Last week we talked about remaining patient in the face of a historically disastrous start to the season. There was still plenty to quibble over, but the level of effort against the Knicks in parallel with the PTI incident reminded me of a scene from the baseball flick For Love Of The Game. An outfielder committed an embarrassing error and mentioned with a resigned grin how he expected to see it on ESPN. The pitcher responded:
There's a bunch of cameras out there right now waiting to make a joke of this, Mick. So you can either stop, give them the sound bite, do the dance. Or you can hold your head up and walk by, and the next time we're in Boston, we'll go out there and work the wall together. Don't help them make a joke out of you.
It's necessary the team play with a short memory, but I'm wondering when and if this team will reach a watershed moment. There's something different in DC; the pressure of real expectations. It's been coming ever since the Wizards won the draft lottery. I was thinking the Rashard Lewis debacle is just the thing to turn this organization into a farce if it isn't handled with any kind of authority. Fortunately, 'somebody [was] trying to make up stories.'
Say what you want about the roster, but there's youth and Flip has options at every position if the starter isn't up to the task at hand. P.S. How crazy is it that the center position between Javale McGee and Ronny Turiaf looks to be the most dependable? Finding five guys who are ready to leave it on the floor shouldn't be that much of a problem, but if you're dieting and the options are refried beans or french fries for dinner, you might just elect to wait for breakfast.
I'm not ready to say no one is safe (John Wall is still bulletproof, despite...you know), but seats across the board should be getting warmer. The Thunder model for rebuilding comes up a lot, and a veteran coach getting axed after a horrendous start in year 2 of the rebuild is a pretty prominent data point. It amuses me to note that the two teams might be well served swapping head coaches. OKC needs an X's and O's guy, and the Wizards need the kind of guy who can breathe some life into a young squad. And before you ask, no.
The rebuild process, past lose and draft high, focuses on playing Brooks' fourth quarter games. How many of those have we seen this season? We've seen the team glorious against the Knicks. Don't get me started on that elbow.
The boys are all here for ya, we'll back you up, we'll be there, cause, Billy, we don't stink right now. We're the best team in baseball, right now, right this minute, because of you. You're the reason. We're not gonna screw that up, we're gonna be awesome for you right now. Just throw.
There's so much in the quote that feels vital when I think about this team. I think about John Wall not having fun playing, wondering how he can possibly accomplish anything with everything crashing down around him. I think about the rabid energy and no-quit effort the team put forth aginst New York. A win there may have been a turning point...but probably not. There were enough of those games last season.
Speaking of last season, the team is carrying a fresh albatross to last year's road streak. The team can't carry that weight into every game. A big piece of that is the coach. On a seeming tangent, remember Bruce Boudreau?
"I tried every trick that I knew in 18 years and nothing was working."
Boudreau on his firing via Caps Insider
And Flip after the blowout:
"You can't give 82 new Knute Rockne talks, every night."
Flip on (who isn't clear) being prepared via Prada
Just another way of saying you're out of ideas. Of course, all we know is what's in the books. A final word on professional athletes and addition:
Jane: Do you lose very much?
Billy: I lose. I've lost 134 times.
Jane: You count them?
Billy: We count everything.
No matter how painful the rebuild process is supposed to be, Ted can see John Wall doing the math and he has to realize the result won't be a sum anyone is happy with.