The Wizards' Talk Is Cheap and Getting Old
When is enough, enough?
We've heard all of the championship chatter from multiple players on the Wizards this season. Jamison believed. Butler had his take. Then you have the one guy who we expected to be a prognosticator who didn't talk, but now he does which leaves some asking after the latest set of media interviews whether he should go back to being Quiet Zero.
Gil told us last April that he doesn't want to be a distraction this season and laughed at the reports that he could be a handful for the next coach to deal with.
From the Washington Post, "I know everyone thinks I'm going to be the big head case," Arenas said. "But I don't fight with anybody. I don't fight with the coaches. I don't fight with the players. I don't really say anything—only to the media. I'm just a hype man. It's all smoke and mirrors with me."
So how is it that 12 games into the 09-10 season, a season where the expectations have been set at Championship, or bust and the Wizards are being mentioned in the same breath as their wonderful NFL counterparts who set up shop in Ashburn, VA?
This Wizards season has been nothing short of a soap opera and we haven't even gotten out of the first month yet. What the hell is smoke and mirrors when you are quoted saying, "Everyone's got their own individual goals, I guess," "Hidden agendas. You can't win like that. I've never been on a team where you have eight free agents next year. I've never played on a team like that. I've never seen it turn out well. Sometimes it works out for the best because everybody's hungry and everybody's fighting. Sometimes it works out for the worst when everybody's out for their own."
Then we hear from Michael Lee today via Twitter that "Just for clarification, Gilbert Arenas & Brendan Haywood do not have a rift. Their comments were not directed at each other."
So who the hell is the rift with? When your franchise player, and let's not sugar foot this, Gilbert is the franchise player, but when he says that 14 out of 15 guys get along, somebody needs to come forward and say let's cut the BS. It's about that time for Antawn to step forward and insert a giant Adidas into somebody's ass and get all 15 of these guys on the same page.
The real question we have left to ask ourselves at this point is why did we believe them in the first place? Kyle Weidie from TruthAboutIt.net asked that very same question back in September. But the issue doesn't start there, it goes back further.
Why is it that year in and year out DC is promised great green pastures and championship dreams only to end up with a huge steamy pile of manure at the end of every season? We've become accustomed to this as we take the losing season, go into the off season and basically forget what it tasted like and get right back in line for another serving.
Even the Capitals which now have the most exciting player in hockey and seem poised to break a two decade long championship drought may have trouble breaking through that nightmare called the Penguins. It just always seems that the local teams in the four major sports cannot get breaks (the good kind anyway).
Going back to Wizards, is it really just coincidence that nothing seems to ever fall the right way? Could there really be credence to the Curse of Les Boulez?
Back in 2007 Michael Wilbon penned an article for the Post in which he outlined some of the bad "misfortunes" of the Washington Wizards, which included these memories:
Bernard King becoming an all-star, then injuring himself after the break and essentially never playing for the Bullets again?
Mark Price coming to town in 1995 to be the point guard the Bullets needed before suffering injuries that would limit him to a total of seven games here?
John "Hot Plate" Williams, the 6-foot-7 phenom out of Louisiana State whose game was so sweet he made Magic Johnson rave . . . until Williams ate himself out of the league.
"Dinner Bell" Mel Turpin did the same. Kevin Duckworth seemed to weigh about 280 when the Bullets acquired him, but got up to 325 or so before training camp.
The Bullets were poised and ready to draft Reggie Miller out of UCLA in 1987, but the Pacers unexpectedly snatched him and the Bullets wound up with Muggsy Bogues...for a year until he left in the expansion draft. Gheorghe Muresan appeared to be the giant centerpiece for a pretty imposing front line with Chris Webber and Juwan Howard, except that Muresan hurt his back filming the movie "My Giant" with Billy Crystal over the summer after that 1997 playoff appearance and for all practical purposes was done.
Webber, who represented as much hope as Arenas and Butler together when he arrived in 1994, suffered a shoulder injury and went off to titillate Northern California with playoff runs there. Even when Howard remained with the Bullets, via a David Stern mulligan, his $105 contract turned the town against him.
Part of me, however irrational this sounds, was convinced the Wizards needed to move out of Capital Centre, that a nice shiny new arena would change everything...and I was proven wrong. Ike Austin came and was terrible here after being really good in Miami. Ben Wallace went away before he became one of the great defensive forces of the last 10 years. The franchise finally gets the No. 1 pick in the draft—and the only thing worse than having the No. 1 pick in a year when there's no great franchise-altering player, is taking a high school kid. Kwame Brown turns out to be the worst No. 1 overall pick since LaRue Martin in 1972. Michael Jordan, the second greatest winner in league history after Bill Russell, couldn't get the team to the playoffs.
Stuff just happens to people. Andray Blatche got shot before he played his first game. Mitch Richmond, who played 3,000 minutes in a season four times before he got here, apparently had left it all on the court in California before he got here.
I know the Wizards people, the ones who remember it all so clearly, don't want to see this recounted today and it's understandable...but so many of the rest of us can't see Butler and Arenas go down without connecting the dots...without saying in a very high-pitched tone," How can this happen again?"
That is a lot of crap for one franchise to go through, no doubt about that, but a good portion of the Bullets/Wizards FAIL was due to the crappy management we had for the longest time. Abe Pollin's loyalty to Wes being the main culprit. That's why this was supposed to be different though. Ernie Grunfeld is a proven winner, a bona fide, well respected GM among many NBA circles.
But if this team doesn't get significantly better in a hurry how can you not start to point the finger at the architect of the plan? This is his team, his coach.
The one thing we don't need more of is excuses. If it's not injuries, it's not getting along, or the young kids don't understand the system. Perhaps the system doesn't work for the personnel. Maybe it's the coaches fault. Could it be because Gilbert is too selfish? Is it because Gilbert doesn't talk? Now Gilbert talks too much. Gilbert needs to pass more.
Whatever your flavor may be, all we have heard since we were leading the Eastern Conference in 2006/2007 and sending our coach and all stars to Vegas has been excuse after excuse after excuse.
This city deserves better.
The fans deserve better.
Imagine how nice it would be to finally root for a team that actually lived up to the hype that THEY put out there. You wanna be a championship basketball team, first things first, act like one. Stop the finger pointing.
It's time for every member of the Washington Wizards to take a deep long look in the mirror and remind themselves why they play this game. If you don't play to win championships, you need to get the hell off the team.
All the teams that have won championships have done it with star players, role players and bench players. The most important group out of those three could arguably be the role players. But if you've got role players who want to be stars and bench guys who whine and bitch about playing time you will end up where we've been for the last 3 decades, watching the Finals from home.
I learned a long time ago that if you need to brag about what you've done to help others or how much you've sacrificed, you really haven't done sh*t. Your actions should speak louder than anything you could possibly say.
I guess the bottom line is, enough with the chatter already, can we just have a team that wins at any cost?
Can this team simply shut up and play basketball before the season gets anymore out of hand?
Then again, who the hell am I kidding, these are our Washington Bullets/Wizards, this is where....
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