Wizards wrap season with loss to playoff-bound Hornets


The Washington Wizards lost to the Hornets 124-108 in Charlotte on Sunday afternoon. Here are five observations from what went down...

Season-ending loss

The Wizards closed out their 2021-22 season on Sunday afternoon with a loss to the Hornets that followed a familiar trajectory. Just as they lost to the Knicks on Friday, Washington got out to a hot start only to let the momentum slip away and lose in a blowout. This time, they were up 11-5 and finished the game with a 16-point loss.

That could also apply as a metaphor for their season as a whole. They began the year 10-3, but on Sunday closed the book on a season that saw them finish 12 games under .500.

In this game, the Hornets pulled away late with a series of 3-pointers. They shot 18-for-33 (54.5%) for the game from long range.

The Wizards closed out the year losers of three straight games. Their lottery odds will not be determined until later Sunday night at the earliest, as they are contingent on the result of the Spurs' final game. The Wizards will either be ninth or 10th.

Player development

This was the final showing for the Wizards' young guys as they played out the string of a lost season with more minutes and shots to go around. The main four - Deni Avdija, Rui Hachimura, Corey Kispert and Daniel Gafford - all had their moments with Hachimura coming out as the leader with 21 points. He shot 9-for-19 from the field.


Kispert wasn't far behind with 20 points. Avdija came out on fire early, scoring 10 of the Wizards' first 15 points, but cooled off after that. He had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists. Gafford had 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Avdija had a nice steal on LaMelo Ball and a dunk on the other end. Gafford had the highlight of the game, a stuff of Miles Bridges at the rim. Bridges is a big-time dunker and tried to put him on a poster. Gafford, though, had other ideas.

First game vs. Trezz

While much was made of the Wizards facing the Mavericks for the first time since the trade deadline, largely because of Spencer Dinwiddie's comments and also the star power of Kristaps Porzingis, this game had a similar element with Montrezl Harrell, Ish Smith and Vernon Carey Jr. each playing their former teams. For Smith, it was nothing remarkable of course, as he has played for 12 different NBA teams. He goes up against a former squad basically every other night.

For Harrell, though, it was interesting because he had such a memorable tenure with Washington and also would seem to have some motivation for a revenge game, given how rocky things became towards the end of his short-lived stint with the team. Whether that was the case or not, he had a quiet game with eight points and four assists. He got actually got blocked by Carey Jr., whom he was traded for, in the first half.

Carey Jr. got some run

Speaking of Carey Jr., and player development, he also got in on the action and had far and away his best game with the Wizards. The former Duke standout had 11 points, seven rebounds, a steal and a block. Five of his rebounds were on the offensive end. He also made a midrange jumper.

Carey Jr. moves pretty well for his size and does a good job of running the floor. He's also very strong, so he has no problem playing through contact at the rim. He is 270 pounds, has the nickname 'Tank' and his father played in the NFL. Carey Jr. is built for physical basketball.

What's next?

It's safe to say the next time the Wizards play a game, the team will look a lot different than they did on Sunday in Charlotte. The Wizards hope to have Bradley Beal back, though that is contingent on him deciding to re-sign. Porzingis should be there and, barring something unforeseen, Kyle Kuzma should be back as well. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is under contract next season, though the deal is not fully guaranteed. All four of them didn't play against the Hornets.


As for the guys who played Sunday, you have to think it's likely at least most of their young guys will be back; Avdija, Gafford, Kispert and Hachimura. Though, if the Wizards want to make a substantial trade, it may require parting with one or several of them. Tomas Satoransky, Anthony Gill, Thomas Bryant and Raul Neto are among those who are set to hit free agency. So is Thomas Bryant, who actually sat out this game with lower back tightness.

We know the Wizards are going to be in the market for a starting point guard, but will that be the only position they seek a major upgrade? Certainly, the front office has to believe significant changes are due after the way this season transpired.