Wizards is the most functional team in the NBA. There are fewer talented teams, few franchises with fewer victories, and there are other fanatics who have brought their shame to and outside the court during the first month of the season. However, what sets the wizards, however, is the complete lack of vision that is moving forward. Woolf and Cow fans can at least be comforted knowing that the first few weeks of this season were probably as low as the things come. Wizards can still spend less than the one they are now – 5-11 entering Tuesday night with Clippers – and there is a chance that this month, or this year, is just the beginning. For now: John Wall is in a hot tub answering fans and Stefan A. Smith. Bradley Bill says he does not pay attention to trade rumors, because "basketball is my muse". Scott Brooks has no answers, but he will not be fired. Ernie Grunfeld is obviously a GM for life, like the Justice of the NBA Supreme Court. And instead of hope or clarity in D.C., there is only mounting apathy.
On Monday morning, ESPN reported that the wizards were open to hear trade offers for everyone on the list, including John Wool and Bradley Bill. Until Monday night, we learned that Waw was recently fined for dismantling a hug from Scott Brooks during exercise. In the middle of the same practice there were problems with Jeff Green, Austin Rivers and Bradley Bill, who were reportedly shouting to the team managers: "I've dealt with this – seven years." Fans of Wizards can behave.
For this purpose, if one asks how Wizards has arrived here, I've been an admirer and a writer watching all this take place for several seasons. I have some thoughts.
The original sin of the present era was retained by Randy Whitman. Back in 2014, Wizards finished the season as number 5 seed in the East. On the surface that looked like progress. But that story was wrong. While Washington finished fifth in the conference with 44 wins, fifth place in the West won 54 games. Wizards just won four winning teams after the break from All-Star. The defense was solid, but the offense ended with a number 19 in the NBA. Even the playboy itself was a mirage; Wizards finished fifth, as "Nets" kept their last game in a bid to draw Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. Ultimately, that season ended with anxiety about the Bulls and a second-round loss against the Pacers team, which was in the midst of a long-standing implosion.
(Note: This is a by-product of a sick brain, so ignore this passage if you are better suited to me. But if someone wants to experience the details of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference 2014, they started with the magicians shocking the NBA: 17 of ESPN's 18 writers chose Chicago to win in the first round, but were dominated by Wall, Beal and vineage Nene, and the Bull Bulls Bulls had no answers. This series felt like arriving at something great in the second round with a victory of the track over the Pacers in game 1, seemed to be possible. And then Wizards, is due to spend close Game 2 before blowing from court home at home 3. In game 4, Washington had 17 points and lost the second half for 20 points, and that was the series, while Indiana fought, but Paisers had no to turn around, how to win a smart team. The talent was there, but they could not be performed in close matches, and they did not do any small thing that separated the good teams from the average. This problem persists.)
WOO: Do wizards need to trade with John Wall? It could be a time
Getting Whitman for a sense of face. His contract expires at the end of that season, and while Power Rangers' second-round loss was unsuccessful, Wizards jumped from 29 wins in 2013 to the second round of the playoffs a year later. Good things were happening. The city was full of energy, and the rest of the league was spotted. "He was a huge player," said Kevin Durant later that summer. "One of those players that will be exciting to see in the next 10-15 years. And he is a player for my hometown, so I love him I also like him and Vol, he is one of my wonderful friends. "Everyone around the NBA could see that there was room for this team to grow. And that was reasonable – especially if you did not follow the regular season – to assume that keeping Vitman is a safe, smart game.
The problem with Whitman's retention was that there is in fact an important difference between safe and wise. And while Wizards rewarded Whitman's fifth place with a new contract, the soldiers fired Mark Jackson after two direct playoffs in the West. Golden State paid Steve Kerr $ 25 million over five years to get coaches Steph Curry and Clay Thompson. Stan Van Gandhi signed to coach and manage Pistons. Quinn Snyder joined Jesse.
Washington set him back with Whitman and got essentially the same results as the previous year. Wizards won 46 matches, scored in the second round of the playoffs and lost a series to win against the smarter but less talented Hawks team. The following year, after carefully clearing the spacious space a few years ago and with the entire league wondering if Wiz could steal Kevin Durant into a free agency, the wheels got off. The injuries occurred at the worst. The attack is regressing. Whitman lost his locker halfway through the year. Wizards misses the playoffs. Whitman was fired in April and Wizards ended up with significantly more money for Scott Brooks (5 years, $ 35 million) than would pay almost every new coach in 2014. But until then, it was too late.
Kevin Durant did not even meet with Washington. Al Hearford signed with Celtics. Dwight Howard paid with Atlanta before Wizards to offer him, while the rumors that Washington targets Luol Deng and Joachim Noah have gone to the Lakers and Nix. Wizards had no choice but to take all the money he had saved for Durant and use it to pay out role players who could help optimize John Wool's passage. Ian Makhinmi signed four years, $ 64 million. Andrew Nicholson signed four years, $ 26 million. Jason Smith signed three years, $ 16 million. (Read this passage three times and it may be impossible to ever know true joy again.)
There were mistakes before 2014 and there were many missed opportunities after the summer of 2016, but Vitman's example is a useful reference point for anyone to wonder how this team can suddenly be found at the bottom of the rock. Some version of Whitman's logic in 2014 – "this is probably not the best move, but it's not the worst move" – repeated every year in Washington. Half the measure is the hallmark of the front office of this team, property, and even its players. John Wol was never bad, but did not improve in five years. Bradley Bill has always been good, but he has never been as good as he needs. Both of them were thrown out of the floor by Damian Lillard and Jay McColum on Sunday evening, and Blayers' losses are always touching, because that weak but wonderful Portland team is what Wizards could do if their two best players really caring for guidance or for the better.
Every few days this season I received text messages from friends who are asking what's wrong with this team. How did this get bad? How Can They Become Better? What needs to be changed? The hard part explains that no scapegoat is satisfactory and no change would be sufficient. All this is connected.
The wall is disappointing for all the reasons I mentioned in the summer. Last year he signed the richest agreement in the history of the franchise, calling himself the best two-way guard in the league, appearing in a camp without shape, calling his teammates and only from there getting worse. This season is a continuation of last year's story. Wall's pressure comes and goes. His offense is impatient and chronically ineffective, and his defense can turn every opposing guard post into All-Star one night. His fun habits have been the subject of some debate in recent weeks, but I've never been to Rosebar. I know that a few years ago the NBA Executive Director was wondering about Wall's social life and how it will age. He told me that players who want to party excessively tend to see a fall through the second half of their career. One part of that sentence, of course, refers to Washington's franchise. (We do not even want to talk about the deal, but, yes, the site of the Wizards HoopsHype becomes its own urban legend.)
The problem with the accusation of Wall's leader is that he never got a chance to learn how to work differently. Surely, he should be responsible for some of the disappointment at DC, but Wizards never had anyone around a team that could teach him how to be a franchise player. There was no trainer, no veteran teammate (except for a year with Paul Pierce), and there is no management with sufficient credibility to hold guilty responsibility for errors, and also providing feasible alternatives. This is a larger organizational blind spot that dates back to the time of Arenas, and now seems to have poisoned another superstar. While a team like Celtics can trade with Curie Irving and believing that their culture will minimize his worst habits and optimize his most valuable skills, Wizards essentially did the opposite with Wall.
Another problem is Grunfeld, but you knew that because at this point everyone is doing it. Grunfeld was in charge of wizards longer than any GM outside Pat Reilly, RC Buford, Denny Aigner, and Donnie Nelson. All such related peers have the titles of their summary; Washington's finest finish over 15 seasons with Grunfeld is fourth in the East. The team finished above 500. Seven times in those 15 years, and only twice won over 45 matches. All this is why Grunfeld has become an excellent team between rival teams and managers. But, like Wall, the story is a bit more complicated than it appears. For all the jokes about his longevity, it is noticeable that Grunfeld did not enjoy much job security. It's a crucial difference from someone like Danny Ange, who has free rule to take aggressive risks or stop as he thinks.
The loyalty of owner Ted Leonsis seems to be conditioned; mistakes of the past and current shortcomings can be forgiven, but only while Grunfeld can help the franchisee save his face with the playoffs to pass each spring. So a season Grunfeld trades with the first round for Marquefa Morris, and next, there goes first place for Bojan Bogdanovic. This summer, he gambled on Dwight Howard and Austin Rivers. In 2016, there were mentioned mentioned Mahinmi and Nicholson. Some of these moves worked better than others, but each of them was an attempt to make the best of a bad situation. And while Grunfeld is responsible for creating these blends in the first place, he is also encouraged to seek short-term repairs at the expense of any long-term vision. In the end, this dynamics leaves the wizards with the worst of the two worlds. By maintaining Grunfeld, they provided no new ideas for the management side, but with a refusal to give him long-term security (or even publicly announce his extensions), the team left Grunfeld without any room to be patient or brave. It's a recipe for a multi-year average.
There are other factors that need to be considered if someone is interested in diagnosing problems. Take Bradley Bill. He is good enough to make everyone wonder if Wall is the best player in Washington, but as Will's game goes, Bill generally fought when he was asked to take more responsibility and close games alone. Or Otto Porter. He needs to be an elite roster in the roles of Joe Ingles, but he's paid twice as much, which complicates his relationship with fans and even fellow teammates. Markieff Morris has games where he solves every problem of Wizards and looks like one of the best deals in the NBA like four rays that can close the play on a small five-point game. Those Morris games are usually followed by four or five more games in which they settle for the challenged pull-out jumpers, no one keeps them, talk too much of the junk and embodies the worst instincts of the entire team. Scott Brooks is not a bad coach and he did the best, but he did not have enough authority or creativity to address any of these issues over the past two seasons.
In the end, the problem is everyone. The whole team is disappointing and broken in some basic ways. There is not much room to change anything, and even if there is, there is really no reason to think that Grunfeld is the right person to change it. If we want to talk about the specifics: a very important trade critic will make Wall's supermax agreement incredibly difficult to move by July. Even then, the wizards probably can not expect a lot of returns from which the team decides to gamble in the next few seasons. That leaves Bill and Porter. They are the only two players on the list who could restore true value, and while the team would theoretically be smart to keep them, it is unlikely that the team built around Bell and Porter would be good enough to make a significant success.
That last point is what will determine the future in Washington. What does success in DC mean? Losing second round has always been celebrated as a breakthrough in Washington, and now we are here. Coaching and management are currently as competent as the best NBA teams, players have individually plateau, and chemistry has never looked worse. Not everyone can be warriors, but they think organizational standards are defined by teams such as Celtics, Raptors, Jazz and Rockets. In a league full of teams that are constantly striving to advance, Wizards is always a step behind. They are sold in the second round, traded in the first round, miss out on free agents, engage in wrong trainers, justify the disadvantages of their stars and are now with very little recourse, but to push the resetting of the entire era.
If the goal is to win the championship at the end or at least to resist in some important way, this team will have to be more aggressive and more creative than the franchise that is in 25 or 30 years. On the other hand, if the goal is to make the playoffs another year and to save this season with a certain nominal redemption, there are good news: the wizards are only 2.5 games of the eighth seed.