MEMPHIS — Seven games in and the 1-6 Washington Wizards are already in mid-season form. A West Coast road-trip that started off with a win in Portland ended with John Wall and Bradley Beal calling out fellow teammates to the media, head coach Scott Brooks preaching unity and togetherness, and dysfunction continuing to grow.
The team faced the same questions over the last week and a half. How do you all plan to turn things around? What are the reasons for the slow start? Yet, the bigger question is, why a team with so much continuity, without any major injuries, are in last place in the Eastern Conference standings.
“I can’t really give you an answer man,” Kelly Oubre said after the 107-95 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “We just got to continue to get better each and every day. Learn from our mistakes. Fix the patches we feel as if are the patches in our errors and just keep it moving and stay positive.”
The issues that are plaguing this team have been on going since last season: too many turnovers, guys playing hero ball, guys not playing defense, or just simply playing down to their competition.
Like last year, this team is going with the same talking points, mentioning it is a long season, and there is still time to turn things around. Granted, there are still 75 games to be played and the conference overall is up for grabs, however, this team has yet to prove to the fanbase and themselves they are capable of such a task. Nevertheless, that did not stop Brooks stating the obvious Tuesday night in Memphis.
“We just started, seven games ago,” Brooks said. “We still got 75 more games to go. They say it. It’s a marathon and it is. We all know that. … It’s a long grinding season. You got to be able to stick together during the lows and continue to fight for some of the highs that take place, and when you do that, you got a good team.”
What Brooks said is reasonable and would apply to any other team, but not for Washington until they take the initiative to be better. Bradley Beal added to that point and mentioned that sticking together is imperative but said it is time for them to get it together before it’s too late.
“It’s key because it’s not perfect,” Beal. “We got to realize that it is going to take time, but we kind of got to speed it up a little bit. The season is not going to wait on us. Granted, we still have 90 percent of the season left, but you eventually run out of games as the year goes on.”
Beal said that he believes they will get out of this slump as long as they “stay the course.” Of course, the fan base does not exactly want to hear that right now.
But the question that this team must answer is when is enough is enough. On paper, the Wizards should be competitive with any team in the East. For the first time since the early 2000s, LeBron James is no longer reigning in the conference which paves the way for a new potential Eastern Conference Champion.
Washington could very well make it and yes there is still time, but at some point, this team should adapt a winning mentality. Until then, fans in The District should only come to the games if this lackluster team is playing an opponent worth seeing.