The Washington Wizards stink. They can’t win on the road, they can barely win at home and just when you think they’ve secured a rare victory, they find some way, any way, to squander it. I’m done with this team until next season or at least until they win a game on the road (which could very well be next season anyway).

These are dangerous times in the District for basketball fans. The team is spiraling to another lottery pick which bodes well for acquiring some additional help, but Washington, traditionally, hasn’t done the best job of nurturing and improving its players. Free agents have been reluctant to relocate to the area, which hurts Washington’s best chances of improving. For Wizards fans hoping for a sniff at the postseason, they’ll need consistent turnarounds from the Andray Blatches, the Nick Youngs and the JaVale McGees of the team—but good luck with that.

Although Young is in the midst of a career season, he’s shown the perplexing propensity of being able to follow up a 30-point game with a six-point stinker. The big time scorers in this league are big time scorers every night. If Young is going to be the top scoring threat on the team then he has to be more consistent, something he has yet to show.

After putting up career numbers towards the end of last season, Blatche appeared to be on the road to becoming an All Star. But so far this season, the 24-year-old power forward hasn’t quite been star material this year. A penchant for jacking 20-foot jumpshots and occasional mental lapses has plagued Blatche’s 2010-11 season, and fans at the Verizon Center haven’t exactly hidden their frustrations. Blatche’s inconsistency has consistently earned him his own share of boos, understandable after the organization granted him a $35 million contract extension last summer.

McGee remains a work-in-progress but young centers are worth the headache. On good nights, the 22-year-old is a force to be reckoned with. His athleticism is rivaled by few players in the NBA and when engaged, his defensive presence can be off the charts but those nights are still few and far in between.

Yet, despite the aforementioned struggles of the three young Wizards, they’re all having career years. Washington isn’t bad because of a lack of talent; they’re bad because of a lack of consistency. Young, Blatche and McGee are all keepers but only if the team can groom them to fill their potential.

The team has a point guard in John Wall who’s going to be around for a while—that’s a given. But when it comes to his three sidekicks, it’s only so long that a team can keep holding out on potential before it’s forced to move on.

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO