Well ladies and gentlemen, it happened. If you were wondering what things would look like if the Wizards dropped their sixth in a row, including two straight to Minnesota and Philadelphia, now you know. If you didn't think it could get worse than it did on Wednesday, it did.
Yes, the Wizards were without Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce and Kris Humphries tonight. And you could tell that affected the team in some of how they played tonight. But tonight's loss was about a lot more than just depth issues. A short bench wasn't why Philadelphia started the game on a 13-4 run, and it's not why Jason Richardson scored a dozen points, or why Thomas Robinson had 9 points and 9 rebounds in a dozen minutes off the bench. The Wizards looked like a group that had to cancel vacation plans because they got called to go on a stupid last-second business trip. They don't look happy.
Even now, I'd still argue the Wizards are playing hard for Randy Wittman, but it comes with a caveat: It's becoming more and more apparent they've lost confidence in the offense. You could feel the desperation when they pushed the ball, because they knew they probably weren't going to get a good shot if they had to play in the halfcourt. Worse yet, because they were pushing so hard to make it happen on the break, it left them that much more wobbly on the defensive end, which reared it's ugly head in the closing minutes as Nerlens Noel put the game away with a pair of dunks in the closing minutes.
Maybe you're still holding out hope that losing to the 76ers will be the thing that jumpstarts the Wizards. If you're in that crowd, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did a five game losing streak jumpstart the Wizards?
- Did losing to the Timberwolves jumpstart the Wizards?
- Did the team summit on Thursday jumpstart the Wizards?
- Did Ted Leonsis' plea for the team to prioritize three point shooting and getting to the paint on Thursday jumpstart the Wizards?
So if you think this is the rock bottom moment where the Wizards start to bounce back, don't be so sure. As Flip Saunders, who is absent in body, but still present in the playbook would say, "Don’t think it can’t get any worse because it can."
At times like this, all we can do is point people back to what Ted Leonsis said in point six of his Ten Point Plan.
Make sure the GM, coach, owner and business folks are on the EXACT same page as to deliverables, metrics of success, ultimate goal, process and measured outcomes. Always meet to discuss analytics and don't be afraid of the truth that the numbers reveal. Manage to outcomes. Manage to let the GM and coach NOT be afraid of taking risks, and make sure there are no surprises. Over communicate. Act like an ethnic family--battle around the dinner table--never in public. Be tight as a team. Protect and enhance each other. Let the right people do their jobs.
After tonight's game and the five losses that have preceded it, there's a lot to talk about.