It’s no secret that the Washington Wizards have been a breeding ground for inept players over the past decade, but with the acquisitions of a few young leaders in John Wall and Bradley Beal, accompanied by well respected veterans, it seems like the Wizards have finally turned the corner on that stage of the rebuilding process. Prior to the JaVale McGee trade which sent Nene to Washington, the Wizards didn’t have very many leaders that could produce on the floor. Now that they’ve acquired legitimate veterans that lead on and off the floor such as Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza and Al Harrington, the Wizards are no longer the butt of everyone’s joke throughout the NBA.
Prior to the multiple trades and NBA Draft selections which helped the Wizards become a playoff contender, veterans such as Al Harrington didn’t necessarily want to contribute in Washington. Al Harrington noticed the differences that took place throughout the last couple years, and he made sure to make note of it before signing with the Wizards this offseason:
Obviously they had a rough patch with some knuckleheads and stuff like that, but for the most part, they’ve been trying to put a product out there to win games,” Harrington said, recently. “And to see how they finish last year, knowing Nene, knowing how good John [Wall] could be, seeing that Bradley Beal is a superstar in the making also, why wouldn’t you want to play with these guys? And then you’ve got Kevin [Seraphin], Jan [Vesely]. It’s just a great young nucleus here and then you add myself, and Trevor [Ariza] and Martell [Webster] and all these guys to the mix, I think we can do something special this year.
He continued to note the bad rep Washington was getting:
Of course, because it was everywhere. It was on TV all the time,” Harrington said. “We talk in the locker room and stuff like that. So obviously, not to name names or whatever but all that garbage is out and now it’s a new regime. I think they got the right character guys and these fans are going to have something to be proud of a lot of years to come.”
Having guys like Harrington in the locker room has completely changes the culture in Washington. Even though having veterans like Nene on the team certainly makes the Wizards a destination, I found it interesting that Harrington made mention of some of the younger talent on the team, and how they differ from the players which held the Wizards back just a few seasons ago. Harrington could’ve chosen to play for a team with a chance to chase a ring, but he chose to take on the veteran role with the Wizards, which just goes to show the type of drastic change Washington has gone through.
I think it’s clear that it takes a lot more than talent to win games and having great character plays a huge role in building a successful team.