Now that we know who the Wizards next head coach is going to be, we can begin to focus on examining his coaching style and what changes Flip Saunders will bring to the team next season. To get a better idea of what he brings to the table, we asked Canis Hoopus some questions about their former coach so we know what to look for next season.
1. Let's start off with the basics, what would you say Flip's greatest strengths and weaknesses are as a coach?
Flip's greatest strength is that he runs an offense that is geared around ball movement and mid range jump shooting. His greatest weakness is that he runs an offense that is geared around ball movement and mid range jump shooting. In his last 3 seasons as the Wolves coach, the team placed 25th, 26th, and dead last in free throw attempts. It's fun to watch during the regular season but not getting to the line eventually catches up with him. In his last 2 years in Detroit, the Pistons finished 22nd in the league in terms of FTAs. Of course, it should also be mentioned that when Flip had a guy who could get into the lane on his own (see Marbury, Stephon), the team placed in the top-10 in free throw shooting, both in 96 and 97. The question for Wizards fans about Flip's coaching probably has more to do with their faith in Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Nick Young's ability to get to the line than it does about the system they will play in. That being said, I'll tell you right away that Butler is exactly the type of player who will excel in Flip's system. Flip may have had KG, but after Starbury, it was hit and miss with guards and swingmen. The one year he did have 2 perimeter players he could count on (Spree and Sam), things went well. Of course...well, KG is pretty hard to overlook no matter how you slice it.
Flip has always gone out of his way to defend Cassell. He does some local radio appearances here on AM 1130 KFAN and every few weeks the question of Sam I Am comes up. During his last season as a Wolf, Cassell would literally walk into the opposing locker room and ask to be traded. Flip always defended Cassell as a player. He always says that Cassell played hurt during the 2004 WCF run and that people need to realize just how much he gave to that season. I obviously don't have the first clue about what went on behind closed doors in the locker room but the words "coach" and "Sam Cassell" just don't seem to go together all that well.