Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Sports Today: Wizards Fire Flip Saunders as Head Coach: Saunders getting Scapegoated for a bad Franchise
I've lived in the Washington Area my whole life and have followed NBA Basketball at least to a certain extent. Since 1983-84, grew up watching the Bullets as they were called back then. With Head Coach Gene Shue, players like Guard Jeff Malone, Center Jeff Ruland, Forward Rick Mahorn. Later on players like Forward Cliff Robinson, Point Guard Gus Williams. Even had Hall of Fame Center Moses Malone for a couple of seasons. In the 1980s the Wizards were a very consistent Playoff Franchise, as far as getting to the NBA Playoffs. But didn't actually do much in the playoffs but they had pretty good talent back then. This biggest target in Washington back then, no not the Washington Monument or Capital Hill or even Speaker Tip O'Neil or President Reagan. But Wizards General Manager Bob Ferry and not just because he weighed around 300 pounds and was over 6'0. But because of all the players he didn't draft or sign that he could've. The most famous of course being Power Forward Karl Malone in 1985 who went to of course Salt Lake. Instead drafting Guard Kenny Green who I believe didn't even make the 1985-86 Wizards. And of course all the money he spent and put the Wizards over the NBA Salary Cap, General Manager Bob Ferry. Made Members of Congress look cheap, which is almost impossible to do. The Wizards were way over the Salary Cap by the time John Nash took over in the early 1990s. Which was one of the reasons why the Wizards plummeted from being a pretty competitive franchise in the 1980s, a great franchise in the 1970s. To one of the worst franchises if not the worst the last twenty years or so.
The Washington Wizards were like the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers or Los Angeles Lakers of the 1970s. They won seven Division Titles, four Conference Finals and one NBA Finals. And you could make a pretty good argument they should've won at least 1-2 more NBA Finals. They go from that to still being a very competitive franchise in the 1980s, to basically collapsing in the 1990s. Because of their Salary Cap issues and trading away Draft Picks. Which made them very limited in how they could pick up talent, players but also coaching as well. And their owner Abe Pollin great man, I'm not trying to put him down but he was way too loyal. Especially with Wes Unseld who kept on as Head Coach in the 1990s, for probably 4-5 seasons to long. When they were losing 50 plus games every year. The Wizards showed some life in the mid and late 1990s being Playoff Contenders and making the NBA Playoffs in 1997. For the first time since 1988 but then fell back down to losing 55 plus game a year again by 2000. Showed some life again in the mid 2000's making the NBA Playoffs three straight seasons from 2005-07. But again came back down to Earth right after that, they've been a bad franchise basically since the early 1990s. What they are going through now, is not new and decided to put the blame on Flip Saunders.
The Wizards now finally have some good young talent that they can build on and develop. General Manager Ernie Grunfeld has finally got the Wizards past the Gilbert Arenas era. With players like G John Wall who'll someday will be a great Shooting Guard, Point Guard Roger Mason, Nick Young, Guard Jordan Crawford. They have two Big Men who can score rebound and defend in Aundray Blatche and Javal Mcgee. And they had the Head Coach in Flip Saunders to develop these players and with another good draft or two. Sign a couple big Free Agents, your looking at a very good Playoff Contender. That could advance and be a serious Eastern Conference Contender in the next few years. But they are still a few years away from that and are off to another horrible start, 2-15. And decided to put all the blame on one person Flip Saunders.