Booth Bounces

The Calvin Booth Era has come to an end. The lanky lefty has left the Verizon Center, meaning that we may never get to see another image this brilliant again. The 6-foot-11 Booth has agreed to terms with the Philadelphia 76ers, after spending the past two years playing for Washington while cashing big checks from the Milwaukee Bucks.

Booth was one of those infamous luxury tax amnesty cuts from the summer of the 2005, and he came back to Washington (the team that drafted him in 1999) after the Bucks decided to cut him and save $13 million in salary.

His time here was spent mostly on the bench, but he did get three starts, two of which permanently soured the relationship between Eddie Jordan and Brendan Haywood. Remember, Booth was just the center that Jordan decided to call on when he benched Haywood and Antawn Jamison for two games in January 2006.

Jordan apparently liked seeing Booth on the floor with Michael Ruffin at practice one day and you know the rest. Eddie called Antawn to tell him about the change, but forgot to reach out to Brendan Todd. "I guess I wasn't important enough on this team to have him call me," Haywood said back then.

I know Eddie and Brendan have had several issues since - and I realize it's a bit of a stretch to link Booth with that (especially since Eddie would've probably put Gheorghe Muresan in that position if he could) but I thought it was an interesting footnote.

Since I wasn't around the team much, I don't have many Calvin Booth stories to share. I just know that he was playing online poker one day, which sparked Gilbert Arenas's classic "I'm Not Quirky" rant.

I also know that his best game as a Wizard came at the expense of the Bucks. On April Fool's Day - the day the Wizards season basically came to an end because Caron Butler broke his hand - Booth had 11 points and 11 rebounds. (Ironically, Booth got big minutes because Jordan decided to bench Haywood for the rest of the season starting that night).

Antonio Daniels had a great line about Booth's game against the Bucks. "Calvin Booth can only do what Calvin Booth does. That's what Calvin Booth did," he said

I asked Calvin if he felt guilty about going off on a team that was paying him $6.6 million last year. "I'm past that. I was only here two months, literally," said Booth, who joined Milwuakee in a deadline deal that sent Keith Van Horn (remember him?) to Dallas.

Then, I asked him out of curiosity if his checks had the Bucks logo on them. "I get direct deposit," he said.

Now the former Penn State star will be directly depositing checks from the 76ers.

By Michael Lee |  September 10, 2007; 7:46 PM ET
Previous: Songaila Is Ballin' | Next: Oh No, Not G.O.

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



yeah whateva....

Posted by: James Brown | September 10, 2007 9:51 PM

Michael - thanks for keeping us up to date while Ivan is on vacation - btw does he have some kind of European six weeks vacation thing going on?

So I am not a Booth or Ruffin hater, but both have their place, and it is limited - to that end, this is a stunning statement/indictment of Eddie (and I quote Michael here):

"Jordan apparently liked seeing Booth on the floor with Michael Ruffin at practice one day"

Sad.

cj

Posted by: charles jones | September 10, 2007 10:20 PM

Ivan is in town....I see him on Washington Post Live all the time. In fact, he was on the show today.

Posted by: Lisa | September 10, 2007 10:38 PM

What is so stunning about this comment... Booth does play a better center than Brenda. If nothing else he gives you rebounds, Brenda regularly disappers. Have we all been watching the same games. Brendan is going to give you what he gave you in the previous seasons, why do some folks believe there is more there!

Posted by: Skeef | September 10, 2007 10:54 PM

Heck, I wish someone would pay ME $13 mill. to go away.

Posted by: Mitch | September 10, 2007 11:37 PM

This was really well written, Michael.

Posted by: Ian | September 11, 2007 12:20 AM

Skeef, you are correct about Booth and Brenda. Booth, who wasn't very good, was still better than Brenda. Now we're down to Etan, Blatche, and Pecherov at center if we get rid of Brenda.

Guess that means Brenda is staying. I'm going to be sick.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2007 12:22 AM

Maybe we could trade Brenda for a draft pick and bring back Lang. I'd rather have Lang than Brenda at Center.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2007 12:24 AM

Didn't Booth go to the University of Maryland? I would think a post writer would know that.

Posted by: William Anderson | September 11, 2007 1:19 AM

Willie Anderson, Calvin didn't play at MD! He played at Penn State fool! You're thingking of Keith Booth I assume, who was not a center.

I liked Booth, and actually was mad when we originally traded him as a throw-in with the Juwan Howard trade. Back then I thought him and Jahidi made a good 1-2 punch.

But glad he is gone, because I want to see Blatche get more PT this year. We got 3 centers (Haywood, Etan, Blatche) and 3 PFs (Jamison, Songaila, Pecherov). Just no room for Booth. We need to keep a 3rd pg instead, as the end of last season showed. Even if Arenas is healthy, Daniels is getting up there in age and it's a good idea to have a 3rd guy just in case 1 of those two get hurt.

Posted by: Darnell | September 11, 2007 1:35 AM

Darnell,

Andray Blatche is not, never has been, and most likely never will be a Center in the NBA.

Posted by: kalorama | September 11, 2007 2:24 AM

As for a third PG ... the Wiz could use one, but like almost every other team in the NBA it doesn't really matter who it is, because if your team is in a position where the third string PG is playing in any situation other than a double-digit 4th quarter blowout, they're most likely screwed. There's almost no chance of the Wiz getting any PG who's good enough to actually produce in that situation to take third string money or a third string role. That's why they had Donnell Taylor last season.

Posted by: kalorama | September 11, 2007 2:32 AM

what happened to that pg NY release a few weeks back?

Posted by: oddjob | September 11, 2007 6:29 AM

Best wishes to Calvin in Philly. Now who is going to play center for the Wizards?

Is CWebb available for a return enganement?

Posted by: khrabb | September 11, 2007 7:00 AM

Booth went to PSU. I think he might have ended his career as the leading shot blocker of all time, or close, when he graduated. I don't think Les BouleS will miss him much, otherwise, they would have tried to keep him.

Following on with what Michael reported above, it clearly shows that EJ is also a prima donna and was wrong in not contacting BTH about the news. EJ clearly plays favorites.

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 11, 2007 8:17 AM

"I don't think Les BouleS will miss him much, otherwise, they would have tried to keep him."

Wow, wish I could share this optimism. You are aware that NBA teams frequently make bad decisions, right? So "they let him go" is not really compelling evidence for the argument that "they should have let him go?"

The departure of Booth costs Grunfeld some flexibility in resolving the Haywood-Thomas situation. Now, if he moves one, he's going to need to either get a servicable 5 in return (and if a team has one, why would they want Haywood or Thomas?) or trust Blatche, Pecherov and Ruffin with more than just spot minutes at the center spot.

All of this points to the disappointing conclusion that he isn't going to move either of them.

Posted by: Jake H. | September 11, 2007 10:03 AM

I'd imagine Booth was going to be presented with the situation of having to make the team here in camp so he found a better situation in Philly.
I'd kind of think that Chase may have a shot at making this team as a small point gaurd that can play some D against some of the little guys that give Arenas and Daniels fits.
I really think that Pecherov will get more time at the five than Blatche, though Blatche may get some time at the five chasing down guys like Diaw when they're playing center and spotting up for three's.
Ernie has given Eddie some flexibility and versitility to work with, now it will be interesting to see if or how he weaves it together for a rotation. Boy, this team has gotten alot younger in one offseason.
If Maryland Alum Keith had Calvin's height he'd have been a monster pro, the Bulls tried to convert him to a gaurd because he was really only about 6'4" to 6'5". But the guy was a workhorse on the boards and played most of his College ball inside against alot bigger guys that went on to have good pro careers.
Keith just never quite could catch on in the right situation in the NBA, he was one of Gary's assistants at Maryland last year and as far as I know he'll be back again this year. He's a good teacher for big guys, he really knew how to play guys that he gave away 6" and 50lbs to. Seldom got out rebounded and had some nice moves around the hoop.
His play always reminded me a little of Adrian Dantley, I wonder if Dantley came up today if some smart Coach would look at him and say," too slow to play gaurd, to short to play inside". Guys like that don't have a position, they're just ballers. Feed them the ball and get out of the way, they'll find a way to force in the hoop, over you, under you, around you, or sometimes through you.

Posted by: GM | September 11, 2007 10:23 AM

If I am not mistaken, Ruffin is no longer part of the Wizards.

Posted by: George Templeton | September 11, 2007 10:47 AM

I really, really hope you're not mistaken.

Posted by: kalorama | September 11, 2007 11:02 AM

Didn't Ruffin sign with Boston? And I'd agree Jake H. letting Booth sign somewhere else about seals it for sure Etan and Haywood are both coming back to start the year.
I think that was pretty certain once Grunfeld wasn't able to include one of them in a Navarro deal for an expiring contract in return. Haywood's demeaner once the season starts will be interesting to watch if some of his minutes get taken by a healthy Songalia and Pecherov.
The Poet and the pouter might find themselves paired on the pine more and more often this year.

Posted by: GM | September 11, 2007 11:21 AM

"The Poet and the pouter might find themselves paired on the pine more and more often this year."

A perfect paragraph of prose, but I would prefer the poet in the paint.

Posted by: Gonzo, MD | September 11, 2007 11:27 AM

Not only is AB not a center (as Kalorama pointed out), but Darius and Pech aren't centers either. So the only way they get time at the "5" is if EJ goes to smallball. And smallball, as everyone knows, is about as popular with Wiz fans as the bubonic plague.

Posted by: Mitch | September 11, 2007 12:44 PM

Mitch,

We know small ball is inevitable with the Wiz (and I personally have no problem with it it if it works). But even in a small ball set up, Blatche can't credibly play center. He's not nearly strong enough to hold position at either end against 250+ pounders. Songaila is short, but he's stout. Reserving judgment on Pecherov for now.

Posted by: kalorama | September 11, 2007 1:06 PM

Yo Mike. Thanks for the well written update on the Wiz. Do you know if Haywood and EJ have had a sitdown yet, because it looks like they are going to have to work together again this year?

It is clear EG has taken away all of EJ's "toys" except for Etan. I hope they can work this thing out for the good of the team.

Also, I noticed Dallas cut "Pops". Man would I like to see him here in camp. He reminds me of a poor man's Gerald Wallace.

Chase is not the answer at the 3 guard. Got a chance see him and DT play at Barry Farms last week when Gil, Caron, Stevenson, Chase and DT came down for a run. DT clearly outplayed Chase.

Lastly, I guess I have to take back all of the stuff I saying about Stevenson. In that game at Barry Farms, Stevenson showed me a totally different side to his game that he does not show during NBA games. I know this was playground ball, but he was the best on the court after Gilbert.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | September 11, 2007 1:25 PM

blatche and pech are closer to the princeton center than etan and haywood. Once they get a little stronger they can interchange position. We also have Vdub stashed away in europe.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2007 1:26 PM

Thank God the calvin booth era is over!
Ruffin will not be back as well. I was told that the only two players that were returning next year from the free agents were AB and DS. Although Taylor and Mason were resigned they do not have guareented contracts. So stay tuned.

Posted by: The Godfather | September 11, 2007 1:26 PM

You mean Mike Hall? Mason hasn't resigned.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 11, 2007 2:01 PM

Michael:
Can you tell us why Booth was let go? I assume it was because signing him would have luxury tax implications. Is that the case?

Posted by: Sean | September 11, 2007 2:09 PM

"even in a small ball set up, Blatche can't credibly play center"

Kalorama, did you watch the Wizards last season? Most of 'Dray's PT last year came at the 5, and when he did play that was where he was clearly most effective. Why can't he play there? He's 7 foot, a good shot blocker, and still getting stronger. He's certainly more suited to play center than Pecherov. If you haven't noticed, there aren't alot of Shaqs around the league. There's alot of guys like Diaw, Tyson Chandler, Camby, Dalembert, etc. We are an uptempo team, and need a center who can run the floor, pass, and play the high post, and athletic enough to defend.

Posted by: Darnell | September 11, 2007 2:32 PM

Calvin Booth is a roster filler. Brendan Haywood is better than him even with his uninspired effort. I don't even need to say anything about Ruffin. He gave effort but was the worst player in the league. Our overall talent level has risen. We'll be fine.

Posted by: mark | September 11, 2007 2:36 PM

"Most of 'Dray's PT last year came at the 5"

I don't recall that as being the case. He did play some spot minutes there (usually when the other team was also playing small ball), but "most"? Don't think so.

"There's alot of guys like Diaw, Tyson Chandler, Camby, Dalembert, etc. "

Most of whom outweigh Blatche by significant margins. (And I don't care what his NBA .com profile says, Blatche isn't anywhere near 248 lbs).

"We are an uptempo team, and need a center who can run the floor, pass, and play the high post, and athletic enough to defend.

We need a center who can match up physically with other 5s on the boards and who's strong enough to hold position when defending the post, either from a scoring or rebounding perspective. Blatche's slight frame puts him at a distinct disadvantage on that score when matched up against true Cs.

Posted by: kalorama | September 11, 2007 2:51 PM

Playing AB at the 5 would be a total waste. If you think about it, making the team play a princeton offense is a total waste too.

The Gizzards should take into consideration the strength of the team and play an uptempo style offense. Make use of Mr. Quirky's strengths. This team has a lot of greyhounds, so why not run?

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 11, 2007 3:50 PM

Playing the Princton doesn't in anyway prevent a team from playing up tempo offense. It never slowed down the Kings with Divac,Webber, Bibby, and Company. And it sure doesn't slow the tempo of Jason Kidd's Nets, and as far as I've noticed we've been one of the top scoring teams in the league the past three years so the Princeton hasn't slowed our pace either.
Teams like the old Kings that have 5 good passers on the floor don't have to pull the ball out and set the offense. That's one of the beauties of it if it's ran well, the 5 players all become interchangable.
A guy like Webber or Divac can start the play as well a the point guard, unlike a team like the Suns, everything doesn't have to go through the point. Sometimes the point can look for the backdoor cut or come off a screen and catch the pass instead of creating on his own.
If anyone noticed the few times that Songalia was at the 5 with the big three on the floor, the ball moved on offense much smoother than it ever does with Etan or Haywood. I'd look for the center minutes to be up for grabs in camp this year.
Kalorama might be surprised by Blatche, he's apparently been in the weight room alot this offseason and he looks to have added some muscle, I've also heard he looks much quicker off his first step.
I'd assume that he may get more minutes at 5 than last year, alot will depend on Pecherov's progress.
I do think Grunfeld envisions Blatch and Pecherov on the floor together in the future, how quick Pecherov comes on as a rookie and if Blatche takes the step up that many high schoolers do in their third season will determine how soon it happens.

Posted by: GM | September 11, 2007 4:56 PM

The Wiz were #4 in team offense last year, and for a long stretch were at #2 behind Phoenix. And that was with one of the most pathetic second units in the league. So I don't agree with DCMan that playing the Princeton is a waste. If anything that offense should be more effective with one more year of stability in the starting positions and a healthy Songaila to help the second unit run a passing offense instead of firing bricks from the perimeter.

And the Wiz were #4 in fast break points, not far off wide open teams like Phoenix and Golden State. So it's not like EJ's got the greyhounds on a leash.

Posted by: Prazak | September 11, 2007 5:11 PM

At least at the beginning of the season, I don't see either Pech or AB (or the rookies) getting much PT. Think of the probable rotation: The Big 3, DS and BH (or Poet) starting; AD, Poet (BH) and Darius main guys off the bench; and the other guys fighting for a couple minutes here and there.

Posted by: Mitch | September 11, 2007 5:18 PM

Mitch, if EJ wants to re-up he'll need to be giving more time to Ernie's boy, 50/50. And I'll bet DMac ends up earning himself a place in that rotation spelling Caron. Spot minutes for Nick Young and Pech.

I see Ruff is still listed on the roster .... Then again, so is Booth, so maybe it's just a slow webmaster.

Posted by: Prazak | September 11, 2007 5:39 PM

I have said before I did not mind having Booth on the roster. He was a veteran presence and apparently a good guy to have around.

However, now that we have Pech on the roster and a hopefully improving Blatche, it is probably better to let Booth go, and give his few minutes along with other minutes to Pech and Blatche.

Posted by: Tim | September 11, 2007 9:28 PM

I seriously hope no one is trying to compare that Kings team with Les BouleS. That Kings team probably consisted of some of the best passers, and most unselfish players of all time for their positions, namely Divac and CWebb. Divac learned from the best, Magic, and CWebb was a gifted passer and setup man. Bibby is a much more purer point guard than anyone Les BouleS have, namely the quirky diva. That was such an unselfish Kings team which is why the Princeton offense worked for them.

On Les BouleS, the players are more individual players, not team players. Can anyone seriously equate Etan or BTH to Divac, or Antawn Jamison to CWebb in passing skill? I seriously hope not. Also, JKidd is a pure and natural passer. He makes that offense run. You have to look at the resources you are working with. If the players aren't natural passers and don't share the ball well, then most likely the Princeton will be a burden to them. They would rather run a "helter skelter" offense.

Prazak, I seriously hope you are not saying the reason that Les BouleS were #4 in offense last year because of the Princeton offense. Just because EJ preached it, didn't mean they ran it even 1/2 the time. If you saw any, any, any of the games, you would have seen how many times, players resorted to their And1, one on one moves/skills that they honed during the summer leagues. If you saw the ball passed to AJ, it was like passing to a black hole. Nobody would get it back. It was always either a long J, or an unorthodox layup. How many times did Gilby bring the ball up and without passing, just jacked it up? Is that part of the princeton offense?

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 11, 2007 9:40 PM

Booth was a nice safety net for Eddie. He even surpassed what was expected of him a couple of times last season (remember that 3-point shot he made, OMG). But now this coming season is the year to take off all the training wheels and remove the safety nets and see what the Wizzards have got. Big time teams don't carry the Booths, Ruffins or Jarvis's on their bench. They have established veterans or budding stars. So we shall see...

Posted by: oddjob | September 11, 2007 10:19 PM

I watched about 90% of the games last season, and I would say that when the Wiz weren't running in fast break they ran Princeton sets well more than half the time. Those sets don't always end with a back cut, a bounce pass, and a layup -- like any motion offense they get the defense moving and out of position and exploit the resulting seams. If Gilbert closes the deal with a drive down the lane, or if AJ closes it with a floater or a wide-open 3, what's the problem? If there's an and1, so much the better.

I agree that Gil jogging it up and then jacking it before getting into a set isn't part of the program. When it's going in, nobody cares, but when it's not it's frustrating to watch.

Posted by: Prazak | September 11, 2007 10:23 PM

"I would say that when the Wiz weren't running in fast break they ran Princeton sets well more than half the time. Those sets don't always end with a back cut, a bounce pass, and a layup -- like any motion offense they get the defense moving and out of position and exploit the resulting seams. If Gilbert closes the deal with a drive down the lane, or if AJ closes it with a floater or a wide-open 3, what's the problem? If there's an and1, so much the better."

The problem is that you attributed Les BouleS success in being the 2nd best offense at one time, and eventually the 4th best offense to a team that runs the Princeton Offense. Les BouleS got most of their scoring from running a two man game, individual one on one shots, or bailout J's from DS on the wing. That's not the Princeton Offense that you give credit to for the 4th best offensive team.

Gilbert or AJ having to "close the deal" at the end pretty much means the play did not work for whatever reason, so they had to resort to an individual move. It's almost akin to going through the Princeton Offense motions for 18 seconds to kill the clock and then make a one on one move or a contested J for the score.

Also, my doubts about AB at center is not about his size, it's about his game mentality. He doesn't appear to be a back to the basket kind of guy. He's a facing the basket, make an athletic move, kind of guy.

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 11, 2007 10:38 PM

Hey folks,

The issue we face is not who will play center in the Princeton, the issue is who will be the defensive center to plug up the middle. We score enough points. If we would play 10% better defense down the middle we could make a major leap. Arenas playing a little better on the ball D at the point and whoever plays at the 5 making defense their priority are the primary issues. Haywood still has the best body for the job. But where is his head?

Posted by: BmoreRev | September 11, 2007 11:17 PM

"Haywood still has the best body for the job. But where is his head?"

Winner of the best unintentional straight line of the day award.

Posted by: kalorama | September 12, 2007 2:26 AM

Kalorama, I really don't want to debate with you about this because it's not really important. But Blatche got most of his playing time last season at Center. Think about it, how often was he in the game with Haywood or Etan? Rarely. Because anytime THAT happened, I'd be on the floor in disbelief that Eddie was actually going with a BIG lineup! He was at center, and that is where he's most effective, down low blocking shots, dunking the ball, using his athleticism and length, and being active. When he plays forward, he tends to hang around the perimeter too much, takes long shots, and gets to fancy with his dribble and turns it over. He has the length and size to play center, and that is where his skills are unique and can create serious matchup problems for the other teams. IMO.

Posted by: Darnell | September 12, 2007 3:20 AM

I thought the topic was about Calvin Booth not Gil

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 7:47 AM

I hated to see Calvin go, I think he's one of the guys who plays team basketball and is an asset in the locker room as well. As someone else has pointed out, he works well both inside and outside the paint and is not a bad passer. I don't think the Wizards could pay what he wanted, and he would only have stayed as a last resort. One thing for sure, he's going to figure strongly in the next Philadelphia-Washington game.

Posted by: rgz | September 12, 2007 9:34 AM

Michael, is there any news about Vladimir Veremeenko? Belarus is not playing in EuroBasket2007, what's he doing in the interim? According to the writeups I've read on this guy, he has good lateral movement for a PF, has great vertical leaping ability and is not a bad defender. I think bringing him in this year would be a mistake as he very likely would play either SF or PF, adding another body to the already crowded bench. But who knows, there could be some pre-season or even mid-season moves that Ernie Grunfeld might make.

Posted by: rgz | September 12, 2007 9:59 AM

I liked Booth too and when he was put in the games I thought he played well. Especially towards the end of last season. For some reason, I thought he had already signed with the Wizards. Anyway........I wish him well with Philadelphia. So, can anyone tell me if our roster is set now.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 10:14 AM

Pecherov could be a good 5, but he definately doesn't have the upper body strength required yet. Never the less, I still wonder if he wouldn't do a better job than Etan, that's assuming Jordan continues to refuse to play Haywood.

Posted by: George Templeton | September 12, 2007 10:38 AM

"I thought the topic was about Calvin Booth not Gil

Posted by: | September 12, 2007 07:47 AM "


BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 12, 2007 11:18 AM

Darnell,

The only situations in which Blatche has even a limited chance of being effective at C is when the other team also goes to small ball and puts a smaller player in the middle. That does happen, but it's mostly against western conference teams, against whom the Wiz play the minority of their games. In the East, he cannot credibly play significant minutes at C unless the other team goes small. And why would they do that since the interior is the Wiz's weakness?

As for Blatche not being on the floor with Haywood and Thomas ... there were, in fact, times he was on the floor with one of them. Do I have an exact count? No. Do you? In any case that, in and of itself, proves nothing. Down the stretch of the season, when Jordan went small, Blatche was frequently on the floor with Songaila or Ruffin who almost always checked the opposing team's C in those situations.

Posted by: kalorama | September 12, 2007 11:20 AM

Interesting articale about Songalia in this morning's Post and his play on the Lithuanian team in the Euro Championships.
Seems that they like Songalia in the post against the bigger guys, some of which play center in the NBA. I wouldn't be surprised that if Songalia is at full strength from day one of camp to see him battling for playing time at the 5 here.
As much as Jordan likes his small ball lineups in the 4th, Songalia could carve out a niche playing at crunch time. Since Jordan has never trusted Etan or Haywood with the game on the line and Songalia will present options on offense at the five that Ruffin never did.
Songalia is also an excellent mentor to young Pecherov. Pecherov should be able to watch Songalia operate and really see how his game fits into the Princeton and then go out on the court and try it himself. Just hope that there's no centuries old Lithuannian vs. Ukranian blood fueds that have to be settled that Ernie didn't know about.
And I'd have to agree with Darnell, when you look at the lineups that Blatche played in, when he was on the court with Jamison and Butler you pretty much had to call him the center. But the problem with some of Jordan's lineups is, who's the center when he put Hayes, Jamison, and Butler out there together. Sometimes you'd see Butler matched up with the opposition's center in those crazy sets.

Posted by: GM | September 12, 2007 11:33 AM

DCMan, the Princeton offense should indeed result in one player putting the ball in the hoop -- is there any other way? --and that can be an open jumper from the wing or a quick drive down the lane. It's an offense that blocks and moves the defense until any one of the five players decides to find an open cutter or exploit an open seam.

I attribute the Wiz offensive output last season to their ability to run in transition and, yes, their motion offense sets. The offense was more than a two-man game: considering it boasted the highest scoring trio in the league it was at least a three-man game.

The offense would run a lot smoother with a big man who could catch the ball and pass or score in the post. But I don't agree that means it's a "total waste" for EJ to stick with it. The Wiz offense have been pretty effective with Eddie's sets.

I think it's obvious to just about everyone that rather than tearing up the offensive playbook and instituting all new sets the Wiz would do better to concentrate on defense. Fix what's broken, don't fix what's working.

Posted by: Prazak | September 12, 2007 12:09 PM

Prazak, it says a lot when the point guard on your team, the guy who's handling the ball, says he prefers helter skelter ball and wants nothing to do with the Princeton offense. If this team wants to run a serious offense scheme/sets, then they need to bring in someone else like Sarunas J. (based on today's article) and let him run the point and make Gilby the 2. Otherwise, they'd be wasting DSong's ability too.

Sarunas was so out of his element these past 2 years b/c his skills as a passer and setup man were never used or called upon. He would be a guy who would shine with the suns or the spurs.

I want to see more of this and less of bombs right after crossing the backcourt, or dipsy doo layup attempts from 10 feet out, or one on one drives from the 3 point line culminated with a dump off to DS for a 3 point bail out attempt with 1 second on the clock.

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 12, 2007 12:17 PM

About Songaila in today's article: " he and Sarunas play together very well."


Sarunas wants out of GS and they are reportedly trying to move him. We are reportedly trying to move Etan. There salaries are a match and a straight of trade of Etan for Sarunas is acceptable under league guidelines.

I wonder if we've looked into that trade? Seems having Songaila and Sarunas come off our bench together could be really good for us.

Posted by: Darnell | September 12, 2007 12:36 PM

I'd say make Darnell the co-GM for Les BouleS. The bigger question for Darnell to handle is how to convince Gilby to give up handling the ball. I can't see SJ making much of an impact coming off the bench.

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 12, 2007 12:40 PM

So do I, DCMan. And I agree with you completely about Sarunas. He'd make a very good back-up point.

I've always thought it was unfair when people on this board would trash Sarunas and hold it up as an example of how inferior international ball is to the NBA. Put that guy in a different offense than GS's run-gun and you'll see a different player.

Posted by: Prazak | September 12, 2007 12:50 PM

"Put that guy in a different offense than GS's run-gun and you'll see a different player."

Like Rick Carlisle and the Pacers' crawl ball, walk it up half court offense? Where his scoring and assists numbers, on a per minute basis, were the same or worse than they were in G.S.?

There's a reason why Jasikevicius
has spent his NBA career riding the pine. He's simply not a very good NBA player, regardless of what he does in Europe. And at his age, he's not exactly brimming with upside.

Posted by: kalorama | September 12, 2007 1:25 PM

Just an interruption to make everyone happy.

RealGM is reporting that the Suns are holding workouts with Elton Brown, Vitaly Potapenko and.... Michael Ruffin.

Goodbye Mike!

Posted by: David | September 12, 2007 2:05 PM

No, like Eddie's Princeton offense matched up on the second team with his buddy Darius, with whom he is taking it to the Germans and the Serbs.

OK, maybe having a veteran point like AD at backup IS better than havng Sarunas. And AD can take it to the hoop in the crunch and can shoot the pressure free throws. But don't trash Sarunas: he's a year younger than AD and on a per minute basis his numbers are just as good, and in some respects slightly better, than AD's. Nobody's given the guy much of a chance.

Posted by: Prazak | September 12, 2007 2:07 PM

"No, like Eddie's Princeton offense matched up on the second team with his buddy Darius, with whom he is taking it to the Germans and the Serbs."

But the Wiz don't play in the Germans and Serbs league, they play in the NBA, where the level of competition is much stronger.

"But don't trash Sarunas: he's a year younger than AD and on a per minute basis his numbers are just as good, and in some respects slightly better, than AD's."

Which might mean something if Daniels value to the team were measured solely in numbers. It isn't. And even the numbers don't really tell the story. Daniels has the ability to create opportunities, both for himself and others, with his quickness and penetration in a way that Sarunas simply cannot, at least not against NBA caliber players.

". Nobody's given the guy much of a chance."

The Pacers gave him a chance. He played on a team where the incumbent starting PG was (A) always hurt and (B) always inconsistent, and they had no entrenched #2 PG. He still couldn't cement a position.

Posted by: kalorama | September 12, 2007 2:29 PM

Did anyone see the guns on Darius in todays article. Looks like he's been "hittin the weights everyday like popeye the sailor".

eiht quote

Posted by: akaman | September 12, 2007 2:50 PM

Veeremenko has one more year left on his deal and a hefty buyout. Grunfeld tried to negotiate to get him over here for summer league in Vegas and his Russian team wouldn't let it happen.
Might of been afraid once he saw the bright lights of Vegas he might never get on the plane to go back and spend another winter in Russia. Some had him ranked as a late first rounder in last year's draft when we got him in the second round even though everone knew a team would have to wait two years for him.
He's supposed to be a pretty rugged rebounder as well as the comments that rgz made about him, in the end he could be a pretty solid second rounder when he's available next year.

Posted by: GM | September 12, 2007 3:12 PM

Prazak, I posted recalling one of Gary Williams' stories about Sarunas several months ago. Thing is he was probably about five years older than his announced age when he attended Maryland.
That said, I'd agree with you that in the right situation he could contribute to a playoff team. They guy's faster, stronger, and quicker than say, Steve Kerr, and he is a deadly shooter as well as a smart passer. in the right situation he could contribute as a backup point.
But here Daniels would have to be gone for him to carve out playing time. We already pay Daniels alot as a backup point, can't see paying that kind of money to make "Yes" the third point guard. And then giving Arenas a max contract next summer? don't think Grunfeld would tie up that kind of money all in one position.
But I'm still not so prone to bash the guy, he's a skilled veteran player I just don't think he'd end up here unless he's near the end of his deal and we could gain cap releif from it.
I still wouldn't be shocked to see Grunfeld trying to move Etan, Haywood, or Daniels if he can complete a deal that would offer the Wiz some cap releif over the next two years. He may want to take a look at Blatche, Songalia and Pecherov in camp and hope somebody from another team goes down that might send them in the market for one of our guys.
Wouldn't just be amazing if Ruffin went to the Suns and developed a three point shot? Just joking...

Posted by: GM | September 12, 2007 3:51 PM

Maybe now that Putin has just dissolved the Russian government, we could get Veeremenko at a discount fire sale! Ernie, it can't hurt to place the call tomorrow..I think your Wizzards could use him this year.

Posted by: oddjob | September 12, 2007 8:45 PM

How did subpar players become EJ's toys. Last I checked the general manager gets the players and EJ goes to war with the soilders he has... When the player is good, credit Ernie. When M. Ruffin is on the roster, and makes his way to the court (because who the hell else were you going to play that would have done any better.) it is Eddies fault. You folks are unbelievable...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 10:07 PM

Guys, another year with Haywood would rip this team apart... More than his nonexistent play, he is a disruptive, childish force. This is one of the reason EJ probably felt like there was no need to respect him with a phone call. Brenda clearly does not respect his team or teammates.

D

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 10:13 PM

Out of the top 20 5-man rotations that Eddie Jordan used
last year, Blatche was only in three of them....


Arenas-Stevenson-Butler-Blatche-Haywood 106 minutes
Arenas-Stevenson-Hayes-Blatche-Haywood 50 minutes
Arenas-Stevenson-Jamison-Blatche-Haywood 70 minutes


So - that would indicate that Blatche very rarely
played at the 5 last year.

Posted by: Rook | September 12, 2007 10:34 PM

The good thing about a trade (Jasikevicius for Etan Thomas) is that Jasikevicius has only this year left on his contract. Thomas has 3 years left.

With Washington's logjam of big men - Haywood, Thomas, Blatche, Pecherov, Songaila (small ball), and potentially Veremeenko next year - it would be nice to move Thomas.

So, the Wiz would end up Jasikevicius this year and some nice cap space next year.

Golden State doesn't really have an experienced Center to back up Biedrins. But they have two pretty good Point Guards in Baron Davis and Monta Ellis - so they could probably afford to get rid of Jasikevicius.

Interesting trade idea.

Posted by: Rook | September 12, 2007 11:09 PM

Sarunas is a good player and a Terp, so I obviously have nothing against him. But to give up Poet for Sarunas would seriously weaken the defense, which is bad enough already. Real bad idea to sacrifice defense now even if you free up some cap space later.

Posted by: Mitch | September 12, 2007 11:17 PM

Kalorama, Sarunas has been, what?, on two NBA teams in two years, with two completely different coaches running two completely different offenses? You call that a chance in the NBA?

I think you underestimate the Euro teams. Have you been catching any of these games? Yes, if you put the best of the NBA against the best of the European national teams the cream of the NBA should win -- although they haven't most recently. But the talent is pretty diluted in the NBA, and not many teams play together very long. How many NBA teams would beat the Spanish right now? The Spurs, sure, and the Suns, Mavs, and probably the Pistons. But take a team like the Cavs, from the NBA finals. Would they beat Spain? Lithuania? Argentina? Germany? Even Russia or France? I'm not so sure they could given the team play and solid fundamentals that you see in intl hoops.

Whether they could or ot is debatable, which is to say the intl game is more competitive than you give it credit.

Posted by: Prazak | September 12, 2007 11:37 PM

The lost minutes will come from AB. Given his recent troubles, he seems like the odd man out to me. D-Mac will earn minutes and so will Pesh. Songaila will play, and the team wants to see Nick. Thus, AB is the key and training camp will be the stage in which it is shown or not.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 12:10 AM

I'd do that trade if we traded Brenda instead of Etan.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 12:14 AM

Kalorama, Sarunas has been, what?, on two NBA teams in two years, with two completely different coaches running two completely different offenses? You call that a chance in the NBA?

The fact that he played in two different types of offense and was ineffective in both of them works against him not for him. That's esp. true of G.S., where Nellie runs an uptempo, offensively charged, defensively challenged system that has more than a passing similarity to the Wiz.

He's at least 31 years old (older if you believe the stories about him fudging his age at MD). He's not going to ever be any better than he is right now. And right now he's not good enough to be anything other than a marginal NBA player. The things he does against Euro-league players he can't do against bigger, stronger, faster, and more athletic NBA players.

"Whether they could or ot is debatable, which is to say the intl game is more competitive than you give it credit."

When, exactly, did I say the international game wasn't "competitive"? (I didn't.) What I said was that the competition in the international game wasn't the same as the competition in the NBA.

And it's not.

Posted by: kalorama | September 13, 2007 1:17 AM

Well I think if we could deal Etan for Sarunas it would be a good move. It would be nice to have a true pg that we can bring in and run Gil more at the 2. Remember how nice it was to have Blake come it and work the offense. Our offense works best when we have alot of ball movement and cutting. Sarunas would be nice in that role, and would provide a nice alternative to AD, someone who can come in and actually shoot. No knock on AD, but he tends to have some serious cold spells during the course of the season. And it would just be nice to have another alternative, and someone who adds alittle something different to the mix. Sarunas is an experienced vet, with alot of championship experience internationally. He's a guy who can come in and handle a pressure situation, where someone like Chase or Taylor could have problems. And the fact that he seems to play so well with Songaila is certainly a plus. Songaila is a key player off our bench, and to team him with someone who is so familiar with him and has that kind of chemistry would be a nice addition. The problem with bench players is they don't get alot of chance to develop chemistry and these guys already got it, which should add cohesion and smoothness in running the offense. Plus another reason to make the deal is Sarunas only has this year remaining, so it clears a major salary space for the offseason. Otherwise Etan has that salary the next few years. It just makes ALOT of sense. We want to move Etan (reportedly), so we'd get an experienced backup point, who plays great with our backup PF, and provides major cap relief for the offseason when Gil and Antawn are both free agents.

Posted by: Darnell | September 13, 2007 2:56 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 7:18 AM

Bring back Stevie Black and Juan Dixon...

Posted by: David | September 13, 2007 7:29 AM

I think it is really hard for EG to want to trade BTH over Etan. For one, BTH has a much more cap friendly contract. Another reason is that BTH is a bona fide 7 footer with at least some defensive skills. If you are going to trade BTH, then we need something close to an NBA center in return (i.e. in size, weight, skills)

If EJ has to have a roster with both BTH and Etan on it, then he should try and make this work. BTH should get at least 20 minutes a night and a chance to feel comfortable on the court. If EJ can't make this work, then maybe this is another reason he should not be brought back as coach after next season.

Also, if Gilbert was perceptive and more of a leader he would try to set up Brendan more. You may remember BTH's offensive numbers peaked when Larry Hughes was here. He would give Brendan a few assisted buckets a night. BTH was the first to complain when Hughes left, because he knew his numbers would go down. He has been in a free fall with the team ever since (not that he had that far to fall, but nevertheless his head was usually in the game).

Unless there is a major trade in the offing, the BTH and Etan thing needs to work as well as possible for the Wiz to be as successful as they can be this year.

Posted by: Tim | September 13, 2007 8:27 AM

how about we trade etan thomas to golden state for sirunas jasicevicus.then we sign a player like danny fortson for the final spot

Posted by: DOMO | September 13, 2007 9:50 AM

DCmang,

I'm going to have to disagree a tad bit, I think Gilbert has done a better job with the offense last year, and as someone else mentioned that isn't broke right now. Frankly I agree with the concept that we probably only need about a 10-15% improvement on D in order to see this wizards bunch reach the next level. Just because he passes out of the lane doesn't mean it is a 'bailout' like that is a bad thing? I would rather he passes to an open shooter (who can make the shots) like AJ than get something swatted back in his face. (which he rarely does) That 'motion' slicing into the lane draws defenders and when it is a part of the offense it is a good thing.

I would like to see GA play at the 2 a bit more. T'would be nice if we had a good young PG to give minutes to, but I don't think SJ is the answer. I prefer AD off the bench because as someone mentioned his leadership is a big part of his value, and when he comes in with the 2nd squad I think he really buoys that group.

I liked booth, but I think he would have been buried on the bench by the end of the season. EG is apparently resigned to keeping BH and ET. (flinch)

Personally, I like the princeton offense, it puts up good numbers and it fun to watch. So much easier on the eyes than plodding half court sets. EJ definitely lets athletic guys run and I think that is a good thing too. A lot of people here say the wizards need to improve and I agree with that, luckily they have a lot of untapped potential.

Other sport thought, will Norv Turner win a superbowl before Dan Snider?

Posted by: greg | September 13, 2007 10:01 AM

Moving Thomas for cap releif would make good sense. "YES" is also a guy that wouldn't be a lockerroom distraction.
Anything that we'd get out of him at all would be an added bonus.
Having a spare point could open up another trade possibility. And I'd agree Daniels slow starts have hurt us the last two years, can't figure why him and Jordan seem to take a half year to get on the same page.

Posted by: GM | September 13, 2007 10:25 AM

Greg,

Gilby had a great 1st half of the season last year, but couldn't carry that into the second half of the season and also showed that he as the "superstar" couldn't carry the load when even one of the other two big three were out. Les BouleS were on a downward spiral well before he tweaked his knee.

Also, I seriously doubt if Gilby would be willing to give up the ball handling duties. He's a guy who needs the ball in his hands to be successful. He's not the guy who does the intangible things.

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 13, 2007 11:20 AM

Danny Fortson is a funny guy. It's like watching the villian Juggernaut or Rhino (Marvel Comics) play basketball. He's so awkward, but he's a guy who will put someone on their backside if they try to drive into the lane. He makes 6.6 mil though, but is a good rebounder, but won't block any shots.

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 13, 2007 12:01 PM

He was a good rebounder. In addition to being undersized and 30 years old, Fortson is one of the most injury-prone guys around. He's always hurt. The last couple of years it's looked like the injuries were catching up to him. He has no real skill other than battering people out of the way with his body under the boards. Now that it looks like his body is giving in to all the wear and tear, his value is very limited.

Posted by: kalorama | September 13, 2007 12:24 PM

I have said this before, but I would never expect Gilbert to be able to carry the team all by himself. A worthy team has to have several talented player to be a serious contender in the playoffs.

Even MJ did not really take the Bulls that far until he had Scottie and several other talented people around him.

One big question, though, for the Wizards this year might be if one of the big three goes down for a while, do they now have enough depth to keep their head above water until they return?

Of course, their depth is mostly dependent on how soon Blatche and their other young players develop.

Posted by: Tim | September 13, 2007 12:54 PM

I see the I hate Gilby,Gilby can't do nothing right poster got his dig in for the day against Gilby. I read here everyday to see what he/she is going to say and I am not ever let down. There is some sort of put down against Gilbert by this DC88 person on a daily basis. Too funny!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 13, 2007 1:03 PM

Other sport thought, will Norv Turner win a superbowl before Dan Snider?

Posted by: greg | September 13, 2007 10:01 AM

Dan is making money whether his team wins the Superbowl or not.
Norv needs his team to win to keep his job, seeing as how his predecessor was bundled out of there even with two winning seasons.
Who do you think is more motivated? And the team has indeed been prepared by Marty, so that Norv has much of what he needs ready, all he has to do is supply the coaching - in my simplistic, ignorant view.

Posted by: rgz | September 13, 2007 1:05 PM

"I have said this before, but I would never expect Gilbert to be able to carry the team all by himself. A worthy team has to have several talented player to be a serious contender in the playoffs."

Tim, I guess you and I have different expectations. If you have a player that says he's worth franchise max money, then he should be able to carry the team. Carry the team doesn't mean take all the shots, get 10 steals, get 20 boards, get 5 steals, and block 5 shots night after night. Carry the team means if one of the other guys is hurt (ie. Caron), that the franchise player should pick up the slack and hold the fort until he comes back, not go 1-4 on a west coast road trip against sub.500 teams.

A leader makes personal sacrifices for the good of the team. Nash bowed out of the all star game to heal up for the 2nd half of the season. Gilby's shoulder was bothering him, and he participated in the 3 point shooting contest anyway and in the actual game.

I expect the franchise player to be the leader of the team, not a quirky recluse who just wants to shoot the ball, be left alone with his own quirkiness, and tells people "I'm not a leader and want nothing to do with leadership," but wants max money.

"Even MJ did not really take the Bulls that far until he had Scottie and several other talented people around him.

Posted by: Tim | September 13, 2007 12:54 PM "

MJ carried the bulls against the blazers and the Jazz during the finals. MJ played and carried the team when he was sick as a dog. MJ made clutch shot after clutch shot. MJ got into every player's face and made sure they were on the same page, including oddballs like Dennis Rodman and Bison Dele. MJ played both offense and defense. MJ never made excuses. The biggest mistake you made today was offering MJ a crutch for his championship rings when he didn't need one.

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 13, 2007 1:56 PM

"I see the I hate Gilby,Gilby can't do nothing right poster got his dig in for the day against Gilby. I read here everyday to see what he/she is going to say and I am not ever let down. There is some sort of put down against Gilbert by this DC88 person on a daily basis. Too funny!

Posted by: | September 13, 2007 01:03 PM "

I see everyday, my many anonymous fans who follow my postings and comments like a religion. They love to shower me with attention. I'm glad I can provide that spark in their life, although unintentional.

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 13, 2007 1:58 PM

It would of been cool for the wizards to have their training camp at VA Tech after what happened there last year.

Posted by: Darnell | September 13, 2007 2:53 PM

Who was the brainiac that invited Nas to VT for that special concert?

"Pop Pop, I made you look...."

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 13, 2007 2:55 PM

Kalorama, please excuse me, then. I had the impression that you were among those knocking intl hoops, not just saying they're different. They are indeed different.

I guess we disagree on whether being shipped to two teams in two seasons playing two different styles helps or hurts a rookie NBA player. I think a point guard especially needs time to adjust to a new system, and Sadrunas never has had that stability, and has never played in a system suited to his skills.

I'm not sure we have enough depth at 5 to make that Etan-Sadrunas trade anyway, now that Booth has bounced.

Posted by: Prazak | September 13, 2007 4:02 PM

Kalorama, please excuse me, then. I had the impression that you were among those knocking intl hoops, not just saying they're different. They are indeed different.

I guess we disagree on whether being shipped to two teams in two seasons playing two different styles helps or hurts a rookie NBA player. I think a point guard especially needs time to adjust to a new system, and Sadrunas never has had that stability, and has never played in a system suited to his skills.

I'm not sure we have enough depth at 5 to make that Etan-Sadrunas trade anyway, now that Booth has bounced.

Posted by: Prazak | September 13, 2007 4:04 PM

We have had this discussion before, DC Mann88. You see more negatives in Gilbert than I do, and see less of what I feel are his positives. But people can and will disagree.

It will be interesting to see if EG after this season thinks that what Gil has to offer warrants the franchise max salary. Indications are that he does already.

BTW, MJ would not have accomplished anything without several talented players around him.

Posted by: Tim | September 13, 2007 4:15 PM

BTW, Rook, I appreciated seeing the rotations that Blatche usually played with last year. I don't know where you got your information, but I assume it is accurate.

He usually then played the PF position. Perhaps it worked out this way because he had to fill in for AJ when he was injured.

Posted by: Tim | September 13, 2007 5:22 PM

Tim, we can talk till the roosters come home, but all we know is that Les BouleS have regressed in the playoffs the last 3 seasons. It's great to have really good players on this team, but until they step it up a few notches, namely improve on the areas that I pointed out (you referred to them as the negatives I mentioned specifically for Gilby), I don't see this team doing that much more.

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 13, 2007 10:45 PM

Your rotation statistics do not really prove your point if you look at them.

Arenas-Stevenson-Butler-Blatche-Haywood 106 minutes
Arenas-Stevenson-Hayes-Blatche-Haywood 50 minutes
Arenas-Stevenson-Jamison-Blatche-Haywood 70 minutes

These add up to 226 minutes. But according to the stats at nba.com, Blatche played a total of 682 minutes. The minutes you accounted for were only a little over 33% of his total playing time. These numbers then can't be taken on there own as proof that he mostly played PF.

Posted by: Steve | September 16, 2007 1:20 AM

I'm sad to see CB go, again. He was gracious enough to take a couple of pictures with my son at Tyson's Corner earlier this summer. He will definitely missed, damn! Why can't Butter Finger Brenda go????

Posted by: Tu | September 22, 2007 8:14 PM

Good site! I'll stay reading! Keep improving!

Posted by: Nika | November 10, 2007 2:35 AM

Good site! I'll stay reading! Keep improving!

Posted by: Nicole | November 10, 2007 7:10 AM

OgLthD amateur t party shirt luder heissen contests video wet ,

Posted by: Jessica Maldonado | January 6, 2008 8:30 PM

OgLthD amateur t party shirt luder heissen contests video wet ,

Posted by: Jessica Maldonado | January 6, 2008 8:30 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company