During the process upgrading the Wizards, it was pointed out here that the front office was intent on retaining its free agents, Martell Webster and Garrett Temple, and bringing in Eric Maynor because of their locker-room demeanor. They also were willing to pass on certain free agents who lacked maturity, even though they may have had the talent, or had too many negative vibes.
Look at what has happened with the Cleveland Cavaliers recently when Kyrie Irving had his nose broken in a players-only meeting and Andrew Bynum's suspension, and on Saturday night with the Milwaukee Bucks when Larry Sanders and Gary Neal got into a heated altercation.
Granted, Maynor, despite having played solid his entire career he has been a disappointment in Washington, but Webster and Temple have not. When the Wizards (14-16) lost seven of their first nine games to start the season, they had a players-only meeting and then went on to win seven of their next nine games.
They Wizards currently are in a two-game losing streak going into Sunday's home game vs. the Golden State Warriors, and Bradley Beal admitted there have been several internal discussions between players who have been quick to anger after being called out for not playing the right way.
This is where locker-room culture -- and mature veterans -- matter. In Milwaukee and Cleveland, having players police themselves has backfired. It has blossomed into a powderkeg of dysfunction and even violence, as both teams could play their way out of the playoff picture by the All-Star break.
The Wizards believe in the past this might've happened with them, but they're now in a different place and that stability gives them a chance to get above .500 once and for all and stay there. If they don't, at least they're not an embarrassment.