Certainly, a more encouraging message would have been appropriate. He could have reminded fans about the Wizards’ youth and inexperience. After another demoralizing loss at the outset of a new season in which management is promoting improvement, the Wizards needed their new captain to conduct himself like one.
Actually, I don’t fault Blatche for quickly proving what everyone except the Wizards already knew: He’s not captain material.
It’s difficult to fathom how Washington put itself in this position with a player who, in his first six seasons, proved he shouldn’t even be in the organization, let alone given significant responsibility.
On and off the court, Blatche has exhibited horrible judgment. Saunders has kicked him out of practice and benched him for the majority of a game for having an awful attitude.
Blatche also has an uncanny knack for bad timing, as evidenced by his missteps Monday night and his benching two seasons ago on the night the Wizards’ public relations department increased its efforts to help him win the NBA’s most improved player award. Last season, Washington suspended Blatche one game for his involvement in an altercation outside an area club with teammate JaVale McGee. And someone writing from Blatche’s Twitter account challenged a person to a fight.
He’s a true leader of men.
Grunfeld should have traded Blatche, whom he drafted and rewarded with contracts, or released him in the past. He made similar mistakes with Gilbert Arenas, overlooking the immature all-star guard’s shortcomings. Grunfeld believed way too much in Arenas until it was too late. Also, the so-called “Big Three” of Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler wasn’t as good as Grunfeld thought.
In three seasons, that group never won more than 43 games in the regular season and failed to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Yet, instead of accepting Washington had gone as far as it could with them, Grunfeld doubled down, trading for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. The Wizards have been in the NBA draft lottery since.
Despite the Wizards’ lack of success the past three seasons, Grunfeld is a solid basketball man. But he’s loyal to a fault, and the Wizards can no longer afford to wait on people incapable of reaching heights Grunfeld envisions for them.