As the upcoming season approaches optimism is filling DC, as many clamor at the hope for playoffs. This could and should be the year that this group of Wizards finally gets over the hump and makes the playoffs.
But even with this growing optimism, I wonder about this team’s ceiling. Not for just this season, but for the next few. Assuming Wall and Beal, and Porter for that matter, all reach their well-documented potential; I’m not so sure we can legitimately win a championship with the roster as constructed.
While a superstar backcourt would be exciting to watch and would undoubtedly lead to a bevy of wins, I don’t think it is enough to bring a championship home to DC. Very rarely does a team with a point guard as its best player win the championship, and right now John wall is paid and treated like our best player. Look no further than Chris Paul to illustrate this point. Last year Chris Paul was magnificent in leading the Clippers and was clearly the top point guard in the association, yet the Clippers didn’t make it out of the first round. Simply put, today’s top NBA point guards do not win championships.
And realistically, it is a stretch to say that John Wall can become the dominant player that Chris Paul has been. So even if Jimmy Wall reaches his ceiling, which would make him a great player, he will likely be less of a player than that of Paul, who has never even been to the finals. So, if Paul couldn’t even do it, how can we expect Wall to?
Even if Beal becomes our best player we will still be a team headlined by backcourt players. It is simply hard to win when you don’t have a dominant big man.
On the other end of the spectrum I look at Detroit and I see a potential championship team in a few years if everything falls into place. They have a potential superstar in Andre Drummond manning the middle. At the four they have another potential star in Greg Monroe. Throw in the veteran star Josh Smith at the three and Motown has a frontcourt that COULD dominate any 7 game series.
Their weaknesses are well documented yes; with a lack of floor spacing it is not clear whether these pieces can work together. But, just maybe, if they find a way to make it work in Detroit, and their young bigs become the players they have a chance to be, then Detroit might have the core necessary to compete for the championship. That’s because it is much easier to find adequate guards to man a team, especially with dominant bigs already in place.
I am not trying to be a downer, in my opinion this is a great thing that this is even being discussed. This shows that we are improving and have a chance to be very, very good. And that is something that hasn’t been the case in years. I’m merely hoping Ted and Grunfeld don’t become satisfied with good enough. A championship should always be the ultimate goal.
As things stand now we have two players, Wall and Mr. Bradely Beal, who are paid, or who are going to be paid like max players. Now, that is a good core to build around, but will most likely not be good enough to ever win a championship as currently constructed. Obviously, if we had hit on some of our recent first round picks in recent years then we could have a cheap and young frontcourt rotation to throw out there, however, we have missed on numerous picks since drafting Wall, robbing us of the best chance at some consistent frontcourt talent. Right now our hopes and dreams lie on the young backcourt tandem. And personally I would prefer a dominant front court to the former.
Now this all changes if Grunfeld is able to lure a prominent bigman to DC in the near future-- and I think that is the plan. Whether it be Greg Monroe, Kevin Love, Lamarcus Aldridge, or someone via trade, the Zephyrs’ future looks all the more bright. A superstar backcourt with a dominant big could realistically push into the upper echelon and win a title. However, that is a big "if" as free agency is never a sure thing. But I do think that is the ultimate plan.
Should that fail, however, we would be "stuck" with a potentially dominant back court that would enjoyable to watch for years, but never quite having what it takes to win it all. So while the future is looking quite exciting, we don’t have the same realistic championship aspirations that a lot of these young teams have, such as Detroit.
I think Grunfeld must know that a point guard doesn’t win championships, it just hasn’t happened in recent memory. He should be working to find a star big to give DC a legitimate shot at a title.