(This part 2 of good news/bad news on the Wiz. Part can be found here.)
As brother Cred alluded to in his most recent post, the Wizards are a team with a little bit of promise and a lot of work to do. If you want the skinny on the personnel moves that need to be made to maybe bring a bit of legitimate joy back to the recently less-than-mediocre nation’s capitol, then check Mr. Auerbach’s work out and you’ll get that knowledge. However, Wes is about to hit you with some different theories regarding what to get excited about and what remains disappointing. This might become a bit of a trend and, also, that was one of the only times I’ll ever refer to myself in the 3rd person.
THE GOOD NEWS
– Uniform Improvement
Part of the appeal of any team is actually completely independent of their success or lack thereof. There are more primal senses that need to be stimulated, whether anyone admits it or not. In many cases, improvement just starts with looking the part a little better. A makeover, if you will. Of course, in this case, it’s sort of a “turn back the clock” thing, somewhat akin to that move that a band makes when they try to go back to their original style that they deviated from in the name of “growth” or some bullshit. They rarely recapture the initial magic, but it’s better than that period in between.
Speaking specifically, the Wizards finally ditched these:
… and went to these:
Much better. Gone are the days of the extremely passive, blue-orange-white unis that didn’t exactly wet the proverbial loins of the viewer. How are you supposed to keep any audience with such uninspiring attire, especially when you combine that with horrific, sub-pathetic play? You can get away with looking like a college team with a lenient athletic department if you bring the goods on the court, but when you’re a team that is basically a lock to lose on the road and a good bet to lose, period, something has to change.
Washington took a step in the right direction by paying more than just a bit of an homage to the glory days, relatively speaking, of the franchise. The new digs have some swing. A little juice. A touch of savoir-faire, even. You can tune in to watch a team dressed like this and get a little bit of an appetite going, you know?
It makes sense. The obvious red, white, and blue lends itself to establishing an actual identity, and also conjures up memories of championships and guys like Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes, Tom Gugliotta, and so on (so one of those names might not fit perfectly with the others, but you get it). Finally, they remind me of the old ABA ball, and I like that.
Of course, they organization didn’t go all the way with the change (committing what I believe to be a fatal error in doing so – more on that soon), but a step in the right direction is just exactly that.
– Top Draft Pick Vesely Comes With Confidence
These European players are typically awkward when they initially get drafted. They either can’t speak the language, are initmidated by the unfamiliarity of everything, or both. Not Jan Vesely, though. No, no… he comes with a little game:
First, he lays a nice lick on his woman. Good for him. However, the more important piece came at the end of the video, when he announced that “Blake Griffin is the American Jan Vesely,” in retort to most who compared him to Griffin.
A bold statement, but I sort of like the confidence. At least the guy is coming out of the gate with some spirit.
Additionally, “Jan” (pronounced YAWN) could be a good name for some spin-off catchphrases, such is “Jan Fire,” or “he’s Jan target” or something. I know, you’re saying, “Wes. Jan drugs or what?” Maybe. Let’s get to the bad news…
THE BAD NEWS
– Still The Wizards…
… as in, “they’re still called the Wizards.” I don’t get it. You make the move to the old unis and bring back that nostalgia, yet you can’t be bothered to CHANGE THE NAME BACK TO THE BULLETS. That was one of the cooler names in the history of the league, and yet, it remains six feet under because of some sort of sensitivity issue. Listen, no one is going to shoot somebody because of that team name. It’s not literal. It doesn’t promote anything. The reality is that guns and bullets are everywhere, and if the NBA really wanted to crack down on shit like this, they’d ban the guy who openly whipped out the hardware in the locker room or something like that. Incidentally, the team traded that dude away.
Regardless, anything would be better than “the Wizards” (with possible exception of “The Raptors” or any name that doesn’t end in “S”). We all know that the only reason for the name is the whole alliteration deal, and it makes me sick. Anything else. Call them the “Diplomats.” I don’t care.
– Top Draft Pick Vesely Comes With What Is Likely False Confidence
The problem with believing in yourself is when you start to do it a little too much. In Vesely’s case, I can only hope he was being humorous with his Griffin comment, and that he comes ready to work hard on making his game work in a league where things might be a little tougher than the overseas scene. I’m fine with a guy with confidence, as long as he has reason for it and doesn’t get ahead of himself.
Two other potential negatives regarding Vesely:
1) That Griffin comment all but assured that Griffin will throw down in his face as soon as possible. Probably hard, too.
2) For all of the clever catchphrases I spoke of earlier, it could very easily go the other way. Vesely could suck, and we would quickly see the rise of ”
YAWN VESELY” references springing up left and right.
In closing, Washington appears to be making different types of moves to make what they have more attractive on multiple levels. There’s much left to be done, but if things get rolling, maybe Jan and John (Wall) and the rest of the gang put together a fresh vibe with some exciting play and a product that’s pleasing to the eye in every sense. Then, maybe they could even get away from that “Wizards” name once and for all. Until that time, continue to “cast those spells!”