Coming out of tonight's bloodletting against the San Antonio Spurs we can gain at least one thing out of the ordeal, which is a sense of perspective. The Wizards have a long way to go before they resemble the Charlottes of the NBA, much less a team like the San Antonio Spurs. If the Wizards long climb back towards respectability is viewed as Mt. Everest, well we can safely assess the team as sitting at base camp having failed to hire a Sherpa.
One astute commenter pointed out that tonight's loss should engender a Chad Duke's type reaction following the Redskins loss to the Eagles. Everyone in the organization should be called out from the players to those in management for subjecting paying customers to 48 minutes of what amounted to a lopsided scrimmage. My counterargument is that this loss isn't even worth the energy to scream. The Wizards ran into an angry and focused Spurs team that treated the Wizards in the same way that a cat treats a mouse. They batted the Wizards around for a bit until they got bored and then simply put them out of their misery.
After the game Flip Saunders was "disappointed and embarrassed" by the loss and pointed out that the Spurs are a team that plays with "substance and not style" and that San Antonio "was less concerned with dunks" and more concerned about finding the open man and scoring the easy basket. For their part, the Wizards didn't seem as upset by the loss as they seemed befuddled at the ease with which the Spurs tore them apart. Andray Blatche and Nick Young marveled at the rate that the Spurs were able to convert from the field, failing to acknowledge the fact that the Spurs got so many open shots because they made the extra effort to rotate the ball and find the open man.
Further, I want to use tonight's game to offer the suggestion that anyone who does not bear the initials "JW" on the Washington Wizards should be considered a fungible asset and available for the right place. If I were feeling generous, I would hold on on Booker and Seraphin as well, but for tonight we should consider the 2010-11 Wizards (John Wall excepted) as a speedbump towards a better future.
The problem with the team as I see it is that there is no concept of what is required in the way of team basketball in order to be a successful franchise. Taken on individual talent level, you would never take Matt Bonner before Andray Blatche or DeJuan Blair before JaVale McGee. But the current ensemble of Wizards consistently fail at achieving the same results as a lesser collection of "talent." The reason for that is that the Spurs implicitly trust their teammates to make the right play and continue to work towards finding the open man. The Wizards appear content with dumping the ball to the offensive initiator and standing around as he tries to work one on one in isolation.
One looks at the San Antonio Spurs and sees a team that is committed towards playing basketball with the goal of winning a game. A peek at the Washington Wizards reveals a collection of freelancers who seem geared towards garnering stats and youtube videos. Currently, the team 52 games into the season and I'm not sure whether they have a clear grasp on which players beside John Wall are part of the solution rather than the problem. It might be time to strongly consider addition by subtraction when assessing the Wizards, because the current level of play is should dishearten both players and fans alike.
See you tomorrow.