You don’t see this often. Wizards coach Flip Saunders had seen enough of today’s practice. Frustrated by what he felt was a lack of effort, Saunders told the team to get off the court and come back for a later workout at 4 p.m. today. “We are not going to beg guys to play hard. If they don’t want to play hard we will get other people who will play hard,” Saunders said afterward. “You would think especially as a young team that you would come with the idea of hey I am going to get better today. We didn’t have that, so we will get better tonight.”
I caught up with Wizards’ forward Andray Blatche and asked him what happened. He responded, “What’s our record?” 1-4 of course. “Exactly.” Blatche said. “Patience is running out. People are getting frustrated….I don’t have a problem with it. Two a day. Training camp in November. That’s cool by me. That’s what happens when you are losing you got to put extra time in,” Blatche said.
Forward Josh Howard, who is still recovering from knee surgery, was watching practice from the sideline and he was extremely candid and critical of his teammates after they were ushered off the floor. “We are getting ready to get a paycheck on the 15th and for right now they getting a paycheck for nothing and I can honestly say this,” Howard said. “I don’t think guys are buying into this.”
Certainly this is alarming stuff as the season is only 5 games old.
Blatche, Howard and center Hilton Armstrong all said they had never been kicked out of an NBA practice until today. “College, yeah a couple times, but in the NBA I can’t say that I have seen a coach just call it off,” Armstrong said. “That was a first for me.”
Saunders told me he has used this tactic before. “You have to go with the idea that you got to get better. It usually happens once or twice a year,” Saunder said. This early though in the season? “I got nothing else to do. If they can’t get it right at 4 they can come back at 8.”