After reading most of the comments from posters so far this season, its clear everyone wants to fire Flip Saunders! I was in complete agreement until re-checking the wizards last few years. Things have gone crazy with the finger pointing... So here is a not-so-fun timeline...
*April 2009 - Flip Saunders is hired by Abe Pollin to coach team of Arenas/Jamison/Butler & Co.
--Signed through 2013/14 season. (The entire coaching staff has since extended through the same time-frame.)
*May 2009 - Flip Saunders hires Sam Cassel. (Saunders former player, not long after ending 19 year playing career.)
*June 2009 - Draft: Traded #5 pick (Ricky Rubio) and garbage to Min. for Foye & Miller.
*Oct. 27 - 2009/10 Season starts.
*Nov. 24 - Abe Pollin passes away. (family takes over running the team)
*Jan 6 - Arenas is suspended for the year. (first by team, later by league)
--Team is dysfunctional at this point, new coaching staff, lack of ownership direction, star player gone for year, team injuries.
*Feb. trade-deadline - Team is dismantled mid season, Jamison/Butler/Haywood traded, Miss-matching pieces taken on for salary dump.
*June 9 2010 - Ted Leonsis finalizes purchase of Wizards, takes ownership.
--2 weeks before the draft, Scouting/draft report is done by Ernie Grunfeld & Milt Newton.
*June 24 - John Wall is drafted.
*Oct 28 - Wall plays first 'game'
*Dec 18 - Arenas traded for Lewis.
*June 17 2011- NBA season ends.
--Season of transition, half a season of Arenas, half with Lewis; neither fits. Offseason plan prior to season is hindered by contracts, poor free-agency with lockout looming & poor planning by Front-Office with Ownership in transition.
*July 1st through Dec. 8th the Players/NBA is locked out.*
-- Ted has first real say in drafting/planning in a locked-out off-season. Makes first Front-Office change, Greg Bibb takes over as E-VP of business side of the franchise.
--No real free-agency, just about literally, much worse then prior year.
--Offseason of extremely young team away from the team, lacking coaching, oversight & veteran direction; after half a season of starting experience for most.
The ongoing theme here is Ernie Grunfeld, Milt Newton and Pollin-hires. EG and MN need to go! The remaining FO VP is Tommy Sheppard, the only FO guy i would keep (outside of Bibb, hired by Ted.) TS seems to be the guy behind the scenes managing the cap and orchestrating most of the trades. Milt Newton needs to go ASAP, talent evaluation has been HORRIBLE for years. Ernie Grunfeld is a pieces guy, not a big picture guy. He can help you fill in a roster with a direction; he can NOT build a roster in a direction. The disparity in player selection/team-fit is moronic to this point.
Ted Leonsis needs to make the ownership decision of what he wants his team to be. What type of Offense, what type of Defense, who to feature/who to compliment. Find a former coach, X/O's GM type to build a team philosophy and stick with it. Then find a new VP of player personnel & scouting, giving the new VP-pp a direction to acquire players that will fit the team. The largest point here is, having a team goal, a focus, a style, a direction; a team.
Flip is doing a HORRIBLE job, before looking back at his tenure here, i completely agreed he needed to be fired, this moment. Seeing what he has had to work with though...harder to kick him to the curb. Team built by Pollin, all eggs in 1 basket, there was an organizational focus. Flip was hired for that team, Abe's last push for a championship. The team fell apart after he passed. Half a season of complete dysfunction, loss of organizational focus, loss of a team identity. Young guys mixed with veterans tossed into the fold, none fitting what the team was built to do.
Leonsis finally takes over after the year, lucks out on Wall, but the rest of the draft-plan/scouting was done by EG/MN. Poor off-season planning, poor free-agency, Arenas still on team because of salary, inability to make major changes. EG can largely be summed up in the #17 pick in that years draft; Seraphin. In hindsight the Hinrich trade was a good trade, veteran player to flip later, 3 mil. cash and the pick. EG picking Seraphin makes NO sense. Does not fit team, does not fit coach, project player who needs seasoning when EG doesn't believe in the D league. This was poor scouting and a poor GM decision. The Arenas trade needed to be done, taking so long hurt Walls development though. Give more credit to Tommy Sheppard for this trade happening, was a #'s move more then anything, less of a hindrance in years, if it was solely done because it needed to be; it would have happened sooner. (if Lewis quits acting like a baby and he stays the year, he 'will' be traded to a team needing his cap # for a year, saves amnesty also.)
This off-season is worse then the last, no real free agency. Young team with no contact or focus in off-season due to lockout. No real training-camp or preseason to work on the prior years problems. Carry over of miss-matching players without a team style/focus/direction. What is EG even doing as the GM at this point? Flip Saunders never had a chance. Most of the players do not fit together; the play styles are not complimentary to each-other, nor the skill sets.
Fire Ernie Grunfeld, Fire Milt Newton & hire a former coach as a GM. Give him a true personnel guy, a scouting department under him with a direction. Let the new GM evaluate the coaching staff for the rest of the year, Give Flip Saunders free-reign to sit/play whoever he wants to, evaluate talent. Let the X/O's smart GM trade away the pieces that do not fit what the owner wants the team to be. If Flip doesn't fit, fire him after the season. The entire coaching staff is loyal to Saunders, played for him, coached with him for years or severely lacking experience; firing him only makes the problems worse this year.
Front Office of:
GM: Former coach - ????
VP-Basketball Admin: (the smart #s guy) Tommy Shepphard
VP-Personnel: Scout/skill-set guy who fits team direction. - ????
VP-Business side: (already in place, Ted hire) Gregg Bibb
(written on lack of sleep, ignore typos, grammatical errors and grouped event dates)