Continued from page 1

The misguided dunk was just one bad play in one bad loss, in what’s certain to be a season full of both. But it was a clear indication of the state of the franchise: The lapses are routing the flashes.

Unfortunately, Washington’s culture of losing is regenerating, not retreating, in Year 2 of the rebuilding plan. The team isn’t just losing, it’s losing ugly. Bad habits are being reinforced, and mistakes are being repeated. The energy is lagging and body language is sagging. Defeat seems inevitable before each opening tip, with a sense of futility hanging in the air.

Leonsis likes to joke that fans and journalists have all the answers. He has a point, because it’s easy to suggest solutions when you’re not the one who’s accountable, responsible and liable. He wants to stay the course of building around Wall and some current young players, augmented with some veteran free agents and another draft pick or two.

But there’s been no evidence of progress this year, not even the limited improvement Leonsis said would be acceptable. The bright end to last season, when the Wizards went 6-4 in their final 10 games, including wins against playoff-bound Boston and Atlanta, appears to have been fools’ gold.

The team has too much youth and too many players who would be complementary components on a contending team. This season was supposed to determine which players should be retained as the rebuilding process continues. But there’s no need to wait until April 26, when the campaign mercifully comes to an end.

There’s already enough evidence that the mix should be altered now, as the losing culture grows more entrenched.

Until the deck is shuffled, Washington will threaten the NBA’s mark for all-time lowest winning percentage while mostly continuing the same, sad cycle:

Flash, lapse, loss. Repeat.