Washington Wizards: nba FUTURES & BETTING ODDS
The Washington Wizards franchise has been around since 1961 but the team has been known by six different names in those six decades. The team started play in 1961 as the Chicago Packers, and while they were led by star Walt Bellamy, who was named Rookie of the Year, the team finished 18-62 in its inaugural season. To avoid being confused with the local Chicago Bears’ hated NFL rivals from Green Bay, the team changed its name to the Chicago Zephyrs. While the team had the best rookie again in 1963, in Terry Dischinger, but the Zephyrs only finished 25-55.
After the 1962-63 season the team moved to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Bullets. In the franchise’s fourth season they finally made the playoffs, despite a 37-43 record, where they upset the Hawks before losing in five games to the Lakers. In 1968 the team added yet another Rookie of the Year in Earl Monroe, and after struggling in Monroe’s rookie season, Baltimore used the second overall pick to select Wes Unseld. Not only did Unseld win Rookie of the Year, he was named NBA MVP, as he scored 13.8 points and grabbed 18.2 rebounds per game. In Unseld’s third season the team broke through knocking off both the 76ers and Knicks in seven games before being swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1971 NBA Finals.
In 1973. The franchise changed their name yet again, this time to the Capital Bullets as they moved bear Washington D.C., which did not change their fortune as they lost to the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs for a third straight season. Another name change was in order as the team became known as the Washington Bullets for the 1974-74 season, which may have been a lucky move as the Bullets went 60-22 in the regular season and made it back to the NBA Finals where they lost to the Golden State Warriors. After more playoff heartbreaks the following two seasons, Wes Unseld finally led the team to their first, and only, franchise title, defeating the Hawks, Spurs and 76ers in the playoffs before winning the 1978 NBA Finals in seven games over the Seattle SuperSonics in seven games.
In 1979, Washington managed to make it out of the Eastern conference playoffs again, defeating the Hawks in seven games before coming from 3-1 down to stun the Spurs. The Bullets would lose the rematch with Seattle convincingly, falling in five games.
The Bullets has managed to make the NBA Finals four times during the 1970’s but not only have they not returned to the Finals, the franchise has never even been back to the conference finals. The 1980’s were highlighted by the on-court presence of Manute Bol and a streak of five straight exits in the first round of the playoffs. The team would follow that steak with a more unfortunate one, missing the postseason for eight consecutive seasons from 1989-1996.
The team would formally become known as the Washington Wizards, moving away from a Bullets term that had increasingly negative connotations. Ownership bet on the Washington Wizards becoming a winning name in 1997, but the Washington Wizards odds of a playoff run in their first season were sunk when they ran into Michael Jordan’s Bulls, who swept the Wiz out of the postseason in three games.
After missing the playoffs for eight straight seasons before 1997, the Washington Wizards odds to repeat the feat were slim, but they almost achieved it, a bet on the Washington Wizards to make the playoffs would have failed seven years in a row, as the team would not return until 2005. The most interesting to happen to any potential Washington Wizards odds of a playoff run in that stretch was when new Wizards minority owner Michael Jordan unretired to join the team in 2001.
Many fans bet on the Washington Wizards to make the 2001-2002 playoffs with Jordan in tow, but Jordan’s hot start which turned the Washington Wizards odds into that of a contender, fizzled out when he got injured and the team missed the playoffs with a 37-45 mark. Michael Jordan returned for a second season and any fan who bet on the Washington Wizards to play in all 82 games was handsomely rewarded, as MJ averaged 20 points per game and nearly seven rebounds but the team could only repeat its 37-45 record, missing the postseason once again. The Washington Wizards odds would dip significantly in 2004 as Michael Jordan retired and the team sank to a 25-57 record.
The 2005 season saw something of a revitalization as the Wizards traded for Antawn Jamison to pair with Larry Hughes and Gilbert Arenas, and fans who bet on the Washington Wizards to snap their playoff drought were thrilled as the team not only made the playoffs but beat the Bulls in the first round. The following three seasons followed the same pattern: the team would make the playoffs but fans who bet on the Washington Wizards would be crushed as Lebron James and the Cavs knocked them out of the 2006, 2007, and 2008 playoffs in the first round.
After 2008, the Washington Wizards odds of becoming a contender seemed to increase when they signed Arenas to a $111 million deal, but he quickly became injury-prone and the team went five straight seasons without winning 30 games.
John Wall, who the team picked first overall in 2010 would revitalize the team, and in 2014 the Wiz won just their second playoff series since 1982, a feat they repeated in 2015, when they swept the Raptors before falling to the Hawks in six games. In 2017, Wall led the Wizards back to the brink of something special when Wall and fellow star guard Bradley Beal took the Boston Celtics to seven games in the second round of the playoffs. In recent years the team has suffered tremendously as Wall has managed to play only 73 games in the past three seasons, missing the 2019-2020 season entirely due to injury. Playing in a watered down Eastern conference, the Wizards made the 2020 NBA playoffs bubble, but managed to lose 7 of their 8 games as they missed the postseason once again.
In 2020-21, they had a solid offense due to Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook, but a spotty defense led to a first-round elimination at the hands of Philadelphia after they survived the play-in tournament to reach the first round. After the season, Scott Brooks was replaced as head coach by Wes Unseld Jr.
Championships: 1 (1978)
10: Earl Monroe
11: Elvin Hayes
25: Gus Johnson
41: Wes Unseld
45: Phil Chenier