Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
Editor's Note: I've edited this for clarity. While I don't agree with every word, I respect the passion and think it merits an audience. -Mike
This is not an attempt at snark or baseless criticism. I'm sure you or your representatives read this site and probably know how many regulars feel about this team. The reason it seems like I'm consistently defending the players on this team is because, at this point, I'm 28 years old and this is all a bit of history repeating. Read this sentence:
In four years, Washington GM has overhauled Washington from top to bottom, drafting (young lottery pick), (young lottery pick) and (young lottery pick) and trading for (solid vet), (solid vet), (solid vet), (solid vet) and now (franchise savior).
"The rebuilding is over," said GM last night. "It's time for winning."
Ted, you had a real opportunity to turn things over and truly start again. It's no accident that can't-miss-talent after can't-miss-talent has come to D.C., been labeled a failure of some sort and gone on to have/continue a HOF career in another city. This organization even turned MICHAEL F******** JORDAN into a loser! How?
When I was younger I swore it was a curse of some sort, then I thought maybe it just isn't our turn. Now, I fully know the truth. When an organization is bad, it's never just one person or one thing. Bad companies lose money because they invested in a failing product, because the executive who made the decision to invest in the product took a huge risk based bad info, because the team put together to do due diligence on the product was given a tight deadline, because the program lead wanted to have something to show to get a bonus for the Q, because he was passed over for a position he earned due to nepotism. On and on the circle goes. That's how bad companies, organizations, operations, teams, departments, etc stay bad. Its never just one person, its never just one thing. It's a culture of failure that's cemented in its very foundation.
The fact that this team can't grow a single home-grown all star in 20 years (and I'm not even sure you can count Chris Webber to be honest) is a testament to that failure. Player development is a direct reflection of your organization (and some would argue the ONLY reflection). The reason so many of us were/are excited about John Wall is because, finally, here is a guy that even this team can't ruin. National high school POY. NCAA POY. Broke the UK assist record as a freshman. Broke the UK freshman scoring record. Team almost never lost games. Natural leader who his teammates on every level got behind. Respected/feared by his peers, and commanded instant respect from his opponents. At the very least, this guy is going to be a 12-year NBA starting point guard. 100 percent bust-proof. And, my God, this organization done everything in their power to make him a bust. How is it that we're in year 3 of his development and this is a quote we see:
"That's what kind of persuaded me to talk to him. He told me I could do it if I put my mind to it and keep developing," Wall said.
It took Jason Kidd and Gary Payton talking to Wall to get him to realize he had defensive potential? Was there no development plan in the organization the day we won the lottery? I remember Jay Bilas and Chad Ford drooling on draft day about how he could be a 10-time all-defensive point guard! This isn't new information or a new discovery of talent. Then we had this wonderful quote from Calderon:
"I would prefer to keep that between John and I, but basically I told him he's a great player-one of the best, in fact-and I wanted to wish him success in basketball and tell him that it [success] is not just one thing. It's shooting, it's driving the ball, its playing defense, and there are a lot things to being a point guard, and he has all the tools to be one of the best."
Let me get this straight. An opposing point guard is soothing Wall by explaining to him that he can't measure himself strictly on one thing, be it scoring, or assists, or whatever? No, that can't be true, can it? I'm sure Ed Tapscott and whoever else is in charge of player development have explained this before, right? You would think then you see this quote from Wall a few days later:
"It's kind of crazy, because the way the league is going, every point guard is a scorer. You've got Kyrie [Irving]. You've got Damian Lillard. Those young guys coming up, scoring right out the bat. You got guys like Russell [Westbrook] who's been doing it a while, and Derrick [Rose], but all I want to do is keep getting better. My game is still developing on the offensive end, but I can do more things to help my team win."
He then goes on to admit he was (and probably still is) pressing offensively. Goodness gracious. Is it his agent telling him he has to average 20 points to justify a max extension? Is he reading the blogs and looking to get his name up there with those guys he mentioned so he thinks he has to score to do it?
Again, I ask: WHO IS IN CHARGE OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT? Players are stubborn. They're young, brash, sensitive, insecure and almost always overconfident in their own talents. Dirk Nowitzki thought he could shoot threes to a championship. Kobe Bryant thought he could just dunk on everyone. Even LeBron James thought that he already knew all that there was to know about ball at age 22. It took the organization pulling them, investing and molding them into the HOF players they became. That's why organizations develop players. Players do not develop themselves. This has always been true and it will always be true.
That's just the thing with this organization. Its not just one thing, its not just one person, it's a collective failure. In a lot of ways, that's the most depressing thing about this. I focused on Wall, but really, he's just another body, the latest victim in a lifetime of dysfunction. I have no doubts in my mind Bradley Beal is next. In fact, I'm 100 percent confident when I say that.
Ted, you had a real opportunity. You were brought into the organization over a decade ago, and when your time came, you had a real opportunity to pull it up from its roots and start over. Why you chose to keep one of the worst three organizations in basketball (this isn't hyperbole, look at the W/L record over my lifetime) largely intact, I'll never understand. You wrote so confidently about your 10-point plan, when in truth you had never been a part of a winning basketball organization, so how would you know what one looks like? How would you possibly have a plan for success?
Impartial league observers have ridiculed, mocked, and disregarded this team since I can remember. Its gotten so bad, so commonplace that you now writes trolling blog posts after even the slightest modicum of "success," not failure. There is all this talk about how things are better and have gotten better, but the proof is there for all to see. The team's record is 19-41 in year 3 of the rebuild. There have been seven first-round draft picks since 2010 (Wall, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, Jordan Crawford, Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton, Beal), and only two starters to show for it. The other five couldn't even be traded for their upcoming draft position in return.
Are things better? Maybe, but I don't see it.
Ted, I'm a season ticket holder. This is the only NBA team I've ever supported. I beg you, please clean house. Swallow your pride and admit to you ... us ... we ... this organization needs a fresh start.
Not next summer, not after further evaluations. Now.