The Washington Wizards will not be returning to the postseason this year, as they were eliminated from the play-in tournament on Thursday night by way of the Hawks' win over the Cavaliers.
The Wizards qualified for the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the East last season and began this one 10-3, but now sit 33-43 on the year with six games to play. They are in the midst of their fourth consecutive losing campaign.
The year began with promise and expectations they would be in the playoffs, but plenty has transpired since. The team fell in the standings largely due to a porous defense, struggles shooting from three and chemistry issues that were addressed with a series of trades at the deadline.
The Wizards also lost star guard Bradley Beal to a season-ending injury in February and missed talented young forward Rui Hachimura for half of the season due to personal reasons. Meanwhile, they encountered a much deeper Eastern Conference than in years past, which could require a winning record just to earn a spot in the play-in tournament. The Wizards were four games under .500 last season and secured the eight-seed.
Though they will end up losing quite a few more games than they won, there were some positives that occurred along the way. Namely, Kyle Kuzma emerged as a key part of the franchise's future. First-round pick Corey Kispert also set a franchise record for 3-pointers in a rookie season. They also acquired former All-Star Kristaps Porzingis at the deadline.
But it wasn't enough to offset what will go down as a disappointing year for Washington and once again they will face difficult questions in the offseason. The big story will be Beal's future, as he can opt-out of the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.
As the Wizards play out the rest of the regular season, the focus now shifts to the lottery. They entered the day tied with the Pelicans for the 10th-best odds and only two games back from the Spurs, who are in eighth.
For the third time in four years, the Wizards will hope for luck in the lottery in what should be a consequential summer for the franchise.