — I had [Kevin] Garnett for so many years, and the one thing that K.G. always said, he wanted people to look at him and say that he lived up to or exceeded his contract.”

#5 On having a young team…

“The biggest adjustment you have with young teams is playing team basketball. Because as young teams each player wants to establish who they are as an individual and think that’s going to get them to where they want to get. And so you have to keep on grinding away for them to understand that you get individual success through team success.”

#4 On knowing and learning about Jordan Crawford…

“Well, I didn’t know he was as good as Michael Jordan, but I did know that he had a lot of confidence.”


“This training camp is going to be really good for him, because he has a tough spot. He’s got to play two positions at a high level. He’s such a great scorer, and he has the benefit of playing the two and playing that, but yet he’s going to have to have the ability to play backup to John and change a little bit how he plays at times.”

NOTE: Jordan?

#3 On a backup point to John Wall…

“We’re not in a situation where we gotta go out and say, ‘We’ve got to sign a backup,’ because there’s not a lot of minutes there right now. John’s going to play 36, 37 minutes. Jordan’s going to eat up some minutes, and then you have Shelvin [Mack]. If there’s somebody that’s good that comes along, a veteran guy who gives us stability, then that’s something that we look at.”

“We’re in a situation where we’re working on individual development to get better individually, to get better as a team. We’re not going to just short-term ourselves and take away that development and bring in a band-aid.”

#2 On Nick Young and the kids…

“All those young guys, young players … their biggest thing is that they’re not young players anymore. So they have to show the discipline and maturity. Not only on the floor but off the floor … the cinnamon thing doesn’t cut it. Those are things that really have to … as a team, the type of improvement you need, those are the types of things we have to have.”


“You’re judged not by what you do as individuals, but by what we do as a team.”


[Nick] had I think the lowest assists as far as anybody averaging over 17 points in the league, history of the league or whatever.. Those are things you can’t have … just to become a more diversified player. He’s taken the one step. When I came here all he did was play one-on-one, try to put it on the floor and try to get shots off. We changed it to a point where last year he became a catch-and-shoot player and not have to put it on the floor all the time … Now he’s got to make plays for other people.”


He improved defensively. We found out that he was a pretty good on-ball defender. Off the ball he had the tendency to kind of fall asleep at times. So we’re finding out where his strengths are. We’ve got to maximize those, and the things that he doesn’t do as well we got to minimize those.”

NOTE 1: Cinnamon!

NOTE 2: Stats via — A search for NBA players in a single regular season from 1946-47 to 2010-11 who have played the positions of G, G/F or F/G and have averaged at least 17 points per game, and appeared in at least 60 games, returns 1010 results. Nick Young’s 1.2 assists in 2010-11 to go with his 17.4 PPG average ranks second to last in AST/G instances (No. 1,009), right above the efforts of one George Yardley in 1958-59.

#1 On a goal for the season…

 “I want to compete for the playoffs.”


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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
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 currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.