Spring: Rodents, Blossoms, No Playoffs
Byline: Tom Knott, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Wizards are limping to the end of another NBA season, destined to be on the outside again.
This has become an annual rite of spring in Washington. The cherry blossoms and rodents come out in response to the warm weather, and the local NBA team packs up its belongings until next season.
The franchise is seemingly forever stuck with the same bad ending, no matter how many times it changes coaches and personnel. It even has changed its name and venue over the years. Yet none of the changes ever frees the franchise from its moribund place in the NBA.
Not even the best basketball player ever could provide a tonic to the woes of the last generation.
The franchise has advanced to the playoffs only once in the previous 14 seasons, in the 1996-97 season, and that was merely a three-game cameo against Michael Jordan and the Bulls.
The franchise has not won a playoff game since 1988 and a playoff series since 1982.
There is next season. There is always next season.
The Wizards cling to the notion that they somehow made a push to competence this season, however illusory that push may be. It was prompted by Jordan, whose 39-year-old knees eventually succumbed to the demands of the 82-game season.
Beyond Jordan, is there a genuine foundation on Fun Street? Does the franchise have a future with Richard Hamilton, Courtney Alexander, Brendan Haywood and Kwame Brown?
The evidence is mixed. There probably is not a heavy lifter in the bunch, excluding Brown, who is only one year out of high school.
It is too soon to project where Brown might be as a player in five seasons. He undoubtedly is going to have a long NBA career. That hardly would justify his standing as the No. 1 pick overall in the NBA Draft last June. To do that, he has to become a franchise player. To that end, who knows?
Brown has shown hints of promise lately. He has shown more conviction around the basket. He no longer appears to be as overwhelmed as he was early in the season.
He is less susceptible to dribble-induced turnovers. He is less inclined to take a 15-footer on whim. …