People who lead franchises are evaluated on their decision-making, and Grunfeld’s best decisions lately have occurred in fixing mistakes of his own making. With the Wizards on track for their fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA draft lottery, the person who put them in this position should no longer be allowed to lead their efforts to get them out of it.
The culture change Grunfeld appeared to initiate in dumping McGee and Young also shouldn’t end with unloading a couple of more-aggravation-than-they’re-worth blockheads. The exercise in reduction ought to continue all the way to the top, until someone new is occupying the team president’s office at Verizon Center.
The league’s best executives understand there’s a lot more to building successful teams than simply selecting players based on “measurables” such as height, weight and athletic ability. They realize that statistical production tells only part of the story. It’s not simply about having the most talented people in the locker room; it’s about having the right ones, too.
For most of his nine seasons in Washington, Grunfeld has demonstrated little interest in the importance of team chemistry, assembling some of the NBA’s most dysfunctional rosters.
Over the years, the Wizards have become a national punch line because of their players’ incomprehensibly poor judgment.
Somehow, McGee recently forgot that the Wizards were on offense and left his teammates at the opposing hoop to run back on defense. Young once launched a desperation shot several feet behind the three-point arc as time expired in the first half because he couldn’t remember the play that was called in the huddle.
Sure, anyone could make a mistake. McGee and Young, however, made too many big ones to remain in prominent roles with the Wizards as long as they did.
Nene, who’s from Brazil, has been a steady performer on the court. While with the Denver Nuggets, Nene participated in the playoffs seven times, scoring key points, grabbing important rebounds and making clutch defensive plays that often provided the difference in victories during the NBA’s most important time of the year.
The Wizards can count on Nene to set a positive example. The team’s inexperienced players have the opportunity to learn from someone who displayed his mettle in resuming his career at a high level after suffering torn knee ligaments and missing all but one game during the 2005-06 season.