Yes, there are some new traditions you can’t ignore. For example, though Gilbert Arenas seems long gone, this was the first season opener without him on the roster in eight years.
There was the official opening-night nod to old-school Bullets purists, who have yet to get their franchise nickname back but settled for retro uniforms when the club announced the change after last season. Replete with a red, white and blue color scheme and the horizontal lines across the chest, it was just like Big E and Wes all those years ago — but with better fabric.
But there were familiar boos cascading down near the end, and they all weren’t for the Nets’ Kris Humphries, who with 21 points and 16 rebounds treated the Wizards as if they were matrimonial lawyers for the Kardashians.
An often-tepid crowd announced at 17,102 jeered the home team, the team they were told was going to be young, developing and not yet ready for prime time.
These were the Wizards they remember, circa most years of the past three decades. No matter what the jersey looked like or who was wearing it, winning basketball plays in the fourth quarter were not made. Large leads dissolved.
And after the game, the coach was wondering when his team’s fitness and focus were going to be better and the captain was throwing the staff under the bus, saying he wanted to be a post-up guy instead of the jump-shooter they allegedly were making him.
It’s still hard for me to actually say “Andray Blatche” and “captain” in the same sentence. The same goes for “John Wall” and “elite point guard,” especially after a 3-for-13 night from the field. And “JaVale McGee” and “franchise center.” Because there are so many young players on this team finding out if they can play in this league, it sometimes feels as if the older and better ones are prematurely given labels that they have yet to earn.
Either way, new traditions apparently take time to develop. So here’s the conundrum: Do you let them grow or grow disenchanted waiting? Patience. That’s what this Wizards season is really about.