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The Wizards could be the most “hipster team”

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One writer wrote about the NBA’s most hipster team. The Washington Wizards certainly have the look of one.

NBA: Preseason-Guangzhou Long-Lions at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, The Ringer’s Jason Concepcion wrote about the NBA’s “hipster teams”. These are the obscure teams that no one goes into the season being all-in for. However, these teams surprise fans and pundits alike.

“A hipster team represents the rarest of NBA experiences: a surprise,” Concepcion wrote. “These are the teams that burst onto the scene organically; whose on-court chemistry often comes across as pure attitude; who play as if entertaining is just as important as winning, and yet manage to win some games anyway. Just never the big ones.”

My personal definition of a “hipster team” is a team that isn’t a bandwagon team. A team that has young talent and isn’t necessarily expected to win a title from national media, but insiders believe in their talent. It is a team in which has made great strides, yet still doesn’t get the respect that it deserves.

If there’s a team that screams that definition, it’s the Washington Wizards.

In a league where super-teams are the norm, the Wizards have built their team in the most organic of ways. There is nothing about Washington that is plastic. Their core consists of three fairly young players in John Wall (27), Bradley Beal (24) and Otto Porter (24). Each player was drafted by the team and re-signed to a max deal by the team.

Wall and Beal both took strides in their game. Each player averaged career-highs in points (23.1 each) and assists (10.7 for Wall and 3.5 for Beal). Porter also gained confidence in his three-point shot, increasing his three-point field goals made from 1.3 (2015-16), to 1.9 (2016-17).

As for their big men in Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat, they were originally castaways from the Phoenix Suns. They weren’t necessarily the key elements to a team and their presence wasn’t felt consistently. Gortat, for instance, hadn’t played in over 66 games since the 2009-10 season. Ever since he was acquired by the Wizards in 2013-14, he has played in 75 games in each season.

As for Keef, he didn’t see eye-to-eye with then-Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek at the time of his trade to Washington. Since becoming a Wizard, Morris has increased his field goal percentage (.443 to .459), free throw percentage (.759 to .822), points per game (11.4 to 13.6) and rebounds per game (5.4 to 6.3), just to name a few categories.

The Wizards went into the season without an offensive identity, a playoff appearance and a head coach. Scott Brooks gave them all three. Under Brooks’ tutelage in his first season with the team, Washington ranked 5th in points per game (109.0), 9th in average score margin (+1.6), 4th in fast break points per game (16.1) and 7th in assists per game (23.7).

Not many expected the Wizards to go toe-to-toe with the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Golden State Warriors last season. Washington went 2-3 against the two NBA Finals combatants. They also didn’t expect to see a team that went 14-16, through the first 30 games, to be among the talk of the Eastern Conference.

They may not be the sexiest of picks, but that’s why they are a hipster team.