Wizards

Cardinals promote Steve Keim to general manager

Cardinals promote Steve Keim to general manager

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals have chosen to stay in-house with the promotion of Steve Keim to general manager as the search for a new head coach goes on.

The 40-year-old Keim has worked for the franchise for 14 years. He joined the Cardinals in 1999 as a scout, became director of college scouting in 2006 and director of player personnel in 2008 before being named vice president for player personnel last year.

At a news conference on Tuesday, the hulking Keim, with his trademark shaved head, said he is driven by two specific memories of his time with Arizona.

``One is obviously the day that I stood on the field in 2008 when we won the NFC championship and all that confetti was sticking to my sweaty head. That thought drives me,'' he said. ``The other thought that drives me is when I was sitting at our game against Seattle this year and we lost 58-0 and making a pact with myself that that will never happen again.''

Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said the fact that other teams were interested in Keim shows his value.

Bidwill said he felt he owed it to the organization to conduct other interviews even though his ``initial impression was that Steve was going to be a natural fit.''

With his wife and three young children - the youngest sound asleep in a stroller - on hand, Keim said that although he interviewed for other GM jobs, staying in Arizona was always his first choice.

A two-time all-ACC guard at North Carolina State, Keim had a brief stint as a player in the NFL with Miami in 1996 and with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League in 1997. After that, he returned to North Carolina State as strength and conditioning coach as well as doing player evaluations and serving as a liaison to NFL representatives who were evaluating players at the school.

``I told my mother when I was nine I wanted to be an NFL general manager and she sort of snickered,'' Keim said. ``She said `If you only worked on your math and your science as hard as you did on knowing these players, you may end up being successful.'''

Keim replaces Rod Graves, who was fired along with coach Ken Whisenhunt the day after the season ended.

Bidwill, son of team owner Bill Bidwill, said that Keim's duties will ``be a little bit different'' from those of Graves.

``What they tend to do is they improve each other and make the team better,'' Bidwill said. ``They make each other better, as well. And they come to team decisions. And that's the view that I have, which is we're going to have that here. We'll make Cardinal decisions and we'll be a better team for it.''

Keim was a part of Bidwill's two interviews of head coaching candidates - Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. An interview is scheduled on Thursday with Jay Gruden, offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Asked about other general manager's he has admired, Keim mentioned former Green Bay GM Ron Wolf and Bill Polian, for 13 years a top executive of the Indianapolis Colts. Keim said he hopes to continue working with Jason Licht, the Cardinals' highly regarded director of player personnel.

Keim said he believes that the Cardinals have ``a ton of talent'' on their roster and that the task at hand is ``a re-tool, not a rebuild.''

He mentioned young defensive standouts cornerback Patrick Peterson, defensive end Calais Campbell and inside linebacker Daryl Washington. The problems, though, mostly are on what was the worst offense in the NFL.

What to do at quarterback, Keim said, ``is the million-dollar question.''

The Cardinals lost 10 of their last 11 games to finish 5-11. The success came with Kevin Kolb at quarterback, but he went down in Week 6 with a season-ending rib injury. It was the second year in a row that injuries had cut short Kolb's season with Arizona.

``There are what, seven, eight very good quarterbacks in this league,'' Keim said, ``and then every (other) team is doing the same thing. It's a revolving door. They're searching, just like we are. Kevin's done some good things. He's shown some flashes. That being said, the consistency, the durability are questions. So that's something we're going to address with the new head coach, and that's something that obviously is at the top of our list.''

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With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

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USA Today Sports Images

With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

After a night in which Otto Porter Jr. only took nine total shots, just two of them in the second half, many questions from Wizards reporters in the postgame locker room centered on how the team can get him more involved. This came on the heels of a seven-shot, zero-three outing for Porter against the Heat on Thursday and a preseason in which getting him more attempts was a persistent storyline.

It sounds like some are tired of talking about it. Point guard John Wall, who is part of the equation as the team's main distributor and highest usage player, put it in relatively strong terms.

"This will be the last time I talk about Otto Porter getting threes," Wall said. 

Wall went on to explain how it's a combination of defenses taking away the three-point line for Porter and the flow of the game creating better shots for others. It's a common explanation Wall has given on the matter in recent weeks, and it's understandable.

Head coach Scott Brooks has admitted his own role in Porter not getting enough shots, how more plays could be called for the small forward. But after the loss to Toronto, one in which Porter played just south of 25 minutes, he was a bit more blunt in his assessment.

Brooks believes Porter can be doing a lot more to help himself.

"Gotta get yourself open," Brooks said. 

When asked about Porter playing fewer minutes than usual, Brooks went on about the need for guys to play hard. That warranted a follow-up, as it seemed Brooks was questioning Porter's hustle.

Brooks explained what he meant by that in detail.

"You've got to move. You've got to set yourself up. You've got to run the floor. We got a fast point guard. I don’t know if you guys know that but he’s fast and if our wings aren’t running, what good is it when you’re going to have a one-man break? What makes teams play with pace is guys running." 

"I love Otto. You guys know that. But he has to play faster. He has to. Physically, he’s not going to jump over anybody and dunk over everybody, but he has to get himself into position. He’s a big-time player for us. He’s a glue guy. He makes winning basketball plays. He gets in plays but he has to do that consistently for us. He can’t do it for a half. He has to do it for the entire game. The guy can do it. I’ve seen it. He didn’t do it tonight but he’s going to bounce back. He didn’t do it the first two games but he’s going to bounce back and do it. And we need it.”

Porter, 25, was the Wizards' most efficient player last season, but averaged only 11.5 shots per game. With one of the best three-point shots in the NBA, the numbers suggest he should have a larger role.

The Wizards insist they are trying to get him more involved. In their eyes, it's time for Porter to do his part.

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Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Saturday night produced a link between some of the best players in recent Wizards/Bullets franchise history.

With a fourth-quarter three, Bradley Beal surpassed Gilbert Arenas on the franchise list for career triples

Beal, an All-Star last season, has already established himself as one of the best to play for Washington in decades. Afterwards, he paid homage to the man whose record he broke.

"I was always a fan of Gil. He was Agent Zero," Beal told NBC Sports Washington. 

"I loved everything about him; his confidence, his swagger on the floor. Granted, everyone talks about his off-the-court stuff, but what he did on the court is just untouchable. It's untouchable. He's a legend, for sure. Part of me wishes I could have played with him and just learned from him in a lot of ways. That's an accomplishment for me. I'm happy I was able to surpass it because he is a legend, in my opinion anyway."

Arenas' tenure with the Wizards was epic for its highs and lows. At his peak, he was arguably the most dangerous scorer in the NBA. But his downfall both on the court and off has left him as a notorious figure in the game's recent history.

John Wall, who has assisted on many of Beal's three-pointers, played with Arenas back in the 2010-11 season as a rookie. He is happy for his current teammate, who now has a distinct place in the team's history books.

"He's probably the best shooter I've ever played with in my eyes, so it's great to see him accomplish that," Wall said. "He's going to keep setting the bar higher and higher."

Beal passed Arenas in just the second game of his seventh NBA season. He's only 25 years old, so odds are he will keep adding to his franchise record for many years to come.

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