Just before the NBA season began, Jason Reid wrote a column speculating about the challenges the Wizards would face keeping John Wall in D.C. for the long-term. Here’s the one paragraph summary:
The Wizards are in no danger of losing Wall soon. They control his rights for at least another three seasons beyond this one, which they begin Monday night against the New Jersey Nets at Verizon Center. It’s just that everyone’s window eventually closes, and Wall takes losing poorly.
As he is wont to do, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis then wrote a response on his blog, speculating about the challenges of optimism in this sad, broken world. He called Reid’s work “buzz kill” and “angst.” Here’s the one paragraph summary:
Come on – get in the holiday spirit – enjoy the season that is coming up; worry and communicate if and when the time is right; that would be my comment back. I am sure we will feed the monster amply during the season and during the rebuild; this article was a pre-emptive strike by media – and I had heard it all before specifically regarding the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin. Sometimes media underestimate how great of a fan base we possess; how great our city is and how players are in it together with the fan base and with the plan. Thank you.
But if you thought that was the last word for a few weeks, you don’t know how sad and broken we sad and broken media types really are, for just this week, ESPN 980’s Kornheiser show touched on the very same topic.
“Why would John Wall stay one day after his rookie contract expires?” Kornheiser asked David Aldridge. “Why would he do that? And by the way, I think you’re right about this, he’s not any better today than he was at this time a year ago. He’s not any better. All he is is an unpolished diamond here, and...getting better isn’t dunking the ball.”
“No, no. he’s got to start to learn, to show what he’s learning on the court, and I haven’t seen that yet,” Aldridge said. “Doesn’t mean we won’t, I’m just saying I haven’t seen it yet. But he’s not the problem, that’s not the problem on this team. He’s the good piece.”
“Oh, I understand that, but why would he stay?” Kornheiser asked again.
“That’s the point,” Aldridge agreed. “I kept reading and hearing Ted Leonsis say well, we’re going to be patient. NO. Not in this NBA. You cannot do that any more. You cannot say well, in four years we’re gonna be ok. Guys are looking around from minute one....
“The Clippers saw this with Blake Griffin. They said we’re not gonna let Blake Griffin get to his fourth year and we didn’t do anything to improve the team. They went out and got Chris Paul, they went out and got Chauncey Billups. So you’ve got to do this now, you cannot wait.... I’m saying they have to be aggressive in trying to improve this team, more rapidly than well, we’re just gonna draft more guys.”
Kornheiser also said this year’s Wizards “are either completely unreceptive to coaching, or they are getting the worst coaching in basketball.” And Kornheiser also also said that there is virtually no chance they’ll reach his fabled mark of 9-20. Although, truth be told, the Wizards/Bullets haven’t actually been 9-20 since Jan. 5 of 1994.