The NBA season is only one month and a few days old and I’m already thinking the Washington Wizards should give up on this season and start looking towards 2012-13. John Wall has yet to play this season nursing a knee, Trevor Booker also has a knee problem, and Nene Hilario has plantar fasciitis. That’s your team’s two star players and a key energy guy all struggling with injuries. Even before the injuries this was a Wizard’s squad that wasn’t predicting to crack the top in a weak Eastern Conference which says a lot about the state of the franchise.
The owner of the Wizards, Ted Leonsis, felt that GM Ernie Grunfeld deserved an extension for getting the team out of the mess he created. I, like most, agreed to disagree. The reason being, he put the Wizards right back into Messyville with the trade for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.
I actually like Ariza’s skill set with the Wizards once Wall returns to the lineup, but not for $14 million over the next two seasons. They definitely could have done without Okafor eating up $27 million over the next two seasons. Essentially Grunfeld traded Rashard Lewis‘ contract buyout of $13 million for over $40 million the next two years.
No one seems to ever discuss the lack of development that goes on within the organization either.
You know what makes teams like the San Antonio Spurs great? Development. From the front office down to the players that play the game, there is development. Don’t believe me? Ask why their front office and bench are usually highly sought after ever off season.
The Wizards have failed to develop front office personal and coaching personal during Grunfeld’s tenure. That leads to a trickle down effect on the court. If you have incompetent personal running the front office, how are you going to draft and or trade for the right talent that fits your system? How are you going to get the best out of your players if you can’t get the best out of your front office and coaching staff?
I don’t put the whole failure of an organization on the players. Those responsible for picking those players and charged with developing them have to shoulder the blame as well. In order for the Wizards to truly start turning their franchise around they are going to have to start at the top. That means Leonsis has to realize it is time let Grunfeld walk and honesty begin anew.