These are strange times to be a Wizards fan. They’re wonderful, hope-filled times, but strange nonetheless. March Madness isn’t limited to the college ranks ’round here this year.
Two days after CBS’s Matt Moore ranked the Wizards No. 1 — No. 1! — in his weekly NBA power rankings (that’s among all teams, not just teams in the Eastern Conference or Southeast Division, to be clear), The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears introduced his insightful Q&A with Wizards point guard John Wall by asking readers to push the limits of the human mind:
“Imagine what it would be like if John Wall and the Washington Wizards brought the nation’s capital a long-awaited NBA championship this year,” Spears wrote. “The franchise’s only championship was in 1978 when the Washington Bullets won it all. But if Wall and the Wizards pulled it off, a red, white and blue ticker tape parade could take place alongside all the monuments and museums with the NBA All-Star guard proudly waving like a beauty pageant winner as he passes by the White House on a float.”
That parade sure sounds nice, provided D.C. isn’t vaporized when Bojan Bogdanovic, the most brilliant trade-deadline acquisition of GM Ernie Grunfeld’s tenure, tosses the ball toward the rafters as the clock hits zero on the Wizards’ NBA Finals-clinching win.
“It would be crazy,” Wall told Spears of the possibility of the Wizards winning D.C.’s first championship (in one of the four major sports) in 25 years. “It would be amazing. My ultimate goal is to win one there in Washington. I know how amazing it would be. Just to see how much love we’d get … The city is real diverse. You got your longtime Wizards fans and then you got the people that moved there and became fans. Ever since we started playing well and had that winning streak at home, it has been amazing for us. Everybody has been great for us. We know we can win at home. We know we can have our crowd behind us. The main question for us is can we win on the road. We haven’t figured it out. But I know D.C. would be lit. It would be spectacular.”
Later in the interview, Wall conceded that winning an NBA title is “a long shot” and reiterated that the Wizards’ main goal is to reach the Eastern Conference finals, a place the franchise hasn’t been since 1979. According to 538’s most recent predictions, Western Conference powers Golden State (38 percent) and San Antonio (26 percent) are the favorites to win the title. The Wizards, Cavaliers, Celtics and Rockets are all given a six percent chance of winning the title.
It’s a long shot, sure, but no longer impossible to imagine. The Wizards have won 11 of their past 14 road games, including a 4-1 mark on their recent West Coast swing. At 25-9, Washington has the second-best record in the NBA since Jan. 1 and they recently became the first team in NBA history to reach 15 games over .500 after starting 2-8.
The Wizards’’ strong road trip is the main reason they moved up five spots to No. 1 in Moore’s power rankings, which are a reflection of the teams playing the best basketball at this point in the season, and nothing more. Here’s Moore’s explanation:
NO REGRETS. The Wizards have the best record in the NBA since Jan. 1. They just rattled off four wins in five nights including back-to-back wins in overtime on a West coast road trip, even if they were against sub-.500 teams. John Wall is a cyborg ninja, Bradley Beal is a pure weapon, and this team just finds ways to win. Everyone else fell, the Wizards keep rolling. No regrets!
With Stephen Curry slumping and Kevin Durant sidelined with an MCL sprain, the Warriors fell one spot this week to sixth in Moore’s rankings. Things are going so well for the Wizards and so poorly for the Warriors, in fact, that Larry King dictated a tweet about Durant possibly regretting his decision to sign with Golden State instead of his hometown team last offseason.
At 2-8, that would’ve been laughable. Check out Wall’s full Q&A with Spears here.