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SB Nation NBA Reacts Week 17 results, Part 3: Wizards fans believed Beal’s wrist injury would accelerate the need for a rebuild before the Kristaps Porzingis trade

And despite a rough last few weeks, most believe that Tommy Sheppard and Wes Unseld should keep their jobs after this season.

Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks
I don’t think Bradley Beal feels that bad about Porzingis coming to D.C. now right?
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Here are the Washington Wizards-specific results of our SB Nation NBA Reacts survey from last Tuesday. In this survey, we asked some questions in near-real-time about Bradley Beal’s season-ending wrist injury. The results ended on Wednesday before a flurry of trades. Based on the data, we had about 450 responses, and thank you for the engagement!

Now, let’s get to the results!


Most Wizards fans thought that Beal’s wrist injury will accelerate a rebuild

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No surprises here. This survey also came out after Monday’s debacle against the Miami Heat when fans were possibly at a low point this season. Thirty-two percent also thought that the injury would delay a decision to rebuild, since trading Beal would get the team into a post-Beal Era.

And 12 percent thought that this injury would accelerate their decision to get a starter. If you are in this final category, you are 100 percent correct, since the Wizards now have Kristaps Porzingis.

Most fans don’t think Wes Unseld, Jr. or Tommy Sheppard should be fired after this season

When a team lost eight of its last ten games heading into the trade deadline AFTER a 10-3 start and despite the fact that there weren’t too many injuries ... I think it’s a fair question to ask whether Unseld should be fired after one season and whether Sheppard should be fired after being promoted to President of Basketball Operations last fall.

Despite the fan anger and the team’s decline, only 17 percent of you think Unseld should be sent packing after one year.

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Fans weren’t so kind to Sheppard though, where 33 percent believed that he should be fired after the season. Still, one-third is a minority.

SB Nation

Why do fans believe Unseld should be fired after one year or that Sheppard should be fired after a promotion? Or why should both go simultaneously?

Given the Porzingis trade, there’s almost no way in hell that Unseld or Sheppard get fired. That trade buys them at least one more year since they WILL WANT to see Porzingis and Beal for some time together. Also, to Sheppard’s credit, he is not reluctant to trade players not named Bradley when things aren’t working out with various players, since Spencer Dinwiddie is now in Dallas.

Anyway, why do some fans want Unseld fired, at least before the trades? This response kind of sums up Unseld’s year to this point.

WUJ seems over his head. There is barely any semblance of a coherent offensive strategy and his substitution patterns have grown worse as his roster depth increased.

The Wizards’ once outstanding record in close games appears to be a mirage as they’ve now lost several close ones in a row. The defensive effort that defined the 10-3 start is gone. Query whether there is a relationship between that and gluing Gafford to the end of the bench. WUJ’s late-game strategy is just bizarre.

Rather than adjust based on what’s worked over three quarters, WUJ seems inclined to go back to his starters (plus Harrell) regardless of game flow. The stunning Clippers loss is a microcosm of the entire season. You can’t build a roster around a coach like that. He seems like a great guy, but he appears to be way over his head with this lousy franchise.

And here’s one more:

This current mismatched roster needs a hard veteran coach to guide it initially. Like a Carlisle, Nate Mc type of coach.

There weren’t too many who thought Unseld had to go after a year. Again, a third of respondents thought Sheppard specifically needed to be fired. Here’s a response I found that sums up how many in this camp feel.

The Wizards should fire Tommy Sheppard. Why, if you read Marcus Atkinson’s article titled “The Wizards’ struggles start with a front office without a clear vision” dated February 7, detailing Tommy’s Strategy, or lack there of, Marcus nailed it. Nothing else need to be read. Building a team around ONE GUY is a recipe for disaster, as we see with Beal’s injury.

Dinwiddie mentioned the lack of accountability in a recent interview, as another vacuum with this administration. Ted Leonsis and Monumental Sports are the root cause of the problem, which should be the next topic of discussion.

This respondent believed that Sheppard shouldn’t have been hired as the General Manager back in 2019 to begin with. Ten people specifically believe Sheppard is just the continuation of Ernie Grunfeld, his predecessor.

Ernie junior [Sheppard] should never have been hired. Ted needs a mulligan.

Of course, some people both have to go. Here’s one response from that camp.

If they are trying to go all in with Beal and whoever they can muster up WUJ needs to get fired as he has lost the team.

Tommy Sheppard is someone who makes a move that takes the Wizards back two steps for every move that takes us a step forward. They needed a home run out of Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdjia or Corey Kispert. But all of them look like role players at best. They needed to surround Beal with actual star talent. But instead, je signed awful deals to Davis Bertans, Spencer Dinwiddie and Daniel Gafford because the Wizards think that they are steals who will be flipped for riches when in reality they just end up playing themselves.

There were several people who pointed at ownership and specifically want change there, besides firing Sheppard and/or Unseld. Here’s one long response.

You need another question on whether Ted Leonsis should be fired too. Whether that means a sale of the Wizards as a one-off or a hostile takeover within Monumental, I’ll leave it up to them.

Simply put, there are many reasons to fire Sheppard. 20+ yrs of reasons. not to specifically tie this to Grunfeld, But Sheppard was not some lowly intern during that era. He was the #2 that had clear impacts on scouting and drafting done by this team. so he is not exonerated from the Grunfeld mess. Leonsis's belief that he had lightning sitting in the bottle twice in the next chair is almost comical if not criminal in its incompetence. nevertheless, the Sheppard/Grunfeld approach has not shown it can win in the NBA. No. 7 and No. 8 seeds in the playoffs don’t count as they struggle to get back to the same point the next year or fail entirely. frankly, other teams that hired Grunfeld woke up early and got rid of him far sooner and totally changed after him. Ted was far too lazy to keep Sheppard.

Our draft picks are a further example. they tend to draft a profile perfect for the EuroLeague and not for the NBA. The players they draft are not special or elite in any aspect of the game. Their narratives read well, but their ability on the court is nothing more than decent. I can see in 10-mins of Youtube clips these guys cannot play in the NBA. Yet, they go for them every time. The Wizards’ draft picks lack athletic ability, skills, or any level of dominance or superior talent. We’ve seen this for far too long.

Lastly, the concept of building around a player that’s not special for the nba is ludicrous. i get saying it as a quick sound bite to toss out to the media, but basketball wise it makes no sense. what does it mean? 4 players that compliment him, or 5 good players on the court. Beal is a #2 on a decent team and a #3 on a championship quality team. how they try to sell him, he is not that player.

Thanks again for your responses! We will have another survey next week!


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