Blackistone compares Wizards' slow start to a horror show originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
With all the excitement surrounding the Wizards before the 2020-21 season, the possibility of an 0-4 start wasn't exactly on a lot of people's radar.
In adding Russell Westbrook and rookie first-round pick Deni Avdija to a core led by Bradley Beal that flirted with a playoff spot a season ago, expectations were high. As the Washington Post's Kevin Blackistone put it, this Wizards season "was hyped as a thriller," but now it's "more like a horror show."
Citing continued struggles on defense, a lack of rhythm between Westbrook and his new teammates, Davis Bertans not yet being in shape and Beal still carrying too much of a burden on offense, Blackistone sees the Wizards as a scary team, but not in a good way.
The Wizards currently boast the league's 24th-ranked offense (104.7 Off. rating) and the 20th-best defense (111.9 Def. rating), though it's important to note the small sample size can change these numbers rather quickly.
The good news? The Wizards' defense is improved from last season already since there was nowhere to go but up. And they're forcing teams into taking more mid-range jumpers while allowing fewer threes and shots at the rim. The only problem right now is teams are making an unsustainable percentage of their mid-range looks against the Wizards, so there's plenty of room for improvement on that end of the floor.
Once Bertans fully gets his legs under him, Rui Hachimura returns and Westbrook gets at least 10-15 games under his belt with an entirely new supporting cast around him, the offense should begin to self-sustain.
Before Beal and Bertans got hurt around the same time in late December last season, the Wizards had the fourth-best offense in the NBA. The Wizards aren't going to have trouble scoring this year.
It's much too early to write this team's obituary, and while the first week of the season has been less than ideal, there's plenty of reason to believe this is the team's floor, not its identity.
Washington will look to get back on track Thursday night against the Bulls before hitting the road to play the Timberwolves, Nets, Sixers and Celtics in their next four games.
Tune in at 4 PM to NBC Sports Washington on Thursday for complete coverage of the Wizards' next game against the Chicago Bulls.