Washington Wizards' Javale McGee Showboat Dunk Shows Scale of Problems

Peter OwenCorrespondent IIJanuary 17, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 11:  JaVale McGee #34 of the Washington Wizards reacts after being called for a foul against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Wizards 78-64. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Here's the facts:

The Washington Wizards lost 114-106 to the Houston Rockets, their 12th loss in 13 games.
John Wall may have scored 38 points on 22 shots, but the rest of the team shot just 44 percent (not too bad, but not good enough when you give up 48 percent to the other team).

What did Washington's coaching staff and players focus on post game? Their poor defense? Their lack of direction and purpose on offense? Their lack of chemistry? Lack of effort? Lack of discipline?

If you said "none of the above," then well done.

That is correct, the Wizards and their players did not focus on any of these important issues, instead they focused on one Javale McGee off-the-backboard slam dunk during the third quarter.

Yup, the kid had fun and nobody liked it. McGee got the ball just over the other half and lobbed it off the backboard and slammed it home, dunk-contest style. That's not a problem, right? You want to entertain a crowd that, let's be honest, hasn't had anything to cheer all season.

Flip Saunders had this to say:

"Maybe I'm too old-school, but you see that and the lobbying for the All-Star Game, that right there is where we have to get to where we identify with meat and potato basketball. Playing hard, setting screens, playing the right way, and not highlight-type play. We've said this many times. We have some players that look for highlights instead of substance."

"Meat and potato basketball." Flip Saunders, everyone. The Wizards' coach took exception to the dunk and benched McGee for the remainder of the game. Strange to focus on this over his teams' apathetic approach to everything else on the court.

John Wall is probably the only player on that roster still playing hard every night, all credit to him for not being sidetracked and derailed from developing his promising career. He was also asked about the dunk:

"A dunk is a dunk. It would have been better if he went in and did a regular dunk. We're 1-11. There was no point in doing that. I know he was excited, but if we make a basket, that's all that counts."

Wall hits the nail on the head right here, there is nothing wrong with the dunk, it just isn't the right attitude to have when the team is 1-11.

Another question: McGee is far away from the basket when he receives the ball. Why is he, a seven-footer, not back under the basket battling for the rebound? Why is he not back helping out on defense? This is the crux of the issue for Washington, not the dunk, but everything else that makes it a problem.

Hey, at least it was entertaining. Seriously though, the Wizards are a mess. Despite blowing up the roster 24 months ago, they appear ready to take the same steps again. Trouble is they would want to keep John Wall, the franchise face and the only player playing like a professional on the roster.

Fine, keep Wall, jettison the rest. However, nobody wants someone with questionable motivation (McGee) or with little talent (everyone else).

Good luck with this season.