As you all know, Ernie Grunfeld recently got an extension. This has been extensively covered by pretty much everyone associated with the Wizards, especially since so many people wanted to see Ernie gone. However, I feel like one point has been left out.
When looking at a franchise, I usually compare it to a building. The GM is the architect, the staff is the infrastructure and the players are the walls. The reason I like this comparison is because it shows just how everything is connected. A winning franchise needs good management and a good staff to go along with good players: it's called being a good organization. If one of those criteria isn't met, you'll usually have a hard time getting a team together that is consistently good over the long haul.
This is why Grunfeld's extension scares me.
You see, while Ernie has done a fair job amassing young talent and some quality veterans, he has miserably failed to put together a good organisation.
We are a young team, which means our players have to develop, some more than others. However, our coaching staff consistently failed to develop our key players. I am not talking about channeling a player like Flip Saunders did with Nick Young. I am talking about working with players on their skills. Why is this? Because they are simply unqualified for the job they are given.
When our "center of the future", JaVale McGee was here, the franchise constantly reminded us that the best was yet to come, that he would become a dominant Center. This was all while they were putting Gene Banks to work with him; a coach, mind you, who had never been Center to begin with. No matter how much he might know in theory, what JaVale needed was someone with experience, which is invaluable. How would you feel if the Wizards shooting coach had never shot a jump shot, but instead read a bunch of glorified "Shooting for idiots"?
As if that were not enough, there is John Wall's jump shot. He has been here for two years, the Wizards have always known that shooting is his Achilles' heel and yet his shot remains the same. Not only that, but he has regressed from the three point line by more than 20 percentage points this year! When Flip was here he was quoted saying that the coaching staff would not change Wall's form in the slightest. I am sorry, but with a jump shot so fundamentally wrong, the more you delay changing it, the more time you are wasting. Look where repetition got Rondo. The best example to try to follow would be Derrick Rose and the Bulls. Rose got to Chicago with a form worse than Wall's, but the Bull's coaching staff wasted no time getting to work with it and in a matter of three years, Rose is shooting almost 40 percent from the three point line. It is a process that takes time and hard work, and you cannot do it alone, which is why there are coaches that are supposed to work with the players.
The coaching though, is not the only problem. While other teams -- such as the Phoenix Suns -- have heavily invested in their training staff, it seems to me like the Wizards have completely ignored theirs. The result: Washington has one of the worst medical staffs in the league. The proof is everywhere.
When Gilbert Arenas hurt his knee, he decided to rehab on his own. Obviously, the training staff cannot do anything about this kind of thing, and a good organization would have stepped in. But alas, it did not. Yet, that is not the problem. Arenas was quoted saying he would push through the pain, thinking if he worked hard enough, it would go away. With a gym rat like Arenas, this sort of thinking can be devastating, and it was. My problem with the training staff is that they let him ruin his knee. Rehabbing on your own and being informed are two different things. How come none of the Wizards trainers had a sit-down with Arenas and told him how he was effectively ending his Agent Zero days?
Furthermore, Javaris Crittenton, a once promising young player, explicitly expressed his anger at how the Wizards handled his injured ankle, and I am not mad at him. I mean, they had exploratory surgery on his ankle and did not find a thing! You cannot cut someone open just to poke around, especially not an athlete! I am convinced his anger and resentment led to his outburst that led to Gungate. Just imagine, he was on a contract year that would also determine if he would be employed the year after.
And then there is Andray Blatche. Seven Day Dray, on the most important summer of his career, the summer he was supposed to become the star we all envisioned in him, broke a bone in his foot. And the worst thing is: it was weeks before they spotted it! He complained to the trainers about some pain, and still they let him work out on a broken foot for weeks! Dray ended up losing his summer, showing up to training camp out of shape, and has not been the same player since.
I guess all I wanted to say is this: Ted Leonsis lost a great opportunity to finally clean house, so he could build a good organization from the very foundation, and while Ernie might have gotten some good players, he simply has not show he is capable of building a good organization.