“New Traditions” and a change of culture are what we’ve been sold, and I’m not going to lie — I bought it.
I bought that the Wizards were changing their losing culture. I bought that the Wizards were beginning their journey back to national relevancy. I bought that the Wizards were no longer going to be the laughingstock of the NBA.
Now I’d like to return the optimism I purchased.
A big part of the optimism that I, and a lot of fans, had in the preseason was that gone are the days of JaVale McGee running back on defense while the Wizards were on offense; Nick Young is no longer throwing alley-oops to God in a Wizards uniform; and Andray Blatche is no longer giving Wizards fans grey hair. Those kinds of plays littered the past few losing seasons, but it was almost a guarantee that at least one of those three would do something to make you laugh just long enough to help you forget about all the tears you already cried, thanks to all the losing.
Now the Wizards are just losing, and nothing is funny about it.
When the Wizards lost Wednesday night in Dallas, they became the second team in NBA history to start consecutive seasons with a record of 0-7 or worse. Even without John Wall and Nene, that is not acceptable. Starting a season 0-7 simply cannot happen — and no, moral victories do not count.
The Wizards have been competitive in six of their seven losses, but who cares? We shouldn’t, but this is what we’ve been reduced to. . . cheering for and counting “moral victories”. And enough is enough. The losing isn’t funny anymore. However, we’re all forced to make jokes on Twitter during games to help us deal with the anger and frustration. Then once the game is over and the reality of another Wizards loss begins to set in, I drown my sorrows in a bottle of Gatorade. While the Gatorade helps, I still find myself feeling hollow and frustrated. All of the losing is eating away at me, and it’s eating at the entire fanbase.
While the fans become more and more numb after each loss, nothing with the team changes. The losing has gotten real old, and I just wish the organization seemed to feel the same way.
I don’t want to accuse team owner Ted Leonsis of not wanting to win, because that would be foolish and it would be flat-out wrong. It’s my opinion that he, the entire organization, and the players on the court want to win but have no idea how to do so. We’ve seen the players fail to close out games so far this season and we’ve seen and heard Ted Leonsis preach patience and a slow rebuilding plan. And to date, both have produced more losses and more fan disappointment.
Part of this patient and slow rebuilding plan has included giving contract extensions to team president, Ernie Grunfeld, and head coach, Randy Wittman.
And therein lies the root of the problem.
To stop this unfunny joke that is the Washington Wizards, the Wizards need to do what the fans have been crying out for for years — make a complete overhaul of the front office and coaching staff. Instead, Leonsis and the Wizards have stuck by the same men and the losses have continued.
As Albert Einstein stated, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” By that definition, the Wizards are certainly an insane franchise, but we already knew that.