Former Redskins coach George Allen's made "The future is now" comment part of local lore. Whether Martell Webster is familiar with Allen's line or not, the Wizards forward essentially dropped his own extended version of that phrase on the media this weekend.
It's proper to think about the Wizards from a long-term perspective because the backcourt tandem of John Wall, 23, and Bradley Beal, 20, are so young and yet already so good. Washington reached the postseason this year for the first time since either guard joined the roster. They reached the second round for the first time Beal was 12.
They did with so with enough style and excitement that it's now realistic to believe nearly any free agent might decide Washington is a destination spot after all.
Then again, who knows what happens in the seasons to come. Injuries, regression, trades, free agency, luxury tax, Stephen Strasburg-esque shutdown, modern day equivalent of Toni Braxton. Basically, life happens and there is no predicting those twists and turns no matter what the stat guys say.
What we can say is that right now, in this moment, the chance for a deeper postseason run exists. Unless its impressive Game 7 winning performance over Atlanta is the new normal, Indiana looks all kinds of vulnerable. Assuming their consistent winning effort against the Chicago Bulls was no aberration, the Wizards looks all kinds of formidable.
Seriously, imagine the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference Finals. That's crazy talk, or at least it was before the playoffs started or when Nene suffered a knee injury in February. When Jan Vesely started games, when Beal's leg injury required rest. After a 2-7 start this season and a 4-28 beginning last year. When the future involved Andray, JaVale and Nick, when the headlines centered on Gilbert and Javaris. Outside some stretches from 2005-2008 and briefly during the Webber-Howard days, we're talking fairy tale at really any moment since 1979.
This is Webster's point: Breaks are happening and the Wizards realize the future is now.
This is what Webster had to say when asked if the team played with a greater sense of urgency during the first round against Chicago then during the season.
“Of course. I mean, when you look at this roster, we’re a great team on paper. But we had some struggles throughout the season, and the fact that, you know, [Randy Wittman] hasn’t coached in the postseason, John and Brad haven’t been to the postseason and our team is as good as it is on paper, you know, of course there’s that sense of urgency.
"You know, people say this team has a lot of potential to be good down the line, but honestly, if you look at the postseason this year and the fact that we made it, we have a good chance of doing some crazy things right now. I think, in our circle, we realize that we’re not – for us, and especially for the veterans – we’re not worried about next year. We’re worried about right now, and we feel like we can do some damage right now.
"We’ve collectively got that mindset, and when everybody’s thinking on that cylinder, then we’re all playing at a level of play that people didn’t expect us to do. But we know what we’re capable of doing. It’s the fact that we know that we can do something right now, and do damage right now, is the reason why we have that sense of urgency and the reason why we’re playing the way that we are.”