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Posted at 9:59 AM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Ted Leonsis and the pixels of despair

By Dan Steinberg

(By Nikki Boertman - AP)


As the Wizards have continued to trudge their way to one of the NBA's worst-ever road losing streaks, fan dissatisfaction has steadily increased. I mean, I guess. That would make sense. No one ever really mentions the Wizards to me, but I assume people aren't satisfied with being 0-24 on the road.

Ted Leonsis would seem to agree. It seems he's hearing from the critics, as he mentioned on his blog Tuesday morning:

I am not afraid of accountability. Or pixels of anger and despair and frustration from bloggers. You should all be exposed to my email then I think you wouldn't believe we are immune to criticism. I probably get the most direct criticism of any business leader around as I read all of my email and I talk to folks in an unfiltered way. I don't get executive summaries. I hear direct from the source, cuss words and all. I get it. I hear it. In fact, most emails are negative. Most happy people don't write. Just ask any newspaper editor.

"Pixels of anger and despair" is certainly worthy of a modern nightmare, a terrifying dreamscape of bloodthirsty bloggers roaming lonely, windswept streets at night, flinging pixels of despair from their laptop screens into the empty souls of heartsick Wizards fans. You keep your pixels of despair to yourself, bloodthirsty bloggers.

Anyhow, I can't help with the cuss words, but the Wizards have been soliciting some questions for Leonsis's online session this week via their Facebook page, and some of the questions are certainly informed by pixels of despair. Some samples:

* Since wall is our best player, can we keep the WHIZ tradition and trade him for a bad player, or one that is always hurt?

* I'll put it in terms an owner can understand. Just imagine how many Wall jerseys you would sell if he actually had talent around him. He would avg. a double double everynight. One more thing, the lack of effort this team shows on the road in the second half is unacceptable. It's really hard to watch a team if they just fold up and quit. I hope your not believing Flip when he tells you it's a confidence issue either.

* When are you actually going to try to act like you give a damn about the team and get some decent players?

* When will we win a road game?

* Why do you look happy that you own a mediocre team that used to be in the playoff race?

* As a season ticket holder in the 400 level I just want a t shirt gun that can get out of the first 15 rows, is it really that hard?

* Do you think Flip Saunders should be held accountable for the Wizards terrrible play and awful road record this season? How can you continue with Ernie Grunsfeld as the GM? Tell me one good move he made during his time as GM for the Wizards, because I can tell you twice as many bad moves he made!

* Who the hell are Hamady N'Diaye and Kevin Seraphin?

* The real Question is Who will be the GM and Coach next year? We have made some bad moves like Yi, Howerd, Blatch. Don't you think that sending them to Denver for Mello is a good move?

* Will we ever win a title?

* Is there anyway u can build a team with players who care about winning?

* So when is you getting rid of Blatch the GM and Coach????

* Do you think aquiring Gilbert back in the future would be out of the question?

That, friends, is the very definition of pixels of despair.

By Dan Steinberg  | February 1, 2011; 9:59 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Comments

"The real Question is Who will be the GM and Coach next year? We have made some bad moves like Yi, Howerd, Blatch. Don't you think that sending them to Denver for Mello is a good move?"

Wow. Not even gonna bother with the spelling errors, but does this person really think that Denver would accept Yi, Howard and Blatche for Melo? Talk about delusional. Besides, Melo won't come to DC, his wife only wants to live in NYC.

But seriously, Grunsfeld and Saunders both need to go. Get a smart GM and a hard-a## coach that will either shape-up Blatche, McGee, etc or ship them out for whatever we can get. Leonsis, it's your move.

Posted by: nibars16 | February 1, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that most people in the "DMV" feels like it's a birth rite for their sports teams to be Star Studded Winners. "Wrong answer", believe it or not the wizards are playing fairly decent basketball and have been in more games than the record reflexs. The biggest problem is their front court inconsistentcies. Once the wizards address the front court issues, all of you wannabee winners will be right back on the bandwagon.
As it stands now teams play and will countinue to play the wizards harder than they play the Lakers or celtics, nobody wants to be the first to lose. Plus they play harder than Jamison's teams ever did.

Posted by: ptown31 | February 1, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Imagine if Snyder had the guts to take emails from fans. Leonsis is the best owner in this town, far and away. If only he could put together a hostile takeover of the Skins.

Posted by: dbunkr | February 1, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe Wizards fans are so DUMB!!!

How can a team get rid of ALL THEIR STARTERS to rebuild and turnaround and win a championship the VERY NEXT YEAR???? I hope Ted Leonsis DON'T buy into the crap these fans are saying. Get rid of the Coach, get rid of the GM...good grief!!!

We have the most PATIENT COACH in Flip Saunders. He already experienced this situation with Minnesota Timberwolves and turned Kevin Garnett into a superstar.

If Ted Leonsis, Ernie Grunsfeld and Flip Saunders decided last year behind closed doors that they wanted to blowup last years team and start from scratch, then, they understand that the rebuilding process will take time to allow the players to develop. If this is the case, they have PLAN with benchmarks to their goals.

Posted by: clifton3 | February 1, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Pixels of Despair is an excellent name for a rock band.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | February 1, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

can't believe Wizards fans are so DUMB!!!

How can a team get rid of ALL THEIR STARTERS to rebuild and turnaround and win a championship the VERY NEXT YEAR???? I hope Ted Leonsis DON'T buy into the crap these fans are saying. Get rid of the Coach, get rid of the GM...good grief!!!

We have the most PATIENT COACH in Flip Saunders. He already experienced this situation with Minnesota Timberwolves and turned Kevin Garnett into a superstar.

If Ted Leonsis, Ernie Grunsfeld and Flip Saunders decided last year behind closed doors that they wanted to blowup last years team and start from scratch, then, they understand that the rebuilding process will take time to allow the players to develop. If this is the case, they have PLAN with benchmarks to their goals.

Posted by: clifton3 |


Agreed.

People think getting great players are on aisle 4 of every grocery store, or they concuct some stupid trade like packaging Blatche, Young, Yi, and 2 2nds for Blake Griffin. What John Thompson calls my garbage for your treasure.

Did people think we'd have a championship caliber team after one draft? Its amazing how out of tune some fans are with reality.

Posted by: Eman8 | February 1, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

i think people just post "for effect" the reality is we have some interesting pieces at the 1,2 and 3. The front court is desperate for help. I think its too early to give up on javale (see ben wallace) but its not too early to give up on blache. He has the talent to get something good back...he just doesn't have the attitude or work ethic that will ever allow him to dominate the league. Also, i don't think flip is the genius coach all the pundits tend to think...his strategies, substitutions etc...way below par...trade blache, keep the pick and use some of the large salary cap room that we have...

Posted by: IZZY3 | February 1, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

You mean there may be something wrong with the strategy of lots of free agent signings of great players? Are you sure about that?

Sincerely, D. Snyder

Posted by: sparman | February 1, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Ok, let's look at what has happened. We unloaded a bunch of high price players which cleared a ton of cap space. We drafted a PG, have young interior players and picked up some vets to help out until we can sign some impact players. This is the Wiz people! Do any of you remember GM Wes Unseld?? EG looks like Jerry West compared to him.

Be real, look at the young players on this team. There is an upside. Gil had to go. The locker room was a disaster. If you're a top free agent, what would make you come to DC over NY, MIA, CHI, ORL, and LAL? Ask yourslf that. Those teams already have talent in place. This team has put itself in a position to actually be good, but need to draft well and sign the right guys. Be patient, it will happen.

Posted by: Toochilled | February 1, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

The pixels of despair is to be expected. This is year 1 of a major rebuilding process. Not retooling but rebuilding. Which means we'll have to suffer through some really really bad results (and seasons) before we get better. See OKC Thunder before Kevin Durant's 2nd year.

Posted by: tundey | February 1, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree totally with "Toochilled". The Wiz need time to rebuild. Wall is very talented....three more quality drafts (and maybe a free agent or two) and this team will be much, much better. Remember, the Wiz model is the OK Thunder. They went from 29 wins (I believe) to 50 in one year.

Give it time. Keep the coach, consider a new GM perhaps, and build around Wall. This team could be the Thunder-East, which is not a bad comparison these days.

Posted by: rone1 | February 1, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I laughed at the comment about the Tshirt gun.

hahahahahhaha

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 1, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't think a high-powered T-shirt cannon qualifies as a pixel of despair, more like a granularity of hope.

Posted by: EYoung77 | February 1, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Thunder-East?!? Are you crazy...heard of those teams in Miami, Orlando, Boston, New York, and Chicago? OKC has a legitimate shot against every team in the western conference in a 7 game series. the wizards are 4 years at the earliest from getting past the 1st round of the playoffs.
I don't care that this team is struggling, it was going to happen. And like everyone has pointed out, if you're a Wizards fan and didn't expect/see this season coming (as far as wins/losses) you're a moron. Unfortunately the problem with our team is EFFORT. A sign of how little effort there was on the team was clearly demonstrated in preseason when Kirk Hinrich and John Wall were named captains...a 19 year old rookie and a player acquired in a trade who's body language on the floor says he wants to be anywhere but here.
Outside of Wall, Blatche and Young are our best players. Do you guys watch the way they play? Blatche usually plays well in the 1st quarter, but then rarely does anything after that? Problem with conditioning due to the lack of training he had over the summer due to injury? That excuse was fine in the 1st month or 2 of the season...IT'S FEBRUARY! A missed layup in a 1st quarter and we've seen Blatche buy into the "it's going to be one of those games" and he shuts it down. Nick Young, God bless his knack to shoot the 3 and put up numbers, but his effort is only there when he's getting the ball. Watch how he runs the curls around screens when he knows he's getting the ball vs when it's undecided who's getting the ball. Half assing it. Blatche and Young are also TERRIBLE at defense and can never matchup with the opposing players they're guarding.
Like I said, I don't have a problem with losing, but to not be putting forth the EFFORT necessary to win, that's what's irritating. An attitude check needs to happen in that locker room.
Until then, I really wouldn't mind if the Wizards stopped promising how great the future will be and how I need to be a part of the team now before it's too late. People don't go to resturaunts in the middle of a remodel and overhaul of the menu. No one wants to hear "Come in and eat now, while the food's only average, it'll be really good in a year or two!"
Face it folks, DC sports are cursed

Posted by: covertops26 | February 1, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

have you ever sat in the 400 section? pixels of despair.

Posted by: time1 | February 1, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

HAhahhaha, this is great. Best SportsBog post of the year so far. "Who the hell are Hamady N'Diaye and Kevin Seraphin?"

Posted by: eternale5150 | February 1, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Some fans are so stupid!! They should want the Wiz to loose and loose big this year and maybe next. Because in the NBA more so than any other league the only way to get really good is to loose really big because you need a top 3 draft pick in the NBA and you need some luck that the right people are coming out that year. They got both last year with the # 1 pick and Wall, now this year they need to do the same. If your an NBA team and you are average and making the playoffs as a 6, 7, or 8 seed you are never going to get really good and contend. Let the Wiz loose let them take their lumps an get another high pick and some luck this year.

Posted by: wstclair | February 1, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Really? there are still people that cheer for the Bullets?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 1, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"The real Question is Who will be the GM and Coach next year? We have made some bad moves like Yi, Howerd, Blatch. Don't you think that sending them to Denver for Mello is a good move?"

Wow. Not even gonna bother with the spelling errors, but does this person really think that Denver would accept Yi, Howard and Blatche for Melo? Talk about delusional. Besides, Melo won't come to DC, his wife only wants to live in NYC.

But seriously, Grunsfeld and Saunders both need to go. Get a smart GM and a hard-a## coach that will either shape-up Blatche, McGee, etc or ship them out for whatever we can get. Leonsis, it's your move.

Posted by: nibars16 |


Reality is even if you fire the coach and GM we still will have a young team and trading the current players who by the way are all young with the exception of a couple wont make them any better in the short term. This team is going to take time and more young additions to become a winning team. Wall and Booker are a good start. I just wish we would have used our first round pick on a draft pick the year before instead of wasting it on Miller and Foye, two guys who did not produce and arent even here now. We would be one player closer to having a talented squad. Blatche may not be all we want him to be but he still has time to get better. He is only 24. McGee is young too. So is NY, Wall and Booker. They just need to keep drafting and we as fans need to show patience for a young team that needs time, not an overhaul every year. There is no block buster trade for the Wiz. They will need to go the route of Oklahoma city and keep drafting until you have a good team.

Posted by: ged0386 | February 1, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

But seriously, Grunsfeld and Saunders both need to go. Get a smart GM and a hard-a## coach that will either shape-up Blatche, McGee, etc or ship them out for whatever we can get. Leonsis, it's your move

Thats how you end up with Mitch Richmond at the end of his career. It seems that fans want to get rid of players as some form of fan punishment so they can feel some justice for having to root for a bad team. But reality is if fans had their way the Wizards would be in worse shape than they are now. Fans wanted to get rid of the coach that coached them to several playoffs, Gilbert, Jamison, Butler and Haywood to give the young guys a chance. Now we want to get rid of the young guys, but for who? More young guys who dont know how to win yet? Mark my word, by next season disgruntled Wiz fans will be calling for the John Wall trade if they are still losing. You know to get whatever we can get for him. Every year they dont win the fans want to blow up the entire organization. How long will it take before we start seeing the "Ted, please sell the team" comments?

Posted by: ged0386 | February 1, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Big NBA fan, glad for NBA League Pass so I don't have to endure this Wizards rubbish.

No evidence yet Leonsis is going to be a good owner, will have to wait until this summer to see if he has any clue.

We want wins - no wins
We want Bullets - no Bullets
We want red white and blue, still teal.

But there's free Chick Fil A at the game - I guess that's what counts.

Why can't Jerry Buss buy the Wiz? That guy knows how to win.

Posted by: ericdc1 | February 1, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

rebuilding? huh? we havent won a darn thing forever! we've had to watch one disaster after another. I mean, we even screwed a relationship with MICHAEL JORDAN for chrissakes! it's been BAD for a real long time, and I aint talkin michael jackson bad.

Posted by: alaskan_teleman | February 1, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The truth of the matter is most of you got what you wanted when Grunfeld fired Eddie Jordan(because he was holding back Blatche and the other young'ins) how's that workin out for you? almost three years of consistent losing and being the laughing stock of the NBA, we're back to the day's of Wes Unseld,Gar Heard,Leonard Hamilton and the like, happy now? I take my hat off to Ted Leonsis for being accessible to the fan base, for that he should have the utmost respect from the fans.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 1, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I admire Ted for reading the e-mails and I admit to writing him a cranky one myself the other day.

The fact remains that this team is 0-25 on the road, despite having some nice players and some fine wins at home.

I was not one of the people who called for Eddie Jordan's head at the time, but any sane manager would say that whatever good Flip Saunders has done here is far outweighed by the wretched results he has achieved. It is time to fire this coach.

Posted by: khrabb | February 2, 2011 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Ted, you need to do more than read your emails and talk to the fans. Take action and fire Ernie and Flip immediately!

Posted by: oakiedokie1 | February 2, 2011 5:59 AM | Report abuse

I won't be replying to this article....because I'm so dam happy.
But, since I posted anyway, I have to state my two biggest complaints.
1. lack of hustle
2. poor drafting

Posted by: packridge1 | February 2, 2011 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Yeah the people leaving these comments obviously no nothing about basketball. I remember mentioning to my buddy a few weeks ago about how, even with poor record and all, it is very exciting to watch wiz games right now because we are SO talent rich. Its a lot different than those years we sucked with dominic mcguire and jared jeffries.

Posted by: sanjuan1227 | February 2, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Doubt anybody reads this, but in case, covertops26 said it best. I'm a season ticket holder as are most of the people in my section. We're not upset that the wizards lose, but it's how they lose. We have a great young PG, yet our boneheaded and lazy SG (NY, who looks more high most of the time than lazy) and PF derail our team.

We have no team concept, and even worse, we have bench players who do try, who do care, and who do want to win and who's development is being stunted by those two morons.

I'd prefer we lost 65 games this year to build a truly competitive team, but what good is losing if you don't learn from it (blatche and NY have never learned from it) and you don't develop your young talent.

I can't stress this enough: there are 4-5 possessions a game that blatche and NY totally derail the team and go 0-5. Since they just missed their shots they have no compulsion to hustle and play D so the other team in turn scores 10 pts. What's frustrating is the wiz are obviously shopping NY and Blatche. Heck, when dray was hurt, flip came out and said something along the lines of "we're excited to have trevor booker in cause he actually sets picks and runs the offense." They know, but we need to maximize value for blatche.

There are three brightspots for this team: trevor booker, javale mcgee, and John Wall. Booker can be a nice piece and John Wall fortunately does the things right that blatche and young don't, so that's encouraging. Mcgee has made huge strides this year, but lord knows why his minutes are so limited... Also I'm tired of hearing blatche is young. He's been young for 5 years...


Posted by: vanllathunder | February 2, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Applaud the owner for being accessible and responsive to the fans. So why can't he make the GM who put this crap together be equally accessible?

Posted by: bigskells | February 2, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

PIXELS OF DESPAIR = CULTURE OF LOSING = GRUNFELD

Posted by: member8 | February 2, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I think the wizards should get a couple of good role players from the draft before making the BIG move in Free Agency or trade. Celtics had pierce, rondo, perkins, glen davis before their big move. Lakers had kobe, odom, bynum, ariza before their move, OKC is really one trade or free agent away from being a top 4 talent.

Posted by: jefferu | February 2, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

LOL The team announces it's going to re-build but people still are surprised by all this? Sillyness

Posted by: Mike4169 | February 2, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@COVERTOPS & VANILLA THUNDER"

Posters please read their comments...they are so right on the button it is scary, particlularly about Blatche and Young!!!!!

It means nothing if you have talented players who have no desire to play at both ends of the court...When Eddie Jordan tried to mold players he was limited by upper management...Players don't respect you if you allow them to free lance when the mood suits them and lord knows there are plenty of them in the NBA...Good luck Ted!!!!!

Posted by: pentagon40 | February 2, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

@COVERTOPS & VANILLA THUNDER"

Posters please read their comments...they are so right on the button it is scary, particlularly about Blatche and Young!!!!!

It means nothing if you have talented players who have no desire to play at both ends of the court...When Eddie Jordan tried to mold players he was limited by upper management...Players don't respect you if you allow them to free lance when the mood suits them and lord knows there are plenty of them in the NBA...Good luck Ted!!!!!

Posted by: pentagon40 | February 2, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

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