I am a Wizards fan.
Let me make this crystal clear just incase you didn’t hear me the first time.
I am a Bullets fan.
It’s a slight difference in both of those statements, but they are both one and the same. One constitutes being apart of the franchise’s fan base for longer than most millennial fans could imagine. I’ve been through it all in my 30 years of fandom. The Bob Ferry-led years where we would win just enough games to get beat by the Pistons or Sixers in the playoffs.
Jeff Malone. Moses Malone. Darren Daye. Jeff Ruland. Gus Johnson. Dan Roundfield. Manute Bol. Mugsy Bogues.
I thought nothing could be worse than the Susan O’Malley years. We sucked so bad and what made it worse is that we didn’t capitalize on any of the draft picks we had during that era. Every free agent pickup seemingly ended in disaster. The 1st Bullets game I ever attended happened to be a Celtics game at the old Capital Centre. Larry Bird hit the game-winner and 75% of the crowd was draped in Celtic green, so people pissed about road teams invading Verizon Center can miss me because this has been going on for decades.
Bernard King. Pervis Ellison. Mark Price. Kevin Duckworth. Calbert Cheaney. Don MacLean. Harvey Grant.
As fans we thought we might have turned the corner in the John Nash-era with surprise selection Tom Gugliotta, who actually panned out his rookie year. Then we drafted Juwan Howard, traded Googs to Golden State for his homeboy, Chris Webber, the reigning Rookie of The Year. Things were looking up. Then, Webber stayed either injured or high or locked up (remember the rape charge with Juwan out Bowie?) and was eventually traded by new GM Wes Unseld for an old Mitch Richmond and after only 1 playoff appearance, a new arena and a name change, that era was over and done.
Tracy Murray. Rod Strickland. Robert Pack. Gheorghe Muresan. Rasheed Wallace. Tim Legler.
One lingering issue that plauges this franchise and I noticed it with the hiring of Unseld as GM, we REWARD mediocrity. Unseld was a terrible head coach, Nash gets fired and Wes gets PROMOTED….which leads me too…..the present.
Most “Wizards” fans, can only remember this current era, The Ernie Grunfeld-led era. The “MCI Center” Wizards. During this tenure, there have been really three incarnations of the team. The “Big Three” teams led by Gilbert Arenas, The “Idiot Mobb” (my personal nickname) led by Nick Young, and this latest incarnation led by John Wall and Bradley Beal. Amazingly, this regime has given us fans the best length of success in 30 years. That is the issue.
Its fuckin sad.
While “The Big Three” era brought excitement and put butts in the seats, they were never serious contenders. This latest era was supposed to change that, slowly but surely. Grunfeld has been given a Ferrari in John Wall to build around and has mismanaged his early prime. For that transgression alone he should be fired but alas, after firing the over-matched Randy Wittman, this man, after 13 years on the job, amazingly still has his. After so many years of franchise ineptitude, someone else deserves they keys to the castle. Usually when people are bad at their jobs, they get fired. This isn’t rocket science here, folks. No need to rehash all the poor decisions because, as Wizards fans, we know all about them.
That person should be me.
Diego Johnson – Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager of the Washington Wizards.
Sounds great right? Has a great ring to it, don’t you agree?
Now that I have been formally introduced to the fans and media, I will now lay out my plan for making this Wizards franchise a truly respectable and desirable place to play basketball.
First and foremost, I would fire and replace the whole scouting staff. One thing is certain during all my years of fandom, this team may be the absolute worst in developing young talent in all of pro sports. That’s not by accident.
This team needs a full lobotomy and that starts in the trenches. I will force owner Ted Leonsis to finally spend for top quality trainers and scouts. I will upgrade all of our training facilities. We will have the latest technology help this team get over these nagging injuries that seemingly have plagued us for decades. I will find out why the Phoenix Suns have been lauded for their training staff and steal all the information I can from them.
I will then hire Mike D’Antoni as head coach. I know, I know, he flamed out in New York and Los Angeles but right now, we have 2 guards that can run with the best of them. I want the coach that can bring some imagination on the offensive end. Wall has never had an imaginative head coach in six years as a pro. Imagine being hired at a job, being told you are the future of the company, but no one gives you any real training to cultivate that talent. That’s what we’ve seen as fans and it’s damn sickening.
Secondly, I would re-sign Bradley Beal to his max extension. Maybe he’s not “worth” it right now, but this franchise is not in a place where they can let a 20 point scoring guard leave without nothing to show for it. I dont give a lilly fuck what you dudes think. He’s a 22 year old perimeter scorer who has shown that when it’s time to boogie ie: the playoffs, he steps up. Period. With any contract, you hope for healthy and prosperity and this would be no different.
Next, I would make my push for Kevin Durant but we all know that’s a “no”. Moving on.
With 27 Million dollars in cap space, I can do a lot of things to improve this roster. I would make a play at four guys and see if one will bite:
All four guys bring something to the table this team needs. Horford would bring a steady, rugged post player with range when necessary, Barnes can bring what we thought Otto Porter could bring but in a bigger capacity than his current role in Golden State. Batum is the jack of all trades wing player that can be another facilitator of the offense that this team has lacked. Chandler Parson would bring deadly shooting and sneaky athleticism on the wing.
Before you say anything, no, I don’t believe in Otto Porter as the answer on the wing and no, I don’t believe in Kelly Oubre. I can not stress enough, I am tired of NBA GM’s thinking that athleticism is the most important attribute in a young player than actually playing the game of basketball. I dont think Ive ever seen an NBA player not be able to do anything with his right hand. I am so perplexed but he certainly “looks the part” doesn’t he?
If we can grab one of those guys, there are a bunch of lower level guys that could fill out the roster quite nicely. Wizards fans have longed loved Jeff Green and here would be the chance to grab him. Dudes like Terrence Jones, Aaron Affalo, Courtney Lee, Allen Crabbe, Bismack Biyombo and Mizra Telovic would all be on my radar. Young veterans. Guys who know who they are and are not trying to be any more than that.
Maybe this team could eventually compete for something special, I know one thing is for certain, fan apathy will continue as long as Grunfeld is at the helm of the franchise.