By Nick Ashooh
Stop thinking about where we're going for one second, and just think about where we came from. The Wizards and John Wall agreed to a four-year, $170 million "supermax" deal, keeping the face of the franchise in D.C. until 2023.
It was just a year ago though, when we were wondering if John Wall already had one foot out the door.
The Wizards missed the playoffs in 2015-2016, Wall wasn't happy with the fans or his teammates, and a lot of us, myself included, wondered if his subtle mentions of other stars teaming up and being under-paid had his days numbered in D.C.
This wasn't really that long ago.
Now, Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter are all locked up on huge deals that are going to cost Ted Leonsis a ton of money. Money he's willing to pay.
The Wizards are a team with a long-term future, and D.C. is a place players want to stay. Yes there's some serious money that helps make that decision, but they're still staying.
I get it, we look at the Warriors and Cavs and say " well the Wizards can't beat those guys, so I guess we'll just keep losing in the second round". I've seen a ton of that on social media.
You're crazy to think that the Cavs and Warriors will be the same teams over the length of Wall's new deal. Kyrie Irving already wants out, and there's about 500 different reports of LeBron James already picking out his new jersey number in L.A.
Listen, we need to remember where this Wizards franchise was before this core came together. Oh, you don't remember? Well let me remind you..
Feel better now? Yea, that really happened. Now go wash your brain out so you can forget that era again.
I get it. Wall, Beal, and Porter isn't as exciting as Curry, Thompson, Durant, and Green. No, the Wizards aren't better than them, but if that's the approach than I guess the Wizards should have just started the rebuild now right? Why bother until this Warriors era passes.
The only reason this whole SUPER superteam exists in Golden State was a short period where there was cap room to allow it to come together. It's not happening again.
There's plenty of rumors that Klay Thompson would want out to be "the man" somewhere else, just like Irving in Cleveland now. You also have to look at the fact that the Warriors will cost more than some small countries in a couple years.
There's always going to be more than one team trying to win a title. That's sports. The Celtics are getting better, the Rockets added another star, even the Timberwolves and Bucks are building around talented young players.
The Wizards are now a team with an identity, a direction, and a future with a blueprint. That's how long-term success is started.
Stop looking around the NBA and finding reasons to scoff at what's being built. It's like looking at a mansion and comparing it to the first house you just bought. This takes time.
Wall is the type of point guard you want running the show, Beal should be an All-Star this year, and Porter will be the glue that does the less glamorous things well.
This is what we've been asking for since Nick Young and JaVale McGee were running this clown show just a few years ago, or even father back when Gilbert Arenas was dropping deuces in shoes.
Let's take a minute, and appreciate the fact that at least one team in D.C can lock up it's stars long-term.
Looking at you Redskins.
Yea, there's plenty more this Wizards team still needs. They added to their bench this offseason though, so odds are it can't be worse than the scraps they put out there last year (*he said, hoping he doesn't regret the statement later*).
They could still add some more youth, but you need draft picks for that.
They're better off now than they were even just a year ago though. It's a franchise that gets respect around the league, has an MVP candidate locked up for a long time, and a direction we can all get behind.
There's a long way to go, but the Wizards are finally driving down the right road. Maybe they'll set an example for the less mature franchise in this town (*cough* Redskins *cough*), and teach them how to grow up next.
I know, I know. Expectations are TOO high there.
In the mean time, at least there's more of this coming...