Washington Wizards: It is time to start beating the bad teams

Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura Davis Bertans. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura Davis Bertans. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Are the Washington Wizards playing down to their competition, or is there more to their losing record vs. losing teams?

Despite still having one of the worst records in the NBA (12-18), the Washington Wizards have had several victories over teams considered contenders around the NBA.

The Action Network is currently giving the Los Angeles Lakers the best odds to win the 2021 NBA Finals. The Wizards have beaten them. The Brooklyn Nets have the next best odds. The Wizards are 2-0 vs. Brooklyn. The Wizards split their first two games vs. the Boston Celtics, who are currently getting the seventh-best odds. And the Wizards swept the Denver Nuggets this season, who are getting the eighth-best odds.

In total, the Wizards have played 14 games vs. teams currently getting top-ten odds to win the NBA championship via The Action Network. The Wizards have gone 8-6 in those games. The Wizards aren’t just hanging with the best teams in the NBA. More times than not, the Wizards have bested them.

But it’s a different story when you look at how the Wizards fare vs. less successful teams. This season, the Wizards are 7-6 vs. teams with records .500 or better (as of 2/27/21). Their record vs. teams with a sub-.500 record, though, is a lowly 5-12.

Should we be worried that the Washington Wizards aren’t beating”beatable” teams?

The Wizards are taking care of business when the competition is tough. Now they need to turn it on against less formidable foes.

Looking at their recent success, though, the Wizards may be doing so already. Over their last ten games, the Wizards have one of the best records in the NBA (7-3). Only the Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz, and Phoneix Suns have done better in that span. Since the start of February, the Wizards have looked nothing like the team we saw in December. Thank god.

After a string of games were suspended in mid-January while Wizards players were in health and safety protocol, the Wizards lost four-straight games as they gradually returned to full(ish)-strength. Once they got there, they haven’t looked back. Since January 31, one week removed from their return from the health-and-safety hiatus, the Wizards have gone 9-6, and only three losses have been to teams with sub-.500 records. Through the first 15 games, the Wizards had nine losses to sub-.500 teams.

Finally healthy, the Wizards have looked like a team reborn during a make-or-break month. Beal, whose greatness has been rewarded with an All-Star starting spot, has continued his dominance as the league’s leading scorer. Russell Westbrook has looked entirely different, in the best way possible. And multiple Wizards have stepped up in Ish Smith’s absence.

Next. Scott Brooks knew something that nobody else did. dark

The first 15 games this season were no fun, but the Wizards have given fans more than enough to cheer about in the 15 games that have followed. Hopefully, this is a sign that the worst is behind the Wizards. They’ll get a chance to prove it and keep beating up on bad teams when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at home.