We’re almost there. Only 17 games remain in yet another disappointing Wizards season.
This season has felt like an eternity — losing a lot of games will do that to a team and its fan base — but fortunately we are beginning to see the light at the end of this sad tunnel.
I’ve been looking towards next season for a while now, and anybody that watched last night’s Wizards loss to the Pistons can understand my anticipation for the end of this season.
Recently, the Wizards have collapsed in the second half during three straight home games, and been beaten handily by the Celtics in between. Now the Wizards sit at 11-38, and have a lot of ping-pong balls in their future once again.
While Ernie Grunfeld has preached about his plan since he began the arduous process of rebuilding the Wizards’ roster in the spring of 2010, the fan base hasn’t bought in. That disconnect between Grunfeld and the fan base comes from the fact that the Wizards have looked more like a chaotic circus than anything else over the last three seasons, and of course Grunfeld’s lackluster resume doesn’t help his popularity either.
That circus-like atmosphere has led to loss after loss, and with that, frustration and disappointment.
Because of this perpetual disappointment, it becomes easy to focus on the many negatives the Wizards have to offer. It’s understandable, and I’m guilty of it too. Who wants to discuss Kevin Seraphin’s offensive development when Jordan Crawford is still hoarding the basketball and Jan Vesely still can’t hit a jump shot beyond nine feet?
But I’m here to say that “the plan” is progressing.
I’ve never been accused of being an Ernie Grunfeld supporter, and I don’t think he deserves a contract extension this off-season either, but I am starting to see pieces fall into place for the Wizards that will eventually allow them to become a relevant NBA franchise, once again.
Back in December I wrote that rebuilding has yet to begin. However, as the the calendar approaches April, a lot has changed.
Gone are Flip Saunders, Nick Young, and JaVale McGee, and soon to be joining them are Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche. Addition by subtraction was equally as important for the Wizards as just regular addition.
And we’ve already seen the Wizards most recent addition, Nene, make a positive impact on his new team. After all, the Wizards are allowing only 85 points per game in the four games he’s played in as a Wizard. While most will focus on the fact that the Wizards are 1-3 in those four games, let’s point out that the Wizards held a double-digit second half lead in all three of those losses.
I’m not one for moral victories, but that is indeed progress.
Winning is a habit. It takes time. It wasn’t a habit that was going to be formed any time soon with JaVale McGee and Nick Young on the roster, but with a steady veteran like Nene, it will come in time. Of that I’m confident.
Next season with Nene and John Wall cemented into the starting line-up for a full season, there promises to actually be “new traditions” in the 2012-2013 season.
I know “new traditions” was this season’s slogan, but it came a year early. The same cast of characters and coaching staff wasn’t anything new to start this season, and you can’t re-paint the floor and throw on some nice new red, white, and blue uniforms and tell me the product is different.
It’s this upcoming off-season that promises that much-needed wholesale change. We’ve already seen the start of it when the Wizards acquired Nene at the trade deadline.
There will be a brand new coaching staff, Ernie Grunfeld may finally be relieved of his general manager duties, and the distractions and immaturity on the roster will finally be gone. And on the court it will be John Wall, Nene, Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin, Jordan Crawford, Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely, and Shelvin Mack along with another high lottery pick and some free agent signings that will be leading the Wizards into the future.
And in that, I see progress.