Before we get to the links, a quick note:
These are dangerous times for the Wizards' organization. The Wizards are rebuilding, and losing is going to come naturally. But there has to be some sign of progress. There has to be some growth from the star players and the role players. There has to be a sense that the team continues to act like they are competing for big things instead of merely talking about competing for big things one day. Right now, we're not seeing any of that.
To point this out is not being overly negative. There should be no sugarcoating by anyone in the organization. There should be nobody that escapes scrutiny. It's only three games, sure, but the seeds of a successful rebuild don't just sprout by magic. They happen because of little victories, strong player development and a consistent positive upward trend, even if it's not a large upward trend right away. We're in Year 2.5 (I count the last half of 2010), and by now, there need to be some flashes of something great. Instead, we're seeing major steps back.
Peddle the Oklahoma City model all you want, because it proves that something good can be gained by taking it slow. But the Thunder didn't just get to where they were because they lost a lot of games with young players. They got there because they refused to accept the losing as it happened. When the Thunder came to D.C. last March, Kevin Durant gave one of my favorite quotes I've heard an athlete give (emphasis mine).
"Every day, you got to come into practice like you're going to the playoffs. That's one thing we did every day is come in and practice hard. Don't wait until the last game. "It's very tough, it's very tough. It's easier said than done to do that. But you got to have that mindset."
That lesson should be heeded by everyone in the organization. There should be no lack of urgency for making big changes. There should be no excuses or even just explanations made because this team is young. Prepare like every game matters and don't accept when your team doesn't compete. Do that, and the team will act like every game matters, and they will always compete.
Links below the jump:
- Recaps from us, Washington Post, Washington Times, CSN Washington, SB Nation D.C., Truth About It, Washington Wizards Examiner, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Brew Hoop, Bucksketball,
- In case you missed it, Roger Mason was ejected from the game because the Wizards didn't list him on the active roster, which I've never seen happen before. [SB Nation D.C. | SB Nation]
- Flip Saunders took the blame for the snafu, though really a lot of people are at fault. [CSN Washington]
- The Wizards' PR staff also took the blame. [@cmillscsn]
- Essential resources: the HoopData advanced box score (god, those offensive numbers are awful) and Popcorn Machine's Game Flow.
- John Wall is not interested in high-fiving his teammates. Looking forward to people reading too much into this one. [@recordsANDradio]
- The Wizards' rebranding is one of the top 20 stories in D.C. sports this year. Otherwise, the Wizards got shut out. [SB Nation D.C.]
- If you really want to take a look back at the year that was with this organization, here's a place to do it. [CSN Washington]
- It's been a pretty bad year in D.C. sports as a whole. [Washington Post]