The Curse O' Les Boulez comes and goes as it pleases. When the chips are down, it's creepily watching the Wizards while they sleep. In positive times it's dormant, remaining ready to pounce on unsuspecting fans at any moment.
Take Tuesday, for example. The Bullets went into the NBA draft lottery with the No. 2 pick and a chance to move up to No. 1. Instead, they ended up dropping down to the No. 5 pick. Ugh. Cursed again.
Many people subscribe to this free theory, but are they really buying it? The fact is, there is no Curse O' Les Boulez.
We've made the curse popular. From a main stream media column to a blogging punch line, fans have fed into the lore of basking into each other's misery. We are all responsible, but the self-deprecating Tony Kornheiser, and his pal Wilbon, tasked themselves with spreading the word from the beginning. Woe is us.
The curse is like comfort food in a life of sports pestilence; it rolls off the tongue much better than "we simply suck." It's an easy excuse. So what if fans had to suffer through a year that didn't reap a "reward" for losing, or for dealing with the inevitability of injury.
D.C. has the Big Three, a couple expiring contracts, and a pick no one anticipated having. The five spot is still high enough to attract a trade-partner wanting more options.
The Wizards are in the best position to win out of all lottery teams, and even some in the playoffs. Even the depleted squad wouldn't have been swept by the Cavaliers. Now think about a full squad. Sure they might not be contenders with the current, healthy roster. But rest assured moves are on the way.
The East is wide open. Even if Cleveland does win the title this year, with Wally Szczerbiak and Eric Snow coming off the books in the summer, they will still have $73 million committed to salaries next season (contingent on Varejao's option/contract). With an aging front line of Ben Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas (and the youth of JJ Hickson and a spastic Varejao), the Cavs will have to risk spending money in tight times. And Orlando just isn't a huge threat if Brendan Haywood becomes a Dwight Howard Stopper.
Falling to the worst possible position is just the life of a Wizards fan. The franchise has shot itself in the foot at least as many times as being in injury or lottery situations beyond control. It's about rolling up sleeves and making the best with what's provided. Fatalistic belief in mythical curses need not apply.
Flip Saunders issued his new boss a challenge, "[The pick] gives our management team a lot of flexibility, but it makes them really have to do their homework," he said. Is Ernie Grunfeld up to the task? Bet he'll try, curse be damned.