With just seven games remaining this season for the Washington Wizards, I thought it would be a great time to start posting our annual season evaluations. Instead of just evaluating the players on the roster, I thought we should evaluate the front office and coaching staff as well. James Straton and Williams Stokes joined me as we evaluated our beloved front office.
James Straton: How do you grade a man with a Wizards record of 311-485? How do you disconnect that fact from anything he does? If you’re me, this is an easy process. I know hindsight to be 20/20 and I know obvious warning signs of catastrophe are not so obvious as they occur. I can forgive Ernie Grunfeld for a number of things he has done because I can understand the logic. I think we wouldn’t be talking about what a bad GM he is if not for the fact that John Wall has been mediocre for 90% of his career. If Wall were Rose, this 2013 team would have won 50 games and we would be singing his praises for the Nene and Okafor/Ariza deals. But alas, Nene and Wall missed many-a-game and the team has been awful without them. So he’s the worst GM ever.
Grunfeld was asked to play Russian Roulette with a gun that had bullets in five of six chambers. His brains are splattered across the Verizon Center’s floor, but Zombie Grunfeld lives on, trying to clean up the pink-mattered-mess (read: Gilbert Arenas/Rashard Lewis mess) while sometimes making moves you would expect from a brainless Zombie, like drafting Jan Vesely. But alas, no matter how much you qualify his performance this year, he created a team filled with injury-laden players and little depth. He relied too much on youth, following the Ted Leonsis way that worked so well with the Caps, suiting up players in Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin, and Chris Singleton who sometimes look more like D-League-ers than role players. And, most importantly, he didn’t trade Bradley Beal for James Harden. That’s the straw that breaks this Zombie’s rating.
The amount of input Mr. Leonsis had on the axing of the potential Harden trade is unclear, but I blame him all the same. It’s tough to see the best SG in the league torch everyone while the Wizards rely yet again on potential. The Wizards are full of potential energy; it would have been nice to garner some kinetic. But that isn’t the case and the backcourt looks fine. Beal looks to be an incredible player, but if he ever reaches the heights Harden had already reached with the Thunder I will be surprised. It’s just easier to bet on Beal not achieving those heights; it’s not knock on him as a player. I think he’s awesome. But I’d be surprised if he is ever James Harden awesome.
And that single trade is why I think both Leonsis and Grunfeld deserve a failing grade. The Crawford trade I don’t mind. Hell, maybe he’s only worth a torn ACL and two fouls a game. But not nabbing Harden at any cost is unforgiveable. I may have started off by saying I can forgive Ernie for a number of things he has done because I understand the logic, but I was outraged by this from the start. And sorry, Ted. You get blamed all the same.