One of the more unique experiences I’ve had in my three short years of covering the Washington Wizards came during the 2008-2009 season. Eddie Jordan had been fired, Ed Tapscott was the interim head coach, Gilbert Arenas was out for the majority of the season with a knee, and that all added up to a dismal 19-63 record. But the locker room dynamic was fascinating to watch, particularly after a loss.
During his post-game press conferences, Coach Tapscott’s comments did not focus on whether the Wizards won or lost, but he focused on who played well, how hard his team fought, and the lessons that could be learned. I did not know whether it was Tapscott’s demeanor, or if he was taking that stance because he knew his time as Wizards head coach was temporary. I just knew he preferred the diplomatic approach as opposed to, say a Flip Saunders, who is much more pointed with his comments.
Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Deshawn Stevenson were the veterans of the locker room that season, and I always respected how they carried themselves after a loss. They were somber, angry and frustrated, but most of the time they would answer all questions thrown at them. It was clear they really did not want to talk to the media, but they understood it was their duty as professionals. It was also obvious that all of the losing was taking a toll.
Nick Young, Andray Blatche and Dominic McGuire (I would include JaVale McGee, but he was relatively mute during his rookie year) were the youngsters of the team, and their collective attitude in defeat came in stark contrast to the veterans. By the time the media hit the locker room, they would be laughing, smiling, comparing attire and having a good time. I did not know whether they simply didn’t care about the mounting losses, or if they just had the ability to quickly move on and not dwell on them. I just knew that on certain nights, the veterans were visibly upset that the entire locker room wasn’t as affected by the losses as they were.
Tags: Andray Blatche, Antawn Jamison, beno udrih, carl landry, Caron Butler, darnell jackson, demarcus cousins, DeShawn Stevenson, dominic mcguire, donte greene, ed tapscott, francisco garcia, jason thompson, paul westphal, Sacramento Kings