What history tells us about the Washington Wizards’ 2021 offseason situation

Bradley Beal #3 and Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Bradley Beal #3 and Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook.
Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Teams that Blew it Up

So we’ve already reviewed 16 of the 30 teams. Of the remaining 14, two teams blew it up.

  1. 2013 Milwaukee Bucks
    The infamous “Bucks in 6” team; this group was a poster-child for the silliness of chasing the eight-seed and a first-round annihilation by the peak Heatles. That summer, Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick departed, while Brandon Jennings was sent to Detroit in what is now known as the Khris Middleton trade. The Bucks won a franchise-low 15 games in 2014, landed a prized phenom in Jabari Parker, and the youth movement was set. Of course, the most consequential move was in the prior draft, when they took a chance on an 18-year old from Greece at #15 overall by the name of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  2. 2015 Brooklyn Nets
    This is perhaps the most hopeless situation in NBA history. The 2015 Brooklyn Nets were an aging team that maxed out at 38 wins, with the Celtics owning their immediate future in terms of draft capital. Credit Sean Marks and the Nets for acknowledging the sunk cost; in 2015 they waived/stretched Deron Williams; in 2016, they traded Joe Johnson and Thaddeus Young; and in 2017, they traded Bojan Bogdanovic and Brook Lopez. It took awhile, but building from the ground up despite never picking in the lottery was quite impressive. Look where they are now.

So how do these “blow-it-up” teams apply to the Washington Wizards’ situation?

Not much. If anything, it solidifies to me that relying on “positive momentum” from a playoff (er…play-in) push is a fool’s errand. Also, that landing a generational superstar at #15 might be kind of a big deal.