Updated: Mar 17, 2021
Hello Smash Fans. I hope you all are having a great day. In this week’s installment, I wanted to talk about the team with the most puzzling predicament in the NBA through the first 15 games. The Washington Wizards. It seemed like at the beginning of the season they were all in on making the playoffs but as of right now, It seems like they may have the highest odds in the lottery, so today I thought I would take a second and talk about what is happening and what their future might hold.
What is happening? It would seem like, on the surface, a team with two stars like Bradly Beal and Russell Westbrook along with some quality young players like Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, and Thomas Bryant, would be in playoff contention, but they are not. And that is because of two reasons. First off, Thomas Bryant’s injury. Yes, before the injury they were equally terrible, but even with that fact, losing your starting center, who had been playing well for you up until that point, is going to leave a hole that would be hard to fill, especially when your backups are Robin Lopez and Alex Lin. Second, Russell Westbrook has been playing injured for almost the entire season. The Nets game that they won a couple of days ago was the first time all season he had been anywhere close to 100%. The above wouldn’t matter much if they were being blown out before Thomas Bryant’s Injury, but they weren’t. All the games the Wizards lost before the Bryant injury were by 10 points or less. If Westbrook is fully healthy that 2 and 8 record could have easily turned into a 5 and 5 record or better. So those two injuries really do answer the question of why the Wizards are in the state that they are.
Now that we have an idea as to why the Wizards are so bad, we now need to decide what to do next if you are the Wizards' front offices. Now, most people assume that the Wizards have all of this time to decide what they want to, but they really don’t. Russell Westbrook is only getting older, Bradley Beal’s trade stock has never been higher, and all their young pieces are only going to diminish in value if they keep on this same trajectory. With that in mind, I see three main paths that the Wizards could take with their future.
The first one is the easiest, yet the one with the least upsides and that is to do nothing. At the end of this season, they will have a top 5 to 10 pick and can then build on their young core that will consist of Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, and that new pick. They can then use the last good years of Westbrook to try to make it into the second round all while wasting Bradley Beal’s career.
The Wizard’s second option would be to blow it all up and trade both Westbrook and Beal. If you are Washington, you can probably get a decent young player and a first-round pick of some sort for Russell Westbrook, and you can get 3 or 4 first-round picks for Bradly Beal or a pick and a really good player like Michael Porter Jr. This would give the Wizards a great place to start their rebuild but would mean they would still be bad for at least 2 years.
Finally, The Washington Wizards could go all in this year. How would they do this you ask? They trade for Karl Anthony Towns. Now the Minnesota Timberwolves are the only other team in the NBA that are on the same level of bad as the Wizards, and they might want to start building around Anthony Edwards. A great way to do that would be by getting two good players in Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija as well as 1 or 2 first-round picks. On the flip side, this gives the Wizard a legit chance to make some run in the Playoffs and a slight chance at the finals. Additionally, there is a chance that you could make a trade with a team like the Warriors for a solid wing, like Andrew Wiggins or Kelly Oubre. That way, you can get some solid wing play as well. Then you would just need to fill out your team with the buy-out market. There is an argument to be made that a starting line up of Russel Westbrook, Bradley Beal, Andrew Wiggins/ Kelly Oubre, Davis Bertans, and KAT could be enough to get you to the finals in the east. That would be the greatest accomplishment for the Wizards franchise since 1979 and would in my book make the trades a success. However, if they miss the finals they would have sold their future out for nothing.
Thank you so much for reading until the end, Smash fan. A special thanks to my friend Luca Celestino for helping with the creation of this article. I hope you enjoyed the article and I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day. Until next time, PD Smash signing off.