Coming into the 2023-24 NBA season, people weren’t expecting to see much from the Washington Wizards. They begrudgingly accepted a much-needed rebuild, finally trading All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal. The return was underwhelming, but that is what happens when you sign a player to a supermax extension with a trade kicker in the contract and give that player a full no-trade clause.
The Wizards’ hands were tied the second pen was put to paper on that deal. Part of the return package for Beal was acquiring Chris Paul from the Phoenix Suns. He wasn’t long for the roster, as he was traded to the Golden State Warriors, with one of the players coming back to Washington being Jordan Poole.
The already unserious Wizards would reach a whole new level with Poole running the team along with Kyle Kuzma. Poole, who earlier in his career was statistically the worst player in the NBA, is reaching those levels again as he and Kuzma are combining to be the least impactful one-two punch in the league.
They lead the team in scoring, with Kuzma averaging 24.3 points and Poole scoring 17.4. But, their lack of impact defensively essentially renders their scoring impact moot, as they cannot stop a traffic sign, in the words of Kuzma.
Just how bad are things for the 3-15 Wizards? Kuzma and Poole have the worst net rating in the NBA for teams when their top two scorers are on the floor according to a shared by Chicago Bulls writer Drew Stevens. They come in with a net rating just under -20, with Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan being just over the -15 mark.
Being at the bottom of that list is bad enough, but it doesn’t paint the entire picture of how poorly those two are playing. According to Basketball Reference, Kuzma and Poole have combined for a net rating of -32.1 on the season.
That duo has combined for such atrocities as 43 turnovers due to bad passes and 31 shot attempts being blocked. They both allow 122 points per 100 possessions and have a value over replacement player of -0.3. That means the top two scorers on the Wizards, right now, aren’t even playing at the average NBA level when on the floor together.
As currently constructed, there is no light at the end of the tunnel for the Wizards. They are a bad team that has no path to improvement with their two best players being such negatives while sharing the court.
The Wizards are going to be a team NBA fans keep an eye on just to see what ridiculousness occurs next. You never know when you’ll get an off-the-backboard alley-oop from Poole to Kuzma to cut a Washington deficit to 19 points.
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