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SB Nation NBA Reacts: Breaking down why Wizards fans are confident (or not) heading into this season

We asked the questions around the stickiest subject the Wizards have this season, and it’s not about the teams that would like to trade for Bradley Beal.

New York Knicks v Washington Wizards
Wizards fans are giving Wes Unseld, Jr. a lot of faith as he enters his honeymoon period.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Thank you for your responses to this week’s SB Nation NBA Reacts survey. If you haven’t signed up already, do so at the link below.


Why are most Wizards fans confident in the team?

The headline in my post this morning was that 72 percent of the respondents in our Washington Wizards fans-only survey stated that they were confident in the team. Furthermore, this survey was closed before Washington’s season opener against the Toronto Raptors.

There were also over 300 respondents (I can’t give you an exact figure and the Vox Media higher-ups will likely admonish me after reading this interjecting phrase), but I work for YOU, the PEOPLE! Most of our other team sites do not get 100 or even 50 people to respond to these things, so THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH FOR THE RESPONSES!!!!

Let’s look at that graphic again.

SB Nation

So ... why were fans confident in the team? Thankfully, we asked you to give you your thoughts why. It was an open-ended question so no one response was the same. But here are the three prevailing themes:

  • Improved roster depth: The Wizards now have multiple options at most positions, especially at the forward spots without a significant dropoff in production.
  • Wes Unseld, Jr. is the new head coach: The guy was 0-4 when the survey closed in any type of game as the Wizards head coach, so to be honest, I actually wanted Scott Brooks back. (OKAY OKAY, MAYBE I TOOK IT TOO FAR!!!) Anyway, this one response is probably the reason why people wrote coaching or some form of it as a reason for confidence: “No more Brooks.”
  • Tommy Sheppard’s active offseason: This ties into the roster depth reason, but there were over 10 responses mentioning his name or the “General Manager” or the “GM” or the “front office.” That and roster depth show that fans are definitely behind Sheppard, who clearly stated that they were not a “run it back” team last summer.

Why are some Wizards fans not confident in the team?

Of course, 28 percent of respondents said they were NOT confident in the Wizards. Here are the prevailing themes why:

  • Corey Kispert’s selection in the draft: Washington’s first round pick in this year’s draft had a poor Summer League, an unremarkable preseason and has yet to play this season (he was a DNP-CD). Washington drafted him to be a sharpshooter, not a multi-skilled All-Star at No. 15, so I think it’s too early to jump to conclusions.
  • Poor team history: The Wizards are the only NBA team that hasn’t won 50 regular season games in the 21st century. Just saying.
  • The perception of Ted Leonsis as a team owner who cares more about his other teams than the Wizards: I disagree with this since he is inevitably going to have to look at the Capitals and Mystics on a regular basis. A multi-team owner is going to have that perception, no matter what. But when the Wizards are mediocre at best most seasons, and when the Capitals and Mystics have won championships recently, I get it. Hell, even Wizards District Gaming is winning championships!
  • The roster is not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus: Bradley Beal, the Wizards’ best player, is not vaccinated against the coronavirus. And it seems like Kyle Kuzma may not be vaccinated, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll give him the benefit here. Almost every NBA superstar of Beal’s talent level or better not named Kyrie Irving are inoculated. Given that the Wizards aren’t a championship contender and that Beal is the “only star,” they are VERY vulnerable to a local mandate here in D.C. or changing regulations, anywhere.

Speaking about vaccines, we’ll go over that tomorrow. You won’t want to miss it!