Right now, the Wizards are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA. What better time is there to post my wild speculations? I'll continue.
Prada's SacTown game thread post has got me thinking, particularly this paragraph:
I'm beginning to believe Ernie Grunfeld is behind all of this. If so, he needs to be fired immediately. I don't care about all the good things he's done for us in the past; he's now screwing with our future. If we continue on this path, we've not only lost the season, we've lost the next six years. In case you all don't remember, we don't exactly have a ton of cap flexibility to do much to improve the team in free agency. Improvement mostly needs to come from within, and that means fostering improvement in those that can actually improve, not placading the egos of the veterans so the organization can give off the appearance that an 8-32 team is "not giving up." We're not stupid.
No, we are not stupid, but perhaps we are making some false assumptions. What if the young guys we are all clamoring for more playing time for aren't really the future of this team? What if they've become chips in an already worked out trade or trades that will be announced right before the trade deadline? Could it be that Ernie is dictating to Tap to play the young guys conservatively, rather than expose them to an increased chance of injury?
Think about it. As has been said before, this team as currently constructed was built to play the Princeton offense for Eddie Jordan. Almost all of our forwards are tweeners, and almost all of our guards are combos. When Ernie made the decision to fire Eddie Jordan, he had to notice this. Perhaps his firing of Jordan was the first step towards completely remaking this team. Unfortunately, that is difficult to do very quickly when you are 11 games into a season, especially when you want to hide your intentions.
I'm beginning to think that the whole "we are not going to sacrifice this season" mantra coming from Ernie is nothing more than blowing smoke. Ernie has always appeared to me like a very wise and patient poker player, keeping his cards close and continually folding until he sees the hand he likes. He may be putting on his poker face when he insists on playing to win this season. By playing to win, what he really might mean is playing so that his trading chips don't get hurt.
JaVale McGee clearly deserves to play more minutes, but isn't. The only logical explanation for this is my theory - JaVale is sweetener in a deal at the trade deadline. I'd hate to see us lose his potential, but I'll withhold my judgment until I see what Ernie can get back. My guess is that he needs to be included in order for a team to take on Etan, whose value at this point is nothing more than an expiring contract.
Javaris Crittenton could go either way at this point. On one hand, it appears that Ernie really likes him, and he is part of the future. Why then is he receiving so few minutes on a terrible team? Maybe Ernie has simply let on that he really likes him to hide something - like maybe some other GM really likes him. I can see him being dealt with JaVale and Etan. That would explain why he's not seeing more action and is still behind Mike James on the depth chart.
Mike James is also a mystery. On one hand, his big expiring contract shouldn't be that hard to deal, but on the other, he is logging a lot of minutes. Perhaps Ernie would rather showcase him instead of shielding him from injury. Since coming here, he has been playing at a level he hasn't played at in years. Even though his TS% still sucks, it's at least the best it has been since 2006-07 for Minnesota. My guess is that Ernie is trying to get more for him in a package but needs James to continue reviving his numbers from NBA seasons past before another GM will bite on Ernie's proposed deal.
I also have an added theory to go along with this - you trade youth because of potential and veterans because of performance. That would further explain James's minutes and may also explain Jamison's and/or Butler's. Any of those three could be packaged, though I doubt all will.
DeShawn could also go either way. The decision was made not long after the Crittenton trade to bench him, and not long after that for him to shut it down. Either Ernie wants him to get healthy for a trade (contridicting my theory in the paragraph above) or to start off healthy for next season, I'm not sure.
Blatche and Young are averaging over 20 mpg, and McGuire has been starting and averaging over 20 mpg since not long after the Crittenton trade, so my guess is all three are part of the future here. That is why they are getting a lot of experience playing. I also think that the only reason Ernie hasn't had Tap start Young is because Ernie wants to showcase James and get McGuire more experience. Young still averages 21.9 mpg.
One thing is for sure, Ernie must do something to accomadate for the luxury tax next season. Based on the weird rotations I'm seeing from Tapscott, I'm beginning to expect something big.
Either that or this franchise is truly incompetent. Like everything else in my post, it could go either way.