Walking Backwards Toward The Finish Line: Done with the 08-09 Wizards
Whew. It’s over. Should have figured that the end would involve the Wizards blowing a lead. I hacked out my initial thoughts on NBC Washington, some more are below, and I’m sure there are more reflections to come.
Historically, most will point to injuries and youth and say that the 08-09 Wizards were destined to fail. Some will also tell of interim coach Ed Tapscott “biting the bullet” and “taking one for the team.”
Not saying that Coach Tap didn’t try his best, and by all accounts, including my observations of his interactions with the media, he’s a respectable and intelligent guy….he’s just not a basketball coach.
The fact is that the Wizards regressed under Ed Tapscott, evidenced by youth such as JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Andray Blatche overtly expressing me-first attitudes in wanting to get theirs. Whatever happened to working on your game, sharing with your teammates, and playing as a team (even in the face of losing)?
Another interesting scene was when the players were trying to determine who was going to play and who was going to sit out against the Celtics. Juan Dixon considered sitting out when JaVale McGee almost lost it.
“Bro, you got to play,” McGee begged. “If you don’t play, I won’t get no shots.”
Butler even thought about sitting out, but Darius Songaila begged him to play.
“You’re not going to leave me with them,” Songaila said, pointing to Nick Young and McGee.
With Jamison and Haywood already resting, the opportunistic Young realized that the fewer available players would give him a chance to start and shoot as often as he wanted. Young approached Butler and said, “All the other stars taking the night off. You don’t want to be out there with me.”
Butler just shook his head and walked away.
And like that, the show was over. Curtain closed.
Sure, you can take this scene related my Michael Lee as a grain of salt joke, but it’s not the first silly instance of the Wizards youngin’s wanting to get their points. And I don’t think it’s very funny ha-ha…..well, maybe a little. Not saying the kids wanted to lose, but their lack of pride throughout the year was disappointing….and certainly contributed to Antawn Jamison’s frustration with them.
Whatever happened to “hey, let’s trying to play hard for this last…say, 10-game season”? Nope. Maybe it’s just that I wanted them to be a little more pissed-off and less ‘happy-go-lucky’….but after such a long season of losing since the beginning, guess I can’t blame the kiddies too much for apathetically getting over not winning.
The Wizards, as a team, young and old, kept making the same mistakes over and over again…..never learning, barely willing to learn. And because of that, I look into the direction of Tapscott, and almost more so to Ernie Grunfeld for putting him in the position.
Not to say that the “funny” locker room wouldn’t have continued under Eddie Jordan, but if you extend the guys contract before the season, then get hit with fatal injuries, why not just keep him for the whole season? Grunfeld said that things were getting “stale” under Jordan. Well, the cheese became completely moldy under Tapscott.
Enough bitching and moaning….for now. There will be positive thoughts in the future, but I might as well complain while the stench of the season is still fresh.
“I think the coaching staff is really going to have to get them. They’ve been in a nice bed and breakfast the last couple of seasons.”
-Antawn Jamison [via Wizards Insider]
It’s over. This season of bad luck, bad breaks, bad shots, bad passes, bad box outs, bad picks, bad rolls, bad news and bad defense mercifully came to an end, with the Wizards doing no damage on their lottery position.
Celtics 115, Wizards 107; Arenas Speaks – Wizards Insider
Thus ends the Ed Tapscott era and regardless of how ugly his 9-53 record was or how frustrating how rotations were, you have to feel bad for the man. He fell on the sword for the team in a no-win situation and has little to show for other than a few extra gray hairs.
It’s a wrap – Wizards Outlet
“This is the worst season I’ve ever been a part of,” said Antawn Jamison, who went through a 17-win season in his rookie year with Golden State. “Even though we had a lot of injuries, we still thought we had enough talent to play better than what we’ve shown this year. But this is the worst season. Back then [2000-01 with Golden State], we had guys on 10-day contracts – six or seven guys. You were, I don’t want to say expected to be that bad, but… here, we’ve got a foundation here and some guys who have been here for an extended period of time. … It can’t get any worse than what we went through this year.”
Wizards exit with whimper – Washington Times
There probably aren’t a lot of Wizards fans out there that will be mourning the end of the Ed Tapscott coaching era, but you couldn’t have asked for a classier guy to guide what was left of the ship home this season. His time as coach of the Wizards might not have been the most memorable in franchise history, but it’s hard to imagine anyone faring well under the circumstances he had to deal with this season.
Thank you for your service, Ed. I hope that you always find yourself in the Palace of Good Play.
Bullets Forever, Jake The Snake