Might as well leap right in with the wizards, one of the wackier franchises going. They spent the last year gradually unloading their cavalry of knuckleheads but alas, there is still work to be done. At least the mission is simple: ditch the wackos and put the right pieces around John Wall, so that the roster looks more like a competitive NBA team and less like this:
Yeah, it’s safe to say that finding a sucker to take Gilbert Arenas was the hard part, but it’s not as if Andray Blatche is gonna be any eaiser to unload, even if he’s only making a fraction of what Arenas. Trouble is trouble after all, regardless of the cost. You know what they say about the one bad apple, nevermind four or five.
THE GOOD NEWS
He’s quite the talent, fast as all hell with the ball and athletic enough to hold his own with the new generation of elite point guards. He’s got plenty to learn about the difference between first and fifth gear, not to mention the other three in between, and he’ll need to turn the ball over less and put it in the basket more. All that said, he’s a safe bet to figure it out, and if the front office can show any competency in regard to building around him they could have a fun little team sooner than later.
THEY NAILED THE DRAFT
Ostensibly, the plan was to put defenders and athletes with what they have, since they’ve got the scoring covered with the likes of Wall, Nick Young, Jordan Crwaford and others. Done and done, by all accounts. Jan Vesely is a superfreak athlete who will be an exciting fast-break trailer, and Chris Singleton was considered the best defender in the draft, yet still managed to slip to the Wiz at #18. Oh, and for good measure they picked up Shelvin mack from Butler in the second round, who has “10 year pro” written all over him. Whenever we get back to playing basketball, Washington can throw a young (and yes, in-experienced) dynamic team out there than can play a little defense and wreak havoc in transition. At worst, they’ll win around 30 games but be rather fun to watch.
MONEY TO BURN
Even with the 45 million they still owe Rashard Lewis, the Wizards aren’t spending much on players right now, meaning they’ve got some money to make a move and some young assets to play around with. This is how decent teams become good, good teams become great, etc. Keep an eye on them at the next trade deadline.
THE BAD NEWS
NO TAKERS FOR THE PROBLEM CHILD
This is a big one. Every day that Andray Blatche stays on this team is another day that his myriad bad habits can rub off on Wall and the rest of the young ‘uns. The longer he’s there, the more they’ll be at risk of learning sutff from him, none of it good. Matador defense. Making desperate attempts to get contrived triple-doubles. Getting kicked out of practice. Refusing to go back into games because he wasn’t in the mood.
Of course, not all of it is bad. I mean, Andray does have his share of entrepreneurial wisdom to share.
Gonna be tough to find a taker for this guy.
Like, really tough.
The old ironic quotation marks are never a good sign. Bless Flip saunders and all, but the guy had to shut down a practice last year because the majority of his professional basketball team was fucking around. Not that many coaches could have done much better with the guys they had last year, but Flip’s career has been on a steady decline since the Rasheed Wallace mutiny in Detroit. If the Wiz are serious about a fresh start, they’ll need to get a drill instructor type for this bunch.
YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE
They had a decent run in the recent past, making four straight playoff appearances. hell, they actually won a series in 2005. That said, this team has been miserable for 30 years, posting just 8 winning seasons and a grand total of 2 playoff series victories in that span. It’s always something with these guys, from injuries to bad draft picks to guys pulling guns on each other in the locker room over card games gone awry. Think of th
em as the Clippers east.
As bright as their future might look to the wishful thinkers, they are always a safe bet to suck when push comes to shove. Losing is in their culture. That stuff is harder to get out than a red wine stain.
I’d do what it took to move Blatche, or at worst just but the guy out and move on. Next, I’d look at spending my spare cash on a proven scorer, ideally a wing guy. Someone like Rudy Gay would do nicely. Step three is setting the rest of the deadwood adrift, from Yi Jianlian to Josh Howard to Al Thornton, anyone with a” shoot first, shoot second, defend never” mentality has got to go. All that’s left after that is to bring in a defensive minded coach with an eye toward running a tight ship. The recent NBA blueprint shows that marginally talented teams can overachieve on a consistent basis is they have the right personnel to play defense and get out in transition. Once you get that much, you’re halfway home. Sure, it’s a long way between there and the title, but get that far and you’ll be in a good position to take a giant leap with the right trade or free agent signing.
Wall-Nick Young-Jordan Crawford-Javale McGee-Jan Vesely-Chris Singleton-Rahsard Lewis could be the makings of such a team if everything breaks right. Worst-case, you clean out the malcontents and star anew, even if you have to take some lumps. Either way, it’s the only sensible move to make here.