The Washington Wizards have been stuck in mediocrity since the late 1980s. They had a few bubble-ups of contention, including multiple playoff appearances with Gilbert Arenas and the John Wall partnership with Bradley Beal. Still, the Wizards have reached the postseason just ten times since 1988. That is 35 years, and the franchise has not advanced to the conference finals since 1979.
The Wizards’ lack of hits in the draft takes center stage in their recent struggles. Since taking Otto Porter in 2013, Washington has struck out on three lottery picks and failed to draft an impactful player in the first round. There is still time for Johnny Davis, Corey Kispert, and Deni Avdija to reach their potential, but all three have ranked as replacement level or below early in their NBA careers.
The Wizards’ recent struggles have not been their biggest busts, though. The franchise has struggled in the draft for decades. There have been hits, but here are their worst picks made into a starting five.
PG: Juan Dixon
Washington has not picked many true point guards in the draft. They hit on John Wall and lost Muggsy Bogues to the Hornets in the expansion draft after just one season. The Wizards have mostly focused on wings in recent years with varying levels of success.
Juan Dixon was the 17th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, and the combo guard was coming off a stellar career at the University of Maryland where he helped the Terrapins win a national title in 2002. The Wizards had the 11th and 17th overall picks, and they hoped both additions would blossom into starters and key pieces of their rotation moving forward.
Dixon was already 24 years old during his rookie season, and he just never lived up to the hype. During his three seasons in Washington, the 6’3 guard averaged 8.2 points and 1.6 assists in 18.1 minutes per game, while shooting under 40 percent from the field. Dixon returned to the Wizards for his final NBA season in 2008, and he was out of the league at 30 years old.
The Wizards passed on Tayshaun Prince, Carlos Boozer, and Matt Barnes to select Juan Dixon in the middle of the first round. The 6’3 guard failed to live up to the hype, and Washington missed the playoffs in each of his first two NBA seasons.