Mutombo's Final D.C. Finger Wag

He did it one last time. The trademark finger wag. Yeah, Dikembe Mutombo pulled it out of the holster once again, waved it side to side and gave folks at Verizon Center once last look at the long index finger wave that the NBA once banned; the scolding wave that defined his career as one of the greatest shot blockers ever.

Late in the first quarter of the Houston Rockets' 92-84 victory against the Washington Wizards last night, Mutombo stepped in front of DeShawn Stevenson to knock away the ball - it actually just bounced off his chest. He didn't get credit for a block, but he let it be known that, even at 41, Mount Mutombo is still difficult to climb.

"He tried to scoobie-doo, me, but my hand was too long," Mutombo said. "I caught him. I said, 'No, no, young man.' "


I'm actually No. 2.(David J. Phillip/AP Photo)

It sort of slid under the radar but Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo played his final game in Washington yesterday. The magnitude of the event wasn't lost on Mutombo, who talked afterward about how this is the place "where the legend was born."

It's still hard to believe today - as the 7-foot-2 Mutombo stands as the second-best shot blocker of all time, a four-time defensive player of year and eight-time NBA all-star - but when he had no intention of playing basketball when he arrived at Georgetown in 1988. Former Georgetown Coach John Thompson had to do some heavy recruiting to convince the pre-med student from the Democratic Republic of Congo to come out for the team.

We all know how that turned out. Mutombo formed fearsome shot-blocking tandem with Alonzo Mourning and went on to become the No. 4 pick of the 1991 NBA draft.


Where the legend was born. (John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated)

Mutombo is calling it quits after this, his 17th season in the league, and reflected some on his career. Thompson told him almost 20 years ago that he'd be a shot blocker and a rebounder. "I said I was going to make a lot of money doing it and I did that," said Mutombo, who has made more than $100 million during a career with Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and Houston. "I have to leave this game with a mark."

And there is no doubt that Mutombo left his greatest mark on the game as a shot blocker. He surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar last season for second place, and with 3,233 career blocks, Mutombo trails only Hakeem Olajuwon (3,830). "After I passed Kareem, I said I was too far away to catch Hakeem Olajuwon," Mutombo said, with that raspy, Cookie-Monster chortle. "I'm the second best that ever did it. I'm going to get T-shirts made. Second Best Ever Did It."

The record will probably be safe, since the art of blocking shots has diminished in recent years. The top active rejecters - Shaquille O'Neal, Theo Ratliff, Marcus Camby and Ben Wallace - are all in their 30s and would need to play well into their 40s to catch him, an unlikely. "I will remain the second best that ever did it," said Mutombo, who has averaged 2.7 blocks per game over his career.

Mourning, who ranks 10th all-time on the shot-blocking list, won't be able to catch him with his career likely ending last month when he tore the right patella tendon in his knee while attempting to contest a dunk by Atlanta's Mario West. Mutombo said it was "hard" to see his teammate and friend go down like that.

"A lot of people are worried about him. That's my boy, I know him. He's going to be okay," Mutombo said. "He went through a lot. He's a fighter. He has a strong will. He was a strong heart. He's always going to be okay.

"The best thing is for the Georgetown family to wish him the best recovery so one day he will get the chance to play one-on-one with his kids. He's got a young son; little Trey [Alonzo III] is coming up. I want him to get his knees better, get well. Maybe one day we can all take our kids to the park and challenge them, like 'We was the best. Don't try to take it to the old men.' "

Mutombo's greatest legacy, though, will be for his humanitarian work. He established the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve living conditions in his native Democratic Republic of Congo. He was recognized during George W. Bush's State of the Union address last year for building the $29 million Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital (named after his late mother) in his home town of Kinshasa. The hospital, built from money he raised, largely from his own pocket, will aid a community where a fourth of the residents live in poverty.


Thank you, Mr. President. Can we get more help in Africa? (White House Photo/Eric Draper)

Before shootaround yesterday, Mutombo spent about 1 ½ hours at the state department to discuss many of the problems that plague Africa. He was joined by teammate Tracy McGrady, who has become involved with Darfur after visiting some refugee camps in Chad last summer. "The war in Darfur has been going on for 26 years, it's not something that started today in the Sudan," Mutombo said. "The main thing, any human being alive in this world, it should be a concern."

McGrady and Mutombo were expected to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but she had to deal with the turbulent situation in Kenya instead. Mutombo wasn't disappointed. He's met with her "so many times. Going to the state department is like checking in at the dormitories," Mutombo said, again, with that deep, cackling laugh.

Back to his final season. Mutombo said came back for one more season at the urging of Rockets owner Leslie Alexander and members of the coaching staff. He plays sparingly, averaging just 0.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.2 blocks in 8.4 minutes.


Brendan, when I was your age, man did not fly in the house of Mutombo. Now that I'm 41 . . . eh. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

He played just eight minutes last night, picking up 2 points, 1 rebound and um, no blocks. Mutombo won't complain. "I just want to be a mentor to these young guys. If I can inspire them and lead them to the right direction to understand what it takes to prepare for the game, just be an example for them," Mutombo said. "If I get in fine, if I don't, I'm going to be on the bench and cheering for my friends.

"Some of teammates are like, 'Deke, why are they not playing you this year?' I'm like, 'It's not about that,' " Mutombo said. "I've accomplished everything, all-star, defensive player of the year, whatever you want to do."

And he will walk away from the game as the second-best shot blocker - and best finger wagger - who ever did it.


By Michael Lee |  January 9, 2008; 7:06 AM ET
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Comments

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For my money, Alonzo was the best shot blocker I've ever seen and that includes Hakeem. I've seen games where Mourning would intimidtae a pnetrator from shooting and then go out to the wing and block the shot of the guy shooting the 3. Mourning would block 6 shots, alter another 5 and then when you look at the stat sheet he'd be listed with 3 blocks. I missed out on the Bill Russell era and am taking nothing away from Dikembe, Eaton or early-Ewing but Alonzo was a beast.

Posted by: mark | January 9, 2008 8:09 AM

Mark, I agree completely. Not to take anything away from Mutombo but Zo should go down as the greatest shot blocker, at least of this era. Can't believe those two couldn't win a title together at G'town!

Posted by: MD Baller1 | January 9, 2008 8:26 AM

Micheal, great story, about a great guy, that's had a great career!

But one question, I've heard John Thompson chuckle about it when asked and say that Dikembe will have to be the guy to tell that story.

How old is the guy? There were rumors way back in his Georgetown days that he was much older then his reported age. Some said that he was 28 or older by the time he left G-town. If true that would make him maybe 45 years old and still in the NBA.

Micheal can you shed any light on that, or are we going to have to wait til he shows up at the Social Security Office to know the truth?

Dikembe is one of the all time great good guys ever to play in the league. He's really somebody that we can all look up to. And he's really tall too.

Posted by: GM | January 9, 2008 9:16 AM

Mutombe is a class act, another great Hoya big-man.

Posted by: Wizzy | January 9, 2008 9:34 AM

I remember a long time ago, when Deek was playing at Georgetown, going to some bar and seeing him there. He looked so out of place. He was drinking something and all I could notice was that his fingers wrapped around the drink twice. He must off have been drunk cause he did nothing but smile while towering over everyone. I think he had to hunchover because of the low ceiling.

Posted by: JSchon | January 9, 2008 9:38 AM

Great post. Again, I really appreciate the non-Wizards NBA stories that focus on people/teams that have a DC connection of some sort.

Posted by: AC | January 9, 2008 9:41 AM


...then again, I would not be surprised if Deke came back next year.

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | January 9, 2008 9:44 AM

Great story, thanks Michael. It is always good to know that basketball players like Dikembe Mutombo (and TMac) are not just about themselves but care about other people and use their fame and fortune for humanitarian causes.

Posted by: rgz | January 9, 2008 9:58 AM

Great story Michael. Not to take anything away from Dikembe or the Dream, but it should be noted that stats for blocked shots weren't kept during the time that Wilt and Russ were playing. I suspect that their totals might well have have equaled or surpassed both Mutombo and Olajuwon.

Posted by: PK1 | January 9, 2008 10:02 AM

Deke needs to get a pat on the back from the beating he took from Shaq during the finals when he played for the Sixers.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 9, 2008 10:22 AM

Gotta commend the guy for not only parlaying a specialized talent into 100 million but for all of the humanitarian work. He walked the walk. Guys like him and Warrick Dunn and AD should always be singled out and held up as examples for other athletes.

Posted by: mark | January 9, 2008 11:32 AM

I will always remember Rejection Row and the handprints the Hoya students would put on there whenever Zo or Dikembe would send one back. Loved watching that team play, it was a shame they had to play UNLV in round 2 when the Rebels were unbeaten or they might have had a great run in the tourney that year. That's the Georgetown I will always think of and love. The dominant big men on the floor and the big man with a towel over his shoulder towering on the sideline. That was the Hoya ethos: Big, Bad, Tough!

Posted by: George Templeton | January 9, 2008 11:55 AM

A class act all the way! The NBA needs many more like Dikembe Mutombo. Fine posting, Michael.

Posted by: khrabb | January 9, 2008 1:33 PM

My best memory of Mutombo was not from a basketball game, but from the elevator lobby outside the Senate chamber a few years back when he was with the Sixers. He was buttonholing senators for legislation aimed at improving US-African trade, I think, and also was raising money at the time for his hospital in Kinshasa.

A great man, no matter how you look at it.

Posted by: iceberg | January 9, 2008 1:51 PM

DC Man... i so agree with your poin

Gilby: 5, 3, 2, 4, 8, 8, A, H, D.

Hi five!

Posted by: i smoke | January 9, 2008 2:24 PM

I think you bought some bad weed.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 9, 2008 2:46 PM

Lets see....A great article about a great player and humanitarian. All positive comments but one and who would that person be ?

i smoke, how about passing the doob on to 88 so he can lighten up?

Posted by: mark | January 9, 2008 2:48 PM

mark, you got to be more positive than that.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 9, 2008 3:17 PM

Great article Mike.

Gotta love the finger wag.

Posted by: Crabhands | January 9, 2008 4:19 PM

Great post. Great man. I was never the biggest Mutombo fan (as a player) but he is a fine human being... Good to see him get some press.

Posted by: Essex | January 9, 2008 5:24 PM

Great post. Great man. I was never the biggest Mutombo fan (as a player) but he is a fine human being... Good to see him get some press.

Posted by: Essex | January 9, 2008 5:25 PM

Everyone talks about how what a great man Dikembe Mutombo is. Baloney. What about when he stole my voice?! I want it back.

Posted by: Cookie Monster | January 9, 2008 5:32 PM

I heard that in Mutombo's $27 million hospital in Kinshasa, they've got a plaque honoring DC Man88 in the proctology department.

Posted by: Gilby | January 9, 2008 7:28 PM

Yeah, and they have a plaque of your mom in the infectious diseases department. Stupid skank.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 9, 2008 9:25 PM

anybody know when the Wiz can sign their next 10-day guy?

Posted by: oddjob | January 9, 2008 10:10 PM

Too right DCMan!

When will everyone one realize?

Gilby: A, A, 4, (plaque)-8, H, 2!!!
lol

BWAHAHA - Don't I know it!

Posted by: i smoke | January 9, 2008 11:20 PM

Get a life dude. I don't need your approval.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 10, 2008 12:28 AM

What a great story by Michael Lee. Wow, what a great job in wrapping up DM's career. You went beyond telling us about his game, and shared with us his personality and his work in Africa.

You and Ivan are great writers!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 12:39 AM

Deke needs to get a pat on the back from the beating he took from Shaq during the finals when he played for the Sixers.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 9, 2008 10:22 AM

DC Racist88, you're like Debbie Downer from the Saturday Night Live skit. Everyone is having a good time, until Debbie Downer speaks up and ruins the evening for everyone. That's what you do. Let me guess -- you don't get many invitations to parties, do you? That means you have lots of time to come here and ruin the blog for everyone else.

Here's what you look and sound like: 19 years old, a dorky face full of huge zits, a scrawny chest and weak muscles, and an insane sounding laugh interrupted by drooling from your rancid mouth full of rotten teeth. But none of that sad situation interferes with your typing stupid rants about Gil and the Wizards, and in fact it helps to add "attitude" to your posts.

You need to crawl back under the bridge, troll.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 12:52 AM

this has become a bore. enough with the personal attacks.

Posted by: oddjob | January 10, 2008 7:16 AM

"DC Racist88, you're like Debbie Downer from the Saturday Night Live skit. Everyone is having a good time, until Debbie Downer speaks up and ruins the evening for everyone. That's what you do. Let me guess -- you don't get many invitations to parties, do you? That means you have lots of time to come here and ruin the blog for everyone else.

Here's what you look and sound like: 19 years old, a dorky face full of huge zits, a scrawny chest and weak muscles, and an insane sounding laugh interrupted by drooling from your rancid mouth full of rotten teeth. But none of that sad situation interferes with your typing stupid rants about Gil and the Wizards, and in fact it helps to add "attitude" to your posts.

You need to crawl back under the bridge, troll.

Posted by: | January 10, 2008 12:52 AM "

Geez, you must be so popular with all your party invites throughout the week that you have no time to come up with cute names like "debbie downer."

Sounds like you're looking in the mirror and describing yourself as the real 19 year old loser posting at 12:52am. Get some rest from all that online porn that you immerse yourself into.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 10, 2008 8:25 AM

Charlotte beat Boston last night, how did they do that? Wizards want to know.

Posted by: rgz | January 10, 2008 8:38 AM

A couple guys got hot for Charlotte plus Ray Allen and Big Baby were out. I think the Houston game was just one of those nights. We'd have lost to Georgetown with that woeful shooting.
Charlotte's team chemistry is pretty bad and they paid too much for Richardson. (took on a huge contract). MJ has proven beyond a doubt that he's only good when in uniform. His suckiness as a Front office guy approaches Isiah Thomas, Elgin Baylor 80's Clippers standards.

Posted by: mark | January 10, 2008 8:50 AM

..or to quote Homer...

That group of GM's are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.

Posted by: mark | January 10, 2008 8:53 AM

Need to win one of the next 2 games, @ATL or BOS.

Posted by: JSchon | January 10, 2008 9:17 AM

Well DCMan if you aren't going to say it then I will!

Gilby: 2, 1, H, 2, 8!

ZING!

Posted by: i smoke | January 10, 2008 10:04 AM

mark, great Homer quote! My favorite: when Bart asks him "Dad, how important is it to be popular?", Homer answers: "I'm glad you asked me that son. Being popular is the most important thing in the world."

Posted by: Keithinator | January 10, 2008 10:07 AM

They played poorly against the Rockets, but you know what the Rockets are a better team without T-Mac. Their offense runs better when it runs through Yao and it was our misfortune that T-Mac wasn't out there.
I feel good about the game with Atlanta, but board work is going to be key, the Hawks got some keep offensive rebounds late in the last game and that's why the Wizards lost.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 10, 2008 11:21 AM

"They played poorly against the Rockets, but you know what the Rockets are a better team without T-Mac. Their offense runs better when it runs through Yao "

I have to agree. Overall, the Rockets really are not an esp. talented team. They're undersized in the backcourt and at PF and they don't have a lot of athleticism. Like the Wizards, they play best when their execution is crisp and precise. They seem to do that better when McGrady's not on the floor freelancing and making everyone else stand around and watch. McGrady is pretty much the poster child of this generation of faux-"franchise" players: Supremely talented but lacks the intangibles that made guys like Jordan, Bird, Isiah, and Magic guys who could carry a team to the next level.

Posted by: kalorama | January 10, 2008 12:58 PM

McGrady is really more like a Scottie Pippen type of player to me. He is more of a guy that can be a great two man in a one, two, punch. But like many he isn't content in that role and has bounced from the Rapters to the Magic and now the Rockets where it is rumored that he's unhappy.

Scottie chaffed to get out from under MJ's shadow, but could never deliver as the main man in Houston, or even as a high priced role player in Portland. Classic case of as my Grandmother used to say,"be careful what you wish for, you might get it!"

MJ wasn't done yet in Chicago, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson forced the end of that Bulls era as much as anyone. I wonder if Scottie ever looks back and thinks how many more rings could I have gotten?

Posted by: GM | January 10, 2008 1:47 PM

My favorite Homer Quote: Homer standing in a snow storm and saying,"And I had such high hopes for global warming!"

Posted by: GM | January 10, 2008 1:49 PM

Can anyone (besides LeBron and maybe Duncan and Dirk) really carry a team anymore? Nash is great for that system but plug in Leandro and they probably still win 50 games. If we only gave max deals to guys that can carry a team, it'd be a short list. I would say AI deserved his deal because he took the Sixers to the Finals. Shaq deserved his, too but neither is capable of carrying a team any longer. You could even argue that Shaq needed help.
AI and LeBron are probably the only guys I can remember in recent memory who put average teams on their backs and took them to the Finals. Most other guys had an all star caliber guy helping them.
I'm sure I'm overlooking someone. I'm not going back too far, either. I remember Moses with Houston back in '81. I'm talking about since the 'max deals' came into play.
As great as Magic, Bird, Isiah, and Jordan were, they all had at least one all star playing next to them. AI had Ratliff (good but not great) and LBJ had nothing. I guess I find it hard to criticize guys like TMac and Carmelo and Dirk because there's only so much you can do as a scorer to help your team win except score. I get what you're saying, Kal, but what could TMac do differently? (To answer my own question, he was a great shotblocker in toronto).

Posted by: mark | January 10, 2008 1:57 PM

BTW, Kal...this leads us back into the GA argument. Do we ask him to score less and rely on his teammates or do what he's been doing? Are we better served by him getting 20 with 9 assists or 27 and 6 assists? I don't think anyone has that answer til we see results. We know that we can get to the playoffs with GA scoring in bunches. Let's see whether we get the same result with more distributed scoring.
My personal belief is that in previous years, we needed him to score a lot to win. When he didn't, we'd get 85 points as a team. Now that CB has gotten better, a more even distribution would be best. It's not an automatic 'L' when GA's shot is off.

Posted by: mark | January 10, 2008 2:03 PM

Best Homer line:

Homer in the hospital looking at a guy hooked up to a respirator says: "And here I am, using my own lungs like a sucker."

Posted by: kalorama | January 10, 2008 2:04 PM

It's pretty simple, Mark. The best players find a way to use their talents to raise the play of their teammates. McGrady has never really done that in any of his stops. And it's not just about getting more assists.

Posted by: kalorama | January 10, 2008 2:06 PM

"Most other guys had an all star caliber guy helping them."

Last I checked, Yao Ming had been to a few all-star games.

Posted by: kalorama | January 10, 2008 2:08 PM

Thanks, Mike, for honoring this great player and great man. I was almost in tears the night he was honored by the President of the United States for all the great work he's doing in his own country. I want to share this poem I think you'll enjoy- I wrote it after that State of the Union address:

Dikembe Mutombo

Mother Theresa in the body of a 7'2" African man--
among the greatest good-deed workers in recent history.
His voice a cross between a singing loon and a gravel pit;
he is known as one of the great "shot blockers" in NBA History.
He would taunt the victims of his great skill
wagging his finger like a righteous grandmother
"Oh, no... not in my house you don't."

And a wrathful glare glows in his eyes
and then a laugh
and his huge smile which he can not hide.

Posted by: Jason from New York | January 10, 2008 2:09 PM

Overall, the Rockets really are not an esp. talented team. They're undersized in the backcourt

Agreed. Which is why I was wondering why the Wiz didn't try to post them up on offense. Daniels and Stevenson/Mason/Young are much bigger than those tiny guards. Why didn't they clear out the side, back them down, and shoot right over them? If the double comes, kick it to the open man.

Posted by: Keithinator | January 10, 2008 2:10 PM

Just because a player has a size advantage doesn't mean he's a good post up player. In fact, a lot of times teams with undersized guards want the opposition to try and force a post up because it's not something they're used to doing and it takes them out of the normal rhythm of their offense.

Back in the Bad Boy days, whenever the Pistons would play the Hornets they would try and post Isiah Thomas up against Muggsy Bogues. Problem was that Isiah wasn't a particularly good post up player and the other Pistons weren't used to playing with him operating out of the post. Rather than easy baskets, quite often the attempt would result in an offensive foul or turnover, because the Pistons were trying to force themselves into doing something they weren't comfortable doing.

Posted by: kalorama | January 10, 2008 2:19 PM

Mark

"Nash is great for that system but plug in Leandro and they probably still win 50 games."


That is one of the dumbest statements I have read in a long time. everytime Nash gets hurt they get crushed regularly. They wouldn't even make the playoffs without Nash. 50 wins thats hilarious they couldn't even get 50 wins in the easy with barbosa at point.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 2:36 PM

Thats was supposed to say they couldn't even get 50 wins in the east. I'm not even a Nash guy but that statement is ridiculous. I can't believe no one else even mentioned it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 2:38 PM

Anon, I'm not saying Nash isn't a great player. I never even insinuated that. perhaps no one else mentioned it because it's true? Dallas really fell flat on their butts after he left, didn't they?
I'm saying that the Suns win 60 with nash but still win 50 without him. nash is great but does not carry that team. Amare, Joe Johnson, Marion are pretty decent. barbosa is 6th man of the year, right.
Dumbest statement you ever read?

Posted by: mark | January 10, 2008 2:46 PM

Mark go look at their record without him since he joined the team. Dumbest statement ever!! Dallas didn't miss him b/c they don't run the system pheonix does. Nash makes that system. If you are wondering every game nash has missed since joining the suns....they have lost. he makes the team enough said. Don't really care about ur reply or ur logic you are wrong period!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 3:04 PM

Anon, I'm not saying Nash isn't a great player. I never even insinuated that. perhaps no one else mentioned it because it's true? Dallas really fell flat on their butts after he left, didn't they?"

It's not even close to being true. The Suns would be lucky to barely make the playoffs without Nash. You don't lose the 2-time MVP and keep going like nothing ever happened.

Claiming that Nash is overrated because Dallas didn't fall flat without him is a pretty misleading argument. Dallas didn't just lose Nash. After Nash left, they added a bunch of talent, both from the outside and from internal development of young players who weren't quite ready when Nash was there, and changed coaches. It's not like they have the same team they had when Nash was there. And that's not taking into account the fact that, even after Nash left, they still had another MVP caliber player on their roster.

Posted by: kalorama | January 10, 2008 3:06 PM

Oh yeah and the suns were great before Nash joined the team

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 3:06 PM

Record when He arrived....29-53 thats with ur boys joe johnson, amare, and marion. Next season 62-20 and made quinten richardson look like an all-star. Like i said dumbest statement i have ever read. Barbosa is a solid player in that system but he is nothing special

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 3:09 PM

We are 17-16. We looked great against 2 bad teams, MIL and SEA. We looked inept vs DET and HOU. Our next 11 isnt easy. @ATL, BOS 2x, NYN 2x, DAL, @CLE, MEM, @MIL, TOR 2x. February's schedule is just brutal. We have to win 7 of these 11 teams.

Its easy to say this cause its upon us, but this is crucial stretch of games. What Wizard team shows up.

We could be looking at 4 straight losses before heading to MSG.

Posted by: JSchon | January 10, 2008 3:09 PM

and the nect year with Amare out for the season Nash took them to a 54-28 record

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 3:11 PM

Jschon we are going to beat ATL and then come home and get a big upset against Beantown with or without Allen. Then we will get crushed in Boston, we will sweep the knicks...then probably go 4-2 on the last 6. Ur right Feb is a tough month if we struggle this month it could get really ugly next month.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 3:22 PM

I'm also not a Nash fan, just recognizing his talent and importance as a PG on a great team.

That Suns team has darn good players in Amare, Marion, Barbosa, Hill, etc... plus the D'Antoni's offense spreads the floor so well allowing them to be potent. Nash fits that offense like a T. Barbosa is nowhere the playmaker that Nash is. Mark, you are definitely understating Nash's efficiency and playmaking skills for that team. You're not going to find a PG that spreads the ball (12 assists avg) as well as Nash (except maybe CP3 in this banner year) and shoots the ball around 50% fg and 45% 3 point shooting for an avg of 17 points/gm.

Winning 50 games MIGHT be feasible (although unlikely) in the regular season without Nash but there's no way they get out of the 1st round in the playoffs without him either and that's where it counts the most anyway, not the number of wins in a season.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 3:27 PM

Nash puts the Suns over the top as GA puts the Wiz over the top on mediocre to good teams. With either of them, the Suns and Wiz can be competitive against OK teams but against the top 5 teams in the league, both teams would get crushed without their PGs in the playoffs.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 3:33 PM

Let's put it this way, on just about every single team, the smallest guy (usually the PG) has the lowest shooting percentage. Nash, along with Parker, has the highest shooting percentage for guards and even higher than most forwards. For a comparison in CB, as a SF, in his best year by far, is shooting close to 50% fg and around 40% 3 point shooting.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 3:40 PM

"Nash puts the Suns over the top as GA puts the Wiz over the top on mediocre to good teams. With either of them, the Suns and Wiz can be competitive against OK teams but against the top 5 teams in the league, both teams would get crushed without their PGs in the playoffs.

Posted by: | January 10, 2008 03:33 PM "

Really? What happened last season during the 2nd half when Caron was out hurt?

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 10, 2008 3:44 PM

"We are 17-16. We looked great against 2 bad teams, MIL and SEA. We looked inept vs DET and HOU. Our next 11 isnt easy. @ATL, BOS 2x, NYN 2x, DAL, @CLE, MEM, @MIL, TOR 2x. February's schedule is just brutal. We have to win 7 of these 11 teams.

Its easy to say this cause its upon us, but this is crucial stretch of games. What Wizard team shows up.

We could be looking at 4 straight losses before heading to MSG.

Posted by: JSchon | January 10, 2008 03:09 PM "

Not surprising for a team that's undermanned without Opech, ET, and Gilby. Don't blame the players, blame the management.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 10, 2008 3:48 PM

Anons, I love nash as a player and think he's (with Kidd) one of the best passers I've ever seen. i just doubt that he could carry a team on his own or he would have done so with Dallas. I am not trying to minimize his impact at all. He's the difference between good and great for Phoenix. BTW, barbosa was young and not that experienced years ago. It's hard to say how good the Suns would be with him starting.
Do you anons think Nash carries Phoenix? If you do, I'll respectfully disagree. You HAVE to agree that LeBron and AI took their teams to Finals with little help, right? That's the difference I'm trying to make between them and nash. has nash taken his team to the Finals? I'm not sure..haven't looked it up but I think Dallas went after he left.

Posted by: mark | January 10, 2008 3:54 PM

where i'm going with this....
GA can take us to the Finals because we also have CB and AJ. How many teams in this league have 3 recent all stars on their squads? I'd say Ernie deserves "GM of the last Five Years". Look at our usual starting five. 3 all stars and a center who could be an all star in this conference if he got more time and publicity. You blame mgmt, 88? I think we've assembled a pretty good team.

Posted by: mark | January 10, 2008 3:57 PM

...then again, I'm a Wiz fanatic.

Posted by: mark | January 10, 2008 3:58 PM

Anons, I love nash as a player and think he's (with Kidd) one of the best passers I've ever seen. i just doubt that he could carry a team on his own or he would have done so with Dallas. I am not trying to minimize his impact at all. He's the difference between good and great for Phoenix. BTW, barbosa was young and not that experienced years ago. It's hard to say how good the Suns would be with him starting.
Do you anons think Nash carries Phoenix? If you do, I'll respectfully disagree. You HAVE to agree that LeBron and AI took their teams to Finals with little help, right? That's the difference I'm trying to make between them and nash. has nash taken his team to the Finals? I'm not sure..haven't looked it up but I think Dallas went after he left.

Posted by: mark | January 10, 2008 03:54 PM

Well, if that's the criteria, then I suppose the greatest NBA player MJ doesn't stand a chance since he needed at least Scottie's help...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 4:09 PM

"BTW, barbosa was young and not that experienced years ago. It's hard to say how good the Suns would be with him starting."

No, really it's not.

Posted by: kalorama | January 10, 2008 4:11 PM

And taking a team to the finals in lean years (like last year's in the East) is NOT the same as taking a team to the finals in the West recently or vs the Detroit Bad Boys or Bird's Celtics, etc... You have to take the competition into context too. What did LeBron do against the Spurs in the finals? And to a lesser extent, AI vs the Lakers?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 4:14 PM

"You HAVE to agree that LeBron and AI took their teams to Finals with little help, right? "

The Suns took the eventual champions to six games (even with two of their top players out of the lineup for a game), while Lebron's Cavs got swept like last week's dust bunnies in the Finals.

Posted by: kalorama | January 10, 2008 4:15 PM

"where i'm going with this....
GA can take us to the Finals because we also have CB and AJ. How many teams in this league have 3 recent all stars on their squads? I'd say Ernie deserves "GM of the last Five Years". Look at our usual starting five. 3 all stars and a center who could be an all star in this conference if he got more time and publicity. You blame mgmt, 88? I think we've assembled a pretty good team.

Posted by: mark | January 10, 2008 03:57 PM "

What planet are you from?

When did GA take this team anytime beyond the first round since LH left?

Since when did being in the all star game result in championship success? What have perennial all stars such as KG and TMac won?

If Les BouleS management was actually doing their jobs, this team wouldn't be shorthanded and only dressing 8-9 players for most of this season.

I'm not surprised you are star struck with popularity contests such as the all star team, and people with high scoring averages, but no leadership skills nor significant wins in the playoffs.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 10, 2008 4:27 PM

Detroit is playing well, but they can be beat as the Wiz have shown in the last 3 years. Gil is a head ache for the Pistons. His speed and explosiveness gives the strong but slower Billups fits. Parker does that to the Pistons too, as shown in the past.

LeBron also is a matchup nightmare for Detroit since he is also very fast but more IMPORTANTLY, too big and strong for Tayshaun Prince to guard. That's how he was able to dominate the Pistons during that stretch. Any really talented player with a great matchup will get hot when they see what they can do against a guy.

In Detroit, the first couple of years that Sheed got there, they had gotten a guy that was a matchup nightmare to counter any superstar. During the last couple of years, Sheed has slowed down way too much and hasn't been the weapon that he was in the low post during his prime years. Now they don't have a clearcut go to guy and that makes the playoffs that much tougher against elite teams during crunch time. M

ATCHUP MATCHUP, that's the biggest thing in the playoffs. It's all about getting that bucket when the defense buckles down to stop you. Gil, LeBron, Ginobli, et al brings that killer instinct required to win those tough matchups.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 4:29 PM

"Gil, LeBron, Ginobli, et al brings that killer instinct required to win those tough matchups.

Posted by: | January 10, 2008 04:29 PM "


Puhhhleaze...don't lump Gilby with Lebron or Ginobli. Lebron went to the finals last season, and Ginobli has several rings while making a huge contribution to the team's success.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 10, 2008 4:32 PM

DCWoman, quibble all you want because of your Gil jealousy, $7K bet, whatever. All those guys can get a crucial bucket against great players and defenses when everybody knows they're going to take the shot at crunch time.

With Gil out, what has your golden boy, CB, done for buzzer beaters and crunch time shots? How did he do against the Rockets a few nights ago? Sure looked like he was going to cry with Battier taking his candy all night long.

What about that great single standard you were crying about for the last few days? What has CB done that's any better than Gil? Hit buzzer beaters? Win a playoff matchup all on his own?

You are a joke. Go see your SHRINK, you really need it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 4:57 PM

How could anything anyone posted about basketball be the dumbest thing that you ever saw compared to some of the other stuff that gets posted here?

Now some of that stuff is really dumb!

The Suns play a system that puts the ball in Nash's hands almost all of the time. If he'd go down longterm they'd have to change the system to take advantage of the other talent on the team.

I'm not in any way saying that he didn't earn being a two time MVP. In that system he's a great point guard and as fun as it is to watch the question is still out there, can they win a title with it?

Posted by: GM | January 10, 2008 5:00 PM

DCWoman does tend to bend and twist every little thing about Gil or the Zards management so that he can bash them whenever anything about them come up. Take that anon advice, do go see the shrink.

Posted by: Oh Not to be DCWoman88 | January 10, 2008 5:00 PM

"In that system he's a great point guard and as fun as it is to watch the question is still out there, can they win a title with it?"

I don't think it's so much a case of him being a great PG in that system as it is that system being designed to take advantage of his skills as a great PG. It's not like he was an also-ran in Dallas. He was a top 5 PG before he hooked up with D'Antoni.

I think the Suns could win a title with the offensive system they have if only they can fortify things defensively. That's where losing Kurt Thomas hurt them. They really need a tough physical big who can start next to Amare free him from having to guard the other team's best big all of the time (essentially the same thing the Spurs have been doing with Duncan for years).

Posted by: kalorama | January 10, 2008 5:21 PM

"With Gil out, what has your golden boy, CB, done for buzzer beaters and crunch time shots? How did he do against the Rockets a few nights ago? Sure looked like he was going to cry with Battier taking his candy all night long.

What about that great single standard you were crying about for the last few days? What has CB done that's any better than Gil? Hit buzzer beaters? Win a playoff matchup all on his own?

You are a joke. Go see your SHRINK, you really need it.

Posted by: | January 10, 2008 04:57 PM "

LOL.

What did Gilby do last season when CBut went out with his broken hand? Gilby couldn't do jack, and his knee injury was his excuse to end the rest of his sorry second half season early.

I guess his coming out party, winning the 3 point contest, and MVP all star appearance was all that mattered. Ooops, he didn't get get those.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 10, 2008 7:32 PM

DC Woman88 doesn't like the Wizards management because the team isn't all white.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2008 12:17 AM

We've got them on the ropes now DCman!

Gilby: 2 B, 1, H, 4, 8, C, 8!

Suckas! BWAHAHA!

HE is the master, i am the student.

Posted by: i smoke | January 11, 2008 12:39 AM

"DC Woman88 doesn't like the Wizards management because the team isn't all white.

Posted by: | January 11, 2008 12:17 AM "

That's interesting. Maybe the EEOC should look into that. The makeup of the team surely doesn't reflect the US (or world) population. Percentages are all out of whack.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 11, 2008 8:05 AM

WWTSM

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2008 5:29 PM

DCMAN for the record, most every analyst has agreed that MJ needed Pippen to win the championships. So NO. Mike did NOT carry the Bulls to the Finals on his own.
The point that you missed (AGAIN) is that we have enough talent to win more than one round with Gilbert. You keep harping on Gilbert taking us to another round. You need to get his gilly out of your face so you can see the light.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 11, 2008 8:39 PM

"The point that you missed (AGAIN) is that we have enough talent to win more than one round with Gilbert. You keep harping on Gilbert taking us to another round. You need to get his gilly out of your face so you can see the light.

Posted by: | January 11, 2008 08:39 PM "

I think the point that you missed is that Gilby, the wannabe max player, hasn't taken this team deep into the playoffs, but wants max money. If Gilby thinks he deserves max money, then what does Lebron deserve, a billion dollars?

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 11, 2008 10:17 PM

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