I just read Michael Lee's analysis of yesterday's game and the season, and it occurred to me that by simply reading the quotes from the players and coaches themselves, it is clear that there is a lot of talking the talk, but not walking the walk. Being accountable in press Q&As is not the same as being accountable to your team during the game. We expect more than simply saying the right things.
Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to take the quotes from the story, and take a quick look at how the quotes demonstrates many of this issues facing the team.
"It goes back to every guy wanting to be that guys that gets us over the hump," Andray Blatche said. "Our strength is we got a lot of great scorers, and that’s our weakness. We tend to panic when we get down by seven or nine points. But like Flip always say, there’s no nine-point basket. You gotta take your time, run the plays and trust in the system, and we always break ’em. We always break ’em."
El Capitan - You don't have great scorers. When you realize that you don't, it becomes much easier to take a step back and decide that running the offense is your best option to succeed. Easier shots go in more often. Wearing the other team down on offense makes your job on defense easier. Giving 3 opposing players a break every time down the floor is not helpful. Just saying...
"We’re not good enough. We are not good enough as individual players, and…we think at times that we’re good enough to go out and just play," Saunders said. "We’re not that. We gotta play guys that can play the right way with some intelligence, that are going to play hard. If you do that, you give yourselves a chance. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter how talented you are."
Mr. Saunders - Maybe I am missing something, but the first 3 plays against the Knicks were called isolation play. Plays where ball movement ceased with over half the shot clock left, 3 Wizards standing around on the other side of the court, and no one in rebounding position. It seems to me that maybe calling plays requiring ball movement and multiple options to start games would reinforce the message that you are attempting to send? Just saying....
"It’s terrible out there,"Young said after missing 10 of his 16 shot attempts. Shots ain’t falling. We ain’t got no chemistry right now. Getting into the flow of things, it’s hard."
Young Sushi - Getting into the flow would be easier if there was...you know...a flow. Recognizing a double team on the way...and passing immediately creates more of a flow than trying to dribble out of it in case you can find a shot. We all see you are the best scorer. Guess what...so do your opponents. For you to get your looks, you have to give the other team at least the impression that there are other options. A few good passes to the open person off the double team, and swinging it to an open jumper or layup will provide you with the space you need to "get into the flow". Just saying....
"I’m doing my job," Wall said. "Trying to lead. I’m running the team, get everybody involved, and just try to make the right plays and play hard. Hopefully everybody follow the lead. Some games we move the ball and we play good. Some games, we don’t. We want to go one-on-one and things get tougher."
Mr. #1. - Your team is 0-8. You are the star. Therefore, you are not doing your job. No matter what anyone tells you. I won't even get into the actual issues you have on the court. My main concern is that as the team leader (maybe you wanted to be captain, I don't know), you have to hold yourself accountable beyond doing "your job". Your job as floor leader is also to make sure everyone else is doing "their job". Now, I don't know if you are being told to call plays that take the ball out your hands immediately. But even if they are, it is now time to ask the coach for more responsibility, not less. This is your team. They will respect you for taking charge. Trust me. Those that don't, are not the type of players we want. Playing hard isn't enough with this team. That doesn't mean get in peoples face on the floor. It means taking control and forcing yourself to distribute, go get the ball back if movement stops. It means making sure you get everyone involved. it doesn't mean when others decide to go one on one, you take over and do the same. It is tough for a 21 year old. There is pressure. But you can do it. We believe in you.
"It’s like the same thing every night," Young said. "People don’t know what it feels like to be out there, to get the boos, to have to hear that. Not to say we don’t deserve it, but they really don’t know what’s going on. So, it’s tough."
Hibachi - You are right. It doesn't feel good. But here is what you and each of your teammates, and more importantly, Ted Leonsis better figure out really quickly. It isn't the boos you should be worried about. People will stop booing when you have a big game, when the team wins....they will even stop booing if the game is close and you are hustling, diving, around, and fighting.
The time for you to start worrying is when they STOP booing. When they stop coming...when they just don't care. Wizards fans still care. It doesn't matter if fans know what is going on or not. It is time to take accountability and start making the effort and the changes that will demonstrate that each of you, player to coach, still care.