The Washington Wizards enter the All-Star Break with the momentum of a broken-down ’69 Volvo and the promise of another quick postseason exit.
Oh, the Wiz managed a miraculous comeback on Wednesday to beat the awful New York Knicks. But like the season ahead, it was hard to say what to expect of Washington – an awful first half or a dynamic late surge?
The Wiz are reportedly bickering. Nobody likes anybody else and, despite being grown men, they can’t seem to get past playground rules. Unfortunately, they have three max-contract players preventing any real change, and the spare parts surrounding the core are marginal. Then again, so is the core at times.
The Wiz have played well since star guard John Wall was sidelined by knee surgery. Winning the first five games gave Marcin Gortat and Bradley Beal a chance to talk about everybody eats and in a not-so-subtle way blame Wall for the team’s mediocrity.
Suddenly, the question was whether the Wiz were better off with reserve guard Tomas Satoransky than its supposed best player. The answer, of course, is no. It’s a ridiculous theory. But it showed the cracks in team chemistry that look irreparable.
This is the kind of mess that gets coaches fired.
The Wiz are atop the Southeast Division at 33-24. That and a dollar buys coffee at Wawa. More importantly, Washington is fourth in the Eastern Conference, one game behind Cleveland but one game from sixth. With a tougher schedule ahead, Washington could even miss the postseason if it doesn’t wise up and play defense.
It’s another lost season, even if the Wiz manage another mediocre record. Even worse, they know it already. Sure, the team won’t admit it, dangling Wall’s expected return in early April as reason for hope. But this team has the thousand-yard stare and nothing will change it.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.