Our very own Sean Fagan was at the Verizon Center today when Flip Saunders canceled practice, and was able to get some great access to the players to find out what they thought of the whole thing. The entire article can be found over at Bullets Forever, and it is absolutely worth a read. Here are some snippet; the first a quote from Josh Howard on whether this was the worst practice of the year:
As far as focus, yeah. I got out there today and I could feel the intensity level go up when I was out there. But when I came out it was like guys forgot the game. It's tough to watch that......1-4, I've been in situations where I've started out 0-5 and made it to the Finals. It's a correctable mistake. Guys need to go out there and sell it to one another.
As the players were leaving the first practice, Hilton Armstrong pulled them all aside and tried to inspire them to come back later in the day with a renewed sense of purpose and urgency. Here is his explanation why he chose to do that:
Uh (long pause), there was no reason really, I just know we needed it. Everyone just walked off the court. It just seemed to easy for me personally. Nobody said anything, so I just felt that that somebody needed to say something. Pretty sure that everyone was thinking it, but just to hear it come from somebody else's mouth maybe different, maybe spark something for everyone to pick it up so this won't happen again.
Finally, what Flip saw that caused him to end the first session:
We didn't accomplish what we needed to accomplish. After you lose a couple of games you hope to come in with a sense of urgency. I was excited about coming here, I actually got here at 7AM getting ready for practice...we didn't come with that same urgency as a team. We're not going to beg guys to play hard. If they don't want to play hard we'll come back in at another time and we'll get people in who do play hard. That's the one thing as coaches, you can't coach effort. So we'll find guys that will do it and do it in the right environment.
Flip had to do something to get his troops playing harder, this might be the right way to go about doing that. You play like you practice, and if the team isn't practicing with the sense of urgency Flip think they need, then that will translate to how they play on the court.
Again, Sean has much, much more over at Bullets Forever.