The Washington Wizards may not have torn entirely down their roster, but they certainly went through an overhaul after choosing the rebuilding route this offseason. This wasn’t an easy choice to make, so the new front office with team president Michael Winger and GM Will Dawkins should be applauded. Yet, the Wizards fans need to understand that this is just the first step in a long, rebuilding road ahead. Patience will be the most important thing for the fans and the organization alike for the next couple of seasons.
The Wizards are not completely bereft of talent on the roster. However, they certainly don’t have the most promising young core in the league. This is the predictable outcome of drafting in the late lottery and prioritizing older, more NBA-ready players in recent drafts. It will take a while for the Wizards to fill their roster with high-upside young players, similar to where the OKC Thunder or the Orlando Magic are now.
In the meantime, there will be pain. The Washington Wizards will not be very good. But that is okay. Almost every team in the NBA goes through a couple of difficult seasons before gathering enough building blocks to create a winning team. It is simply the life cycle of an NBA franchise.
Before the Oklahoma City Thunder got to where they are today -the best young core in the league- they missed the playoffs for three straight seasons and won less than 25 games in two of those years.
Before the Philadelphia 76ers built their current championship contender core, there was “The Process” era, in which they won an average of 18.75 games in a four-year period. It was painful. But that landed their franchise cornerstone Joel Embiid, the reigning league MVP. If they hadn’t whiffed on multiple top picks in Jahlil Okafor, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz, they could have been one of the most serious contenders in the league.
But that is fine. That’s why it takes a long time. Not every top draft pick turns into a superstar. You have to swing a few times before hitting a home run. The Washington Wizards may need to swing a couple of times until they land their Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Joel Embiid.
Until then, patience is the name of the game. The Wizards may not have a fancy name like “The Process” for what they are doing, but the on-court results and long-term outcomes may be pretty similar.
This front office knows what they are doing, the Wizards fans have to believe in them. The ride is going to be long, but it will certainly be worth it in the end.