[Kramer Middle School, Anacostia, DC - photo: K. Weidie]
The Wizards have been bad, and for the most part, that’s okay, even somewhat expected. Even those who contribute so-called “wicked pixels” understand that the rebuild will take time. After all, some of us, such as this person typing, have been ardent followers of the franchise since years before current team owner Ted Leonsis even started his now since long ended career at AOL (1993), or even before the current franchise poster boy, John Wall, was born (September 6, 1990). So when the valid message of patience is preached, it shouldn’t so much be seen as a defensively pious sermon by Leonsis, but rather a navigation through rough waters by the current moderator of a public trust — a team which is the property of the community, not of the current proprietors who aim to make money and promote positive influences though said team.
Proprietors of wicked pixels, depending on the source, can be the equivalent of a guy manning the Crow’s Nest of the ship sending a message to those in the galley about how rough the waters are. Not exactly helpful… they know it’s rough in the galley, they can feel the waves. Still, the perspective of outside insight is always a necessity. Thus, there exceptions to being bad in a rebuild. The main one being actually looking bad in being bad. Sure, against the Bulls the Wizards scored a franchise-low 64 points. Sure, they fell apart at the very end as the team has been wont to do. But the key is that they didn’t look unexpectedly bad. New starters Trevor Booker and Chris Singleton displayed infectious toughness. The team fought against a very solid Bulls team, even without M.V.P. Derrick Rose. Yes, bad decision-making and lack of focus hurt in the game-determining stretch, but the Wizards didn’t lose, for the most part, because they played like they didn’t care. They lost because they lacked talent. Lack of capability leading to failure in a rebuild is OK, lack of wherewithal is not.
Beyond development, beyond patience, beyond hope, the Wizards franchise can ill-afford to not adjust standards according to the current job auditions, or rather, continued poor performance when it comes to the simple desire of player to earn his pay. Navigating rebuild voyages also comes with sensitive lines amongst influences of culture. It’s a long trip across rough seas, and no matter how great someone might be at being a deckhand, if they have a negative influence on the rest of the crew, throw him off the ship. Else an unwilling and unknowing mutiny could form to wash the nautical charts away in an unexpected wave of trouble, leaving the vessel in a continued, directionless state.
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