The Washington Wizards franchise has been a revolving door of mediocrity for much of the last decade. Honestly, longer than that. I would not consider the Wizards the poster child for success over that time but it is honestly remarkable they advanced to three Eastern Conference semi-finals given the names on this list thus far.
If anything, a more appropriate name for the Top 100 would have been “70 average guys, 15 reasonably solid ones, 13 more pretty darn good ones, and two stars.” The remainder of this list is the players that most contributed to postseason success for the Wizards. Almost any high-point you can think of this decade was thanks to these guys.
Okay, that’s kind of a lie. A few of the Arenas-era knuckleheads still cracked the list too. They weren’t that great on the court, they were goofballs off of it, and they never made the playoffs. But they were still pretty fun. As the kids say, “Don’t @ me”…except, please do. I really want to hear what you think.
This obviously isn’t a definitive list, it’s just one guy’s opinion. An opinion based on years of watching and hours of research but still an opinion. The great part about sports is that everyone sees it through their own lens and it gives us fodder for discussion. So let’s discuss!
Without further ado, the top 20!
20 – 11
20) Andray Blatche (2005-2011): Blatche played 409 games for the Wizards and averaged 9.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Only 90 of those games took place this decade and he was an absolute mess from basically start to finish. If you don’t remember why then just google it. His best year was 2010-2011 when he averaged 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds.
It was a shame he could never get his $hit together because he was actually supremely talented. He had range out to 17-feet and it’s easy to imagine him turning into a stretch-4 in today’s NBA. I am already mentally preparing myself for the online vitriol coming my way for Blatche’s spot on the list but I don’t care. He was must-see T.V. in the Modderno household for a multi-season run.
19) Nick Young (2007-2012): Young played 335 total games for the Wizards, 104 of which were this decade. During that time he averaged 11.6 points and shot 38-percent from three-point range. Nick Young was good at two things: getting buckets and being the modern embodiment of a court jester. Hard to believe that he played almost as many games as a Wizard as Gilbert Arenas.
It’s easy to look back on him now as a failed experiment, but at the time, he was a hyper-athletic wing with deep range that just dripped with potential. Not too many of those passed through Washington during the Grunfeld regime, so he at least presented fans with a small shred of hope for the future.
18) JaVale McGee (2008-2012): McGee played a total of 255 games in D.C. but slightly less than half of those (120) were this decade. For his tenure, he averaged 8.5 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks. He also led the team in Win Shares in 2010-2011, whatever that actually means.
Like Blatche and Young, he had an extremely high ceiling and showed flashes that few in the league could match. For every time he clanked a wonky hook shot off of the backboard there were just as many plays where he would sky above the rest of the players on the court to swat a shot no one else in the league could. For a while, it was just fun to imagine what he would look like when he fully matured as a player. He obviously didn’t pan out here (or anywhere really) but his actual on-court production still lands him about here on the list. Plus, think of all the great Shaqtin’ A Fool laughs he’s given us over the years!
17) Mike Scott (2017-2018): Scott averaged 8.8 points and 3.3 rebounds. That may not sound super impressive but he provided valuable floor-spacing (40.5-percent from three) and some much-needed toughness. Plus, he “ain’t no bitch” and he proved that when he tried to fight half of the Eagles fan-base. God bless, Mike Scott. He was also legitimately good in the 2018 playoffs.
16) Drew Gooden (2013-2016): Gooden averaged 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 103 games in Washington. He didn’t want to play here the first time he got traded here, and his best days were behind him by the time he got to Washington the second time. But he was a veteran who had been on winning teams and could pass on tricks of the trade to the next generation guys. He was still better as a player in Washington than as a broadcaster (so far). Hopefully, nowhere to go but up in that department!
15) Kris Humphries (2014-2016): In 92 games, Humphries averaged 7.5 points and 5.8 rebounds. He was a valuable presence around the basket in his first season. Rather than go out and add a stretch-4 like Wall had been clamoring for, the Wizards tried to turn Humphries into one during his second season. Naturally, his numbers dropped off because they took him away from what he did best. And naturally, we traded him shortly after. He was also briefly married to Kim Kardashian. I’m not sure if that should count for or against him.
14) Ramon Sessions (2014-2016, 2017-2018): Sessions played 125 games over his two stints, averaging 8.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Is he the best back-up Wall has ever had? He was pretty darn good in his first stint here and played meaningful minutes in the 2015 playoffs. Producing in the playoffs is the best way to vault up this list!
13) Martell Webster (2012-2015): Webster playing 186 games for the Wizards, averaging 9.3 points and 3 rebounds. Most importantly, he shot 39.7-percent from three-point range, which the Wizards drastically needed. He led the team in Win Shares in 2012-2013 (6.3) and while I’m still not entirely sure what that means, it sounds impressive. He was a solid contributor on an Eastern Conference semi-finals team in 2014 and played a real role in their success.
12) Kelly Oubre (2015-2018): Oubre was here for 252 games, making him one of the longest-tenured Wizards of the decade. During that time, he averaged 8.2 points and 3.5 rebounds. Those regular season numbers don’t look super impressive, but he scored in the double digits for most of the 2017 and 2018 playoffs. He was just coming into his own by the time the Wizards traded him for a few months of the ghost of Trevor Ariza. Cool clothes, cool hair, cool nickname (shoutout Tsunami Papi), and now his game is pretty cool for the Phoenix Suns too. *Insert sobbing in the rain GIF*
11) Tomas Satoransky (2016-2019): In 210 games, Satoransky averaged 6.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. He also made 40-percent of his three-point shots. He wasn’t anything special, and he would get beat back-door in spectacular fashion like three times per game because he fell asleep. But he always seemed like he was playing hard and he looked desperate for his teammates’ approval. Truth is, he was a major steadying force for the Wizards whenever Wall was injured. At the time, I was not on board with giving him a tribute video earlier this month. Now, after compiling this list, he really was one of the more impactful Wizards this decade.
10 – 1
10) Trevor Booker (2010-2014): He is Devin Booker’s brother. No, not that Devin Booker. One that played at Clemson. In all seriousness, Booker played really hard. He may not have been the most skilled player on this list but he made up for it by working twice as hard. Booker personified the adage that “hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” I’m generally fond of dirty work guys so I might have him higher than most. In fact, he seems like just the type of player that the 2019-2020 team could use.
9) Kevin Seraphin (2010-2015): I’m kind of mindblown that this is where we ended up, with Kevin Seraphin of all people in the top 10. But Seraphin was here for 326 total games and earned his placement by just quietly putting in work. He averaged 6.6 points and 3.6 rebounds over 79 games for an Eastern Conference semi-finals team in 2014-2015. He was a solid big off of the bench on a team-friendly deal. You need those to be a good team. Plus, he had a cool French accent. At least he does in my memory of him, someone might need to fact check that part.
8) Paul Pierce (2014-2015): Pierce played 73 games in 2014-2015 and averaged 11.9 points and 4 rebounds. But more important than any statistics, he “called game.” Do I really need to say more?
7) Markieff Morris (2015-2019): In 2010 games, Morris averaged 12.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He also shot 35.1-percent from three for a team that desperately needed a stretch big. Morris played really well in the Eastern Conference semi-finals against Boston, with three double-doubles in the seven-game series. He didn’t have the best ending to his tenure, but he didn’t back down from a challenge and provided some versatility and (theoretical) toughness that the Wizards needed.
6) Trevor Ariza (2012-2014, 2018-2019): In 176 games (over two stints), Ariza averaged 12.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. He also averaged 1.8 steals and shot 37-percent from three-point range. Ariza was hugely important on the 2014 Eastern Conference semi-finals team as a premier 3&D option. Many also credit him with helping to instill a winning culture in Washington.
5) Nene Hilario (2011-2016): Nene played 249 games in Washington, averaging 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. He averaged 14.2 points and 5.5 rebounds and 11 points and 5.1 rebounds on Eastern Conference Semi-finals teams. He just made us feel…legitimate in those early years. Nene was a REAL player and he seemed happy to come here and try to turn things around. That meant something to this organization.
4) Otto Porter (2013-2019): Porter was in Washington for the first 384 games of his career, averaging 10.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. He was a solid wing defender and shot 39.9-percent from three. I know it has become cool to hate on Otto because of that absurd contract that he was never going to be able to justify, but this guy played a key role in two deep playoff runs. That goes a long way in my book. He led the team in Win Shares in 2016-2017 (9.4) and 2017-2018 (8.1) so that’s cool too, I suppose.
3) Marcin Gortat (2013-2018): In 402 games, Gortat averaged 11.6 points and 9.2 rebounds. You’ve probably heard the cliche that “the best ability is availability” but Gortat proved that there’s some truth to that. For a franchise with a history of injuries, especially to its two stars, he was a stabilizing force. Gortat played 75+ games in every season he was here. He was the Wizards’ iron-man. Gortat didn’t end on the best terms with John Wall but let’s remember the good times. He also led the team in Win Shares from 2013-2016 (8.1, 8.6, 7.3).
2) Bradley Beal (2012-present): Beal has played all 516 games of his NBA career in Washington. In that time, he has averaged an impressive 20.3 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. Not to mention, he’s shot 38-percent from three and averaged 1.1 steals per game. I’ll admit, I was a little skittish early on about buying-in on Beal due to all of the injuries. I also wondered if maybe he was a bit undersized to keep up with the top shooting guards in the NBA. Safe to say he has answered every question that has ever been asked of him. What a relief to have him signed to an extension that will take him well into the next decade!
1) John Wall (2010-present): In 573 games for the Wizards, John Wall has averaged 19 points, 4.3 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and 1.7 steals. There is probably some contingent out there that would push for Beal at the top spot. But make no mistake, John Wall is THE player of the decade. Do I really need to defend this choice? He’s been here the whole decade, he’s a multi-time All-Star, he’s played the most games, he’s lead the team to the Eastern Conferences Semi-finals several times. For better or worse, John Wall was Wizards basketball this decade. Here’s hoping he is back out there catching bodies in the new decade!