The 2023-24 campaign will be a little different for the Washington Wizards. For the first time in 12 years, Bradley Beal will not be in a Wizards uniform. There were some massive changes and the franchise is now under new direction.
The 2022-23 season was full of disappointment. The team finished 12 in the Eastern Conference with an underwhelming 35-47 record. That was five games short of an NBA Play-In Berth. There was a variety of reasons for the Wizards’ struggles. Beal only played 50 games with the team going 24-26 in those games. It was evident that they were missing the winning pieces to surround Beal. There were some positives with Kristaps Porzingis, who is now in Boston, and Kyle Kuzma. Both played great basketball in their contract year. Porzingis averaged 23.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 0.9 steals while playing in 65 games–the most he’s played in a year since his sophomore season with the New York Knicks in 2016-17. Meanwhile, Kuzma averaged a career-high 21.2 points and 3.7 assists while adding 7.2 rebounds a game.
It was a mixed bag in terms of production from the young talent. Some positives came from Corey Kispert and Deni Aviija. Kispert averaged 11.1 points per game while proving to be a sniper from deep. Aviija was valuable due to his perimeter defense and ability to facilitate the offense. Johnny Davis was disappointing in his first NBA season. The Wizards ended up trading Rui Hachimura to the Lakers midseason.
The Wizards began their rebuild when they traded Beal to the Suns in exchange for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, four first-round pick swaps and six second-round picks. The Wizards then flipped Paul to the Warriors for Poole, Ryan Hollins, Patrick Baldwin Jr. a 2030 protected first-round pick and a second-round pick. The volume shooter didn’t really mesh with the stars in Golden State, now he has the chance to be a leading scorer in 2023-24 with the Washington Wizards. Only time will tell how he’ll do. The preseason was up and down so not really helpful for us to figure out the kind of player he’ll be.
A veteran point guard who could serve as a leader in the locker room. He’s not your typical starting point guard, he’s a great three-point shooter but more of a pass-first kind of player. Last season, Jones averaged career-highs in points (10.3), assists (5.2) and rebounds (2.3).
He may not seem like a key addition right away, but give him some time to develop. Coulibaly has some defensive upside that will keep him on the court as a rookie, but the offense just isn’t there yet for the 18-year-old.
The 11-year NBA Vet meant a lot to the Wizards organization. He wasn’t just their best player for so many years. He had become the face of the franchise and a fan favorite. Beal made the all-star game three times and helped lead the organization to several playoffs over the years.
The Unicorn was not in Washington very long. About a season and a half with 2023 being the best season of his career. He stayed healthy and was a key part of the Wizards offense.
Starters: Jones, Poole, Kispert, Kuzma, Daniel Gafford
This lineup has a lot of questions. Will Poole thrive as the leading scorer? Will he be terribly inefficient and push the Wizards down the standings? Can Kispert continue shooting the ball at an elite level? Can Kuzma build off of his career year? Only time will tell us the answer to those questions.
There’s a few guys who could be x-factors here, but have to remember that the Wizards are in the first year of a rebuild. There’s a good mixture of veterans and young players here.
The Washington Wizards are simply not in the position to win games in 2023-24. The expectation should be around 20 wins with the Wizards having the worst record in the league. They may sell some veterans by the trade deadline. Their season will be a success if they gain some promising assets by the end of the season.
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