WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Rebuilding in the NBA is comparable to the following situations:
*Burning down your own house with a blowtorch.
*Getting fired at your job, and then getting subsequently sued for a horrific action you did to hurt the company.
*Dating the most psychotic female ever, but fearing for your life if you were to dump her.
*Being a Redskins fan.
There's almost nothing worse in the world than rebuilding. It's like playing a 66 game schedule of preseason games. It's like going to the dentist 66 times. You get the point.
The Washington Wizards blew up their roster starting in 2009 by getting rid of Caron Butler, Antwan Jamison and later in 2010 by swapping one fake superstar (Gilbert Arenas) for another (Rashard Lewis). The only problem is that shrapnel from that original rebuilding process is still littered all over Washington.
Excluding John Wall and, in my opinion, Chris Singleton, the rest of the Wizards roster is being evaluated under a microscope by owner Ted Leonsis. Presumably, (and hopefully), Leonsis has begun to have discussions with an intelligent personnel person outside of the league that he plans on hiring. If not, when does this process start?
Rebuilding can work or -- as the Wizards know oh so well -- it can end horrifically. Plain and simple you have to nail the NBA draft, but there are different ways to cultivate a winning identity.
Washington has to develop an identity of what they want their future to become. As most NBA enthusiasts know (besides Ernie Grunfeld), you can't just throw together a collection of scorers in and pray for wins. Each player has to have a unique purpose for playing hard.
Three franchises were in the dumps back four seasons ago who have rebuilt successfully recently. Take a look at how they've done it and where the Wizards can learn.
Philadelphia 76ers: Family
This rebuilding project is in its final stages, but boy is it starting to look pretty. When the 60-year-old Doug Collins took over the 76ers last season, he embraced new technology. He texts his players little messages when he's thinking of them, showing that he genuinely cares. According to Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe, Collins even has the entire team practicing yoga together.
Don't try and tell me that doesn't matter. Collins seems to love his players, almost as if they are his own children. In return, the Sixers play the best team defense in the entire league, and share the basketball as if they are preschoolers. The Sixers aren't winning for the city of Philadelphia because many of the fans haven't committed yet. The players surely have bought into Doug Collins though.
Wizards Decision: How long does Ted Leonsis let the Flip Saunders charade last? Shouldn't you let current assistant coach Sam Cassell have a test period during this "fake" season, to see if players respond? Will they bring in a young assistant coach, or a proven veteran guy? If this sort of togetherness approach is taken, it would be nearly impossible for either McGee, Blatche or Young to be in DC.
Oklahoma City: Energy
The Thunder are anomaly. Kevin Durant is the type of player who comes around once every six or seven years; Russell Westbrook is a player the Wizards hope John Wall can become. Oklahoma City's style is drafting high-octane players who excel on offense, and then leaving it up to the coaches to develop their defense. Boom goes the dynamite.
James Harden is the scariest sixth man in the league; forward Serge Ibaka may be the fastest forward in the NBA. Now with Kendrick Perkins, this roster is almost flawless.
Wizards Decision: If Washington hopes to become a similar team to the Thunder, it may not happen until the year 2018. I'm serious. When OKC was consistently picking in the top five of the draft, they hit a grand slam with each of their picks -- Durant, Westbrook and Harden. I'm not writing off Jan Vesely yet, but let's just say he doesn't look like a perennial all-star.
Having the MVP winner is a nice little perk to have. Even so, the Bulls are predicated on low scoring, ugly games. It started with the drafting of Joakim Noah and Luol Deng and was further continued with the signing of Carlos Boozer. Three scrappy rebounding bruisers surrounding Derrick Rose has over time become one of the most formidable combinations in the eastern conference.
Wizards Decision: If I had to choose an identity for the Wizards future today, it would have to be defense. McGee often is a game changer in the paint. The team's 2011 draft class of Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely already are becoming quite reliable defenders. If the Wizards do go this defensive route, then they are counting on Wall becoming a big time scorer. This identity is full of risks.
Which direction is best suited for the Wizards? Follow me on Twitter @Mr_KevinJones and tell me what you think.