Wizards 2021 Season Preview


Photo via Nell Redmond/USA TODAY Sports

While some would consider the Wizards’ 2020-2021 season a success for making the playoffs, others might consider it a failure for only being able to get the 8th seed. In a weaker Eastern Conference, with all of the star power on the roster that argument does have weight. The Wizards finished the season with a very mediocre 34-38 record while losing in five games to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Wizards made a lot of big moves in the offseason and are looking to take a big step to contending this year including a blockbuster trade involving sending Russell Westbrook to the Lakers. Westbrook was only on the team for one year, but he was a big reason why the Wizards made the playoffs last year. In this trade, the Wizards got a lot of key players for their bench and made their team more complete. Here is a look at the new Wizards roster and where they stand going into the new season:

Potential Starting Lineup:

PG: Spencer Dinwiddie

SG: Bradley Beal

SF: Kyle Kuzma

PF: Rui Hachimura

C: Daniel Gafford

The Wizards boast a nealy brand new starting five with only Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura starting for them last year. Beal has a lot of uncertainty surrounding his future with the team, but for right now he is one of the only proven scorers on this Wizards team, averaging 31.3 points per game last season which was second in the league. He is in a contract year and is looking to get a very big second contract. Whether it be with Washington or elsewhere, he is looking to have a very big year. Hachimura is also a very good scorer but is trying to take the next step on the defensive side of the ball. He is only 23, so he does have a lot of time to improve and develop into a very good number two option. 

Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Kuzma were two of the biggest additions to the Wizards this year. Coming from Brooklyn in a sign and trade, Dinwiddie brings some much needed playmaking to the Wizards roster. He is coming off a torn ACL which limited him to 3 games, so it is unclear how well he will recover after missing so much time. In the 2019-20 season, though, he averaged 20 PPG and 6.8 APG playing for the Nets. He will be plugged right in at starting point guard and is expected to be a good complement for Bradley Beal. Kyle Kuzma is coming off a very inconsistent 2020 which got him traded from the Lakers to the Wizards. He averaged 12.9 PPG coming off the bench for the Lakers, but missed many key shots in the playoffs. He joins the Wizards looking for a fresh start to his young career

Gafford is in his second season with the Wizards after getting traded from the Bulls last year but is a first time starter. Off the bench for the Wizards, he averaged 10.1 points per game (PPG) and 6.8 Rebounds per game (RPG)  while also having 1.8 blocks per game (BPG). He is easily the best defensive starter on the Wizards and will look to hold down the paint for years to come.


PG: Aaron Holiday

SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

SF: Deni Avdija

PF: Davis Bertans

C: Montrezl Harrell

The Wizards bench is also nearly completely new, returning only 2 players that were on the team last year. The frontcourt is definitely the strong suit of the Wizards bench. Deni Avdija was the Wizards first round pick in 2020  and had a lot of ups and downs to start his career, averaging 6.8 PPG off the bench and shooting 42% from the field. He is looking to take the next step as a scorer, especially as a 3 point shooter. Davis Bertans got a big contract extension last offseason and didn’t live up to it, dropping from 15.4 PPG to 11.5 PPG. This was very disappointing because this year was supposed to be the year he took the next step into being a very good scorer. He has been demoted to a bench role, but adds a lot of shooting to the bench. Montrezl Harrell also came from the Lakers in the Russell Westbrook trade and brings defense and rebounding to this Wizards bench. Off the bench for the Lakers last year, Harrell averaged 13.5 PPG and 6.2 RPG. He also won the 6th Man of the Year two years ago as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. He should be one of the leaders of the Wizards bench.

The bench backcourt this year for the Wizards is completely new. Aaron Holiday was signed from the Indiana Pacers and is a very good defender and playmaker. He averaged 1 steal and 3 assists in 17 minutes off the bench for the Pacers. He and Cassius Winston might split time at PG later in the year, but for now, it looks like Holiday has this spot locked up. Caldwell-Pope also is coming from the Lakers. He brings scoring and defense to the backup shooting guard position averaging 9.7 PPG and 0.7 SPG starting for the Lakers. Caldwell-Pope is one of the highest paid players on the team, but is in a contract year. If he wants to be paid anywhere near the amount of money he is being paid right now, he will really have to step up his game.

Looking at the Wizards roster this year, it definitely looks like the Wizards have taken a step in the right direction, but they are still in the rebuilding phase. The goal for the Wizards this year should be to make the playoffs as they definitely have a playoff-caliber roster, especially in the weaker Eastern Conference. This year is a big year to see how the future is going to be for the Wizards but for right now the Wizards just need to focus on keeping their core intact.