Since becoming the site manager of Bullets Forever in 2019, I have seen some turbulent times with the Washington Wizards. Though my start in the summer and early fall that year was positive with Elena Delle Donne having an MVP season for the Washington Mystics and Emma Meesseman leading them to the 2019 WNBA Championship, it wasn’t like there was much to root for with the Wizards.
Since 2019, the Wizards have made the playoffs once in 2021, and some form of the postseason twice, since I will count their summer 2020 games as a “postseason” given that the coronavirus pandemic disrupted life as we knew it.
Generally speaking, the Wizards played below .500 basketball and usually been a lottery team picking in the Top 10, toward No. 10. Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert have been solid contributors, but neither are expected to be All-Stars. Johnny Davis, this year’s first round pick,is playing more for the Capital City Go-Go than the Wizards.
The highlight of the Wizards since 2019 in my opinion was the 2020 trade of John Wall for Russell Westbrook, and the latter’s line season here. Though his time in Washington was short, Westbrook averaged a triple double for the fourth time, break the career triple doubles record, and carried the Wizards to their one playoff appearance. It was really the ceiling for the Wizards then and now.
This season, the Wizards started out with an 11-10 record before going on a 10-game losing streak. It ended last Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns, but it doesn’t change my opinion on what Washington should do going forward.
It probably doesn’t change what Washington Post columnist Candace Buckner has to say either. Buckner’s column today was much needed and stated the obvious: it’s time to rebuild.
In our last couple polls from here and SB Nation Reacts, some of you noted that it is difficult to grade the Wizards’ direction. If they were looking to rank for Victor Wembanyama, maybe that is a good thing and it warrants a 4 out of 5 on a confidence scale.
I disagree, because the Wizards signed Bradley Beal to a supermax this past offseason with a no-trade clause. They kept Kyle Kuzma and brought in Kristaps Porzingis to form the next “Big Three.” The goal was to make the playoffs, at least by sneaking in as a play-in team.
I just haven’t seen how things will miraculously change with Beal recently returning from a hamstring injury. Ultimately, it’s time to cut losses and move on.
There is a point to be made that General Manager Tommy Sheppard shouldn’t “fix his mistakes.” But it’s unlikely that he will be fired midseason and any return on Porzingis and Kuzma will drop as this state of purgatory continues. As for Beal, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens because of the no-trade clause. After this season, we can evaluate as to whether Sheppard and Head Coach Wes Unseld, Jr. should return.
To sum it up, the Wizards as currently constructed are not going anywhere. It’s time for a fresh start.