clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The NBA’s Ineptitude Bowl is on the horizon

The Washington Wizards play the Detroit Pistons on the road Monday evening.

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Every so often in sports, a perfect storm of futility manifests itself into a game. We saw this a couple weeks ago in the NFL, when the 2-7 Chicago Bears played the 1-7 Carolina Panthers.

The Bears own the Panthers’ first round pick in the upcoming draft, so both teams needed the win for preservation purposes — Chicago to preserve their No. 1 overall pick chances and Carolina to preserve their pride. These outrageous circumstances culminated in a mess of a game that was more comedy than contest.

The Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons have the chance to one-up Panthers and Bears on Monday. The 2-12 Wizards have lost eight straight games, including a disastrous 23-point blown lead to the Toronto Raptors. The Pistons, meanwhile, have lost 12 in a row and sit at a ghastly 2-13.

The Wizards are the worst rebounding team in the NBA by over three boards per game — the same difference separating the 29th-ranked Miami Heat from the 11th-ranked Phoenix Suns. The Pistons are tied with the Utah Jazz as the most turnover-prone team in the NBA, and they turn the ball over nearly two more times per game than the next-worst Portland Trail Blazers.

Both teams are embodiments of the word “unserious.” The Pistons employ a comical number of post players: Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart, Marvin Bagley III and James Wiseman — all 24 or younger — compete for minutes at center. The Wizards aren’t so much plagued by a positional logjam; rather, their offense is so disorganized it would barely fly at my college’s rec center.

The Wizards’ offense thus far is embodied by a singular play from earlier this month: with the Wizards down 20 in the third quarter to the Atlanta Hawks, Jordan Poole gets a clean breakaway and lobs it off the backboard to Kyle Kuzma (see video below). The only thing that could have made this play more fitting is if Kuzma had smoked the dunk.

It’s tough to call either of these teams “rebuilding.” The Wizards finally blew it up over the summer, but they still have yet to enter full asset-collecting mode after signing Kuzma to a lucrative extension this offseason. This current incarnation of the Wizards is more of a tank than a rebuild, though the true beginning of the rebuild is certainly on the horizon. The Pistons, meanwhile, have been “rebuilding” for the better part of a decade and have failed to notch more than 23 wins in a season during the 2020s.

The Pistons seriously need to start stringing together some wins, and their recent draft picks have to start performing at a higher level in the near future. It is harder to fault the Wizards for their recent struggles — the brand new brass was dealt a less-than-ideal hand and had to offload Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis for whatever assets they could get their hands on. Further, the majority of Washington’s roster is auditioning for the trade deadline, putting up what stats and highlights they can to try and get tickets to Milwaukee, Boston, Los Angeles, Denver or Minnesota. The way I see it, Bilal Coulibaly is the only player the Wizards should withhold from trade talks.

Rather than decrying the incompetence of these two floundering organizations, I choose instead to revel in the comedy of their impending matchup. Both teams have been allergic to winning thus far in this young season, but somebody has to win Monday. I am anticipating this game to be so unwatchable that it’s actually watchable. Will it compete for “game of the year”? No. But is there a way to somehow nominate it for a Golden Rasperry award? I certainly hope so.

Wizards-Pistons tips off Monday night at 7 p.m. EST.