It seems completely counterintuitive. The face of the franchise, a guy making $111 million, breaks the law and every conceivable standard of professional and decent behavior by bringing guns into the locker room to either tease (if you believe Gil's account) or threaten (the prosecutor's) his teammate. He embarrasses himself and the organization, and sends the franchise from meandering poor play into a catastrophic tailspin that depresses everyone who cares even a little bit about the team. And yet, that moment will probably be looked back upon as the day the Wizards began their turnaround.
Because if Gilbert hadn't brought those guns to the Verizon Center, and if he hadn't subsequently gone on his bizarre Twitter binge and broken out the finger pistolas in Philadelphia, he wouldn't have gotten his 50 game suspension. The Wizards probably would have won just enough games for Ernie Grunfeld to have held off on any kind of trades until after the season, since this year's Wizards were built with designs on winning now. The team probably would have missed the playoffs anyway, but won enough games to ensure that they had no real shot in the lottery.
If Gilbert hadn't decided to go John Wayne on Javaris Crittenton, the Wizards would probably still be debating the idea of breaking up an aging Big Three and whether to re-sign Brendan Haywood. They'd have almost no cap room and a double digit lottery pick.
Instead, the Wizards are weeks away from grabbing a 19 year-old franchise point guard with the number one pick in the draft. They've shed the undesirable contracts of Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, and DeShawn Stevenson. All of a sudden, the future has gone from untenable to unimaginably exciting. And it's all because of Gilbert and his armory.
There have been lots of rumblings about Ted Leonsis changing the team name from the Wizards back to the Bullets, but the consensus seems to be that Gilbert's foolishness ruined any chance of that happening. I'd argue the opposite. There could be nothing more appropriate than changing the name back. Because anything good that happens to this franchise in the next few years will be owed almost entirely to guns.
So, thank you Gilbert. We couldn't have done it without you.