Are The Wizards Troubles Going To Cost Flip Saunders His Job?
Flip Saunders. Catchy name, but his job may be on the line.
You have to cut him some slack because he definitely didn't sign up for this. After being hired as the head coach of an all-veteran team last year loaded with all-stars like Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler, who would've thought that 365 days later there would be talk of rebuilding? Or trading Gilbert Arenas?
You can say the system isn't fair because the player that put the team in turmoil in the first place is the only one who remains on the team from last year's starting five.
Right now, after getting first overall pick John Wall and experimenting his game style with Arenas', the Wizards have yet to win a road game and are well below .500.
During the game against the Phoenix Suns, the Wizards seemed to match them shot after shot, and did a very good job keeping up with the Suns in the first half. That was until the second half, when the Suns pulled away due to the Wizards' lack of defensive awareness.
With the Wizards being winless on the road and facing the LA Lakers next, should the blame go on Flip Saunders, the GM Ernie Grunfeld or the players themselves?
Who should take the blame?
My answer is this: It is the players' fault.
GM Ernie Grunfeld has built a team of players who don't typically “do” what their position in the conventional sense should "do." If you think about it, the Wizards have been like this for a while; they had a PG in Gilbert Arenas for a little more than five years, who didn't pass and couldn't play defense to save his life.
The Wizards also have a PF that doesn't like to play down low (Andray Blatche), which isn't a bad thing, but next to potentially the Wizard's franchise center, JaVale McGee, they need a "bruiser" type who likes to get dirty in the paint.
Another issue is that the Wizards really have three PGs out on the court at one time and we have recently discovered that Gilbert Arenas isn't really a pure SG that can roll off screens and shoot.
For now, the Wizards lack a SF with control on the court; that is until Josh Howard returns from injury.
Many elite or competitive teams have one or sometimes two players who remain in the starting lineup and have an exceptional skill set, and by that meaning one who can perform a task on court that a player of his position typically can't.
That is what creates matchup issues. Dirk is a great example, with his outside shooting, Lebron James with his quickness and Gasol with his passing.
However the thing, the expected thing, is that those players can still perform the “expected” tasks of their position to at least at a mediorce level. If they can’t, then you decide if what they are bringing to the table is worth having to shift what you need out of another position.
I understand that is what you look for when drafting players, a potential matchup problem skill set.
However, the problem is that the players we have drafted recently have not been able to pick up the parts of their position that are needed for them to possess without our coach needing to sacrifice another position to make up for it.
My take is that it is the GM's responsibility to put players on the team that meet our recommendations or needs.
But hey, maybe I'm overreacting.
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