The Washington Wizards are (finally) getting hot at the right time

Washington Wizards. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

If you gave up on the Washington Wizards halfway through the season, you probably aren’t alone, and I wouldn’t blame you. But now, I’d beg you to hop back on the bandwagon.

Make no mistake; the Washington Wizards are one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now. They’re currently on a six-game winning streak, their second winning streak of at least five games this season, and the team’s longest such streak since 2017. They’ve won eight of their last nine games, and they are now in sole possession of the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference. To paraphrase legendary fashion designer Jacobim Mugatu: Those Wizards are so hot right now.

The Washington Wizards are finally getting hot. Will it be too little too late, or is it happening just at the right time?

Collectively, the Wizards are rolling. Individually, they’re on some pretty impressive tears right now, too. Russell Westbrook has 16 triple-doubles in his last 20 games. Bradley Beal has scored 25+ points in seven of his last nine games. Davis Bertans is shooting 48.5 percent from three in April. Daniel Gafford has been one of the most impactful deadline acquisitions in the entire NBA, averaging 12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks as a Wizard. The Wizards have gone 8-1 in his first nine games played.

Aside from two very unfortunate and untimely injuries to Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija, pretty much everybody on the Wizards roster is playing at a high level. Even Robin Lopez deserves some love. That unstoppable hook shot has given him one of the best field goal percentages in the NBA (63.1 percent). All of this has propelled the Wizards from having some of the best lottery odds just a month or so ago to owning the final play-in spot with just over a dozen games left to play.

But it’s not all due to incredible offensive outputs. The Wizards have actually started getting stops. Since the trade deadline, the Wizards have a defensive rating of 106.3, which ranks fourth in the entire NBA since March 25. It would rank second in the entire NBA if the Wizards were able to maintain that rating since opening night. In the 42 games before the deadline, the Wizards had a defensive rating of 114.4, which ranked 27th in the NBA.

That turnaround — some sustained defensive improvement — is more promising than the 30-point performances from Beal (who is still in a battle with Steph Curry for the scoring title) or any triple-double streak from Westbrook (who is on pace to break the NBA career record very soon after already toppling the Wizards franchise record).

Next. 3 role players that need to step up for the Wizards to make the play-in tournament. dark

Plus, people outside of D.C. are starting to notice this Wizards team. Their matchup vs. the Los Angeles Lakers on April 28 will now be shown on ESPN, the first time the Wizards will play on ABC, ESPN, or TNT this season.