Washington Wizards players want to make the playoffs this year. John Wall and others have talked openly about that as a goal. They think the team — with the additions of Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza — can make the leap.
But in speaking to the media, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis seemed to tamp down expectations about this season.
At the lottery last June he said that another season in the lottery would be “unacceptable.” Now, he is redefining unacceptable. From CSNWashington.com.
“We would all find it unacceptable if we finished with the second- or third-worst record in the NBA this year. That would be a failure and the failure would start with me. I think we’re in a much better position. I think we will get better because our young players have now been seasoned.”
Leonsis spent a lot of time talking about a process, about how they want to draft well and retain guys like Bradley Beal. That is how to build a winner that lasts. But that means incremental growth not huge leaps.
Yet even Leonsis wouldn’t totally rain on the playoffs parade.
“It’s a combination of all those little things and those investments that we’re making that we think will incrementally improve the team so that this year it’s very respectful, very competitive and why not try to make the playoffs? Just a couple games over .500 seems to get you there and that’s how the guys are looking at it. So who am I to argue to with the players and the coaches? They feel upbeat, so that’s why I feel upbeat.”
Upbeat may not mean playoffs. Not with Wall out for the first month of the season (and Nene still battling the foot issue that slowed him last season). But the Wizards should be better. They are improving. But it’s a process.