The Wizards are 0-6, that’s the worst start in franchise history. They’re the only team in the NBA without a win this season, they’ve been blown out by 18+ in three of the six games, and are last in the league in assists (86); those are signs that this young team is lost and however early in the season it is, has given up.
One of the few Wizards players over 30, Mo Evans, has bounced around the NBA. He’s a journeyman, he knows it and NBA junkies know it. Still, when an elder statesman calls a team meeting the young guys always listen. On Thursday Evans called that team meeting before practice to work through whatever problems may be plaguing the team. In those 15-20 minutes players got to “clear the air” and “talk plainly” about how they feel as individuals and what the team needs to do to improve.
”We have to be real with ourselves,” Evans said. “The sense of entitlement that’s here sometimes, I’ve never seen before,” Evans said. ”I almost got a sense of relief from the players that it was finally said…It was almost like something that was taboo or Pandora’s box and no one’s never really touching or addressing the issue. It was just enough dancing around the issues, enough of going through the motions. You could tell just in our actions that the guys are competing and they want to get better and they want to win … but one thing goes wrong and we’re so fragile at that point that we’re not on the same page.”
Evans may not be the leader the Wizards need for the long-haul, but we’ll take anything right now just to get a win. He recognized how vital it is to know and trust the people you’re playing with, how important it is for individuals to drop the egos and play for the name on the front of jersey, not the back.
John Wall was quoted in the Washington Post this week saying he was frustrated with how his first year plus in D.C. has gone. This is a kid who’s gotten used to winning his whole life, he’s not used to ten game losing streaks and disheartened teammates jogging up and down the court. He wants to win and he wants the organization to prove that they’re as committed as he is.
As the season unfolds we have to watch how Wall, who has struggled significantly these first six games, develops and copes with the harsh reality that is growing up in the NBA. The Wizards are going to lose more games. They’re going to lose a few back-to-backs, lose at home, lose on the road, it’s inevitable with a team this young. What matters most at this point is how hard the team plays. Will they be playing with effort when the season’s lost and there’s nothing to play for but pride? Can they develop these young players while putting a serviceable product on the court every night? That remains to be seen.
John Wall is the future but something needs to be said how he handles adversity. Can he stand tall and get better when the team struggles? Or will he pout more as time passes?
You’ll notice I left Andray Blatche out of the article completely. Andre was called out in the players-only meeting by more than one Wizard for his selfishness and soft play around the basket. I don’t need to say anything if his teammates can see it.
The Wizards next three games are as follows: Knicks, T-Wolves, Raptors all at home in Washington. The Wiz desperately need to take advantage of this home stand and get their first win. Otherwise, the schedule only gets tougher and wins will be harder to come by.
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.