The trade deadline will soon be upon us, meaning the rumors are flying; meaning Woj’s backpack pockets are stuffed with extra phone chargers; meaning stomachs are curling with weird trade suggestions and said rumors scrolling through your timelines every minute. With the Wizards, we’ve seen a ton of them. We’ve seen the suggestion of Beal for Dwight straight up. We’ve seen the silly screenshots of successful 4-team trade machines where every team still becomes worse. We’ve seen them all.
Lately, like this morning, Kelly Oubre’s name has popped up, and I’ll just begin with this: how the Washington Wizards handle Kelly Oubre during this trade deadline season so full of excitement will tell us a lot about what we need to know about the Washington Wizards.
The point is, if the Wizards have any real desire to conquer their inner demon of perpetual inconsistency, or have any real interest in becoming a formidable contender of ANYTHING – even the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference – they need to, for once, make a man out of a kid, and not just shelve him away for most of the season only to be rid of him in exchange for a broken, OLDER man like Ryan Anderson (or similar). Don’t do that. We’ve been down that road and we didn’t enjoy it. We’re really not in the mood to watch the Wizards put another baby in a basket and let him drift off in a flowing river. That was an unintentionally super-Biblical reference. I basically just called Chris Singleton Moses.
This season has already become a complete mess. Injuries upon a failing new offense upon a player’s claim of a lack of identity, all highlighting an over-exaggerated undertone of an injured Alan Anderson, the wildly proposed savior of the Wizards.
John Wall is the undisputed team MVP, but as Dan Steinberg points out, the Wizards are wasting a critically prime year of his career. This also makes a good time to remind you that 2019, Wall’s contract summer, is just three seasons away and that’s a small window of time if you consider the ancient history of Washington’s front office mishaps and mismanagement of personnel. It’s about as bad as Van Wilder’s transcript at Coolidge University (still the best Ryan Reynolds movie ever). The Wizards need to start planning for that time now. Because John Wall won’t be a Washington Wizard forever if he doesn’t have to.
As for Kelly Oubre, he is an untried, premature rookie on the bench who longs to understand why a team – playing poorly anyways – won’t give him – previously a 15th overall pick and a perfect product for development – a crack at some meaningful minutes.
How the Wizards move forward with Oubre, by trading him or not, will be obvious foreshadowing of how the Wizards want to approach their future. Unless Oubre is thrown in as part of some colossal multi-team blockbuster #WojBomb that lands a superstar in DC, the Wizards need to stop goofing around and instead take the time to enjoy their mystery box of talent in Oubre.
Don’t mess this up, Wizards. In the name of Shelvin Mack, Jan Vesely, and Chris Singleton. In the name of Jordan Clarkson, all the names of whom the Wizards have failed as a developers of young athletes, please don’t mess this up.