Hope you all are enjoying your Sundays. Here is the one top story of the week that we should all be talking about.
The Wizards are the next team out of the NBA Playoffs
I think we all anticipated this for the last month if not longer, but the Wizards will not be making the NBA Playoffs this season. Washington is now 30-44 where they have clinched their first sub-.500 season since 2012-13. That was Bradley Beal’s first year in the NBA.
Washington is currently on a four-game losing streak after losing 113-108 to the Miami Heat last Saturday. Dwyane Wade scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to clinch the game for Miami, who’s likely winning the Southeast Division AND the division’s sole playoff bid with it.
There’s a lot of finger pointing to go around, and here’s a primer on the questions the Wizards will have to answer this summer. But the bottom line is that it’s time to fire President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld and Head Coach Scott Brooks after this season is over. There’s no point firing them right now. But once the last game of the season is played, it’s time to bring in a new General Manager and Head Coach who make more drastic changes on the players who wear Monumental Red every night.
Why Ernie Grunfeld has to go for the one million and one hundred seventy-fifth time.
There are no shortage of posts, comments or tweets that Grunfeld has run out his time at Capital One Arena. If you’re wondering why I haven’t continually clamored for the Wizards to fire Grunfeld every game and every hour, it’s because .... that’s painfully obvious. We are beyond the point where we list every bad move Grunfeld has made that held the Wizards back. The 2011 NBA Draft is one reason why since Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton came to town instead of a number of NBA stars. Also, the Wizards traded away their 2016 and 2017 first round draft picks as well as trading away second round picks like it meant nothing.
Though Grunfeld is an easy punching bag for Wizards fans, he also deserves credit for making Washington a perennial playoff team at its peak over the last two decades. Remember, the Bullets/Wizards of the 1990’s were just flat out bad most seasons, Naughty by Nature songs aside.
Why Scott Brooks is a player development fraud and also has to go
After three seasons, I think we’ve also come to the conclusion that Scott Brooks is not the player developer that many NBA pundits credited him with after the Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder quickly ascended from NBA doormat to Western Conference contender. It wasn’t because Brooks turned late first round and second round draft picks into perennial starters. Rather, he lucked himself into Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Their collective talent as young players helped Brooks get to the NBA Finals in 2012 which gave him a title he doesn’t deserve.
Since he’s come to Washington, players on rookie contracts were routinely passed over for veteran signings. Tomas Satoransky is the team’s starting point guard — NOT because he deserved to (which he did). It’s because EVERY VETERAN he and Grunfeld wanted didn’t pan out and using Satoransky was Brooks’ last resort. A similar case can be made for Thomas Bryant. Sure, he shined as the Wizards’ starting center for much of this season. But that’s only because Ian Mahinmi was sooooo ineffective, though I stand by French Week — 1,000 percent.
If there’s a coach in D.C. who rightfully deserves the title of player development extraordinaire, Wizards fans should look across the hallway at a man named Michael Thibault. The Mystics have made the most out of nearly every draft pick they made since 2013 when he arrived. Thibault also traded players in situations when he felt it was advantageous for him to do so, and he’s done quite well at the GM game too.
Forgive me for making Thibault look like God, but it’s clear that he’s doing his job better than Grunfeld and Brooks are doing theirs. The Mystics certainly have some key questions heading into this summer and we’ll get to that when their draft and season comes along.
But Thibault took the Mystics job when they had no superstars and a franchise that was legitimately the worst in almost every conceivable way and practically did a 180 on them. The Wizards had multiple All-Star talents on their roster and still can’t win 50 regular season games or make an Eastern Conference Finals.
It’s so frustrating that I don’t know where to start. I just want this NBA season to end so the healing and HOPEFULLY, a new basketball operations staff takes Ernie Grunfeld’s and Scott Brooks’ places.
Sorry that this week has little to be happy about. But that’s how I feel about the Wizards right now. I’m still watching games and seeing how things go. I hope the players do well. But the organization just isn’t helping create the foundation for a perennial winner. I hope to see this change at some point in the not too distant future.