Where the "bottom" can never be reached. | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Where the “Bottom” Can Never Truly Be Reached — Clippers 136, Wizards 104

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Updated: October 29, 2018

1-5 is the feeling you get when the rent is a week late.

1-5 is the slow sinking sensation that creeps in when the check engine light comes on 200 miles into a 700-mile journey.

1-5 is when someone tells you that they aren’t mad, they’re just disappointed.

Let’s lock onto that last feeling for a moment. If you happen to be one of the few certifiable maniacs left who follows this team passionately, the feeling that you are probably grappling with right now isn’t a blinding anger—it is a bitter and consuming despair that nothing, as relates to the Washington Wizards basketball franchise, will ever change.

The Wizards lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, 136-104, on Sunday evening. On the face of it: This result is bad. And yet, when you really dig into it, it becomes so much more deliciously worse. Here are a few precious moments from a loss Sunday:

  • In the second quarter quarter, John Wall listlessly drove the ball up court with his Wizards down by ‘only’ seven points. Wall meandered around the top of the key (while the rest of his teammates stood in stasis) then half-heartedly drove into the teeth of Clippers defense, before kicking it out to Markieff Morris, who missed a 3-pointer. Wall ended up with the ball back in his hands and went up to yam it home—only to have it stuffed back in his face by Tobias Harris. All the Wizards jogged back in transition D.

  • The Wizards trailed the Clippers at one point in the third quarter by 29 points.
  • Montrezl Harrell, the kind of player that the Wizards would pay blood money to have on their team, absolutely destroyed the Wizards on the interior all night. On three straight possessions during the second quarter, Harrell slipped his man in Markieff Morris, either slicing past him for an uncontested bucket or simply ignoring Morris’s “defense” to grab position and put in an easy putback. His final stat line: 12 points in 10 minutes (on 6-7 shooting), 4 boards, 2 turnovers, and plus-6.

 

Let’s kick it over to John Wall for a moment. What say you fearless leader?

Wait, this isn’t very fair. Quick break for some positivity.

There are still some optimists out there on #WizardsTwitter. Those who believe that the Wizards are one ass cheek healing away from becoming somewhat relevant. The founder of this site even conducted an informal poll to capture the madness.

To these loyalist partisans I say: I wish I could have what you are having. As much as Howard might shore up the rebounding issues for a team paper thin in bigs (despite the tens of millions of dollars being paid to them), his arrival also brings along with it the need for more touches. Further, a return the glories of 2011 basketball is not going to right the Wizards ship.

Even more sobering for the Dwight-stans out there on the internet: The Wizards have managed to self-implode even with the combustible Mr. Howard’s personality parked safely 3,000 miles away. Crowdsourced wisdom was that Howard’s mere presence was enough to send the Wizards into paroxysms of self-inflicted madness. Those that predicted a toxic locker room were right—but it turns out that Dwight Howard was not the match needed to light that tinder. The Wizards can be plenty dysfunctional without their shiny new acquisition, thank you very much.

Back to some “key moments” from the night:

  • The Wizards defense is so repugnant, so lazy, so theatrically over-the-top hot trash that when the Wizards broadcast team threw it over to the Clippers for a live listen in to their play-by-play in the third quarter, the first words you heard were “The Wizards are a baaaaad defensive team.”

  • With minutes left in the second quarter, Morris once again did a poor job of establishing positioning and allowed Danilo Gallinari of all people to swipe a board away. In the ensuing tussle, Morris caught an inadvertent elbow to the temple/eye region. The Wizards then went ahead and ran a play 4-5 as Morris lay in a crumpled heap. When play finally stopped to get Morris medical attention, two Clippers (Patrick Beverly and ex-Wiz Mike Scott) stayed with Morris as he was being tended to—not one single Wizard went over to check on their teammate.
  • The aforementioned Mike Scott (who was really excited about a big Skins win today!) did all the usual Mike Scott things, including hitting 80% of his shots, going 3-for-3 from behind the arc and finishing plus/minus of plus-13. It is obvious why the Wizards made no effort to retain him.

Woof. Lemme take another break and have Scotty calm me down…

After Friday’s loss to Sacramento, the usual drivel crept out of the Wizards locker room. There was talk about “agendas.” There was talk about certain teammates by those willing to complain after the game was over—but no one was holding each other accountable on the court. There was (gasp!) the accusation that there were individuals on the team more interested in “getting touches” than playing winning basketball. Yet those same leaders—the Walls, the Beals, the Morris(esssss)—whose job it is to make sure that “everyone eats” and that agendas would not and will not be tolerated were responsible for this stunning statistic as many viewers shut off their television at halftime: the Wizards had a grand total of five assists on 21 made FGs for 54 total points. Meanwhile, the Clippers had 19 assists on 28 FGMs for 69 points.

The Wizards have been thrashed by good teams (Toronto), young teams (Sacramento), and deep teams (LAC). The Wizards are NOT, as Scott Brooks would have you believe, “a play or two away” from having a different record. They have been systematically dismantled in myriad ways by teams with wildly varying different personnel. And the collective reaction of the Wizards coaching staff has been to attempt to keep the fires of the injury narrative burning by pointing to Dwight Howard’s absence—and when that didn’t work, by throwing Otto Porter of all people under the bus for being a selfish jerk who only wants touches.

The Wizards are not 1-5 because an ass cheek will not heal. The Wizards are not 1-5 because Otto Porter has suddenly become a locker room disease on par with Avian Bird Flu. The Wizards are 1-5 because they are a bad basketball team. The Wizards are 1-5 because they are being coached poorly. The Wizards are 1-5 because they have had the same GM running the show since 2003 who insists on painting around the edges of the team rather than trying something, anything that would threaten continuity.

The bottom line is that the Wizards are bad because they are simply a terrible basketball team in all the ways that turn off the casual observer. They are allergic to defense. They do not share the ball. They look and act like they’d rather be doing anything else than playing the game of basketball. And then, to cap it all off, they bitch and moan about how unfair the scrutiny is that they have to endure.

The problem with 1-5 is not that it’s rock bottom. The problem with 1-5 is that “bottom” isn’t even yet within sight.

Sean Fagan on FacebookSean Fagan on Twitter
Sean Fagan
Reporter / Writer/Gadfly at TAI
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Sean has contributed to TAI since the the dawn of Jan Vesely and has been on the Wizards beat since 2008. His work has been featured on ESPN, Yahoo and SI.com. He still believes that Mike Miller never got a fair shot.