Granted, dumping three core players, none of whom has turned 27, would be difficult for any owner. Typically, that’s not how things are done in professional sports. The Wizards’ bleak situation, however, requires bold action. Beginning anew next season without three current high-profile starters who don’t get it, and probably never will, would be just that.
Blatche, McGee and Young no longer fit with what the Wizards claim they hope to become. They’re holdovers from an era the franchise should forget. Washington’s “New Traditions” slogan is just empty words unless management finally ends the long-running tomfoolery.
McGee provided the latest head-shaking example this past week.
The Wizards were ridiculed again nationally after McGee’s stunningly clueless decision to go for a look-at-me dunk in another eventual loss. That’s not what Washington needs during its franchise-worst start.
“The situation we’re in,” Coach Flip Saunders said recently, “you don’t want to draw attention to yourself.”
Obviously, the message hasn’t gotten through to McGee. Or he just doesn’t learn from his major mistakes. Either way, they keep happening.
How does someone lobby for votes on Twitter after his team drops to 0-7, as McGee did, and also go the showboat dunk route late during another defeat all in the same season, let alone the same month? Exactly what inspires such bad judgment?
Then again, it’s not surprising. McGee’s excitement after completing his wrongheaded quest for his first triple-double in a 19-point loss last season indicated exactly what’s most important to him.
McGee doesn’t do anything in “a malicious way,” Saunders said. And Saunders uses the missteps as “a learning experience.” So when will McGee’s learning begin?
Obviously, Wizards officials prefer to focus on the 7-footer’s age (he turned 24 on Thursday), his off-the-charts athleticism and improving statistics.
Just based on the numbers, McGee is more than a keeper. He’s someone the Wizards should build around.
But this isn’t fantasy basketball.
In the NBA, you actually have to know how to play to help your team win, and it seems that part doesn’t interest McGee as much as the highlight-tape stuff. After playing in almost 230 games, there’s no way McGee should still be so ineffective at pick-and-roll defense. His head isn’t in the game nearly enough.
From what I hear, McGee is a good egg off the court. He doesn’t cause trouble in the locker room. Unfortunately for McGee, he’s growing up in an organization in which those in charge have looked the other way too often.