Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 1/12/12
In this age of constant information and unparalleled hype of young people, we are often led to believe that every NBA team has something going for it. The Washington Wizards are proof that such is not the case, and really, never has been. But thats not what we were told. We were told that second-year point guard John Wall was going to be The Man to lead the Wizards to respectability. We were told that big guys Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee were extra-long and ultra-athletic and ready to put it together. And we were told Flip Saunders was the coach who could finally make it all happen. The Wizards sold us on these ideas. The media chipped in. The fans blindly believed. Isnt that how it always works? So when reality strikes in the form of the Wizards 1-9 start, everyone is up in arms. Especially when 1-9 is considerably better than the Wizards have actually performed. Truth is, the Wizards seem to be little more than an extension of an AAU team. The AAU is amateur basketball at its worst, a place where hogging the ball and high-flying dunks receive the highest of praise, teamwork and fundamentals be darned. Thats all well and good until an individual gets paid to play and is expected to act like a professional. Too many guys on the Wizards roster are only doing the former. Even Saunders hinted that five-on-five basketball in the summer can become a serious issue. Instead of players spending the off-season working on improving themselves individually, they too often opt for what is little more than pickup ball at the local YMCA. Saunders referred specifically to Wall, but couldve been talking about the entire team. Ive never been a proponent of all those things," Saunders told Washington reporters. I think you pick up too many bad habits and a lot of things you think are going to be very easy (are not). I dont think I saw a change all summer long. Saunders makes a valid point, as Wall still looks like a guy who is just fast, as opposed to one who knows how to make the right pass. But Saunders also rightly took some of the blame, saying the Wizards struggles are on the best player and the coach. That's dead on, because this is hardly just the fault of Wall, or Blatche or McGee or shooting guard Nick Young. When it comes to chaos, this has truly been a collective effort. Nor is it the entire fault of the system that has produced the players. Because, lets face it, nearly every American in the NBA is a product of the AAU. But this is an example of what can happen when the AAU goes wrong, when guys dont really understand its time to grow up, when they think they can rest on past accomplishments and the butt-kissing of the uncles and cousins and money-grubbing scum who coached them at the lower levels. Another thing to consider is the idea that perhaps expectations werent high to begin with. Or if they were, they sure shouldnt have been. Not with a roster that features eight players younger than the age of 25, or one whose most-notable veteran is Rashard Lewis. Lewis is 32 and owns perhaps the worst contract in NBA history -- as only L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant will rake in more than Lewis 22 million this season. Worse, hes due to make 23 million next year. Its a pretty nice payday for a guy who doesnt really want to be here, has never really defended and apparently cant really shoot anymore (38 percent through nine games). Other than that, hes been everything the Wizards had hoped. Still, this is a team that does in fact have a legitimate excuse. The Wizards are still somewhat new and getting used to each other, and any pre-season promises made by marketing types and media and fans were unwarranted and downright unfair. But its one thing to be young, fun and determined on the court. Its quite another to be just young, and in the Wizards case, mostly clueless. In Washington, it truly is amateur hour. And you can at least partially thank amateur basketball for it. Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Budweiser: Peyton Manning not paid for Super Bowl beer plug

Archie Manning: 'I think Peyton's done in Denver'

Donald Trump: I told Tom Brady not to endorse me for President

Marshawn Lynch: Complicated and talented NFL anti-hero

Hue Jackson lets Manziel and ex know they aren’t alone

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher


Tyronn Lue faces backlash for Cavs record since Blatt’s firing

Report: LeSean McCoy assaulted off duty Philly police officers

John Elway was right, the Broncos didn’t need a Plan B

Canadiens and Sharks starting to gauge trade market

Danny Trevathan: Broncos defense better than ’85 Bears

Top 10 takeaways from Super Bowl 50

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

Ranking every game from 2015 NFL Playoffs

PHOTO: Panthers LB shows gruesome arm injury after SB

Patriots, Panthers early Super Bowl 51 favorites

Von Miller trolls Cam Newton, Panthers

Cam Newton proves again he is a great winner and terrible loser

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker