As I write this blog post the Washington Wizards have the second worst record in the NBA with 11 wins and 38 losses. Mercifully, the season will come to an end in one month and then Wizards owner Ted Leonsis must decide what to do with this bumbling team. Here are five suggestions:
1.) Fire Ernie Grunfeld – You’d think this would be a no-brainer given the team’s lack of success the past few seasons but it was reported recently that Grunfeld turned down a contract extension from Leonsis. Are you kidding me? I know Ernie knows basketball. Still, he’s made a slew of bad decisions running this team. From passing on Ricky Rubio a few seasons ago to giving Andray Blatche a fat contract Ernie is responsible for putting together this abortion of a team. Recently the move to send Javale McGee and Nick Young packing should be lauded, but who’s most responsible for the Wizards not making the playoffs since 2008? Ernie Grunfeld is and that’s why he has to go before any other decisions are made.
2.) Bring in a new coach – Nothing against Randy Wittman, he took over a 2-15 team when Flip Saunders was fired, but the Wizards need a new leader directing this young squad. I love Wittman’s honesty but I can’t see him as the guy who’s going to lead them back to the playoffs. We all know Phil Jackson isn’t taking over the Wizards, but maybe a guy like Nate McMillan would be a good fit? McMillan was fired in Portland this season after taking the Blazers to the playoffs three straight seasons. He has a winning record as an NBA head coach and was a pretty good point guard in Seattle before becoming a coach. McMillan could be the type of coach who could take John Wall to the next level.
3.) Dump Andray Blatche – The moves to ship McGee and Young were addition by subtraction and getting rid of Blatche would be a similar move. Blatche has become a joke to the fans and it’s seems highly improbable that he’ll be able to turn it around. Regardless of whether they can get anything in return, Blatche should never see the floor again as a Washington Wizard. It still baffles me that Ernie gave him a long term deal worth so much money. Nevertheless, I’d rather see the Wizards eat the remaining $23 million and 3 years on his contract than watch him flounder on the court.
4.) Draft a shooter – According to NBADraft.net if the Wizards wind up with the 2nd pick in the draft they’d select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Kentucky. Though he’s a tantalizing talent his weakness is his outside shot. I’m sorry, the Wizards can’t afford to draft another Jan Vesely. This team is in desperate need of somebody who can knock down jumpers at a high percentage. Though Jordan Crawford can put up some high scoring numbers at times, he is a volume shooter. Currently Crawford is shooting just 40% from the field and 28% beyond the arc. The Wizards need somebody who can knock down shots ala Ray Allen. John Wall isn’t a finished product just yet but he’s proven he can get into the lane at will and when he kicks it out the Wizards need somebody who can bury it regularly. Maybe Harrison Barnes can be that guy? Or maybe Kidd-Gilchrist is too good to pass up but if the Wizards ever want to be a contender again they can’t hit just five three-pointers a game with a shooting percentage of 31%. That’s pitiful.
5.) Go after Roy Hibbert and Kris Humphries in free agency – I like Nene and I think he can be a very good player for the Wizards if he stays healthy but there are questions regarding his health. That being said, the Wizards still need help on the interior. Roy Hibbert made the All-Star team this season and is an unrestricted free agent. The former Hoya has improved every year and would give the Wizards a reliable starting center who’s averaging a career best 13 points per game to go with 9 rebounds and almost 2 blocks. Indiana can make him a restricted free agent if they give him a qualifying offer before June 30th but Hibbert has to be on the Wizards radar. As for Mr. Kardashian, he’s unrestricted and is also having the best season of his career averaging 13 points and over 11 rebounds per game. Imagine a front court with Nene and either Hibbert or Humphries with guys like Seraphin, Booker and Vesely coming off the bench.
Unlike the Redskins, the Wizards aren’t known for winning the offseason. Still, it’s a critical time for the franchise. John Wall only has two years left on his deal. If the Wizards can’t give him some help, he may bolt and that would set the franchise back even further.