We could go on.
Bad drafting and bad drafting luck?
If there were three franchise-changer-type players available, it always seemed the team would end up picking just below that. Someone would else would get a Shaq. The Bullets would get a Cheaney. That type of thing. John Williams was a solid pick in 1986 at No. 12 and he had a good, not great career. His nickname was “Hot Plate,” which tells you something.
One year, the Wizards did get the No. 1 overall pick. And took Kwame Brown. He was a complete bust, though he’s still hanging around the league despite a career 6.6 scoring average. Pau Gasol (18.4 career average), by the way, went two picks later.
We could go on.
I’ve written this in various forms before, each time thinking it had to end at some point. Maybe when the Mailman finally retired. Or someone else got put in charge of basketball fortunes.
Malone hasn’t played since 2004, when he spent his only season with the Lakers. Around here, the weird and unfortunate keeps happening.
The Wizards appeared to be turning the corner with a solid nucleus and a charismatic guard named Gilbert Arenas. Then the gun-in-the-locker-room thing happened and Washington was back to plotting another fresh start.
It got the No. 1 pick again, in 2010, and made what looks like a terrific call with John Wall. The team later drafted Bradley Beal, giving the Wizards a young, exciting and extremely good backcourt. This year, Washington took Otto Porter Jr. with the third overall pick. That’s a young, promising trio complemented by solid vets like Nene and Emeka Okafor inside. Washington added a great bench piece (and a personal favorite) in Eric Maynor.
No one expects the Wizards to unseat the Heat this season, but making the playoffs is a very reasonable expectation.
Except Porter has been hurt and Okafor is hurt. Nene is not, though he is hurt a lot. At what point will the Wizards have the roster they expected and ready to play? Will it ever happen?
It would be nice if so, because the Wizards have put together a group that should be able to put recent doldrums (117-277 the past five seasons) in the rear view. Washington has only been beyond the first round of the playoffs once since 1982 and has missed them entirely 20 times in that span.
The curse needs to consider its job done. And complete. It needs to go away.
But do they ever just go away?