As part of Thomas Boswell’s weekly chat (Monday 11 a.m.), he answered a handful of questions about the Wizards 0-8 start. The complete transcript of Boswell’s chat can be found at http://live.washingtonpost.com/ask-boswell-010912.html.
Q: I was in college in Philadelphia during the 76ers miserable 1972-73 season and I don’t recall its being anywhere as near as bleak. Maybe because I was younger and more optimistic, but I didn’t have the feeling it was over for the foreseeable future, the way I do with the current Wiz.
Boswell: They’re awful. In my column on Wall, I didn’t want to go too far off subject, but he isn’t the only terrible shooter on the team. Jordan Crawford, now the “shooting guard,” has an even lower effective field goal percentage than Wall and Blatche, who thinks he can shoot but can’t, was at .447 last year, one of the 15 worst in the NBA for a player with 20 minutes a game.
What kills them is that Crawford, Blatche and Wall ranked 1-3-4 in number of shots taken per 36 minutes last year. Now they are back at it. Almost everybody else on the team is a MUCH more efficient scorer. But those three, along with Nick Young who was .497 last year, just jack it up as soon as they can see the rim.
The Wiz don’t play basketball so much as they try to see who can “get his shots.” Selfish team. Not basketball smart would be an under statement. They keep saying you have to put up with bad defense from the Wiz because they are “a team of shooters.” What a joke. They are a team of bricklayers.
Who put this group together? Who so much for such high draft picks? Who is the main person who couldn’t evaluate accurately or didn’t even see what roles various players were suited to play? I’d start by pointing the finger at Ernie. Flip Saunders doesn’t seem to fit this group. But he had seven 50-win seasons in Minny and Detroit. The Wiz have not had a team with more than 45 wins since ‘79. Pretty tough to even think about firing a coach who’s had 58, 59 and 64-win teams since ‘04 when you’ve been the 2nd worst franchise in the NBA for a third of a season. If anything “Free Flip” might be the merciful point of view. He may have had good players in other towns, but he’s also PROVED he can coach.
Could anybody coach this team of players who don’t understand their own games and don’t fit together?
Q: WILL THE WIZARDS GO 0-SEASON? I am thinking the Wizards may be the worst team ever.
Boswell: That’s the only thing interesting about them. They’re fascinating right now in an Amazin’ Mets kind of way. But the Mets were infants. The Wiz story is 33 years old and everybody is sick of it. As soon as th Wiz win one game, they have a chance to become the least interesting pro franchise in Washington history. Man, that’ s a feat.
Q: Tried to watch part of the Wizards game yesterday. I have seen better, more inspired play at local gyms. It’s clear that Flip Saunders has not reached these players and that Ernie Grunfeld has made a number of horrible decisions (most notably the Arenas and Blatche contract extensions). How do you fix this mess?
Boswell: You can’t. Right now, it’s unfixable. Eventually, you need to replace Grunfeld and probably Saunders, too, because he’s not a Kiddie Coach type. But there is no rush. Why bring in new people, as if this were salvageable, and let the stench get all over them.
Q: Do you get the sense that Wall has any clue that his very poor play has been a factor in the Wizards horrible start? And Wall is hardly in a position to have people in his “camp” [complaining] about the state of the Wizards — someone seems to think he is the next Magic Johnson or Derrick Rose when in reality his poor play would have him stuck on the bench for most teams in the NBA. Great point guards make the people around them better - lousy ones can be the anchor that sinks the ship.
Boswell: I don’t think Wall would be on the bench for many teams. Lotta talent. But he has a lot of learn, too. And he won’t learn it until he realizes that he needs to.
In his last couple of games, 13-for-32 from the floor for an eFG% of .406 vs. his career mark of .419. He should be shooting 10 to 11 times a game, not 14-15-16. It changes the feel on the floor when teammates know he’s only going to take the highest percentage shots and look for them at all other times. As I wrote, I think he just needs some veteran or coaching guidance from somebody he expects. No reason, even if the bad shooting is permanent, that he can’t be Rondo or Mark Jackson. And he could get much better. But not the way he and the Wiz are going about it now. JMO.
Q: Could the Wizards be traded even up for the Washington Generals?
The Generals had great teamwork, could shoot and sometimes beat the Globetrotters. Okay, 1 in 100. The comedy was great. But all of those games contained a lot of good hard basketball, because of the Generals. They were much more fun to watch that the Wizards. And, it appears, had about the same chance of winning.
MORE WIZARDS COVERAGE: