They actually were more oblivious to understanding how to play and win in the NBA than to the exasperated coaches who pleaded with them to learn.
There is no award for such things, but underdeveloped talents who challenge each other to a cinnamon-eating contest on YouTube (still my favorite Wizards’ highlight for both) deserves a parting acknowledgment.
Respect, fellas; it took an ungodly lack of concentration to tune out so many for so long.
Now it’s on to Nene, who, if he remains healthy and hungry into his 30s, can be another problem solved entering free agency. With between $15 million and $17 million under the NBA salary cap, the Wizards can say they’ve got the two most important positions on the floor — point guard and center — spoken for.
The good news for the Wizards: They don’t have to back up the truck and completely start over. The bad news: More of Grunfeld’s young talent ultimately did not pan out.
I always thought his job would hinge on what happened with Arenas’s $126 million contract, but Grunfeld somehow moved that for the slightly less-exorbitant contract of Rashard Lewis. Then I thought Grunfeld was toast because of signing Andray Blatche to an extension that will still pay one of the most maligned players in franchise history $21 million for the next three years.
But now Grunfeld remaining as architect of the Wizards comes down to this: Does the jettisoning of McGee and Young and the acquisition of Nene and what he does the remaining 26 games of another lost season count enough in Leonsis’s mind to justify that Grunfeld has, in fact, executed the owner’s plan?
I don’t know. I do know that now that McGee and the playful Young (I won’t miss his ability to drop 20 and give up 30, but I already miss his smile) are gone, Blatche is the last of a dying breed in Washington — the hugely disappointing youngster who never realized the aspirations of the franchise or the fan base.
He’s another player from the Gil era who is now too old to be called a youngster anymore — yet still too unaware and unaccomplished to be anything more than hugely disappointing.
Poor ’Dray; it feels like the comedy club is closing and his partners left him with the tab.
For Mike Wise’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/wise.