The Washington Wizards suck and they’re not going to get better.
That’s harsh, but D.C.’s basketball team has been atrocious. The Wizards expected sunnier days after bringing in former Thunder bench boss Scott Brooks, re-signing Bradley Beal to an at-best questionable max deal, and using money allocated for Kevin Durant (who wanted nothing to do with the team) to improve the bench. The club was expected to challenge for a middle seed in the East. But through a quarter of the season, Washington has looked more like a lottery team with little purpose.
Case in point: In a home game against the Orlando Magic, the worst offensive team in the East, the Wizards defense made the brick-heavy lineup look like the the Golden State Warriors. Washington gave up 124 points to a team that has routinely struggled to get to 90. Jeff Green, Elfrid Payton, and Jodie Meeks scored a combined 63 points off the bench. That’s not going to happen again, ever. But crap like this has become routine this season in Washington.
What hurt Washington even more, was once again wasting the talents of point guard John Wall. In his seventh season with the Wizards, Wall has carried many subpar rosters. On Tuesday, he did all the heavy lifting, scoring 52 points with eight assists. To put that into historical perspective, that’s the 26th-highest amount of points in NBA history during a loss. The Wizards’ bench, unlike Orlando’s, struggled mightily, as free agents Andrew Nicholson and Jason Smith continued their reign of mediocrity, scoring nine points in a combined 18 minutes. Not bad for $41 million+.
The loss put the Wizards six games under .500. With no bench, no supplemental scoring outside the starting five, Washington is in a nasty position. Wall enters free agency after next season. As the Wizards slide, trading him might be the best way to maximize their value. With Beal’s max extension in effect and Otto Porter rumored to be next, the Wizards cap is completely bloated, featuring way too many bad, long-term contracts. Ian Mahinmi at $15 million for this season and three more? Beal, who can’t stay healthy, earning $100 million over the next four seasons? An effective, yet aging Marcin Gortat making $25 million for the next two seasons? Plus all the bad contracts handed out this offseason? That’s already a mess.
There’s no immediate solution for the Wizards. The team desperately wants to contend, evident by the number of big contract vets (and Brooks deal) on the roster. The problem is, the assembled squad isn’t good enough to make noise in the Eastern Conference. The best case scenario is a first-round playoff exit than uncertainty entering Wall’s likely final season in Washington. Losing to an oven-mitt wearing Magic team is the latest turn in what’s almost a lost season. Washington is going nowhere fast.
The Wizards are fucking doomed.