I've been absolutely amazed by the outcry that these first six games have caused this season. After all, it's been six games, against high competition. Our guys are for the most part young, and don't have the benefit of years of playing with their current teammates or in their coach's system. They didn't get a training camp or a preseason to acclimate. They didn't get a chance to learn the little things, the chemistry, and the roles that come with playing basketball with the same people every day. However, this, coming from a 10 year vet really opened my eyes. And it is actually really scary.
I've always been a pretty hopeless apologist when it comes to most things Wizards. But today, I think it's time for an overhaul. I think we need a few things. A few things that will at least promote a positive atmosphere for our plethora of young guys to grow properly. Because that's the biggest concern for this team right now. We shouldn't be worried about winning this year. We should be worried about setting our guys up to develop. Turning our young guys into the best players they can be. And I can tell you right now, this environment where people don't know their roles is bad for our youngn's. It's is the reason we all see the way John Wall is overwhelmed with frustration on a nightly basis. There is no way that allows him to focus on his game, and his mistakes, to the fullest. It is the reason our offense is jumbled mess of set-breaking shot-jackers. And it does not allow Flip's offense to settle in or allow our players to develop NBA, team concepts. Not even a simple P&R. It might even be the reason Andray Blatche has never seen the need to become more of a player than he is today.
First thing we need to do, address the guilty parties.
And they're kind of obvious:
the Worst Contract in the League-- I can't speak to Rashard Lewis's role towards the young players on this team. But I do know that I really don't see much to make me believe he is somebody players can call a leader. Is it a stretch to think he is past the days of working his hardest, because he knows that he's getting paid? What I do know, is that his level of play does not seem directly proportional to the effort put forth, or the goals of this team long term... And as a vet, I would like to see him as more of a lockerroom presence.
Mr. Pay Me Like I've Done Something In This League-- Nick Young... He's a solid young player. One of the better players on the worst team in the league today. But he's already showing why every GM in the league was right when they told him he's not worth anything near what he was asking for in Free Agency. I have a feeling Ernie gave him some kind of fair offer. And while Nick has the right to do whatever he wants, I am sure it was nothing near the $9 mil/per he was asking for. Neither was any other offer he received. This should tell the guy he's not $40 mil good at this point. Who knows what's giving him the idea he is... For what it's worth, I think Nick might be more of a victim that got sucked into this entitlement game, but he's guilty nonetheless.
"Of course I'm allowed to take this terrible shot, didn't you see that nice assist eight possessions ago?"-- Jordan Crawford... on a pure, simple, basketball level, Crawford may be the worst so far this year. He's the ballhog on the playground, even more so than Nick Young. Because they're more justifiable when they are good shots like Nick's can be. He shoots it whenever he feels the itch. No, before that. He shoots it when he thinks about feeling the itch(you're scratching now aren't you?). Now I don't mind a player trying to win, but Jordan takes some terrible shots. Shots that very few players in the league don't get the hook for, and that even fewer have actually made a living taking. And even worse, they're even becoming a trend. And I don't understand how he gets away with it constantly, without getting called out by somebody for it.
Captain Entitled: Obviously the worst one is Andray Blatche. That's why he gets the "captain" label. He doesn't work for shit when he's not on the court. Say what you want, most nights he's half the player he could be, because he doesn't want to put any extra work into it on his own time. And he doesn't even always work for the things he wants when he's on the court either. The whole idea of him calling out Flip for post touches says a lot to this point too. On 90% of NBA teams, there would be at least one player and one coach to say, "Who the hell are you to demand anything?" There would at least be that one character, that one leadership figure that prevented Dray from opening his big mouth before dinner, by their mere presence in the locker room. But what else is the guy going to do in his situation? He never really had to work for it. His skill, not his work ethic, earned him a small role on a playoff team as a young player. And then given a few months starting on a bad team, we just handed him a contract extension, knowing very well the red flags. But what's that tell him? You don't HAVE TO work hard. just keep getting by and you get paid.
If you ask the McGee family, the best C in the NBA-- To be honest, I am reluctantly putting him on this list. Out of respect for his recent performance, I'd love to exclude him. But I do think he has been part of this problem. Javale was handed a starter role a year and a half ago, and really showed very little improvement over that time. He's had a tendency to do pretty much what he wants on the court. Mad PG imitating dashes up the court, ball in hand. Whatever funky post shot he can muster up. And just generally fly around the court with the discipline of a wild cockatoo.
I did mean to exclude Wall from this list, and here is my argument for it... the guy was in fact the number one overall pick. He has not shown me anything more than a desire to lead, and to win. That's exactly what he should be doing.
Why is this a problem with our beloved team though? The problem might in fact be that so many young guys got so much playing time so early in their careers, as Flip suggests. I think that's deflecting some blame and lacking a ton of accountability from a a team's head coach.
Here's my solution. We need a few influential presences in this locker room. What we need is a new head coach and a veteran that will scare the entitlement right out of these shitlins' asses. You think Crawford gets away with the shots he jacks up if he has a coach that will (metaphorically) tear him a new one every time he does it? You think Blatche's lazy ass will keep up with his ways, every time Ben Wallace, or somebody like him, knocks Dray into a wall and gives him a swirlie in the locker room after practice? I don't think so. But seriously though, we need a player that draws the respect from guys, if anything, for the success he's had in this league. That's why I was excited when I heard we were interested in David West this year. A guy that has been on and seen better players on better teams than our whole roster combined.
Further, it is a known fact that Flip Saunders is not a guy that can maintain control of his locker room, or has a handle on the psyche's of his players. And this is just some more concrete proof. He is ultimately to blame if his players are out of control. Even if we can't get another coach to match Flip's developmental ability at this point, it's just not working for us. The players still have not shown an ability to apply their improvement to the team's success. And that, in my eyes, is Flips fatal error.
I don't know where the hell these players did get the image of the throne they think they're sitting on. But we need a coach that has been places, and doesn't give a crap if your name is Andray Blatche and you are a six year vet. We need a guy with experience and league wide respect. Because even with Flip's experience, we know he has little control over his locker room. And we know that his players do eventually lose respect for him.