First, I want to say that I'm not at practices. I don't attend any meetings. I'm not around the team constantly. I watch the games on TV. I read the paper. I read blogs. So, maybe I've got a skewed perception on what's really going on inside the Wizards locker room - but from the outside looking in, it doesn't look pretty.
I wasn't going to say anything negative about the blow out loss to the Spurs. Games like that happen. The Wizards couldn't seem to find the basket, and shot as poorly as I've seen them shoot all year. In addition, they forgot to play defense on the Spurs shooters (Mason, Finley, etc...) and got burned time after time when they left 3-point shooters wide open (my pet peeve). Nope, I was going to give them a pass on this one. San Antonio has been playing extremely well. They have one of the most efficient Offenses in the League. Their shooters were hot. The Wizards have been playing better after the All-Star break, but just had one of those off shooting nights. The effort was there. I question the Wizard's 3-point defensive scheme - but I cannot question the effort. Chalk it up as a loss to a better team.
Then I read this quote:
It took Ed Tapscott about 15 minutes to come out and address the media. After speaking to the team he had Nick Young, Javaris Crittenton, JaVale McGee and Oleksiy Pecherov in his office, "getting in somebody's butt hole," according to Antawn Jamison.
I sure hope that quote was wrong. I hope that Tapscott wasn't reaming out those young guys for a poor performance against the Spurs. I hope that Tapscott is not so stupid as to think that there's ANYTHING those four players could have done in the meager time he allotted them in the first three quarters to affect the outcome of that game.
When the game was already out of reach (23 point lead by the Spurs), Tapscott made wholesale substitutions at the 8:05 mark of the fourth quarter and put in JaVale McGee, Young and Crittenton. Pecherov came in with 5:34 left in the game. Up until that point, Nick Young played a total of 3:45; McGee played a total of 4:53; and Pecherov had not played at all. Just to make sure I didn't miss anything, I went back to watch that final 8:05 of the fourth quarter. The youngsters didn't play particularly well. Sorry, I take that back - they didn't SHOOT particularly well; but then neither did Antawn Jamison or Andray Blatche when they were in the game earlier. But the young guys did show effort. They did try to close out on shooters. The Spurs only made two 3-point shots (after making 11 up to that point) and one of those was contested. The young Wizards didn't seem particularly organized on offense and turned the ball over twice - but they didn't look any more inept than Mike James or Juan Dixon had earlier in the game. I did not see anything in that 4th quarter that made me think: "Wow, those young players are really stinking up the joint"
I am very concerned about an apparent rift within the organization, and specifically a rift that appears to have been created by Tapscott and Jamison between the "youngsters" and the "veterans".
Veterans like Mike James, can apparently do no wrong, even when they play over 26 minutes, go 0-6, and allow their defensive assignment to go off for 25 points - including 5 WIDE OPEN 3-point shots.But if Javaris Crittenton makes a mistake and lingers on the baseline too long and allows his man to score on a fast break, Taps is immediately in his grill.
Veterans like Jamison can play 36 minutes, and chuck the ball up every time they touch it regardless if they're only shooting 6-17 from the field; but Nick Young gets yanked if he misses two shots in a row.
A veteran like Caron Butler can play 33 minutes, cheat the passing lanes so he can grab Sports Center highlight steals, and leave 3-point shooters like Michael Finley WIDE OPEN NINE TIMES; but McGee goes for a pump fake he gets yanked.
A veteran like Darius Songaila can play 27 minutes and secure exactly 2 whole rebounds. Pecherov gets 2 rebounds in 5 minutes but fails to box out once, he sits the bench for a week.
The "veterans" can stink up the joint, but if the "youngsters" don't play well, they get called into the Principal's office. And what did Pecherov do to get thrown in with the rest? Next time Tapscott looks at the end of the bench, Pech is gonna say "no thanks Coach, it's safer here on the end of the bench - I don't want to get yelled at again."
The development of Nick Young is of particular concern for me. Of all the recent Wizard's draft picks, Nick had, in my opinion, the highest ceiling. When he got here, I seriously thought he could be an All-Star quality Shooting Guard. Now I think his development has been so retarded by the inconsistent playing time he's getting - that his development may have actually halted - and he may have already hit his ceiling.
Nick will start to get into a groove, his minutes will increase to 25-30 minutes per game. He starts to produce numbers, then he'll have an off game - and his minutes are immediately dropped to 11-15 minutes a game for a week or so. This is not a new development. It's a regular pattern. The same thing has happened all year long.
Earlier this month, I thought the Coaching staff had finally figured it out. The first 5 games this month, Nick was getting 25-30 minutes a night and averaging 17 points per game. Then he had a poor shooting night against Charlotte, and his minutes dropped in the next three games to 15, 11 and 12 minutes yesterday. And it's not just that the minutes have dropped; but also WHEN he's playing. The last three games, he's played very little in the first halves of games. In other words, he's getting mop up duty.
Jan 7th - Jan 19th. Nick averaged almost 30 minutes per game, and he was scoring almost 21 points per game. He had a bad shooting night against Golden State on Jan 19th, and for the next 6 games he averaged only 14 minutes per game.
Nov 22 - Dec 5th. Young averaged 21 minutes per game, and he averaged about 11 points per game. Then he shot 1-6 against Chicago on December 6th, and his minutes dropped to 13 per game for the next 6 games.
This is coaching?