Flip Saunders meet and greet with season ticket holders today

Editor's Note: Gotta bump this to the Front Page. Great inside info from ooba! -PM


Here is my report from the meet and greet today. Sorry if some of it doesn't make sense - my hand was cramping as I was writing. Hope you find this interesting. It's a very long.

Flip said it was good to sit out last season and watch and analyze the other teams. Of course a plus was that he didn't lose any games.

He was interested in the Washington opportunity for 4 reasons - 1. ownership group's committment to the team and community 2. Managment staff and Ernie's success particularly with NY going to the finals and Milwaukee making the playoffs after many years. Plus Wiz making playoffs too. 3. Players - 3 all stars and plenty of veterans plus a nucelus of young players. 4. city and energy of the fans

He believes that Andre and Nick are really going to take off. Both have been really impressive. He particularly mentioned Andre's work ethic and working out.

Gilbert has been practicing every day and has lost 15 pounds and is at his lightest weight since 2004. Yes, Gilbert is unique and quirky but he is also very, very competitive.

Style of play - needs to be a balance between offense and defense. Have to take advantage of mismatches, the player who is hot will get the ball. For defense priority is protecting 3 point line and the paint.

Question - do you believe defense wins championships? How do you motivate the team to play defense? Flip - have to be committed to play defense. Individuals may not necessarily be good defenders per say but it is the team defense that is important. Especially help defense. It's also a matter of confidence. Players who get to this level know how to play defense they just need to know and understand the schemes and responsibility.

Q - Gilbert and leadership? Flip - Gilbert doesn't have a choice, he has to be a leader. I ask players - do you want to be good or great? A great player is a leader.The team is very hungry and embarrassed about last year. I have talked to him about the process of being a leader. With Gil the potential is there as all of the other players respect him.

Q-Coaching staff of other teams has often dictated our matchups. How do you approach that from your perspective? Flip - we won't be matching down to another team, the 5 best players that work best together will be on the floor, this is not necessarily the 5 best players on the team.

Q - In the past you have had success with pg's who play slower. How does Gil fit with this? Flip- have had faster pg's eg: Marbury. It really depends on what you have. Don't want to get into fast break situation where there is a quick attack. Have to play half court as well. We play 82 games to set ourselves up for the playoffs so you can play the same way.

Q - how are the workouts going? Flip - each player working out has different strengths. Flynn - leader, good at pick and roll. Curry - best shooter. Jennings - very athletic. Price - good all around.

Q- a lot of players who weren't playing, weren't even on the bench supporting. What is your opinion on this? Flip - this may also be due to the dress code. Sometimes players will tweak something in practice and not have a suit with them. The team doesn't want the fine so the player won't be on the bench. But philosophy is player should be there suppporting.

Q-Guys getting hurt? What approach going to take? can we be like Phoenix? Flip - last year we had some freak accidents such as Haywood getting hurt. I hold intense but short practices as opposed to 2 hour practices. It's also a process of conditioning the body. Players have to prepare in the off season. Sometimes players show up to training camp and they haven't really worked out in the offseason so they start intense workouts and get injured.

Q-There are many statistical tools that sports fans don't see, what do you focus on stats or gut instinct? Flip - developing new program where will chart plays on a computer during the game so can see what works, players tendencies and synopsis of all plays. Can figure out top ten most successful plays. In last 10 minutes, I coach with my gut.

Q - who are you going to pick in the draft? Flip - we are looking at 7 players. Really depends on what the teams do above us. We are luckier than most teams in the top ten in that we do not have to have an impact player right away because we have such good players already. We can draft a new player and he will have good mentors. A player who would be a starter on another team, doesn't have to be that for us right away. When we drafted KG for Minnesota, we watched him work out for 5 mins. There were 20 other teams there. We told the other teams we were going to take him at number 5 in the hope that they would be like ' wow, he must be really good, maybe we should take him' in the hopes that one of those other players projected to go 1-4 would drop down.

Q- we have a very talented but immature team. How do you make them grow up? Flip - We keep pounding into players and eventually they will get it. If the players don't have believe and have the attitude the we can win a championship, then they won't play. I think of myself as more of a teacher than a coach.

Q (from someone who was a little angry but who can blame her) respect should be earned and not given. Gilbert is a prankster, he did his own rehab, he stopped sitting on the bench and supporting the team, and he behaved irresponsibly off court. Jamison is the opposite. Gilbert even said that the team should finish last to get the number 1 pick. Flip - I don't care about he past. We have a clean slate. I have a certain way of doing things. I tell players - 'your greatest strength is your greatest weakness if you can't control it'.Eg - with Rasheed and all of his technicals. I told him, if you think you are wronged by the referees (which he always thought), come over to me and yell at me instead. He would be looking at getting suspended for a game in the playoffs so would come over and yell at me to get over the hump. Of course it was interpreted as Rasheed and I were in conflict. As far as Gilbert's pranks - need a melting pot for the team which is what we have.

Q- thoughts on Ricky Rubio and would we take him if he fell to us? Flip - don't think he is going to fall to us but he can play with Gilbert. Some teams are scared off by the Spanish contract but think a team will trade up to get him. After Blake, most buzz is surrounding Rubio and Curry.

Q- how do you develop the youngsters to make sure they are ready? Flip - experience with both KG and Marbury. Have to give youngsters responsibility to have them keep improving, as they improve give them more responsibility, if they don't improve take away some of that responsibility. Use film sessions as well. Part of the problem with youngsters is that they are not used to the competiveness of the games and how hard the games are. The players we have had work out for us have all said that our workouts are the hardest they have ever done.

Q - How will you get the team ready for a big moment at end of 4th quarter? Flip - practice late game situations every day. Preparation is really key. Can never really be prepared for getting caught up in the emotion but can have rituals and repetiveness.

Q - how is Brendan doing? Flip - very good shape. Actually lost weight while he was injured because was working so hard. No ill effects. Deshawn is doing back exercises.

Q- defense. even when healthy, one of the worst teams. Each coach has said we'll improve it and it never happens. What do you identify as the Wiz weaknesses? Flip - it can come from the offense. if you take a lot of 3 pointers early in the shot clock, you run the risk of the long rebound and fast break for the opponent and the transition defense has been lacking. We plan on contesting every shot, no second shots and no layups.

Q - about Javale? Flip - working with him on fundamentals. Has freakish athleticism but have to realize that don't have to dunk every shot, can sometimes lay it in.

Phew, I'm done.

This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.