Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What's In, What's Out? I Have The Answer!

As the NBA season is a short 14 days away I thought it would be appropriate to give you the IN and OUT of the season ahead. Most of what I’ll rant about is the Wizards. Definitely in, but that only stands for the playoffs.

Yes, I am changing what I originally said. They are not on there way to the NBA FINALS, and I will probably change my mind again. So, in that aspect I am no different from your everyday, worthless, and ultimately fickle blogger. THERE!


Steve Nash.

The Canadian with flash, style, grace and great leadership is high on my list this season. This decision is based highly on the things that he and the Phoenix Suns will do, especially with the return of Amare Stoudemire.

The Suns are the second best team in the West. With no off-season defectors, like last year when Joe Johnson thought the grass would be greener in a lowly Hawks uniform, they bring back a high octane core group that believes shot’s should be taken not after three passes, rather just three quick dribbles.

Furthermore, Leandro Barbosa…STAR! Raja Bell…STAR! Shawn Marion is the best Small Forward in the league, even with the short-arm version of the overhead jumper. (You know what the overhead is. It looks like that shot that Denzel Washington had in Who Got Game.) But that doesn’t tell you why Steve is in. Here’s why.


He cut it! In the process, he transformed himself from Brad Pitt as Achilles in the movie Troy, to everyone’s favorite kid brother with handles. The new look fits him well. Hopefully, he doesn’t fall victim to the Samson Factor and lose his strength’s. If he is able to overcome that fate, look for the Suns to compete heavily for an NBA Championship.

Gilbert Arenas, IN!

Arenas always seems to find ways to self-motivate. Still carrying the bad vibes of what he felt was a snub by the US Basketball Team; he has the weapons that he thinks are needed to win a championship. (We’ll re-visit the whole weapons thing later.)

Not to mention, the Wizards have graced Northeast DC with the constant presence of there star guard. A billboard bearing the image of Arenas hangs high on New York Avenue, boasting the fact that it is one of about 5 or 6 in, or around, the city.

The Wizards got a gem 3 years ago, at the expense of the Golden State Warriors. Now it’s time for that jewel to pull them out of the dog house. Shout out to Vanessa Bryant!

NBA in Europe…League wide emphasis on D…IN!

I’ll have that tomorrow.


Ira Weintraub!

Who’s he? Not really important. What you need to know is that he’s a twisted individual. Die-hard Wolverines football fan and Maryland Terrapins Basketball Freak. This in my understanding of the English language is defined by the word, “Bi-Polar.”

But the true reason that he’s out is because there is possesses an element of morbidity.

Following Michigan’s win last weekend over my beloved Nittany Lions, Wise-traub decides that it would be cute to post of a picture of Nittany Lion QB Anthony Morelli lying face up on the turf following a concussion causing hit.

Every parents nightmare is to look out on a football field and see there child not moving. This guy thinks that scene is great for business. I walked into his office on Monday and he looked at me with the bright eyes and smile of a child on Christmas, pointed to the picture, almost like saying, “Look Dad! Look what I got!”

Driving to Penn State with the wife: $80. Two Tickets to a game at Happy Valley: $250. Taking joy in a man lying motionless on a field, after what could have been a career-ending injury: Disgustingly Priceless! THERE ARE SOME OFFICES THAT HAVE SANE EMPLOYEE’S. FOR EVERYONE ELSE THERE’S WEINTRAUB!

Back to basketball

David Stern’s new obsession with Nerf Ball’s is out!

The new basketball is terrible. Good when dry, bad when wet. Although, some men would see that as a good thing.

The ball isn’t the traditional leather ball that has been in existence for over 35 years. Instead the league agreed to allow Spalding to go with a more cost-effective, rubber material playing tool. As if the NBA, with its average salary over 4.5 million dollars, needs cost effectiveness.

Should we change the name to the National Bargain Association?

The league should bite the bullet and spend the money. What’s the sense in having a ball that players don’t like, and feel prohibits them from showcasing there highly marketed abilities on offense.

It’s not just the low-end players. Stars such as Nash, Arenas, and Shaq have criticized the switch. It’s time to switch back to the traditional ways of doing things. Why ball with Pleather? When you can step out in Leather.

Wizards D….Miami Heat….OUT!

I’ll have those tomorrow.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Without a Bang


That's all I can say about Friday's action at training camp.

First of all, they said that practice would be 3 hours long….11am-2p. Totally incorrect! Coach Jordan is obviously getting softer as camp goes on, practice was less than 90 minutes.

Coach said that he just wanted to let the guys enjoy the rest of the day. He felt that they put in hard work during the past 4 days.

Tomorrow players will be at the arena at 10am for a shoot-around. At 3p they will return and begin preparation for there 4p scrimmage. The scrimmage will be open to the public, and I believe it is free.

If you get there and figure out that it isn’t free ask for me. I will come to the gate and tell how sorry I am that I can’t help you get in. Still love all of you though, hope to see you tomorrow. Go Wizards!


Evening Defense and Injuries

Gilbert Arenas had a bandage around his left hand after yesterday's early practice. Team trainer said that he had a slight bruise on his hand; he'll be re-evaluated this morning. He is expected to be alright though.

Jarvis Hayes did not practice in the late practice. He seemed to be doing some form of rehab on his reconstructed knee. The trainers said that it was just precautionary. But, if you looked his response the knee doesn't seem to be completely healed.....I'll keep you posted.

Darius did some light shooting last night. He wasn't participating with the rest of the group, or even an assistant. The situation with him is strange because he doesn't seem to feel, nor is he being perceived as a member of the team. The trainers have called his injury a "pinched nerve" in his lower back. I'm with Kevin, that's not good. Eddie said that he's not even considering Songalia into the playing equation until he's able to practice. Also hinting that second year player Andray Blatche is of higher regard and that WHEN Songalia returns he could find himself the odd man out. Very strange! I'll keep you posted.

Last night's practice was open fully to the media. It was the first time that we had the chance to watch Special Defensive Assistant Bill Berry at work. Berry ran the entire evening practice which was focused entirely on defense. The new defense is a lot more active than before. Yesterday, they were working on a scheme that looked like a hybrid 3-2, where the wings are required to slide down into the paint when the ball crosses court. It was very effective and well executed, proving that they have put in major work over the summer.

All other issues of the evening weren't issues worth wasting space on.

Have a great weekend gentle bodies.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Similar to the Past

It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you without a dope post to step to!

Well I’m back!

Day 3 and the Wizards have a 0-17 record. Shout out to Gilbert Arenas.

Also, I need to compliment Zack Bolno on his newest shipment of sweater vests. Your “FLY” meter is dropping quickly.

Let’s get to the business at hand.

The players got the chance to scrimmage yesterday, and in the early Thursday practice. Coach Jordan usually doesn’t start scrimmages until the third day of camp, but he said that his guys were ready to go. They did! Referees and quarters just like a true scrimmage.

Players that are shining right now in camp are DeShawn Stevenson and Antonio Daniels. Stevenson has added a noticeable energy and defensive prowess that should compliment Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler. His affect will be similar to Bobby Dandridge being brought in fill out the lineup with Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes, in the 1970’s. What did that do for the then Bullets? Glad you asked. It only won them an NBA Championship.


Also Jordan hinted that Center Etan Thomas could be carving his spot as the starter on opening day. That is if he’s stays in one piece. Thomas has a history of missing long amounts of time.

GM Ernie Grunfeld received a contract extension yesterday. Team Owner Abe Pollin told me today that the terms were four additional years to the two that he has remaining. Pollin said that he felt his GM deserved to be rewarded for the excellent re-building job he’s done. Pollin also said that he hasn’t had this much enthusiasm and warranted expectation for the team since there playoff runs in the 70’s and 80’s.

Jordan’s view of Monday’s starting lineup:
1- Gilbert Arenas
2- Caron Butler
3- DeShawn Stevenson
4- Antwan Jamison
5- Brendan Haywood/Etan Thomas

Today’s inuries are simple….

DARIUS SONGALIA- pinched nerve in his back. Listed as day to day….


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Defensive Wiz

The Wizards opened training camp with a major focus on defense. Head Coach Eddie Jordan said that he was happy with the defensive focus and intensity in yesterdays opening practices. Over 2 1/2 hours out of a scheduled 3 hours were spent on learning and implementing new defensive schemes and plays. Surprisingly Jordan said that former UVA Cavalier Roger Mason Jr. was one of the top three defenders in camp, increasing his chances of making the team. DeShawn Stevenson who was brought in mainly for his defensive abilities was pleasantly useful in the offensive workouts.

Antwan Jamison said that the team was far more focused yesterday than in previous years. It appeared that way as the normal joking and meaningless rhetoric, were replaced with the calmer voice of Eddie Jordan. It’s not that they were walking around like stiffs; it just wasn’t relaxed and laid back as it has been in previous training camp openers. Jamison attributes this to the team’s growth and maturity. He also said that the goal this year is the Finals, which gives more meaning and purpose to the things accomplished in training camp.

Jamison and Jordan spoke highly of former GW standout Mike Hall. Jamison said that he has a great set of skills that will help him succeed in camp. Jordan said that his best advice to Mike would be to remain noticeable. Often times in camp rookies, especially undrafted drifters, hold back thinking less is more. In the case of Mike Hall, D.C., offers a particularly unique opportunity to not only make the team but somehow find a way into the starting lineup.

With that said, most of the players spoke highly of Center Brendan Haywood. His effort and aggressiveness have improved drastically. Haywood, sporting a newly acquired headband and beard, was nearly invisible last season underachieving in almost every statistical category. Haywood seems to notice that the success of the Wizards, depends significantly on the production he gives from the center position.

Caron Butler said that reports of Arenas’ “thinner air unit” make him feel like he needs to up the ante. Butler said that he might have a hill installed in his back yard for workout purposes.

Butler also said that second year player Andray Blatche looked much better than last year. He says that Blatche is far more mature and his skills improved over the summer. Blatche was shot last summer in the wrist and chest, so this is his first training camp experience.

The players that practiced with the first team today were:
Gilbert Arenas
Caron Butler
Antonio Daniels
Andray Blatche
DeShawn Stevenson
Calvin Booth
Andray Blatche
Mike Hall
Brendan Haywood

Notable second team players practicing on a different court were:
Jarvis Hayes
Roger Mason Jr.
Etan Thomas

Gilbert Arenas sat out of the second half of the first practice with back pain. Arenas has been suffering from the back issues since the World Basketball Championships over the summer.

Darius Songalia did not practice today because of pain in his back. He too is experiencing a hangover from the WBC.