The Washington Wizards are currently 1-5. Perhaps that was to be expected to begin the season. What was unexpected, however, is the hopeless and discouraging way those defeats have come. The Wizards were blown out in each defeat, having to waive the white flag before the fourth quarter even started. Through their six games, the Wizards allow 126.3 points per 100 possessions, an unprecedented mark, even with a small sample size.
For some historical perspective; the San Antonio Spurs broke the all-time worst defensive rating record last season when they allowed 120.9 points per 100 possessions. Second-worst defense this season is at 119.8 points allowed this year, significantly better than Washington.
Yes, it’s unfair to compare season-long data to only six games, but even through six games, no team in NBA history had a worse defensive rating than the 2023-24 Washington Wizards.
The Wizards are currently getting outscored by 15.6 points per 100 possessions. This ranks dead last in the league by a massive margin. The Utah Jazz, ranking 29th, get outscored by 9.4 points per 100 possessions. Still awful, but not all-time awful like the Wizards.
In the last ten years, only two teams have started worse than this year’s Wizards. The 2021-22 OKC Thunder also started the season 1-5 with a net rating of -15.8, before finishing the season with a 24-58 record. The 2020-21 Minnesota Timberwolves had a point differential of -18.6 through six games, despite winning two of them. They finished the season 23-49.
For a full season, no one has been as bad as the Wizards have been through six games. Teams that are usually considered the worst teams of all time; 2012 Charlotte Bobcats (7-59), 1998 Denver Nuggets (11-71), 1993 Dallas Mavericks (11-71), 1973 Sixers (9-73), 2016 Sixers (10-72), all had a better point differential than Wizards’ current -15.6.
It is safe to say that Washington will likely finish with the worst defensive rating in the history of the NBA. However, they still need to do much better on that end. They need to compete better defensively because they aren’t going to win games with their overall talent. If they don’t put up more of a fight, considering the overall talent level of this team, there is a chance they might be remembered among these infamous teams in history.
It’s still early in the season, but this is when you build winning habits. If the team gets demoralized by these heavy losses, it will be even harder to get out of the mud as the season progresses. Every Wizards fan expected a losing season, but no one wants to have a historically bad losing season. Let’s hope there is an improvement in the team’s fighting spirit soon.