After the Washington Wizards’ big win against the Milwaukee Bucks last Sunday, I had seen some social media posts that seemed to be taking things a bit far. Most of them were in good fun (like a certain member of the Bullets Forever team posting the Larry O’Brien trophy after each win) and it was nice to see this fanbase overreact in the positive direction for a change.
I want to hear your biggest overreaction 10 games into the Wizards season. I'll start: Brad should make 1st team All-NBA this season— Matt Modderno (@MattModderno) November 8, 2021
With that in mind, I tweeted asking people for their most extreme overreaction about the team and players based on what they had seen so far. I used those answers as the basis for this week’s Bleav in Wizards podcast episode, where we weighed in on whether or not they were rational or justifiable at all. This made for a fun way to comment on the things that fans are taking note of so far (or at least a decent representation of the fanbase as a whole). For the full breakdown of each overreaction, check out the full episode below.
I also wanted to include those overreactions here, with minimal analysis, so that everyone else could also weigh in. Without further ado, here they are.
1) The Wizards will win the championship this year
This one was pretty common, or at least some variant of it. Several people predicted at least an Eastern Conference Finals trip or that Wes Unseld Jr. would eventually win a title here. A few more tempered things a bit but suggested a top-4 playoff seed was at play. If the team continues playing the way it has so far, I don’t think being in contention for a top-4 seed is ridiculous. But that’s as far as I’d go.
2) The Wizards have the deepest group of defender they’ve ever had on one team
I actually think this is true. In the mid-2000’s you had Larry Hughes, DeShawn Stevenson, Jared Jeffries, Caron Butler, and Brendan Haywood. And all of those guys weren’t on the same team. Last decade, you had Wall, Ariza, Gortat, etc. But in terms of deepest group on one roster, this might be it.
3) Deni Avdija will make an NBA All-Defensive team
Some fans even took it a step further, suggesting a 1st team is in play. I think if the Wizards can just get more of the same from him on defense all season, plus more consistency on offense, they’ll be plenty happy. There’s no world in which he makes a 1st team this year. But you can never say never about it happening down the road if he continues to develop.
4) Daniel Gafford should be in the Defensive Player of the Year race
It seems like shot-blocking centers get some love from voters so he might have the best crack at it of any Wizard. Unfortunately, I don’t see there being any chance of that because he just won’t play enough minutes to get that kind of consideration. I would love to be very wrong about this though and I fully hope he outplays his new contract!
5) Bradley Beal will be in the MVP race
If Brad plays like he did in the Milwaukee game (minus a few loose possessions in the fourth) and scores efficiently, shares the ball, plays strong defense, AND the Wizards keep winning, then he will deserve some votes.
6) Wes Unseld Jr. will win Coach of the Year
Is this even an overreaction though? Not saying he’s a guarantee to win it but if you’re listing front-runners for the award so far, his name has to be on there. Tommy Sheppard will get some love from his fellow executives as well.
7) Davis Bertans should get zero minutes the rest of the season
Let’s get back to reality here with the Latvian Laser. The Wizards have to play him for two reasons: First, they have to try to restore his trade value, assuming he’s not in Washington’s plans. Second, it’s a long season. Eventually if and when injuries happen, the Wizards need all the depth they have to get through. But it is nice that they don’t have to rely on him this season at the moment. It seems unlikely that he will play well enough to justify that contract but if he has a few games where he hits enough three-pointers to put them over the top then that’s a nice luxury to have.
8) Montrezl Harrell for Sixth Man of the Year
This is not an overreaction. It might be an underreaction, honestly. The NBA should just give him that award in perpetuity based on how he’s played so far.
9) Kyle Kuzma should win Most Improved Player
This one isn’t a wild overreaction either. He may actually have a chance if he continues to average around 14 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 35-plus percent from three and playing good defense. The rebounding has been a real pleasant surprise to me.
10) Bradley Beal should never shoot threes again:
“Never” seems a bit strong but how about less threes? Ideally, if Dinwiddie looked fully back to his Brooklyn peak, he would be able to drive more and get Beal some easier catch-and-shoot opportunities. Fingers crossed we see more of that as the season goes on when Dinwiddie feels more comfortable on that surgically repaired knee.
Bonus: The Wizards should always keep an eye on prospects from the St. Louis area
First Larry Hughes and then Bradley Beal. Now, rookie Jordan Goodwin is setting the G League on fire through two games. He’s averaging 30.5 points and 8 rebounds. Not too shabby for a point guard. Cassius Winston and Joel Ayayi should each sleep with at least one eye open because Goodwin seems hungry for one of those two-way contracts.