Craig Heist, wtop.com
Washington – After the Wizards’ 93-72 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday, Wizards head coach Flip Saunders tried to find the words to describe what might have been the worst loss of their 0-8 start to this season.
“There’s really not much to say,” Saunders said. “Disappointment. Embarrassment. I don’t know if words can explain. My job over the next two days is to find five guys who can play with some heart.”
That might be a hard thing to do because it’s clear the players have failed to get the message Saunders is trying to send.
“You cannot give 82 Knute Rockne speeches every night,” he said. “Your job as a professional in this league is to start preparing to play a game the day before and be ready to play. That’s what you do.”
“Evidently, I haven’t done a good enough job because we are getting through to some guys and some guys continue to play the way they want to play and not the way we need them to play as a team.”
The Wizards shot just 34.5 percent. There was too much one-on-one play as we have seen quite a bit this year. No teamwork. No chemistry.
Owner Ted Leonsis said before the season started, “I want to see upside. I want to see improvement. I want to see chemistry being developed and I want to see how the young kids play.”
He can’t be a happy man right now.
Yes, the young guys have shown flashes. Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker in particular have shown signs they can provide valuable minutes. Singleton had 12 points against the Knicks on Friday, and Booker had 14 points and five rebounds Sunday.
Improvement, upside and chemistry are another story.
There is no upside from being 0-8 and showing no signs of snapping out of it anytime soon, which is a shame because the game the Wizards played against the Knicks gave them some hope despite a 99-96 loss.
“After the Knicks game, all the improvements we made, all the togetherness and just going back to having fun, I thought it would carry over,” said Andray Blatche.
“Coming in against Minnesota, we would have that same effort and energy and just playing basketball and having fun but for some reason it wasn’t there tonight.”
The question now becomes whether Flip Saunders will be around long enough to get this band of misfits to get his message.
“I’m not worried about it,” Saunders said. “I know the process we are going through and I know it’s a painful process.”
“I look at a guy like Booker and see how he has improved and some of our other guys that have improved. If we had all the guys who were taking steps backwards, that would be different.”
Who knows what Saunders’ fate will be in the coming weeks or maybe even this week, but former NBA coach and Hall of Famer Larry Brown has been seen hanging around at practice recently with Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon at the Comcast Center.
Brown is 71 and has won championships in both the NBA with the Pistons in 2004 and as head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks in 1988. Turgeon said Saturday Brown would like to return to the NBA coaching ranks.
Maybe Leonsis is listening.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)