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Coach, McGee self ally-oop disagreement sums up Wizards

Jan 16, 2012, 7:11 PM EDT

As you can see above, in the third quarter of the Wizards latest loss Monday, JaVale McGee decided to showboat a little with the self ally-oop.

It pretty much summed up the Wizards — impressive but unnecessarily showy and self-serving, all while the team was losing. Actually, what would have made it the perfect Wizards play is if he missed the dunk, but at least we were spared that.

The dunk promptly got McGee benched by coach Flip Saunders for most of the rest of the game. Saunders is coaching the most unprofessional locker room in the NBA and he picked this bit of showboating to put his foot down. Here is what Saunders said postgame, via Mike Prada and Bullets Forever.

“I told him that’s unacceptable,” Saunders said. “Maybe I’m too old-school, but you see that and the [lobbying] for the All-Star Game, that right there is where we have to get to where we identify with meat and potato basketball. Playing hard, setting screens, playing the right way, and not highlight-type play. We’ve said this many times. We have some players that look for highlights instead of substance.”

McGee didn’t really get why the anger.

“Apparently, if you get a fast break and you throw it off the backboard in the third quarter and you’re 1-11, you’re not supposed to do stuff like that,” McGee said, seemingly sarcastically. “I felt like I was trying to get the team hyped and trying to make a good play, so I felt like we did that, and we went on a run from there.”

Actually JaVale, it’s 1-12. McGee’s confusion may stem back to this kind of thing not being consistently enforced through the Wizards season. Part of that falls on Saunders. But it falls on the Wizards’ players also. Royce Young said it well at Eye on Basketball.

 I like McGee. I don’t think he’s a total knucklehead. I think he plays hard, tries to get better and wants to win. But he, along with some of his teammates, continue to do dumb things. It’s a culture thing. You can’t continue to think about yourself or highlights. You have to think about the team and what’s most important… At some point, you’ve just got to grow up. You can’t continue to waste talent and opportunity. Be a professional. An NBA game isn’t your own personal playground. It’s about the final score. It’s about winning and losing, the latter of which you know plenty about.

That the locker room was divided on the play and Saunders reaction tells you all you need to know about the Wizards locker room. John Wall sided with Saunders. Veteran Maurice Evans did as well. But Nick Young diplomatically tried to take McGee’s side.

There is a culture change that needs to happen in the Wizards locker room and this is one step on a long journey. A journey that is going to require some roster moves because this team doesn’t want to “play the right way” most nights. Saunders needs to more of this — and the locker room needs to start policing itself.

Right now, the D.C. locker room is about as focused on what is best long-term as Congress in that same town. It has to change. With the Wizards it might.

  1. goforthanddie - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Think they could get Larry Brown to come to DC? Or a GM that will ditch a little trash before it becomes a landfill?

    • jmclarkent - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      As long as Larry didn’t have complete GM duties, he would be the perfect fit for the next few years. This team needs to learn play “The Right Way”, they are light years away from that right now.

    • tcclark - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:44 PM

      I absolutely love Larry Brown, but he is EXTREMELY hard on point guards and John Wall is not a Larry Brown point guard. He’d probably ruin his career

      • markcycy - Jan 17, 2012 at 5:00 PM

        if i am not mistaken iverson had his best years with brown as his coach

  2. mlblogsbig3bosox - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    People keep telling me I’m wrong but to me Filp Saunders is in the hot seat right now.

    • goforthanddie - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:29 PM

      Management has given him a free pass this season, considering what he has to work with. But IMO they can do much better.

  3. illbilliv - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    JaVale McGee is the best Wizard big man since Georghe Muresan!

  4. tomtravis76 - Jan 16, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    I was at this game and this was one moment the crowd got up and cheered. Yeah , it seems a bit And1, but the NBA is still sports entertainment. Flip hurt his team by pulling this lame HS coach stunt. He hurt the professional team he coaches by benching Javale for one play he did during the game. Flip should have said something to him during a timeout,but Flip lost the game for the Wizards by trying to make useless point. Javale was blocking shots, altering shots , getting rebounds , being a presence in the paint.

    The guy the Wizards need to ship out of DC, asap, is Blatche. That guy plays so lazy, he plays like he doesn’t even want to be on the court. Pathetic when an NBA player ,who have fans paying to watch them play totally dogs it on the court. Blatche is a terrible NBA player.

  5. skinsnation703 - Jan 16, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Feels great to be a Washington fan.

  6. brooklynbulls - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    When I first saw this clip on ESPN, initially I thought the Wizards must have won this game, and he’s show boat celebrating…. But they are still 1-12! Pathetic! You have to win at least two games before you’re allowed to do that.

  7. mytthor - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    I don’t see many Wiz games and don’t pretend to know how McGee is overall, but they were still in the game at this point, I don’t see anything wrong with this. So should he lay it up? Of course not, he should dunk it. Should he dunk it hard? What about a windmill? Where is the line drawn? If they were down 20 with 5 minutes left I would have a problem with it; otherwise I actually agree with him, just trying to get the crowd and the team excited, what’s wrong with that?

  8. stebutt - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    He scored. What’s wrong with that? Madness.

  9. acdc363 - Jan 17, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    I have Javale on my fantasy team this year and i was watching this game. It was one of the few times the crowd actually got excited as someone pointed out earlier which then got the team excited and prompted john wall to put up a career-high 38 pts. Its little things like that thay get the momentum going and thus gets your team rolling. To bench such a major part of your team to simply teach him a lesson is only gonna dig the wizards into a deeper hole.

    • acdc363 - Jan 17, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      Oh and don’t forget JaVale was coming off a 24 POINT 18 REBOUND GAME. Damn you to hell flip saunters!

  10. devinmr711 - Jan 17, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    I cannot stand Flip Saunders he needs to be fired now. The Wizards need that tough guy, stand up for his players and respected by all players type coach. Like Mark Jackson and Mike Tomlin.

  11. lphboston - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Guess it just comes down to this — if you think the NBA is all about entertainment, what’s the problem with what he did? If you believe that the league should be about winning and teamwork, it’s a playground move that show that the team is made up of a group of individuals who either don’t want to play as a team, or can’t.

    David Stern made the decision years ago to market the league’s individuals. It helped make the league money, but also spawned generations of selfish players who care more about themselves than they do their teams. It’s the NBA culture that the league created.

    Players who last in the Association for more than 6 or 7 years eventually realize that winning a title gets more and more important, ad they give up the individual shit. By then there is a whole new generation of players under them that perpetuate the nonsense.

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