Washington Wizards Outlook 2013: R U In?

Apr 26, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra reacts during the game against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

The Wizards plan to be good next year, in case you hadn't heard. That's nice to know, after years of tortured team-building. And with the way this franchise has operated at times, is there another missive more appropriate?

Like many of you, I was watching the Knicks play the Heat in Game 1 and experienced a familiar sinking sensation. New York was keeping up with Miami on the scoreboard, but watching it felt like only a matter of time. LeBron James had Carmelo Anthony on lockdown and even the Knicks defense (funny, writing that with a straight face) appeared mesmerized by the lightning fast ball movement and terrifying athleticism the Heat displayed. And lightning is the right word, if you're familiar with how it travels. Jesus, I thought, next year that will be the Wizards.

It was a shocking bit of audacity, even for an admitted optimist. For a franchise looking up at every NBA team not located in Charlotte, it was crazy. It meant skipping right past the Cavaliers, Nets, and Pistons to tangle with the Bucks, 76ers and Knicks for the right to step up from the eighth circle of hell (the Bobcats are hanging out with Brutus and his ilk...Dante would be proud) and likely end up facing the Bulls or the Heat in 2013.

After all, if this team is just six wins better than its 10-34 pre-Nene Hilario self, the playoff hell teams are exactly who we're looking up at. Of course, all those teams we've passed in fantasy land will enjoy a premium draft pick as well, so where is this irrational burst of confidence coming from?

In a perfect world, the team is spending hours going over game film of each and every playoff contest and planning how to attack future match-ups and gleaning some bloodless learning from the strivings of their elders. At the very least, I hope that an organization that has been frighteningly laissez faire when it comes to monitoring the offseason regimens of its players is keeping a closer eye on (at least), Rashard Lewis' knee, Andray Blatche's conditioning and the ever-present specter of plantar fasciitis.

Hate it or love it, Ernie Grunfeld's been handed enough rope to hang himself (and possibly the franchise) once and for all...or to propel the roster past playoff hell. His picks are coming together and with the entire team on the same page for the first since John Wall descended from the heavens, we're seeing the team Ernie built for Ted. It is fast, physical, and frenetic on defense. If that doesn't excite you, I don't know where you've been the last X years, but it wasn't here. But the point of today's post is to put the question to you; we've been waiting a long time to get excited and the owner says Thundercats are go.

So, tongue in cheek, r u in?

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