Morning Look: What the Wiz's 1-7 Feels Like
"I don't know whose situation is more precarious right now, Norv Turner's or Gar Heard's." -- Tony Kornheiser, the day the Wizards' record last fell to 1-7, nine years and three days ago.
Sadly, this image above is what 1-7 looks like. And this text below is what 1-7 sounds like, quoting from Eddie Jordan's post-game remarks last night, as seen on TV:
"A team is built a certain way, fellas. This team is built for Gilbert Arenas to lead us. This team is built for our all star forwards to carry the wings for us, ok, and for the certain things that they do offensively for us, and for Brendan Haywood to have a career year manning the middle for us. We don't have those things. You know, you're asking people to do things that they're not capable of doing. They are not capable of carrying the load for us like a Dwyane Wade, like a Gilbert Arenas.You've got young guys who aren't going to make veteran plays night in, night out. They're going to be good here and there, so to be in the game is a credit to everyone in our organization right now."
Is he wrong? Not necessarily? But do fans want to hear their coach saying that "to be in the game is a credit to everyone in our organization," and that the plan was to get a second consecutive career year from Brendan Haywood? Likely not.
Regardless, this is what 1-7 ends like, at least historically, at least for this franchise. Only twice have the Wiz/Bullets started out with such a record. In 1999, when Mitch Richmond and Juwan Howard and Rod Strickland were the Big Three, the Wiz ended their 1-7 slide with a one-game winning streak, and went on to a 29-53 finish. In 1966, the Baltimore Bullets lost three more times to go to 1-10 before responding with a one-game winning streak of their own. That team finished 20-61.
Those two squads, by the way, went through a combined five coaches: Mike Farmer, Buddy Johnson, Gene Shue, Gar Heard and Darrell Walker. And here's what happened the day that 1999 team went to 1-7:
The Washington Wizards' seventh straight loss, a 95-73 humbling by the Philadelphia 76ers before 14,524 booing fans at MCI Center last night, was the last straw.
Wizards Coach Gar Heard will bench some of his starters for Thursday's home game against Toronto. Guard Mitch Richmond, center Ike Austin and forward Michael Smith are the likely candidates to be removed from the starting lineup and the changes do not appear temporary....
"We're going to have to look at replacing two of three of the starters," said a distraught Heard, who held a meeting with his coaching staff after the game to discuss the moves. "That's going to happen. If we're going to lose, we're going to lose with young guys and by playing the right way.
(Although in fairness, the Wiz have had more than a handful of 2-7 starts, which isn't really so different. I count eight times they've been 2-7 since moving to D.C. 35 years ago. And some of those years, they clawed back to finish around .500)
(Meantime, things were apparently more cheerful in the Heat locker room last night.
"I could name three million people that doubted me growing up, talking about I wouldn't be this, I wouldn't be that," said Michael Beasley, who apparently knows an awful lot of people. "So just to be here and be in my home town and know that everybody still loves me, everybody still supports me and what I do is breathtaking.")
November 19, 2008; 9:14 AM ET
Categories: Morning Look , Wizards
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