Washington Wizards: Will the Wizards keep winning vs. the West?

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

Who do we talk to about putting in a request for the Washington Wizards to join the Western Conference?

The Washington Wizards aren’t a winning team. There is a litany of metrics, advanced and not so advanced, that prove this. None do it better, however than their overall record: 19-32.

The Wizards lose at home (10-16). They lose on the road (9-16). They lose everywhere and against almost everybody. But there’s one class of opponent the Wizards have had surprising success against. The Wizards win against the West.

They’re not prolific winners, but after their nail-biting 110-107 victory over the Golden State Warriors, the Wizards improved to 11-9 vs. Western Conference opponents. And they have some impressive victories in that span. The Jazz, Suns, Clippers, Nuggets, Lakers, and Trail Blazers –each of the top six teams in the Western Conference standings — all have at least one loss to the Wizards this season.

For some reason, the Washington Wizards are just better against the West.

The Wizards have a 0.555 winning percentage vs. the West this season. That’s the eighth-best winning percentage vs. the West in the NBA. Only the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, the two top contenders in the East, have been better at beating the other side. The five Western Conference teams with better winning percentages than the Wizards are an equally impressive list of heavy hitters: the Suns, Clippers, Jazz, Lakers, and Nuggets.

If the Wizards only played against the Western Conference this season, maybe they’d actually achieve those playoff dreams they have/had. Of the Wizards’ final 21 games, 10 come against cross-conference opponents. Four of those contests are against teams above .500, and six are against teams below .500. If the Wizards can win the games against the losing teams, they’ll finish the season with a 17-13 record vs. the West. That winning percentage (0.567) would currently rank 8th in the Western Conference and 4th in the Eastern Conference — right in the thick of the play-in games and playoff hunt.

But we can’t just count the games vs. one-half of the league. Despite their success vs. the West, the Wizards are atrocious against teams in their own conference. The Wizards have the fewest wins vs. the East among Eastern Conference teams, and their 8-23 record against intraconference foes gives them the third-worst winning percentage vs. the East in the entire NBA.

It’s an incredible tale of two teams. When the Wizards take on the West, they look like a good-to-great playoff team close to but not quite contending. Against the East, they look like a floundering franchise with little to no hope. The truth is, they’re somewhere in the middle.