Now that the Wizards are entering the fourth year of their rebuilding process, expectations from the fanbase have certainly increased and playoff goals seem more legitimate than ever. Washington Wizards owner, Ted Leonsis, had made it clear from the start that the team would ultimately have to go through some struggles in order to finally take a step in the right direction. After securing a star studded backcourt with John Wall and Bradley Beal, along side some productive veterans in Nene and Martell Webster, Leonsis and Co. seem to believe that the Wizards are past the dark stages of rebuilding.
As the Wizards prepare to begin their preseason campaign this Tuesday night against the new-look Brooklyn Nets, Leonsis spoke to the Washington media prior to an open practice last night;
I’m tired of losing,” Leonsis said. “It’s not a lot of fun coming to games knowing, ‘This is going to be a tough night.’ We’re just at that point now, it’s the fourth year, we’ve retained our players, we’ve added players, we’ve spent a lot of money. And I expect us to be a playoff-caliber team. I think our fan base expects that too and that’s the pressure I’ve placed on our organization, that we have to meet the expectations of our fans – and it’s time.
Leonsis has been outspoken about the teams’ playoff goals in the past, but since both head coach Randy Wittman and general manager Ernie Grunfeld are entering the final seasons of their contracts, the pressure to actually meet those goals has definitely increased. The Wizards brass did a great job in acquiring a backup point guard (Eric Maynor) and a stretch four (Al Harrington), which were considered Washington’s biggest needs, so there aren’t any more excuses heading into the season. Virtually every core player besides Emeka Okafor has recuperated this offseason, and injuries are no longer a devastating issue for the Wizards. Washington’s brass seems to believe they have enough depth on the team to overcome injuries, and Leonsis “will not allow anybody to use that as an excuse this season.”
It’s time to put it all together on the court. I admire Leonsis’ passion, but I also realize that the players have to step onto the court and produce.