The Washington Wizards’ 2021-22 season ends today and no one is going to win a national award, which you can tell from our national SB Nation NBA Reacts survey results.
No Wizards players are in the running for the Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Award. Again, no one is winning national awards. but we can still do them at a team level. So let’s hand out some virtual hardware.
The Wizards’ Most Valuable Player: Kyle Kuzma
Kuzma made 66 appearances for the Wizards, averaging 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 0.9 blocks per game this season. In addition, Kuzma had his best shooting percentage (45.2 percent) since his sophomore season in 2018-19) and had an excellent January when he averaged 22.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, before the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
While some other players like Bradley Beal and Porzingis averaged more points in the games they individually played, Kuzma was healthy for most of the year and was a regular part of the rotation until late March when he was sidelined with right knee tendinitis.
The Wizards’ Rookie of the Year: Corey Kispert
Kispert has appeared in 76 games (the Wizards haven’t played their final game of the season yet), averaging 8.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. Though he didn’t play much or shoot efficiently early in the season, he began to play more minutes as other players were sidelined due to the omicron wave of the coronavirus last winter and when Beal was ruled out for the season due to a wrist injury.
Kispert’s best month was in March when he averaged 11.9 points per game, including 2.4 made three-pointers per game. The rookie came to the Wizards as a sharpshooter, and he shot pretty well from deep in March, making 39.4 percent of his threes.
There were some other rookies for Washington this season, but they didn’t play enough games, making this a one-way race if Kispert could play respectably. Thankfully, he has.
The Wizards’ Defensive Player of the Year: Deni Avdija
The Wizards are 25th in team defensive rating (114.4 points per 100 possessions), but someone has to win the award, right?
But Avdija gets the award, because his defensive rating was at 109.9 this season, at least before the Hornets game. That is the highest rating among all Wizards players who made at least 30 appearances this season.
Also, Avdija was one of the NBA’s better (though not best) forwards at rebounding the basketball and blocking shots, where ranked in the 89th percentile for defensive rebounding percentage and the 71st percentile among forwards in shot-blocking percentage, according to Cleaning the Glass. Since Avdija is more of a small forward than a power forward, these numbers show some good potential as the Wizards head into the offseason.
In terms of raw stats, Avdija averaged 8.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Hopefully, he’ll be a more active player on offense as well.
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