When the Wizards were officially eliminated from the 2020 NBA playoffs on Friday after a loss cemented an 0-5 start, their Western Conference neighbors were still battling for their postseason lives.
Housed in Orlando's least attractive resort accomodation with what's been called the "Yacht Club Six," New York Times NBA insider Marc Stein reported Washington has felt the tensions rise inside the Disney property while the five Western Conference teams looking to take Memphis' spot as the No. 8 seed knock each other out of contention with every result.
The Wizards have two remaining games against Milwuakee and Boston before heading home and getting into full offseason mode (if they haven't already). Without their three best players in Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans, and John Wall, however, Washington's chances to get within four games of the Magic and force play-in games were always unlikely heading in.
In fact, the Wizards have now dropped into 10th in the East behind Charlotte without the Hornets even playing a game!
Still, the learning experience and opportunity to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime type of NBA event made the sequestering in Orlando worth it for Washington.
“It is such a unique experience,” Mahinmi told Stein. “Honestly, if you want to reflect on it, it would have been tough to be back home and be like, ‘Man, I wasn’t part of this.’”
For the five Western Conference teams bunking alongside Washington in the Yacht Club - New Orleans, San Antonio, Phoenix, Portland, and Sacramento - the playoff picture has shifted tremendously with a bevy of unexpected wins and losses from these teams. That's not the only thing that's changed though.
Stein reported that tensions have been rising among players and coaches inside the Yacht Club.
“Stares are getting colder getting on and off the elevator,” Suns Coach Monty Williams told Stein.
With the Suns surprising undefeated start to the NBA restart and Pelicans star rookie Zion Williamson's debut season officially over after their final game Thursday, the playoff picture has turned upside down for the competition of the coveted eighth seed. It's clear that players are bitter.
For Washington, on the other hand, it's just about being there. With a healthy backcourt duo of Beal and Wall next season, maybe the Wizards will feel like they belong.
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