Flip played McGee 18 minutes against the Suns on Sunday. Just sat him in the second half. This is part of the continuing misuse of JaVale by Saunders, who's well on his way to ruining the most athletic young center in the league.
It's simple -- every player on this team is allowed to make mistakes, except one. Blatche and Arenas are simply two of the worst defenders in the NBA - maybe the two worst, in fact. But they get plenty of minutes. Arenas can clang jumper after jumper, commit turnover after turnover, and fall asleep every defensive possession. Blatche can continue to shoot contested 20-foot fallaway jumpers, and dominate the ball, never looking to pass. He can continue to ignore defense.
Yi and Armstrong can continue to never impact a game in any significant way. And on and on and on. Mistakes by any player other than McGee are tolerated. McGee's are not. What is starting to happen, and what will happen more and more often, is that JaVale plays frightened, rather than aggressive. He knows that Flip is ready to grab the hook and sit him on the bench if he makes any kind of mistake -- even though his mistakes are almost always ones of aggression, something that's foreign to too many players on this team.
Because of this, he's playing his game less and less often. Never mind that he's improved a great deal this year. Never mind that he is, far and away, the Wiz' best inside player. Never mind that he impacts the game, mostly for good, every second he's on the floor. Flip simply can't overlook his mistakes, won't see the positives he brings. He won't let JaVale get better by letting him play through mistakes.
JaVale is far from a great player. But looking at his production, it's clear he's one of the Wiz' most valuable players. But Flip refuses to see it. Flip takes him out, for instance, normally halfway through the first quarter. That's ridiculous. It's clear Saunders wants an excuse to bench JaVale. Why, I have no idea.
What's galling here is that no one else -- and I mean NO ONE ELSE ON THE ROSTER -- gets treated like this. The double-standard is breathtaking. JaVale changes the game when he's in, with his shot-blocking, rebounding and defensive intimidation. But Flip still hates him for some reason.
Is it the whole "style over substance" thing? If so, what does he think of Wall's dancing? Again, double standard. Does he think he doesn't play hard enough? Bollocks -- he plays as hard as any Wizard, and considerably harder than most of his teammates. He has the HIGHEST productivity rating of any Wizard, according to 82games.com. A PER over 20, currently 7th-highest among all centers in the NBA. He's probably been, overall, the Wizards' best player this year.
But Flip is intent on destroying his confidence, for reasons known only to the man himself. Flip needs to stop the grade-school mindgames he's playing with this amazingly talented player, and let him continue to learn how to play the game without looking over his shoulder, wondering when he's going to be pulled for the incandescent likes of Yi and Armstrong.