- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Saunders could meet Wizards’ aspirations
Question of the Day
With the Washington Wizards on the verge of reaching an agreement that would make Flip Saunders their next coach, one question lingers.
Is Saunders right for the job?
Despite reports late Monday night that a verbal agreement has been reached for Saunders to become the team's coach, sources with close knowledge of the situation insist a deal has yet to be reached. Other league sources believe a deal could be completed as soon as the end of the week.
When Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld fired Eddie Jordan on Nov. 24 after a 1-10 start, it was no secret the team's desire was to hire a veteran coach with a winning track record.
Of the coaches reportedly on the wish list drawn up by Grunfeld and his staff at the start of the coaching hunt, Saunders is the most accomplished. A 13-year coaching veteran, his teams have reached the playoffs in all but two seasons. Saunders owns a 587-396 (.597) career record. He has reached the conference finals four times, once with Minnesota and three straight seasons with Detroit. He failed to reach the finals each time.
According to league sources, Saunders could be hired as early as the end of the week.
The second coach reportedly on the list is Avery Johnson, who in four seasons with the Dallas Mavericks posted a 194-70 record - including a league-best mark of 67-15 in 2006-07. Johnson's Mavericks reached the finals in 2005-06 but fell to Miami. Johnson owns a 23-24 playoff record.
The two have polarizing styles. Saunders is an offensive-minded coach with more of a laid-back demeanor; Johnson is nicknamed “The Little General” and is more of a defensive guru.
Defense has long been an area of weakness for the Wizards, but with three former All-Stars known for their scoring in Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, Washington management seems to believe Saunders' offensive strengths are better suited for the team.
Saunders was dismissed in June after his Pistons fell to the eventual NBA champion Boston Celtics amid accusations that he never earned the respect of his players and couldn't get them to buy into his philosophy. That could make for an interesting situation for the Wizards, who have six reserve players under the age of 23.
One former Saunders player, who wished to remain nameless, said that isn't necessarily true.
“Flip's a great coach - offensive genius,” he said. “You'll be in the huddle, drawing up a play. You come out, and sure enough, you're gonna get a good look. He can definitely help [the Wizards].”
Saunders already has some familiarity with the team. Jordan invited him to spend the first four days of the training camp this past September as a guest coach.
“He's won in Minnesota, won in Detroit. Yeah, he can help if it happens,” Wizards backup guard Mike James said. “Time will tell. We just need to buy into what he's preaching. In Detroit, you don't know what the situation was. Might've been a personality thing. Maybe people thought they could get over on him because he was laid-back.”
According to Hall of Fame coach John Thompson, the biggest question mark hovering over the Wizards has nothing to do with the coaching hire.
About the Author
- Wizards respond on practice court
- Saunders flips out about Wizards' defense
- Wizards close out 2009 with another loss
- Saunders fumes as Wizards regress
- Late breakdown costs Wizards in Memphis
Latest Blog Entries
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world