5 greatest Washington Wizards small forwards of all-time

Caron Butler of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Caron Butler of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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1. Bernard King

When Bernard King was playing with the New York Knicks, he was at the peak of his career. But when he suffered a catastrophic right leg injury on Mar. 23, 1985, many believed his career was over.

They were proven wrong.

In 1987, King was released by the Knicks. Ultimately, he signed with the Wizards, where he went on to rebuild his career. It wasn’t easy, though. During the 1987-88 campaign, he averaged just 17 points and four rebounds. The point average was the lowest since the 1979-80 season when he averaged nine points.

King did, however, have a few stretches where he started to show his old self. He recorded two sets of back-to-back 30-point games midway through the season. On Jan. 27 and 28, he logged in 32 points and 33 points, respectively. He did it again just two weeks later. On Feb. 9 and 10, he scored 34 points and 31 points, respectively.

The 1988 playoffs were the only time King made a postseason appearance with the Wizards. In the playoffs, he averaged 13 points but the Wizards ended up losing in the first round 3-2 to the Detroit Pistons.

It seemed like he was creeping back to his usual self the following year. In the 1988-89 season, he was the Wizards’ second leading scorer behind Jeff Malone with an average 20 points. Along with that, he averaged four rebounds and three assists.

He had tons of high-scoring games this season, including a 43-point effort on Apr. 4 against the New Jersey Nets. But his best game was arguably on Feb. 1 when he recorded 35 points and 12 rebounds against the Philadelphia 76ers.

During the 1989-90 season, King played all 82 games, the most since 1979 when he was a member of the Nets.

With an average of 22 points and four rebounds, he only had three games with single-figure points which were all at the beginning of the season. From Nov. 21 to the end of the season, he had 71 straight games with double-figure points. One of those games include a 42-point performance on Jan. 9 against the Knicks. It was the most points he scored since he suffered that knee injury in 1985.

King also found ways to get his teammates involved. On Apr. 17, he dished out a career-high 14 assists during a victory against the Orlando Magic. It was one of three games where he logged in double-figure assists.

The 1990-91 campaign was arguably the highlight one for King as he averaged 28 points and five rebounds, the most as a Wizard. It was also the year when he earned his fourth and final All-Star nod.

He only turned in two games with single-figure points, both near the end of the season. On Dec. 29, he scored 52 games against the Denver Nuggets, the most since Dec. 25, 1984. He had another 50-point game two months later. On Mar. 6, he recorded 50 points during a loss against the Utah Jazz.

After missing significant time due to a knee injury, King was waived by the Wizards on Jan. 22, 1993. Still, he used his time with them to successfully prove critics wrong.

Even with these legends gracing the basketball court for the Washington Wizards, there is still a chance that the best is still yet to come as Bilal Coulibaly has an incredibly high ceiling and Deni Avdija could also break into this list some day if he develops properly.