We all have know how terribly our organization develops its young players. We all know, historically, that we've eschewed the draft for terrible short-term fixes, trading young potential guys for old, washed-up veterans. We know how we're in danger of doing this again when we talk about swapping a top-five pick just to get rid of a bad contract.
My assumption was that Gil the prankster was above all of that. After all, who does more mischief than Gilbert Arenas? Didn't he house Nick Young and Dominic McGuire last year. Isn't he the bridge between the factions?
Well, maybe not.
"We didn't realize what happened, how we got too young too early too fast," he said of the Wizards. "We got rid of veterans every year, and we're bringing in kids. We kept getting draft picks. We kept acquiring projects. Nick is a project. JaVale is a project. Javaris is a project. Eventually when you have enough projects, you live in the 'hood."
Let's think about this again:
After 2005, we dumped Larry Hughes and replaced him with Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins. We dumped Juan Dixon and Steve Blake and replaced them with Antonio Daniels. We dumped young'in Kwame Brown in the Butler deal.
After 2006, we got rid of young'in Jared Jeffries and replaced him with Gil's buddy, DeShawn Stevenson. We signed Darius Songaila too, another vet.
After 2007, we re-signed Gil's buddy and signed Andray Blatche to a low-investment deal. We dumped Michael Ruffin.
After 2008, we swapped Roger Mason for Juan Dixon. Both players have similar NBA tenures. We also swapped Antonio Daniels for Mike James, adding Crittenton, sure, but AD and Supernanny are both vets.
"At the end of the day, our problem is we don't have a veteran team," he said. "A team like Cleveland, they went to the finals and got rid of two veteran players and they brought in two veterans. It was hard to watch us fall off. We were right there with Cleveland. Orlando and Atlanta got older, better. Now they all surpassed us. Damn, look at Miami? They were above us, then we passed them and now they're ahead of us again."
Cleveland got older, I suppose. Orlando is starting a rookie at shooting guard. Some undrafted Polish dude is their backup center. Atlanta's young guys just grew up (though they did add Mike Bibby). The age of their starting frontcourt? 22, 23, 22.
"When I made that comment, I saw this coming," he said. "I'm a realist. I'm not living in denial. Of the 12 players who suited up, seven of them are young.
Or, just not better.
Before he got off the phone, I asked Arenas if he had any preference on whom the Wizards draft in June with their lottery pick. I could hear him sighing at the thought of another young buck to tame. "I don't pay attention to the JV until they get here," he said.
Look, I know Gil is annoyed with this season, but it's frustrating to see him turn this into an old/young discussion, when it really is about good/bad. He contradicts himself a bit in the article, but, if possible, his anger seems greater than Antawn Jamison's or Caron Butler's. Like Truth said, he could have kept at the young guys instead of saying he couldn't because he wasn't playing. They would have listened to Gil. Or so you'd think.
Truth be told, as I've slept on this, it just seems like Gil was using Wise to blow off some steam in typical Gil fashion. If so, it certainly wouldn't be the first time. But regardless, that's four comments that pierce at the team's youth. Four comments that'll just fuel the fire for more short-term fixes rather than long-term growth.