The Wizards won Wednesday night in New Jersey, and in doing so, they took their first step towards building their new culture.
Prior to the acquisition of Nene, the Washington Wizards were the laughing stock of the NBA. The Wizards provided nothing but exciting highlights backed up by bone-headed “Not Top 10″ plays on SportsCenter. Getting rid of JaVale McGee and Nick Young meant getting rid of two primary culprits in the development of the losing tradition in D.C.
The game against New Jersey provided a small glimpse of what is to come in Washington.
Going forward the Wizards will look to build on their new-found momentum by relying less on athleticism, and instead focusing on utilizing the skill provided by their big-men down low.
The emergence of Kevin Seraphin and the arrival of Nene has added a new dimension to the Wizards. Now they can rely on their post players to score in the paint without having to worry about their guards doing all the scoring. Nene showed off his versatility in his debut, when he added 22 points and 10 rebounds. Nene is also a terrific passer, and John Wall shared his thoughts about having a new center that is willing to pass the ball out of the post:
“He hit a couple of people in the head making the baseline cut, they’re not used to getting the pass back.”
When the Wizards traded away their second leading scorer, Nick Young to the Los Angeles Clippers, the veterans were called upon to step up. Roger Mason has made the most of his opportunity in his second stint in Washington. Since the trade Mason has averaged over 13 points a game while shooting 52.6 percent from the field. It seems as if the trade has resurrected Mason’s career.
Changing the culture for the Washington Wizards was necessary in order to eventually build a competitive roster. Virtually everyone from the “Gilbert Arenas era” is gone, with the exception of Andray Blatche who is currently “shut down” due to poor conditioning. Washington Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld has made many questionable decisions in his management career. He just may have saved his job by bringing these new beginnings to D.C.
Having guys on the roster who want to win and play hard every night is a necessity. A few weeks ago the Wizards didn’t have that competitive edge, now with the recent changes they appear to have gained it.
I’m not saying everything is fine and dandy, but I do think the Wizards’ new beginnings offer hope.