Not long ago, the writing appeared to be on the wall for the Washington Wizards to blow up their roster this season. A loss to the L.A. Lakers on December 18th marked a miserable 10-game losing streak that left the Wiz with an 11-20 record and paved a clear path toward cleaning house.
Fast-forward to the beginning of February and Washington has now turned into one of the hottest teams in the NBA. They’ve managed to compile two separate streaks of five or more wins since then and find themselves on a league-best six-game run exactly a week before the NBA trade deadline.
That complicates things.
A ho-hum NBA trade deadline is all but guaranteed
The Wizards front office will be prisoners of the moment, whether the fans agree with the decision or not.
A bottom of the barrel record would have put the pressure on Washington to act given Kyle Kuzma’s looming free agency and a likely opt-out from Kristaps Porzingis this offseason. But the team has been clicking of late and is just starting to get all its pieces healthy at the same time.
You won’t need to twist Ted Leonsis’s hand in order to give the Wizards’ current core a shot to make some playoff noise. This is exactly what he wants, after all. It was already reported last week that the Wizards have no intention of “detonating their roster,” via Ava Wallace:
The Wizards, as should surprise no one, are not detonating their roster and triggering a rebuild. Sheppard’s front office believes the team is more talented than it has been in years past — something its record does not reflect, in part because of a steady stream of injuries.
With Kuzma, Porzingis, and Bradley Beal off the table, there’s not much left to work with on the Wizards’ roster after the team did its work early with the Rui Hachimura trade. Ditto on the fact that Tommy Sheppard would need to first convince the Knicks into releasing the protections on our 2023 draft pick in order to include them in any trade.
Deni “Turbo” Avdija has shown more promise of late and probably won’t be shopped. Our latest lottery pick in Johnny Davis has not shown anything and isn’t worth shopping. Perhaps a move around the edges could be made involving a veteran like Will Barton, but the return will hardly be needle-moving in magnitude.
All signs point to this roster looking largely the same once the 2023 NBA trade deadline passes, for better or worse.
Based on how Vegas views the Wizards who look poised to stand pat, the prevailing sentiment depicts Washington with at least a decent chance at making the postseason. DraftKings currently has their odds at -180 to make the play-in tournament and +175 to make the playoffs as things currently stand.
Safe to say those odds are much higher than they were before the team ripped off six games in a row and won 13 of their last 19 games. Through February 2nd, the Wizards sit at the ninth spot in the East and are four games out of the sixth and final guaranteed playoff seed.
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