After starting the 2021-22 season with a stellar 10-3 record, the Wizards cooled off during the remainder of the up-and-down campaign and missed the NBA playoffs for the third time in the past four years.
Ted Leonsis, principal owner of Monumental Sports and Entertainment which owns the Wizards and Capitals, took appraisal of the season in his blog ‘Ted’s Take.’ First, Leonsis expressed his disappointment at the overall result of the campaign.
“Regardless of how others will evaluate the team’s performance this season, we did not live up to our own expectations,” Leonsis wrote. “We fell short on getting our defense up to par and we weren’t able to improve upon our playoff appearance from last season. Injuries and illness, while not excuses, certainly factored into our inconsistency.”
Indeed, Washington slipped defensively despite making efforts to combat a poor defensive showing the previous year, dropping from 19th in NBA defensive efficiency in 2020-21 to 25th this past year. Leonsis did note that the Wizards tied both a franchise record and the NBA record this season with 29 rostered players.
However, Washington’s season wasn’t a total loss. Leonsis went on to state that despite the lack of a playoff appearance, there were bright spots which instilled confidence that the Wizards were ‘building from a positive place.’
Rookie head coach Wes Unseld Jr.’s “passion, preparation and poise earned him the respect of our players,” Leonsis wrote while also commending the roster work done by general manager Tommy Sheppard.
Leonsis went on to highlight several different Wizards players starting with franchise shooting guard Bradley Beal. Beal is now in the top three in eight different statistical categories in franchise history, despite the fact his season ended prematurely after he underwent wrist surgery in February.
“We couldn’t ask for a better leader for our team on and off the court,” Leonsis wrote of Beal, who could be offered the largest contract extension in NBA history by the Wizards this offseason.
Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope—all players who donned Washington threads for the first time this season—were given glowing reviews for their on-court contributions before Leonsis expressed his delight in the strides taken by the team’s young core of Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert.
Leonsis closed out his blog by conveying his excitement about what the future holds for the Wizards, both this summer and beyond, and his determination that the team will improve this offseason and have a better 2022-23.
“We will be better,” Leonsis concluded. “Thank you fans for your support…we will stay connected this summer as we take these steps to improve our team.”