Three examples of the Washington Wizards putting development first

Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Wizards preached development as the ultimate goal this season. So far, they’re sticking to the script.

Nobody picked the Washington Wizards to top the Eastern Conference this season. Few even picked them to top 30 wins. So when the Washington Wizards announced this offseason that development would be the goal this season and not wins, few were surprised.

Even fewer were upset. In a season without John Wall for at least a few months and a roster full of unproven parts, development should be the goal this season. The Wizards, however, haven’t always had the best track record with letting their young prospects learn on the job. It’s been one of the biggest complaints against head coach Scott Brooks, who preferred Trevor Ariza over Troy Brown Jr for much of last season and only found Thomas Bryant because of injuries to the team’s top centers.

But the reliance on band-aid veterans to get from 39 to 42 wins might have ended when Ernie Grunfeld left the front office. Sheppard has been the one preaching youth and development the loudest and eight games into the regular season, it seems like the Wizards are sticking to that script. That could be due to injury. The Wizards have been forced to start and rely on some unusual suspects this season. They have only played eight games and they’ve already used three different starting lineups. Id’ bet on more combinations to come, too.

Or they could be turning over a new leaf under new management. Here are three examples of the Wizards sticking to development through their first three weeks of the season.