For 15 years now, the Washington Wizards have been running under power by GM Ernie Grunfeld, and it’s time for a change. If the Wizards want to be anywhere close to an NBA title, he has to leave before it’s too late.
It’s no secret to anyone that Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld is not a fan favorite. A recent twitter poll was recently run, asking Wizards fans if they thought that Ernie should be fired, or kept around. As you can see, 59% of the 426 voters said they want Ernie fired.
Clearly Ernie has started to lose trust from his own fan-base. It’s bad when a fan-base has started turning against the GM.
Another reason why Ernie needs to be fired, is that he’s not doing a good job of improving the team, and when he attempts to improve the starting 5 or the bench, he ends up making things much worse. Let’s take a look at some of the worst moves Ernie has made in the past few years.
Let’s start with a recent one, the signing of center, Ian Mahinmi. 31 games played, 5.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG. Those are the stats of a player being paid $64-million over 4 years. In large part, Mahinmi didn’t make much of an impact due to injury, but even when he was healthy, he was practically invisible. Ernie has a reputation of bringing in below average players and overpaying them.
Another obvious fault with Ernie Grunfeld is his strange obsession with Euro players. Ernie has a reputation for drafting bust European players, with some examples being Oleksiy Pecherov with the 18th pick in 2006, who ended up averaging 3.9 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.
The most recent example, is from 2011. Coming into the draft the Wizards badly needed a small forward, and it just so happened that there was a small forward named Kawhi Leonard available at the Wizards pick (6th overall). So, what does Ernie decide to do? He decided to draft a power forward, by the name of Jan Vesely.
Jan went on to average 2.2 PPG and 2.5 RPG. The Wizards had a chance to draft an all-star like Kawhi Leonard, but decided to take a player they didn’t need, who will likely go down as one of the Wizards’ biggest draft busts.
Gilbert Arenas is often viewed as one of the best Wizards of all time, and for good reason, but unfortunately, he was nowhere near good enough for the contract extension he received in 2008. Gilbert was given a 6-year, 111-million-dollar contract. To make matters worse, Gilbert was already near the end of his career at the time, and suffering a knee injury didn’t make things any better.
Gilbert played 2 games that year for the Wizards. The next year, Gilbert was then suspended for carrying a gun in an NBA workplace, which is against league rules. The next year, Arenas was traded to the Orlando Magic, but the Wizards were left with the damage of that huge contract.
The last main fault to Ernie is that he doesn’t try hard enough to improve the team. Star point guard John Wall has stated that he doesn’t want to re-sign with the team until they can find themselves a long term plan, which outside of Beal and Wall, is non-existent. This needs to be a wakeup call for Ernie that he needs to improve this team or else the Wizards will lose their best player in years.