A Winless Season?
By: Kevin Green
As every other team in the NBA starts to compile wins early in this abbreviated season, the Wizards have yet to win one game: eight games, eight losses. As one of the few true Wizards fans, ever since the end of Gilbert Arenas’ reign when he was the king of Washington basketball, I have become immune to the Wizards losing night in and night out. I have begun to accept the fact that no matter how many lottery picks we get and how much money the Wizards’ front office spends on “stars,” it seems like the Wizards are allergic to winning.
Out of the seven teams they have played so far, four of them have losing records. Despite their relatively easy schedule, however, the Wizards are currently 29th in points per game out of the 32 teams, 26th in rebounds per game, 29th in assists per game, and 19th in points allowed. Like any sport, no matter how good your defense is, if you cannot score, you can’t win. This has proved to be very true with the Wizards this season.
Aside from John Wall, the team’s only bright spot, the rest of the team is simply not very good. However, that is not the only problem that is plaguing the team early in the season. The other reason is that they are not giving their heart and soul on the court every possession of every game. It is common to see players like Andre Blatche and JaVale McGee take plays off and allow their opponents to dominate them. It kills me to watch their games, and watch players clearly slack off when others, like Wall, are pouring their heart and soul into doing everything possible to win games. One example of this lack of passion occurred just hours before the Wizards played the Minnesota Timberwolves. Blatche had not looked over the scouting report, and in awe stated: “Damn, Kevin Love shoots 42 percent from three point range?” The fact that Blatche had not even glanced at the scouting report, and had just expected to shut down one of the best players in the league, is embarrassing for one who calls himself a professional athlete.
Many times during a game, after a missed shot or a score by the other team, John Wall will take the ball and sprint down court, attempting to take advantage of the other team sleeping. However, sometimes he catches his own team napping, and he will end up being the only Wizard down court trying to make a play while his entire team is nonchalantly jogging down the court. In this highlight reel dunk by Wall earlier this season, if you look at the other Wizards players on the court, there is still one player at half court when Wall dunks, and two other players standing around watching Wall try to single handedly win the game. No teammate even attempt to follow up for a possible second chance basket or rebound. This is a perfect example of the lack of effort the Wizards have shown this season. And their winless record has been the result.
During their first eight games this season, the Wizards have had a real chance to win only one of those games. The Wizards lost to the Knicks 99-96 after giving up a game winning three-pointer to Carmelo Anthony. The problem is not that one of the best players in the league made the game winning shot, it is that the Wizards gave up this three uncontested and left one of the best players in the league wide open. As you can see, Trevor Booker thought Anthony pushed off in order to get open. However, the refs did not call the offensive foul, and Booker just stopped playing and allowed Anthony to get off an uncontested shot, one that he will likely make 9 out of 10 times. Once again the Wizards lost a game for lack of hustle and discipline.
As of now, the Wizards are giving up an average of 97.8 points per game, while only scoring 84.9 points a game. Getting outscored by an average double-digit margin borders on pathetic. Their lack of points, rebounds, and assists are all a result of the absence of urgency and desire on the part of the players, and the Wizards will struggle getting any wins this season the way they are currently playing.