Wizards had team meeting that somehow seems to have made everything worse

The Washington Wizards have had a strange season. 

After finishing fourth in the East last season and pushing the Celtics to seven games in the second round of the playoffs, they seemed poised to push for one of the top spots in the East this time around. And early in the season, they even publicly declared themselves the "best team" in the East. Well, more accurately, Bradley Beal did that.

But anyway, they have not been able to walk the walk so far. They haven't been bad necessarily -- they're 26-20, just 1 1/2 games back of third -- but they've certainly been confusing. The Wiz are just 2-6 in games decided by three points or less, and their record against sub-.500 teams is barely better than their record against teams above .500. 

Too often they'll turn in confusing performances against teams they should have no problem handling. And apparently, the team realized they needed to talk about why they have a problem playing up or down to their competition, so they held a meeting. 

But not even the cliched team meeting went well for the Wizards this season. Multiple players said it went poorly, and John Wall alluded to it contributing to the team's 24-point loss to the Hornets the other night. In fact, Bradley Beal nearly went so far as to say it was "pointless." Via the Washington Post:

"We had our team meeting," Wall said Friday. "A couple guys took it the negative way and it hurt our team. Instead of taking it in a positive way like we did in the past and using it to build our team up, it kind of set us back a little bit."

Wall brought up the meeting as he answered a question about the team's penchant for not playing with consistent effort. So in this context, it seemed as if Wall had tried to explain how the failed meeting might have led to Wednesday's showing against the Charlotte Hornets, when the Wizards lost, 133-109.

On Sunday, several teammates shared their thoughts about the closed-door gathering for the first time. Although no one seemed to remember the date of the meeting - a telling fact to how fruitless the session turned out to be - players recalled feeling as if not every topic had been addressed.

"It was tough. I try to keep all our stuff as personal as possible but I think in a way not everybody got a chance to speak whenever they wanted to," Bradley Beal said. "They didn't want to bring up an issue or something they had a problem with on the team. Regardless of what may be going on, as men we've got to be able to accept what the next man says, be respectful about it and move on from it. I think it was one of those situations where we didn't necessarily get everything that we wanted to get accomplished.

"Honestly, it was probably - I won't say pointless," Beal continued, "but we didn't accomplish what we needed to accomplish in that meeting."

First of all, it is peak Washington Wizards to flub a team meeting that's supposed to bring everyone together, and have it backfire into a blowout loss a few days later. 

But, such is the case sometimes with team meetings. They're often thought of as a magical cure for underachieving teams, though as the Wizards showed, that's not always the case. Perhaps it could pay off in the long run for the Wizards, and even if it doesn't, they're still a pretty good team.

Still, it's not a great sign when the the best players are publicly saying that a team meeting was basically a waste of everyone's time. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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