Washington, D.C. is a hoops city through and through. Basketball has a long and rich history in the area that has nurtured the development talents of 76 unique professional players.
Modern-day basketball in D.C. is predominantly represented by the Washington Wizards, the 2019 WNBA Champion Washington Mystics, and the Georgetown basketball programs. Despite the city’s basketball tradition, the on-court struggles of the Wizards and Georgetown Men’s Basketball teams have been well-documented.
But a new era is upon us. The excitement on the hilltop for the start of the Ed Cooley tenure is palpable, and a new genesis is also dawning in the Wizards’ locker room as well, marked by a new front office team led by Michael Winger, president of Monumental Basketball, and General Manager Will Dawkins. Thanks to the generosity of the Washington Wizards’ team and staff, the Voice is excited to provide coverage of the team’s 2023-24 season.
Speaking of the upcoming season, here are a few storylines to keep in mind as games start this week:
Welcome to the District, Jordan Poole
While the loss of Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis represents a drop in all-star talent, Wizards fans should be excited about the addition of 2022 NBA Champion Jordan Poole. The former 2019 first-round pick broke out during the 2021-22 season, averaging over 18 points per game, and played a considerable role in helping the Golden State Warriors win the title. Now entering his fifth year in the league, Poole has the opportunity to make Washington his team and elevate his game to the next level.
Year Three for Head Coach Wes Unseld Jr.
Wes Unseld Jr., a DMV native, enters his third year as the Wizards head coach. Under his leadership, the team has endured injuries to key players and difficult changes to the roster. The upcoming season could be challenging with a new-look roster and an expected rebuild ahead; however, Unseld Jr. could utilize his new and younger players, eager to prove themselves, as a chance to finally make his mark in his first head coaching job.
Kyle Kuzma’s Big Payday
28-year-old Kyle Kuzma is coming off a career year, averaging over 20 points per game last season. The new front office sees Kuzma as a long-term piece of the team and re-signed the forward for a four-year, $102 million deal this offseason. If the Wizards are going to surprise this season, Kuzma will likely need to repeat his success from last year.