The Washington Wizards will start playing basketball this Friday after an All-Star Break and weekend that left them out entirely.
That alone left me in a sour mood. And this new article from SB Nation’s national site only frustrates me more. It’s not because I disagree with the content. It’s because I agree with it 100 percent.
Yesterday, Ricky O’Donnell wrote an article ranking each of the 30 NBA teams based on their championship chances. The Wizards were ranked No. 22, under the “Not tanking, just not any good” category. Basically, it’s a euphemism for the “Treadmill of Mediocrity.”
Here is O’Donnell’s blurb on the Wizards specifically:
22. Washington Wizards: It feels like the Wizards compound their own mistakes year-after-year with no real path forward. Bradley Beal should have been traded for a haul of draft picks years ago; instead he’s the only star in the NBA with a no-trade clause. Picking up Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma in trades were nice moves, but there isn’t enough supporting talent around them to maximize their talents. Johnny Davis is struggling in the G League as the No. 10 overall pick, and needs to pick it up soon to avoid being the next in a long line of Washington draft busts. The Wizards have some good players and a little bit more depth than you might think, but the ceiling on this group just isn’t high enough to justify keeping it together long-term.
My reaction: PREACH RICKY, PREACH!
The Wizards should be tanking. But they are going for a play-in or playoff berth that probably won’t go any further than the first round. I can’t blame Wes Unseld, Jr. and Bradley Beal for working their butts off to win every game. That’s their job.
But I’m perplexed as to why this team is supposed to stay together given that they can’t play .500 ball as a floor. Instead, it’s the stretch goal... And it seems that players who COULD get them to their goal of a playoff berth don’t want to sign with them outright. Players like Russell Westbrook, among others.
In closing, remember that these rankings are in relation to teams’ championship chances, not their ACTUAL chances of getting a playoff berth. Washington is ninth in the East with a 28-30 record. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish above .500. But I’m not sure what the point is of such a berth is if the Wizards’ goal, perhaps year in and year out, is to “just make the playoffs.”