The Washington Wizards haven’t won over 40 games since the 2017-18 season. And yet during that stretch, they’ve only fallen under 30 wins once. The treadmill of mediocrity, defined, one might say. Their win total now reflects a team that should quiet tank while playing hard every night.
Washington Wizards (Over/Under 24.5 Wins)
Key Adds - Bilal Coulibaly, Jordan Poole
Key Losses - Monte Morris, Kristaps Porzingis, Bradley Beal
The Wizards are going to stink out loud this season and it may end up being the best thing to happen to the franchise for close to a decade. Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis chased the 8th seed every year at the expense of the team’s long-term outlook.
The once-promising backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal fell apart for a myriad of reasons. Their off-court relationship seemed fine enough but their chemistry and fit on the court had a very defined ceiling. The Wizards then tried, and failed, to surround Beal with the talent he needed to take the franchise to the next step. The questions regarding Beal’s health and overall ability to be the face of the franchise grew louder as the years went on. It was obvious to everyone that the Wizards should have traded Bradley Beal two years ago. He had two years left on his contract and had played well enough to convince teams around the league he could be their missing piece.
Instead, the Wizards waited and doubled down on their misguided approach to team building by signing Beal to the type of contract everyone knew would instantly become one of the league’s worst the second the ink dried. The Wizards hilariously gave Beal a no-trade clause thereby giving any and all leverage to him and ensuring they would be left holding the bag. If Beal failed to stay healthy or continued to look like a shell of his former self, they would either be stuck with an albatross contract on their books or be forced to sell him for pennies on the dollar.
Mercifully, the Wizards came to their senses and finally moved on from Beal. Kyle Kuzma re-signed but he is a lock to be one of the more sought-after players at the trade deadline. He represents their best bet to get the sort of return that could help kickstart their rebuild. Tyus Jones should have some value but with the league thirst for capable wings, his market won't be as robust as Kuzma’s. Daniel Gafford could fetch a marginal asset or two.
The real question for Washington is how the Jordan Poole situation plays out. He’s young enough that he COULD be a part of the next iteration of the Wizards but his inefficiency and disdain for defense will make him an acquired taste for teams around the league. Were he to rebuild his value, however, he could also find his out of Washington at the deadline. Outside of whatever those players are able to net the Wizards through trade, there’s very little to be excited about.
Their recent draft history has been poor. Johnny Davis is hilariously terrible. Deni Avdija is a huge question mark. He could take a step forward as a playmaker with the ball in his hands, but it is far from a certainty. Bilal Coulibaly is their lone lottery ticket. He could be a $2 scratch-off off or he could, in time, be one of the league’s more interesting players due to his size and athleticism. His development and accumulating lottery balls will be the team’s two most important priorities during the upcoming season. As a result, this team will be a rough watch, but they finally have the sort of blank canvas a competent front office can work with.
PREDICTION - UNDER 24.5 Wins