The Washington Wizards aren’t going to be big-time attractions on the court this season, whether here at Capital One Arena or on national television this season. Alan Jenkins made it clear this week that the Wizards are rebuilding. I said that this season would be “forgettable” on Feb. 12.
This isn’t to say that we’re taking “craps” on the team just for the heck of it. The Wizards have to rebuild after years of mismanagement. And to their credit, Washington’s taking the pain now.
But in Japan, the Wizards will be big to NBA fans from Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto. Rui Hachimura is the first Japanese player to be drafted in the first round and they want to see how he fits in with the team, perhaps even more than fans in D.C. do.
To that end, the Wizards announced that they will launch Japanese content platforms starting this season. They include a Japanese team site (still in progress), podcasts and video series.
Zac Izuma, a longtime play-by-play announcer for Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League, will be the Wizards’ Japanese digital correspondent. He has already created several videos with the Wizards, such as when Hachimura was playing for the Japanese men’s national basketball team in the FIBA World Cup last month.
Izuma wasn’t in Hachimura’s visit to the Japanese Embassy last week but we can certainly expect to see more content pieces like this video as the season goes on.
As Wizards fans from the D.C. area, I agree that this season will be dreadful if we judge things solely by wins, losses and whether Bradley Beal stays with the team beyond the next season. But we really shouldn’t evaluate 2019-20 through that lens. We knew this was going to happen.
But for Japanese basketball fans, the Wizards are definitely going to be the team to see as Hachimura begins his professional career. So covering this team will certainly be very exciting once we view things that way.