Flip Saunders On Gilbert, Starting New And Carpentry
by Tas Melas
If the Wizards were to hire Lionel Richie as their Head Coach next season, they would greatly improve on their 19-63 record – probably by about 30 games. So, the Wizards were looking for a 31-game propulsion when they named Flip Saunders as their new bench boss this past week. Injuries decimated the team this season – should they have won more than 19 games? Of course, but when an NBA team has one All-Star who plays in only two games (Gilbert Arenas), another who misses a lot of time and plays hurt (Caron Butler), and have a guy who is supposed to be wearing a suit start some games at point guard (Juan Dixon), many games will be lost.
That being said, not only was their a lack of healthy talent, but there was a work ethic problem in the nation’s capital. That work ethic combined with a fan base that was nowhere to be found likely got Eddie Jordan tossed from the bench early in the season. Flip replaces Interim Head Coach, Ed Tapscott, and will likely have his roster smiling with his style of play – the two should mesh well. Flip Saunders joined KFAN in Minneapolis to discuss Gilbert Arenas’ biggest problem, his track record with awful teams, and one positive of his profession.
On Gil’s biggest issue and why he’ll thrive under him:
“He’s kinda been contacting me – this morning, I had a text at 6:30 in the morning from him, ‘Congrats…’ He’s fired up, he’s worked hard. His biggest problem is that he’s such an unbelievable competitor, and one of the reasons that he’s had trouble coming back is that he’s come back too soon. He’s worked too hard, too soon, and not given his leg an opportunity to heal like it needs to. If he comes back and he’s anywhere near where he was, he’ll be a monster, especially in my system because my system is pretty much point oriented.”
On his track record with abysmal teams:
“When you take over a team that has struggled as they did the year before, you have the opportunity to change a lot… everything. Attitude, how you go about doing things, it’s new, it’s not an old regime… These are situations that I love. Till I went to Detroit, every program that I had taken over starting at Golden Valley Lutheran College, to Rapid City, to La Crosse, to Sioux falls, back to Minnesota, every situation was a terrible situation, the teams had terrible records, and I kinda relish the opportunity to build. My dad’s a carpenter so maybe I like to build up.”