So I know I am a couple of weeks late on this as Grunfeld was extended by the Wizards 2 weeks ago but Robbie had his say on the matter and how much he disliked the move and I am in the same boat as Rob, just not quite as passionate about it. From what I understand Leonsis has given Grunfeld a 2 year extension so he will at least be around through the 2013/2014 season and basically will be in charge of this new era of Wizards basketball. Let me first give you a quick overview of Ernie Grunfeld’s tenure thus far with the Wizards and why a lot of people are questioning his return.
At first glance the title of this statement looks ridiculous. How good any part of an 11-39 season being going well? Well I am here to explain that to you. I will start right before the trade deadline because that is basically the day where the Wizards franchise changed dramatically with the Nene trade. At the time we were sitting at 9-32 (nothing to write home about) and had the 3rd worst record in the NBA was is actually one of the most significant parts of this year. We were a team that had an infinite number of players that had no basketball IQ, played sub par defense, and overall just took a selfish approach to the game. The culture around the Wizards was terrible as all of their top players (sans Wall) not only didn’t know how to win basketball games but just created a losing atmosphere around the other players. The main culprits in this culture was McGee, Young, and Blatche; all of whom had been in the league year for years yet they had all always been perennial losers (specifically as starters) and not one of them seemed willing to change their game or attitude on the court for the better of the team. It was pretty clear that Young would be gone after this year because he is an unrestricted free agent and Blatche was also probably gone due to the existing amnesty clause that the Wizards are sure to use on him; but with no deal looming it seemed as if we would have to watch these guys play out the year and soil our young impressionable players even more. Then you have McGee who we would have had to make a huge decision on this summer as to whether to pay this big time highlight and potential guy that hadn’t yet figured out how to play and win in the NBA the big bucks or let him walk for free. It is basically the type of decision that gets NBA GM’s fired every year.
The Wizards face off against the Pacers tonight in one exciting game! Nene is coming off his Wizard’s debut and his arrival has marked a new era in Washington. After a big first game it will be interesting to see if he can keep up against a better front line. Right now the Pacers have had a rough stretch of play but they are coming off a big win against the Clippers. Right now I will take the Pacers at the current line of -7 and the under at the current over/under of 200.
Fresh off of a win against the Hornets and a big trade at the deadline, the Wizards travel to Atlanta. There they will face a struggling Hawks team who have lost 4 of their last 5. Even with his team playing poorly, Josh Smith has managed to put up 25.5 points per game on 50.3% shooting in the month of March. Trevor Booker seems to be the obvious choice to guard Smith and will need to bring his best effort to slow down the athletic power forward. One player to watch for the Wizards is Kevin Seraphin who will see his second start of the year for the Wizards. As the Wizards transition from McGee to Nene, Seraphin will be expected to pick up the slack inside. His impressive performances in wins against the Hornets and Lakers show that he can mean the difference between a loss or a win for Washington. Unfortunately, I do not see this being the case tonight as I have the Hawks winning 98- 89.