Originally posted on Wizards Extreme  |  Last updated 9/27/12

So I’m not sure if you’ve been watching Extreme Makeover: Wizards Edition, but a major capital improvement project is underway in the nation’s Capitol (pun intended).

This isn't an example of throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. The Wizards brain trust finally has a plan and it looks like they're sticking to it .

On March 14, 2011, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis wrote a piece on his blog, Ted’s Take, regarding the Wizards rebuilding plan. Most of the comments on that post were skeptical at best and eviscerating at worst. To add fuel to the fire, that night Kevin Durant and company came into the Phone Booth and ran the Wizards out of the gym. The final score was OKC winning 116-89 over the Wiz. I was at that game and remember telling a buddy: “Ted must be crazy if he thinks the Wizards can be as good as OKC in three years."

Well Mr. Leonsis is crazy... like a fox. He made some bold statements and predictions in that article and a year and a half later, Mr. Leonsis might want to consider moonlighting for the Psychic Friends Network, because he hit the nail on the head. Let’s take a look at what he said and how it’s coming into fruition.

Ted: As I noted, I think after the next draft we will have acquired enough young assets for the Washington Wizards. Basically we will have added 6 first round picks to the lineup in 1.5 years. We needed an infusion of talent and hunger and the 6 picks are a lot to digest quickly.

Well we have just added a seventh first round pick in three years as newly acquired Bradley Beal joins the list of Wall, Booker, Seraphin, Crawford, Singleton and Vesley. Three of them were drafted in the top ten. This is the young core of home grown talent that we have waited so long for and a group of guys who will cut their teeth in the NBA together and grow accustom to playing with one another. I’m hesitant to use the ‘P’ word (potential) but the upside (cringes) of this group of young guys looks like the nucleus of a team that is to be reckoned with. Look no further than the last ten games of the season and the team’s 8-2 record.

Ted 1, Haters 0

Ted: We also will have financial flexibility to keep our key players and with young assets and new potential rules in the NBA a-coming, we hope to be able to make some astute trades and eventually free agent signings. I want an efficient rebuild and as noted here, there is a price to pay in a rebuild but the outcomes are worth it.

Ernie Grunfeld has completed a massive overhaul of one the most immature and childish teams the NBA had ever seen. After the departure of Andray “7-Day Dray” Blatche, JaVale “Pierre” McGee, and Nick “Swaggy P” Young, the Wizards have gained a ton of maturity and lost a ton of nicknames and unfulfilled potential. The team tried in earnest to trade Blatche but Andray’s reputation nullified those efforts, forcing the team to take advantage of the Amnesty Provision in the new CBA and gave him his walking papers. Midway through the shortened season, the Wizards couldn’t wait any longer for JaVale and Nick to “get it together” and moved them for a player who almost single handedly changed the culture of this young team. Also, let’s not forget that Grunfeld was astute enough to trade a player who made $21,136,631, only played in 28 games and started 15 for two players who look to be opening day starters. While pundits and bloggers alike bemoaned Ernie Grunfeld for taking on the long term contracts of Nene, Emeka Okafor, and Trevor Ariza, this was no knee-jerk reaction. It was all part of the plan, an efficiently brilliant plan.

Ted 2, Haters 0

Ted: I see the rebuild taking three full seasons. I know that is a lot to ask but we have to be honest with everyone. We will load up on young players. We will await the new rules (if any) in the NBA. We will add free agents. We will make trades. We will play the youngsters to gain experience and then I think we will have a very good team for a long, long time. That is the plan.

To channel the great poet Langston Hughes, life for Wizards fans “ain’t been no crystal stair”. We pine for the days of the Big Three, the days of barely above .500 basketball and barely making the playoffs. But this is the third season of the rebuild. We have loaded up on young players. Check. We have added free agents (warm DC welcome to Martell Webster and A.J. Price). Check. We have played the youngsters and they have gained valuable experience. Check. And we have made trades...boy, have we made trades. DOUBLE CHECK. After drafting Kevin Durant, the Thunder made the playoffs in his third year. After drafting Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals made the playoffs in his third year. This is John Wall’s third year and management has set him up to make the playoffs, THIS year. While the Thunder and Caps haven't won a championship yet they are both perennial playoff teams, and I expect them to win a title with their current core. Call it Kate Upton, cuz this model looks fine to me.

Final Score: Ted 3, Haters 0

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