Ernie Grunfeld chat

[Editor's Note: Thanks to Mac G for the tip.  -Pradamaster]

General manager Ernie Grunfeld stopped by the Post today to chat.  Some of the questions were pretty dry and boring, but others were pretty interesting.  Here were some of the intriguing ones.

Washington, D.C.: Ernie,

Thanks for the chat. What is wrong with Jarvis Hayes? He came into the league as a "sharpshooter" but he has really struggled with his shot. Is it a confidence thing? Have you talked to him about changing his game a bit to utilize some of his athleticism and slashing ability?

Ernie Grunfeld: Jarvis is trying to get his rhythm and timing back. He has missed nearly two years because of his injuries. Jarvis has good physical tools, and you make a good point, he can be more than just a shooter and he should take more advantage of rebounding, driving to the basket and runninng the floor. Jarvis has had some very good games for us and he is working on producing on a more consistent basis.


It seems that Grunfeld has been a bit exasperated with Hayes' play from this answer.  He goes out of his way to talk about how Hayes should be trying to be more than just an offensive player.  From the sounds of it, Ernie's not looking to re-sign him, which is an excellent sign.  
Washington DC: Ernie -

I seems like one of the big hinderances for the Wizards going deep into the playoffs is a lack of depth. Are there any plans to beef up the bench before the end of the season?

Ernie Grunfeld: I think we have very solid depth coming off our bench with Antonio Daniels, Jarvis Hayes and Etan Thomas.

You can't forget that we have the highest scoring trio in the league with Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler.

We are also going to get another boost to our bench in the next few weeks because Darius Songaila will be back.

Darius is now practicing with us and will provide more depth in the front court at the center and power forward positions.

He is a good outside shooter who can stretch the defense and is an outstanding passer.

We also expect to have Michael Ruffin back in the next two weeks.

I don't think I'd say the Wizards have "very solid" depth, but in a lot of ways, it is a matter of just getting everyone healthy.  From the sounds of it, the Wizards are going to be quiet around the trade deadline, which to me is probably not the right move.  I'm not sure the Wizards have much to offer, but there are some real weaknesses on that bench.  

Washington, D.C.: What does Andray Blatche have to do to become a regular part of the rotation? He has obvious physical gifts, what about his weaknesses at this point?

Ernie Grunfeld: Andray Blatche has shown very good promise, but he needs to get stronger like most younger players do, and he needs real game type of experience.

He has seen some more time recently and we have seen some flashes of the things that he can do.

He is a good ball-handler, good rebounder, has good hands and also has a good feel for the game.

The most important thing he needs is experience and that comes with time.

"He needs real game type of experience."  You listening, Eddie?  Eddie's got to stop giving Andray such a quick hook, because it seems to mess with his head.  In all seriousness though, if the Wizards need to give up Blatche to acquire another key bench piece (e.g. Gerald Wallace or something), I think they have to do it.  Songaila and Oleisky Pecherov will always block his path, and if he doesn't get experience, it's almost pointless to hold onto him.  Use him, or lose him.

Alexandria, Va.: Ernie,

You have done a great job with this team since being hired. We long suffering Washingtonians really appreciate your work. I have a question about DeShawn Stevenson. He seems to play his role very well and is very efficient. He also seems to get along with Gilbert very well. Can we expect him in D.C. beyond this year or is that at least in the plans?

Ernie Grunfeld: We are very pleased with DeShawn's contributions. He understands and excepts his role.

He is our primary backcourt defender and he has shown that he can make perimeter shots as well as make plays off the dribble.

Last week against the New York Knicks, DeShawn made the play and the pass that led to Caron Butler's game-winning dunk.

And he is definitely part of our future plans.

This is very good news.  I'm hoping Stevenson won't cost too much more than Jarvis Hayes does now.  Anything more than 6 million, and I don't know if I'd re-sign him.  But anything less, and you got to make that move.  He's only 25, and he's a key player on this team now.

Washington, D.C.: Do you think we'll ever see Navaro? I've never seen this guy play, but I hear he's a great player in Europe. Could you share with us the chances of him wearing a Wizards uniform, and what skills he could bring to the team.

Ernie Grunfeld: We have followed Navaro's progress very closely. I saw him play earlier this year in Europe and he is regarded as one of the top players in Europe.

He is an oustanding scorer with good shooting range.

He handles the ball very well and can make plays off the dribble.

He does have a large buyout to his current contract, but he is a good asset and we will continue to monitor his progress.

In case you're unaware, "Navarro" refers to Juan Carlos Navarro, the Spanish guard that tore up the World Championships this summer.  The Wizards drafted him in the second round a couple years back, and they own his rights.  I'd love to see Navarro here, no matter what the cost.  The only thing is the Wizards need to use him correctly, because he's not a point guard.  He's more of a 2 guard than anything, and having him working in tandem with Stevenson would be a nice potential match.  

Ernie's a great GM, and he always seems to make sense.  I love having him as the GM of this team.

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