Tag:Flip Saunders
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:41 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 12:18 pm

Wizards fire Flip Saunders

By Matt Moore

Yahoo Sports reports that the Washington Wizards have fired Flip Saunders after a 2-15 start to the season. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirms the report and saysRandy Wittman will take over as interim coach. Berger reports Saunders was fired after Wizards' loss to the 76ers Monday night in which Washington was down 30 at the half, had compiled nine assists in a half, matching Andre Iguodala's singular output, and eventually losing by 20. 

Saunders was recently reportedly not on the hot seat from management, but disappointing losses to the struggling Boston Celtics in a winnable game at home, followed by a thrashing by the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night may have changed ownership's mind. The Wizards had shown some signs of life recently, beating Oklahoma City last week and losing to the Nuggets and Celtics in close games. But at 2-14, well, horseshoes and hand grenades. 

The Wizards have struggled in nearly every phase of the game this season, incoherent offense, a lost defense, poor chemistry and regression from the franchise cornerstone in John Wall. If the report is accurate, it was probably time to see if someone else can try and right a ship that has gone so terribly off-course.
Posted on: January 11, 2012 11:47 am
Edited on: January 11, 2012 11:50 am

Saunders: Wall played in too many summer leagues

Posted by Royce Young

There was one good thing about the lockout: How many players took to blacktops, high schools gyms and other place to play in pickup exhibition games and pro-am leagues. Kevin Durant, Brandon Jennings, James Harden and John Wall were among the group of guys that seemed to play in almost everything.

The idea for playing being the more you play basketball, the better you get. Sure, it was for fans and for fun, but these guys were looking to get better too. For instance, take Durant who has expanded his game so far this season to more creative passing and ball handling. Those are things he worked on during the summer league games.

But could all that pickup have had a bad influence? Flip Saunders seems to think it did on John Wall. Via CSN Washington:

"I've never been a proponent of all those things," Saunders said after Monday's practice. "I think you pick up too many bad habits and a lot of things you think are going to be very easy [are not]. I don't think I saw a change all summer long."

As for the bad habits, just watch a Wizards game this season for proof. With greater repetition than during his strong rookie season, Wall often speeds past teammates into 1-on-3 situations or zooms into a congested lane with the most creative of intentions. [...]

Wall was not the only Wizard in those wild and woolly games or the only player to recklessly freelance. Yet, as the team's point guard, Wall has more responsibility. As the franchise player, he receives more scrutiny, especially on a winless team.

"Usually what happens is it's on the best player and the coach. That's part of the responsibility that we all have," Saunders said. "The positive thing is that when you're the best player, you're usually the one that can [help most]. You can help change things around as the coach can."

You know what this sounds like to me? It sounds like Saunders is looking for excuses. It looks like he's trying to find an explanation for why his team stinks and why its best player has started slowly when it was supposed to be a leap year for Wall. Instead of maybe just saying it's the roster around him, the culture of the team or the system he plays in, just blame it on Wall playing too much basketball during the summer.

Sure, you can develop bad habits in those games. But I tend think NBA players understand that. I think they are fully aware that it's not a good idea to go out and start chucking 30-footers and going for behind-the-back passes every time down. Wall has always had sort of a blacktop-style game and that's just part of who he is. He's got some flash to him. If you try and take that away, you're going to lose the player he could be.

Those "bad habits" aren't pickup problems. They're being-a-21-year-old second-year-point-guard problems. They're being-a-good-player-on-a-bad-team problems.

Playing too much basketball can't be a problem. Look at Harden, who dominated pretty much every summer game he was in and had other NBA guys calling him the best pickup player out there. I think he's benefitted from hooping over the summer. To blame Wall's slow start on that is simply a ridiculous thing to say. There are a lot of reasons for it, but it has nothing to do with practicing too much over the summer.


Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:38 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 12:43 pm

You can buy Wizards tickets for next to nothing

By Matt Moore

Apparently D.C. is treating "Wizards fever" like an actual venereal disease. Because they're staying away in droves. The winless Wizards are listed on StubHub.com for next to nothing. That's not an exaggeration, either. With the Wizards playing the Raptors Tuesday night, not exactly a marquee matchup, starting prices or the upper-upper deck are $1.00 per ticket. 

Want a VIP box? $75 dollars! Lower bowl behind the basket? $6 dollars! Get 'em while they're stagnant in sub-zero temperatures.

Meanwhile, Rashard Lewis on Monday had to refute a CSN Washington report that he skipped Sunday's game because of an argument with assistant coach Sam Cassell. 

But hey, Flip Saunders' job is safe, so they've got that going for them. Meanwhile, the Washington Posthas a quote from an Eastern Conference GM which hits the nail on the head. 
An Eastern Conference assistant general manager echoed that the Wizards need to establish a culture of accountability and high character to deliver a successful rebuild. “No team in the league, if the environment was good, would be 0-for-the-season,” he said. “Whatever the optimum each guy has, it’ll never be realized when it’s dysfunctional. The talent on that roster can’t win. You can’t win with Andray Blatche. I don’t care what anybody says. He has talent. He has some talent. But tell me where he’s won. . . . John Wall is a young player. Where’s the veteran leadership for those guys? Gilbert [Arenas] was the former example. What kind of example was that?”
via Wizards’ woes stem from from lack of talent and losing culture, executives say - The Washington Post.

And that's why you can get Wizards tickets for the change in your couch.
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:54 pm

Flip Saunders job safe?

Posted by Royce Young

Get off to an 0-8 start and a coach's seat will start to warm a bit. But do it in a manner such as the Washington Wizards have and that seat will be on top of a bunsen burner.

The Wizards aren't just winless, but they've looked terrible. Unorganized, uninterested, uncommitted -- a lot of un words. Their young players aren't progressing, the team's chemistry seems a bit toxic and it's hard to see a way out right now other than John Wall just becoming an otherwordly LeBron-like talent.

Which would suggest that the Wizards need a fresh look, a new jolt. At least that seems to be the formula in professional sports. Can the coach, bring in a new guy and see if that changes anything. But the Wizards are sticking with Flip Saunders. At least for now. Via the Washington Post:

Despite the Wizards being off to a franchise-worst 0-8 start, the organization does not have any intention of firing Coach Flip Saunders at this time, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

In more than two seasons with the team, Saunders is just 49-123 and the Wizards have set franchise records for consecutive road losses (25) and consecutive losses overall (16). After the Wizards suffered a humiliating 21-point home loss to Minnesota on Sunday, Saunders was asked if he felt that he was running out of chances to get through to his players.

“No I don’t fear that,” Saunders said. “I think I know the process that we’re going through, and I know it’s a painful process.”

Saunders is in the third year of a four-year, $18 million contract that he signed in April 2009.

Firing a coach doesn't always fix things, especially when you have a roster as dysfunctional as the Wizards. It's more of a question if Saunders is still getting through to his guys, if they still are listening to him and if the young players are developing correctly under him. If not, then you need a change. But if all of that is happening and the team is just losing, then maybe you have to consider the roster just stinks.
Posted on: January 2, 2012 11:03 pm

Report Card: Hawks fly over the Heat

Posted by Royce Young

A: Atlanta Hawks

It's easy to overlook the boring old Hawks when talking about the class of the East. But remember: That team went to the Easter semifinals and gave the Bulls a decent run. Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford -- there's talent there. And while we all may want to forget about them and talk about the Heat, Knicks and Celtics, the Hawks aren't some team to take lightly in the East. They sent a pretty clear message by outscoring Miami 33-21 in the fourth while executing halfcourt possessions and holding the Heat's big three in check.

A: Minnesota Timberwolves

Dating back to last season, the Wolves had lost 18 straight games, including their 0-3 start. But with a win over the Spurs, the Wolves have just taken two in a row. Luke Ridnour showed Ricky Rubio that the starting job isn't his yet (nine assists), Kevin Love was terrific and the Wolves handled the Spurs with pretty much no problem. Minnesota's 2-3 on the season with two really tough losses to Oklahoma City and Miami. Not far off from being 4-1.

B: Dwyane Wade's block

Sometimes Dwyane Wade does stupidly incredible things. His block on Vladamir Radmonovic was one of these such things. Why only a B? Well, it came in a losing effort and let's keep in mind, Wade denied Vladamir Radmonovic at the rim.

B: 2003

Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter turned back the clock Monday. McGrady put together a big night for the Hawks with 16 points in a win over the Heat and Carter added 14 against the Thunder for the Mavericks off the bench. The cousins were doing work on the same night for the first time in... well, a while.

C: Boston Celtics

Boston got back to .500 with a home win over the Wizards, but it wasn't easy. It took a big fourth quarter to put away Washington and the Celtics actually trailed with six minutes left. It's a win, which is what's important, but it wasn't exactly an impressive performance against an overmatched team.

D: Miami Heat

The Hawks aren't terrible. So if you want to openly mock the Heat for losing their first game, keep in mind the Hawks are a playoff team with some good players. However, Miami's offense went completely stale, the Heat never tried to run and with everything shut down in the fourth, neither LeBron nor Wade tried to go to work on the block. Which I thought was the plan, right? Miami wasn't going to go 66-0, but this was a decent wake up call.

F: Flip Saunders

The embattled Wizards coach didn't get to watch his team for long against the Celtics as he picked up two technicals and was ejected in the first quarter.
Posted on: March 30, 2011 1:09 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2011 1:17 pm

Wizards F Trevor Booker (foot) out for season

Washington Wizards rookie forward Trevor Booker will "likely" miss the rest of the season with a cracked foot. Posted by Ben Golliver. trevor-booker

This time of year, teams like the Washington Wizards have nothing to play for except the future. Unfortunately, one somewhat promising member of that future is about to get shut down. 

The Washington Post reports that Washington Wizards coach Flip Saunders said that rookie forward Trevor Booker "is likely done for the season after MRI revealed a crack below his right foot."
Saunders said Booker will seek another opinion on the foot that he injured in the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ 114-94 loss on Friday in Denver. An initial X-ray in Denver didn’t show any fractures, but Booker missed the past two games and complained of continued soreness in his foot. The Wizards (18-55) have nine games remaining.
“He might have a little crack on the bottom of his foot,” Saunders said. “He might have a CAT scan today, so we’ll know more probably tonight. But it looks like he might be done for the year.”
On a roster stocked with players that probably shouldn't be in the NBA -- Mustafa Shakur, Hamady Ndiaye, etc. -- Booker made a good name for himself this season. While Wizards fans continually called for the rookie out of Clemson to get more playing time, he finished the season averaging 5.3 points and 3.9 rebounders in 16.4 minutes per game, shooting 54.9% from the field. BulletsForever.com points out that his advanced stats look even better.

As Washington's season got more hopeless and injuries stacked up, Booker moved into a starting role in March, posting a career-high 26 points in a loss to the Toronto Raptors on March 18. 

The Wizards are in search of building blocks to surround franchise point guard John Wall with. While the team's roster could continue to see a lot of roster shuffling this summer, Booker seems like a surefire keeper. 
Posted on: December 20, 2010 6:45 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:42 pm

Wizards guard John Wall has knee bone bruise

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall is battling knee pain caused by a bone bruise. Posted by Ben Golliverjohn-wall-knees

Last week, we took note of comments made by Washington Wizards coach Flip Saunders, who expressed some concern over the state of Wizards point guard John Wall's knees. Saunders said that he didn't believe Wall would ever be "pain free" and that it was leading the Wizards to take a careful approach in managing his return to the court. On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that Wall's knees may be worse than originally thought. Previously, everyone was under the assumption that Wall was dealing with tendinitis, but Wall told the paper he received a more serious diagnosis. 
"I had a feeling it wasn't just tendinitis," said Wall, who was distraught when he heard the diagnosis and believes the injury is the result of compensating on earlier foot and knee injuries on the left side of his body. "I was like, 'If it's tendinitis, I would've played through it.' Tendinitis is very painful, but I played through it summer league, I play through it now. I couldn't do no squats or I couldn't really run or I couldn't cut, so I knew it had to be something more than that."
Wall said he failed in his attempts to run on Saturday. He added that he is looking into soon working with a personal trainer to help him overcome his ailments. The pain in his knee might not allow him to play this week. "Not right now. Not the way it's feeling," Wall said. "It's not really a timetable. "It might be day by day and it might end up being a week or two. I really don't know right now.
"It's pretty tough," Wall said. "I've probably missed five, six games out of my whole life playing basketball. This is the most I've missed. So it's frustrating, trying to rehab, and seeing my team out there and can't be out there and can't make plays. I think my team is doing a great job of fighting and doing as much as they can. I just can't wait to get back out there with them."
Wall, the 2010 NBA Draft's No. 1 overall pick, has missed 10 of his team's 25 games so far this season and has had his Rookie of the Year campaign derailed, thanks to Los Angeles Clippers rookie Blake Griffin's sensational, all star caliber start. Wall has also shown spectacular flashes, but the time away from the court has turned him, temporarily, into an afterthought rather than a main attraction. Young guys will always want to play through this type of pain, especially competitors looking to make a name for themselves like Wall.  On paper, the Wizards look like a worst-case scenario for a player in this position. They have an owner who has made it clear he wants to greatly increase ticket sales, they have an embattled GM who has placed Wall as the franchise centerpiece from day one after spinning in circles for years, they have a desperate coach who knows he should probably be fired, and they have a roster without enough depth to reasonably compensate for Wall's absence. If ever there was a situation in which a player would be rushed back too quickly, this would seem to be it. Yet, it hasn't happened. The Wizards have done the right thing: take their lumps, exercise maximum caution, and let Wall's health, and not any outside factors or motivations, dictate his recovery timeline. The list of cautionary tales in the NBA is a mile long; a player who relies as heavily as Wall does on his athleticism won't be nearly as effective in years to come if he doesn't take care of his body, and especially his knees, at a young age. The highlights will have to wait in Washington, but for now that's a good thing.
Posted on: December 15, 2010 5:02 pm

Flip Saunders has chilling words about John Wall

No.1 overall pick suffering from tendinitis which his coach thinks may effect him indefinitely. Posted by Matt Moore

To file under "things that are utterly terrifying to a fanbase:"

“I don’t think, with his situation, having tendinitis, that he’s ever going to be pain free from that,” said Saunders. “So I think what we’re going to do is we’re going to monitor it. That’s the approach we’re taking, but the reason we say day-to-day is because these things, when you go through them, all of a sudden you might wake up the next day and they might be good to go. That’s why we’re handling it that way.”
via Wall out, Blatche unlikely vs. Lakers | Washington Examiner.

That's Flip Saunders talking about John Wall, and his bout of tendinitis he's struggling with. And that's not awesome. At all. Wizards fans are advocating shutting Wall down for as long as it takes to get him healthy. It's of considerable concern that the No.1 overall pick has a coach who thinks he won't ever be healthy, because of tendinitis. That's not a doctor's opinion, but Flip's been around the block once or twice. 

It's odd because Wall didn't show an injury history in college, these ailments have been relatively new, and are either a product of the increased physical nature of the NBA, or the extra burden placed on Wall due to the Wizards needing him to be brilliant immediately. Then again, it might just be a bad run of luck. 

Either way, let's hope Saunders is wrong on this one. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com