Should the Wizards be better than this?
Certainly, what has transpired so far this season has not been all that surprising. They let more talent leave than they brought in over the summer, but by-design to get younger players with more long-term upside and more financial flexibility. With the roster they put together, few out there had any delusions of them contending for a top seed in the Eastern Conference.
But after nine games they sit 2-7, as certifiably one of the worst teams in basketball. No teams have fewer wins than the Wizards and only three have more losses. Those three are the Pelicans (Zion Williamson got hurt), the Warriors (everyone got hurt) and the Knicks. Hey, at least they're not the Knicks.
A 2-7 record, though, is a 2-7 record and some of the numbers aren't pretty. The Wizards are allowing 120 points per game, fourth-most in the NBA. Their 114.6 defensive rating is 29th out of 30 teams.
To be fair, we knew they were going to be dreadful defensively. Though they made some astute moves in the offseason, they basically brought in all offensive-minded players.
Yes, much of what has happened for the Wizards this season has been predictable. But when you bring a magnifying glass over the big picture things have been, well, just okay so far.
When it comes to individuals, it's a mixed bag. Rui Hachimura has been a nice surprise because of how quickly he has translated to the NBA as a rookie. Thomas Bryant looks at least marginally improved. His trajectory appears to be continuing upward.
Moe Wagner has been solid, at least showing enough to prove he isn't the bust he resembled last year in L.A.. Davis Bertans has been excellent, giving general manager Tommy Sheppard an early feather in his cap by possibly beating the vaunted Spurs in a trade.
Isaiah Thomas has been mostly good so far. He may not be the All-NBA star from his Boston days, but the Wizards are at least getting more than Denver got out of him last year.
But there have been some relative disappointments. Ish Smith and C.J. Miles haven't gotten going yet, though their long veteran track records should present some hope.
Troy Brown Jr. has not shown anything to suggest a second-year leap, but he missed all of the preseason with a calf injury and may need some time to catch up. Jordan McRae hasn't been great either, but should also be graded on a curve because of his injury.
We haven't seen anything conclusive yet from Admiral Schofield or Justin Robinson. Isaac Bonga was okay when he started the first seven games of the season, but showed nothing to write home about.
There have been some positives and some negatives, which is to be expected. Their latest loss was understandable, as they fell in Boston to the NBA-best 9-1 Celtics on Wednesday night. But their loss the game before, by double-digits at home to the Cavaliers, was a head-scratcher.
And still, 2-7 is 2-7. Right now, the Wizards look safely headed towards the lottery, hoping the ping-pong balls bring them a future star in James Wiseman or Cole Anthony.
Really, if that happens and they fall well short of the playoffs, it's okay. They are going to need more building blocks, anyways.
The Wizards are a franchise in transition, having just restructured their front office. The early part of this season is essentially baseline testing. It's not about how they look now, it's what they turn into by the end of the season and the foundation they lay for the future.
This year will be viewed as a success if Hachimura and Bryant continue to ascend, if Brown Jr. turns a corner and if some combination of Wagner, Schofield and Bonga show promise. Maybe Bertans, Thomas and Miles are flipped at the trade deadline for future assets.
It's still very early. We are just getting a good read on what the Wizards are at the moment.
As long as they make progress and trend up from here, things will be fine. If they don't, then there might be a different conversation.
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