My buddy Eric Fingerhut has a new series of blog posts critiquing the Washington Post sports section, which is good, because criticism is always good. His latest post deals with our section’s sunny optimism, even in the face of repeated disappointments.
“One of my major issues with the Washington Post sports section, and the Washington sports media in general, is its tendency to overhype the quality of local teams–a premature excitement or optimism about teams before they’ve accomplished much at all. I thought of this a couple weeks ago when Jason Reid declared that the Wizards would make the playoffs next season just because they drafted Otto Porter.”
And so on. And while his post mostly deals with the Redskins, he probably makes a valid point about our Wizards coverage, one which I will hereby ignore in favor of quoting Martell Webster about how the playoffs are a certainty next season.
“Expectation-wise, we expected to win 30-plus games last year,” Webster told LaVar Arrington and Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan. “That was our goal. But at the beginning of the season, before everything started, our expectations were just to try to get along with each other. That was the most important thing, was to build the chemistry and the camaraderie. This season our expectations are we ARE getting to the playoffs. The expectations as far as those go is to try to get 6, 7, even possibly the 5 seed. All right, those are the expectations. We are getting to the playoffs. That is a definite in our minds. Our expectations are 6, 7 and possibly that 5 seed.”
And yes, it’s July. But go crazy. Start drawing up those Eastern Conference brackets. Think of playoff slogans. Try to figure out dates the theoretical four seed would host the theoretically fifth-seeded Wizards in a playoff opener, and book your hotel rooms now. Rates will never be lower. I hear Brooklyn is lovely in April.
The ever-quotable Webster also offered some searing reflections on his own career to this point.
“Plain and simple man, my career sucked up until last year,” he told Arrington. “Honestly, I’m not trying to be funny at all. For one it’s a blessing to be in this league, it’s a gift…but from a physical standpoint, my career, to me, has sucked, just because of all the setbacks that I’ve had. And last year was the first year out of my whole career where I felt comfortable. I felt like last year was my best year of my career. Up until that point, it’s just been a roller coaster ride….[Last year] I played well. I played well, being able to manage my time, being able to manage my body, utilize all my training staff to make the most of it. Up until that point it’s been an up-and-down ride, but last year was great, and I plan on building on that. Really, honestly, to me it feels like my come-out year was last year. It took eight years to get there, but I finally did.”