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Washington Wizards fantasy basketball season recap

Is home-court advantage real or a myth?
The DPS crew discuss if home-court advantage is real, breaking down the psychological effects of playing in different environments and putting recent NBA playoff games in context with the phenomenon.

At a glance:

Record: 15-67 (14th, East)

Offensive Rating: 110.2 (25th)

Defensive Rating: 118.9 (28th)

Net Rating: -8.7 (27th)

Pace: 103.1 (1st)

2024 Draft Picks: 2, 26, 51

After trading away Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis last summer, the expectations for winning in Washington went out the window. They certainly didn’t have championship aspirations before the deals, but they were expected to compete for a postseason spot. Heading into this season, they were expected to have some fun moments as a lottery team, though most of the “fun moments” ended up simply being funny memes. Between Jordan Poole’s Shaqtin’ a Fool plays and Kyle Kuzma’s “just don’t be that team” quote, there was no shortage of comedic moments.

However, after a decade of mediocrity, this season was a step in the right direction. They nabbed the second pick in the draft after suffering through a tumultuous season. That is a great starting point for a rebuild, and they still have multiple trade assets to acquire more draft capital and young players. They don’t have a franchise player yet, but they do have a few players that could still be part of the team’s future.

Washington has a lot of money tied up in Poole and Kuzma next year, but a splash in free agency wouldn’t do much to fix this team. Wizards fans should get ready for a long rebuild that will hopefully result in a team that can compete for a championship. Drafting the right player with the No. 2 overall pick in what is considered a weaker class will go a long way in jumpstarting the rebuild.

Fantasy Standout: Tyus Jones

After a few years as one of the best streaming options in the league when Ja Morant was out of the lineup, Jones was finally able to have his own offense to run. He provided top-75 value in 9-cat leagues with averages of 12.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.6 triples while shooting 48.9% from the floor. Aside from steals, all of those were career-highs. Jones also boasted an assist-to-turnover ratio of 7.4, which was the best in the league among qualifying players.

This was Jones’ first season as a full-time starter, and he just turned 28, so he isn’t a coveted asset in dynasty formats. However, he should have a few more years of reliable production while potentially functioning as a bridge point guard for Washington, if they choose to re-sign him and draft a lead guard with the second pick. He was drafted in the early part of the eighth round in drafts last season, and he should be an excellent source of assists in the middle rounds for managers. He is solid in multiple categories across the board, but the dimes will continue to be his primary strength. In terms of overall value in 9-cat leagues, Jones was by far the best player on the team.

Fantasy Revelation: Deni Avdija

Avdija came into the league with a ton of upside, but his first three years were disappointing in fantasy hoops. In year four, he stepped up and averaged 14.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 triples while shooting 50.6% from the floor, all of which were career-highs. His biggest leap was his field goal percentage, which was a massive jump up from 43.7% the year before. He took another step up during the season and averaged 18.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 triples per game after the trade deadline.

Avdija has gotten better each season, but this was his first season inside the top-150 in 9-cat scoring. His value is limited by poor free throw shooting and a lack of defensive stats, despite him being a good defensive player. Avdija was generally drafted in the final rounds in standard leagues last season, but he should be drafted around pick 100 this upcoming season. When Washington is done with their rebuild, the roster will likely look very different than it does right now. However, Avdija proved that he should be part of their long-term plans.

Fantasy Disappointment: Jordan Poole

Poole’s final season in Golden State wasn’t the finish to his tenure with the team that he was likely hoping for, but with a fresh start in Washington, expectations were high, specifically in fantasy basketball. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well as expected. Poole averaged 17.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.4 triples while shooting 41.3% from the floor.

Poole’s ADP was in the early fifth round, and he ended up as one of the biggest disappointments in the entire league. He started for most of the season, but he came off the bench for the few weeks after the All-Star break. However, he returned to the starting unit for the final month of the season after Tyus Jones went down. He was much better as a point guard and averaged 21.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 3.2 triples over their final 15 games. This was an abysmal first season in Washington, but he did end on a better note. That provides some optimism heading into next year, but if Jones is the starting point guard again, Poole won’t be able to replicate his late-season production.

Fantasy Recaps/Look-Aheads

Kyle Kuzma: With Beal and Porzingis gone, Kuzma came into the year as the top option offensively for the Wizards. That allowed him to average career-highs in both points and assists, though he was also able to record career-highs in both field goal and free throw percentage, despite taking more shots than he ever has. He averaged 22.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 triples per game while shooting 46.3% from the floor and 77.5% from the free throw line. He’s much better for points leagues than category leagues due to his lack of defensive stats and subpar shooting percentages, but he is still an effective player in both formats.

Bilal Coulibaly: The Wizards selected Coulibaly with the No. 7 pick in the draft last summer, and he immediately stepped into a large role on a tanking team. He played 27.2 minutes per game and averaged 8.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.0 triple while shooting 43.5% from the floor and 70.2% from the free throw line. It wasn’t a standout first season, but he showed plenty of flashes on both sides of the ball and got better as the season went on. Over his final seven games of the season, he averaged 10.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.9 blocks and 1.3 triples per game. He still hasn’t turned 20 yet, and he has a ton of upside. He should continue to get better every year, and he has a chance to be among the most impactful defenders in the league.

Marvin Bagley: After starting the season in Detroit, Bagley was sent to Washington for some draft capital at the trade deadline. At the same time, the Wizards sent Daniel Gafford to Dallas, which opened up plenty of minutes for Bagley. In 24 games after joining the Wizards, Bagley averaged 13.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocks while shooting 58.1% from the floor in 24 minutes per game. He was splitting center minutes with Richaun Holmes and Tristan Vukcevic, which would be a weak center room for them to enter next season with. However, if Bagley is able to retain the starting job, he should provide decent value, though managers shouldn’t expect a statistical leap.

Corey Kispert:

Despite a slight decrease in minutes in year three, Kispert was still able to average a career-high 13.4 points per game despite playing a reserve role for most of the season. Much like his second year in the league, Kispert closed out this past season with a really strong stretch of play. Over the final month of the year, Kispert averaged 16.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 3.0 triples while shooting 49.8% from the floor and 41.8% from beyond the arc. He doesn’t have a ton of fantasy upside, but Kispert should be a serviceable rotation player for the Wizards moving forward. If he continues to play big minutes, he should be a reliable source of points and 3-pointers.

Tristan Vukcevic:

Washington drafted Vukcevic with the 42nd pick last summer, but he continued to play with Partizan Belgrade of the ABA League until March. He joined the Wizards for their final 10 games of the regular season, where he averaged 8.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.0 triple in 15.3 minutes per game. In his four starts, he averaged 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 triples per game. Silly Season production doesn’t mean much, but he did flash some upside as a 21-year-old that stands 6’11”. He isn’t a player to target in redraft leagues, but he is worth stashing in dynasty leagues.

Player Option: Richaun Holmes

Team Option: Tristan Vukcevic

Unrestricted Free Agents: Tyus Jones, Anthony Gill