The Washington Wizards are very bad. They have the worst point differential in the league and rank last in defensive rating. They were not competitive in any of their three losses and their only win came against the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies. The Wizards will likely continue to be one of the worst teams in the league this season.
However, the Wizards fans can’t be discouraged. This is what rebuilding looks like. It can be a long, painful journey, but this is the only way out of the decades-long mediocrity this franchise was mired in.
We knew this coming into the season. The hiring of Michael Winger and Will Dawkins, and the immediate trades to move on from Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis signaled an organizational embrace of a transition period.
There was simply no other way to do this. The Wizards needed to build up their asset and prospect cabinet. They didn’t have a superstar or blue-chip young prospects. They didn’t have extra draft picks in the future. They had a perennial 35-win team without any stars that had significant trade value. This is unfortunately what you end up with when you break a mediocre team up.
This is the first year of a long process. In order to move forward in the NBA, you need to take a few steps back first.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, who did a masterful job of tearing it down and building it back up over the last five years, have won 22 and 24 games in back-to-back seasons. Then they were able to develop their superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and drafted potential future All-Stars in Jalen Williams, Josh Giddey, and Chet Holmgren.
The Philadelphia 76ers, similarly won 19, 18, 10, and 28 games in a four-year stretch before they were able to land their MVP Joel Embiid and become a regular championship contender.
That is why patience and trust in the organization are key throughout this process. The Wizards, for the first time in a while, have competent leaders in charge who have gone through successful rebuilds and the creation of championship contenders before.
Therefore, this season is about evaluating the roster, the coach, and the prospects. It’s about how the team fits together, how the young players are developing, and who should be a part of the Wizards’ long-term future.
This is the only way to find some solace in this miserable season that is surely going to be full of blowout losses, porous defensive performances, and hopeless efforts. In a few seasons, we will all look back and say, “It was all worth it.”