Brooks has dealt with a taxing season. Even before it was learned that all-star point guard John Wall will miss a year when he tore his left Achilles’ heel in a fall at home, Washington had its share of problems: a feisty November practice in which tempers flared, the Dwight Howard experiment turning into an injury bust (to this point) and, overall, a team that has looked disjointed at times.
So, Charles, your thoughts on the Wizards?
“Well, I feel bad for Scott,” Barkley said. “You know, I told that team three years ago: [Bradley] Beal and Wall can’t play together. They should’ve traded one of them two years ago when I said that. They were just a [middle] team and it’s unfortunate because I like Scott a lot. I think he’s a good coach, too.”
The Wizards didn’t follow Sir Charles’s advice. Instead, Porter got the heave-ho just before the Feb. 7 trade deadline. Porter’s departure was sealed when Wall ruptured his Achilles, an injury that could keep him off the floor for 15 months. If Wall had not slipped in the bathroom, as the Wizards say, Porter would not be in a Chicago Bulls uniform.
“Probably not. But we had to change course because, unfortunately, those are things we can’t control and we had situations early in the year,” Ernie Grunfeld, the team president, said in an interview last week. “We haven’t really had our whole group together all year. At the beginning of the season, we felt we had one of the most talented groups that we’ve had and we really didn’t have them together at all for any period of time. So, as you move along, because certain things happen that are out of your control, you have to adjust your thinking and the way you go about doing business.”
The franchise made the move to free up money for the future. Thus, one of the max contract players had to go. But Barkley said he believed Washington singled out the wrong player. Though Beal will be in Charlotte as an all-star, Porter’s most recent performance — 37 points on 16-of-20 shooting and 10 rebounds — gave Barkley ammunition to say “I told ya so.”
“I think Otto Porter had a good game last night, right?” Barkley said, then turned on the sarcasm. “It’s amazing what happens when they actually pass you the ball. It’s a new thing they just started in the NBA: If they pass you the ball, you can actually play.”