Washington Wizards: 30 greatest players in franchise history

Photo by Mitchell Layton/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Mitchell Layton/NBAE via Getty Images /
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Elvin Hayes, Washington Bullets
Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images /

The Washington Wizards have seen some of the greatest players in the NBA come and go. Here’s a look at the 30 greatest players in franchise history.

The Washington Wizards franchise has come a long way since being established back in 1961 as the Chicago Zephyrs. Since then, they haven’t been shy about changing their moniker. After the 1961-62 season, they moved the team to Baltimore, Maryland, renaming themselves as the Baltimore Bullets from 1963-73.

For a season, they became the Capital Bullets (1973-74) before going long-term with the Washington Bullets moniker from 1974-1997. It wasn’t until 1997 that the franchise came to what they are known as today, the Washington Wizards.

While they were the Washington Bullets, they won an NBA Championship during the 1977-78 season. Behind a frontcourt of Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld, the team won its only NBA title in seven games over the Seattle SuperSonics.

The Bullets visited the NBA Finals four times during the 1970s, although they only won a championship one time. As a franchise, they’ve made 29 postseason appearances in their 58-year history as an organization.

Throughout that time, some players have built quite the body of work for themselves, going as far as reaching the Basketball Hall of Fame and having their jersey number retired in some instances. Here we take a look at the 30 greatest players in Chicago Packers/Zephyrs and Washington Bullets/Wizards in team history.

Tom Gugliotta, Washington Bullets
Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport /

Tom Gugliotta had a short-lived stint with the Bullets, but his contributions are at least worth mentioning. Gugliotta was the sixth overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Bullets out of North Carolina State University. After a decorated career for the Wolfpack in the ACC, Gugliotta looked ready to make the leap.

The 6-foot-10 forward put up quality production as a rookie on his way to 1992-93 First-Team All-Rookie honors. He averaged 14.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals per contest during his first season in the NBA. In his second season, he raised the bar even more, producing 17.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game.

By his third season, the organization was at a crossroads. Big man Chris Webber was on the trade block and the Bullets wanted him badly. So much so, Gugliotta became expendable in their cause. On Nov. 17, 1994, Gugliotta was traded to the Golden State Warriors along with three first-round draft picks for Webber.

It marked the end of an era for Gugliotta, who looked to be on his way to great things in Washington. He would go on to play a season with the Warriors before spending six with the Phoenix Suns and four with the Minnesota Timberwolves.