per Washington Post
Ernie Grunfeld had to wait until the 34rd game of the season to finally get the team that he envisioned last offseason on the floor together. John Wall made his season debut on Jan. 12 and led the Wizards to a win over the Atlanta Hawks and the team proved to be competitive against some of the top teams in the league for the rest of the season.
With Wall as the engine, the pieces that Grunfeld assembled last offseason started to fall into place. Bradley Beal, Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza found more open looks. Emeka Okafor and Nene had more space inside. And the Wizards went 25-25 over their final 50 games, with Wall playing 49.
“I think it always helps to have all your players, and that was what we were hoping for last summer,” Grunfeld said while discussing the season during a news conference on Tuesday at Verizon Center. “John was obviously a catalyst when he came back, but I think simultaneously the game before, we had Trevor Ariza come back and A.J. Price came back and [Trevor] Booker came back right around the same time. So the whole group was much healthier at that time, but obviously John was the catalyst. We tried to put a lot of pieces around him, to complement his game, in the offseason. Unfortunately, we didn’t have him in the beginning of the season.”
On if lottery will unacceptable next season: Nobody is happy about that. We’re all competitive people. We all want to do as well as possible. If you’re realistic and see what happened and when we had our team, we had a team that could compete with anyone if had our pieces for the whole year – which we didn’t. There are no excuses. That’s a part of the game. We got off to that slow, slow start. It was hard to recover from that. Obviously, our goal for next year is to not be in that type of position and to put a team out there that can make the playoffs.