The 2023-24 NBA season didn’t start well for the Washington Wizards. They are 2-9 in the midst of a transitional, rebuilding season and are surely headed to the lottery. The Wizards fans don’t have too much to be excited about. However, what makes matters even worse is seeing how some former Wizards are thriving on their new teams. It naturally begets questions of “what could have been?” if some of these players had stayed with the Wizards.
The questionable decision-making of the previous Wizards management has robbed the franchise of a long-term future with these players. Perhaps they wouldn’t have taken the next step to become the players they are today if they were in Washington, but it’s still worth pondering about the endless possibilities. Let’s take a look at which former members of the Washington Wizards are making the most of their opportunities.
The 2023 Playoffs clearly indicated that the Wizards were going to regret trading Rui Hachimura at the 2022-23 trade deadline. He was a difference-maker for the Los Angeles Lakers in their run to the Western Conference Finals. He played 24 minutes per game in 16 playoff games, was hyper-efficient from the field, and even did a good job guarding Nikola Jokic.
This season, he picked up where he left off. He missed four games due to concussion, but in eight games he played, he is averaging 12.8 points per game on an incredibly impressive .692 True Shooting. He has made 50% of his three-pointers. He already scored over 20 points twice and has been one of the more consistent producers on the Lakers offensively.
He has made strides on the defensive end too. He has gotten stronger, so he can guard bigger players while being a more active help defender. In fact, he has already had a single-game career-high in steals with four in their win against the Phoenix Suns. If he continues his defensive improvement and sustains his hot shooting, Hachimura should remain one of the most important role players for the Lakers.