Like it or not, the Washington Wizards' season is over. The coach was fired yesterday, and last week, on his infamous blog, Gilbert Arenas stated as much. He made a very poignant comment that this disastrous 1-10 start for the Wizards could very much end up being a positive outcome for the team.
Obviously, if they can keep up their poor level of play, they will be in the hunt for the most ping-pong balls come lottery time, and a top pick in the draft.
I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I don't like my supposed franchise player making remarks about getting a top pick in the draft by tanking the season. I would hope somebody I am paying that much money would be talented enough that I wouldn't have to think about that.
I don't like it, but that's the way the NBA lottery works, and Arenas is 111 percent on the money.
The only chance the Wizards have at becoming an elite team in the NBA is to tank this season, win the lottery, and draft the top big man available. Easier said than done? Of course, but what other options do they have?
The Wizards have been hovering around mediocrity since their inception, and the last few years have been no different. They've certainly had some talented players come through D.C., but they've never put together a core that could compete for a championship year-in and year-out.
The Wizards are in limbo because they have three All-Stars, who all do the same things well—shoot and score. Their defense is atrocious, and they have absolutely no inside presence. The two-headed monster of Haywood and Thomas has not been getting the job done.
Nobody is going to trade the services of a top-level big man for Butler, Jamison, or Arenas. And if they did, the Wizards wouldn't be as dangerous as they are capable of being anyway. So where do they go?
The only way the Wizards are going to find the dominating center or power forward (and no, Jamison is not a power forward) they need is through the draft. The only way to get a high draft pick is take their chances and to throw a season away.
They have no money as far as the salary cap is concerned, and and a trade is going to keep them where they are at. They need to face the facts, hedge their bets, tank the season, keep their fans with them, and hope the lottery gods are on their side.
The tanking of the season doesn't always work, just ask the Celtics who have famously tried doing it twice when Tim Duncan and Greg Oden were coming out of college.
But sometimes it does.
The Wizards are like the Spurs team led by David Robinson about a decade ago. They were okay, they were never going to win a championship with Robinson, but they made the playoffs every year and were a fine team.
What happened? We all know the story.
Robinson gets hurt, and the Spurs have one of the worst records in the league. They win the lottery, draft Tim Duncan, and win four NBA Championships over the course of the next 10 years.
It also worked when the Cavs tanked their season to get LeBron James, who has single-handedly rebuilt that franchise.
Why not the Wizards?
Nobody goes into a season expecting to start 1-10, much less a playoff team with two All-Stars and one coming back from injury in a month.
Even before this horrendous start, nobody expected them to compete with Boston, Cleveland, or Detroit. Maybe this start is a sign? Maybe this is their chance to get over the hump? This is a chance to make up for the Kwame Brown pick?
Put a Blake Griffin on the Wizards next year and see if he is as good as advertised. Throw in a defensive minded coach in Avery Johnson next year, and I see no reason why with a core of Arenas, Butler, Jamison, and Griffin, the Wizards couldn't compete with any team in the NBA and challenge for an NBA Championship.