Mar 24, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith (5) attempts to block the shot of Washington Wizards forward Trevor Booker (35) during the first half at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
I don’t deny the Washington Wizards’ front-office strategic decision-making has yet to inspire brand loyalty. The record is bad; they are what it says they are. Ipso facto, I’m hardly endorsing the team's coaching vacancy as the Thunder-in-waiting. And yet, it isn’t as bad as a cactus juice-inspired hallucination when I suggest the D.C. coaching chair offers the opportunity to mold some promising clay.
An increasingly large percentage of fan frustration can be traced to unrealistic expectations. I’m not here to pass judgment on the rebuild or debate the particulars of revisionist history. Where do I get the gall to dismiss expectations (determined by past events/behaviors) without rebutting the history that established them? Because with a new coach (probable), a new GM (possible) and a new-as-it-gets-in-the-NBA roster (young and cap-healthy), history seems to be on its way out the door, along with the expectations it established.
Whatever we hoped for, wherever we thought we’d be as a franchise is completely and totally irrelevant to our situation. There is no Machiavellian tack that will magick this roster into a title contender. It’s tempting to mete out responsibility in the mode of ‘why couldn’t the Wizards make that move?’ but what point is that going to serve as the old guard leaves D.C.? Let them pass.
The Bullets Forever faithful have endlessly dissected the particulars, so let’s just characterize this roster as a prime head coaching candidate might see it:
- Only one headache on the roster, well in hand. Merely a hapless one, at that.
- Players getting the lion’s share of the minutes are young, take coaching well and are hard working.
- Front court looks surprisingly legit with a combination of veteran savvy and leadership alongside burgeoning inside-out play from the other 2010 first-rounders.
- The chance to help John Wall make the leap to stardom.
- [your inducement here]
So while my rosy outlook might seem like madness, to be honest, that’s probably because I’m in a different place. Forget the rebuild timeline and everything else, the Wizards of the future start here.
Are we supposed to call the last few seasons of basketball atrocity a wash? Not at all. But if I know how revisionist history works should the Wiz contend for real, someone will condescend to remark 'sucking was the plan'. Of course the gulf between where the Wiz stand today and ‘contending’ is wider than the Valles Marineris. This isn’t a contending roster and it doesn’t have to be. But pretty much every team in the NBA takes their first meaningful steps to cross that gulf when a head coach who knows his business starts plying his trade on impressionable players.
Like I said before, the clay is promising.