The Washington Wizards is a pro basketball team that is a part of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team now plays its home games at the Capital One Arena which is located in the Chinatown neighbourhood in Washington DC.
The team was originally created back in 1961 and was established in Chicago, Illinois as the Chicago Zephyrs before being renamed to the Chicago Zephyrs the next season. However, just two years after establishment, they relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, and were again renamed, this time to the Baltimore Bullets. However, after moving to the Washington Metropolitan area in 1973, the team rebranded again to the Capital Bullets, then again to the Washington Bullets the following year. It wasn’t until 1997 that they became known as the Washington Wizards.
Since their inaugural season in the NBA, the team has made it to the NBA Finals four titles, winning it just once. They have reached playoffs 28 times, won eight division titles and won the Eastern Conference title four times. Despite the NBA win being in 1978, their best regular-season record came in 1975, when they had a result of 60-22. They have had just one Most Valuable Player (MVP) in their history – Wes Unseld in 1969 and win the Finals MVP award in 1978. They have also had four players winning the Rookie of the Year Award.
The team has won eight division titles, four conference titles and one NBA title.
An Unstable History
The Wizards, as we now know them, were created as the first modern expansion team in the history of the NBA history and first started playing as the Chicago Packers. Back in the early days, their star player was Walt Bellamy, who in his Rookie year, averaged 31.6 PPG and 19.0PPG and led the NBA in terms of field goal percentage. He represented his team in the All-Star game – scoring 23 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This led him to being named Rooke of the year… but despite this, their season wasn’t great and they were bottom of the NBA league with a record of 18-62.
The Packers 0 named so given Chicago’s fame for its meatpacking industry) played its home games at the International Amphitheatre. However, the name wasn’t popular, given the fact that the ‘Packers’ was also used by the NFL Green Bay Packers – who were fierce rivals of the state football team, the Chicago Bears. So, just one year later they rebranded to the Chicago Zephyrs and moved their home game stadium to the Chicago Coliseum. During this year they signed the former Purdue player, Terry Dischinger – another one who went on to win Rookie of the Year.
The next year, the team moved over to Baltimore, again rebranding, this time to the Baltimore Bullets, taking their name from the BAA/NBA franchise of the 1940s/50s. Their home arena was the Baltimore Civic Center. The NBA, however, would return to Chicago three years later – with the introduction of the Chicago Bulls. The Baltimore Bullets managed fourth place in their division, out of five teams in the Western Division.
Their first season in Baltimore saw the team making a huge trade, which saw Dischinger, Don Kojis and Rod Thorn to the Detroit Pistons – and in return, they got Bob Ferry, Don Ohl, Bailey Howell and Wali Jones. This was a great move for the team as Howell was a great player and he helped them to reach the playoffs for the first time even in their history. In fact, the team shocked fans by reaching the Western Conference finals – before losing the series 4-2 to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 60s and early 70s was a time of mediocrity for the team – and it was only in the later years of the70s that they made a real impact. The team boasted future Hall of Famers, Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes – and finished the 1977-78 season with a respectable 44-38 record. However, they certainly weren’t expected to win the Championship, but the fans held out hope – and stormed through the Playoffs, facing off against the Seattle Supersonics in the NBA Finals. They won in seven games and took the championship back to Washington DC. This is the first and only time the team has ever been NBA Champions. The following season, the team moved over to the Atlantic Division.
It was in 1995 that the team’s owner, Abe Pollin, announced that there would be a change of name, given the violent overtones connected to the name ‘Bullets’ that he wasn’t happy with, given the recent rise in homicide and crime rates in the early 1990s. As such, the team held a competition to choose a new name and the options were narrowed down to Dragons, Stallions, Sea Dogs, Express and Wizards – and in May 1997 the team was branded The Wizards. However, even this courted controversy, given that ‘Wizard’ is a rank of the Klu Klux Klan – and Washington has a large African American population. They also changed team colors to blue, black and bronze – matching the city’s NHL team, the Washinton Capitals also owned by Pollin. That year they also moved their home base to what was the MCI Arena but is now called the Capital One Arena, which is shared with the Capitals and Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team.
In 1998, the team became the brother team to the Women’s National Basketball Association team – the Washington Mystics and remained so until the Mystics were acquired by Lincoln Holdings, headed by Ted Leonsis. However, in 2010 he went on to purchase the Wizards as well and again, they became sibling teams.
Michael Jordan – a player with numerous accolades, retired from the Chicago Bulls in 1999 and became the Vice President of Basketball Operations as well as a minority owner of the Wizards in early 2000. In 2001, Jordan came out of retirement to play for the Wizards – he said it was ‘for the love of the game’. However, he had to divest himself of any ownership to do so. Before the All-Star break, he was one of just two players who managed an average of more than 25 PPG – and until that point led his team to a 26-21 record. However, his knee couldn’t cope with a full season and he went out injured – and finished the season with a record of 37-45 and missed the playoffs.
He did announce that he would be back for the 2002-03 season and decided to return with reinforcements in the form of All-Star Jerry Stackhouse and up and coming star Larry Hughes. He even accepted a 6th man role on the bench to help his knee survive the season. However, lots of injuries and poor play saw Jordan make the starting lineup where he tried to get the Wizards back up again. But still, they ended up with a 37-45 record. Jordan ended up playing all 82 games with an average of 20 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 3.8 APG. He retired at the end of the season
At the season end, Pollin fired Jordan as Team President in a shock move and Jordan felt betrayed, believing he would go back to part ownership when no longer playing.
The following season was better for the team and, now part of the Southeast Division, they ended up with e record of 45-37 – their best in 26 years. This was their first time in the playoffs as The Wizards
The Wizards Now
In April 2019, General Manager Ernie Grunfeld was fired, having been with the team for 16 years – and Tommy Sheppard took over as Interim GM until he was officially given the title in July that year. There were other front office moves as well, and the team selected Japanese player Rui Hachimura in the 2019 NBA draft with the ninth pick. After the suspension of the 2019-20 season, the team was one of the 22 recalled for the last 8 games of the season but missed the playoffs after winning just one of 8 games. In December 2020, the Wizards traded a first-round pick and John Wall to the Houston Rockets in return for Russell Westbrook and that year drafted Deni Avdija and Vit Krejci – although Krejci’s draft rights were later traded to Oklahoma City Thunder for the draft rights to Cassius Winston. The Wizards ended the 2020-21 season with a record of 34-38, losing in the first round of the playoffs.
The two tallest players that ever played in the NBA, Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol (7 ft 7) both played for the Washington Wizards. The two shortest players in the NBA history, Mugsy Bogues and Earl Boykins (5ft 3), also played for the Wizards as part of their careers.
Washington Wizards 2021 NBA Draft Picks
The Washington Wizards left Thursday draft night with two first-round picks and no second-round picks. With their 2021 NBA draft picks they selected Corey Kispert from Gonzaga with their number fifteen pick in what was considered by many to be one of the deepest classes in the NBA draft in recent memory.
They left the 2020-21 season with a record of 38-34, which was joint eighth in the Eastern Conference – but to get to that, they finished the season with a flourish and went into the playoffs playing at the top of their game. They did lose to the Boston Celtics in their first playing game, but scored 142 against the Indiana Pacers and got through to playoffs. However, they quickly lost out in the first round of the playoffs to the top-seeded team the Philadelphia 76ers – and this would very much have been on their mind s they entered the 2021 NBA draft night.
During the evening, they not only walked away with Corey Kispert with the 15th pick, but they also managed to secure Isaiah Todd, via the LA Lakers as 22nd pick from G-League Ignite. They have chosen two interesting players and will certainly be looking to the future of the franchise.
How Will it Work?
The Wizards now have two very interesting players who may well play a big role in the new season. Although there are roster changes imminent, which could well include the exit of top scorer, Bradley Beal, there are several players rumoured to be making their departures. This means that the Wizards can bring in reinforcemets – including their two new drafts
First, we have Corey Kisperr who is considered to be one of the best shooters in the 2021 NBA draft class – he was a top scorer in high school and a pretty good rebounder as well. He was expected to be a top ten pick and stood out, so getting him with the 15th pick was a great opportunity. He is a versatile and capable forward also able to play in guard positions and is a good defender. He is perfect for the modern NBA. His last season was impressive, boasting an average of 18.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 1.8 APG, shooting at more than 55%. With great shooters on the way out, adding this elite 3 point shooter will certainly help.
We would expect Kispert to make an impact from the get-go and make the first team pretty much straight away. He can add strength and size to the roster and is a highly physical player.
Then they also ended up with Isaiah Todd, who was initially selected by the Milwaukee Bucks and traded to the Indiana Pacers. Todd is a powerful player with a huge wingspan and is a fierce interior threat. He spent one year at G League Ignite and averaged 2.3 PPG and 4.9 RPG.
Todd stands at 6ft 9 and has a massive 7ft1 wingspan – giving him that rare combination of size and athleticism – although he may have to work in his physical game as he is rumored to be unable to use his body effectively, which make take some time.
However, he is a good defender and rim defender, which is needed by the Wizards. He has what it takes to be a good two-way player and we would expect him to join the rotation as a PF player. With the addition of Kyle Kazuma and last year’s draft, Rui Hachimura, they will be optimistic that the two new players will have a positive impact in the 2021-22 season.
Washington Wizards 2021 NBA Draft
- First Round pick No. 15: Corey Kispert from Gonzaga
- First Round pick no No. 22 (via LAL): Isaiah Todd from G-League Ignite
Moving Forward as a Team
So, exactly what can we expect this season? How good will Dinwiddie be this season? This will be a big question in the new season – as although he isn’t necessarily a star, he can give the team off-the-dribble offense. He has never been a great shooter from the outside – and two seasons past he was one of the NBA’s least efficient high-usage scorers, so there will be curiosity about how strong he returns after his knee injury.
However, the Wizards should go into the 2021-22 season with a better depth and defense – and their starting lineup should be a very decent defensive unit. However, unless one of the younger players shows dramatic improvement – or has an unexpectedly big impact on the season, then they still don’t really have enough to match the top five or six teams in their Conference. We reckon that a regular-season record of 37-45 or thereabouts might be on the cards.
Current Washington Wizards Players Under Contract
- Davis Bertans
- Bradley Beal
- Spencer Dinwiddie
- Daniel Gafford
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- Kyle Kuzma
- Thomas Bryant
- Rui Hachimura
- Deni Avdija
- Montrezl Harrell
- Corey Kispert
- Aaron Holiday
- Alex Len
- Isaiah Todd
- Daniel Gafford
- Anthony Gill
- Raul Neto
- Cassius Winston
- Joel Ayayi
Washington Wizards Free Agency Players 2021
Here is the list of free agents in 2021
- Isaac Bonga
- Robin Lopez
- Garrison Mathews (restricted)
- Alex Len
- Raul Neto
- Ish Smith
- Cassius Winston (restricted)
Previous Washington Wizards Draft Selections Since 2000
Year Round Pick Player Pos Age Pre-Draft Team
2020 1 9 Deni Avdija SG 19 Maccabi Tel Aviv
2020 2 37 Vit Krejci PG 20 Zaragoza (U18)
2019 1 9 Rui Hichamura F 21 Gonzaga
2018 2 15 Troy Brown Jr SF 18 Oregon
2018 2 44 Yusuf Sanon SG 18 Union Olimpija
2015 1 19 Jerian Grant SG 22 Notre Dame
2015 2 49 Aaron White F 22 Iowa
2014 2 46 Jordan Clarkson G 22 Missouri
2013 1 3 Otto Porter SF 20 Georgetown
2013 2 38 Nate Wolters PG 22 South Dakota State
2013 2 54 Arsalem Kazemi F 23 Oregon
2012 1 3 Bradley Beal SG 19 Florida
2012 2 32 Tomas Satoransky PG 20 Coosur Real Betis (Sp)
2011 1 6 Jan Vesely PF 21 KK Partizan
2011 1 18 Chris Singleton FC 21 Florida State
2011 2 34 Shelvin Mack G 21 Butler
2010 1 1 John Wall PG 19 Kentucky
2010 1 30 Lazar Hayward F 23 Marquette
2010 2 35 Nemaja Bjelica PF 22 KK Crvena Zvezda
2009 2 32 Jermaine Taylor G 22 UCF
2008 1 18 JaVale McGee C 20 Nevada
2008 2 47 Henry Walker GF 20 Kansas State
2007 1 16 Nick Young SG 22 USC
2007 2 47 Dominic McGuire F 21 Fresno State
2006 1 18 Oliksiy Pecherov C 20 Paris Basket Racing
2006 2 48 Vladimir Veremeeko PF 21 Dynamo St Petersburg
2005 2 49 Andray Blatche PF 18 South Kent School
2004 1 5 Devin Harris G 21 Wisconsin
2004 2 32 Peter John Ramos C 19 Criollos de Caguas
2003 1 10 Jarvis Hayes SF 21 Georgia
2003 2 38 Steve Blake G 23 Maryland
2002 1 11 Jared Jeffries PF 20 Indiana
2002 1 17 Juan Dixon G 23 Maryland
2002 2 38 Rod Grizzard G 22 Alabama
2002 2 39 Juan Carlos Navarro SG 22 Barca (Spain)
2001 1 1 Kwame Brown C 19 Glynn Academy
2000 2 35 Mike Smith F 24 Louisiana-Monroe
Washington Wizards Draft Picks FAQs
How Many Draft Picks do the Wizards have in 2021
The Wizards have just the one draft pick in 2021, and with this draft pick, which was the first round, 15th overall, they selected Corey Kispert a Small Forward from Gonzaga. The 22-year-old player hails from Edmonds, Washington and is 6ft 7 and weighs 220 lbs. They also ended up with Isaiah Todd, the 22nd pick via LA Lakers.
Which player was the Washington Wizards Second Pick in 2011?
The Washington Wizards had three picks in 2011. Their first was the sixth overall pick, with which they selected Serbian player Jan Vesely from KK Partizan. With their second they selected Chris Singleton as the 18th overall pick from Florida State and they also had a second-round pick, which they used to select Shelvin Mack from Butler with the 34th overall pick.