KCP says Wizards need a defensive communicator 


Looking at the 95 points the Suns scored Saturday against the Wizards is a bit easier on the eyes than what actually happened on the court.

In a 95-80 Wizards loss, the offense was the easy direction to point the blame as they scored the fewest amount of points they had in four years. But the game’s final score lied a bit, as Phoenix scored only 10 points in the final quarter to make the game look closer than it was.

And in the loss, the Wizards’ problems stemmed, in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s eyes, from a lack of communication — specifically on the defensive end of the floor. 

“A lot slips with communication, I don’t know what it is,” he said postgame. “We love talking to each other, but when we get on the court, no one talks to each other. That communication, it helps a lot. It helps on the defensive end, getting guys in position to defend or help. Offense, just talking everybody through it…We just don’t have that consistency in the communication and playing hard.”

The Wizards allowed the Suns to shoot 48.6% from the field in the first 36 minutes before the final frame, at which point the leading Suns substituted their bench. In total, the Wizards were out-rebounded 65-42 and allowed 21 second-chance field goals attempted. On the other end, they attempted just 10 second-chance shots of their own. 

From Caldwell-Pope's perspective, the Wizards roster right now doesn’t have that elite defensive communicator that helps put players in the right positions across the floor.


“It’s guys that tuned into the defensive end, who watch film a lot, know the team’s coverage, a guy that is just pointing out everything, pretty much," Caldwell-Pope said of great defensive communicators. "I don’t think that we have that on this team, someone that can do that. Coaches are laying it out for us and we’re not paying attention to it, of course we’re gonna have them slip-ups. That’s what we have to get better at, as far as consistency, communication and playing together.”

He wasn’t sure if it was the looming trade deadline or All-Star break, or the contract status of players on the team were a factor. But, it’s been an issue all season long and Saturday was no different.

And when the offense suffered, the defense wasn't there to help out.

“I feel like it’s been throughout the season something we have to strongly improve in, the communication,” Caldwell-Pope said. “The consistency of that, it helps on the court. Being able to talk to someone, get them in the position. If I’m talking to this person, now he knows, ‘Alright, I need to be in this position next time.’”

Whether it be energy (something Montrezl Harrell is tired of hearing about), or communication, it’s been an issue for the Wizards on the defensive end of the floor. And with just one game left before the deadline, there’s not much time remaining to fix it — if the answer is outside the organization.

“Defensive-wise, I don’t care if you mess up,” Caldwell-Pope said. “Do it hard. If you’re in your position and you go for a steal and you miss it, you playing hard, we’ll cover for you. I don’t think we have that a lot on this team. When one guy’s beat it’s, ‘Do I help?’ It’s a lot of indecisiveness of the communication and the help.”