Just like when the Wizards won their only championship in 1978, this team, filled with hungry underdogs, has surpassed everyone's expectations - all while being led by a man named Wes Unseld. But unlike in 1978, this Wizards team is flooded with new faces, making it all that more special they have their best starting record in 46 years. But how the hell are they doing it?
Montrezzl Harrell currently 10th in MVP tracking
There's more than one crazy thing about this run. Montrezzl Harrell is currently tenth in MVP tracking, according to Basketball-Reference. Thomas Bryant is involuntarily separated from the success, while Rui Hachimura is distanced voluntarily. The usually atrocious defensive Wizards look poised to be a top 10 ranked team in that metric. Bradley Beal has gone from a league-wide trade chip to the centerpiece for a new era in Washington. And still, Wizards fans don't know if they should fully buy in yet - and understandably so.
Wizards fans have been subjected to so much tyranny that at one point, they had to talk themselves into signing Dwight Howard. Longtime Wizards homer Joe House recently spoke on the Bill Simmons Podcast about how at least he was the best center John Wall had ever played with. Imagine going through Kwame Brown, Jan Vesely (look him up), and Agent Zero's 'transgressions' to whatever the John Wall and Westbrook thing was; why would Wizards fans want to show optimism?
They must be asking themselves if maybe the rule changes are favoring younger teams or defensively oriented teams? Maybe opposing teams just haven't set up schemes to inevitably beat them since a new face is carrying the scoring load every night? Perhaps they have just had a super easy schedule (they haven't)? Or maybe, just maybe: the Wizards smashed their offseason and have a legit playoff team. A roster even ahead of the play-in tournament tier-teams.
Wes Unseld JR is doing a phenomenal job
This success is greatly credited to Wes Unseld JR, their first-time head coach and rare example of the success of nepotism. This is why Bradley Beal is more locked in on defense than he has been since Wall was in town. This has only trickled down into a deep team - most with serious playoff experience.
People buy too much into the 'big threes' and 'big twos' and forget basketball is roughly an 11 man sport. While the Lakers were infatuated with getting their final piece in Westbrook, they forgot the roster does not end after the first three names have been introduced by the sound guy. Now the 'Westbrook trade' looks more like the 'Harrell trade,' similar to the past 'Porzingus trade' - as the depth and fit override one player's vacuumed talent.
Also, a serious question, did Spencer Dinwiddie time travel to another dimension where he was groomed by the aliens' best point guards for 5-6 years, then came back with no impact on his aging or athleticism? His ability to slow the pace down and make the right play, know when to feed the highly defended Beal, or just go off on a scoring tantrum when needed makes him look like a 10-year vet (even if he's not that far off it).
Every player has stepped up in Washington as the east has only gotten better, so even if this does not last, enjoy it, Wizards fans. For all you know, their General Manager could gut this team's youth or handsomely overpay them, kind of like every other era in Bullets'/Wizards' history.