"The Case Against Steve Blake"
Chris Webber wants to go to Miami, Detroit, San Antonio, Dallas, or the LA Lakers. I was going to say that though it’s not going to happen, I’d sort of like to see a Webber return to Washington, where we could use some backup power forward action. But of course DC plays too fast a pace for Webber. Then again, so do the Lakers. He should consider adding slow, slow Houston to his list of possible destinations. Meanwhile, in other trade news Earl Boykins is heading to MIlwaukee in exchange for Steve Blake.
Blake was on the Wizards for my first two season in town, and I consider him a contender for worst player in the league. His 3.6 points on 43.5 TS% (that’s .349 from the field, .279 behind the arc, .550 from the stripe) in 17.7 minutes per game this season fail to impress but so do his substandard defense and rebounding. I date the emergence of the Wizards as an NBA team worth following to the departure of Blake and Juan Dixon from the squad. Both are bad players but, of course, the Wizards (like many teams) have any number of fairly bad players on the roster. The trouble is that both excelled at Maryland, were popular with the local fans (enthusiastic cheers every time they came in even though they sucked), and had clearly been acquired for this reason.
Acquiring players because of real or imagined fan appeal — especially when said appeal is based on the player’s former status as an amateur — is the management strategy of the damned (see also Charlotte Bobcats) on a par with gimmicks like adding Michael Jordan to your front office (see also, um, the Charlotte Bobcats) and the best thing a franchise can do is firmly wash its hands of such business. To wax non-quantitatively for the moment, it sends a terrible message to fans and players alike — we all recognize a certain tension between business objectives and sports objectives, but any decent ownership and management group should, at a minimum, be putting winning games firmly at the center of its business strategy. Put together a good team, and the fans will follow.
This, meanwhile, is crying out for comment. It almost seems like trolling.