While NBA Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo headlined the NBA's first and second all-defensive teams announced on Tuesday night, no Wizards were even close to receiving any defensive honors.
It was an unsurprising revelation following one of the worst defensive seasons in recent memory for Washington, finishing the season with the league's 29th defensive rating and giving up 130 points or more 12 times. With an inexperienced, rebuilding team, it was a problem that was expected.
Head coach Scott Brooks did all he could to make up for his team's biggest weakness, deploying a fast-paced and often times unorthodox lineup. Still, with the No. 9 overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft and a healthy John Wall returning, this team will need more lockdown defenders like Anthony Davis or Ben Simmons if they want to take the next step next season.
The No. 1-ranked Milwaukee defense led the way with three selections. Here are the full results of the 2019-2020 All-NBA Defensive Teams:
FIRST TEAM: G Marcus Smart (Celtics), G Ben Simmons (76ers), F Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), F Anthony Davis (Lakers), C Rudy Gobert (Jazz)
SECOND TEAM: G Patrick Beverly (Clippers), G Eric Bledsoe (Bucks), F Kawhi Leonard (Clippers), F Bam Bam Adebayo (Heat), C Brook Lopez (Bucks)
Looking Back at Washington All-Defensive Honorees
Though Washington wasn't fortunate enough to have one of those stifling defenders on its roster this past season, the franchise has had seven past recipients -- three of those coming before the team moved to the nation's capital. In Baltimore, Gus Johnson got back-to-back first-team finishes (1969-70 & 1970-71) before Mike Riordan made the second team in 1972-73.
Here's a look at the five players from Washington to make the distinguished honor and how they got there.
1973-74 & 1974-75: Elvin Hayes - Second Team (both years)
The Hall-of-Fame big man played nine seasons as a Bullet, helping the organization to its lone title in 1978. But these two seasons were his best on the defensive end, blocking everything in sight. Hayes finished the 1973-74 season with 3.0 blocks per game, in the same year the Bullets made the move from Baltimore to D.C. Hayes also gathered 13.7 defensive rebounds per game and a league-leading 18.1 rebounds overall that year.
A year later, the name change from the Capital Bullets to the Washington Bullets didn't faze Hayes one bit, again earning All-Defensive Second Team honors. His numbers did go down a bit, however, recording 2.3 bpg and 12.2 rpg, but he did increase his steals per game from 1.1 to 1.9.
1978-79: Bob Dandridge - First Team
As the club's first-ever First Team All-Defensive player, Bob Dandridge was probably snubbed the year prior. The lockdown small forward's steals stats may have went down a tad (1.3 to 0.9), but winning a championship the previous season could have had some influence. At 31 years old, the veteran was a key member of that title-winning team led by Wes Unseld.
1985-86: Manute Bol - Second Team
One of the tallest players in NBA history at 7-foot-7 and the late father of Denver Nuggets center Bol Bol, Manute Bol was a force to be reckoned with down low. As the only rookie to make this list, Bol was an outstanding shot blocker right from the get-go. He finished his debut campaign leading the league in blocked shots with five per game and never scored more than 3.9 points per game in his 12 NBA seasons.
2004-05: Larry Hughes - First Team
As a former fan favorite and current Wizards podcaster, Larry Hughes led the league in steals with 2.9 per game. In 61 games, Hughes also averaged 22.0 ppg, 4.7 apg, and 6.3 rpg. Alongside star point guard Gilbert Arenas, Hughes helped the Wizards to the second round of the playoffs before Dwyane Wade and the Heat swept them, 4-0.
2014-15: John Wall - Second Team
The most recent Wizard to have a standout season defensively, John Wall made the All-Defensive Second Team five years ago thanks to increased focus and effort. The speedy point guard finished the year ranked 11th in steals per game with 1.9, helping the Wizards climb to the top five in team defensive efficiency. He was also third among point guards in defensive real plus-minus at 1.73.
Also making the all-defensive teams in 2014-15 were Leonard (first team) and Davis (second team), both of whom remain among the league's elite on that end.
If Wall allows backcourt mate Bradley Beal to take the reigns on offense while focusing back on his defensive instincts and capabilities, his presence would go a long way on the second-worst rated defensive team in the league.