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Washington Wizards Facing Big Decisions

WASHINGTON, DC- DECEMBER 18:  Head coach Flip Saunders of the Washington Wizards watches the game against the Miami Heat at the Verizon Center on December 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. 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 Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Greg StarddardContributor IIIFebruary 5, 2011

So how long do you wait for the rebuilding to show signs of life?  How long do you keep the current front office together, despite being win less on the road this year?  How long will the fans keeping buying tickets during a recession to see a losing team?

I'm not sure if  those questions are dominating the thinking of Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, but everything coming out of Verizon Center in the heart of Washington D.C.'s Chinatown is looking kind of bleak. The Wiz are 0-24 on the road this year, and own—once again—one of the worst records in the National Basketball Association.

Hey, I'm not trying to burst your bubble, but Wizards basketball is horrible, and hard to watch. Yeah, John Wall is exciting at times, but that's the only attraction. I'm not sure if that's enough to pack the stands; Heck, I guess the Wizards front office would know more about that.  I'm also assuming they know the current state of affairs is boring and not really worth buying a ticket. 

Don't get me wrong, I respect General Manager Ernie Grunfeld. Heck, I'm old enough to remember the "Ernie and Bernie Show" at the University of Tennessee, but Grunfeld has had a while to make this happen and it ain't happenin'.  I know he got the team to the playoffs with Arenas, Caron and Jamison, but that ended terribly each time at the hands of LeBron James and his former Cavaliers

Is it time for a new vision and fresh approach from the front office? And for that matter, could the same be asked of the head coaching responsibilities? Flip Saunders has coached and won a lot of games, but the players aren't responding to his game plan or strategy.  Sometimes it's a matter of not being the right coach at the right time for a young, inexperienced group of players.

I can hear the groans coming from northwest Washington now. How can he say that? They have young players, and they're growing! That's true. They also have a great couple of role players in Nick Young and Andray Blatche, but neither would likely start for a contender right now in the league. They're good players, but not the type to lead you deep into the playoffs—or into the playoffs, period.

The Seraphins, Bookers, Mcgees, and Yis, can't go up against a Garnett, a Howard, a Melo or a Kobe. If the owners are willing to wait a few years and hope it can put together another Oklahoma City team, great! But I don't see that happening with the current logic and leadership coming out of front office.

A couple of years ago this team had Dee Brown and Earl Boykins running the team from the point guard position. Fast forward to Hilton Armstrong, Al Thornton and an aging Rashard Lewis.

They also gave Arenas a near-maximum contract with the knowledge his knee was broken. He's still not at full speed three years later, so why would you give a player with a serious knee injury that kind of money? I could ask darn near the same question of Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith. Why would he would take on the $80 million Arenas contract? But that's for another time, lady and gents.

The NBA is a business first. Don't believe that other crap. Sure, some of the owners actually love the game, but they're in it to win it and make money. These days with the economy showing signs of life and stagnation in the same month, it's about keeping businesses afloat financially. Can the Wizards afford to keep going in the same direction?

 

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