With the Washington Wizards at 3-22 on the season, it's no surprise that the seemingly unified locker room has shown signs of becoming fractured. Saturday's loss to the Detroit Pistons seemed to be the last straw for at least one key member of the team. In an interview with NBA.com's David Aldridge, Nene spoke out about the team's young players and their overall struggles.
"When you play with confidence, and you're together, it's different," Nene said. "You feel, you know your teammates know you, and you give your best. But right here, right now, it's the opposite. Total opposite."
And why is that not happening in D.C.?
"Because people have no respect for the game," he continued. "They think this opportunity's nothing right now. That's the problem with the young guys. They don't take advantage of being in the NBA, the best basketball in the world. A lot of young guys want to be in their position. But right here, I don't think they realize that."
Earlier in the piece, Aldridge reports that team sources don't see much accountability among the players right now, and these quotes seem to back it up. In the press scrum after the game, Nene called the two Pistons losses "embarrassing." Later, Jordan Crawford was asked whether the team holds itself accountable, and he simply said they are "working on that."
Meanwhile, in the same piece, both Randy Wittman and Ernie Grunfeld are quoted giving their usual spiel about how they're disappointed, but the team also has tons of injuries. Obviously, both men chose their words delicately, but there was still a sense that they couldn't fully evaluate anything until everyone gets healthy. Instead of "we may be injured but this is unacceptable," the message seemed to be "this is unacceptable, but we're injured." The order of words matters.
Surely, there's an absence of accountability among the players, but it's also safe to say that there probably should also be more with those higher up in the organization.