The members of the 1977-78 Washington Bullets returned to the District over the weekend to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their NBA championship.
But they aren't in unanimous support of the late season run by the current Wizards, the kind of stretch that has become as much of a tradition over the last three years as being in the playoffs was for the franchise during the 1970s.
As John Wall put up 37 points in a blowout of current Eastern Conference No. 3 seed Indiana on Saturday night, the ever outspoken Elvin Hayes wondered what it was worth.
"It's a great thing to have that resurgence, to win some basketball games," Hayes said. "But it's a good and it's a negative because of the fact that you're not going any place ... plus you're losing the draft choices. ... So is it good to win, or is it good to be happy about winning a few games? ... In the long run, in the long scheme of things, what good does it do you?"
Seated alongside Hayes, of course, was a fellow Hall of Famer, his indispensable teammate -- and arguably polar opposite -- Wes Unseld. While Hayes returned to Houston after his playing days ended and watched the Rockets tank for Hakeem Olajuwon, Unseld was informed by his experience working his way up through the Bullets/Wizards organization.
"Well, this is where he and I disagree," Unseld said Saturday. "Winning breeds an atmosphere that they're going to need come next year."
The Wizards have been at least .500 in April each of the last three seasons, including 8-7 last year, when they finished with six straight wins. They still ended the year with the second-worst record in the NBA.
But they're currently riding a nine-game winning streak at home, and right now they will side with Unseld when it comes to winning as many of their remaining regular-season games as possible, even if at best it means ninth place.
"To give us confidence, that's it," Wizards guard A.J. Price said. "Confidence and show what we're capable of doing. We know that we can play with anybody in this league. We're not concerned about lottery picks. We feel like we got enough with the guys we got right here."
- Craig Stouffer