Washington Wizards: 3 directions the Wizards can go from here

Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2020-21 season is quickly going up in flames. Where do the Washington Wizards go from here?

The Oxford Dictionary defines a watershed as “an event or period marking a turning point in a course of action or state of affairs.” Well, the Washington Wizards are in the midst of (yet another?) watershed moment. What was supposed to be a year of revitalization for the Washington Wizards has been anything but. Thomas Bryant is done for the year after an incredible start. The “durable” Russell Westbrook arrived at the Wizards’ facilities and promptly injured his quad, which is still hindering him. And no team has been hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than the Wizards this season.

This is not how anyone thought this season, which started barely a month ago, believe it or not, would go. Yet, here we are. It’s still early, but the Wizards are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, not inspiring any confidence. Despite adding Westbrook this season, a third-straight lottery pick looks more likely than a playoff appearance. The Wizards have to make some hard decisions, and they have to make them fast. So, where do they go from here? Let’s take a look at three directions they could go in for the remainder of the 2020-21 season…

Direction #3: Tough It Out

The Wizards have only played 12 games, so there’s still a lot of basketball to go. But with only 72 games on the schedule this season, there’s less basketball left than usual. And after having six games postponed already, who knows if the Wizards will even be able to play all 72.

Many of the team’s early-season struggles can be attributed to a shortened offseason and preseason. New pieces weren’t able to build chemistry. Plays weren’t even implemented into the offense. And some players were/still are using regular-season games to get into regular-season shape.

It’s not an excuse for the poor start (the Wizards still shouldn’t have dropped both games to the Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls), but it’s an explanation. And it’s an explanation that would assume the Wizards can get over their early struggle with a little more time together. Their win over the Phoenix Suns, in which they played some of their best basketball all season, certainly speaks to that. That win shows this team can get it done without a fully healthy roster. But for how long?

The Wizards could bravely take on their remaining 50-60 games, relying heavily on their All-Star backcourt. Just pile everything on Bradley Beal’s shoulders and hope for the best…again. With that strategy, there’s a chance they could sneak into the play-in tournament and maybe earn a low playoff seed. Beal’s that good. However, that strategy has failed each of the last two seasons. And what would they gain if they went that route? An early playoff exit? It’d be just another year of floating aimlessly between contention and a complete rebuild, wasting Beal’s greatness along the way.