The Washington Wizards Are Officially Soul-Crushing, But Can They Turn Things Around?


The Washington Wizards played on Tuesday night. The Washington Wizards lost on Tuesday. One of their players called out the team’s effort.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

In what’s becoming an unfortunate — or hilarious, depending on your mileage — pattern this season, the Wizards got blown out by the Dallas Mavericks, 119-100. This time, offseason acquisition Dwight Howard joined the ongoing media circus by criticizing his team’s effort level and saying Washington just has to get better.

Mind you, this is the same player who did … this.

Howard now joins John Wall and Bradley Beal in publicly lambasting Washington. The entire team warranted being called out after another putrid performance — the Mavericks entered the game with a 2-7 record, their high offseason expectations taking an early hit. Nevertheless, the Wizards were down by 20 points at the end of the first half and couldn’t fight back from the deep hole they had dug for themselves. Not a single player had a positive plus-minus, not even in garbage time.

It was a microcosm of how bad Washington has been all season. There aren’t many bright spots to be found, not even on the margins. Wall and Beal are generally performing at the individual levels they have for the past few years, but it hasn’t translated into making the game easier for their teammates. Wall has clearly lost some burst from his knee injuries and age-related regression. He no longer has the pace to break down defenses regularly, leading to some unwatchable half-court possessions where he can’t really move and throws up a jumper off of an isolation. Wall’s assist percentage is down to 34.5 percent, still excellent for a point guard but not in the league-leading 40s range where he spent most of his prime.