WOW! Where can you start? It just seems like this season has become a big mess. I mean I never thought I would see the day that even the Wizards are becoming a bigger story than the Redskins, but it's all for the wrong reasons. Most of the people on here are like me, we watch virtually every game and follow this team consistently. Unfortunately with this story becoming more mainstream, you have casual fans who are giving their opinions and blaming the players for the issues with this team. I couldn't disagree more. The players are part of the problem, but it is much bigger than them. I believe this is something that we should have seen a long time ago.
When Flip Saunders was hired as the head coach of this team, everyone praised him for his accolades with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Detroit Pistons. I thought it was a decent hire but never the type that was going to lead this team to championships. People talk quite vividly about how he made the Timberwolves a success, but very few of those people will admit that his success was mediocre at best. With the benefit of one of the best players of this generation and perhaps to ever play the game, Flip was able to go the playoffs 7 seasons in a row with Kevin Garnett as the centerpiece. What people miss out on is during the 7 seasons, the team only made it out of the first round once. In addition to that, Flip was given tons of credit for Kevin Garnett success in the league, but few, FEW people realize that Kevin Garnett didn't learn to be a great player from Flip, it was Kevin McHale, who was one of the best big men in the game that nurtured Garnett's game.
Kevin Garnett at 19 Years Old - Workout with Kevin McHale (1995-1996) (via garnetttribute)
Noticed he said 100s of hours in the gym with Garnett. Hmm.....
There is also this screaming about Flip Saunders success in Detroit and how he lead this team to a franchise record 64 win season, but few point out the fact that they were dominated in the playoffs by Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers or how he inherited a roster that had just went to the last two NBA finals (winning one of them), but yet he was only able to get them to the second round his first year and the Eastern Conference Finals the next year before being fired. So how does this man receive credit for success that he inherited?
So now as our Wizards coach we listen to Maurice Evans talk about the sense of entitlement on this current team and I just sit there a scratch my head. Haven't we heard this before?
When asked what people should expect of Wall or the team this season, Saunders said, "I tell players, I don't like to put numbers on where you can be, because I don't want to put a limit on what you can accomplish. Sometimes, you can put a number, they can win this many games, and maybe if you get going the right way, you can get more than that. I think the main thing is for him to lead us, playing the right way and to be successful and all that."
Unlike last season, Saunders said there is "no sense of entitlement" with this team. "What that means is there is no assumption of anybody, as far as who is going to play, how many minutes they are going to play, who is going to take shots, who's not going to take shots. What happens is there is more of a sense of urgency, and every time they step on the floor, whether it's practice or games, to perform at a high level - or else they wont have an opportunity to perform."
So you mean to tell me that the Jamison, Butler, and Arenas-led Wizards had a sense of entitlement too? So is it any coincidence that team imploded, is it coincidence that the current team imploded, or that the Detroit team imploded? In his own words, Flip tells us that his Detroit team had tons of players meetings too, shouldn't that tell us something too?
So what is my point in saying all this? Do you wonder why players like Andray Blatche, Nick Young, Jordan Crawford, JaVale McGee, and John Wall have a sense of entitlement? It's almost like a child. Anybody that has little children knows that in order to get your children to do right things, it takes discipline. If you reward bad behavior, they will continue to exhibit bad behavior and once they get to a certain point, if you do not correct their behavior it will be too late and they will lash out at you anytime you try to correct it.
I mean why should Andray Blatche not have a sense of entitlement? Is he getting benched for giving no effort on the defensive end? For not boxing out on rebounds? Rotating to help out on weak-side defense? So why would he believe he's doing nothing wrong, he wasn't being punished before?
Last time I remember, I remember hearing JaVale McGee getting called out in the media for his defense, but did anyone call John Wall out for his awful defense? Did anyone call him out for getting baked on a nightly basis from some of the most mediocre point guards in the league like Luke Ridnour or D.J. Augustin? Oh, I get it, when he does well he's the franchise player, but when plays poorly, oh he's just a second year player, give him time.
You mean you bench JaVale McGee for taking ugly jumpers, but you don't bench Nick Young for trying to hit a fadeaway while double team, or Jordan Crawford taking a contested 3 pointer early in the shot clock while your team has a lead in the fourth? But that's okay, they'll learn, they are young. You just got to let them work it out.
And don't think JaVale is innocent in all this because he is not. How else do you explain a player blatantly going for a triple double instead of doing his part to help his team win a game?
Why did you try to run plays for him? A blind squirrel could see what he was trying to do. So are you going to let him do this now in a blowout, but then get angry if he decide to do this in a much more important and closer game? What kind of message does this send to such a young player?
Bottom line, we know these players are young, they have flaws, but it is ultimately the coach that is there to teach them and to make them better players. These players are only entitled because they have been treated as such. If you look at the past success of Flip, he has shown that he can be a slight above average coach at best, but ultimately he is a poor leader. There is a mutiny arising because players are clueless. They are receiving mixed signals and do not understand what their roles are. Several players including Nick Young, Andray Blatche and John Wall have all said they do not understand who is the 'go-to' player, what their roles are, or what their identity as a team is. It is time that we all realize that this has been clear since day one. Flip never had control of this team and his success should be attributed to having good players. He is simply not a coach that can make young players better. He's a coach better suited for a well-established veteran team. It's time for this team to send a message to the fanbase, to the rest of the NBA and to the players, that the Wizards need a real leader and Flip Saunders unfortunately is not one.