The Washington Wizards entered the 2021 season with high hopes and big expectations for their season. Since the Russell Westbrook trade, the degree of talent on the roster has never been a question.
But things took a turn for the worst after the first month and a half, which saw the Wizards sink into an early hole.
Amid much doubt and struggle, the Wizards held a team meeting in early February, in which each player discussed their roles. With the Wizards currently on a five-game win streak (with their latest victory coming against the defending champs), that meeting is now being credited as a major reason for their turnaround.
Several weeks ago before one of their rare practices this season, the Wizards held a team meeting where Russell Westbrook asked each player to define their roles. The team was in the middle of a disappointing start, and a misunderstanding over responsibilities was in his, and Bradley Beal’s, eyes part of the problem.
So, one by one they went around and each player stated what they felt was their primary duties in front of the group. Rui Hachimura, for example, proclaimed he can guard all five positions on the floor.
Not long after that conversation, the Wizards clicked. They have now won five straight games, their longest streak since February of 2018. They knew they were a talented team, even as they cratered to 11 games under .500. It was about maximizing that talent and one way to do that, evidently, was to define their roles.
At a recent Wizards practice, Russell Westbrook had players say what their role is in front of the entire team.
Several players credit finding clarity on their roles on the court as a factor of the Wizards winning streak.
— Top Ball Coverage (@TopBallCoverage) February 23, 2021
Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook, Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans, and others each bring their own unique contribution to the team — and it was up to the leaders (Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook) to bring them together and make it all work.
While the Wizards still have a long ways to go to get into the playoff picture, they are certainly headed in the right direction. Getting everyone on the same page really seems to have done wonders.