On paper, the Washington Wizards should be a lock for the Eastern Conference playoffs. In fact, on the outside looking in, they might even have a roster worthy of making the Conference Finals.
When you dig deep, however, it becomes no mystery why the Wizards have been less than successful the past couple of seasons. Ravaged by injury, off-court drama, and bad chemistry, the Wiz are a team that gets in their own way, so to speak.
And to make matters worse for them, they don’t have a superstar to see them through.
There was a time when 5x All-Star John Wall was being called the best point guard in the East. Following a devastating Achilles tear earlier this year, that narrative has changed. Not only is the future of Wall in doubt, but he might not even make his way back until the 2021 season, according to Wizards owner Ted Leonsis.
Ted Leonsis says John Wall “probably won’t play” next year at all. They are taking it slow with his Achilles rehab hoping to get it right.
— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) July 22, 2019
The Wizards are due to pay Wall $37 million next season alone, and $170M over the next four years combined. Putting aside the huge financial burden of paying an inactive star over $35 million, his presence makes it impossible for Washington to start a full rebuild.
Essentially, the Wizards are stuck. With Wall and Bradley Beal’s combined contracts, they will be limited in what they can do financially. But with the injury, Wall’s contract cannot be used to get picks or young players in return.
It is very much a waiting game for Washington — one that will bring about a few more years of irrelevance for the franchise.