Ready again folks? What game is this? Game 12? The Wizards are 1-10? It all seems like it’s becoming a blur real fast. Thankfully this post will be simple. You know the drill. Three questions, three answers… featuring Michael Katz from SB Nation, and TAI’s Adam McGinnis and John Converse Townsend. Start it up…
#1) Fact of Fiction: Flip Saunders’ job is contingent on how the Wizards play over the next stretch of five home games in a row, against Philadelphia, Houston, Oklahoma City, Denver and Boston.
KATZ: Fiction. Bless Flip Saunders, who is basically living Stand and Deliver: How do I reach these kids! Bless Andray Blatche, who in an attempt to stick up for Saunders, basically admitted the Wizards have tuned him out. Flip will eventually take the fall for the 2012 Wizards — because someone has to — but right now does it make sense to pay Saunders (in the third year of a four-year $18 million deal) *and* someone else when Washington will struggle regardless? I think Flip is safe unless someone outrageous happens … which of course is not out of the question.
McGINNIS: Fiction. Although Leonsis has replaced coaches with the Caps before, and Wizards now have the same exact record of 1-10 when Eddie Jordan was fired in 2008, I do not see the owner making a change. Leonsis has a plan where Flip and Grunfeld are major players, and he is sticking to it, regardless of outside opinions.
TOWNSEND: Fiction. The Wizards have already lost 125 games under Flip Saunders’ guidance; what’s another five losses to a franchise that no longer expects to win games? ”I am not afraid of change,” Ted Leonsis today wrote on his blog. ”I am just sanguine that a change in coaching doesn’t always correct all deficiencies of an organization.” While Leonsis was addressing the coaching carousel in the NHL, his commentary seemed to communicate the direction of D.C.’s pro basketball franchise (given that Leonsis owns both the Capitals and the Wizards, and his blueprint for winning on the ice is virtually identical to the one being employed to bring respectability back to the hardwood). It perhaps also confirmed what ”sources with knowledge of the situation” have already reported: Washington will stay the course, with Flip Saunders under contract through the 2012-13 season, despite the mainstream turning up the burn under the head coach’s seat.
#2) Rank 1 to 3: The top three players who are most trying to take it upon themselves to score outside of Flip Saunders’ system.
KATZ: In the words of Ludacris: plenty of Wizards coming for that number one spot!
1). Jordan Crawford — Simple numbers: Crawford is averaging 9.6 FGA a game in 20.3 minutes off the bench (more shots-per-minute than any Wizard). He makes 34.9 percent of those shots, and he is averaging less than one made three-pointer per game, despite shooting nearly three per contest. Yuck.
1a). Nick Young — There was an opportunity against the Sixers where Young did well to locate John Wall in transition and threw a would-be assist/half-lob that ended up killing the break. … The point: Nick Young’s game is still shooting, which when you’re from LA is known by a convenient euphemism: Swagger.
387). Jan Vesely — Six shot attempts in 53 minutes on the court this season? Shoot it, Jan! (Well, dunk it until that form comes around.)
McGINNIS: 1. Nick Young 2. Jordan Crawford 3. JaVale McGee — Young’s game is completely off and all progress he made last season becoming the team’s leading scorer seems like a distant memory. If you did a shot of hard booze for every Crawford attempt with over 10 seconds left on shot clock on the season, you might be pronounced legally dead. I defended McGee on Twitter against ESPN’s Chad Ford unfairly calling him a knucklehead and he rewards me by repeatedly jacking up long jump shots in Philly. What is he even doing so far from the hoop on offense to begin with?
TOWNSEND: 1) JaVale McGee; I would be able to count one one hand the occasions McGee has passed the ball out of the post, but I don’t ever remember him doing so. 2) Nick Young; who, despite burning at least 16 seconds off the shot clock on a third of his possessions, does little besides dribble into double-teams and force fadeaway jump shots. 3) Jordan Crawford; while second-year guard has the ability to create shots for others, the voices in Crawford’s head — “the basketball gods” — command he shoulder the offensively load at every opportunity.
#3) Scale of 1-5: How disappointing is it that Wall is showing signs of quit, 5 being the most disappointing.
KATZ: Remember that group project in Spanish 311, where you had to propose a business plan to franchise a Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt at a large mall in Guatemala? The people in your group spoke varying levels of terrible Spanish and they didn’t even understand supply chain management or exchange rates! Pretty soon you’re just letting sitting back and scanning Twitter on your iPhone under the desk because WHATEVER. Look, it doesn’t mean you are any less smart, right? Next project it will be better, when you’re paired with the native speaker from Venezuela and the two other Spanish majors in the class that care about their grades. Remember? It’s OK. Just don’t drop the class. (All of this to say, uh, not very? John will be fine.)
McGINNIS: 1. I am not buying into notion that John Wall has quit on the team. He is a competitor that wears his emotions on his face so it is hard for him to hide his disappointment and frustration with these negative outcomes. He was anointed by the city and franchise to be its savior, not the other way around. His jumper is not falling, he has no low post scorer or anyone that can make shots off his passes. Period. I am more disappointed how Wall is totally misused in the half court offense where most of the possessions he appears to make a wing pass then just stand around. The Game Changer is being self-neutered by a bizarre system set up to mainly create mid-range jump shots.
TOWNSEND: 3. John Wall has been the physical manifestation of hope and salvation for a ruined franchise, and the fact that Wall’s frustration has deteriorated into indifference, to a certain extent, condemns the rebuilding effort. Wall isn’t free from blame, but as the face of the franchise, his attitude is the most alarming. This situation is one which could lead to some serious roster moves. The latest word is that the Wizards are trying to move Andray Blatche – and have been for some time.