I’ve gone through more tape from Flip Saunders’ press conference and a few points I didn’t touch on in the first blog post:
Flip was asked if he or the franchise was bothered by Arenas’ comments last week about the team needing to hold him back from himself during his first two comeback attempts, and Saunders said no. He had this to offer:
“When I was in Detroit, players always complained about playing too many minutes, then you cut their minutes and they complain that they’re not playing enough,” Saunders said with a chuckle. “Players want to play. That’s what they are. But you have to understand the process that goes into it. The main thing is Gilbert’s healthy. That’s the No. 1 thing. He’s excited about playing. I don’t see any ill effects, and the main thing you want is players to be healthy, it doesn’t matter how it happens. That’s the main thing. And everyone learns from situations.”
Saunders said of the players he’s been able to observe, Nick Young has to have had the strongest summer as far as development and growth. Part of that, Saunders said, has to do with the fact that Nick has spent much of the summer training in D.C. and Flip has been able to monitor his progress more. He said in addition to trying to learn how to come off screens better and play more like Rip Hamilton did for Saunders in Detroit, Nick has been working on improving his defensive abilities, which will be key for him in earning minutes in a crowded backcourt.
Flip also said that Nick has been studying film of Hamilton and also Reggie Miller in attempt to improve his techniques and gain a better understanding of how he will be used in this system.
Saunders also said that Andray Blatche has worked hard this summer, and that Javaris Crittenton has as well, but has been slowed by a few small injuries which have set his progress back some. He said JaVale McGee will be brought along slowly because he’s the most inexperienced. Saunders expect to give the second-year center a few responsibilities and things to work on, and see how he responds and get a feel on whether to scale back or ramp up his development. So, I’d expect Oberto to be No. 2 off the bench at center early on.
On how he’ll decide the starting shooting guard spot, Flip joked, “We’re going to do reality TV and let people vote them off.” He went on to say that he expects the candidates — DeShawn Stevenson, Mike Miller, Young and Randy Foye — to determine that by their play during training camp. Saunders added, “You know, my ‘2’s‘ 3’s are very interchangeable, so you could see two shooting guards out there or two small forwards out there. We’re going to play the players that play the best together.”
Saunders also said he expects the rotation, which he as is no secret envisions to be around eight to nine players, to work itself out. There will be times that the rotation expands to 10 or 11 players because the Wizards have such a diverse roster, but for the most part, he expects to stick to the more limited rotation because it’s hard to develope much of a rhythm when so many players are shuttling in and out.
Well, that’s it for now, feel free to drop me an e-mail with any questions about the Wizards as we head toward Ernie Grunfeld’s press conference on Thursday and then media day on Monday.
— Mike Jones