About two weeks ago, a “friend” of mine from 202 ran into ESPN’s Zach Lowe at a bar outside his apartment in Harlem. Inevitably, Siddiqui ruined the mood by touching down on the Washington Wizards, forcing Lowe to slack off. To say it was an atmosphere killer is an understatement. I will neither confirm nor deny that I am the “Anonymous Magician,” but that is beside the point.
But if this is what the mere mention of the Washington Wizards can do to basketball addicts, just imagine how damaging it is to the psyche of an entire generation of city residents. This is enough to break even the most stable psyche. This offseason, the Wizards got rid of the last vestiges of Ernie Grunfeld’s executive tree by firing his former deputy, Tommy Shepherd.
Witches reach bottom. Washington is bad this season. They are playing at a very fast pace with the most mature roster since the crucial locker room showdown between Javaris Crittenton and Gilbert Arenas. Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma are shooting at will, creating scratches at the rim and playing slower defense. With one eye trained on Washington’s horrific lineup, the eyes of one of the league’s most hopeless teams are focused on basketball’s lower rungs.
Unfortunately, Washington is heading toward the wrong draft. Unlike the 2023 version, the 2024 NBA Draft is devoid of generational talent at the top. Shepard could have traded Beal before the 2022 trade deadline, but he chose to invest a long-term contract in Beal, then waited until he and Kristaps Porzingis helped them win enough games to end up in the soft middle between absences. They avoided putting themselves in a position to win the lottery. A week after the draft, his successor traded Bell to Phoenix in exchange for assets they transferred to Paul.
Three developments this week cast a shadow over the Wizards longer than that of Victor Wimpanyama. One was the aforementioned Wimbanayama who scored 38 goals in Phoenix, and the other was Washington running down the floor by the Philadelphia 76ers. The 146-128 loss dropped the Wizards to 1-5, with their only loss coming to the winless Memphis Grizzlies.
The last thing was ESPN’s chief analyst,Jonathan Giovone drops out of his top 25 rankings From 2024 prospects. Any one of the top 10 prospects could become the best player in the class. However, that’s the last thing you want to hear if you’re a franchise with a disastrous draft history over the past decade.
Here’s a sampling of the vintage cars Washington has built in the past decade:
Despite participating in the lottery on several occasions, Washington’s top picks in that period include Tomasz Satoranski, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, Deni Avidia, Corey Kispert, Johnny Davis, and Bilal Koulibaly. Aside from Koulibaly, who has only made six appearances in his professional career, the previous regime’s record is aging like damaged vinyl. Shepherd’s latest lottery pick, Johnny Davis, is like a two-way contract. The specter of a smelly formulation one year after opting out of the lottery For the best two-way prospect in 40 years So reall.
The beauty of preseason rankings is that they have the ability to change. Before the 2018-19 college basketball season, no one expected Ja Morant to arrive. Washington needs a similar riser who can separate himself from the pack.
Givony’s top prospect, Ron Holland, isn’t even playing college basketball this season. Instead, he would be suited up to play in the G League Ignite alongside Matas Buzelis. And as We learn from Scott Henderson’s difficult startAssessing NBA readiness against G League competition is a risky endeavor. USC point guard Isaiah Collier could be the first point guard taken, but he doesn’t even have the best name recognition of anyone on his roster. That would be Bronny James, who is known more for his father’s basketball contributions than his own game.
Kentucky has to offer one of the most interesting rosters to accomplish in a decade. Forward Justin Edwards, center Aaron Bradshaw, DJ Wagner and Rob Dillingham are all top-25 players. Edwards projects to be the breakout prospect, but he will turn 20 in December and could also end up hitting his ceiling as the second coming of RJ Barrett.
Purdue’s Zach Eddy is the top returning player, but he’ll also be a solid 7-4 22-year-old next year who is projected to be a second-round pick. The Player of the Year shortlist includes a group of John Doe, while FAMU is more than inspiring college basketball player Ted Lasso A subsidiary of an incubator for top individual talents. Alex Sarr could be the best big man in 2024, but he plays off-Broadway for Perth in the AFL. I
It would be a shame to spend a year watching Poole lob backboard alley-oops as he transitions Double losses Only for the witches to blow up again. This franchise and its fanbase have seen enough trauma.
Follow DJ Dunson on X: @cerebralsportex