It’s safe to say the Washington Wizards can’t beat anybody but the Detroit Pistons. And the Pistons have lost 15 in a row.
But that was the only team the Wizards (3-15) have beaten over their last 11 games. Before beating Detroit, their last win came over the Charlotte Hornets — another likely non-playoff team — back on Nov. 8.
They lost to the Orlando Magic 139-120, and giving up almost 140 points can be a problem. Not surprisingly, the Wizards are near the bottom of the league in every defensive category.
“We can’t guard a stop sign,” forward Kyle Kuzma said, via Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “That’s kind of really what it boils down to. We let anybody get whatever they want on us. So, until we change that, then that’s probably going to be the result.”
This is Year One in Washington under new head of basketball operations Michael Winger. He had indicated before the season that things may get worse before they get better, and they sure are at the “worse” stage. The Wizards remade the roster by trading off leading scorers Bradley Beal (Phoenix) and Kristaps Porzingis (Boston).
The most notable player they received in return? Guard Jordan Poole, whose work ethic and shot selection have been called into question on social media, and even some respected news outlets.
Basically, the Wizards knew this season could be tough — and may not be any tougher than expected. Still, saying you expect to take some lumps and that losing is all part of the plan is a lot different than experiencing it.
Right now, the Wizards just seem miserable. And deservedly so or not, it may end up costing coach Wes Unseld Jr. his job at some point.
Robbins keeps the pulse of the organization like few other beat writers around the NBA. He’s just that good. And he indicated that a quick turnaround from the current plight seems unlikely, especially given the fact the Wizards have but three first-round picks in the next three drafts.
“With relatively few bites at the apple (at least for now), the Wizards will face greater pressure to make the best possible selections with their upcoming first-round picks,” Robbins wrote. “Lottery luck would be great for them, but no matter where they pick, they have to hit on their draft choices for the rebuild to gain traction.”